Breaking Through: My Journey to Law School
Hi everyone, hope all has been well. As I recently prepared for my last mid-term exam, I found myself reflecting on how I got here. I was the first in my family to apply to law school, so my journey to law school is unique as I know many of yours will be as well. In order to help you to get the picture here’s a short version:
I woke up one day, decided I wanted to go to law school, and here I am.
Okay so maybe that’s too short, but honestly from age 8 I remember having the desire to be a lawyer. Life events perpetuated that desire and the goal was always in the back of my mind. As I continued through school, I saw it becoming a more realistic possibility. However, it wasn’t until I went to Howard University, that I had the opportunity to get exposure to actual law schools. This is where my process into law school admissions and Loyola started.
Law School Fairs
In 2015 I attended the Washington D.C. Law School Fair*. This event had over 100 law schools from all over the nation offering up information, advice, and application fee waivers** (life savers). It was a lot to take in, but a GREAT opportunity to ask any questions about a specific law school or the application process in general. I knew you needed to take the LSAT to gain admission to law school and essentially not too much more. This experience changed that and opened my eyes to how much work this was going to be. The next step was taking the LSAT.
*check out Loyola’s recruitment calendar to see if we will be at a law fair near you
** Loyola has no application fee for ALL applicants, automatically
Honestly, It is all a blur. The end.
Just know that there are VARIOUS methods of study you can utilize and several programs you can enroll in. Prices vary, as do techniques. At the end of the day, I believe, the LSAT is a test you can learn how to master but YOU WILL ONLY GET OUT OF IT WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT. Essentially it comes down to exploring what the best option for you could be.
More Law School Fairs
Back in California and losing my mind, I attended the 2016 West Coast Consortium’s (WCC) Los Angeles Law Fair. I once again was able to question over 50 schools about different aspects about my application packet. I had taken my first LSAT and had that number in hand to help me gauge schools interest levels. That day I received countless cards and subsequent follow up regarding my application to a variety of law schools. It was a nice feeling.
My Law School Packet
When applying to law school you compile application materials (which generally consists of a personal statement, resumé, letters of recommendation, LSAT score(s), and addenda if you need it) that will essentially be a representation of who you are to law schools you apply to nationwide. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) collects this information as part of the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). It’s important that you TAKE CARE when crafting this masterpiece, it’s not something that should be taken lightly but something you should spend a good amount of time on to best represent who you are aside from the numbers. I wouldn’t have been able to finish mine personally if it wasn’t for the village that made it a point to help me along in this process.
I think I actually cried during my first application, I’m not sure if it was emotion or because of how long each application took to complete. The application process completed through LSAC is simple enough to understand, just make sure you pace yourself and have ample time to submit your applications well ahead of the deadlines.
Waiting is the Hardest Part
Waiting is horrible… I suggest you find something to preoccupy your time. Bookmarking admissions website pages and consistently refreshing your email is not the way to go. Some suggestions would be volunteering, working or reading books on ways to prepare for law school.
In the end you have to decide which school is the best fit for you, go on school visits, tour the campus, and sit in a class (each of these opportunities are available to prospective students who visit Loyola). Your visit will help you determine what you want from your law school experience. Remember you’re laying the foundation for your career and life so take control of your destiny.
I know personally I found it important to ask for help, I’m the first in my immediate family to graduate college and apply to law school so this process was COMPLETELY foreign to me. When your community is strong, though, you find people willing to help come from all different avenues. You will find if you are willing to ask questions, you will find people who are more than willing to answer them. Take your time, don’t rush your LSAT or any part of your application. Find where you want to be. Maximize your opportunities. Once you commit go all in.
Khalil Watson is a 1L at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He is blogging about the journey of his first year of law school. To search all posts written by him search the Khalil category on the right hand side. Questions for Khalil? Email email@example.com with the subject “Ask Khalil” and he will make sure to answer them in a future post.