Do you want to be a lawyer? In the United States, you need to graduate from a 4-year college and then go to law school if you want to practice law. What’s the best way to prepare for law school? What should you be doing in your undergraduate years to make yourself the most competitive law school applicant?
The term “pre-law” refers to any course of study by an undergraduate college student to prepare for law school. Some colleges have a specific Pre-Law major for those students who intend to go to law school. However, you can major in any subject and still enter law school, as long as you successfully complete college and get a bachelor’s degree. There are no specific courses you have to take to be admitted to law school. Therefore, pre-law is much different than pre-med, because medical schools require students to complete a number of prerequisite classes during their undergraduate education to be admitted to medical school. However, keep in mind that law schools have other requirements, like taking the LSAT, the law school entrance exam.
If you’re an aspiring law school student, you should be aware of the potential benefits and disadvantages of majoring in pre-law. A quality pre-law degree program will effectively prepare you for law school; you’ll have a solid legal education and an ability to analyze legal cases by the time you graduate college. Additionally, you’ll be able to demonstrate to law schools that you’re passionate about the law and have a sincere desire to pursue a legal education. Furthermore, you may be better prepared for the LSAT by honing your logical reasoning and reading comprehension skills in a pre-law program.
However, there are notable disadvantages to majoring in pre-law. Law schools don’t view pre-law as a challenging major. While your GPA and LSAT score are the two most important components of your law school application, law schools will probably be more impressed by a student who has a 4.0 GPA in mechanical engineering than by a student who obtained a 4.0 in pre-law. Also, most elite colleges don’t have pre-law majors. Because top law schools tend to admit a higher percentage of students from the most prestigious universities, if you want to be admitted to one of the most well regarded law schools, you may have a better chance if you attend a highly ranked college, which is unlikely to offer a degree in pre-law.
Finally, law schools strive to admit diverse classes. There are many capable law school applicants who major in pre-law; there are far fewer who major in chemistry. Knowledge in almost any subject can be helpful in the legal profession because there are so many different types of lawyers. If you’re one of the few lawyers who are knowledgeable about chemistry, you’re likely to get a good job out of law school and improve the job statistics of your law school, making you a more appealing applicant.
If pre-law isn’t necessarily the best major for law school, then what is the best major for you if you want to go law school? Well, the short answer is that your major doesn’t have much of an impact on whether or not you gain admission to law school. You’ll probably give yourself the best chance of getting into the law school of your choice by majoring in a subject you really enjoy. If you like what you’re studying, you’ll get better grades, and every guide on law school admissions states that your GPA and LSAT score are the most important components of your law school application.
If you’re trying to select a major that will best prepare you for law school, then you may want to choose a major that stresses logic, analytical skills, reading comprehension, and writing skills. These are all attributes you need to do well on the LSAT and in law school. Popular pre-law majors that are great preparation for law school include philosophy/classics, economics, political science, history, English, and engineering.
For the most part, the aspiring law school student should choose a college the same way the typical college student does. Consider things like selectivity, cost, location, size, and the campus culture. Additionally, you should research the available resources for students who want to go to law school at the colleges you’re considering. Even if a school doesn’t have a pre-law degree, it may offer pre-law advising for those who wish to pursue a legal education. Also, there may be pre-law clubs that offer support, programming, and internship opportunities for pre-law students.
While you’re in college, not only should you be excelling academically but also you should be doing extracurricular activities and building relationships with your professors. Law schools will want to see how you spend your time outside of class, and they ask for recommendations from professors. Furthermore, your extracurricular activities and professors can help you grow and determine the right career path for you.