Many students dream of being lawyers. You may have been inspired by the fantastic cross-examination by Reese Witherspoon’s Elle Woods in Legally Blonde or the charm and grace with which Gabriel Macht’s Harvey Specter raises the bar. In either case, the life of a lawyer appears to be full of excitement and glamour. However, to make it as a lawyer, you must first get through law school.
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Law School Admissions
Getting admitted to law school is hardly a simple process. In addition to academic excellence, you have to demonstrate strong critical thinking skills, and the drive to excel. At the undergraduate level, there is no specific major that law schools tend to prefer. Most law school admissions teams try to find students with unique attributes and potential that individually bring value to the class. However, there is one prerequisite that all applicants to law school must complete, and that is the LSAT.
Clearing the LSAT
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is a standardized admission test that assesses language and logic skills. The questions range from comprehension and verbal reasoning to problem-solving and critical analysis. Since the LSAT does not use knowledge-based questions, getting a high score can be quite challenging for many students. One way to improve your LSAT score is to choose an undergraduate major that will help you improve your language and logic skills. The most popular option is a pre-professional program.
Many students aiming to gain a professional degree from graduate school opt to major in a pre-professional program. You may be wondering what is a pre professional program and how it can benefit you. A pre-professional program is a tailored undergraduate track that helps students prepare for graduate school.
Most colleges offer two (2) streams of pre-professional programs, pre-medicine and pre-law. Pre-medicine includes science-focused courses that help students fulfill the requirements and prepare for medical school, dental school, veterinary school, and other related graduate programs.
Pre-Law Pre-Professional Program
Pre-law is an undergraduate track that includes basic legal courses such as Introduction to Law and Legal Research. In addition to these, pre-law majors usually study a wide range of related subjects, from advanced language, philosophy, logic, and critical thinking. While a pre-law program is not a requirement for law schools, and most law schools will accept promising candidates with any major, a pre-law degree can help you gain an edge over other applicants. Here are some of the benefits of a pre-law degree for aspiring lawyers.
1. Ace the LSAT
One of the most important benefits of a pre-law degree is that the courses you study all help you prepare for the LSAT. The LSAT is a highly competitive exam. Countless students participate in each sitting, the majority being second or third-time test takers dissatisfied with their first score. After all, anything less than 150 is generally bad news for aspiring law students.
A pre-law degree helps you prepare for taking on the LSAT. Common electives for pre-law tracks include Introduction to Critical Thinking, Critical Theory, and Advanced and Technical Writing. Think of your pre-law degree as an advanced practice session for your LSAT.
2. Explore the Field
Law is a challenging and high-pressure field. It requires a lot of hard work and effort to succeed as a lawyer, not to mention the thousands of dollars law schools charge as fees. Therefore, it is important that you are clear about your goal before taking the plunge. Opting for a pre-law at the undergraduate level will allow you to learn the foundations of law and figure out whether or not you want to pursue it as a career.
Committing to one field for the rest of your life is not a decision to be taken lightly. You have to be sure you have a passion for the field before entering a first-year law student classroom. By taking a few pre-law electives or minoring in pre-law, you can keep your options open and make a better-informed decision regarding your career.
3. Build a Foundation
A pre-law major comprises a handful of technical courses, while the remaining are all ancillary subjects from various departments that can help you later on in law school or even in your professional life. At the undergraduate level, the concepts and theories you study as a pre-law major will be explored more intricately and patiently than any law school. Think of your pre-law time as kindergarten. Your professors will take time to guide you step by step through things.
In law school, you will not be given so much space and time to catch up as even first-year law students are expected to have a foundational knowledge of legal principles and theories. The in-depth study during pre-law will allow you to build a strong foundation of legal knowledge before you start law school.
Is Pre-Law the Right Choice?
A common question that hovers around the mind of undergraduate students that want to go to law school is whether a pre-law degree may be the right choice. Most students feel that pre-law is a one-sided commitment. You dedicate four years preparing for something that may not even be achievable, as there is no guarantee of gaining admission to law school.
The feeling of potentially burning your bridges can be daunting. However, a pre-law degree has more potential than it is given credit for. On the off-chance that a pre-law graduate is unable to get admission to law school or even has a change of heart, there are plenty of other options you can explore with a pre-law degree. You can make a career in law enforcement, become a paralegal or legal assistant, or even a law librarian. It all depends on which path you decide to go down on.
What other Majors can I Pursue?
While pre-law is a smart choice for aspiring lawyers, there is no specific requirement for what you should study as an undergraduate. If you feel that pre-law is not for you, there are plenty of other majors to choose from. Many students study social sciences, such as International Relations and Political Science. Languages such as English and Latin also enjoy great popularity among undergraduate law aspirants.
Otherwise, you can study a completely unrelated subject, such as Art or History, and still get into law school. You should be all set as long as you are passionate about what you’re studying and can demonstrate that passion and drive to the admissions committee.
There is no single rulebook that you can follow to succeed in law. However, a pre-law program is a great place to start preparing for your life as a lawyer, as it will help you develop the skills and foundational knowledge needed in law school. As long as you remain committed to your goal, we’re sure you will find a way to succeed and excel beyond measure.