Pre-Law Information for First and Second Year Students
- Law Schools do not have a "preferred major" - they prefer candidates who do well in their chosen area of scholarship. If you love Math and do well in Math classes, consider majoring in Math! If you love Anthropology, major in Anthropology! Find a subject that appeals to you and your intellectual curiosity and trust that if you love the material, you will read the material willingly, write about it meaningfully and exemplify the best of a liberal arts education in so doing!
- Aim for a GPA of at least 3.5 (cumulative). The median GPA for Vanderbilt law school applicants is a 3.65. Your GPA is much harder to change as time goes on (it can be hard to play catchup if you have a lot of ground to cover) — so make every attempt to start strong!
- The law is primarily a written medium. Excellent writing skills are vitally important. You’ll be best prepared for law school if you enroll in undergraduate courses that focus on reading, writing and critical thinking.
- Fulfill most of your AXLE requirements as a First- and Second-year student. Use this time to explore the liberal arts and then target areas of study that are truly interesting and meaningful to you. Remember that you will be a stronger student in the courses you truly care about (and thereby get better grades), so explore in the beginning and then hone in by the second semester of your sophomore year.
- Consider adding an additional major to diversify your academic program, but only if you truly love two areas of study. It is better to be proficient and academically strong in one major, than to be spread too thin and mediocre in two. Visit the Directors of Undergraduate Studies for the departments you are considering to see what the major requirements are.
- Join clubs/organizations that relate to the content area of law that you are interested in. You can also join organizations specifically related to pre-law to be connected with and supported by students going through the LSAT and law school admissions process in general. Some such organizations include Phi Alpha Delta (pre-law fraternity), the National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA), and the Vanderbilt Pre-Law Society.
- Your post-graduation plans—whether that means law school, grad school, or full time work—will be greatly impacted by the activities you engage in outside the classroom. Jobs, internships, community service, student organizations and leadership experience not only prepare you for the future, but are an invaluable investment in yourself! Get involved in a student group, working on campus, studying abroad— take advantage of what Vanderbilt has to offer! Law Schools value community service and leadership experience, so get involved now to better situate yourself to be an upperclassmen leader!
- Law schools expect you to produce letters of recommendation, vouching for your academic aptitude and overall motivation. This means you need to be talking to your professors now! Visit office hours, even if it’s just to introduce yourself. Get to know your professors— the earlier you start, the easier it will be to come up with people willing to write glowing letters of recommendation when you need them!