Deciding Where to Go > Where should I go next fall?

From Art School to Law School

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Katya285:
I will be attending the Academy of Art College in San Francisco this fall, majoring in graphic design. I would like to go to law school upon graduation, but was wondering how difficult that would be, since I am majoring in graphic design, not pre-law, English, history, etc. Is it going to be difficult to get into law school w/ a creative arta background? Or will that be looked upon as "well-rounded"? I'm kinda freakin out b/c my friends are saying that if I know that I want to go into law, I should pursue a more "practical" major for my bachelor's. Any feedback would be great. Thanks!

windycitylaw:
If I were an admissions official at a law school, I would be intrigued by your background, but would want to know how your college courseload was divided between liberal arts (presumably involving the critical thinking and writing skills law students need) and creative arts. I would have little choice but to ignore the creative arts portion of your transcript as largely irrelevant. As a result, if law school is truly your goal, you really need to do well in your liberal arts required courses, as well as doing most of your electives in liberal arts as well.  Good luck!

Dennis Leason:
I strongly disagree with this. At the very top-tier schools (top 15 or so), creative artists are among the most highly prized applicants, precisely because their area of concentration tends to favor those who can think critically and creatively, essential in theoretical legal study. Musicians in particular are highly sought, as critical analysis of classical music is extremely similar to the process of legal analysis, and therefore a useful predictor of success.

The rub comes with schools below the top tier, which may be concerned more less with advanced legal theory than with simply giving students the specific skills and knowledge they will need for employment. Here, more enlightened schools may still favor artistically inclined applicants, but many others may not have formed the appropriate correlation. Finding the right program is essential.

Should a student choose a major in the arts with the specific purpose of gaining admission to a law school? No. But an outstanding student in the arts may find that his or her education provides the perfect background for a top law school.

Brent:
I am attending law school next fall, and graduated with a BFA (painting and drawing).  Everyone told me that schools would appreciate the different background I would be bringing.  I think that this is likely true.  However in some respects it hurt me, but only because I had a low GPA.  If you attend art school, and focus on your GPA, your will be good to go.  In my opinion, as much as schools like to talk about looking past the numbers, they are the most important thing.  The problem is that schools are ranked heavily on the average GPA and LSAT scores they admit.  I did well on my LSAT, above average at almost all the schools I applied at.  The low GPA, in fine arts no less, stood out on my application as a negative.  I think that many people who don't understand the art world, expect it to be easy to get a high GPA when you are drawing all day.  What they don't realize is the huge amount of work that goes into an art degree.  Hours and hours more then my friends were doing in other classes.  Also, many art teachers are out to proove everyone wrong about how easy art is.  I had one teach who flat out said no one gets A's from him.

Long story short, get the GPA and LSAT scores, and your art degree will be a plus.  Get a low GPA, and it will hurt you.

-Brent

elo:
I ran into this as well as a music major. In music, a high GPA was often actually looked down upon. It was seen as the wrong priority, when that person could instead use his/her time to practice. I once had a professor tell me *never* to spend the time to make an A, as auditions are conducted behind a screen anyway. And sure enough, the best musicians were rarely the ones graduating with honors.

elo

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