Most law schools require a bachelor’s degree and evidence of potential for law school as measured by grade point average and the results of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). In addition, most law school admission officers emphasize the importance of a broad academic background and the development of analytical and communication skills. The Department of Political Science provides counseling for prelaw students, LSAT registration, and application materials and catalogs from many law schools throughout the country.
Because law schools typically do not require specific courses for admission or identify any particular major or curriculum as preferable, it is necessary for prelaw students to plan their own academic programs. Given the increasing competitiveness of admission to law school, it is important that great care be exercised in selecting a program of study appropriate to a legal career and in maintaining a high level of academic performance. It is also prudent to choose a program that will provide a suitable alternative career.
The majors most commonly selected by prelaw students are political science, economics, history and sociology. Other frequent choices include English language and literature, communications, psychology, philosophy and business administration. Although less numerous, students with majors in mathematics, the natural sciences, foreign languages, music, and art also enter law school to enhance their career potential.
Whatever major and minor combination is chosen, attention also should be given to the selection of appropriate elective courses. Generally, any challenging course that will facilitate mastery of the use of language, develop critical understanding of human values and institutions, or contribute to the capacity for independent and creative thinking is likely to be useful. Among specific courses that are often recommended by prelaw advisers are advanced English composition, persuasive speech, logic and accounting. Mathematics and science courses are frequently cited as helpful in developing needed analytical skills.
Prelaw students who desire to gain greater insight into the law and legal procedures, and law school approaches to legal studies, may choose from a broad range of courses offered by the Departments of Political Science, Sociology, Economics, History and Philosophy, and Marketing. The major and minor in public law and government, offered by the Department of Political Science, provides a firm foundation on which to build a career in law.