So you convinced your parents to extend your curfew by devising a clever logical argument, you proudly wear the captain’s badge on the debate team, and you shout “I object, Your Honor” in your dreams. If this sounds like you, then you’ve probably been planning on becoming a lawyer since you put on your first pair of batman pull-ups. Unfortunately, your undergraduate career is only the first step in actually getting into law school, and most universities don’t even offer “Pre-Law” degrees. So what the heck do you study?
The term “Pre-Law” is a little misleading in that it generally and generically refers to any course of study one takes prior to attending law school. The most popular majors for pre-law students include Criminal Justice, English, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Psychology. You will notice that these areas of study either tangentially relate to the field of law or in some way have to with thinking, writing, or communicating effectively.
Demonstrate Skills Necessary to Succeed in Law School
Much like the undergraduate admissions process, law schools prefer students who can demonstrate versatility as a candidate. These schools are looking for effective communicators who understand human behavior and have shown an interest in law and government. Classes and projects that encourage innovative thinking, strategic solutions, and an ability to think clearly and logically are recommended.
As you mold yourself into a competitive law school candidate, you might want to consider life after law school. Are you interested in Intellectual Property? Are you thinking about pursuing a career in Real Estate law? Or do you feel yourself drawn to a higher calling as a public defender? This is an important question; use your time as an undergraduate to build a solid foundation on which a real professional expertise can be constructed.
Become Friendly With Professors
As with any professional degree, connecting with professors is an important networking step. By creating strong academic relationships with professors and advisers, you will have a great pool of potential recommendations and opportunities for resume-building teaching or research assistantships.
Contacts and professional associates do not necessarily have to be professors, what is important is that you begin to establish a network of like-minded individuals. You want to be a lawyer? Then it is time to start thinking like one! C
Look for Pre-Law Student Groups
Pre-law student organizations can be found on most college campuses. Rather than joining every group that offers you a free t-shirt, become involved in the groups that provide quality support and beneficial opportunities. Though you could build a new wardrobe from t-shirt freebies, it would be advantageous to focus on standing out from all the other law school applicants.