Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

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preamble
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Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby preamble » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:22 pm

When it comes to majors, it seems that Political Science is to "pre-law" what Biology is to pre-med; but why? Why do so many students who intend to pursue law school choose Political Science as their UG major?
Last edited by preamble on Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Why is Political Science considered the pre-law?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:25 pm

You've got the causation backwards. Poly Sci majors have no job prospects so they often head to law school.

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hairbear7
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby hairbear7 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:26 pm

I think a lot of people who want to go to law school are also interested in politics, and want to major in something they are interested in. At least that's what happened to me

preamble
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Re: Why is Political Science considered the pre-law?

Postby preamble » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:28 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:You've got the causation backwards. Poly Sci majors have no job prospects so they often head to law school.


I was volunteering at my school's Welcome Day for accepted students and there was a "pre-law workshop" (bleh) and it was facilitated by the Political Science Department - it seemed as though the students were interested in majoring in Political Science for the purpose of going to law school as though the two are inextricably linked. For them, law school isn't an after thought but rather the primary motive.
Last edited by preamble on Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RZ5646
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby RZ5646 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:32 pm

Think about the stereotypical character traits of poli sci kids. Compare that to the stereotypical character traits of lawyers. It's a personality thing.

That and they're not smart enough to do philosophy, the best prelaw major.

BigZuck
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby BigZuck » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:36 pm

I think a lot of people just want to become a lawyer become of some vague sense that being a lawyer= money, prestige, good job, etc.

And then they have this vague sense that lawyers deal with laws and political science is about politics, politicians, "the law", etc. so they go that route because they think it will get them where they want to be.

Also, lawyer and politician seem to be connected cuz Abe Lincoln, etc. Doesn't mean poli sci has much to do with politicians neccessarily but to an impressionable 18 year old mind it makes sense, might as well major in it, sign me up!

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KMart
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby KMart » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:39 pm

Brainiac call out thread?

TheOnePercent
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby TheOnePercent » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:40 pm

RZ5646 wrote:That and they're not smart enough to do philosophy STEM, the best prelaw major.

/IP secure

preamble
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby preamble » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:43 pm

RZ5646 wrote:Think about the stereotypical character traits of poli sci kids. Compare that to the stereotypical character traits of lawyers. It's a personality thing.

That and they're not smart enough to do philosophy, the best prelaw major.


I think Political Science students are the way they are (argumentative and annoying) because they have internalized the idea that they're going to go to law school ("and lawyers like to argue") - I cannot tell you how many times I've seen kids reason that law school is the best path for them because they happen to "enjoy arguing with others."

Philosophy is hard but I think there's also a fear (mild misconception) that philosophy degrees don't carry any value on their own - the running joke is that there are no jobs for philosophers in today's market so perhaps students are paranoid that pursuing a degree like Philosophy will chain you to law school lest you want to end up unemployed with your BA.

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Iroh
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby Iroh » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:45 pm

There are many law-related courses in political science, particularly con law and international law, two of the most interesting and special-snowflake areas of law. Students learn about Floyd Abrams and the ICJ and think, "Gee, that sounds pretty cool, I think I'd like to do that." Then they have their first contracts class and things start to go downhill from there.

Poor job prospects also nudge us toward law school.

preamble
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby preamble » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:45 pm

KMart wrote:Brainiac call out thread?

Que?

TheOnePercent
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby TheOnePercent » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:47 pm

RZ5646 wrote:It's a personality thing.

In all seriousness, think it's this and skillset. To paint with an immensely broad brush, law schools attract douchy/aspie qualitative types. PoliSci bros are just a fertile feeding ground.

preamble
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby preamble » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:47 pm

Iroh wrote:There are many law-related courses in political science, particularly con law and international law, two of the most interesting and special-snowflake areas of law. Students learn about Floyd Abrams and the ICJ and think, "Gee, that sounds pretty cool, I think I'd like to do that." Then they have their first contracts class and things start to go downhill from there.

Poor job prospects also nudge us toward law school.


Aren't the employment prospects of Political Science comparable to that of most other humanities and social science degrees? What do the Women's Studies majors do? Sociology? Anthropology? Africana Studies?

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KMart
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby KMart » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:48 pm

preamble wrote:
KMart wrote:Brainiac call out thread?

Que?

May be a troll, may not be, but either way I'd love to get his opinion on this.

Another great thread.
Last edited by KMart on Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:49 pm

Statutes are written by Congress, executed by the President and interpreted by the Supreme Court. I could be wrong but those a pretty central topics in political science.

preamble
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby preamble » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:51 pm

KMart wrote:
preamble wrote:
KMart wrote:Brainiac call out thread?

Que?

May be a troll, may not be, but either way I'd love to get his opinion on this.

Another great thread.


Ohhh, Brainiac is a user. I see.

preamble
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby preamble » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:52 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:Statutes are written by Congress, executed by the President and interpreted by the Supreme Court. I could be wrong but those a pretty central topics in political science.


Is it really a content thing? And less of an abstract "skill set" thing?
Last edited by preamble on Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheOnePercent
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby TheOnePercent » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:54 pm

preamble wrote:Aren't the employment prospects of Political Science comparable to...social science degrees?

Naw. Econ eats PS's lunch w/r/t placement into lucrative out-of-undergrad jobs like IB and consulting. Crappiest consulting gigs pay like 65k+signing bonus+performance bonus out of school - much more than hill staffers, etc.

preamble
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby preamble » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:00 pm

TheOnePercent wrote:
preamble wrote:Aren't the employment prospects of Political Science comparable to...social science degrees?

Naw. Econ eats PS's lunch w/r/t placement into lucrative out-of-undergrad jobs like IB and consulting. Crappiest consulting gigs pay like 65k+signing bonus+performance bonus out of school - much more than hill staffers, etc.


How much does undergraduate pedigree factor into those employment prospects? I was under the impression that finance/IB/consulting are jobs exclusive to those coming out of only certain target schools. My question was more along the lines of "Pol Sci prospects are dim, much like the vast majority of other social science and humanities disciplines, but do Anthropology and Gender Studies majors flock to law schools the same way Pol Sci majors do?"

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:01 pm

TheOnePercent wrote:
preamble wrote:Aren't the employment prospects of Political Science comparable to...social science degrees?

Naw. Econ eats PS's lunch w/r/t placement into lucrative out-of-undergrad jobs like IB and consulting. Crappiest consulting gigs pay like 65k+signing bonus+performance bonus out of school - much more than hill staffers, etc.

From 90% of schools the difference is minimal. Average econ major from average state school isn't getting IB or consulting and isn't making 65k doing anything.

preamble
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby preamble » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:03 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
TheOnePercent wrote:
preamble wrote:Aren't the employment prospects of Political Science comparable to...social science degrees?

Naw. Econ eats PS's lunch w/r/t placement into lucrative out-of-undergrad jobs like IB and consulting. Crappiest consulting gigs pay like 65k+signing bonus+performance bonus out of school - much more than hill staffers, etc.

From 90% of schools the difference is minimal. Average econ major from average state school isn't getting IB or consulting and isn't making 65k doing anything.

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Iroh
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby Iroh » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:07 pm

preamble wrote:
Iroh wrote:There are many law-related courses in political science, particularly con law and international law, two of the most interesting and special-snowflake areas of law. Students learn about Floyd Abrams and the ICJ and think, "Gee, that sounds pretty cool, I think I'd like to do that." Then they have their first contracts class and things start to go downhill from there.

Poor job prospects also nudge us toward law school.


Aren't the employment prospects of Political Science comparable to that of most other humanities and social science degrees? What do the Women's Studies majors do? Sociology? Anthropology? Africana Studies?


Law school.

To be serious, poly sci isn't worse than most of the other liberal arts (and is probably better if you have a quant. focus) but it's pretty bad compared to engineering and comp sci. As for what people do upon graduation: based on my liberal arts college, quite a lot get advanced degrees, including JDs. Those with high GPAs can go into consulting or become biglaw paralegals. Quite a few students end up working directly for the school, at least until they can find something else. And a lot of students end up working whatever minimum wage job they can find until something better comes along.

Law school is a relatively attractive path for a poly sci major. For many of us, it's sort of a natural continuation of our undergrad studies, unlike anthropology and sociology majors. While JD employment prospects are not great, they are much better than the average poly sci PhD.

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wojo98
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby wojo98 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:08 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:From 90% of schools the difference is minimal

The gap is material across all schools - including all undergrads.

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RZ5646
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby RZ5646 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:13 pm

preamble wrote:
TheOnePercent wrote:
preamble wrote:Aren't the employment prospects of Political Science comparable to...social science degrees?

Naw. Econ eats PS's lunch w/r/t placement into lucrative out-of-undergrad jobs like IB and consulting. Crappiest consulting gigs pay like 65k+signing bonus+performance bonus out of school - much more than hill staffers, etc.


How much does undergraduate pedigree factor into those employment prospects?


It's probably more important than major. TLS has a rather severe bias towards prestigious colleges so when you see these claims you have to take them with a grain of salt; they don't necessarily apply to normal people. (Remember that "just do McKinsey, bro" advice that was popular awhile ago?)

Better question: why do they abbreviate political science "poly sci"?

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Why is Political Science considered pre-law?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:15 pm

wojo98 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:From 90% of schools the difference is minimal

The gap is material across all schools - including all undergrads.

cuz crappy consulting gig gets you 65k+ amirite?

A huge portion of the jobs people get from college have nothing to do with their major. The typical employer won't even know or care. And I graduated (with an econ degree) before the recession and I promise you things worked the same way then.




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