Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

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kristaann_vt
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Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby kristaann_vt » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:25 am

Hi everyone,

When I graduate in May 2016, I will have completed 2 degrees and 4 majors (BA in History and Political Science and a BS in Child & Family Studies and Family Human Services). I completed lots of AP classes and dual-enrollment classes in high school and entered college with 72 credits. Since I had so many credits I was able to take a variety of classes I was interested in, and my classes added up to these 4 majors. I did not want to graduate early because I wanted to continue to take classes, pursue research and grow in social and academic maturity.

I was in New York and Boston visiting law schools this past week, and had the opportunity to meet with admission faculty at several schools during my visits. I met with the Dean of Admissions at my first school and she asked me about my major. When I told her I had 4, she was surprised and turned off. She asked what kind of institution would allow a student to have 4 majors and criticized me for not graduating early.

I explained how my diverse academic background has helped me. I have spent the past 2 summers interning with a district attorney at different child advocacy centers in different regions of the country. Both DA's have appreciated my family studies background, as I talked to them about abuse cycles, methods to help the child cope and retain information during the trial process, and ideas they could use to help the non offending parent leave the abusive parent. Even though I told the Dean of Admissions all of this, she was still uninterested, and our meeting ended on a sour note.

At my other law school visits, I just picked one of my four majors and said that was my major.

Do any of you have ideas on how I should handle this on future law school visits or the application process? I also mentioned how my 4 majors taught me time management skills and the ability to retain lots of information from different sources at the same time. I also mentioned that although I have pursued a variety of interests during undergrad, I understand I will need to focus only on my legal studies during law school.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thank you for your time,
Krista

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:34 am

Idk what to say, is your UG prestigious?

Some UG's give majors out way too easily.

All you need to worry about is explaining a high GPA/LSAT.

And by explaining I mean having.

lawschoolftw
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby lawschoolftw » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:34 am

kristaann_vt wrote:Hi everyone,

When I graduate in May 2016, I will have completed 2 degrees and 4 majors (BA in History and Political Science and a BS in Child & Family Studies and Family Human Services). I completed lots of AP classes and dual-enrollment classes in high school and entered college with 72 credits. Since I had so many credits I was able to take a variety of classes I was interested in, and my classes added up to these 4 majors. I did not want to graduate early because I wanted to continue to take classes, pursue research and grow in social and academic maturity.

I was in New York and Boston visiting law schools this past week, and had the opportunity to meet with admission faculty at several schools during my visits. I met with the Dean of Admissions at my first school and she asked me about my major. When I told her I had 4, she was surprised and turned off. She asked what kind of institution would allow a student to have 4 majors and criticized me for not graduating early.

I explained how my diverse academic background has helped me. I have spent the past 2 summers interning with a district attorney at different child advocacy centers in different regions of the country. Both DA's have appreciated my family studies background, as I talked to them about abuse cycles, methods to help the child cope and retain information during the trial process, and ideas they could use to help the non offending parent leave the abusive parent. Even though I told the Dean of Admissions all of this, she was still uninterested, and our meeting ended on a sour note.

At my other law school visits, I just picked one of my four majors and said that was my major.

Do any of you have ideas on how I should handle this on future law school visits or the application process? I also mentioned how my 4 majors taught me time management skills and the ability to retain lots of information from different sources at the same time. I also mentioned that although I have pursued a variety of interests during undergrad, I understand I will need to focus only on my legal studies during law school.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thank you for your time,
Krista


I don't think you need to handle or explain anything. Submit your apps and list your majors. It will probably make very little difference, if any, on any of your apps. Either your GPA/LSAT are good and you'll get into good schools or they're not and you won't. Wish it wasn't as simple as that, but it is!

Best of luck to you!

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DELG
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby DELG » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:44 am

Explaining this will make it go from "lol, gunner" to "yikes, gunner" but still no one will really care

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:49 pm

There is a perception among some academics that there isn't any benefit in multiple majors (more than 2, and some people see no reason to do more than 1), and that it reflects a student's inability to decide what they want to do/get out of college and face the real world. (I knew a student with SIX majors and he absolutely embodied those problems.) Some also disapprove of students being able to apply lots of AP credits to their BA - dual-enrollment is obviously a little different, but the argument is that high school AP classes don't really provide the same experience as college classes. But I don't think it's going to affect admission anywhere, barring any other problems with your application - I just say that to confirm you may run into this attitude again in future.

I think the first part of your answer - about the logistics that made it easy to take enough credits to complete 4 majors - is a little more effective than talking about how your background helped the DAs you interned with. If you go into the latter, I would focus it more on how your various majors helped you personally get more out of the DA internships. It doesn't come across very well to say that as a family studies major who's not yet done with undergrad you were telling DAs in a child advocacy center things they didn't know about e.g. abuse (that may not be how you meant it/how it came across at the time, just how it sounds here).

Fawkes
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby Fawkes » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:55 am

I am in a similar situation as you, though not quite the same one. I graduated early with three majors. I definitely understand the hesitation to tell people all your majors, but in my experience, it has not been detrimental in the application process. No schools rejected me on the basis of how many majors I had. I don't think you need to waste your PS or another part of your application explaining this away. Explaining your decision implies that you feel the need to rationalize it because there is something wrong with it. It may hurt you rather than help you. Unless they specifically ask you about it, there's no need to draw added attention to it in a negative way.

As others have pointed out, the more important thing is to have a high GPA and LSAT. Those factors will far outweigh how many majors you had. Best of luck with your applications!

Moneytrees
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby Moneytrees » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:58 pm

I can't see how having 4 majors could hurt you in any meaningful way. It might raise a few eyebrows, that's all. If anything, if you were able to maintain a high GPA with 4 majors, your application will probably come across as impressive.

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RZ5646
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby RZ5646 » Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:06 pm

Not graduating early is evidence of poor judgment (unless you're filthy rich), but I don't think it's a big deal. Just leave it alone and I doubt anyone will really care. Calling attention to it as if it were a serious problem can only hurt you.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby jenesaislaw » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:15 pm

RZ5646 wrote:Not graduating early is evidence of poor judgment (unless you're filthy rich), but I don't think it's a big deal. Just leave it alone and I doubt anyone will really care. Calling attention to it as if it were a serious problem can only hurt you.


Yikes. I agree that OP should not call attention to it because there are all sorts of crazy reactions impugning OP's maturity and/or decision making. From what's been said, I only see reason to be skeptical and ask questions -- not criticize. If OP has 100k in debt and would have had no debt otherwise, fine, there's a discussion to be had on that. But from my point of view, OP showed maturity in recognizing that, just because she had the good fortune of coming to college with lots of credits, doesn't mean she couldn't derive substantial value from the time there.

This stuck out in particular: "I did not want to graduate early because I wanted to continue to take classes, pursue research and grow in social and academic maturity."

OP: do what you can to not tell anyone because the reactions could hurt you, however ridiculous those people are being. Just don't cross the line to lying.

kristaann_vt
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby kristaann_vt » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:00 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:
RZ5646 wrote:Not graduating early is evidence of poor judgment (unless you're filthy rich), but I don't think it's a big deal. Just leave it alone and I doubt anyone will really care. Calling attention to it as if it were a serious problem can only hurt you.


Yikes. I agree that OP should not call attention to it because there are all sorts of crazy reactions impugning OP's maturity and/or decision making. From what's been said, I only see reason to be skeptical and ask questions -- not criticize. If OP has 100k in debt and would have had no debt otherwise, fine, there's a discussion to be had on that. But from my point of view, OP showed maturity in recognizing that, just because she had the good fortune of coming to college with lots of credits, doesn't mean she couldn't derive substantial value from the time there.

This stuck out in particular: "I did not want to graduate early because I wanted to continue to take classes, pursue research and grow in social and academic maturity."

OP: do what you can to not tell anyone because the reactions could hurt you, however ridiculous those people are being. Just don't cross the line to lying.


I was granted a full tuition academic scholarship at my university. This scholarship was for four years, and I wanted to honor the scholarship and take advantage of the many academic and research opportunities I have had. I'm going into my senior year, and submitted the research project I did this past year for publication in a journal, and will be working on another substantial research project beginning this summer.

My LSAT and GPA are high enough to earn admission to many law schools, so I'm not worried. As I said, I was just surprised how turned off the women was, and I was wondering if this would hurt my application, as many people applying to the schools I am also have top GPAs and LSAT scores.

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Helioze
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby Helioze » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:06 pm

Based on how posters on this thread reacted, It looks like whether or not it helps/hurts you depends on the opinion of the person reading your app.

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RZ5646
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby RZ5646 » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:15 pm

If you like research so much why don't you go to grad school?

Also, I reread the OP and my initial reaction to "family studies" and "human services" (isn't that a cabinet department?) is that they don't sound like real majors, so it may sound like you're trying to pass off weird cupcake programs as on par with other majors. I'm not saying that's what you're doing, but I can understand how adcoms could react negatively if you tell them you're a quadruple major—a bit of a red flag in itself—and then proceed to list strange things no one has ever heard of before.

History and poli sci is a very common prelaw combination though, so if people ask I'd just tell them that. (Though obviously on an official application include all of them.)

kristaann_vt
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Re: Explaining My 4 Majors to Admissions Commitees

Postby kristaann_vt » Tue Mar 31, 2015 4:26 pm

RZ5646 wrote:If you like research so much why don't you go to grad school?

Also, I reread the OP and my initial reaction to "family studies" and "human services" (isn't that a cabinet department?) is that they don't sound like real majors, so it may sound like you're trying to pass off weird cupcake programs as on par with other majors. I'm not saying that's what you're doing, but I can understand how adcoms could react negatively if you tell them you're a quadruple major—a bit of a red flag in itself—and then proceed to list strange things no one has ever heard of before.

History and poli sci is a very common prelaw combination though, so if people ask I'd just tell them that. (Though obviously on an official application include all of them.)


Thanks for that input, it makes sense. I go to a school in the South and many schools--including the large state schools--around me have these majors. I forgot that in some areas of the country, such as the Northeast, these majors aren't as common.

Family studies is essentially a pre-counseling or pre-social work major and focuses on problems that children encounter and family patterns. Family & Human Services focuses on the entire life span, particularly drug addictions and crime cycles.

I became interested in abuse cycles, and the prosecution of child abuse cases, while working with a District Attorney at a Rape Crisis Center and Child Advocacy Center. The research I've done has focused on how to increase reporting, and also on what types of evidence lead to more convictions. Although I enjoy research, the more I work with the DA the more I am convinced I want to work as a prosecutor, and use what I've learned from my research, than just do research full time.

I think, as all of you have said, it is best if I not worry about my majors or draw attention to them. I have a solid GPA and LSAT score, which are the most important.

Thank you all again for all of your advice and input. I really appreciate it.




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