Understanding the Requirements for a Good Law School Application

How to Select a College Major for Law School

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Do you have to major in prelaw to get into law school? Quite simply, no. Will it help you to succeed in law school? Possibly, but maybe not. Here's why. 

What Do Law Schools Want?

Most law schools prefer students who have a broader base of knowledge than simply a curriculum similar to what law school will offer. Yes, a majority of law students have degrees in history, political science, economics or English, but many of those also take a broad range of courses outside their majors that make them more attractive law school candidates.

Selecting a College Major 

The best way to choose your college major and other elective courses are to figure out what interests you and pursue those subjects with passion. Doing so will benefit you in at least three ways:

  • You will enjoy your undergraduate years more if you are in classes that interest you.
  • You will probably also earn better grades, which will look great on your transcript should you still want to apply to law school down the road. We all perform better when we're genuinely interested in the challenge we're facing. Otherwise, it's just grim, must-do work that we can't wait to complete and put behind us, and that's never a recipe for success. 
  • You might distinguish yourself from the usual law school applicants with a major in engineering or biology, for example, so don't be afraid to pursue your passion even if it's not one of the undergraduate degrees typically represented in law school.

    Of course, the law may be your true passion, more so than anything else. If this is where your heart lies, then by all means major in pre-law. You'll probably do well, and there's really no downside. Above all, it's a personal decision. 

    You might also want to consider what kind of law you're thinking of specializing in.

    If family law appeals to you, sociology and psychology majors might help you out down the road. If taxation and/or finance is your passion and you want to take your eventual law degree in that direction, a number of business majors might serve you well. 

    Try a Balancing Act 

    Even if it's outside your major, you might want to consider taking a government or prelaw course or two (or more) as well. They'll be affirmative on your transcript. Also consider classes that will improve your writing, analytical thinking, and public speaking skills. Your transcript aside, you'll need these in law school. It can only help if you've already honed the crafts. Consider these recommended undergraduate courses for more ideas. 

    Overall, law school admissions officers want to see that you have challenged yourself with and succeeded in material that will be helpful for your law school career, so whatever courses you choose, be sure to do your best!

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    Fabio, Michelle. "Understanding the Requirements for a Good Law School Application." ThoughtCo, Oct. 22, 2017, thoughtco.com/prelaw-for-law-school-2154954. Fabio, Michelle. (2017, October 22). Understanding the Requirements for a Good Law School Application. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/prelaw-for-law-school-2154954 Fabio, Michelle. "Understanding the Requirements for a Good Law School Application." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/prelaw-for-law-school-2154954 (accessed January 24, 2018).