Students who are interested in becoming lawyers may think that they have a good understanding of the best pre-law majors for their undergraduate degree, but the truth is far more complicated. As U.S. News and World Report points out, while students can opt to take a pre-law or preprofessional major, it may not be a good idea to invest so much time into such a specific field of study. Here are some things that students should keep in mind before choosing a major to help them get into law school.
See our ranking of the 30 Best Value Schools for Pre-Law.
No Preferred Majors
A common misconception is that there is one preferred pre-law major will help students in the law school admissions process. The truth is that there isn't one major that is more accepted than others. In fact, schools have become to be less interested in pre-professional programs because they are considered less rigorous than programs in the STEM and humanities field. And since law school is interdisciplinary in nature, having one particular major will only complement the knowledge learned at the graduate level; this means that no student has the upper hand in terms of their education when they reach law school.
Some Prestigious Preprofessional Programs are Helpful
While preprofessional undergraduate degrees like marketing, criminology, and pre-law are generally not a help to students when applying to law school, some programs in this space may actually be useful. Preprofessional programs from Ivy League or Public Ivy League schools are considered very attractive; these programs can range from business to engineering to even classics. If a school has a reputation for a rigorous curriculum in a program and is also ranked, chances are that the degree will be helpful to students applying to law school.
Linguistics and Math Majors Excel
Something that may come as a surprise to many students is that STEM and humanities majors, specifically those in linguistics or statistics, excel in the law school application process. This is because both fields directly correlate to the law in some aspect. For instance, linguistics majors have an understanding of abstract thinking and language, something that is useful in the legal field. Math and science majors benefit from the reasoning skills that they have developed over time, making it easier for them to pass the graduate school exams needed to enter law school as well as provide them with a strong foundation in skills they will be using throughout their time in law school.
Students Should Study Their Passion
While some degrees may be preferred by some law schools, the general consensus is that students should study their passion. Their chosen undergraduate field doesn't have to do with law, so long as the program is rigorous and difficult enough to showcase their passion for the field. This shows law schools how dedicated a student is to their course of study and then translates into an understanding of how seriously they will take their studies when they further their education. It also serves to indicate to a law school where the strength of the candidate lies in terms of logic, reasoning, communication, writing, research, and abstract thinking skills.
Liberal Arts Minors are Highly Encouraged
Students should also consider taking on a minor in liberal arts regardless of what their major is; alternatively, they can also choose to double major in their field of passion as well as another major that focuses on liberal arts. This is especially helpful for students who focus their studies on business, economics, or STEM subjects because the minor or second major will balance out their education and give them firm footing when entering law school.
Law school in America is an educational goalpost for students who are interested in working as lawyers or in the government. In order to be admitted into law school, however, students must first get an undergraduate degree and their choice of major is critically important. There are no preferred pre-law majors but students who follow the steps above may find that the field they are passionate about will no doubt help them on their quest to enter into law school.
Source: U.S. News and World Report