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More Reputable Major

NeveaNevea Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
edited March 2007 in Law School
I know that there have been numerous threads about political science as a preparation for law school, and how it seemingly doesn't matter what you major in. However, I was wondering which of the two following undergraduate degrees is more reputable for law school: Political Science or Communication?
Post edited by Nevea on

Replies to: More Reputable Major

  • AmericanskiAmericanski Registered User Posts: 683 Member
    Poli Sci. Communications is kind of a joke major.
  • jetski217jetski217 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I disagree with you Americanski on the basis that many law students are Poli Sci majors. Law schools prefer diversity in their classes. Communications majors (and everything else) can benefit from the flood of PS majors.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,887 Super Moderator
    There are numerous threads that talk to what is the "best major" for law school.

    The short answer is that you can major in anything you want because the main thing is to study what you are passionate about to increase your chances of doing well. At the same time there is a general concensus to stay away fro "pre-law" and "pre-law related" programs.


    Anna Ivey- former Dean of Admissions at U of Chicago Law school and now private consultant, and author of The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions: Straight Advice on Essays, Resumes, Interviews, and More
    has an Ask Anna Column on Vault.com.

    In her column, she answered the question this way:

    Question: I am a freshman in college who is interested in going to law school after college. My question is, is there a particular major that impresses law school admissions officers? Some people have told me that Political Science is the best. I am particularly interested in an English major but will choose whichever major is most appealing to law schools. Thank you!

    Anna's Answer: Good for you for starting to plan ahead so early! Make sure to keep an open mind, though, because you don't want to lock yourself into a particular career goal too early. It's tough trying to make career-related decisions as a freshman. You wouldn't start law school for another four years at the earliest, and who know what you'll want out of life at that time? Think back to four years ago, when you were about fourteen, and think about how much you've changed since then, your priorities, your outlook, your maturity. Your personal development proceeds at lightening speed during your high school and college years. You'll need those first couple of years in college to try out different subjects and disciplines and to think about different career paths.

    Once you're a junior and ready to pick a major, go with your heart. That will be the best outcome for you personally, and it will be the best outcome for you in terms of law school admissions (if that's still what you want down the road) for two reasons:

    First, while it's true that the most popular majors for law school applicants are Political Science, History, and Economics, that phenomenon just reflects the popularity of those majors among people who end up applying to law school; it does not reflect a preference on the part of law school admissions officers. You absolutely do not have to pursue one of those majors to be a successful law school applicant; if anything, you might have a harder time distinguishing yourself from the pack as a Poli Sci major.

    http://www.vault.com/nr/newsmain.jsp?nr_page=3&ch_id=351&article_id=19222221&cat_id=2711

    In Richard Montauk (How to get in a top law school) he states that there are some majors that admissions counselors cringe at seeing; communications, criminology and pre-law (even though theoretically pre-law is not a major)
  • SoulinNeedSoulinNeed Registered User Posts: 293 Junior Member
    Pick whichever major you like more and think you'll do better in. For me that's Political Science.
  • LosLos Registered User Posts: 124 Junior Member
    Yup, ever seen Legally Blonde?
    I've actually met a happy lawyer whose undergrad major is communications.
  • jimbob1225jimbob1225 Registered User Posts: 3,457 Senior Member
    I found this link VERY helpful:

    http://www.yale.edu/career/students/gradprof/lawschool/lawprep.html

    (Yale's undergraduate career services website with info on picking pre-law majors)
  • AmericanskiAmericanski Registered User Posts: 683 Member
    I disagree with you Americanski on the basis that many law students are Poli Sci majors. Law schools prefer diversity in their classes. Communications majors (and everything else) can benefit from the flood of PS majors.

    This is just poor reasoning. Schools aren't going to admit you just for the sake of having somebody with your major. While it generally doesn't matter what you major in, there are a few things that can actually hurt you. Communications, "pre-law," legal studies or criminal justice are some of those.
  • WildflowerWildflower Registered User Posts: 1,254 Senior Member
    vocational majors are frown upon, people.
  • jetski217jetski217 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Americanski,

    Your lack of any credible information for your assertion that communications is a poor major for law school is an example of poor reasoning.

    In fact, in my law class there are many art history majors, engineers, IT majors, communications, and agriculture. By all means, please feel free to join the pack of poli sci majors.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,887 Super Moderator
    going to be long so stay with me...

    As stated in one of my previous posts, if you have not already done so I would recommend purchasing How to get into Top Law Schools by Richard Montauk. It the book is approximately 500 pages and gives a very comprehensive overview of the college process and discusses applications, essays, LSATs, majors, etc.

    Chapter 8 of his book discusses Making the Most of Your Credentials, Montauk states:

    Your specific major matters less than the type of major you choose. What matters is that you choose a serious major. Schools are leery of pre-professional subjects such as business, and those that reward performance talents such as acting. Any subject that requires serious analytical work and dedication attract at least a reasonable % of the best and brightest will meet with approval.

    The ideal undergraduate record would thus include all of the following:

    Top quality school

    Demanding course load (no path of least resistance) advanced work in a second unrelated (to your major) filed is particularly helpful

    Top grades throughout (with few courses taken pass/fail) but especially in junior & senior years

    Courses requiring substantial reading, strong writing ability good research skills and analytical prowess

    Courses developing useful substantial knowledge for your future legal field.

    When posed with the question: What factors do you consider when evaluating an undergraduate record admissions officers at various law schools state :

    What ever the major, there should be variety including some clearly demanding analytical courses. There is not set preparation for law school, but some majors may be of less value than others (for ex. Pre-law) I examine the undergraduate transcript very closely. I look at what the applicant has done both in and outside of their major- Faye Deal, Stanford

    What we are looking for is both breadth and depth. We favor applicants who come to us from broad liberal arts education. They learn about human vision from the arts, how the world works from math and the sciences and the human condition from philosophy and history. We don’t want academic dilettantes however; we want applicants to have taken the most analytically rigorous courses in their field- Jim Mulligan, Columbia

    Not all UGPAs are created =. Swat and William and Mary, for instance have refrained from inflating grades; their averages are between 2.8 & 2.9. At the other end of the spectrum, Stanford and Yeshiva have mean GPAs over 3.4- Mulligan, Columbia

    The GPA number is just a starting point. Our first concern is how rigorous the course load has been. We look at academic letters of recommendation, which are particularly helpful if they address the difficulty of the course load ex: the grading policies of professors from whom the applicant took multiple courses. Other factors we c examine is whether there were substantial barriers to performance such as the need to work many hours per week- USC

    I know what the strongest and weakest programs are at some 50 to 60 schools. At some smaller commonly seen schools (and programs) it can be helpful for the student to provide detailed information. –GWU

    We see a # of pre-med students who did poorly as pre-meds but then did well in their next field. The key for them is to make sure they get out of pre-med early so they can fully demonstrate their talents.- UCLA
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 20,887 Super Moderator
    Section does it Matter what a candidate Major is?

    We do not give any advantage to those who major in political sciences, philosophy or history. The reason we have a lot with these majors is they self-select.- Columbia

    I like unusual majors. I like math majors, philosophy majors, because you have to read and think critically, challenge your personal views and analyze a wide range of materials engineering and sciences, because these are tough across institutions- you know you are getting some one who had to work hard to perform- Duke

    When I see some majors, I shudder: criminal justice, elementary ed. Music (performance) theater arts (performance) hotel/restaurant management, leisure studies,. At some schools these are solid programs, but not many- GWU

    We want diversity. We have so many applicants who do the “right “things (majoring in poli sci, history or english, taking a semester or year abroad, doing political internship) all which are perfectly fine, but to stand our you have do so something a bit different, such as taking courses out side your area of interest. We want to see courses that require substantial writing, research and analysis-the skills necessary to succeed in law school- Penn

    IF you major in hard sciences or in business, be sure to take a few classes that involve lots of writing as well as some that involve reading and interpreting text- Yale

    Students should favor a curriculum that requires them to read dense, complex primary source material, analyze it closely and present reasonable conclusions in writing- UVA

    Weak majors vary by institution. I do not favor narrowly vocational non-academic majors; PT, culinary arts, hospitality mgmt, etc. but I also worry about some accounting and engineering programs that allow little opportunity to develop skill sin reading and writing at a sophisticated level- UVA

    There is a rebuttable presumption that certain majors are suspect; communications, criminal justice, which are popular majors for people who don’t want to work hard, even though it can be rigorous at some places.- Duke

    In general we like t see people writing a senior thesis. It requires commitment and self discipline. It gives them a sense of intellectual ownership of a topic. The process engenders real growth and development- Columbia
  • AmericanskiAmericanski Registered User Posts: 683 Member
    Americanski,

    Your lack of any credible information for your assertion that communications is a poor major for law school is an example of poor reasoning.

    In fact, in my law class there are many art history majors, engineers, IT majors, communications, and agriculture. By all means, please feel free to join the pack of poli sci majors.

    I don't care what people in your class majored in. You implied that schools would admit a communications major for "diversity" purposes. This is just wrong. Even admissions officers, who hardly ever give advice of substance, admit as much:
    We favor applicants who come to us from broad liberal arts education.
    I do not favor narrowly vocational non-academic majors; PT, culinary arts, hospitality mgmt, etc.
  • jonrijonri Registered User Posts: 6,974 Senior Member
    Part of the discrepency in the views expressed here may be because of the differences in the law schools attended. If I'm not mistaken, Americanski attends a top 14 school.If my googling skills are working, Jetski attends an ABA-accredited law school, but one that is not in the USNews top 100 (listed in another thread on this page) and one at which more than 85% of graduates take jobs in-state. It might not be politically correct to say so, but I wouldn't be surprised if a local law school which draws from and sends most graduates to a particular state used somewhat different criteria for selection than do national law schools.

    So, whether communications is a good major for law school may depend somewhat on whether you are applying to a national or regional law school. It may also depend upon which particular law school you are applying to.
  • AmericanskiAmericanski Registered User Posts: 683 Member
    I don't doubt that the admissions process works differently at different schools. It's possible that a communications major wouldn't be looked down upon to as great an extent at a second- or third-tier school. But that doesn't mean it's going to be viewed favorably.
This discussion has been closed.