What's the best pre-law major?
There is no "best" major for law school. The most common pre-law majors — Political Science, History, and English — are excellent preparations, but only if you enjoy those areas of study. Your personal interests and desire to grow intellectually in a particular discipline should drive your choice of a major.
Try to think about how the perspective of your major will enhance your long-term interest in the law. Your general advisor in the Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center is available to help you with this process.
What courses are required for Law School?
There are no specific course requirements for law school. The most important thing is to take courses that are intellectually challenging for you and that broaden your understanding of the world. Training in the use of the English language is very important to success in law. You should honestly assess yourself on this, and as an undergraduate work to develop your written and verbal skills to their fullest potential.
Try to use your distribution requirements to take courses in a broad variety of disciplines, both to explore the subjects themselves and to improve your skills in particular areas, i.e., logical reasoning, reading complex texts. Quantitative courses will help you to analyze and synthesize data necessary for making a case. Verbal skills will help you to present arguments effectively. Sensitivity and aware of social issue may help you to listen better to clients. ECON 101 examines the microeconomics of capitalism-the behavior of households and businesses, the generation of prices and outputs in markets, and applications to public policy.
I only want to go to a "top" law school. What GPA do I need in order to get admitted?
First, you should further evaluate your interest in a legal education and why you wish to pursue it. Striving to be the "best" is an admirable quality, but studying and practicing law is something that you should desire for its own sake. Your legal education will involve a huge sacrifice of time, energy and money. Before making that choice, make sure it is going to be right for you.
There are no general GPA cutoffs, but there is less competition in the pool of applicants, the higher your GPA and LSAT scores are and the more competitive you are for admission to top schools. Many law schools desire U-M graduates but recognize you are competing with your classmates for a position in the law school class. Subjectively, U-M is very respected but in the application process, you need to make yourself interesting so that the law school will see you as an asset to their class. The personal statement is your opportunity to do this.
See "Pre-Law Programs" for scheduled personal statement workshops or call to set up a one-on-one appointment.
See the Boston College 25%-75% Locator at www.bc.edu/offices/careers/gradschool/law/research/lawlocator.html or LSAC's Official Guide at officialguide.lsac.org/Release/UGPALSAT/UGPALSAT.aspx to assess your competitiveness at law schools.
My GPA is low but I really want to study law. What are my options?
If you are truly interested in studying law, there is a law school for you. Nationally there are law schools that have less rigorous admission characteristics. This does not mean that the programs at these schools are easier, simply that they have different admissions philosophies that provide access to a wider range of students. These schools often have high attrition rates after the first year so desire is not enough to be successful in law school. You will want to access support services and clinical opportunities as criteria to determine if the law school is a good fit for you. It is also very important to make sure you are mentally and financially prepared for the challenge of law school. The pre-law advisor can help you to identify schools to optimize your chances of admission.
Remember, how you use your legal education, after law school will be determined by the contacts and experiences you develop during your legal education. Each law school has a Career Services Office which will share data on job placement after graduation in relation to your class ranking. Your personality, your debt level, your ability to take risk, and your personal desire for balance in life will set your standards of "success" as much as the law school you attend.
What are some common parallel plans in case I do not get accepted at one of the law schools of my choice?
It is best to take some time off from school and work. Law school can remain an option in another three to five years, after you gain some experience in business. Sort out your personal strengths and interests and investigate professional opportunities for yourself. The Career Center, 3200 SAB will assist you doing this as an undergraduate. Work experience may make you more competitive in the legal job market once you graduate from law school as well. Some students further investigate law by becoming a paralegal. There are paralegal educational programs, but there are also law firms which hire bachelor degree candidates for a one-two year period and train them as paralegals. Ultimately, whatever you chose to do will add perspective to who you are and if you can articulate it well in writing, strengthen you as a candidate for admission.
You also may want to reevaluate the law schools to which you applied. You may have set your original expectations far to high and in reapplying you may need to set more realistic admission goals. If you are truly interested in studying the law, getting the education is the required next step to sitting for the state bar and setting up a practice. Earning a successful living as a lawyer requires many attributes not taught in law school.
Some students consider graduate programs to improve their competitiveness for admission to law school. Graduate school grades are not used in the admission process. Rather the degree is another characteristic about you to be weighed in the admission process.
One last option is to attend a less competitive law school your first year and look to transfer for the second and third year. This plan is generally only a good one for students who truly excel in their first year of law school and who can pinpoint specific reasons why they would like to transfer.
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