Admission demands for law school many

By Vickie Snow

The law profession is difficult to break into, and when one considers the large amount of students interested in the field, preparation for law school admission is essential in getting a head start.

Requirements to enter the college of law include an application, two letters of recommendation and a personal statement (which indicates past employment, community service, and one’s plans after receiving a law degree), said Judith Malen, admissions and financial aid director for the college of law.

Passing the Law School Admissions Test is also required. The LSAT is “not a test to be taken lightly,” Malen said.

“Students must get prepared well in advance,” she added. Study guides, sample tests, and preparation courses are available to provide the student with an idea of what to expect on the exam.

Not knowing the type of questions that will appear on the test will result in “wasting your time trying to understand them (the questions) when you can be answering them,” Malen said.

The Law School Data Assembly Service provides the applicant’s scores and writing samples to the college of law.

From transcripts, the LSDAS also reports the students’ grade point average to the college of law. Since other colleges might apply different point systems, LSDAS ensures the GPAs are “calculated on the same basis,” Malen said.

If a student performs well on these requirements, he still faces “a competitive environment with limited spaces,” Associate Dean of the college of law David Gaebler said. “Not everyone gains admission.”

“Forty four percent of the applicants were rejected this fall,” Malen said. “But applicants are up from previous years, meaning larger classes.”

“We have a very strong enrollment, more than we expected,” Gaebler said.

Since a higher yield of students gaining admission produces larger classes, additional teachers might be a future issue. “We are trying to maintain a good student/faculty ratio,” Malen said.

Recruiting students is another element of the college of law’s agenda. “Our program is aggressive, particularly in recruiting minorities,” Malen said.

Trips to states such as Iowa, New York, Atlanta, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan are made for law school forums. These are coordinated by the Law School Admissions Council, which also administers the LSAT.

Since most of NIU’s college of law students come from the Midwest, these states are the focus of the forums. Applicants are generally from Illinois, but have been “from as far away as Alaska,” Malen said.

The Chicago Forum, Oct. 20 and 21, will be held at the Palmer House in Chicago.

An Open House for 1990 applicants will be Nov. 2 at the college of law.