Exploring the best majors for law school, this comprehensive guide debunks the myth of a singular ‘pre-law’ track. For those figuring out this blog highlights how various fields, can uniquely prepare students for legal studies. Emphasizing skills like critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and effective communication, the blog encourages students to choose majors aligning with their interests and strengths. It also underscores the importance of a well-rounded undergraduate experience, including extracurriculars, to enhance law school applications.
Often, students who find themselves wondering, ‘’ also ponder whether there's a prescribed pre-law major that sets the stage for law school success. The answer to that isn’t black and white, but this blog aims to explore all possible law school majors. Essentially, law schools – whether or traditional ones -- value a diversity of academic backgrounds more than one specific major or set of experiences. In fact, most law schools in the US and Canada do not have specific law school prerequisites their matriculants have to complete. This means that you can actually choose any course of study that excites you and where you excel, thus, leading to a higher GPA.
While no single major guarantees success in law school, and, there are no actually course requirements, there are various other, such as critical thinking skills, communication skills and organization skills. Certain fields offer foundational skills and perspectives beneficial for legal studies. We’ll explore a variety of majors, examining how each can contribute uniquely to your law school journey. It’s about finding a major that not only aligns with your interests but also sharpens the skills crucial for a law career, such as analytical reasoning, effective communication, and ethical judgment.
History – 79.1% of History majors who apply get accepted
Economics – 78.2% of Economics majors who apply get accepted
English –76.3% of English majors who apply get accepted
Political Science – 74% of Political Science majors who apply get accepted
Psychology – 71.8% of Psychology majors who apply get accepted
These numbers aren’t meant to discourage students from other majors (not listed above) from applying to law school! These five majors happen to have fairly impressive acceptance rates, but there are many students with other majors admitted to law school each year, too!
Are you preparing your law school application and wondering how to stand out from the crowd of applicants? Watch this video:
GPA and LSAT: The Non-negotiables
Understanding the , and of course, whether or not you need an (or just and ) n order to be successful is key in pre-law. These two elements act as crucial indicators of your academic prowess and potential for success in a challenging law program. A stellar GPA reflects your ability to excel in a rigorous academic environment, while a high LSAT score demonstrates critical thinking and reasoning skills essential for law studies.
Simply put, you GPA and LSAT are more important when it comes to law school admissions than what you studied in your undergrad. Which means that you should choose a major that you love and do well in. Do not simply choose Political Science because it’s one of the most accepted majors in law school (unless you truly love Political Science). If you love Religion and Classics, or, Economics and Finance, you can still get accepted to law school if you choose to study these! And, if you excel in your courses, then your high GPA will be a powerful tool in getting you in.
But…what if you don’t have a great GPA? If you’re wondering , know that although it isn’t impossible, this most often rests on having an exceptional LSAT score and other supporting experiences and documents to back up your application. At best, you should strive for excellence in all areas, whenever possible. If you still have time to increase your GPA, take this opportunity! Take courses in disciplines you excel in; consider hiring a tutor for courses you struggle with; join or create a study group to help motivate you. If you do not have time to work on your GPA, it might be wise to spend you time and resources on getting a stellar LSAT score to offset your lower GPA. And, don’t forget that your , , and other application materials will have a huge impact on …so do not neglect them!
The Skill Set Law Schools Covet
No matter your major, there are certain skills every law school – even the -- look for in candidates. These include the ability to think critically and analytically, to construct and deconstruct arguments, and to communicate effectively, both in writing and orally. These skills are essential for lawyers to have.
Although aspects of this are covered in the , a lot of your potential success in demonstrating your ability to excel in such challenges comes from your post-secondary experience. Majors that cultivate these skills, such as philosophy or English, can be particularly beneficial. However, it's not just about the content you learn; it's how you apply these skills in complex, often ambiguous, legal scenarios.
Let’s take a look at how specific majors can be advantageous when it comes to studying law.
Political Science: Understanding Law's Roots
Political Science is a steadfast favorite among pre-law students. According to the latest LSAC data, 74% of Political Science majors who apply to law school are accepted; that’s a significant number of applicants! This major immerses students in the workings of government, the nuances of public policy, and the underpinnings of the legal system. It offers a direct glimpse into the structures and theories that form the backbone of law.
Political science students learn to analyze complex legislative and judicial processes, skills that are directly applicable in law school. This major not only provides a solid grounding in legal principles but also encourages students to think critically about the role of law in society.
English: Mastering the Written Word
A whopping 76.3% of English major applicants who apply to law school get accepted; just let that sink in. Pursuing a major in English is like undergoing rigorous training for the dense reading and extensive writing that law school demands. English majors develop the ability to understand and analyze complex texts, a skill essential for interpreting legal documents and case law. They can also be creative thinkers and natural wordsmiths too, depending on the courses they take and their own personal history as readers and writers.
They also learn to craft persuasive arguments and articulate thoughts clearly and concisely. These skills are vital for legal writing, whether it’s drafting legal briefs or presenting oral arguments; they can also help with the law school admissions process, for instance, getting creative with and crafting compelling final copies. The ability to communicate effectively is a cornerstone of legal practice, making English a valuable major for aspiring lawyers.
History: Contextualizing Legal Systems
79% of History majors who apply to law school get accepted, according to the latest LSAC data. They bring a unique perspective to law school, having studied the evolution of societies, governments, and, importantly, legal systems over time. Understanding the historical context of laws and legal systems provides invaluable insights into how and why laws have developed as they have.
This background fosters a deep appreciation of the law’s role in shaping and being shaped by society. History majors are adept at sifting through extensive information, analyzing sources, and developing cohesive narratives - skills that translate well into legal research and case preparation.
The Rise of Patent Law: A Gateway for STEM Majors
For those in the STEM fields, law school might not be the most obvious next step, but it’s increasingly becoming a strategic one!
With the rise of technology and patent law, a background in science or engineering is becoming more valuable in the legal arena. STEM majors bring a unique skill set to law, particularly in areas that require understanding of technical or scientific principles. Their analytical approach and problem-solving abilities are tremendous assets in legal settings, especially in cases involving patents, environmental law, and health regulations.
Mathematics and Logic: Thinking Like a Lawyer
Majors in mathematics, computer science, and similar disciplines excel in logical reasoning and problem-solving, two skills highly relevant in the legal world. The precision and rigor required in these fields are akin to the meticulous nature of legal reasoning. A background in these areas can be particularly advantageous for areas of law that demand a high degree of analytical thinking, such as contract law, corporate law, and even certain aspects of criminal law.
Economics: Arguing with Numbers
Economics is not just about numbers; it's a study of decision-making, resource allocation, and human behavior - all crucial to understanding the broader implications of law. Economics majors develop an analytical mindset, learning to evaluate issues from various angles, which is essential in legal problem-solving. Their ability to interpret data and understand economic models is invaluable, particularly in areas like antitrust law, corporate law, and international trade law.
Furthermore, the emphasis on logical reasoning and argumentation in economics parallels the skills needed in legal analysis, making it a strong foundation for law school. Those pursuing Economics are their undergraduate major have really high chances of getting accepted! Over 78% of Economics majors who apply to law school in the US get admitted.
Philosophy: Critical Analysis and Ethical Thinking
Philosophy might seem abstract, but its emphasis on logic, ethics, and critical thinking is highly pertinent to legal studies; and, according to the latest LSAC data, 75.5% of Philosophy majors who apply to law school are accepted. Philosophy majors are trained to dissect complex ideas, construct logical arguments, and engage in profound ethical reasoning. These skills are directly transferable to law, especially in crafting legal arguments, interpreting statutes, and understanding the philosophical underpinnings of legal concepts. Additionally, the ethical component of philosophy aligns closely with the moral reasoning and ethical decision-making required in legal practice.
Sociology: The Law in Society
Sociology offers invaluable insights into the role of law within social contexts. Majors in this field study societal structures, cultural dynamics, and human interactions, all of which are deeply intertwined with legal issues. This perspective is especially relevant in areas like civil rights law, family law, and social justice initiatives, where understanding societal impacts and human behavior is key. Sociology majors are adept at examining issues from a societal perspective, a skill that enriches their approach to law, providing a more holistic view of legal problems and their implications. 67.1% of Sociology applicants who apply are accepted to law school.
Psychology: The Mind of the Law
The study of psychology delves into human behavior and mental processes, offering a unique lens through which to view legal issues. This understanding is particularly relevant in areas like criminal law, family law, and jury selection. Psychology majors are skilled in understanding motivations, behaviors, and cognitive processes - all of which are integral in analyzing legal cases, understanding parties involved, and approaching negotiations or mediations. With that said, it’s no surprise that Psychology majors have a law school acceptance rate of 71.3%!
The Fine Arts: Creative Approaches to Legal Thinking
At first glance, fine arts may seem distant from the legal world, but the creativity and problem-solving skills honed in these disciplines can be incredibly advantageous in law. Artistic majors cultivate an ability to think outside the box, approach problems innovatively, and perceive issues from different perspectives. In the legal field, this creative approach can lead to novel solutions and strategies, whether in litigation tactics, legal writing, or negotiation.
Although there isn’t specific data on Fine Arts, ‘Arts and Humanities – Other’ majors have an astonishing 72.8% acceptance rate in law school! As we noted throughout the blog…it isn’t about your major, it’s about your skillset, GPA and LSAC score, so, if you love Fine Arts, studying them won’t limit your future opportunities as an aspiring lawyer.
Unconventional Majors: Standing Out in the Law School Pool
Opting for an unconventional major can set a law school applicant apart. The legal field values diversity in thought and background. Majors like art, music, engineering, or environmental science contribute unique perspectives and skill sets to the study of law.
Additionally, there are specific institutions in the United States and Canada that offer a combined – business skills and law go hand-in-hand, and this unique pathway may be worth considering if you have an interest in both sectors and wish to pursue a dual-degree.
These fields encourage innovative thinking, problem-solving, and a distinctive approach to legal issues. Law is an increasingly interdisciplinary field, and the ability to integrate knowledge from various disciplines can be a significant advantage. Embracing a less traditional path can highlight a candidate's versatility and adaptability, qualities highly regarded in the legal profession. If you happen to be pursuing an unconventional major and are unsure how to approach it in your application, a can help you with your application and answer pre-application questions, too.
The journey to law school isn't just about academic choices; it's also about building a comprehensive pre-law profile. Engaging with an advisor or considering can help students navigate the law school application process and optimize their undergraduate experiences. Involvement in activities, such as debate clubs, volunteering, internships, and other relevant experiences, is crucial. These activities demonstrate a commitment to the field and help develop real-world skills. They also provide opportunities to explore various legal careers and build a network of contacts in the legal community.
The key takeaway from this blog? A holistic approach, blending academic excellence with practical experience, lays a solid foundation for a successful law school application. Your major isn’t everything, and there isn’t one single pre-law major that will set you apart on its own.
Remember, selecting the best major for law school is a personal decision, one that should align with your interests and strengths. It's about choosing a field that not only captivates you but also equips you with the critical skills needed for law school and beyond. It’s true that law schools appreciate diversity in their classrooms. Your unique educational background, combined with a well-rounded undergraduate experience, will prepare you for the challenges and opportunities of a legal education and career.
1. Is there a ‘best’ major for law school?
There is no single ‘best’ major for law school; law schools value a diversity of academic backgrounds that align with your interests and strengths.
2. Do majors like English or History give me an advantage in law school?
English and History are beneficial as they develop crucial skills like critical reading, writing, and understanding complex texts, but they are not the only paths to law school success.
3. Can a STEM major be good for law school?
Yes, STEM majors are increasingly valuable, especially in fields like patent law and environmental law, due to their analytical and problem-solving skills.
4. How important are extracurricular activities for law school applicants?
Extracurriculars are important as they demonstrate commitment, develop real-world skills, and provide a well-rounded profile beyond academic achievements. They can also support your application; whether you have an outstanding GPA and or a low one, extracurriculars are always a positive inclusion on your application.
5. Do law schools prefer traditional majors like Political Science over unconventional ones?
Law schools appreciate a variety of majors; unconventional majors can bring unique perspectives and skills to the legal field. On the flip side, traditional majors like Political Science often give applicants a thorough understanding of government systems and processes; this knowledge may give them an advantage in law school, but it doesn’t mean these applicants automatically stand out above the rest.
6. How does majoring in Philosophy or Economics benefit a law school applicant?
These majors enhance critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and analytical skills, all of which are valuable in legal studies.
7. Should I focus more on my GPA or LSAT score?
Both GPA and LSAT score are crucial in law school admissions, reflecting your academic ability and potential for success in law studies. If you have a low GPA, there is still a chance your application may be considered. If you have a low LSAT score, you may opt to retake the test. Strive for excellence (for both your GPA and LSAT score), continue to involve yourself in extracurriculars and give yourself more than enough time to prepare an outstanding law school application.
8. Is it beneficial to work with a pre-law advisor during my undergraduate studies?
Working with a pre-law advisor or another admissions expert is beneficial for guidance on law school preparation and optimizing your undergraduate experience for a legal career.
9. How can a Fine Arts major contribute to a legal education?
Fine Arts majors develop creative thinking and innovative problem-solving skills, which can lead to unique approaches in legal reasoning and strategy.
10. Is there any particular skill set that law schools look for in applicants?
Law schools look for skills like critical thinking, effective communication, analytical reasoning, and ethical judgment, which can be developed through various majors.