There are benefits to choosing a college while thinking about law school. While GPA, extracurriculars, and LSAT scores matter a great deal when gaining acceptance to law school, earning your undergraduate degree at a particular school can go a long way as well, for a number of reasons.
If you’re having difficulty deciding where to apply to college, or narrowing down your list of colleges to apply to, then choosing a college while thinking about law school may serve you well.
Prestige of the college
While prestige isn’t everything, it can count for a lot, especially when it comes to applying to law school in the future. Law schools, first of all, associate prestige with a tough environment. This gives the impression that you will be able to withstand the difficulties of law school.
You are not required to attend an Ivy League college in order to gain acceptance to a top-tier law school though, as this list of admitted Harvard Law students suggests. However, it’s worth doing research to see which schools consistently help students get into top law schools.
You’ll also want to know how many students at a top law school came from a particular undergraduate institution. For example, looking at the list of accepted Harvard Law students, perhaps five came from the University of Michigan, while only one came from Saint Olaf College. In other words, while it may be possible to gain acceptance to Harvard with a degree from any college, your odds may increase by coming from a particular institution.
Recommendations and networking
Recommendations for law school also matter a great deal, and having a connection to a certain law school can go a long way. It may be worthwhile to look for undergraduate institutions with renowned and well-connected professors. After all, these professors could vouch for you when it comes time to apply to law school. If a professor has worked at a certain law school or graduated from there, for example, they may have some pull come law school admissions time.
How successful you can be
Ultimately, a more prestigious school won’t count for much if you can’t keep up your GPA. You’ll want a school that has the right balance of prestige and academic challenges. This also matters if you’re applying to an undergraduate college in hopes of attending that institution’s law school afterwards. Law schools certainly leave room for admittance of their own undergraduate students, but these spots are usually offered to the top performing undergraduates. You may be better off being at the top of your class at a less prestigious school than the middle of your class at the most prestigious.
While law school is a wonderful goal for many students, it’s more important in the long run to attend a school where you’ll find success and learn a lot. If your heart is set on eventually attending law school, you may benefit from choosing a college while thinking about law school in the future. Know though that a number of factors will matter more for acceptance into law school than where you go to college, such as your LSAT score and your GPA. But if you’re having difficulty narrowing down your selection of schools to apply to as an undergraduate, thinking ahead could help you out.