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Is Pre-Law a Major? | Is Pre-Law a Degree?
The Benefits of a Pre-Law Major
There are several benefits of enrolling in a pre-law major, which we will talk about below.
Enrolling in a pre-law major can be a great way to demonstrate your commitment to law school and the legal profession. Law schools are inclined to admit students that have an obvious interest in law because this is a very good indicator that the student will succeed in law school and go on to make worthwhile contributions during their legal career.
It can also show that you are more likely to stay the course and graduate law school, as opposed to dropping out or not pursuing a career related to the legal field after graduation; law schools work to accept students that they believe will make it to graduation, as this improves their overall rankings.
The pre-law major sets you up for success in the legal field by introducing you to legal concepts and courses that other students may not be familiar with when they enter into their first semester of law school. This gives you a leg up on your competition during your 1L (first year of law school) year and can help you perform better in your courses.
You may also have increased stamina when it comes to reading and writing, two very important but time-consuming, skills that many 1L students struggle with during their first semester of law school. This can help you complete your first law school assignments with greater accuracy, less time, and less overall stress.
During your pre-law major or courses, you will be introduced to a number of different courses that work to improve your analytical and logical reasoning skills. These skills are highly important in law school and tested in-depth on the LSAT, the Law School Admission Test, that all students will need to take in order to enroll in law school.
Because you are more familiar with the skills tested by the LSAT, it is likely that you will understand the test concepts more easily. This leads to higher scores and less time spent studying for the test when compared to students who did not major in pre-law.
The Disadvantages of a Pre-Law Major
The pre-law major does come with a few disadvantages, which are important to understand before making your decision on this course track.
Even though a pre-law major can introduce you to the basic concepts that are taught in law school, the courses associated with it are not considered to be that difficult. This means that your pre-law major might not make you that competitive, even if you have a perfect GPA, because the courses that are completed are assumed to be easier than many other undergraduate majors.
That being said, you shouldnt enroll in a major that is too difficult to you just to prove a point to the law school admissions committee; you want to choose something that will allow you to get stellar grades, and if that happens to be pre-law for you, then it is worth considering.
If you are set on majoring in pre-law, you may have a somewhat difficult time finding a school that offers it as a major. Many undergraduate colleges dont offer a specific major for “pre-law” and may instead offer a group of classes that you can take as a part of a different, yet related, major.
This can make you feel somewhat lost in undergraduate school if you want to major in pre-law especially and are forced to choose something related instead, and it may be difficult to define yourself as majoring in pre-law if no viable schools offer an expressly outlined major to you.
While it is true that majoring in pre-law can demonstrate your continued interest in law school and the legal field, many law schools are also interested in candidates that are both well-rounded and diverse. This means that your application may get passed over for a student that majored in science, language, or another major that proves them to be a diverse candidate.
This isnt to say that you should enroll in a major that you dont particularly enjoy just to diversify your application, but it does mean that even if you are interested in law school, you should allow yourself to major in something you will enjoy during undergraduate. For some students, that may be pre-law, but for others, it may be English or chemistry. You should keep in mind that there is no required major that you need to have completed before applying to law school and take advantage of the chance to expand your horizons.
Top 10 most popular pre-law majors
Political science is a very popular pre-law major because politics is heavily interrelated with legislation. The study of political behavior, government systems, and how the judicial system works are all very useful in law school. Students in this major also explore other country’s legal systems and gain an understanding of how laws are created and executed.
Psychology is one of the top five most popular undergraduate majors in general, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, so it makes sense that it is a popular choice among pre-law majors. Psychology also provides students with an understanding of concepts like stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, cognitive dissonance, and other theories and issues that are useful to future lawyers.
Criminal justice is a natural fit for law school for those who are interested in pursuing a career in criminal law. In this major, students learn about the corrections system, court proceedings, and other parts of the legal system.
English is one of the majors that has been historically associated with law school due to the reading, writing and critical thinking required in an English degree. English students have to be able to conduct research, craft an argument, and defend their position in writing, all of which are skills future lawyers need as well.
Economics is a useful major for those who want a blend of quantitative and qualitative courses, and also for students who wish to study tax law and financial regulations in law school.
Studying history provides future law students with context for legislation, as well as an understanding of how important legal systems and precedents were created. History majors also have to conduct research, write papers, and comprehend difficult texts, skills that are useful in law school.
In general, arts & humanities majors can help students prepare for law school due to the reading, writing, and critical thinking involved with the various coursework. Since law schools tend to prefer students with a variety of courses, having a liberal arts degree provides students with the opportunity to take a lot of different classes.
In a philosophy major, students must discuss logic and reasoning, learn about ethics, and examine moral and political issues, all of which align with law school. In addition, what you learn in a philosophy major can help prepare you for the logic tests on the LSAT.
Similar to Arts & Humanities majors, a sociology major involves a lot of writing and critical thinking, while also incorporating some quantitative and qualitative reasoning, all of which are helpful in preparing for law school.
Communications majors have to do a lot of reading, writing and research, as well as public speaking and negotiation, all of which are important areas to develop for law school success. Organizational management, crisis communication, critical thinking, and conflict management are also useful aspects of a communications major for law school.
What majors have the highest rates of acceptance?
While the most popular majors all have some commonalities, the majors with the largest percentage of applicants admitted vary greatly. These range from American Civilization and Inter-American Relations to Biophysics and Marine Engineering. One trend that basically holds true is that majors that are more rare seem to have higher acceptance rates compared to more common majors, however, that could also be because the numbers are simply smaller.
Also, research shows that STEM majors attain the highest scores on the LSAT. Since your LSAT score is an important factor in your application, as well as for getting law school scholarships, considering which majors will best prepare you for the LSAT could be another factor in your decision. However, you should also be doing LSAT prep on your own in the form of a study guide, in-person tutoring, or online class, so there are plenty of ways to prepare in addition to your college coursework.
While some colleges may offer a pre-law major, this isn’t the norm.
A pre-law curriculum may include a range of classes in the humanities and social sciences, such as history, philosophy and political science. If your undergraduate school offers a pre-law major, selecting it won’t make you a shoe-in for law school. Again, you’re better off choosing a major that will challenge you and excite you, and then take a well-rounded course selection that will grow your reading, writing and critical thinking skills.
Is pre-law a good choice?
Does pre-law major matter?
What major is best for pre-law?
Why should I major in law?