Advice for a college major - interested in Non-Science major

I have D who is a freshman at High School. She doesn’t want to do science/Engineering/CS. She really likes current affairs, politics, History and Law. She is a good student but not comfortable speaking in public. So she didn’t really enjoy Model UN (she tried in the 1st sem) and would like to try Mock Trial next year. She is currently doing online school and probably in-person next year. She is very much confused and says she wants to do Law. I know it’s tough and I heard Law is useless unless you graduate with Law degree from top 20 colleges. I am sure it’s not easy to get into those colleges as she doesn’t have leadership skills and not super motivated. She is very slow and steady person but works if she has to do something. I hope she will learn once she starts college if she knows what to do eventually.

We’re trying to do some research and give her some choices. Our goal is that she should enjoy her college life, do what she enjoys and also settle down in a decent job. We both are in IT and older D is planning to do Medicine (it’s too early as she she will be starting her undergrad this year).

We think with political science major she cannot really do much if she cannot go to Law school or can get into politics (I know it’s not easy but she really likes politics).

I really appreciate any suggestions for the major (to get some rough idea and best/decent colleges? I don’t know if she likes LAC. I am looking for some ideas where she can really explore once she gets into colleges and grow from there.

While there is no harm in thinking about potential majors, you don’t need to have a major decided upon during your freshman year of high school. Most colleges don’t require you to declare a major until sophomore year in college - 5 years from now.

One thing you seem to be confusing in your post. It is recommended that you go to a top law school because there is an over supply of lawyers. Your ECs and leadership positions in high school have nothing to do with what law school you get into. Law school admissions are based on college GPA and LSAT score. What she does in high school will not matter for law school admissions, though it may help her decide what type of career she in interested in.

I totally agree that you don’t have to select major in high school but trying to get some broad list of colleges to keep in mid. That helps to see where she stands admission in those schools. I know Law is after undergrad but we’re thinking she can get into top Law schools only if her undergrad experience is great. Is that not true? Can you go to top 20 Law schools even though you’re from an average undergad college?

There are many threads on this site debating whether a top undergrad gives you an advantage in top law school admissions. All top law schools have students from a variety of undergrads. Some point out that top undergrad schools are over represented at top law schools, but it is not clear if that is because the undergrad matters or if its because students with high GPAs and test scores out of high school are more likely to have high GPAs and test scores out of college, and are more likely to be at top schools. Is it causation, or just correlation? It’s not clear.

Thanks ! I am still curious to know which major would be (tentatively) if she doesn’t go to Law but end up with some Masters and a job.

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There are many many options. There really isn’t any point trying to decide this at this point. If your child was a freshman in college then it would make sense to try to narrow this down.

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It is very, very common for students to change their intended majors multiple times much later than their freshman year of high school. Both of my daughters changed their majors after starting at university. Both have nonetheless done very well.

You can major in almost anything and then go to law school. Most of the lawyers that I know majored in some form of engineering, or in one case computer science. This does have something to do with the type of lawyers I know. Sometimes lawyers will specialize in a type of law that is related to their undergraduate degree.

Also, most lawyers are NOT trial lawyers. For the large majority of lawyers, keeping their client out of court is a goal. Speaking in public is not needed for most.

Thank you so much! At this point we’re just looking for different options and the career paths not specifically Law school.

Any advice?

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A 9th grader in the US need not decide on a college major or career path yet.

The most that is required is to make sure that course selection in high school does not close off paths to any particular college, college major, or career path. But someone who follows a reasonable high school college prep base curriculum like that described in FAQ: High School College Prep Base Curriculum (choosing more rigorous options based on academic strength and interest) should be fine.

Typical decision points:

  • Early 12th grade: if applying to colleges where one has to apply to a major or division (more common with certain majors like nursing or engineering), the student has to select the desired major on the application.
  • Frosh / soph in college: if undeclared and undecided, consider what majors are of possible interest and choose introductory courses to work toward all of those majors (to avoid being “behind” on any) and determine which is of interest.
  • Soph year in college: typically required to declare major during this year.

Law school does not require any specific undergraduate major; admission is mostly dependent on LSAT and college GPA. Admission difficulty is highly correlated to law school ranking; top 14 overall or top in the state one wants to practice law in has the best job prospects.

OP, if I may here, you’ve gotten great advice from the folks here in this thread, but it looks like you’re still looking for something else. Can you bring some clarity to what it is that you’re looking for here?

If your daughter is a freshman in high school, I am guessing that she’s around 14 or 15 years old. It is eminently normal for her to not know what her major is or what career paths she wants to follow, and that is okay. Trying to force it or get her to decide on something at this stage may be more harmful than simply encouraging her to explore her interests and not to commit to any one thing yet. If she thinks she wants to do law right now…let her think she wants to do law and try out mock trial and see if she likes it! If she doesn’t, she’ll move onto something else eventually.

She doesn’t need to select a major to make a list of colleges. Most good colleges offer the vast majority of the standard liberal arts and sciences majors plus some additional interesting ones, so when she’s ready all she has to do is make a list of colleges that have an array of majors for her to experiment with. (And it’s much too early for her to do that yet, anyway - she’s only a freshman.)

One thing I will say, though, is that there are lots of things someone can do with a political science major other than law or politics. Most people’s majors are not necessarily directly related to the jobs they take after college. It’s hard to make a list because there are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands; it’s also important to consider that the job she wants may not exist right now, or may be nascent. The team I work on is only 20 years old and literally started my relatively niche field. I was around the same age as your daughter is now when they were starting this team, and I would’ve never been able to dream about something that didn’t exist yet!

Looks like either I didn’t convey what I am looking for or people misunderstood that. I am not expecting her to finalize her major or make a final decision at the age of 14. I am only trying to see the suitable career paths for her interest at the current age. As I mentioned in my post she is more interested in current affairs, politics, running for congress (hard reach :)) and may be Law. I mean this is what we interpreted based on the casual family time/dinner time. I am not sure how many kids follow current affairs at that age but she followed every single presidential debate and she knows most representatives, senators by name, most presidents biographies, their school their college etc. I am not sure if this is a just a curiosity or real interest. I am just trying to find out a balance between her interests and also a decent job. Her interests are little hard reach for a common man but I wouldn’t discourage her and at the same time would like to have her other decent career path as a back up plan.

I greatly appreciate thoughts on this. Thank you all for whoever responded.