Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Law School Admissions => Topic started by: l3x on September 22, 2004, 04:40:49 AM

Title: what major?
Post by: l3x on September 22, 2004, 04:40:49 AM
i am really worried about which major to pick for my undergrad studies..im 17 and will be choosing a college any day now..my main problem is choosing a good major..i know pre law is not a prerequisite, but i want to be the most prepared for law school..anybody have any opinions on which one would help best? i saw a poll on the internet that 35% of attorneys said liberal arts was the best major to pick..anybody with an opinion? (i know there is no "best" major)
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: M2 on September 22, 2004, 09:38:19 AM
Stay away from PolSci and Psychology....you will be part of a huge crowd.

I would go for a hard-science like EE, CS, etc if you are interested in science at all...
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: thechoson on September 22, 2004, 10:38:26 AM
I'd say go for the hardest (which are usually the most marketable) major that you can get at least a 3.0 in.

This 3.0 cutoff is magical for law schools and especially for potential employers, in case you change your mind.

Thus, don't do EE cause you think it will get you a job if you can only pull a 2.5.  But, if you have a knack for engineering and can do 3.0 work, then I'd say do EE or Chemical Engineering.

If you are good at business type courses and can handle some quantitative work, then a B.S. in Economics would be swell as well.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: Tobias Beecher on September 24, 2004, 12:02:30 AM
Fashion merchandising.

 8)
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: rushmore on September 24, 2004, 12:13:19 AM
Economics.  Its hard, it teaches you how to think, and its surprisingly fun.  Of course its not the most unique.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: M2 on September 24, 2004, 08:54:12 AM
oh yeh eco is loads of fun...lmao
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: desmo on September 24, 2004, 09:11:37 AM
Pick a major you can actual get a job in if you need to.  A BA in liberal arts doesn't qualify you for much, same with just a BA in psych or phil.
Pick something that interests you, not something someone tells you is the undergrad choice for law school.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: l3x on September 26, 2004, 09:38:33 AM
hey again guys, thanks for the replies..ive heard some stuff on english as a good major..and im a guy who loves to read..what do u think?
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: robbief on September 26, 2004, 09:55:38 AM
Do journalism...it's the best.  It's fun, it improves your writing in every aspect and if need be, and if you're good, jobs aren't that difficult to find.  Don't expect to be rich or be able to afford lunch, but it's fun, at least.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: absy on September 26, 2004, 10:04:20 AM
Whatever you do, do something that interests you.  You don't want to be stuck in a major that bores you to death or that causes your grades to take a nosedive.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: RedlegChang on September 26, 2004, 10:15:07 AM
Seriously, pick a major that genuinely interests you. Otherwise, you'll just be wondering why the hell you're studying whatever you picked and you'll end up hating life.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: l3x on September 26, 2004, 04:03:41 PM
heh i know..thats why i was asking for your opinion on english..because i read all the time on my free time and i know thats a major focus..do u think it would be a good choice?
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: jacy85 on September 27, 2004, 05:14:35 PM
I think you should not declare a major right away.  Most likely the school you're at will have basic requirements to take (1 lab and 1 nonlab science, a certain number of humanities and a certain number of social sciences)

If this is the case, use your first semester or two to get them out of the way.  Explore a little.  Take these basic classes in areas that interest you (english was one you mentioned) and just go with it.  You'll find stuff you hate, but hopefully you'll find something you're passionate about.

Do what you like and waht you're interested in, and enjoy college.  Just make sure to maintain the best gpa you can, and worry about everything re: law school in a few years.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: gobears on September 29, 2004, 12:58:03 AM
A word of caution: don't think that simply because you enjoy reading, that you'll necessarily also enjoy the study of English or English Literature.  Sure, there's a lot of reading involved, but reading great works of literature in the English language is one thing, and studying them, interpreting them, arguing over them, writing papers on them, etc. is quite another.  The enjoyment of the former does not necessarily lend itself to the enjoyment of the latter.

Which is why I totally agree with jacy above, as well as all the other posters, about taking the time during your first year or so to explore what subjects genuinely interest you.

However, if you do find you genuinely like English or Literature, then I think it'd make for a great "pre-law" major.  It will accustom you to the voluminous reading you have to do as a law student, hone your analytical and textual criticism skills, improve your writing, and so forth. 

You might also want to supplement your major course of study in English with classes like Rhetoric or Philosophy which will (in the eyes of the admissions committees) offer a good balance or counterpoint to the perceived "flighty creativity," etc. of an English or Literature major, as this will likely be a concern for law schools.  (Speaking of which, if you can purchase or borrow "How to Get Into the Top Law Schools" by Richard Montauk, I think it'll prove helpful to you: there's a section in that book that gives a run down of the various majors and their strengths and weaknesses as perceived by law school adcomms.)

Of course one slight drawback is that a lot of prospective law school applicants seem to major in English (Montauk points this out as well).  But nowhere near as many as other majors like Political Science or History, so it should still fare well for you overall.

Anyhow, good luck to you in college and beyond. :)
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: l3x on September 29, 2004, 04:38:04 AM
thanks! ;D
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: Corsair on October 05, 2004, 06:29:51 PM
"I would go for a hard-science like EE, CS, etc if you are interested in science at all..."

computer science if you want to become a lawyer?
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: dr_draino on October 05, 2004, 06:31:45 PM
1)  pass your first semester classes

2)  Then pick your major

3)  Hard science is great for law school.  I'm stupid enough to have studied science for 10 years and am now going on to law school.

4)  Go out, smoke some pot and get drunk like most kids your age.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: Casper on October 05, 2004, 06:36:34 PM
4) Go out, smoke some pot and get drunk like most kids your age.

I have to add, have tons of sex.  Nail as many cheerleaders or coeds as you can.  Once you get into law school, you won't have time to chase chicks.  Better to get it out of your system first. 

Title: Re: what major?
Post by: DESI on October 05, 2004, 08:01:48 PM
"I would go for a hard-science like EE, CS, etc if you are interested in science at all..."

computer science if you want to become a lawyer?

do not do CS under any circumstances.  if you do want to go the technical route, do engineering.  it naturally leads to patent law.  if you want to go the science route and do patent law, you need a PhD or at least 5 - 7 years of research experience.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: AuburnChick on November 03, 2004, 11:18:11 AM
At the risk of sounding cheesy, college is the  only opportunity you will ever have to learn about something that really interests you.. even though my polisci/philosophy combo is not desirable (poli sci is too common, and philosophy profs at my college give almost straight b's), i wouldnt trade it for anything.  remember that you are attending undergrad for MANY reasons beside the only that you seem to be really concerned with--setting yourself up for lschool! take advantage of undergrad-i wish that i had attended more of my classes because they were so darn interesting.  dont be an engineering major just to make yourself more marketable, unless you are truly interested in engineering. ;D
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: futurejd20 on November 16, 2004, 08:06:15 PM
Do Economics if you aren't sure whether law is right for you. It gives you a very nice back-up plan.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: Lanya on March 31, 2005, 03:00:30 PM
First of all, I really agree with all the people who said that you should get a major in that field which most interests you (and where you have a chance at getting good grades as well!).

Having said that, one of my majors was in philosophy, and I think that I was very fortunate to major in that field.  First of all, it really helped me a lot, when it came to the LSAT.  In order to get a degree in philosophy (at least at my university), you are required to take an elementary course in logic.  Logic is hard, but if you learn it and become good at it, it will really help you on the LSAT.  For me logic was very hard, but I studied a lot and got a 4.0 in the class.  Then I took an advanced logic course and got a 4.0 in that as well.  When it came time to look over the LSAT, everything was familiar territory.  In fact, when I was taking an LSAT prep class, I found myself often giving suggestions to my instructor on what logical rules to use or how to diagram the problem, based on what I learned in my philosophy logic classes.

Also in philosophy you do a lot of analytical reasoning - analysis, critique and formulation of arguements - this is what philosophy is all about.  This is what the largest part of LSAT is also about: you're given an arguement and you have to analyze it - strengthen, weaken, adjust it, etc.  To someone who studied philosophy this sort of thing is nothing new: you've done this kind of analysis with very complex arguements every day as an undergrad.

Further, from what I understand, once you are in law school you will also have to analyze, critique, and formulate arguements, especially on exams.  And (from what I understand, I am not in law school yet) a lot of the work in law school will involve reading monotonous dry and complicated reading material, understanding it all, and being able to summerize and analyze it.  Well, if you've ever read, understood and analyzed Kant or Hegel, I think that you will be prepared for any reading that law school might offer.

Finally, in philosophy classes you write, write, write like crazy.  And your writing is about very complex ideas and arguements that you have to analyze and comment on.

So the point is that majoring in philosphy might be extremely helpful for a future lawer.  But you do need to like philosophy to choose it as your major and be able to do well in it.  Be warned that it is a tough major.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: Julie Fern on March 31, 2005, 04:02:13 PM
pick major that allows you to feel superior to others on site like this.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: Kwertee on March 31, 2005, 09:01:32 PM
Mathematics makes the LSAT seem easy.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: Julie Fern on April 01, 2005, 04:07:52 AM
yes, but there awful lot of counting involved.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: XYZZY on April 01, 2005, 05:27:40 AM
interest should only be one of the factors and weighted no more than 60%. 
You should consider other factors including:

1) Employment prospects
2) Lifetime earnings
3) What future academic CAREER options does this degree allow
4) What future corporate CAREER paths does thid degree afford.
5) and also interest as a final factor

These additional criteria have nothing to do with greed.  It's the basis of how you're going to support your family and impart change on the world.  'interest' is one of the myths of the academic world that perpetuates the business.  The reality is degrees like sociology and humanities are probably the most interesting, but the lifetime penalty in career options is huge. 

in my case, i majored in electrical engineering and it is boring as hell.  laplace transforms, convolutions, fourier transforms, electromagnetics.... all boring as hell.  the reason for originally choosing this major is i was interested in medicine (radiology), but after that plan didn't pan out, i was still able to do some interesting things with the degree (radar, sonar, electronic warfare, cryptography, EEG pattern recognition) and it provided a high probability path into management.  Now, I'm also making use of the degree to transition into patent law.

the point being that people's interests change over time, so there is a certain amount of risk management/reduction that might be useful to consider.  It's also important to recognize that colleges/university is a BUSINESS that offers services for people's wants,  but not necessarily for their long term needs or demands of the corporate world where most spend 40+ years of their life.

(On another note, my GPA sucks ass compared to the sociology and liberal arts majors I just dissed)

Title: Re: what major?
Post by: LaneSwerver on April 01, 2005, 05:50:55 AM
pick major that allows you to feel superior to others on site like this.

That's why I majored in kinesiology.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: Julie Fern on April 01, 2005, 08:05:23 AM
you studiexd sex like kinsey?
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: LaneSwerver on April 01, 2005, 08:06:56 AM
you studiexd sex like kinsey?

Yeah. It made college go by quickly.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: Julie Fern on April 01, 2005, 08:13:48 AM
gotta love the internships!
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: LaneSwerver on April 01, 2005, 08:26:40 AM
gotta love the internships!

Yeah, one at La-Z-Boy and one at 24 Hour XXX Hott Video & Massage.
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: voce on April 01, 2005, 09:07:59 AM
Pick a major you can actual get a job in if you need to.  A BA in liberal arts doesn't qualify you for much, same with just a BA in psych or phil.
Pick something that interests you, not something someone tells you is the undergrad choice for law school.
This topic has gone around quite a bit on this discussion board, but I have to put a plug in for doing what you're interested in--and doing something well (I think these are related). I majored in music, but I went to a liberal arts school, so I was able to take a wide variety of classes that gave me an "in" to my current job in public policy. I and other friends from college have actually found our liberal arts degrees to be an excellent boon in employment (including my spouse, who works in research for a major investment firm. He was an English major!). I would have to heartily disagree with this poster about liberal arts degrees "not qualify[ing] you for much." Everyone has their own experience, but mine has been quite good.

However, I think it's important to not ignore the second part of my first sentence. GPA really matters, so get a major in something that holds your interest AND that you can do well in.

About the pot: Um...be careful here. Drug-related arrest records are not particularly good for getting a job or into the bar.

Finally, lighten up! You've got lots of time to think about law school. Enjoy college, and take advantage of your general requirements to explore a number of areas.

Good luck!
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: bloomich on April 01, 2005, 08:17:30 PM
^^^ LOL... don't listen to brave in this case... you won't see too many communication majors at top law schools...

HERE IS YOUR PLAN:

1) spend all of freshman year taking a variety of intro courses that seem different, interesting, strange, unfamiliar, and/or challenging.  Use these to also fulfill whatever silly requirements your institution of higher learning necessitates.  This will allow you to explore a variety of subjects that you may not even know anything about and knock off some pre-reqs / crazy college reqs..

2) spend sophomore year taking some higher-level classes in those subjects that most peaked your interest freshman year... declare your major by the end of the year

3) junior... fulfill your concentration requirements and start to think about law school

4) senior... don't screw up your grades while knocking off final requirements

If you are thinking about impressing adcomms, avoid business degrees or other "vocational" degrees... strong liberal arts concentrations are always good for law school (i.e., history, polisci, philosophy, etc)... while these may not set you apart from the millions of other law school students applying to law school, they are still excellent preparatory backgrounds for law school... do well in them and adcomms will take notice... hard sciences are also good because law-types are impressed with hard sciences, probably because most law types shy away from them...

I would say, if you are sure you want to go to law school... take a hard liberal arts or science path... I would choose the specific path after exploration and on the basis of 1) interest and 2) chance of success... hopefully these two factors will coincide... ultimately, adcomms will be impressed by success in a rigorous program... get a 4.0 in engineering, history, physics, or philosophy at a solid undergrad and you will get a solid check in the box for this portion of your LS app
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: legends159 on April 01, 2005, 09:31:39 PM
Bloomich probably offered the best advice  :D
Title: Re: what major?
Post by: bloomich on April 01, 2005, 09:37:35 PM
yay, i win!  ;D