Though some people might feel high school is too young to start preparing for graduate school, the truth is that it’s exactly the right time. Making an educational plan early will help you focus on classes and extracurricular activities that are related to your career goals. It used to be that getting high marks and solid scores on standardized tests would be enough for admission to most universities, but admissions are more competitive than ever before. If you’re a high school student with your heart set on a law degree, read on for four tips that will help you get accepted.
1. Join an honor society.
The trend of law school admissions being increasingly difficult seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future, which is why it’s important to give yourself an academic edge whenever you have the opportunity. Joining a national honor scholarship society in high school is a great achievement to have on your academic record. More importantly, you’ll have access to a network of academically gifted students like yourself, in addition to exclusive scholarships and an extensive alumni network that can help you in your future academic pursuits.
2. Identify quality role models.
You should think about what kind of lawyer you want to be early on. There are so many different subspecialties in the legal field, and even within those subspecialties, there are many different ways one can approach practicing law.
One lawyer whose career could be a model for aspiring lawyers is Malliha Wilson. Wilson is a Tamil-Canadian lawyer and the first visible minority to hold the office of the assistant deputy attorney general of the Ontario Government. She’s known for her specialism in administrative law and for her human rights activism in Canada. She participated in over 20 notable cases for the Supreme Court of Canada.
For many lawyers, it’s easy to see the law as just a set of rules to be followed, but the best lawyers are the ones who understand the real-world impact that their work can have. Having an issue you care about or a unique point of view on a legal matter is an asset for aspiring lawyers. Your job isn’t just in your office and in the courtroom: It’s everywhere where people are affected by the decisions rendered.
3. Develop your writing skills.
Many people don’t realize it, but lawyers spend a lot of time writing, from legal briefs to their arguments for trial. The most successful lawyers write well and express themselves in a clear and concise manner. Even if you don’t think you have a natural aptitude or ability for creative writing, you can improve your technical skills and your grammar with effort and practice.
4. Participate in relevant extracurricular activities.
Everyone knows that both colleges and graduate schools prefer students who have participated in their communities and excelled in activities connected to their interests. When your goal is to apply to law school, you should think about signing up for activities that can help you develop skills that will be relevant to your future career. Debate is a popular choice since it will help you get comfortable with public speaking and making logical arguments. Model UN is also a good fit, especially if you’re interested in politics or international law.
Understanding the kind of lawyer you want to be will also make the application process easier for both college and law school. Admissions committees tend to appreciate students with clarity of purpose. They also look for applicants who are genuinely passionate about the subject they want to study and have strong ideas about how they can use their education to change the world. To get into law school, your application will need to demonstrate your sustained interest and passion for the law, but the best applicants are the ones who can explain how they intend to use the law to make meaningful change.