Taking the LSAT
The LSAT is the single most important part of your law school application, since it measures your aptitude for legal thinking, not how well you have done in past courses. It is the accepted yardstick for law school applicants, and is trusted more than the grades an applicant achieves while an undergraduate. Many Touro students wait until after they graduate to take the LSAT, but this is unnecessary. The LSAT is an aptitude test, so having completed your undergraduate studies will not necessarily raise your score.
Even if you regularly ace standardized tests, you should strongly consider studying for the LSAT over the summer before your last year of college, and take it in early October. Most prospective students take an LSAT prep course, which usually lasts 2-3 months, and it is important to be able to devote 20 hours a week to such courses. Other test times (February, June and December) are less desirable because LSAT studies are more likely to conflict with your coursework. Also, taking the October exam gives you enough time to re-take the test if necessary and still apply to law school for the following year. If you have a bad day when you first take the LSAT in December, you will likely have to wait another year if your goal is to attend a highly-ranked law school. Scores for the February LSAT are not available until early March, by which time admissions decisions have been made at most top law schools.
Performing well on the LSAT is critical to getting into a good law school. The exam is scored on a scale of 120-180, and the median is about 151. However, admission to a “top 10” law school usually requires a score of 170+, which falls among the top 2.5% of test-takers. Mid-level law schools usually look for 156+, which means roughly the top third of all test-takers. If your score is lower, the likelihood that you will get into a good law school is limited. If you attend a lower-ranked law school, be aware that the pressure on you to excel in your law school classes will be significantly greater, as many major law firms will not offer interviews to those outside of the top 10% of students at such schools. Smaller firms and government employers are more willing to consider these students for employment. But still, attending a less highly-ranked law school carries with it a real possibility that you will not find a legal job, despite three years of expensive legal education. If you are scoring in the 140s you should think twice about whether you want to gamble $135,000+ on studying law.