Choosing a Major

Preparation for Law School

If you think law school is in your future, your undergraduate career should fit your personal talents and interests as well as demonstrate academic rigor. Unlike a pre-medical curriculum, most law schools are not necessarily impressed by “law” related courses taken at the undergraduate level, as they are vastly different from those offered in law school. Focusing on “law” courses as an undergraduate may not allow the breadth and depth of challenging course work otherwise available – and may result in a less enjoyable undergraduate experience.

Law schools do not, as a rule, have specific academic requirements for admission, but they are usually impressed by applicants who can demonstrate that they have challenged themselves in a diverse course of study. Since law school admission is extremely competitive, it is important to compile a strong undergraduate record. Plan to take courses of genuine interest to you, as your best performance should result. With the complexity of legal issues today, both nationally and internationally, a broad liberal arts curriculum is the preferred preparation for law school.

Students enter law school from widely differing educational and experiential backgrounds. As undergraduates, some have majored in subjects considered to be traditional paths to law school:

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • English
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • International Relations

Other successful law students have focused their undergraduate studies in areas as diverse as:

  • Art
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Music

Your choice of an undergraduate major is less important than the development of important skills and values that can be acquired prior to law school, including:

  • Analytic and problem-solving skills
  • Critical reading abilities
  • Writing skills
  • Oral communication and listening abilities
  • General research skills
  • Organization and management skills
  • The values of serving the interests of others while promoting justice
  • Foreign language skills

Types of knowledge that can be useful in resolving disputes include:

  • Grounding in economics
  • Broad understanding of history
  • Fundamental understanding of political thought
  • Basic mathematic and financial skills
  • Basic understanding of human behavior
  • Basic understanding of ethical theory and theories of justice
  • Understanding of diverse cultures within the United States and international issues – consider studying abroad!
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an overall interest in helping others