PolSci Major in Undergrad

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Fish127
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Fish127 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:08 am

Ron Mexico wrote:I mean, it's not like you're going to learn anything (worthwhile) in Poli Sci classes.

Well I haven't encountered any teachers who brush over core concepts so that she can talk for 25 minutes about how Korn isn't as good as they used to be. Likewise, I haven't taken anybody in the political science department, that I had to correct mid lecture because they apparently forgot how order of operations goes.

I don't think you're really comprehending how bad my experience with the economics department was at my school.

Mal Reynolds wrote:Well what if I told you econ majors are highly regarded amongst adcomms and poll sci majors are considered common? It sounds like you chose poli sci for non-substantive reasons. Then you come in here and ask advice about majors with no intention of listening to it. Doesn't make any sense.


Depending on how much weight that held with admissions, maybe I would have weighed the options of transferring schools. The fact is that I wanted to do polisci, if I found out that it would tangibly hold me back, then I would have reconsidered.

I didn't come in here asking advice about majors, I asked very specifically about polisci and admissions. I did ask if there were any polisci majors who regretted it, but that was kind of an afterthought, and not an invitation question my intelligence and troll me for being interested in an unpopular major.

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redsox
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby redsox » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:16 am

Fish127 wrote:Likewise, I haven't taken anybody in the political science department, that I had to correct mid lecture because they apparently forgot how order of operations goes.


Dude, this happens at highly-ranked economics departments too. There is a high correlation between being an accomplished economist and being unable to perform simple tasks that the average 8 year old human being (or exceptionally bright chimpanzee) has mastered.

Except at good econ departments, these professors won't actually teach undergraduates. Instead you'll get a PHD student who is great at order of operations, but doesn't speak more than ten words of English.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:19 am

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. Take whatever you want. Just remember that you were the one who asked the question and chose to ignore the advice. If you don't want to risk your GPA with STEM, major in accounting. Otherwise I would take like film studies or something. At least that's more interesting than poli sci.

Fish127
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Fish127 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:26 am

redsox wrote:
Fish127 wrote:Likewise, I haven't taken anybody in the political science department, that I had to correct mid lecture because they apparently forgot how order of operations goes.


Dude, this happens at highly-ranked economics departments too. There is a high correlation between being an accomplished economist and being unable to perform simple tasks that the average 8 year old human being (or exceptionally bright chimpanzee) has mastered.

Except at good econ departments, these professors won't actually teach undergraduates. Instead you'll get a PHD student who is great at order of operations, but doesn't speak more than ten words of English.


Well maybe I will give it another shot, or try and do a double major or something. I do have half of the core classes done for it anyway. Whatever I do it won't be till after the spring anyway, and for now I gotta go to bed. Thank you again for the advice.

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Louis1127
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Louis1127 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:55 am

I'll answer your number 3 question, OP.

Yes, sometimes I do wish I had majored in something other than PolySci. With graduation appraoching, I do feel a little trapped by having a BA in PolySci. Sure I could try to work on a local political campaign or something, but I feel like law school is one of the few options I have.

Should I have thought about this before I decided to major in PolySci? Yes. Who's fault is it that I am in the situation that I am in? Mine. No disputing that.

I wish I had done more research into the lifestyle of biglaw before I chose a major that made law school on the the few options I feel like I have. But choices have consequences, don't they? Haha.

If I were you, I would look at that STEM stuff, if you are at all interested in it. If you are not interested in it, don't bother- you don't want to do stuff you hate. But with STEM, there are jobs that work 40-50 hours a week with a really good salary (maybe not as much as biglaw but $150,000 chepaer degree)- even with just a BS. If you haven't scoured the forums enough to figure this out, I'll tell you: biglaw pays really well but the hours and the unpredictability of those hours are horrible.

I don't want to sound too doom-and-gloom, but I just kind of wanted to try and answer that number 3. HTH!

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DrStudMuffin
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby DrStudMuffin » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:39 am

A lot of the hate in here for Political Science, English, and History degrees is justified.*

OP - if you're not at an elite UG or not 100% certain on law school, major in something moderately useful so that you don't look back and loathe yourself when you can't find a job after you graduate. Econ is a solid option - you should still be able to get good grades and it will give you solid footing for a job. At least slap it in there as a minor or something if you must major in Poli Sci.

But to your question of if it will hurt you in law school admissions, the answer is no.

*At elite UG's you can major in whatever you want, and as long as you have solid grades, interview well, and have some basic math skills, still get a good job.

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koalacity
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby koalacity » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:10 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. Take whatever you want. Just remember that you were the one who asked the question and chose to ignore the advice. If you don't want to risk your GPA with STEM, major in accounting. Otherwise I would take like film studies or something. At least that's more interesting than poli sci.

Film studies? That cannot possibly be serious advice.

OP, as someone who was a PoliSci major, here are my thoughts:
1) From what I have read, it could potentially hurt you in admissions not so much because of the perceived rigor (or lack thereof) required to do well, but because there are SO MANY PoliSci majors applying, and supposedly adcomms like to fill their classes with a variety of majors. Are PoliSci degrees perceived as easier than STEM majors? Of course. Are they perceived as easier than English or History? I don't think so-I would say they're viewed equally in terms of difficulty. I'm applying this cycle, so feel free to PM me in the spring to see if I underperformed my numbers (which are significantly above every school's 75th).

2) Did I enjoy PoliSci as a major? Yes-I liked my classes (most of them, anyway) and I was legitimately interested in the subject matter. That being said, would I recommend that you choose it as a major (at least as your sole major)? No, and here's why:
I, like you, knew before choosing my major that I wanted to go to law school, so I was somewhat less concerned about picking a major that was employable directly out of UG (I also started UG and chose my major before the great recession). This was a mistake. All of the top schools prefer applicants who have been out of school for several years, and having some impressive WE in those intervening years can be an important soft. You are unlikely to be able to obtain impressive WE with just a PoliSci major. You can always be a K-JD, but that will also hurt your chances at admission at the best schools. Furthermore, it's possible you could change your mind about wanting to go to law school. I know you said you have an offer at a friend's company, and that's great to have as a backup, but please don't rely solely on that.

Can you at least double major in PoliSci and something more directly-employable (i.e. Finance or go back to Econ as a double major or Health Administration or even an in-demand foreign language like Mandarin or Arabic) if you have your heart set on PoliSci?

If you go the PoliSci route and are not planning to do K-JD (and again, I would strongly advise that you not be a K-JD, partly for the impact on your admissions prospects but largely for the value of having a year or two or three away from school to travel, work, mature, etc.), my advice is to network like hell while in UG and try to get some prestigious internships to set yourself up for a job after graduation.

Fish127
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Fish127 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:06 pm

koalacity wrote:
If you go the PoliSci route and are not planning to do K-JD (and again, I would strongly advise that you not be a K-JD, partly for the impact on your admissions prospects but largely for the value of having a year or two or three away from school to travel, work, mature, etc.), my advice is to network like hell while in UG and try to get some prestigious internships to set yourself up for a job after graduation.

I took four years off between high school and undergrad and worked at my family's restaurant. Do you think that admissions would look negatively on me if I go immediately from UG to Law School? I don't really want to take more time off and be in my 30s by the time I get my JD. I know you said they want work experience, but I feel like cooking and busing tables isn't going to make me any more appealing.

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koalacity
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby koalacity » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:31 pm

Fish127 wrote:
koalacity wrote:
If you go the PoliSci route and are not planning to do K-JD (and again, I would strongly advise that you not be a K-JD, partly for the impact on your admissions prospects but largely for the value of having a year or two or three away from school to travel, work, mature, etc.), my advice is to network like hell while in UG and try to get some prestigious internships to set yourself up for a job after graduation.

I took four years off between high school and undergrad and worked at my family's restaurant. Do you think that admissions would look negatively on me if I go immediately from UG to Law School? I don't really want to take more time off and be in my 30s by the time I get my JD. I know you said they want work experience, but I feel like cooking and busing tables isn't going to make me any more appealing.

Hmm, that's a bit of a different situation, then. I don't know enough to give you a definitive answer, but my guess is that adcomms would not view you as they would view a K-JD because you weren't straight K-JD-you just took time off to work between HS and UG, not UG and LS.

I think part of what appeals to adcomms about people who have taken time off is that A) they know what it's like to hold a job and work to pay their bills, B) they're older and more mature, and C) they've had sufficient time to reflect and be certain about their decision to go to law school, instead of rushing straight through school. It would seem to me (and again, I'm just a 0L) that taking time off between HS and UG would basically hold the same appeal as time off between UG and LS. However, this might be something worth asking Spivey or Karen (in the "Q&A with former admissions officers") thread.

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wowhio
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby wowhio » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:38 pm

I am/was in your same situation.

I also got a lot of advice about this in undergrad and even considered adding a second major to get away from the "cookie cutter" of Poli Sco. I think it's important to remember that law schools care exponentially more about what grades you get than about what major you get. If you think adding a second major or changing majors is going to have a significant impact on your GPA, it's worth considering whether it is worth the hit to your GPA.

That said, if you're worried about the perception of Poli Sci as a "fluff" major, you can always take challenging classes outside your major that show that you take it seriously and are not just coasting along. Take some stuff like Microeconomics, Calculus, Statistics, Data Analysis, Research Methods, etc. Really, take anything that interests you -- and then do well!

I think you shouldn't worry about this too much. Take classes you like that you're going to do well in and focus on distinguishing yourself with a high LSAT score.

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wowhio
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby wowhio » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:45 pm

Also, wow, so much hate on here for Poli Sci. You guys know that getting a Biology major doesn't automatically get you a job either, right? And majoring in something you're not interested in is likely to lead, at best, to a job you're not interested in?

OP, ignore the haters. If you love Poli Sci, do Poli Sci.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:55 pm

koalacity wrote:
Mal Reynolds wrote:At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. Take whatever you want. Just remember that you were the one who asked the question and chose to ignore the advice. If you don't want to risk your GPA with STEM, major in accounting. Otherwise I would take like film studies or something. At least that's more interesting than poli sci.

Film studies? That cannot possibly be serious advice.

OP, as someone who was a PoliSci major, here are my thoughts:
1) From what I have read, it could potentially hurt you in admissions not so much because of the perceived rigor (or lack thereof) required to do well, but because there are SO MANY PoliSci majors applying, and supposedly adcomms like to fill their classes with a variety of majors. Are PoliSci degrees perceived as easier than STEM majors? Of course. Are they perceived as easier than English or History? I don't think so-I would say they're viewed equally in terms of difficulty. I'm applying this cycle, so feel free to PM me in the spring to see if I underperformed my numbers (which are significantly above every school's 75th).

2) Did I enjoy PoliSci as a major? Yes-I liked my classes (most of them, anyway) and I was legitimately interested in the subject matter. That being said, would I recommend that you choose it as a major (at least as your sole major)? No, and here's why:
I, like you, knew before choosing my major that I wanted to go to law school, so I was somewhat less concerned about picking a major that was employable directly out of UG (I also started UG and chose my major before the great recession). This was a mistake. All of the top schools prefer applicants who have been out of school for several years, and having some impressive WE in those intervening years can be an important soft. You are unlikely to be able to obtain impressive WE with just a PoliSci major. You can always be a K-JD, but that will also hurt your chances at admission at the best schools. Furthermore, it's possible you could change your mind about wanting to go to law school. I know you said you have an offer at a friend's company, and that's great to have as a backup, but please don't rely solely on that.

Can you at least double major in PoliSci and something more directly-employable (i.e. Finance or go back to Econ as a double major or Health Administration or even an in-demand foreign language like Mandarin or Arabic) if you have your heart set on PoliSci?

If you go the PoliSci route and are not planning to do K-JD (and again, I would strongly advise that you not be a K-JD, partly for the impact on your admissions prospects but largely for the value of having a year or two or three away from school to travel, work, mature, etc.), my advice is to network like hell while in UG and try to get some prestigious internships to set yourself up for a job after graduation.


If the OP is going to law school it doesn't matter one iota what he majors in. Poli sci, film studies, women's studies it doesn't matter at all.

If the OP wants a job out of school he needs to change majors immediately into something marketable. But OP has chosen not to listen to that advice, so what does it matter.

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Danger Zone
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:58 pm

no u r tar

Mal Reynolds
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:59 pm

wowhio wrote:That said, if you're worried about the perception of Poli Sci as a "fluff" major, you can always take challenging classes outside your major that show that you take it seriously and are not just coasting along. Take some stuff like Microeconomics, Calculus, Statistics, Data Analysis, Research Methods, etc. Really, take anything that interests you -- and then do well!


This is such terrible advice. All taking calculus would do is risk lower grades. Why take more difficult, non-liberal arts classes if you're not even getting the benefit of a non-liberal arts degree? Ad comms don't give a shit about the classes you took on your transcript. They care about your cumulative GPA. Period. Full Stop.

Straw_Mandible
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Straw_Mandible » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:05 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:If the OP is going to law school it doesn't matter one iota what he majors in. Poli sci, film studies, women's studies it doesn't matter at all.

If the OP wants a job out of school he needs to change majors immediately into something marketable. But OP has chosen not to listen to that advice, so what does it matter.


FWIW, I majored in PoliSci, and I landed a pretty cushy (relative term) paralegal gig less than week after graduation. I understand that this is not the norm, but you shouldn't try to convince OP that PoliSci is a necessarily unemployable major. Strong students will have strong options.

OP: Major in whatever interests you. Cop that 4.0, study like a lunatic for the LSAT, and enjoy T14 land.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:07 pm

Wow a paralegal gig? That's what every college freshman dreams of after graduation.

Straw_Mandible
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Straw_Mandible » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:18 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:Wow a paralegal gig? That's what every college freshman dreams of after graduation.


Not appreciating the sarcasm, and it seems like a perfectly acceptable place to churn out law school applications. Look, the point stands: If OP is interested in going to law school, s/he should focus on GPA above all else. To say OP should absolutely not choose PoliSci because it is an unemployable major is an overstatement.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:23 pm

Straw_Mandible wrote:
Mal Reynolds wrote:Wow a paralegal gig? That's what every college freshman dreams of after graduation.


Not appreciating the sarcasm, and it seems like a perfectly acceptable place to churn out law school applications. Look, the point stands: If OP is interested in going to law school, s/he should focus on getting a high GPA. To say OP should absolutely not choose PoliSci because it is an unemployable major is an overstatement.


You must not read very good. I never said poli sci majors are unemployable. Any major could get a paralegal gig. I said with respect to law school, majors don't matter. And in terms of getting a job outside of school you are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage if you major in poli sci. Long term, well paying jobs come much easier for engineers, accountants, etc. It is a worthless degree and if you get a job after graduation it is because all of the other items on your resume.

Stinson
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Stinson » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:26 pm

Wow, butthurt on all sides here. Poli sci folks, stop trying to convince people that your major was difficult. "Hard" major folks, stop being mad that you chose to devalue that major by applying to law school, a process which absolutely doesn't care how hard your major was.

OP, if you are absolutely certain that:

1. you want law school
2. you will get T6 grades and
3. you will get a T6 LSAT score
then:
major in whatever the heck you want because that means UG is fun time. If you will look back in twenty years and wish you'd studied more political science, then by all means do that, but I think most people will prefer they'd done something more fun.

If you can't be sure of any of those three things (hint, 1 is unlikely and 3 is very, very tough) then maybe hedge your bets with something more practical.

Fish127
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Fish127 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:51 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:
You must not read very good.

Very well*

Mal Reynolds
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:59 pm

Fish127 wrote:
Mal Reynolds wrote:
You must not read very good.

Very well*


That was the joke.

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prezidentv8
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:08 pm

1) Did having political science as a major help to prepare you in any way for the LSAT or for Law School in general?

I mean, I guess I had slightly more familiarity with some of the history that comes up in conlaw, but....no.

2) Did having political science as a major hurt you in any way? In other words, was it looked down at on a major by selective schools, more specifically T6 and up?

No, but it certainly didn't help anything.

3) Given the choice, would you have chosen something else?

Absolutely, though I'd probably have taken some polisci classes for shits and giggles anyway.



Also, don't go to law school.

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prezidentv8
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:14 pm

Fish127 wrote:that level of immaturity from perspective law students, supposedly those aiming for the upper echelon of the field.


Waaay overestimating the common TOPLAWSTUDENT brohan.

Fish127 wrote:I feel like every decision I make is based around what will help or hurt me in the future. With law school in mind...


You masochist, you.

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t-14orbust
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby t-14orbust » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:19 pm

Fish127 wrote:From what I understand, Political Science is currently the most popular choice for undergraduate students interested in attending law school. Despite (or perhaps because of) this, I notice that a lot of people pursuing law school, or connected to the legal field in some other way, have a somewhat negative opinion of it. I've heard it called a joke major, cookie cutter, and generally useless compared with other options. In my current situation, at my current school, political science is really the only major available to me that I'm both interested in, and confident in my ability to maintain T14 grades with. The other options I considered were English or History, but neither of them really interest me as much as polsci. Anyway, as far as my issue goes I have three question for anybody with experience regarding the major, or T14 admissions in general.

1) Did having political science as a major help to prepare you in any way for the LSAT or for Law School in general?

2) Did having political science as a major hurt you in any way? In other words, was it looked down at on a major by selective schools, more specifically T6 and up?

3) Given the choice, would you have chosen something else?


Poli Sci grad here.

1) No. Hell no. At best it helped because I had to read stuff. Big deal

2) I doubt it will hurt me for law school apps. It does hurt in that it's not very useful for attaining gainful employment. I got lucky because my grades were really good, but I've seen a ton of people forced into shitjerbs.

3) YES. I would have chosen business or economics. What happens when you decide you don't want to go to law school, but are left with a poliTTTical science degree? Sure, I still want to go to law school, but it would have been nice to have other options.

TLDR: fuck poli sci get $$$

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prezidentv8
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby prezidentv8 » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:20 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:
Fish127 wrote:
Mal Reynolds wrote:
You must not read very good.

Very well*


That was the joke.


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