When BYU students decide they want to go to law school, many don’t know where to start. There are many different types of law, and the idea of taking the LSAT can be daunting. That’s where Kris Tina Carlston comes in.
Carlston is the director of the BYU Pre Professional Advisement Center. She advises and helps students who are interested in attending law school or business school. Carlston also teaches classes such as pre-law review and constitutional research.
“I am invested in whether or not I am going to provide you with enough information to help you make the right decision,” Carlston said.
She said she doesn’t try to convince students to go law school but to help them learn if law school is the right fit for them.
Beginning Fall 2018, BYU Law is willing to take GRE test scores in place of LSAT scores. Carlston said she does not advise students to only take the GRE. BYU is one of few universities willing to take a GRE score in place of the LSAT score. Carlston said this limits the students’ options when it comes to applying to law school, and she encourages a student who has taken the GRE to not discount the value of taking the LSAT.
Stacie Stewart, dean of BYU Law School Admissions, said while they are accepting the GRE, LSAT scores hold more weight when it comes to applying to BYU Law. Stewart said the LSAT tests more closely to the way of thinking required to study and practice law.
The GRE is a standardized test including math and reading, while the LSAT is more focused on logic.
Stewart said BYU undergraduate students who have a GPA of 3.8 or higher don’t have to take any standardized test if applying to BYU Law. She said those students aren’t at a disadvantage to those who have taken the LSAT or GRE because a high GPA usually means students are hardworking and have the ability to do well in law school.
In addition to test scores and a strong GPA, Stewart said applications require a résumé, personal statement, ecclesiastical endorsements and two letters of recommendation. These forms are submitted online through the Law School Admission Council, an organization that allows students to apply to every law school through a single application.
After admissions interviews, applications are looked at individually by the admissions committee. Stewart said the applications are voted on, and those that result in a unanimous yes are notified of their acceptance into BYU Law. The rest are either sent a rejection or waitlist notice.
Stewart said students who don’t get accepted should remember law school isn’t for everyone.
”You should do something that makes you happy and what you’re good at,” Stewart said.
She said she wanted to be an actress growing up but didn’t have the skill set to be successful at it.
“Whatever you do, it should be something you’re good at,” she said.
Stacie also advises students who don’t get accepted to remember there are many other law schools students can attend. If they are set on going to BYU Law, BYU accepts transfer students who have attended other universities for law school.
Mallorie Mecham, for example, attended a year at Michigan State University in East Lansing before transferring to BYU to finish her law degree. Her advice to students wanting to attend BYU Law is to not let their LSAT scores scare them.
“You can’t fail the LSAT. It’s not a thing,” Mecham said.
Mecham said the LSAT is offered four times a year, and can be taken as many times until a better score is received.
Mecham said she wants students to remember that a good GPA and LSAT score still don’t guarantee them a spot in BYU’s Law School. She said applications include personal statements and letters of recommendation for a reason, and it’s all about finding the right law school that fits each individual and his or her background.