Best Majors for Law School Preparation
“The study of law can be disappointing at times, a matter of applying narrow rules and arcane procedure to an uncooperative reality; a sort of glorified accounting that serves to regulate the affairs of those who have power–and that all too often seeks to explain, to those who do not, the ultimate wisdom and justness of their condition. But that’s not all the law is. The law is also memory; the law also records a long-running conversation, a nation arguing with its conscience.”
― Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
Entering college comes with a whole new set of opportunities and choices. Are you a freshman aiming to eventually pursue law school after graduating, but not sure what major to commit to yet? Luckily, there are several different avenues you could explore, catering to your interests and strengths. Let’s go over some of the popular majors of law school applicants to help you decide!
Best Majors for Law School in 2020
- Political Science
- Criminal Justice
Political science is the most popular major of law school candidates. The link between law and political theory is very strong, which is why a plethora of politicians are lawyers! If you enjoy learning about how government systems work, political behavior, and how the judicial system operates, this major may be worth exploring. Students in political science often have a solid understanding of how laws are made and executed, as well as the history behind them. By majoring in political science, you can expect to take courses in history and foreign political & legal systems. Additionally, you will get the opportunity to sharpen your reading comprehension, writing, and public speaking skills, which are all very important in the pursuit to become a lawyer!
If you are keen on understanding why people think, act, and believe the way they do, you may enjoy majoring in psychology. On the fence? Many colleges offer an introduction to psychology course, which will go over the basics of human behavior and the mental processes that fuel how people interact with others and the world around them. Psychology can be applied in the world of law because the law is a system designed to govern human behavior. A degree in psychology could help lawmakers understand what kind of laws benefit society. Should you choose to pursue a psychology major, you can expect to take coursework that will help you better understand how people make judgments that can lead to prejudice and discrimination, and also how to prepare for negotiations and network with others.
Just from the name alone, it’s a no-brainer that criminal law is a natural fit for law school. This major involves coursework that covers criminal justice topics, court proceedings, various aspects of the legal system, and the corrections systems, to name a few. If you are a student that loves to write, conduct strong research, and analyze things, then you may find the criminal justice major a rewarding one to commit to. These skills come in handy in real-life applications and are very essential for law school.
Having solid writing, critical thinking, and reading comprehension skills are crucial for law school and a successful career in law. Students majoring in English can expect to hone in on these skills by studying dense and complex literature, comprehending it, making connections and analytical arguments, and defending positions.
Law school students demonstrate a solid understanding of past precedents on a variety of legal cases. With that said, it’s no question that history is a great major path for undergraduate students striving to get into law school. History major students study events of the past, court rulings, treaties, legal agreements, and examine how different legal systems have evolved over time. Additionally, students learn how to come up with clear, concise, and logical arguments backed by history, while gaining experience in writing research papers. In law school, one could expect to analyze a variety of sources as well as combing through dense texts as part of the research process. By majoring in history, you’ll get the opportunity to develop these important skills that will better equip you for law school.
Keep in mind that depending on the university you attend, majors may slightly differ, or you may have the option to specialize in something more specific under a “broad” major. In addition to preparing for the LSAT and GRE exams, Ivey, a former dean of admissions at the University of Chicago Law School suggests that law schools “tend to be less excited about pre-professional degrees like communications, prelaw, criminology or marketing, which can be considered less rigorous.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to steer clear from these majors if they interest you. However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get creative and find ways to make yourself a more marketable pre-law student. For example, candidates looking to stand out may go above and beyond to earn a relevant minor degree to support their major degree, intern with a company or lawyer that fosters real-life law school applications, and more!