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by Vault Law Editors | March 10, 2009


Unlike medical schools, law schools do not demand a pre-law curriculum. What classes you take in college to prepare you for law school depends very much on your college. Some colleges do offer pre-law classes and you might want to enroll in them, if only to get a taste of what's in store for you. In general, you should take courses that show your seriousness as a scholar. Take courses that encourage writing, public speaking and analytical thinking. Because the study of law is related to the study of government, political science and government courses are useful. "I definitely noticed that poli-sci majors had some advantages when it came to the law school classes," says one former art history major. "I don't think it's a requirement, but if you're not really interested in the government, then you might find the first year less interesting."

Writing courses are particularly helpful, since the more confident you are as a writer, the better your chances of adapting your skills to the particular requirements of legal writing. If you don't take a separate writing course, pay particular attention to the essays you write in government and social sciences courses. Other relevant courses include the study of ethics, philosophy, history and perhaps logic or logical reasoning. Anything that teaches you to formulate arguments and build them persuasively will help you as a litigator.

Your choice of classes will not, however, be the deciding factor in the law school admissions process. One litigator sums up the most important rule of your undergraduate career: "Get good grades. Period." Many law schools claim to look at a variety of elements in choosing their candidates, but the truth is that many students are chosen simply on the basis of their grades and their LSAT scores. Your grade point average counts for a lot, whether you like it or not. True, a 3.4 political science major might initially have an easier time in law school than a 3.8 studio art major, but law schools are partly motivated by pride: they want to keep the average GPA of their accepted candidates high.

Don't despair, however, if you don't have the best grades in the world. If you can, pull them up in the last few semesters of college and in your application essay you can talk about how you became more focused over time. Even with average grades, there's a law school somewhere for you.


Filed Under: Law