Many students interested in law want to know about pre-law programs in college. Pre-law is not a major, nor will it prepare you for the bar exam (which is required to practice law). It’s an advising program designed to help you prepare for law school. Pre-law advising will help you explore legal professions, and provide support during the law school application process. Unlike pre-med, pre-law is neither a prescribed course of study, nor a requirement for law school. A Bachelor’s degree is a requirement for law school, however – though you can major in anything you want.
Most commonly, students preparing for law school will major in social sciences such as history, political science, or psychology, but you can major in just about anything and still be prepared for law school. Pre-law programs usually recommend taking plenty of social science and humanities courses, and probably some economics or statistics courses, as well.
Law schools are looking for students who perform well academically in college, have strong critical thinking, writing, and reasoning skills, and will bring a unique perspective to the academic community. With that in mind, if you major in a field outside of the social sciences, you would be bringing that diversity of experience, which could make you a more compelling candidate.
If you really want to major specifically in a law-related field, there are a few majors you could look into such as legal studies, criminal justice, and paralegal studies. Most traditional liberal arts colleges will not offer these majors, but you may be able to find them at larger, comprehensive universities.
Bear in mind that a law degree is not something you pursue because it is a “good degree to have.” A law degree prepares you very specifically to work in the law. If you are truly interested in studying law for academic and professional reasons, law school could be a good fit for you. Fortunately, being pre-law in college does not mean you have to go to law school, but it will provide an interesting framework for your undergraduate studies.
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