First/Second Year

Checklist for First and Second Year Students

  • Enroll in our Pre-law Canvas page and read through all of the resources on this page.
  • Attend pre-law workshops and events each semester. Also, make sure to attend a group advising session during your first semester.  Note: Even if you are not planning to apply to the presenting school, it is important to take advantage of these events and workshops as all law schools have similar admissions criteria.
  • Select a major that you enjoy and not one that you think will look good for law schools.
  • Begin researching the various careers in law through the internet, interviewing and shadowing attorneys, visiting law schools, and through workshops. The most common career pathway upon graduation is working for a private practice law firm. Judicial clerkships, government employment, business/corporate positions, and public interest legal employment are also quite common. 
  • Begin researching law schools online. LSAC’s "Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools" is a recommended research portal. 
  • Work with your advisor to formulate a well-rounded academic portfolio.  For example, if you are considering environmental law, adding a minor in environmental policy may be appropriate.
  • Get involved! Join student organizations, study abroad, do research with faculty, and/or volunteer in your community. You should get involved in leadership activities and organizations that you are interested in and not necessarily just law related organizations.
  • Take some of the recommended pre-law courses that are also USF Gen Ed courses. Please see our “Pre-law Electives” section for more information. Make sure to review this list with your primary major advisor before enrolling!
  • Take advantage of campus learning resources like the Writing Studio to improve your writing skills.
  • Build a strong GPA!  Remember that each class grade will impact your GPA, and law schools will ultimately make admission decisions based on your cumulative college GPA.  It is much easier to keep a strong GPA than to improve a low GPA.
  • Begin to research how you will pay for law school. That way, you have plenty of time to plan and save. Check out our Financing Law School section for more information.

General Tips for all Students

Law schools are greatly concerned with your LSAT score and GPA. Therefore: 

  • Begin preparation for the LSAT in a timely manner.
  • Take challenging classes in your major as well as general electives, and focus on developing these skills vital for the LSAT and law school: critical thinking, research, analysis, writing, presentation and persuasion skills. See each class assignment as an opportunity to hone your skills and move one step closer to you goal: academic achievement and entrance into the law school of your choice!
  • Develop connections with your professors by visiting them during office hours, participating in class, and producing excellent academic work. This will build a collection of professors whom can write you letters of recommendation.
  • Confer with your major academic advisor to discuss ways to build law school prep courses into your graduation plan.
  • Check our pre-law Canvas page for upcoming workshops, lectures, and other related events, as well as internship and scholarship opportunities.