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Preparation for the Study of Law

Majors and Minors

Law schools do not prefer any major course of study! Allow this point to sink in: law schools are not concerned with the specific major you choose.  In fact, because law schools seek broad diversity among applicants, including diversity of majors, having an unusual major is absolutely fine.  You can find lists of admission rates of applicants by undergraduate major.  And some have higher rates than others.  But in a way, this is like listing rates of admission based on an applicant's favorite color.  On such an imaginary list, some colors would have higher admission rates than others--but it is obviously NOT because of the particular color.  The same is true for majors.  Every year students from over 50 majors at IUB are admitted to law schools around the country.  You may have also head that law schools to not like "prelaw majors."  This is also not true.  Stereotypical "prelaw" majors are not preferred (because no major is preferred), but neither are they discouraged.  If law schools really cared about certain majors, we'd tell you.  They don't.

So - DO NOT choose a major because of how you think law schools will react to it.  As implied above, your major per se is simply not an important factor in the law school admissions process.   Your EXCELLENCE and PASSION in whatever major is by far more important.  Choose a major that you thoroughly enjoy, one in which you can excel (these two factors are often related), and one that will give you an alternate career or graduate study opportunity should you change your mind about law school.

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It is important to follow an academic interest in which you enjoy being immersed for hours at a time (e.g., reading and studying). Expect to make up your mind and then change it at least once!   Most students do.  And don't be surprised if finding your major takes a long time--sometimes a year or more, since experience (taking courses, experiencing multiple professors), reflection, soliciting advice, and increasing maturity are crucial elements of this process that cannot be rushed.  Your academic advisor can help!  Seek them out.

Will I be a stronger applicant if I complete double majors or multiple minors?

Not really.  Multiple majors/degrees/minors per se will NOT automatically make you a more competitive applicant.  The one exception might be in cases where you have credentials from completely different disciplines, such as English and Chemistry, Philosophy and Mathematics, Business and Poetry, etc.  But again, it is your overall GPA in whatever you undertake that is by far more important.  If you can maintain your GPA while picking up additional credentials, fantastic!  If you genuinely want to pick up these credentials for your own personal satisfaction or for other reasons, great!  BUT -- do not do it simply because of how you think law school officials will react to it.  Consider that combining multiple majors, degrees, or minors can lead to more complicated scheduling issues (such as having to take two or more exceptionally rigorous courses in the same semester, or taking extra time to graduate, summer courses, etc.), which for some students can result in a weaker academic performance. 


For crass law school admission purposes, it is almost always more favorable to complete one major and maintain a strong GPA than to complete multiple academic credentials with a lower GPA. Excelling in a single major can be challenging enough. 

[Of course, if you are considering graduate school or other options beyond law, there might be completely valid and strategic reasons for obtaining additional credentials, and for such other purposes they may well make you more competitive.] 

For detailed information on particular majors and law school admissions, read the HPPLC publication [PDF File] Law School Admissions-Questions & Answers for Freshmen and Sophomores.