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What Should I Major In?

“Law is more art than a science. The reality is that lawyers seek in analyzing a case is not always well defined. Legal study, therefore, requires an attentive mind and a tolerance for ambiguity.”

ABA LSAC Official Guide to ABA Approved Law Schools, Chap. 2, page 7.

Law schools consider many factors as they evaluate a potential candidate: course selection, entire academic record, grade point average, writing skills, LSAT scores, personal statements, and recommendation letters. As a student thinking about law school, you should consider taking courses that will enhance your intellectual skills and provide you the opportunity to strengthen and enhance the following skills:

  • Analysis and Synthesis
  • Reading and Listening Comprehension
  • Writing in a Concise Manner
  • Critical thinking

All of these skills will assist you in developing the abilities necessary to learn how to decipher information in a more deliberate manner.

If you have the time and inclination, adding a minor in a heavy writing or reading comprehension area, such as English, history, or philosophy, can be a good idea.

Why Should You Develop These Skills as an Undergraduate?

A law professor will rarely explain precisely what the rule of law is in a particular case or area, often because it is impossible to do so. Instead, you are expected to develop and organize your own understanding of the shape and trend in precedent as you digest hundreds of appellate cases.

Your classes, as well as examinations (which are in essay form and usually offered once in each course at the end of a semester), will require extensive reading and preparation. Therefore, accomplishment will most certainly depend far more upon skill at rapid analysis and articulation than upon memory and regurgitation.

What can you do?

  • Prepare for rigorous academic work.
  • Maintain a balance in your academic experiences.
  • Explore a variety of subjects.
  • Further develop your communication and analytical skills.

What should you ask yourself when deciding on a major?

  • What am I interested in studying?
  • What majors will I enjoy?
  • Will I be successful in the courses required by this major?
  • Will this major be a good choice for me if I decided not to attend law school?

Law schools do not dictate what you should major in. The best major or specialized course of study for you is the one in which you are most interested.

In addition, achieving good grades is incredibly important for admission to law school. With that in mind, you will likely do best in a field that you enjoy. Mastery in a specific subject is a useful experience, so even though your choice of major will not give you an “edge” in admissions decisions, the design of your overall undergraduate academic experience is very important.

The most valuable piece of advice your pre-law advisor can offer you is to work hard and get the best education you can. Also, be sure to take the first couple of classes in a potential major to ensure it’s the right one for you. You might want to consider a minor or double major if you have several interests.