Do pre-law students always give the most accurate advice? No. However, we can’t overlook that some of the best advice for pre-law students often comes from current pre-laws and recent graduates. As you currently walk down this challenging academic path, you should first listen to the people whose job is to help students get in to law school (such as pre-law advisors, whether those at your school or those at other schools, such as Stanford). However, some of the best insights come from pre-law peers. And where is the greatest mass of opinions of this sort (good and bad)? Reddit.
This is why the Law School Admissions Reddit (/r/lawschooladmissions) is so popular; it’s made up of real students sharing stories and advice. Like with most social media platforms, the problem is that a lot of what is said there are memes, venting sessions, and dismal rants. How can you sift through for the most useful information without wasting time (or worse, becoming unnecessarily discouraged)? We thought we’d help our pre-law students (and any pre-law student) by skimming this forum and identifying some of the most worthwhile pieces of it. Our hope is that the time you spend reading this article will give you some of the Reddit insights without the less valuable elements.
Reddit is a social news aggregation and discussion platform with millions of users and hundreds of thousands of channels dedicated to sharing news and stories about specific topics, professions, and experiences.
You may be wondering how Reddit differs from your average social media outlet, and the answer is simple…every channel is populated by people. Real users share links, videos, and stories to the larger community (as long as it’s aligned with the rules and guidelines of the channel). Then, other users can vote posts up or down depending on their validity, relevance, and, oftentimes, humor. Much of the content on Reddit is light and humorous, but specialty channels dedicated to unique topics can be full of insight and professional advice that can apply to your life, education, and career.
As you most likely already know, /r/lawschooladmissions is one such channel where past, present, and hopeful pre-law students share advice. You may already be one of the 115 thousand members engaging with posts daily. But if you’re not familiar with the channel, you will find posts ranging from law-specific memes, sharing acceptance news, and, most importantly for our purpose, advice that can help pre-laws navigate their journey through undergraduate school and admissions into law school.
Today, we are going to explore some of the most popular and relevant posts on /r/lawschooladmissions that may help current and future pre-law students. Though we acknowledge that there are also many issues with Reddit channels in general, now is the time to highlight many of the authentic posts you can find there.
GPA Isn’t Everything: Remember Your Soft Skills
One post with a lot of engagement on /r/lawschooladmissions is from a user explaining their experience as a pre-law student and their advice for other students in their situation. The entire post is full of important information, but what stands out is the importance of honing soft skills.
“Realize your GPA/LSAT are just numbers and ultimately, don't capture the full scope of your individuality, intelligence, and brilliance as people and human beings,” they said. “Take every piece of your application seriously. Make every word of your personal statement count. If there's an option for an optional statement/diversity essay, do it.” While GPA and test scores are no doubt important, they are only one facet of your law school application and you should not overlook the importance of your soft skills and unique experiences that can make yours stand out.
The same Redditor recommends that pre-laws “Pursue a variety of experiences that allow you to grow as a person. It'll make it much easier to write these statements and essays when your time comes.” While this story comes from a pre-law student who admittedly had a “comparatively weak” LSAT, others on the channel also voiced similar experiences (LSAT scores aside).
One way to gain personal and law experience as an undergrad is to study abroad. And although our programs here at the Lex Fellowship are only one way to do pre-law study abroad, we can speak of the value of study abroad in general. A PhD-authored study in 2019 found that 81% of Lex study abroad alumni agreed they had progressed on one or more of the ABA core competencies in the short month during which they studied abroad in the summer of 2019.
Begin Your Commitment to Law School Early
As a pre-law student, your 1L grades will be a major indicator of your career success after law school. That’s why it’s important to set yourself up for the legal career you want by investing in your future early. This sentiment is exemplified in another popular /r/lawschooladmissions post that provides comprehensive advice for future and current pre-law students.
“Get fast at typing,” they wrote. “Exams are timed, and they are typed. If you are a slow typer, then, all else equal, you are at a disadvantage in law school. Typed exams are practically the entire grade of courses.” Along with this practical advice, the Redditor also recommends that pre-law students hone their writing skills and begin to study for the LSAT well in advance - even before they begin their 1L education.
They also emphasize the importance of creating outlines and consolidating notes to help take exams. “Outlines need to be finished early so that preparation for exams can begin,” they explained. “Knowing the material is one thing, but spotting issues and correctly analyzing them in writing is an entirely different beast.” Essentially, having a high-school mindset will not be beneficial for pre-law students. Rather than wait until you have time to get ahead, you must make time to consolidate your notes and prepare for tests.
Of course, it can still be difficult for pre-law students to grasp this concept without having more hands-on law experience. Being a lawyer is all about applying the law, time management, and organizational skills to real-life situations. One example of how our programs here at the Lex Fellowship helps pre-law students gain this experience is through weekly moot court sessions.
Be Flexible With Your Applications?
Applying to law school is the goal for the majority of pre-law students, but what happens when you receive multiple acceptances? One popular post on the channel encourages pre-law students to be flexible with their planning. “Keep your admit spot as long as you want,” they wrote. “Because you never know how your personal circumstances might change and affect your ultimate decision.”
When acceptance, rejection, and waitlist letters go out to everyone, it can be a very emotional time. While many pre-law students rejoice in their acceptance into law school, many are placed on waitlists or rejected.
Read more on the post and make up your own view on this delicate subject. That said, keep in mind the ethics of these decisions. Regardless of Reddit advice, ask yourself how you will feel years from now as you consider how you approach law school waitlists and spots. Start your legal career the right way by making decisions you’re proud of.
Keep Your Personal Statement Personal
Finally, we can’t overlook a relevant /r/lawschooladmissions post about writing your personal statement for law school. The Redditor explained that writing a personal statement is something many pre-law students may struggle with, either because they don’t know what to write about or they have too many ideas.
“Write down your life story, even if just in bullet points,” they advised. “Or, identify the ‘inflection points’ of your life when things changed significantly or you were impacted by an event, experience, or action you took.” Another angle to take is to, “Think about (and write down) why you're going to law school, and what you want your career to look like (neither of these need to show up in a personal statement, however).”
While these are good starting points, it’s important to condense this information into the traits, attributes, and experiences that you want the admissions committee to know about you. “Is there something that you feel like you have to write about because it doesn't show up elsewhere on your app and is a huge part of who you are?” they wrote, this should be included in your personal statement.
Reddit is home to millions of fun posts and jokes pre-laws will find entertaining, but among the fluff, there are also plenty of valuable insights from pre-law students themselves. As always, it’s important to remember that all stories and advice from Reddit are based on personal experience, but the common themes and relevant posts can still be beneficial for pre-law students on their path to law school. We recommend that pre-law students make the most of Reddit without letting it bring its natural downsides: distraction and (in some cases) the negative attitude that some of its segments bring.
About The Lex Fellowship
College Study Abroad doesn’t have to be on a topic irrelevant to pre-law. Lex is the only program truly tailored to pre-law; in Lex’s “360 Law Immersion” model, you rotate to different law firms each day and get hands-on experience with diverse cases, fields, and lawyers, guided by someone from a U.S. JD background. This lets you (1) study abroad in a single or multi-country program, (2) understand the life of a lawyer across legal fields so you can make the most of law school (and confirm you want to go), and (3) stand out in law school applications with a condensed, unique experience (that can also replace common extracurriculars, letting you focus on GPA back at home).