Veronica Wickline 6 min read Applying to College, Career Advice

10 Best Undergraduate Majors for Law School

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Attending law school opens so many doors for someone interested in the justice system. Graduates go on to be judges, prosecutors, professors, legislators, mediators, and so much more. But getting into law school is no easy matter.

 

Want to know the best majors for law school? Keep reading! This article is for students thinking about how their choice of major can set them up for success later, when they apply to law school. Additionally, to learn more about the steps you can take to build a successful law career, visit our post on How to Become a Lawyer: Steps to Take from High School.

 

Is Pre-law a Major?

 

Many students talk about pursuing a pre-law track as undergrads. However, it is not possible to major in pre-law. You have to major in an academic subject, such as Political Science, Math, Philosophy, and so on. Unlike premed, there are no prerequisite courses you must take in order to be considered for law school. When people say “pre-law,” they simply mean that they approached college with the plan that, after graduating, they would one day apply to law school. 

 

While there is no pre-law major or set of required classes, you can still prepare for law school while in college. Here are just a few ways you can do that:

 

  • Take classes on law and legal history. The more you know about how legislation is approached in the United States and abroad, the better prepared you will be for your first day of law school. Additionally, taking these classes will help you decide whether the study of law is interesting to you.
  • Join debate, newspaper, and writing clubs. Lawyers must have a strong command of logic and the written word. Your extracurricular activities will help you cultivate these qualities and make applying to law school that much easier.
  • Seek out internships with law firms, courts, and legal organizations. There are thousands of ways to practice law, from supporting large companies as a corporate lawyer to defending asylum-seekers with a non-profit organization. The more internship opportunities you pursue in your field, the better sense you will have of what type of law you want to pursue.
  • For industry-related law, take classes on your industry. Patent lawyers require a firm grasp of the natural sciences in order to practice. Similarly, entertainment and international law rely on an extensive understanding of media and current affairs, respectively. Use your undergraduate years as an opportunity to strengthen your foundation in the industry in which you hope to practice law. 

 

Beyond taking these steps, there is no single best major for law school. You can major in absolutely anything and apply to law school. However, there are schools and programs that do a better job of preparing you for graduate study.

 

What Should I Look for in a College or Major If I Want to Become A Lawyer?

 

Even before you enroll in college, you can take steps to make yourself a stronger candidate for law school. Here are a few tips for how to approach your school, major, and course selection as an undergraduate:

 

 

Look for schools that offer pre-law advising. Some schools prefer to emphasize learning for the sake of learning, while others help students plan ahead for their careers. As a prospective law student, finding the latter type of school will give you the context and support you need to excel once it comes time to apply. When you research the schools on your list, see what kind of resources are available for students interested in pursuing law.

 

Select a rigorous, well-respected school or program. Both your college GPA and the rigor of your course load will be considered when you apply to law school. For that reason, it is important to prioritize academics during your undergraduate years.

 

Pursue a program that strengthens your critical reasoning and attention to detail. Certain fields, such as Classics, Linguistics, and Mathematics, demand more critical reasoning and attention to detail than others. Additionally, all liberal arts curricula are designed to foster these traits. Gravitate towards schools and programs that prioritize these skills.

 

Pick a writing-heavy major. Law students have many papers to write, as well as exams that include long written responses to questions. Build your stamina and polish as a writer by choosing a major that assesses written content regularly.

 

Seek out schools and programs with smaller class sizes. Receiving strong letters of recommendation from professors will go a long way towards setting you apart in your law school application. To receive great letters, it is important to cultivate strong relationships with your instructors. Small class sizes make it easier for your professor to get to know you. If you want to major in a subject with large lectures, that is okay too. Simply make a point of attending office hours regularly to foster relationships with your professors and teaching assistants.

 

Use undergrad to build your foundation in an industry of interest. Your undergraduate years are a great time to build a foundation in the field in which you hope to practice law. Similarly, if you want to support a particular population, now is a great time to learn a foreign language that will be useful when you practice.

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Top 10 Most Popular Undergraduate Majors for Prospective Law Students

 

While there are no objective best majors for law school, certain courses of study do prepare you for that next step better than others. Below, you can find a ranked list of the ten most popular majors for law students.

 

How We Made This List

 

We put together this list based on 2 important main types of data: the number of students admitted to law school with a certain major, and the average LSAT score of the students with that major. 

 

10. Sociology

Students admitted to law school from this major last year: 1,327

Average LSAT score of admitted students (out of 180): 150.7

 

Sociology majors have to be comfortable scrutinizing data and writing long papers. Both the critical thinking and writing skills that this major cultivates can be leveraged in law school. Consider this major if the social dynamics of groups interest you, and you enjoy both quantitative and qualitative reasoning.

 

9. Arts & Humanities

Admitted Students: 1,496

Average LSAT Score: 154.2

 

This group of majors tends to be fairly writing-heavy and attracts students with the focus to spend hours reading. It’s a great pick if you love art and literature but also want to prepare yourself for a legal career.

 

8. Philosophy

Admitted Students: 1,858

Average LSAT Score: 157.5

 

Traditionally, philosophy is considered the ultimate pre-law major. In this field, you wrestle deeply with logic and reasoning as you consider questions about knowledge, existence, and other fundamental concepts. The same skills directly improve a lawyer’s ability to do their job well.

 

7. Criminal Justice 

Admitted Students: 2,220

Average LSAT Score: 145.9

 

If you love to be hands-on with the justice system, this may be the major for you. No field of study gives you more exposure to law prior to law school. That said, notice how much lower the average LSAT score is relative to other majors. It is not considered as academically rigorous as theoretical disciplines. If you want to set yourself apart at a highly competitive law school, this may not be the major for you. If you don’t care about prestige and just want to get as much experience as possible, it’s a great fit.

 

6. Economics

Admitted Students: 2,373

Average LSAT Score: 158.9

 

Economics offers the perfect blend of quantitative and qualitative experience. Additionally, this field prepares you to be an effective lawmaker and advocate for sound monetary policy. Understanding capital is vital for understanding large portions of tax law and federal regulation.

 

5. English

Admitted Students: 2,564

Average LSAT Score: 155.3

 

English is another famous choice for pre-law students, since so much reading and writing is required to perform well in this field. Learning to synthesize a lot of content and becoming sensitive to careful word choice will make you a stronger applicant and a better lawyer.

 

4. History

Admitted Students: 2,657

Average LSAT Score: 156.2

 

Understanding the past is critical for interpreting law for two reasons. First, it establishes precedent, and knowing how legal cases have been resolved in the past is central to our understanding of how to decide current cases. Second, a grounding in the past helps you zoom out and understand the broader social context for a piece of legislation. This is a great major for students eager to pursue a legal career.

 

3. Miscellaneous

Admitted Students: 2,904

Average LSAT: 151.2

 

This category is a catch-all for niche majors not commonly represented among law school applicants. The fact that this category has the third highest number of students accepted shows that you can successfully apply to law school from any major.

 

2. Psychology

Admitted Students: 2,960

Average LSAT Score: 152.6

 

Psychology is the third social science to make an appearance on this list, and that is no surprise. This field blends history, reading, writing, and quantitative analysis together, making graduates in this field well-equipped to approach law from almost any angle. Consider becoming a Psychology major if you are fascinated by how people tick.

 

1. Political Science

Admitted Students: 9,612

Average LSAT Score: 158.3

 

So much of politics is high-quality legislation that it is no wonder this field tops our list of most popular majors for law school students. Political Science offers an invaluable framework for the laws you will be studying in graduate school. If you know you want to be a lawyer but are still deciding which major to choose, you cannot go wrong with Political Science.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Remember, the right major for you may be different than for someone else, depending on your interests and strengths. Regardless, make sure you choose something that improves your writing and critical reasoning.

 

Beyond that, pick a field that interests you and work hard in it. Since just about every industry needs good lawyers, your field-specific knowledge may become quite valuable as you further specialize your legal practice.

 

Want to know your chances of getting into the best colleges for future lawyers? On our college applications platform, you can use our chancing engine, build a best-fit school list, and learn how to improve your profile—all for free. Sign up for your CollegeVine account today to get a boost on your college journey.

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Veronica Wickline
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Veronica is an alumna of Harvard College, where she earned her A.B. in History and Classics. After graduating, she joined CollegeVine serving as the Curriculum Development Manager. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA and is writing her debut novel.