Is attending law school and becoming an attorney your ultimate goal? Getting there starts by earning an undergraduate degree. Unlike medical schools, which require completion of certain prerequisite courses in order to receive consideration for admission, law schools typically do not specify which classes they must see on your transcript. Rather, institutions want to observe evidence of solid academic performance and challenging oneself during undergraduate studies.
Find a discipline about which you’re passionate and let the learning begin! What might be a good major to consider? Here’s some food for thought:
Some colleges (though not many) offer a specific track designed for students who want to go on to law school. This major tends to involve coursework from a variety of different disciplines, including political science, rhetoric, social science, philosophy, and economics.
Do not confuse a prelaw major with paralegal studies. A prelaw major should focus on cultivating intellectual skills that help a student prepare for the LSAT (Law School Admission Test), the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), and the rigors of law school classes. Paralegal studies center on vocational skills necessary for a career as a paralegal.
- Political Science
Do you like to explore political questions, tactics, and strategies from a variety of perspectives? Learning to think critically about issues facing contemporary society and gaining a thorough understanding of the U.S. political system can prove beneficial when you later obtain a J.D. and go out in the world to seek justice for all!
As defined by the Linguistic Society of America, linguistics is “the scientific study of language.” Since law school involves a great deal of reading comprehension and thoughtful interpretation of language, things learned in an undergraduate linguistics program can prove very useful. In fact, linguistics majors tend to score higher on the LSAT and get accepted to law school at a better rate than their counterparts with preprofessional majors.
In a study of LSAT scores of law school applicants broken down by major, mathematics majors topped the list by posting an impressive average of 162.8. Studying math hones logical reasoning and analytical skills – things every outstanding future lawyer needs. Students who are good with numbers also have a leg up on pursuing niche areas such as bankruptcy law, tax law, and real estate law. And the ability to understand and present statistics in a courtroom could prove highly beneficial when making a case.
Lawyers come into contact with a variety of people from different backgrounds. Understanding human behavior and thought patterns may offer insight into the actions and mindsets of those you represent. Students pursuing a psychology major also learn to conduct and interpret research, read critically, and write clearly – all things that impress law school admissions staff.
Four years may fly by when you tap your fondness for Shakespeare and Hemingway. As for your law school dreams, majoring in English can help with that, too. This discipline involves reading comprehension, persuasive writing, critical thinking, expanding vocabulary, and mastering grammar – all great things for a future J.D. recipient to have in his or her arsenal.
The bottom line: Pick an undergraduate field you enjoy, work your hardest to obtain a high GPA, and be ready to impress potential law schools with your passion for learning!