Preparing for Law School

Any course that requires extensive reading and writing will be helpful to your preparation. Law school admissions officers do not care whether you know anything about the law. They want to know three things about you: whether you can read, write and think well. If you can do these three things well, they assume they can teach you the law.

A good liberal arts education will help prepare you. Some law schools offer “pre-law-school camp,” so you might go online to seek them out if you are interested.


It does not matter what your major is. But whatever you do, please do not choose a course or a major because you think it will carry you along a practical road to some practical future. Use your undergraduate years to take courses in areas you may never have an opportunity to be exposed to again. Take advantage of it while you can. This means you should choose a major that suits your interests. Law school admissions committees are interested in students who are broadly educated in fields of their choice. This includes not only the social sciences (the once traditional road to law school), but also the humanities, and even the biological and physical sciences. Physical or artistic skill-oriented majors gain less favor because they require less reading, writing and critical analysis.

Towson University’s curriculum sets you up well for a liberal arts education. Your course of study ought to parallel the following:

  • The Core Curriculum, specifically designed to introduce students to broad areas of learning in many disciplines, including the Towson Seminars
  • Your major, the area that most interests you
  • A minor, if you choose to have one, but it is not necessary
  • A variety of other rigorous courses to round out your undergraduate years and to allow you to explore areas you may never have another opportunity to investigate again. 

Avoid taking more than one or two courses with a Pass/Fail option. Admissions committees sometimes regard these as an indication of laziness, and the Credential Assembly Service (CSA) will eliminate them when it computes your standardized GPA.

Consider the Law and American Civilization program at Towson. It is an interdisciplinary major requiring 54 credits in several interests. See the undergraduate catalog and talk with the program director for more information.

Towson's Law-related Courses

Specific courses in the law are offered by a number of departments at Towson. Take them only if they interest you. Do not take them because you think they will help you get into law school or because you believe they may teach you what you will later learn in law school. They really do neither of these. Courses here are, as they should be, designed to give students a sound footing in a liberal undergraduate education. This list is not complete because courses are always being added.

  • Introduction to Law: Political Science (POSC 209)
  • Constitutional Law and Politics: Political Science (POSC 418) • Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: Political Science (POSC 419)
  • Constitutional Protections: Personal Liberty and the Rights of the Accused: Political Science (POSC 420)
  • The Supreme Court: Political Science (POSC 422)
  • International Law: Political Science (POSC 447)
  • Legal Theory: Political Science (PSOC 425)
  • The Judicial System: Political Science (POSC 384)
  • Seminar in Law and the Judicial System: Political Science (POSC 484)
  • The Development of the U.S. Constitution, 1787-1941: History (HIST 427)
  • The Bill of Rights and the Constitution and Civil Liberties: History (HIST 428)
  • The Philosophy of Law: Philosophy (PHIL 321)
  • Business Law: Legal Studies (LEGL 225
  • Legal Environment of Business: Legal Studies (LEGL 226)
  • Sports Law: Legal Studies (LEGL 325)
  • Elder Law: Legal Studies (LEGL 326)
  • Cyber Law: Legal Studies (LEGL 328)
  • Delinquency and Juvenile Justice: Sociology/Criminal Justice (SOCI 355)
  • Theories of Crime: Sociology/Criminal Justice (SOCI 353)
  • Sociology of Law: Sociology (SOCI 383)
  • Introduction to Criminal Justice: Criminal Justice (CRMJ 254)
  • Community Corrections: Criminal Justice (CRMJ 352)
  • Race and Crime: Criminal Justice (CRMJ 345)
  • Women and Crime: Criminal Justice (CRMJ 348)
  • Criminal Law: Criminal Justice (CRMH 384)
  • Family Law: Family Studies (FMST 380)
  • Persuasion: Communication Studies (COMM 304)
  • Advanced Public Speaking: Communication Studies (COMM 303)
  • Advocacy and Argument: Communication Studies (COMM 331)
  • Communication in the Legal Process: Communication Studies (COMM 420)
  • Media Law: Mass Communication (MCOM 350)
  • Speech and Debate Program, I-IV: Communication Studies (COMM 249-250)
  • Logic: Philosophy (again for preparation for the LSAT) (PHIL 111)

The Law School Admission Test

Every student applying to a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) must take the Law School Admission Test, also known as the LSAT. Some schools do not require it, but beware that they are not accredited, so you could run into trouble taking the bar exam. The LSAT is recognized by all admissions committees as the best means to screen candidates applying to their schools. The score you achieve on the LSAT, along with your grades (your GPA), will generally determine whether you will go to law school and which one it will be. The LSAT is more important than your GPA, but most law schools combine the two in a weighted system that helps them determine who the best candidates are.

You will find most of the information you will need about the test at the Law School Admissions Council website. The site also contains information on the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) in which all applicants participate, the letters of recommendation service, financing a law school education, etc. LSAC sells actual previously administered tests along with a scoring guide.

There are deadlines to sign up for the LSAT. You’ll find them on the site.

LSAC will also make arrangements for special accommodations for those unable to take the test on Saturdays or those who need extra time or assistance.

The LSAC also provides The ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, which contains information on all the ABA-affiliated law schools, such as median LSAT scores and GPAs, costs, specializations and more. You’ll also find links to all 200+ ABA-accredited law schools, giving you access to their application forms (click on Law Schools Links). You can view all the law schools on the State Map.

The Credential Assembly Service (CAS)

The CAS is basically the service that helps law schools determine their weighted system for evaluating candidates based on their LSAT and GPA. You subscribe to the CAS when you file your application. The fee for the subscription is double the application fee.

Ask to see a copy of your undergraduate college transcript(s) (all of them, from every undergraduate or community college you have attended) before you ask the registrar to send it to the CAS so that you can make sure there are no mistakes. Then, update it every semester as you complete your additional courses. The CAS will calculate the new results immediately and send them to the law schools to which you have applied.

The Purpose of the LSAT

The LSAT is neither an achievement nor an aptitude test. It examines how you think, problem solve, analyze and apply logic. However, it is difficult to score highly without preparation, so start getting ready well in advance, with the understanding that prep courses only offer a blueprint; you have to drill yourself on the questions so you can get used to the way they’re asked and how to respond.

According to LSAC, the LSAT is designed to indicate to admissions committees how well you will transition from college to law school. Unfortunately, they don’t specify how they make those assessments. For this reason, the test is frequently revised, but independent studies have shown a high correlation between high LSAT scores and a successful first semester in law school.

The writing sample portion of the test is sent to schools that require it for their screening, but is not included in your LSAT score. There is also a section of questions the test writers are auditioning. That section isn’t graded, either.

The test is scored on the basis of 120 to 180 points. Many of Towson University’s prelaw students score in the low to mid 150s, though some Towson students score in the high 160s, while others score in the low 140s. Several of our students have achieved a near perfect score. Overall, between 55 and 75 percent of our prelaw students are accepted to law school.

The LSAT is administered five times a year: June, early September, mid-November, the end of January, the end of March.  Prospective law students are encouraged to take either the test in June, September, or November before or during the fall of their senior year.  Students at Towson may take the test on campus during those months.  

When you apply for test admission, be sure to:

  • Have your scores sent to the Towson University prelaw adviser.
  • Specify Towson University as the location you wish to take the test, if that is your choice.
  • Send in your registration materials and fee to LSAC at least one month in advance to avoid a late fee.

You may take the test as many times as you would like, but LSAC will average the scores of your tests unless you have clear and convincing evidence that a score was invalid. Each individual score will be included in your report, in addition to the average. Most law school admissions committees look at the highest score. If you feel you’ve performed so poorly that it will drag down your average, you may cancel scoring on your test within the time period indicated on the LSAC website. Note: they will not grade that test, so you will not know your score. Studies show that re-taking the test rarely significantly increases your score.

Preparing for the LSAT

You should follow these steps.

  1. Take a course in introductory logic. There is no specific curriculum or major that will prepare you for the LSAT, but many experts suggest that the course may be useful, especially on the analytical and logical reasoning sections.
  2. Read lots of different things, and as much as possible, to enhance your vocabulary and train you to think critically, logically and analytically. .
  3. Buy and use LSAT prep books. You can find them online or at bookstores. Do the examples over and over again, even the same book and the same questions. One of the best ways to achieve a high score is simply to become used to answering the kinds of questions the LSAT asks. At high-powered schools (Johns Hopkins, Harvard, or Princeton, for example), students work on these books two hours a day, six days a week, six months in advance of the test. These students are your competitors.
  4. Buy a few or all of the disclosed (previously administered) tests mentioned above. You may be able to download them to your own computer, tablet, or device from the LSAC website.
  5. In addition to the above steps, consider taking a preparatory course at one of the local colleges or universities, such as the Test Prep at UMBC, a few weeks before the test. These courses currently cost about $625 for four sessions, which are about three hours each. Commercial courses, which cost $1,400 or more, run about eight sessions, four hours each. Your prelaw adviser can give you the names and contact information.

Registering for the LSAT and CAS

You will find all the information you will need to register for the LSAT and CAS on the LSAC website. See the online guide, “Thinking About Law School” and the resources you will find there. Note that LSAC has a fee waiver program for applicants who are unable to pay the fees for the LSAT and CAS.