studying for college admissions exam

Choosing a Major if You’re Heading for Law School

If you’re a high school senior and plan to attend law school after you earn your bachelor’s degree, note that you can major in almost any subject as far as law school admissions committees are concerned, so you have the opportunity to choose the field of study that most interests you.

IvySelect advises you not to select a major based on what may seem to be best for law school admission. Instead, you should choose a major based on what will help you to develop the relevant skills you’ll need for law school and a legal career. These skills may be developed and honed not only through your major but also through your entire undergraduate curriculum. This will require an understanding of the skill set that the profession of law demands from its practitioners and how best to prepare for it. For invaluable assistance in this effort, you should consider choosing IvySelect as your college admissions consulting firm.

Law schools are looking for candidates with a wide range of backgrounds and interests who have taken the initiative to accumulate knowledge in a field that interests them. This preference for a range of backgrounds is expressed in the Harvard Law School’s admissions material:

“Our assessment includes many factors such as work experience and demonstrated leadership, and also intangible qualities such as energy, ambition, sound judgment, ability to overcome adversity, high ideals, and concern for the welfare of others. Our admissions committee seeks not only to identify and recognize characteristics that are important to academic success in law school, but also qualities that will contribute diversity of perspective and experience, general excellence, and vitality to the student body.”

It should be noted that many law schools are currently seeking more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) majors as law students. As noted in Table B, engineering students do relatively well on the Law Schools Aptitude Test (LSAT). In order to encourage more STEM applicants, some law schools are now accepting scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), which is more commonly taken by STEM students, in place of the LSAT.

The  top ten majors (feeder majors) of successful law school applicants is shown in Table A. The Table compares the results for 2005 with those of 2014 and shows the percentage of change over that decade.

Table A: Top Ten Majors of Students Admitted to Law School

Comparison of 2005 and 2014

Top Ten Feeder Majors Bachelor’s Degrees

Awarded 2005

Bachelor’s Degrees

Awarded 2014

10-Year

% Change

Business 43,876 39,794 -9
Communications 77,199 94,523 +22
Criminal Justice 93,737 125,101 +66
Economics 26,551 37,013 +39
English 58,567 49,441 -16
History 36,371 30,957 -15
Philosophy 8,503 8,203 -4
Political Science 43,876 39,794 -9
Psychology 93,737 125,101 +34
Sociology 31,471 32,345 +3

Source: Taxprof

According to Michael Nieswiodomy, writing in the Journal of Economic Education, the top 12 feeder majors (the 10 above plus Engineering and with Finance split off from Business) rank as shown in Table B based on their mean scores on the LSAT.

Table B: Feeder Majors Ranked By LSAT Scores

Feeder Major Mean LSAT Score
Philosophy 157
Economics 157
Engineering 156
History 156
English 154
Finance 153
Political Science 153
Psychology 151
Sociology 151
Communications 151
Business 149
Criminal Justice 146

IvySelect primarily provides expert professional assistance for high school students in gaining admission to Ivy League and other elite institutions. However, our range of specialized services also includes guidance in law school admissions. Our qualifications in this niche arise from the educational and professional background of our Director, Michael Goran, who has been both a practicing attorney and an educational consultant.

Michael offers students a real-world perspective on what it’s like to attend law school, studying for and passing the bar exam, and life as a lawyer. His deep understanding and experience with the law school admissions process also contributes to the success of your quest.

Our full set of services for students aspiring to attend law school includes:

  • Evaluation of your college and high school records
  • Analysis of your academic and extracurricular background
  • LSAT counseling
  • Guidance in developing your target list of law schools
  • Application timetable development
  • Rolling Admissions considerations
  • Counseling on LSDAS Application
  • Personal statement and other essay guidance
  • Advisement on letters of recommendation
  • Interview assistance
  • Counseling for students with work experience
  • Career counseling
  • Strategic guidance: enhancing your strengths, minimizing your weaknesses