One question I often get asked by pre-law students is whether a particular undergraduate major will be better than another for purposes of applying to law school. For example, is it better to major in a “typical” pre-law major, such as Political Science, than a major totally unrelated to law? Along those same lines, is it important to show an interest in law through law firm internships and jobs?
The answer to both of those questions is a resounding “no.” Law schools care about diversity, not whether or not you have a background in the law. However, there are some things to consider when choosing a pre-law major, including the following:
1. Keep your cumulative GPA high: While your college and major may have some impact on your law school application, the most important parts of your application will be two numbers: your LSAT score and your cumulative undergraduate gpa. Those two numbers are going to be the primary factors that law schools rely upon to make admission decisions, as well as decisions regarding merit-based scholarships. So, use the logic skills that the LSAT will be testing when selecting your major: if your cumulative undergraduate GPA is a key consideration for law schools, then choosing a major that allows you to keep your overall GPA high is a relevant factor to consider.
2. Law schools like diversity: Don’t be afraid to choose an “unusual” major. Law schools like seeing a wide variety of different Universities/colleges and majors represented in their law school classes. If an unusual major interests you, don’t be afraid to choose it because it isn’t “typical” for law school – it may actually benefit you!
3. “Hard” science majors are particularly appealing to law schools: Interested in majoring in chemistry, biology, physics or engineering? Law schools are particularly fond of “hard” science majors for several reasons. First, they don’t get many of those majors, so it adds to the law school’s diversity. Second, there is often a need for lawyers with a substantial background in certain “hard” sciences. Third, these majors often grade tougher than many other majors and law schools know that, so they may be a little more forgiving when evaluating your GPA (but don’t forget Rule #1 above!).
4. Consider the “collateral” benefits of your major: If your pre-law major is likely to lead to a research project or internship that interests you, that may also lead to getting a good letter of recommendation (LOR) from your advising professor. Or, if you think a particular major may assist you in getting a good LOR for some other reason, that may be a factor to consider.
5. Don’t forget that you only live once: In the end, pick a major that interests you. That is perhaps the most important factor of all. You only live once and you only go to college once. Choose a subject that you like. Not only will it be more fun, it probably will result in you getting higher grades because the subject matter interests you. In addition, since law schools don’t require any particular major, you may want to consider choosing a major in a subject you like if you ultimately choose not to go to law school for some reason. The major you choose probably won’t be all that significant to law schools, so don’t be afraid to major in a subject that intrigues you!
Questions? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!