One Piece of Advice Prelaw Students Should Always Follow

Friday 10/21/2016
Polish your writing skills.

Of all the words of wisdom you receive during your prelaw studies from everyone including your trusted teachers and your parents—such as join a study group, sleep well, take your vitamins—there’s one tip we at Syracuse Law wholeheartedly stand by…

Polish your writing skills.

A recent study that crunched data from the Law School Admissions Council examined which law school applicants had the highest GPAs and LSAT scores of 2013, and the answer was (drumroll…): classics majors. And according to the same survey, philosophy majors have the best chance of getting into law school. It couldn’t conclusively say why those were the results, but preLaw magazine interviewed several people who offered a few possible reasons, one of which argued that studying classics demands analytical thinking, making good lawyers.

Our take? These students had to learn to read meticulously and write flawlessly. They likely wrote paper after paper, perfecting their writing skills a little bit more every time. Well, that’s one possible reason…but we will say this: regardless of what major you choose or chose in college, learn to write well. Our Admissions team pays extremely close attention to the written components of every application, because impeccable writing skills are invaluable in both law school and all legal careers.

If you’re reading this fresh out of college, however, and feel like you could brush up on your writing skills, the good news is you don’t need to go out and read The Odyssey (unless you’d like to). Just follow these tips. 
 Outstanding writing skills aside, take a look at what else we look for in applications.

  • Proofread everything out loud. This is the tried and true method for ferreting out where sentences don’t make sense, or if words have been accidently omitted entirely.
  • Don’t rely on spellcheck, because it’s an imperfect tool. When you’re not sure of a spelling, check it against a reputable source.
  • Ask someone else to proofread your work. Promise them you won’t take any critiques personally; they’ll help make you a stronger writer.
  • Practice makes perfect. See if your local college offers an open writing class that you can participate in, or find out if there are any writing clubs in your town. Practicing can never steer you wrong.
  • Remember your audience. While it’s more commonplace these days to write with a more casual tone online (in blog posts, for instance), that doesn’t give you carte blanche to make official papers sound colloquial. Keep in mind your audience and what you’re writing about, be authentic, and keep it formal.
  • Go ahead and take those vitamins, and try to get plenty of sleep. At the end of day, those tips can really only help your writing, if you think about it.