Undergraduate Major

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Alaric
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Undergraduate Major

Postby Alaric » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:23 pm

Is it true that one's undergraduate major does not matter for law school admissions? I need to declare my major relatively soon, and I am debating between History and Geography (and a couple of others, though these are the main two). I am curious if either one of these options holds more weight than the other or if it is really only GPA that matters. Thanks in advance.

Total Litigator
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Total Litigator » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:25 pm

really?

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Alaric
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Alaric » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:26 pm

Yes really.

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omninode
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby omninode » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:29 pm

Your major doesn't matter. Do what you want.

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Alaric
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Alaric » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:30 pm

Thanks, that is all I wanted to know. I had heard this before but just wanted to double check.
Last edited by Alaric on Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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20130312
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby 20130312 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:33 pm

You're debating between two equally useless liberal arts majors. Even if undergraduate majors did matter, this still wouldn't make a difference.

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Systematic1
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Systematic1 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:36 pm

Law schools don't care what major you choose. That said, history will probably give you better tools (researching, writing, etc.) to succeed in law school. Overall, just do whatever major that you see yourself enjoying more.

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chem
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby chem » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:40 pm

Alaric wrote:Is it true that one's undergraduate major does not matter for law school admissions? I need to declare my major relatively soon, and I am debating between History and Geography (and a couple of others, though these are the main two). I am curious if either one of these options holds more weight than the other or if it is really only GPA that matters. Thanks in advance.


Do yourself a LARGE favor and do a science

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20130312
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby 20130312 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:50 pm

chem wrote:
Alaric wrote:Is it true that one's undergraduate major does not matter for law school admissions? I need to declare my major relatively soon, and I am debating between History and Geography (and a couple of others, though these are the main two). I am curious if either one of these options holds more weight than the other or if it is really only GPA that matters. Thanks in advance.


Do yourself a LARGE favor and do a science


Couldn't disagree more.

If you are adamant about law school, study the easiest thing you possibly can and get a killer GPA. Communication? Check. Basket weaving? Double check. Breathing? Game, set, match.

If you are unsure, pick a major out of the business school, go find a real job, and then don't go to law school.

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JCFindley
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby JCFindley » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:45 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:
chem wrote:
Alaric wrote:Is it true that one's undergraduate major does not matter for law school admissions? I need to declare my major relatively soon, and I am debating between History and Geography (and a couple of others, though these are the main two). I am curious if either one of these options holds more weight than the other or if it is really only GPA that matters. Thanks in advance.


Do yourself a LARGE favor and do a science


Couldn't disagree more.

If you are adamant about law school, study the easiest thing you possibly can and get a killer GPA. Communication? Check. Basket weaving? Double check. Breathing? Game, set, match.

If you are unsure, pick a major out of the business school, go find a real job, and then don't go to law school.


Or, pick a major that can get you a job, get the job, work for a few years THEN decide if you want to go to LS.

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TheRainMan
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby TheRainMan » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:13 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:
chem wrote:
Alaric wrote:Is it true that one's undergraduate major does not matter for law school admissions? I need to declare my major relatively soon, and I am debating between History and Geography (and a couple of others, though these are the main two). I am curious if either one of these options holds more weight than the other or if it is really only GPA that matters. Thanks in advance.


Do yourself a LARGE favor and do a science


Couldn't disagree more.

If you are adamant about law school, study the easiest thing you possibly can and get a killer GPA. Communication? Check. Basket weaving? Double check. Breathing? Game, set, match.

If you are unsure, pick a major out of the business school, go find a real job, and then don't go to law school.


Ideally, go for the easier major possible that sounds mildly impressive. But a 3.7 biomedical engineer will lose to a 3.75 literature major... so really, easier the better but try to make it not sound like a total joke

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Tom Joad
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:24 pm

Choose geography so there can be more TLS threads debating the extent of the Midwest.

-geography minor

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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby r6_philly » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:10 am

InGoodFaith wrote:You're debating between two equally useless liberal arts majors. Even if undergraduate majors did matter, this still wouldn't make a difference.


I think UG majors do matter because at least some schools like to pick students to achieve a "critical mass" so they prefer a good mix of different majors (like some how every school has at least a couple of EEs). However you are right many majors do not make a difference.

$$$$$$
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby $$$$$$ » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:11 am

Honestly, people telling you to do some easy ass major are doing you a huge disservice. You should major in something that is actually useful, because even if you get into a top law school, you never know how your grades are going to be. And it is much better to be a kid with bottom third grades and an engineering or hard science, or even business background than some poli sci major with no real world knowledge at all.

The kid that said a 3.7 UG Biomed Engineer is worse than a 3.75 History major is absolutely F***ing wrong, the 3.7 Engineer can work at any major engineering company he wants after college and get a shit ton of real world experience that is useful for employment after law school. The 3.75 history major is only as good as his LSAT score.

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PDaddy
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby PDaddy » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:19 am

Although law school adcoms are most concerned with your GPA/LSAT, your major can matter, depending on the other factors in your profile, i.e. strength of the UG, strength of the program, grade trend, and GPA within the major.

There is a short list of majors that tend to be considered comparatively strong for law school, including History, Economics, Accounting, English, Foreign Languages, Comparative History of Ideas, Philosophy, Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Geology, Engineering, Psychology, Musicology, Forestry, and Journalism.

Less demanding majors tend to include Political Science, Business Administration, Sociology, Architecture, and Communications/Speech Communications, while the perceivably weakest majors for law school preparation include Criminal Justice, Phys-ed, Pre-Law, General Studies (depending on courseload), and the performing arts majors (such as dance).

Any major can look good if you do its honors track, because you are required to study your discipline more intensely, write frequently, do research, and work closely with a mentor. Adcoms absolutely love those aspects of the honors track.

Engineering, Journalism and Accounting are probably the most immediately useful because you could theoretically get a job in one of those fields right out of UG. Even if your major is considered to be one of the weaker ones, you can compensate by taking more demanding courses outside of your major and doing well in them, thus getting the best of both worlds - studying what you like as a core major, but filling out your transcript with undeniably rigorous courses. Remember also that the perceived strength or weakness of the major will depend on the UG institution itself.

I would recommend mixing it up a bit. For example, you could major in History, but take extra hard science courses and/or minor in Economics or a foreign language. You might double-major in History and Geography while taking some additional courses from another demanding major - such as English, to show off your close-reading writing skills.

No matter what you do, take courses that are demanding, and require lots of writing and research. And be sure to keep your grades high or get better grades in your last two UG years. If you cannot do an honors program, apply for scholarships and fellowships, and/or become a research assistant for at least a couple of quarters. This will allow you to get close to a faculty member who will know you well enough to write a winning LOR for you.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:54 am

PDaddy just curious, what was your major? I assume you must not have been a lib arts major if you think a history major should take English classes to showcases his or her reading and writing skills.

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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby ams212 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:09 am

Tom Joad wrote:PDaddy just curious, what was your major? I assume you must not have been a lib arts major if you think a history major should take English classes to showcases his or her reading and writing skills.


Haha true. I don't think history is a hard major at all... for me. However, I have a lot of engineering friends that would be totally effed because they can't write for shit. To OP: Go with history over geography. It is reading, writing, and research intensive. It will not only give you the GPA to go to a top law school, but it will give you the skills you need to succeeded once there.

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chem
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby chem » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:39 am

ams212 wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:PDaddy just curious, what was your major? I assume you must not have been a lib arts major if you think a history major should take English classes to showcases his or her reading and writing skills.


Haha true. I don't think history is a hard major at all... for me. However, I have a lot of engineering friends that would be totally effed because they can't write for shit. To OP: Go with history over geography. It is reading, writing, and research intensive. It will not only give you the GPA to go to a top law school, but it will give you the skills you need to succeeded once there.


A pet peeve of mine is the stereotype that engineers can't write well. Engineers, as well as other hard science majors, have to write technical reports, formal reports, and lab reports that require succinct language that I believe matches that of liberal arts majors. We have to write a lot of them. In law school, we aren't going to be writing flowery prose, its going to be memo's that have a stringent format and tone, much like an engineering formal report.

Sorry for the mini rant

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Br3v
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Br3v » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:42 am

Whoever told OP to do honors track, no. Bad advise.

*Full disclosure: I am an 0L applying upcoming cycle

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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby FlanSolo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:53 am

TheRainMan wrote:Ideally, go for the easier major possible that sounds mildly impressive. But a 3.7 biomedical engineer will lose to a 3.75 literature major... so really, easier the better but try to make it not sound like a total joke


So, so wrong. It's true that the BME major will have a slight disadvantage in admissions, but once in law school, you can sit for the patent bar and your grades can be shit compared to the Lit major and still have a much better chance of getting a well paying job, legal or not.

Every time I speak to someone who is about to go to college or pick a major I say the same thing: study something useful. The fact is that unless you go to a Wall Street feeder school, a traditional undergrad degree is probably not going to let you go as far as you want. However, if you study something useful like engineering or math, this is less true.

I don't know how onerous this is, but at least figure out what number of credit hours is required for the patent bar and take those classes in addition to a traditional major.

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chem
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby chem » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:55 am

FlanSolo wrote:
TheRainMan wrote:Ideally, go for the easier major possible that sounds mildly impressive. But a 3.7 biomedical engineer will lose to a 3.75 literature major... so really, easier the better but try to make it not sound like a total joke


So, so wrong. It's true that the BME major will have a slight disadvantage in admissions, but once in law school, you can sit for the patent bar and your grades can be shit compared to the Lit major and still have a much better chance of getting a well paying job, legal or not.

Every time I speak to someone who is about to go to college or pick a major I say the same thing: study something useful. The fact is that unless you go to a Wall Street feeder school, a traditional undergrad degree is probably not going to let you go as far as you want. However, if you study something useful like engineering or math, this is less true.

I don't know how onerous this is, but at least figure out what number of credit hours is required for the patent bar and take those classes in addition to a traditional major.


Bad call. The patent bar is necessary but not sufficient for the job prospect boost. You need the technical major as well

FlanSolo
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby FlanSolo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:00 am

chem wrote:
FlanSolo wrote:
TheRainMan wrote:Ideally, go for the easier major possible that sounds mildly impressive. But a 3.7 biomedical engineer will lose to a 3.75 literature major... so really, easier the better but try to make it not sound like a total joke


So, so wrong. It's true that the BME major will have a slight disadvantage in admissions, but once in law school, you can sit for the patent bar and your grades can be shit compared to the Lit major and still have a much better chance of getting a well paying job, legal or not.

Every time I speak to someone who is about to go to college or pick a major I say the same thing: study something useful. The fact is that unless you go to a Wall Street feeder school, a traditional undergrad degree is probably not going to let you go as far as you want. However, if you study something useful like engineering or math, this is less true.

I don't know how onerous this is, but at least figure out what number of credit hours is required for the patent bar and take those classes in addition to a traditional major.


Bad call. The patent bar is necessary but not sufficient for the job prospect boost. You need the technical major as well


Fair enough. Disregard that advice. Major in something useful. Minor in something useless.

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JCFindley
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby JCFindley » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:13 am

chem wrote:
ams212 wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:PDaddy just curious, what was your major? I assume you must not have been a lib arts major if you think a history major should take English classes to showcases his or her reading and writing skills.


Haha true. I don't think history is a hard major at all... for me. However, I have a lot of engineering friends that would be totally effed because they can't write for shit. To OP: Go with history over geography. It is reading, writing, and research intensive. It will not only give you the GPA to go to a top law school, but it will give you the skills you need to succeeded once there.


A pet peeve of mine is the stereotype that engineers can't write well. Engineers, as well as other hard science majors, have to write technical reports, formal reports, and lab reports that require succinct language that I believe matches that of liberal arts majors. We have to write a lot of them. In law school, we aren't going to be writing flowery prose, its going to be memo's that have a stringent format and tone, much like an engineering formal report.

Sorry for the mini rant


I am not an Engineer but did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once and am a Mathematics major with a Physics minor and will say writing a math proof is about as close to legal writing as you can get outside of law.

Not to mention, while I got a D in Eng Comp 101 (my only D mind you but a D nonetheless) I have written for multiple flying magazines and was even a Contributing Editor at one of them so yeah I may not be Hemingway but I hold my own even as a hard science guy.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:25 am

chem wrote:
ams212 wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:PDaddy just curious, what was your major? I assume you must not have been a lib arts major if you think a history major should take English classes to showcases his or her reading and writing skills.


Haha true. I don't think history is a hard major at all... for me. However, I have a lot of engineering friends that would be totally effed because they can't write for shit. To OP: Go with history over geography. It is reading, writing, and research intensive. It will not only give you the GPA to go to a top law school, but it will give you the skills you need to succeeded once there.


A pet peeve of mine is the stereotype that engineers can't write well. Engineers, as well as other hard science majors, have to write technical reports, formal reports, and lab reports that require succinct language that I believe matches that of liberal arts majors. We have to write a lot of them. In law school, we aren't going to be writing flowery prose, its going to be memo's that have a stringent format and tone, much like an engineering formal report.

Sorry for the mini rant

Lib arts social science majors don't write flowery prose either. I have been told that boring is good.

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chem
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby chem » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:29 am

Tom Joad wrote:
chem wrote:
ams212 wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:PDaddy just curious, what was your major? I assume you must not have been a lib arts major if you think a history major should take English classes to showcases his or her reading and writing skills.


Haha true. I don't think history is a hard major at all... for me. However, I have a lot of engineering friends that would be totally effed because they can't write for shit. To OP: Go with history over geography. It is reading, writing, and research intensive. It will not only give you the GPA to go to a top law school, but it will give you the skills you need to succeeded once there.


A pet peeve of mine is the stereotype that engineers can't write well. Engineers, as well as other hard science majors, have to write technical reports, formal reports, and lab reports that require succinct language that I believe matches that of liberal arts majors. We have to write a lot of them. In law school, we aren't going to be writing flowery prose, its going to be memo's that have a stringent format and tone, much like an engineering formal report.

Sorry for the mini rant

Lib arts social science majors don't write flowery prose either. I have been told that boring is good.


Probably true. It just seemed that whenever I read anything written by someone outside of the engineering and natural sciences college, there was an abundance of pathos in their papers. I hate emotional appeals, even when it works I feel like I'm being manipulated




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