Setting Realistic Expectations for Students Considering Law School

The process of getting into law school and becoming a lawyer is very difficult. Despite this, you likely have many students you encounter who are motivated to pursue this educational path.

While it’s never your role to dampen the ambitions of your students, it is important that you help them develop realistic expectations about what it will take for them to achieve their educational and career-related goals.

When it comes to helping students understand the path to law school, helping temper expectations can sometimes be tricky. Fortunately, being exposed to some key points can simplify this process.

Here’s an exploration of the process of setting realistic expectations for students considering law school.

Helping Students Understand the Main Factors That Will Help Them Get Into Law School

Law schools and programs are some of the most difficult for students to get into. For one, they typically have extremely high standards. On top of this, students from across the country put significant amounts of time and effort into turning themselves into impressive candidates, meaning that admissions become even more competitive.

However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for your students to get into a great law program. Rather, it just means that they’ll have to put a substantial amount of energy into making themselves into attractive candidates.

Some key factors that will determine students’ ability to get into law school include:

  • Grades: Given the competitive nature of law schools, grades play a key role in helping students get into great programs. This being the case, students need to understand that their high school and undergraduate program grades will have to be top-notch if they want to be considered for the nation’s best law programs.
  • LSAT scores: The Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, is a test that all law students must take before attending law school. School admissions teams use these scores to determine if students are a good fit for their programs. This being the case, students intent on becoming lawyers will need to study heavily for this test and engage in different LSAT prep practices.
  • Extracurriculars: On top of having amazing grades and an impressive LSAT score, students can bolster their chances of gaining admission to a great law program by having a variety of extracurricular achievements on their resume. This can include anything from having engaged in volunteer law services centered around criminal justice reform to winning spelling bee awards. These types of accomplishments help school admissions teams recognize students’ talents, work ethic, drive, and personality.

While these factors may seem overwhelming to students, they’re capable of checking all of these boxes by being mindful about their time and energy throughout their high school and college careers.

Helping Students Create a Plan

The truth is that not all students thinking about becoming lawyers will be ready to commit their time and energy into making themselves attractive law school candidates. Despite this, you’ll surely encounter many students who are ready to put themselves out there and put in the work.

For these students, it can be incredibly beneficial to help them map out a plan and schedule their time accordingly. To do this effectively, it can be helpful to help them craft their plans by reverse engineering from their goals.

For example, students will likely want to graduate from high school and their undergraduate programs with great grades, a good LSAT score, and a list of extracurricular achievements. By solidifying these goals and gaining clarity about what they are, it will become easier to map out a student game plan.

In the case of extracurriculars, having specific achievements in mind is key. For example, winning a certain award will take hours of time and effort, which students can now start working into their schedules.

Ultimately, these plans will make gaining admittance into great law programs more attainable for students. However, seeing a tangible schedule of what it takes will also dissuade some students from wanting to pursue careers as lawyers.

In the end, this will be beneficial for both types of students. On the one hand, those with the drive and motivation to become lawyers will have a clearer understanding of what they need to do in order to reach their goals. Conversely, students who become aware that a legal profession isn’t for them will have more time to pivot and start thinking about other career paths.

Counselors Can Play a Key Role in Helping Students Become Lawyers

While you may encounter a variety of students excited about pursuing a career in law, not all of them may realize how difficult this process can be. As a counselor, this gives you an opportunity to pull back the veil and show students how much work this type of goal requires. Ultimately, those ready to put in the work will benefit from your guidance and you can truly have an amazing impact on the lives of your students.