Vanessa Robertson, a Castleton alum from the class 2017, came back to campus on Friday, September 14, to talk to prospective law school students and share insights about both the process for applying to law school and actually attending.
“I decided before college that I was going to go to law school. It just fits my mentality and fits with a political science degree,” she said. “But, as I learned very quickly, political science actually gives you a really good foundation for law school. You learn to read and write a lot.”
Robertson is an advocate of the major she chose at Castleton, and shared anecdotes about her experiences at the university.
“Professor Clark was great for grading papers, because if you were writing, say, a history paper, you are used to fluffing things up a lot,” she said. “Political science taught me how to narrow things down and get to the point. That’s how law school is, and I think political science, personally, is one of the best degrees for going to law school.”
Entrance for law school requires an exam, known as the LSAT. Like the SAT for undergraduate applications, the LSAT, along with other factors such as a resume and undergraduate GPA, determines which colleges are likely to accept a prospective student based on a particular score. The LSAT has wan average score of 150.
“When I was going into my senior year [of college], I studied for the LSATs all summer. I took a course, but I don’t really recommend taking a course,” she said. “I used “LSAT for Dummies,” which was, by far, hands down, the best LSAT book that I used. I saw it and thought, ‘this seems kind of odd,’ but I used it and it was ridiculously helpful.”
Schools look for a high LSAT score, Robertson said. A 160 means you can get into one of the top 25 schools- and 170 can mean Harvard. Robertson suggested that preparation for the LSAT was crucial for those who are serious about law school.
“You really need to dedicate time to studying,” she said. “You need to block out time in your week. You need to do one or two practice exams per week. And do them timed. You’ve never done anything like the LSAT games, they are so different from anything you’ve likely ever done.”
Rich Clark, the pre-law advisor at Castleton, reiterated Robertson’s point to the students.
“You don’t want to go in cold. Going in without any preparation is probably the worst thing you could do. Think of it this way: would you go to court without preparing?” he said.
Robertson offered hope and empowerment to the students who absorbed about fifty minutes of information from her.
“You all are going to take the LSAT. You all are going to get into law school, and it’s going to be great. It will be a lot of work, but I know that you all can do it,” she said.