So you want to get into law school. This is becoming an increasingly larger goal for ambitious young people, since a career in law offers respect, affluence, and stability. In the post-recession period, with the economy yet to recover completely, there are many aspiring students hoping to land an amazing career as a prominent lawyer. However, entering a prestigious institution is tremendously difficult. Schools look for students who can think critically, apply logic, analyze complicated situations and articulate their thoughts clearly and concisely. The logical thing to do as an undergraduate, then, would be to figure out exactly what undergraduate courses law schools like to see.
You may be racking your brain trying to figure out that answer. Take a breath; the truth is there are no specific courses that you have to take. Not exactly. There’s no specific course that can “prepare” you for law school. In fact, while it is true that some courses might help an applicant to develop analytical thinking skills and other cognitive abilities that will definitely help on your LSAT and law school application, no graduate school mentions any specific academic background as an entry requirement. Usually a class at law school is quite heterogeneous, comprising of students from diverse academic backgrounds. Law schools usually prefer to have a multidimensional aspect in the class, especially apparent today as law becomes increasingly integrated within multiple dimensions of our daily lives.
However, that’s not to say that you should coast through your undergraduate career taking classes like “The Living and Undead: An Inquiry into Zombies in Cinema and Literature”. Even though that does sound kind of cool.
The main thing a law school will judge in your application is the way you challenged yourself. Learning from any course can be applicable to your law education. For example, if you have taken mechanics courses, that experience might help you to understand construction defect disputes better. So, one of the best ways of preparing yourself for law school during your undergraduate years is to really learn from whatever course you take. In depth knowledge on any course will benefit you in the long run.
Having said all that, there are some points you can consider about your undergraduate courses.
Thing To Keep In Mind When Applying To Law School
Law Schools expect at least a basic understanding of the United States Government, politics, and history. Though they aren’t required, taking courses United States and World History, Government, Economics, and Political Science.
Courses in Debate, Public Speaking, English, Philosophy, Logic, and Literature will allow you to enhance your abilities in writing, thinking, and public speaking. Law schools like this, so consider enrolling in a few of these undergraduate courses.
Critical thinking and analysis are two skills that will serve you well in law school. Taking undergraduate classes in sociology, psychology, criminology, and even religion before applying to law school may help you a great deal.
You should go for those courses that are likely to challenge your cognitive and analytical capacities. Also, it is better to get used to a significant amount of writing and reading since you have to do a lot of that in Law school.
Whatever courses you take, try to apply your analytical and problem-solving abilities to address the subject matter.
You probably won’t even have a choice with this one: get used to writing essay exams during your undergraduate years. Essay exams are the most common way to evaluate law students. That’s why it is better to avoid courses during your undergraduate studies that mainly depend on multiple choice questions.
In short, the whole point is to push yourself forward to handle academically rigorous courses. If you perform exceptionally on those courses, that might give you an edge because law schools tend to evaluate applicants who attended and excelled in advance level courses a bit more favorably than applicants who focused on easier courses. Having said that, don’t just go for the tough classes; it would be a serious blunder to choose a course outside of your interest just because it is hard and you believe it to give you advantage in your law school application.
Nevertheless, these advanced level courses can be categorized in three groups. As mentioned earlier, they will not give you any direct advantage for law school admission but may help you acquire some skills necessary for the study of law.
Courses That Help Students Build Useful Skills For Law School
Besides analytical and problem-solving skills, there are some other abilities that an aspiring law student may consider developing during the undergraduate years. These skills include public speaking, familiarity with Latin, and an understanding of accounting and financial principles.
Courses That Help Students Develop Skills On Substantive Areas Of Law
There are some other undergraduate courses that cover substantive areas of law and the legal system. For example, courses on Ethics help a student to clarify his ideas about the moral basis of law. In a similar way, courses covering the Constitution and Federal taxation system contribute to the development of a student’s skills in areas relevant to many cases faced in court.
Courses That Familiarize Students With Legal System
There is another set of courses that familiarize the student directly with the legal system, legal problems and the social aspects of law. Business law, advertisement law, Constitutional law – all these courses introduce different aspects of law and legal systems to the student. Hence, these courses can help them to have a more sophisticated understanding about how law works in a practical context. Taking these courses can improve the quality of one’s law school application because having completed these courses successfully, the applicant will likely have a more fundamental understanding of law.
One more time, it is worth mentioning that courses belonging to any of the above-mentioned categories do not impress the admissions committees in and of themselves. You performance in your undergraduate courses comes first. There is no set rule about which undergraduate courses you should take before applying to law school; you have to follow your passions if you are to become the lawyer you have always wanted to become, but above all: work hard, excel in your classes, and make sure you don’t run out of coffee – you are going to need it!