Welcome Pre-Law Students!

Whether you're just starting to think about law school or already studying for the LSAT, the Career Center is to help you make the best decision possible. Start by reading through our Pre-Law Advising Handbook, and consider scheduling an appointment with a career coach for one-on-one advising. 

Meet Your Career Coach and Pre-Law Advisor

Our specialized career coach and pre-law advisor is available to help you learn about the field of law, explore law school options, and prepare to apply.

Make An Appointment

Salvatore Cipriano

Salvatore Cipriano, Ph.D.

GLP Events

Pre-Law Summer Programs

Looking for something to do this summer? Check out our database that details summer programs for students at various points of the law school application process. Programs differ by focus, location, cost, eligibility, and length. Note, there are several programs specifically for diverse canidates. Browse the different tabs to find a program that is right for you!

Pre-Law Summer Programs Database

Preparing to Apply

Before you begin researching law schools or preparing to apply, take some time to decide whether law school is right for you.

First, think about your career goals. If you plan to practice law, then by all means apply to law school. But a law degree is not necessary for some law-related fields, so connect with connect with BC alumni on Eagle Exchange to find out more about the profession you intend to enter.

Joining a law-related student organization can be a great way to determine or enhance the level of your interest in law. The Bellarmine Law Society and the AHANA Pre-Law Student Association present panels each year on different aspects of the legal profession and the law school admission process.  The Boston College Mock Trial team offers the opportunity for intercollegiate courtroom competition.

Consider the financial implications of a law school degree. While some careers in the law can be very lucrative, salaries vary considerably depending on your career path. Learn more about financing law school before applying.

If you plan to apply to law school, it’s never too early to start thinking about how to strengthen your application and make yourself an attractive candidate. Here are some strategies.

Choosing a Major

Law schools are interested in candidates from every discipline. The American Bar Association states that “there is no single path that will prepare you for a legal education.” So you should choose a major that you’re interested in, as opposed to a major that you think will “look good.” It is your performance, much more than the specific courses you have taken, that will determine your attractiveness as a law school applicant.

That being said, if you want to prepare for the rigors of law school, choose courses that will develop your analytical and writing skills as part of a broad liberal arts background.  With this in mind, Boston College does offer a variety of law-related courses that may be useful for students considering law school, even if they do not provide any direct advantage in gaining admission.

These fall into three broad categories:
Note: These are just a few examples of the many number of courses available at Boston College!

Skills Useful for Law School
In addition to analytical and writing skills, pre-law students benefit from developing their skills in analytical thinking, public speaking, debating, Latin, accounting, and finance.

  • COMM 1030 Public Speaking
  • COMM 1105 Elements of Debate
  • CLAS 1010 Elementary Latin
  • ENGL 4412, 4579 Writing Workshops
  • MFIN 1021 Basic Finance
  • PHIL 2264 Logic

Substantive Areas of Law and Legal Reasoning
If you want to know whether you will find the practice of law interesting, exposure to one or two substantive law courses can be helpful in making your decision.

  • BSLW 1021 Law I: Intro to Law and Legal Process
    BSLW 1022 Law II: Business Law
  • BSLW 1147 Constitutional Law
  • BSLW 6674 Sports Law
  • POLI 3521 International Law
  • POLI 2386 Civil Liberties

Courses about Law and the Legal System
The courses described here can make you a stronger law school applicant by improving your skills and enhancing your understanding of the law and how it works.

  • POLI 2327 U.S. Constitutional Development
  • COMM 4472 Race, Law, and Media
  • INTL 5563 Ethics, Religion, and International Politics
  • SOCY 1030 Deviance and Social Control
  • SOCY 1140 Legal & Illegal Violence Against Women
  • HIST 1715 Citizenship, Immigration, & Belonging in the U.S.
  • HIST 4442 U.S. Immigration History

 

Participating in Activities and Internships

Over time, get more deeply involved in fewer extracurricular activities. Take opportunities to lead. Research projects, public interest programs, and business experiences are all valuable in building your skills and reflecting an engaged, problem-solving attitude.

Visit the Career Center’s internship page to learn more about how to secure an internship opportunity and to learn about where BC students interned previously.

Consider joining the student pre-law organizations at Boston College, the Bellarmine Law Society and the AHANA Pre-Law Student Association.

For more information about preparing for law school, see the American Bar Association’s pre-law page.

As you prepare to apply to law school, it’s important to learn as much as possible about different schools so you can target your applications most effectively. Here are some resources to help you identify which school is likely to be the best fit for you.

LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools
This tool  provides information on the approximately 200 ABA-accredited law schools, including faculty, library resources, enrollment, and links to each law school for bar passage percentages, placement data, 25th and 75th percentile LSAT scores and GPAs

The Part-Time Law Program Locator
This tool can help you assess the LSAT and GPA qualifications of students in part-time programs.

The NAPLA-SAPLA Book of Law School Lists (pdf)
Comprehensive listings of law school academic programs, areas of emphasis without graduate degrees, joint degree programs, schools that award non-need-based scholarships, and study abroad. Note: Last updated for 2017-2018.

The ABA Standard 509 Reports
These reports provide the most current and comprehensive data from the American Bar Association including LSAT score and GPA ranges for each school.

XploreJD by AccessLex
XploreJD is a free online search tool from AccessLex that uses a data-based approach to assist you in learning about law schools that meet your criteria, including location, cost, academic experience, and more.

Analytix by AccessLex
Analytix is a free tool from AccessLex that allows you to compare law school employment rates, bar passage rates, outcomes, costs, scholarships, and more.

Applying to Law School

Ready to apply to law school? Here are some steps to help you strengthen your application and get in to the best possible school.

The LSAT

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the standardized test of record to apply to law school. The LSAT is generally offered nine times per testing year (June-May). Students and alums applying to law school are encouraged to take the LSAT in the summer before the fall in which they apply. Please view the Law School Nuts & Bolts: The LSAT video for further information on preparing for the LSAT and the exam timeline.

There is no one way to study for the LSAT. There are a number of services and resources open to you, including BC Test Prep Courses, the Khan Academy, and the LSAC Official Test Prep.

Note that an increasing number of law schools, though not all, now accept the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in lieu of the LSAT. Click here for a list of law schools that accept the GRE.

The personal statement

Your law school personal statement needs to do two things: it needs to tell the law school something about you, and it needs to, in some way, answer the question “Why do you want to go to law school?” The statement should be roughly two pages long and should be clear, concise, and compelling.

Law schools will also ask for a series of supplemental statements, many of which are optional, including diversity and other statements. If you have something to say that adds to your application, we recommend writing a supplemental statement. For more information, please view the Law School Nuts & Bolts: Personal and Supplemental Statements video and view the How to Write a Personal Statement section below.

Letters of recommendation

Most law schools ask for two recommendations from people who recognize your strengths and understand your goals. Make an appointment to meet with your recommenders, and bring copies of your resume and/or work that you have done in their classes. Let them know why you are asking them to write for you and where you are applying, and review the points you would like them to cover. Also, make sure they know your timeline for completing your application, and give them plenty of time to meet your deadlines.

Resume

While the resume doesn’t take the place of the application form, it gives you the opportunity to highlight specific details and experience. Include a section on related coursework and research papers. For most law schools, you don’t have to restrict your resume to a single page.

Character and fitness questions

Some schools my require a Dean’s Recommendation or Dean’s Clearance of your academic and disciplinary standing. However, most will ask you to the answer questions about your academic and disciplinary standing yourself, in the Character and Fitness section of your application. Applicants must follow strict guidelines for candor and could jeopardize their applications if the standards are not met. See Full Disclosure on Disciplinary Issues below for details.

A&S students and alumni may submit the forms to the Office of Student Services, Lyons Hall 103 or via fax to (617) 552-4975. Carroll School of Management students submit forms to the Associate Dean. Questions? Send an email to studentservices@bc.edu, call (617) 552-3300, or stop by the Office of Student Services in Lyons Hall.

Transcripts

BC students and alums who are applying to law school should request that their transcript be sent to the Law School Admissions Council in the Agora Portal. Click here for instructions.

Your transcript is an essential part of your Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report that is submitted with your application. Please allow at least several weeks for your transcript request to process.

Law school is a significant commitment of both your time and resources. Before applying, it is important that you understand how to finance your legal education. We encourage you to draw on the following resources as you consider applying and to connect with law schools of interest about scholarship opportunities.

  • Financing Law School
    Read this blog post for information on law school costs, financial resources, and more to get you started in the application process
  • LSAT and Application Fees
    There are a number of costs associated with the law school application process, including registering for the LSAT, purchasing the Credential Assembly Service (CAS), and paying individual law school reports and application fees. Learn about the costs here.
  • LSAC: Paying for Law School
    Take advantage of the Law School Admissions Council’s accessible resources on financial aid options, scholarships, student loan and debt resources, and more.
  • AccessLex: Financing Your Legal Education
    Draw on AccessLex’s range of resources and tools, including webinars and info sheets, to better understand how to finance law school and pursue your legal education.
  • Law School Scholarship Databank
    Access a comprehensive law school scholarship databank with updated links to hundreds of funding opportunities from external organizations.
  • Student Loan Calculator by AccessLex
    Use this calculator to clarify law school cost of attendance, especially if you are carrying student loans from your undergraduate institution, and to learn about loan options.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
    Applicants who will apply for federal loans to help pay for law school must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
    For students interested in careers in public interest law, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining balance of federal Direct Loans after ten years of payments. Learn more here.

Before you write, think expansively and plan deliberately

Consider the times in your life that most vividly reflect your character and personality, or that demonstrate your commitment and initiative.

Try “freewriting”—writing for a set amount of time without stopping and with no thought to grammar or spelling—to help you get started or generate new ideas.

Start by setting your style and structure

Write a working introduction just to get started. The introduction you actually use may be the last part of the essay that you write.

While the final essay should be about two pages long, early drafts will vary in length. Start by getting the main elements of the story you want to tell down on paper, then edit or expand the piece.

Avoid titles and epigraphs (quotations at the beginning of your essay), as they can be distracting.

Keep the focus on you

Show who you are by addressing these questions:

  • What have you learned from your experiences?
  • What do you want to learn more about (in general, not necessarily related to the law)?
  • What are you motivated to do next (again, generally—not in a specific area of law)?

The key elements of the story should be your own observations, thoughts, and feelings.

Use clear, concise language

The essay takes the place of an interview, so “talk” to the reader. While the essay should be lively and expressive, it is not an exercise in creative writing. It is an exercise in communication.

A statement is stronger with fewer adjectives and adverbs. Limit the use of metaphors and allegories, if you use them at all.

Use the active voice. (“The boy sailed the boat,” not “The boat was sailed by the boy.”) Give specific examples that support your assertions and your purpose.

Tell your story in your own voice

Write about something you like or something you know. Be willing to start over if your theme isn’t working out.

“Don’t teach, don’t preach, and don’t make a speech.” Your readers know what the law is and what lawyers do.

If you enjoy writing the piece, it will show and your audience will enjoy reading it.

Writing about the law

If the application does not require you to write specifically about the law, consider writing more broadly about your experiences and goals.

If there is a required question about becoming a lawyer, be specific and substantive in your reasons. You may want to become a lawyer because you enjoy the power of words, advocacy, or the role of a constructively engaged expert. You may want to become a lawyer because you have experienced what lawyers can do and you want to do that work.

If you choose to write about the law as part of your essay, consider incorporating your ideas into your concluding paragraph. Connect how this particular degree will help you reach your goals.

Spend some time, seek advice, and then take ownership

An essay that presents your ideas accurately and articulately will require several drafts.

Complete a first draft, set it aside for a while, and then review it. Ask yourself if the work presents a positive impression of someone who is proactive, resourceful, and resilient.

Edit the text for clarity, the paragraphs for strength and purpose, the structure for logic, and the completed essay for message and style.

Show your edited draft to a friend or two. Listen carefully to their reactions to see if they understood your meaning. Next, show your edited draft to an advisor.

When you consider revisions, the goal is to strengthen your own voice. In the end, this is your personal statement.

Finally, proofread the essay. Check syntax, grammar, and spelling carefully. Do not rely on spell-check computer applications. Then let the law schools know what you are thinking: send it.

There are a number of resources to support students from underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in attending law school. We encourage you to draw on the resources below and to schedule a coaching appointment with the pre-law advisor to discuss your interests and what is available to you!

  • LSAC Diversity Resources
    Access the Law School Admissions Council’s (LSAC) range of resources available to students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • LSAC LGBTQ+ Resources
    LSAC includes various resources for LGBTQ+ students, including information on choosing LGBTQ+-friendly law schools and coming out on your application.
  • Applicants with Disabilities Resources
    Access this page to learn about resources for law school applicants with disabilities, including how to request accommodation on the LSAT. Applicants with disabilities are also encouraged to reach out to law schools of interests about offerings and accommodations.
  • Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Pre-Law Programs
    CLEO hosts a number of programs throughout the academic year and summer for underrepresented students that include application resources, mentorship opportunities, and more.
  • AccessLex Diversity Pipeline Program Directory
    Access this comprehensive directory of various pipeline programs focused on supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds to aid their successful entry into law school and the legal profession.
  • SEO Law
    SEO offers a range of programs to support aspiring law students from underrepresented backgrounds in the application process and allow incoming law students to gain experience in the legal field.
  • Pre-Law Summer Programs Database
    Each summer, a number of organizations and universities host programs that allow students to receive support with the law school application process, gain exposure to different legal fields, and receive mentoring from legal professionals. Check out our database to find opportunities of interest.
  • LSAC Fee Waivers
    For applicants who may be unable to pay the costs associated with applying to law school, including LSAC, CAS, and application fees, consider applying for fee waivers. Learn how to here.

Here are some resources to help you navigate the law school application process.

General Legal Resources

The American Bar Association and the Internet Legal Resource Guide are both excellent sources of legal information. Both also contain links to all accredited law schools in the United States. 

Additional Diversity Resources

The following organizations can provide insight, advice, and opportunities to candidates from underrepresented backgrounds applying to law school:

 

LSAC and law school admissions professionals expect you to acknowledge and explain any disciplinary penalties you have received during your years at Boston College.

Please visit the Office of Student Conduct website and click the button in the top right corner, “Request My Record,” to see what the Office will report. To learn more about the Office of Student Conduct’s record-keeping policy, please consult section 5.7.6 of the BC Student Guide. Remember, for law school applications, it is always your obligation to disclose all disciplinary infractions or incidents if you are asked to do so.

Generally, it is better to report all infractions--when in doubt, disclose. Failure to report honestly and openly can often be considered a much more serious offense than the original incident itself.

In reporting an offense, first read the question being asked carefully, as each law school will pose the question in a different way. Then, you should state the facts clearly, briefly and succinctly, take responsibility for the error in judgment, and indicate what you learned from it. Minor, common disciplinary issues like alcohol violations ordinarily will not be held against you, particularly if they are not repeated, and your willingness to own up to them may be perceived as an indication of strong character. 

For more serious violations, you may want to contact the Office of Student Conduct (studentconduct@bc.edu) and the pre-law advisor about preparing your explanation. If you have any doubt as to whether a disciplinary action must be reported, you should check with the pre-law advisor.

Acceptance Rates

  2018 2019 2020
National Pool      
Applicants 60,700 63,015 63,384
Admitted 44,000 44,239 44,115
Percentage 72.4% 70.1% 69.6%
       
All BC applicants      
Applicants
237 254 262
Admitted 209 220 219
Percentage 88.1% 86.1% 83.6%
       
BC seniors      
Applicants 65 53 64
Admitted 62 50 52
Percentage 95.4% 94.3% 81.3%
       
BC alumni (1–3 years after graduation)      
Applicants 96 139 120
Admitted 84 126 103
Percentage 87.5% 90.6% 85.8%
       
BC alumni (3 or more years after graduation)      
Applicants 75 58 75
Admitted 63 43 61
Percentage 84.0% 74.1% 81.3%

*This chart illustrates the percentage of BC and national applicants that were admitted into at least one law school.

Top 40 by total admits:

LAW SCHOOL 2017 2018 2019 2020 TOTAL
BOSTON COLLEGE LAW SCHOOL 82 66 68 69 285
NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW 34 44 37 42 157
FORDHAM UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW 40 29 36 38 143
BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW 40 30 30 31 131
SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL 28 33 28 36 125
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL 33 22 29 32 116
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER 26 25 31 25 107
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW 25 14 17 18 74
VILLANOVA UNIV CHARLES WIDGER SCHOOL OF LAW 19 15 21 8 63
BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL 17 12 11 20 60
BENJAMIN N CARDOZO SCHOOL OF LAW 14 14 12 16 56
WILLIAM AND MARY LAW SCHOOL 22 8 16 8 54
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW 14 9 12 18 53
ST JOHNS UNIV SCHOOL OF LAW 12 10 15 14 51
VANDERBILT LAW SCHOOL 12 16 13 8 49
EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW 15 11 12 7 45
DUKE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW 10 15 10 10 45
NEW ENGLAND LAW- BOSTON 10 14 9 12 45
UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SCHOOL OF LAW 8 8 16 12 44
SETON HALL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW 10 11 10 10 41
NOTRE DAME LAW SCHOOL 12 12 7 10 41
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SCHOOL OF LAW 9 7 13 9 38
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT LOS ANGELES 10 7 10 11 38
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LAW SCHOOL 11 7 8 11 37
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY 7 11 10 7 35
UCONN SCHOOL OF LAW 11 7 9 8 35
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY CHICAGO SCHOOL OF LAW 8 10 8 9 35
NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL 7 9 10 9 35
UNIV OF SOUTHERN CALIF LAW SCHOOL 12 5 8 9 34
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO LAW SCHOOL 8 10 9 6 33
NORTHWESTERN PRITZKER SCHOOL OF LAW 9 10 7 7 33
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW 11 6 8 8 33
LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL- LOYOLA MARYMOUNT U 6 9 8 10 33
CORNELL LAW SCHOOL 8 7 5 12 32
RUTGERS LAW SCHOOL 6 7 9 8 30
TULANE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL 11 3 9 5 28
WASHINGTON UNIV SCHOOL OF LAW 5 8 8 6 27
UNIV OF CALIF HASTINGS COLL OF THE LAW 7 10 5 4 26
WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW 10 7 7 1 25
HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY--MAURICE A. DEANE SOL 9 7 7 2 25
WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY 9 1 10 5 25
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW 12 4 4 3 23
UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE SCHOOL OF LAW 5 6 9 3 23
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA CAREY LAW SCHOOL 7 5 4 7 23
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY 8 3 8 3 22
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY 9 5 3 4 21
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL 6 5 7 1 19
GEORGE MASON U, ANTONIN SCALIA LAW SCHOOL 5 4 8 2 19
From the Career Center Blog