Undergraduate Major

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ams212
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby ams212 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:49 am

I can't speak for all liberal arts majors, but writing for history is all about making arguments and backing it up with substantive evidence. Also, I'm definitely not saying all engineering majors are bad writers, but I do think on average liberal arts majors will be better writers because they spend more time developing and honing that specific skill. It's not like I'm saying engineering majors are stupid, they're not, they just are spending less time developing their writing skills than liberal arts majors. Therefore, if you dropped one of them into a 400/500 level history class with a 25 page term paper they will struggle in the same way that a history major would struggle mightily in advanced thermodynamics.

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rabbitrun
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby rabbitrun » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:51 am

PDaddy wrote: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.


I want someone to explain to me how Forestry and Journalism prepare anyone for law school or could even be considered competitive. The honors thing is not valid. Honors Sociology < engineering. The last paragraph seems somewhat legit.
Also: this person clearly has never met an architecture major. A friend of mine who is an archie has not slept for the 5 years that comprise her major.
Finally: not to be rude but, why would anyone major in geography? I just get this mental image of those 10 year olds on the National Geography Bee reciting the depth of some river in Laos or something.

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rabbitrun
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby rabbitrun » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:57 am

Sorry for the mini-rant. Actual advice: major in something that, if you told your conservative grandfather, he wouldn't laugh in your face. Make sure, regardless of your major, that you can write by the time you graduate and that your professors know you and like you.

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Tom Joad
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:02 pm

rabbitrun wrote:
PDaddy wrote: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.


I want someone to explain to me how Forestry and Journalism prepare anyone for law school or could even be considered competitive. The honors thing is not valid. Honors Sociology < engineering. The last paragraph seems somewhat legit.
Also: this person clearly has never met an architecture major. A friend of mine who is an archie has not slept for the 5 years that comprise her major.
Finally: not to be rude but, why would anyone major in geography? I just get this mental image of those 10 year olds on the National Geography Bee reciting the depth of some river in Laos or something.

QFnotknowingwhatgeographymajorsstudy

JohnV
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby JohnV » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:06 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


Terrible advice. If the goal is to get into law school (and has no intention of doing something like patent law or taking a science-major related job) then taking a science major over History/Geography is an incredible waste of time, effort, and crucial GPA all the while admissions offices care little to not at all about how difficult your major was.

Disclaimer: I'm a History/Government double major (doubled because I had switched between several different majors and I wound up really close to having a degree in both and they helped my GPA) and have no regret for my decision to not attempt a science/engineer major because it doesn't help my career goals in comparison to the damage it would do to them.
Last edited by JohnV on Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rabbitrun
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby rabbitrun » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:08 pm

Yeah I get that they study geography. I'm not trying to be rude. Now I'm genuinely interested how someone could study geography for 4 years. Heights of landmasses? Climates? Does everyone just read the Atlas?

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chem
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby chem » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:15 pm

JohnV 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


Terrible advice. If the goal is to get into law school (and has no intention of doing something like patent law or taking a science-major related job) then taking a science major over History/Geography is an incredible waste of time, effort, and crucial GPA all the while admissions offices care little to not at all about how difficult your major was.

Disclaimer: I'm a History/Government double major (doubled because I had switched between several different majors and I wound up really close to having a degree in both and they helped my GPA) and have no regret for my decision to not attempt a science/engineer major because it doesn't help my career goals in comparison to the damage it would do to them.


Just saying, its pretty limiting when you major in something like history or geography on what you can do after school. If you choose one of those majors to go to law school, get bad grades, you're chances of getting into a good school and subsequently getting a good job are severely hindered. If you do a science, you have the options after you graduate of

1) Free graduate school + stipend
2) Career that starts anywhere from 65k-110k (standard engineering-petroleum engineering)
3) Patent law, which makes up for school ranking (IPSecure)
4) Patent agent
5) Engineer for airforce/navy (they get pretty desperate for engineers, at least they have been this year)

Granted, I'm not sure what you can do with a degree in the aforementioned liberal arts majors. But ITE, you want to be able to have some options in case something doesnt work out, and engineering/natural sciences are pretty versatile when it comes to making a living

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Alaric
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Alaric » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:20 pm

I know that Geography sounds like a useless major, but it is actually pretty underrated. You can do more with it than one might think, including GIS, Urban Planning, and some government jobs (environmental protection, demographics, etc).

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rabbitrun
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby rabbitrun » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:23 pm

Alaric wrote:I know that Geography sounds like a useless major, but it is actually pretty underrated. You can do more with it than one might think, including GIS, Urban Planning, and some government jobs (environmental protection, demographics, etc).


Thats legitimately what I was (somewhat sarcastically) asking. I did two liberal arts and one dropped my GPA. Go in with the goal of finding a job, not finding yourself and try for a 4.0 and you will do fine. Good luck!

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Tom Joad
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:30 pm

rabbitrun wrote:Yeah I get that they study geography. I'm not trying to be rude. Now I'm genuinely interested how someone could study geography for 4 years. Heights of landmasses? Climates? Does everyone just read the Atlas?

For the last 20 years most geography people study in college is GIS technology and applications. At a high level nobody is just memorizing facts they could look up if they really needed to know.

JohnV
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby JohnV » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:38 pm

Just saying, its pretty limiting when you major in something like history or geography on what you can do after school. If you choose one of those majors to go to law school, get bad grades, you're chances of getting into a good school and subsequently getting a good job are severely hindered. If you do a science, you have the options after you graduate of

1) Free graduate school + stipend
2) Career that starts anywhere from 65k-110k (standard engineering-petroleum engineering)
3) Patent law, which makes up for school ranking (IPSecure)
4) Patent agent
5) Engineer for airforce/navy (they get pretty desperate for engineers, at least they have been this year)


Unless the OP is interested in Patent law (seems unlikely) and has her (?) goal set to do the whole law school/lawyer thing, the above options are pretty useless. Sure, an engineering degree is better for those goals but it's not better for the goal the OP has.

Granted, I'm not sure what you can do with a degree in the aforementioned liberal arts majors. But ITE, you want to be able to have some options in case something doesnt work out, and engineering/natural sciences are pretty versatile when it comes to making a living


Liberal Arts degrees aren't going to get you a lot of high paying jobs by themselves but then again a lot of high paying jobs require graduate degrees and it shouldn't be advisable to devote 4 - 7 years of your life to something you have no interest in on the off chance that you will fail in the future and might be able to use this degree to do something you don't care about as a fall back. But I do agree, if you do a lib arts degree... do well, very well. I only decided on History/Gov over Physics (my alternative interest were astronomy/physics) because I knew I ultimately wanted to end up going to law school and I knew I could do very well in these courses because they were interesting to me.

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Alaric
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Alaric » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:10 pm

Unless the OP is interested in Patent law (seems unlikely) and has her (?) goal set to do the whole law school/lawyer thing, the above options are pretty useless. Sure, an engineering degree is better for those goals but it's not better for the goal the OP has.


his*

FlanSolo
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby FlanSolo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:34 pm

JohnV wrote:Disclaimer: I'm a History/Government double major (doubled because I had switched between several different majors and I wound up really close to having a degree in both and they helped my GPA) and have no regret for my decision to not attempt a science/engineer major because it doesn't help my career goals in comparison to the damage it would do to them.


I take your use of present tense to mean you are still in UG?

727813
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby 727813 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:51 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:
chem wrote: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.


^^TITCR. Check out Morgan Goodspeed. SCOTUS Clerk next year. Just graduated from HLS. Her UG major was Communications at Univ. of MD. And no, she did not take time off to work before applying.

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Colonel Angus
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Colonel Angus » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:05 pm

727813 wrote:
InGoodFaith wrote:
chem wrote: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.


^^TITCR. Check out Morgan Goodspeed. SCOTUS Clerk next year. Just graduated from HLS. Her UG major was Communications at Univ. of MD. And no, she did not take time off to work before applying.

Yep, OP should base his major life changing decision off of anecdotal evidence. And you are right, work experience is for chumps.

Total Litigator
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Total Litigator » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:45 am

OP's question was whether undergrad majors matter for admissions. Whether legal employers prefer one undergrad major over another is a different question.

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jcccc
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby jcccc » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:29 am

Nope

EdgarWinter
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby EdgarWinter » Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:28 am

.
Last edited by EdgarWinter on Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Alex1015
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Alex1015 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:33 pm

So what do you guys think is better suited for law school, a History or Poli sci major??

Ghost73
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Ghost73 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:50 pm

Alex1015 wrote:So what do you guys think is better suited for law school, a History or Poli sci major??

It doesn't matter.

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Undergraduate Major

Postby Scotusnerd » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:33 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 favor and don't get an undergraduate degree that you can't imagine yourself doing as a career. By which I mean you can see a clear career path on the other end of it, know how to get there, and can, in fact, get there.

It sounds simple, but there are plenty of degrees that're useless garbage. The college system is glutted with them; I remember that we had music performance, music composition, music business, and music education majors at my school. All but one of those degrees doesn't mean a DAMN thing. I took music education, because it had a job on the other side. Most of my friends are now working as starbucks associates or waiters while they 'try and find opportunities' (basically, to play music in bar scenes. Which they could have done without a degree.)

You don't need someone to tell you what degree to get, you need someone to show you how to determine which degree to get if you plan to go to law school. Three criteria:

1) It is not related to law. Pre-law is a waste of time. You may want to do law when you're done, but law is a professional graduate degree. It is four years away. You may change your mind. You may find the love of your life and settle down and spend some years working before going to law school.

2) It is something that you want to do. You need to choose something that you feel passionate about. I know people say 'go for the money', but that's horseshit for most of us. I don't know about you, but I just can't get excited about inventorying a school district's computers for the rest of my life, or writing computer code. That's why I didn't do computer science.

3) It has a career on the other side. Don't do pre-med, or a dance degree. Anything degree that has the word 'education' in it is probably safe, but look it up, just to be sure. Don't rely on what the school tells you, either! Do your own research, and figure out if there are jobs. If the words 'critical needs area' or mentioned, good. Better than finding a degree, find a job that looks interesting that your degree can take you to (IMMEDIATELY after you get the degree, not after you 'gain experience elsewhere')

Anyone who tells you that you should choose a degree because it is 'easy' or 'hard' is full of shit, probably lazy, and does not have your best interest at heart. That's a college attitude that has no application to the most important point in your life: making a decent living. Anyone who tells you you should 'follow your dreams' is equally full of shit, because dreams are nice, but they do not put food on your table.




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