The Pre-Law minor a multi-disciplinary minor which can easily be combined with any number of majors, and is designed to prepare students for further legal studies.
Law schools emphasize the value of reading comprehension, analytical reasoning skills, and a solid command of written English. While these skills can be developed in various ways, a general liberal arts background is recommended, although other fields such as business can be successfully pursued. Courses in American history, government, English and logic are considered especially valuable. Many pre-law students chose a major in political science, history, sociology, psychology, economics, philosophy, English or communications. A Bachelor of Integrative Studies degree is suitable if carefully planned. Business majors such as accounting and finance are also popular among pre-law students. Regardless of the specific major, upper division courses beyond minimum college requirements are recommended. Because many law schools now offer joint degree programs, you may wish also to meet requirements for graduate admission.
The pre-law minor is designed to provide a background for the study of law through challenging coursework that reinforces and extends the liberal arts foundation gained through the Kent Core Requirements, provides advanced analytical and writing skills, and introduces the student to the social and governmental structures that underlie the law. This minor may be combined with any major field of concentration.
The pre-law minor may be of value to the student not only as a minor but also as a guide to fill in major requirements, to aid in selecting electives, or to develop a Bachelor of Integrative Studies.
Three cautions need to be made regarding the pre-law minor. First, be flexible, because completion of the pre-law minor certainly does not assure acceptance to law school. Second, materials in law related courses will be covered in a more analytic approach in law school. Third, consider the value of all courses chosen in case one does not attend law school.
PREPARING FOR THE LAW SCHOOL ADMISSION TEST (LSAT)
The score on the LSAT and the overall undergraduate grade point average are the two most important factors in determining law school admission, and most law schools give equal weight to the LSAT and the GPA. The LSAT is thus a critical factor in the law school admission process; a high LSAT score is essential for serious consideration at top ranking law schools, for compensating for a lower grade point average, and for obtaining merit scholarships.
Preparation is essential for the LSAT. The first step is to go over the descriptions and questions in the LSAT & LSDAS Information Book which is available free in the Political Science Department. Then you can make an initial determination about how much additional assistance would be helpful. Useful and inexpensive preparation materials are available through Law Services, the company that administers the LSAT. These materials include previous copies of actual LSATs, available for $8 each; The Official LSAT SuperPrep, with three actual LSATs with answers and explanations for $28; and various books containing ten actual LSATs for $30. All of these resources are described in and can be ordered through the LSAT registration booklet or online; materials are substantially cheaper when ordered online. Other study guides for the LSAT are on sale at the University Book Store and other book stores for prices varying from $25 to over $50.
Most students take the LSAT about one year before planning to attend law school. Ideally, a student should take the LSAT during the June administration between one's junior and senior year. This is the only time the test is offered when classes are not in session, and thus maximum attention can be given to the LSAT. The test may be repeated, and the highest score will be used by law school admission committees.
WHERE TO APPLY
Admission to law school is currently very competitive. If your GPA is below 3.0, your choice of law schools will be somewhat limited unless you have a superior LSAT score. At the top ranking law schools, a 75th percentile ranking on the LSAT and 3.5 GPA are considered minimal qualifications for application. Some state schools give preference to the residents of their state. The easiest admission schools seem to be lesser known, private law schools. While law schools give primary consideration to GPA and LSAT scores in their admissions decisions, they also seek to recruit a diversified student body and thus consider such factors as unique work experiences, significant public service activities, outstanding extra-curricular achievements, and minority group membership. Most law schools accept only for fall admission, but a few may admit for sessions beginning in the spring or summer.
BE REALISTIC in choosing schools to which to apply. Apply to a number of law schools in different ranges of difficulty including at least one or two in which you are relatively sure of acceptance. The best source of information on admissions standards is the ABA-LSAC Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, which contains descriptions of and admissions standards for each ABA accredited U.S. law school. This book is available from Law Services for $24; an order blank is in the LSAT registration booklet, it can be purchased at most bookstores, and it can be ordered online.
Some factors to consider in applying to schools are the school's admission profile, cost of tuition, living expenses and application fee, reputation of the school, availability of desired programs, size of the school, location, and where you would like to practice law.
For more information visit the Department of Political Science!