What makes humanities majors better prepared?

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T-Account
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What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby T-Account » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:29 am

Is it the constant writing? Is there an advantage at all over say an accounting major/econ major/math major where writing is less intense? I've written a lot of business memos in my time but doubt this will be the same type of writing required in law school. Do humanities majors tend to do better than the more math based majors in law school, or is law eschool success more dependnt upon individual effort?

I'm sure this has been debated before but I can't find in a search (perhaps this is indicative of my future law school success :P )

dissonance1848
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby dissonance1848 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:37 am

Econ, math, physics types have higher average LSAT scores than humanities types (See UT study). LSAT has four times the correlation with 1L performance than UGPA. You figure it out.

crazyblink653
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby crazyblink653 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:08 am

my experience is that while hard science majors tend to do better on the LSAT, humanities majors tend to do better on actual law school exams and it IS largely because of the writing. The practice of law is mainly about writing so if you have 4 years of experience refining your writing abilities compared to someone who has spent four years doing virtually no substantive writing at all, you're going to be at a slight advantage come exam time. However, that doesn't mean you can study or prepare less. it only gives you a slight edge over the person who prepared the same amount as you, but who doesn't write as well (and i can speak from experience; i had a sub-median LSAT score at my school but was in the top 5% of my class after 1L, and i was an English major).

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Cupidity
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby Cupidity » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:23 am

LMFAO @ LSAT 4x Correlation > UGPA to LSGPA. Seriously, it caught me so off guard.

Top of my class is a bunch of political theory, international relations, and french literature kids. Not a real degree in the lot. In fact top of our class got in off the waitlist with an LSAT score 7 points below median.

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FeelTheHeat
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby FeelTheHeat » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:45 am

Cupidity wrote:LMFAO @ LSAT 4x Correlation > UGPA to LSGPA. Seriously, it caught me so off guard.

Top of my class is a bunch of political theory, international relations, and french literature kids. Not a real degree in the lot. In fact top of our class got in off the waitlist with an LSAT score 7 points below median.


SAMPLE SIZE NOT REPRESENTATIVE

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romothesavior
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby romothesavior » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:56 am

FeelTheHeat wrote:
Cupidity wrote:LMFAO @ LSAT 4x Correlation > UGPA to LSGPA. Seriously, it caught me so off guard.

Top of my class is a bunch of political theory, international relations, and french literature kids. Not a real degree in the lot. In fact top of our class got in off the waitlist with an LSAT score 7 points below median.


SAMPLE SIZE NOT REPRESENTATIVE

This is my experience as well. I know one guy who was a civil engineering major in the top 5% and I'm sure there are a few others in that boat, but most of our top 5-10% are philosophy, history, poli sci, etc. I was a philosophy/poli sci major with a history minor, and while the major was kind of a joke compared to my nursing/biology/chem/econ friends from undergrad, I do think it prepared me well for law school. All I did was read and write in undergrad, so I think the learning curve was a lot quicker in law school. YMMV

09042014
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby 09042014 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:02 pm

romothesavior wrote:
FeelTheHeat wrote:
Cupidity wrote:LMFAO @ LSAT 4x Correlation > UGPA to LSGPA. Seriously, it caught me so off guard.

Top of my class is a bunch of political theory, international relations, and french literature kids. Not a real degree in the lot. In fact top of our class got in off the waitlist with an LSAT score 7 points below median.


SAMPLE SIZE NOT REPRESENTATIVE

This is my experience as well. I know one guy who was a civil engineering major in the top 5% and I'm sure there are a few others in that boat, but most of our top 5-10% are philosophy, history, poli sci, etc. I was a philosophy/poli sci major with a history minor, and while the major was kind of a joke compared to my nursing/biology/chem/econ friends from undergrad, I do think it prepared me well for law school. All I did was read and write in undergrad, so I think the learning curve was a lot quicker in law school. YMMV


Seeing as most people in law school are polisci/history/phil I don't think this says anything.

I bet it is irrelevant.

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IAFG
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby IAFG » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:09 pm

Don't forget engineers/math majors/people with worthwhile degrees who are in law school anyway were obviously miserable failures, otherwise they wouldn't be in law school.

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ThomasMN
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby ThomasMN » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:23 pm

Desert Fox has a bit of a point. However, when you look at average LSAT scores by majors there are no real big jumps in score between say history and engineering. In 2007-2008 the difference been history majors and engineers was .3 points. I also get a kick out of the fact that pre-law majors have one of if not the lowest average LSAT scores.

That all being said, I have not always seen a big correlation between LSAT scores and performance. My mock trial coach graduated in the top 10% of her class in Vanderbilt and came in with an LSAT score in the bottom 10%. I hear those kinds of anecdotal stories all the time.

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IAFG
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby IAFG » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:25 pm

ThomasMN wrote:Desert Fox has a bit of a point. However, when you look at average LSAT scores by majors there are no real big jumps in score between say history and engineering. In 2007-2008 the difference been history majors and engineers was .3 points. I also get a kick out of the fact that pre-law majors have one of if not the lowest average LSAT scores.

That all being said, I have not always seen a big correlation between LSAT scores and performance. My mock trial coach graduated in the top 10% of her class in Vanderbilt and came in with an LSAT score in the bottom 10%. I hear those kinds of anecdotal stories all the time.

You really only ever hear about people who did well. Who ever says, "I barely got in, and boy was that a mistake! Bottom 1/3, bitches!"

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stratocophic
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby stratocophic » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:42 pm

IAFG wrote:Don't forget engineers/math majors/people with worthwhile degrees who are in law school anyway were obviously miserable failures, otherwise they wouldn't be in law school.
Mad as hell bout dat IPSECURE







But yeah seriously we were pretty much all piss-poor at our chosen majors

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JoeFish
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby JoeFish » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:10 pm

IAFG wrote:Don't forget engineers/math majors/people with worthwhile degrees who are in law school anyway were obviously miserable failures, otherwise they wouldn't be in law school.

Ouch. Ha, oh, come now, I recognize the sardonic touch in your post, but I was an effing good math major who didn't end up enjoying it much. The only thing I would've wanted to do would be teach, and the job opportunities for young professors - if you didn't go Ivy or the 10 other greatest math schools, and sometimes even if you did - are pretty bad. My smallish T50 received 600 applications for 2 teaching positions last year.

I think sometimes Law people who chide Math/Science/Engineering people for going to Law School are just jealous and can't understand why someone would "waste" a talent or education in that field. :wink: But I'm all for me baby. Do whatcha wanna do and all that.

T-Account
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby T-Account » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:21 pm

You really think that people with engineering/science/accounting degrees who go to law school are miserable failures? I'm still not 100% sure I'm going to pursue law school, but as an accounting major who will have two years experience at a large accounting firm before going to law school I think my experience will only help me in my career. Granted, I would need to do well in law school in order to get the opportunity to work at a big law firm where my skills will come in handy, which is where my original question comes from english majors don't judge me for ending a sentence with a preposition.

What kind of writing does law school require? English classes were always my worst because I had to make up some strange symbolism/existentialism/transcendentalism/pretend I had any idea what the author was trying to say. But law school - I figure there's a case and you apply the law and then you write. Much more straightforward than being graded on style and fancy-shmancy sentence structure. I was much better at writing history papers etc. where there were facts and I applied the facts to a situation.

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dood
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby dood » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:28 pm

legal writing is closest to engineering / science writing. nothing makes humanities better at anything. hth

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johnnyutah
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby johnnyutah » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:35 pm

T-Account wrote:English classes were always my worst because I had to make up some strange symbolism/existentialism/transcendentalism/pretend I had any idea what the author was trying to say. But law school - I figure there's a case and you apply the law and then you write.

Reading case law is actually a lot more similar to doing close readings of literature than you think.

crazyblink653
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby crazyblink653 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:43 pm

T-Account wrote:You really think that people with engineering/science/accounting degrees who go to law school are miserable failures? I'm still not 100% sure I'm going to pursue law school, but as an accounting major who will have two years experience at a large accounting firm before going to law school I think my experience will only help me in my career. Granted, I would need to do well in law school in order to get the opportunity to work at a big law firm where my skills will come in handy, which is where my original question comes from english majors don't judge me for ending a sentence with a preposition.

What kind of writing does law school require? English classes were always my worst because I had to make up some strange symbolism/existentialism/transcendentalism/pretend I had any idea what the author was trying to say. But law school - I figure there's a case and you apply the law and then you write. Much more straightforward than being graded on style and fancy-shmancy sentence structure. I was much better at writing history papers etc. where there were facts and I applied the facts to a situation.


law school doesn't require writing skills that are out of this world. it does require, however, a general knowledge of grammar and sentence construction, as well as the ability to persuasively and cogently make an argument. you would be SHOCKED how many people, even at very highly ranked law schools, cannot do even one of those things.

i'll reiterate what i said in an earlier post - just because you were an english/history/philosophy major does not mean that you will be able to ace all your exams. conversely, just because you were an accounting/engineering/business major does not mean that you will flunk all your exams. the only way having a humanities degree MAY (emphasis on "may") help is if that student actually used those four years to work on refining their writing style. that's it. i went to school with plenty of English majors who also couldn't write a decent paragraph because they spent 4 years dicking around.

that said, if you put in the effort, it is not all that difficult to do well on a law school exam, even if you lack a humanities background. by my estimation, the slight advantage to being able to write well only results in maybe a 1/2 grade increase (i.e. from a B+ to A-), and that's only because after reading dozens of hastily written exams, the professor might be more liberal with his/her grading when she encounters an answer that is semi-literate and doesn't require a significant time expenditure trying to tease out what the student is trying to say.

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rayiner
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby rayiner » Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:43 pm

T-Account wrote:Is it the constant writing? Is there an advantage at all over say an accounting major/econ major/math major where writing is less intense? I've written a lot of business memos in my time but doubt this will be the same type of writing required in law school. Do humanities majors tend to do better than the more math based majors in law school, or is law eschool success more dependnt upon individual effort?

I'm sure this has been debated before but I can't find in a search (perhaps this is indicative of my future law school success :P )


Business memos are a much better preparation for law school exams than the sorts of things humanities majors write.

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rayiner
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby rayiner » Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:46 pm

johnnyutah wrote:
T-Account wrote:English classes were always my worst because I had to make up some strange symbolism/existentialism/transcendentalism/pretend I had any idea what the author was trying to say. But law school - I figure there's a case and you apply the law and then you write.

Reading case law is actually a lot more similar to doing close readings of literature than you think.


If you're close reading cases you're doing it wrong.

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typ3
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby typ3 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:36 pm

T-Account wrote:You really think that people with engineering/science/accounting degrees who go to law school are miserable failures? I'm still not 100% sure I'm going to pursue law school, but as an accounting major who will have two years experience at a large accounting firm before going to law school I think my experience will only help me in my career. Granted, I would need to do well in law school in order to get the opportunity to work at a big law firm where my skills will come in handy, which is where my original question comes from english majors don't judge me for ending a sentence with a preposition.

What kind of writing does law school require? English classes were always my worst because I had to make up some strange symbolism/existentialism/transcendentalism/pretend I had any idea what the author was trying to say. But law school - I figure there's a case and you apply the law and then you write. Much more straightforward than being graded on style and fancy-shmancy sentence structure. I was much better at writing history papers etc. where there were facts and I applied the facts to a situation.



There is nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition. See: Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges [Hardcover]
Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner. Also Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text With Exercises by Brian Garner.

If it is good enough for the editor of Black's Law Dictionary it is good enough for me. Screw the snarky English majors.
They even encourage ending with prepositions if the situation arises.

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johnnyutah
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby johnnyutah » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:46 pm

typ3 wrote:There is nothing wrong with ending a sentence with a preposition. See: Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges [Hardcover]
Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner. Also Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text With Exercises by Brian Garner.

If it is good enough for the editor of Black's Law Dictionary it is good enough for me. Screw the snarky English majors.
They even encourage ending with prepositions if the situation arises.

The no ending sentences with prepositions rule isn't even really a rule of English. It was a Latin rule that a group of English philologists tried to import in an effort to make English more like Latin, which they considered a better language.

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TaipeiMort
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby TaipeiMort » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:04 pm

I'm not sure if humanities majors do better on exams, but I am sure that those with substantive degrees and related work experience (finance, engineering, hard science, math, econ, stats) have a much, much easier time finding jobs from the median than the non-professional majors like history, liberal arts, humanities, and poli sci.

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dr123
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby dr123 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:52 pm

TaipeiMort wrote:I'm not sure if humanities majors do better on exams, but I am sure that those with substantive degrees and related work experience (finance, engineering, hard science, math, econ, stats) have a much, much easier time finding jobs from the median than the non-professional majors like history, liberal arts, humanities, and poli sci.


That's the key right there. Just because you majored in Engineering doesn't mean you're an engineer.

LoyalRebel
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby LoyalRebel » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:54 pm

The terrifying realization that they have absolutely nothing else to fall back on if law school doesn't work out for them.

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typ3
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby typ3 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:54 pm

It could also be that simply a lot more humanities majors end up in law school. Consequently, you're more likely to hear of a humanities major being at the top of the heap.

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downing
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Re: What makes humanities majors better prepared?

Postby downing » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:30 am

I don't believe humanities majors are more prepared, and may even be impaired due to the way we right. Speaking as an English major, many of the more advanced and writing/essay heavy course I took required a style of writing that would very likely be unacceptable on a law school exam. If there are any discrepancies between the preparedness of majors in the humanities and majors in the sciences, I'm sure they would be evened out a few weeks into 1L.




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