A Quora reader recently asked whether college freshmen should begin studying for the LSAT. I admire the ambition of these students, yet there is a question of whether they are placing the cart before the horse.
The real question is whether these students should be preparing for law school in the first place. For college students, freshman year is a time to experiment and pursue courses and hobbies that interest them. Sure, law school could be a potential option. But these students should consider other career choices that intersect with their passions. Their youth is a tremendous advantage in that they can explore other options before committing to the law school path.
Certain college freshmen may argue that they just want to take the LSAT to see how they’ll do. However, it’s very easy to jump onto the law school path and difficult to jump off. Inertia is a powerful force and the process becomes more exciting as they apply to schools. But as they’re completing these steps, they have to go out of their way to take a step back and really think about whether law school is right for them, considering the costs of attendance and opportunity costs. Many prospective law students fail to do this.
If these students are interested in pursuing law school, I would recommend finding an internship at a firm or government office before they begin preparing for the LSAT. After observing the day-to-day life of these attorneys, they may find that they ultimately don’t want to go to law school, which will save them the time and stress of preparing for the LSAT. But if they still want to attend after having worked in the legal industry, I still think they should wait until after freshman year to even begin preparing. They don’t have to spend years studying for the LSAT. Instead, several months of dedicated study is usually sufficient.