PolSci Major in Undergrad

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Otunga
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Otunga » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:23 pm

Having majored in philosophy, I can say that, going back, I would choose to major in something like computer science and minor in philosophy. Or perhaps I would've done a double major with economics & philosophy. The point is that after you graduate college with your political science degree, you're going to feel like a real dipshit when the odds of you securing even respectable employment are low. This, in turn, might make you prepare even harder for the LSAT, which will get you into a good law school. Just know that if you major in political science and nothing else, you're putting all your eggs in one basket.

It comes down to this, in my opinion: If you think you can at least get a 3.5 GPA or somewhere around there, and you think you'd actually like the work that a practical major such as computer science entails, then major in the practical thing and minor in the impractical thing (political science). If, however, you think your GPA would severely go down or you think you would strongly dislike the work the practical major entails, then just major in political science, get your GPA as high as possible, and make the t14. Both scenarios assume you want law school - the first one is just for those more risk-averse who want something to fall back on.

Chriz
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Chriz » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:56 pm

Political Science is awesome. While all my friends were studying for tests and homework in physics/psychology/computer science majors I was playing Call of Duty most of the time. If I hadn't made the mistake of starting college with a chemistry major I would have had like a 3.9

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Iroh
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Iroh » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:49 am

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?


I'm a c/o 2017 applicant, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

1) No. Well, maybe. Being a polisci major at my school consisted of arguing with assholes every day, so I suppose it might have sharpened my ability to evaluate arguments. But I probably would have gotten more out of a philosophy major.

2) I don't think law schools really care one way or the other, unless you are a STEM major and have an interest in IP. If they do care, I have another, yooneek major, which I'm sure will dazzle and charm them to no end.

3) Yes. A million times yes. I had some great professors, but I could have taken classes with them without majoring in polisci. I had originally planned to take 2-3 years off between undergrad and law school and work as a paralegal, thinking what a thoughtful, mature person I would become. Of course, my utter inability to secure a paralegal job, or any job making above minimum wage, has kind of ruined my grand plan. I'm not blaming that all on the degree, because while my GPA was good, it could have been better, and I could have hustled more/smarter. So my advice to polisci majors is to hustle like crazy well before graduation, and to at least consider going K-JD.

If I was not T14-bound, I think I would be an incredibly depressed and bitter person.

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Nova
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Nova » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:12 am

As a poli sci major who graduated from a state school making 30k as a retail manager, DONT DO IT! PLZ DONT DO IT!

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Nova
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Nova » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:15 am

Otunga, who is your favorite wrestler, tho. HHH is the best of all time. IMO.

The cerebral assassin. King of kings. THE GAME.

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Otunga
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Otunga » Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:50 pm

Nova wrote:Otunga, who is your favorite wrestler, tho. HHH is the best of all time. IMO.

The cerebral assassin. King of kings. THE GAME.


All time? Probably Shawn Michaels. Presently? Punk.

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Balthy
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Balthy » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:26 pm

I was a phil major. Throughout undergrad I was 100% certain that i would either become a philosophy professor or go to law school. So what could go wrong with majoring in philosophy, right? EVERYTHING. just take everyone's unsolicited advice and major in something that could give you more options, even if you currently feel you don't need the extra options. Do business if you're worried about GPA. Minor in polsci. It's just a wiser choice.

Fish127
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Fish127 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:36 pm

With my current situation, I would be able to spend a few more years in school and get the econ degree if I decide not to go to law school when I finish my BA.

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prezidentv8
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:36 pm

Fish127 wrote:With my current situation, I would be able to spend a few more years in school and get the econ degree if I decide not to go to law school when I finish my BA.


To paraphrase someone wiser than I, 'tis not whether you could or would, but whether you should.

Fish127
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Fish127 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:10 pm

prezidentv8 wrote:
Fish127 wrote:With my current situation, I would be able to spend a few more years in school and get the econ degree if I decide not to go to law school when I finish my BA.


To paraphrase someone wiser than I, 'tis not whether you could or would, but whether you should.

I'm willing to spend the extra time, and in my situation it won't hurt me. At the moment I'm sure I want to go to law school, and I'm interested in polisci, so for the moment I'm sticking with the major. I might double major or do my minor in econ, maybe.

I appreciate the advice from everyone who addressed the issue that I brought up.

FluffMonster
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby FluffMonster » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:02 pm

Polisci major here.

I don't regret my major, although I think i would have been equally as happy in philosophy (it's political theory I enjoy). It hasn't really prepared me for law school, but it's definitely sharpened my writing skills (one semester I wrote >150 pages worth of papers for 4 classes).

If you're sure about law school, then pick a major you're interested in. Also, polisci, history, and english are all writing intensive. If you think you can excel at one, then you'll probably be able to get good grades in all of them.

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aboutmydaylight
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby aboutmydaylight » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:44 am

Aren't business degrees and other "professional" degrees (even though they're undergrad) generally looked down upon by adcoms? I've been told it can make you look more opportunistic rather than you actually caring about law.

I don't think there's really a good or bad major for law school. The harder the difficulty (STEM) the harder it is to get into a law school worth attending, and the easier the difficulty the harder it is to end up doing something else if law school doesn't pan out. Its kind of a sad dose of reality but there's significant adverse selection the way admissions are currently run.

Of course the general trend here will be to recommend a major that gives you good prospective employment straight from undergrad, though that's not really advice for law school, that's advice for life (aka don't go to law school).

For what its worth I majored in economics, with a decently harder emphasis on the math/statistics portion of it than the vanilla program, and I do feel like it helped me become a better problem solver. But I chose my major before I even considered law school as an option and I genuinely enjoyed what I studied.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Mal Reynolds » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:50 am

Aren't business degrees and other "professional" degrees (even though they're undergrad) generally looked down upon by adcoms? I've been told it can make you look more opportunistic rather than you actually caring about law.


No.

For what its worth I majored in economics, with a decently harder emphasis on the math/statistics portion of it than the vanilla program, and I do feel like it helped me become a better problem solver.


lol

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Danger Zone
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Danger Zone » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:43 am

aboutmydaylight wrote:Aren't business degrees and other "professional" degrees (even though they're undergrad) generally looked down upon by adcoms? I've been told it can make you look more opportunistic rather than you actually caring about law.

I don't think there's really a good or bad major for law school. The harder the difficulty (STEM) the harder it is to get into a law school worth attending, and the easier the difficulty the harder it is to end up doing something else if law school doesn't pan out. Its kind of a sad dose of reality but there's significant adverse selection the way admissions are currently run.

Of course the general trend here will be to recommend a major that gives you good prospective employment straight from undergrad, though that's not really advice for law school, that's advice for life (aka don't go to law school).

For what its worth I majored in economics, with a decently harder emphasis on the math/statistics portion of it than the vanilla program, and I do feel like it helped me become a better problem solver. But I chose my major before I even considered law school as an option and I genuinely enjoyed what I studied.

Is that a self tar? Damn girl what's good

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:51 pm

Haven't read much of this thread, but philosophy majors score higher on the LSAT than almost all other majors, except physics I think. Poli sci majors are pretty average. Not that this is a good reason to choose a major.
Last edited by iamgeorgebush on Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

KingofSplitters55
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby KingofSplitters55 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:19 am

Political Science is actually one of the more job-relevant of the humanities degrees. If you go from a decent undergraduate, almost all Political Science majors work in (with about an equal distribution throughout these four fields):

1) Finance
2) Consulting
3) Government
4) Political Campaigns

It really ain't too bad. You just have to know what you're doing when you start the program. Get a high GPA, get a sweet job, have some good times - while your Computer Science friend spends all day studying for their 2.5 GPA and ends up jobless because no one will ever hire a CS grad without significant work experience (half the people in the field have no degree and only work experience anyway).

The hordes of gainfully-employed philosophy, english, poli-sci, classical history, etc grads compared to the masses of unemployed/underemployed finance, engineering, computer science, STEM (ESPECIALLY STEM - no jobs at all in this field unless you're the next Einstein) prove this.

It's not the major, it's the person.

KingofSplitters55
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby KingofSplitters55 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:24 am

Oh and as for those mentioning business...aka the most underemployed major in the country according to recent reports/analysis (VAST oversupply)...don't do it unless you're ready to claw your way for a 30K a year assistant-manager job somewhere and be perfectly happy with that outcome.

Pancakes12
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Pancakes12 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:52 am

If you can keep a high GPA, do a math major. The math major is highly underrated when it comes to the LSAT. I took many math and philosophy courses, and the math courses were what made the phil courses cake. The logic that you do in some philosophy courses is just silly easy after take theoretical mathematics.

Pancakes12
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Pancakes12 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:58 am

KingofSplitters55 wrote:Political Science is actually one of the more job-relevant of the humanities degrees. If you go from a decent undergraduate, almost all Political Science majors work in (with about an equal distribution throughout these four fields):

1) Finance
2) Consulting
3) Government
4) Political Campaigns

It really ain't too bad. You just have to know what you're doing when you start the program. Get a high GPA, get a sweet job, have some good times - while your Computer Science friend spends all day studying for their 2.5 GPA and ends up jobless because no one will ever hire a CS grad without significant work experience (half the people in the field have no degree and only work experience anyway).

The hordes of gainfully-employed philosophy, english, poli-sci, classical history, etc grads compared to the masses of unemployed/underemployed finance, engineering, computer science, STEM (ESPECIALLY STEM - no jobs at all in this field unless you're the next Einstein) prove this.

It's not the major, it's the person.


This is very exaggerated. A 3.0 CS major is going to do much better than a 3.7 PolSci major on average. If you go to an Ivy, where english majors get BBM jobs, then maybe you don't see it this way. But this is far from the reality of most people.

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Gunnar Stahl
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby Gunnar Stahl » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:24 pm

KingofSplitters55 wrote:Political Science is actually one of the more job-relevant of the humanities degrees. If you go from a decent undergraduate, almost all Political Science majors work in (with about an equal distribution throughout these four fields):

1) Finance
2) Consulting
3) Government
4) Political Campaigns

If by decent you mean HYP, then sure.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby iamgeorgebush » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:11 am

KingofSplitters55 wrote:Political Science is actually one of the more job-relevant of the humanities degrees. If you go from a decent undergraduate, almost all Political Science majors work in (with about an equal distribution throughout these four fields):

1) Finance
2) Consulting
3) Government
4) Political Campaigns

It really ain't too bad. You just have to know what you're doing when you start the program. Get a high GPA, get a sweet job, have some good times - while your Computer Science friend spends all day studying for their 2.5 GPA and ends up jobless because no one will ever hire a CS grad without significant work experience (half the people in the field have no degree and only work experience anyway).

The hordes of gainfully-employed philosophy, english, poli-sci, classical history, etc grads compared to the masses of unemployed/underemployed finance, engineering, computer science, STEM (ESPECIALLY STEM - no jobs at all in this field unless you're the next Einstein) prove this.

It's not the major, it's the person.

Yeah let's see some evidence for all this...

ltrego
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby ltrego » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:33 am

I don't know where y'all went/go to school, but at my U almost all graduates from my departments (journalism and English) are gainfully employed within 6 mos. of graduation. It's a small school, so I personally know most of the last couple years' graduates and can attest that this claim is not based solely upon recruiting stats.

What I'm saying is this: humanities majors can be good choices.

Articles like this one back me up: https://www.openforum.com/articles/why- ... new-hires/

Edit: Also, this study: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10901247.htm

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ManoftheHour
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby ManoftheHour » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:03 am

ltrego wrote:I don't know where y'all went/go to school, but at my U almost all graduates from my departments (journalism and English) are gainfully employed within 6 mos. of graduation. It's a small school, so I personally know most of the last couple years' graduates and can attest that this claim is not based solely upon recruiting stats.

What I'm saying is this: humanities majors can be good choices.

Articles like this one back me up: https://www.openforum.com/articles/why- ... new-hires/

Edit: Also, this study: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10901247.htm


They can be okay choices but you have to have hustle. It's not like you graduate and everyone wants you. You really have market yourself well.

I majored in history and I make a decent (not great) living working at a media and tech company. My friend (who was an English major) is working at a big marketing firm in Hawaii. But she hustled for two years before landing that position.

But here's the thing: How many humanities majors end up doing something related to their majors? Just because I'm "gainfully" employed does not mean that history was a good major for me. Maybe I could have majored in finance and ended up at the same or an even better position. No matter what you major in, I'd imagine you'd end up at a decent job if you hustled enough. Whether the job is related or is in a field of something you intended to do is a different story. Just look at all the bio majors who failed to get into med school. A large number of them are stuck teaching 6th or 7th grade life science.

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AT9
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby AT9 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:31 pm

I majored in polisci at a respected but not elite undergrad, though the polisci department was research intensive and ranked in the top 20.

I actually enjoyed my experience and I don't regret (2.5 years out anyway) majoring in it. My professors were top notch all around. The work certainly sharpened my writing and critical thinking skills, which has helped in my current law firm job and no doubt will help in law school and later on in my career. It also helped to broaden my general knowledge base on a wide range of subjects. Here's how I would make your choice:

1. If you're 100% certain that law school is the only career you want, major in whatever interests you the most/will be best for your GPA.
2. If you think you may want a STEM career if law school doesn't work out, go with a STEM degree.
3. If you don't think you want a STEM career if law school plans fall through, but don't know exactly what other career you would want at this point, major in something that will give you a broader range of options. I think a social sciences/humanities degree isn't a terrible option in this scenario.

Will a social sciences/humanities degree get you a high-paying job in an in-demand field right after graduation? Probably not. But if a high-paying job is your main educational goal, law school probably isn't your best bet anyway.

EDIT: The economy still sucks, so whatever you major in (especially if it's social sciences), work hard and distinguish yourself from the thousands of other recent graduates with decent internship and work experience. A 3.5 GPA and a generic internship in some department of your county government may not be an amazing resume after graduation, but it sure beats your counterpart with a 2.7 and nothing else but a part-time job at Taco Bell in high school.

KingofSplitters55
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Re: PolSci Major in Undergrad

Postby KingofSplitters55 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:47 pm

AT9 wrote:I majored in polisci at a respected but not elite undergrad, though the polisci department was research intensive and ranked in the top 20.

I actually enjoyed my experience and I don't regret (2.5 years out anyway) majoring in it. My professors were top notch all around. The work certainly sharpened my writing and critical thinking skills, which has helped in my current law firm job and no doubt will help in law school and later on in my career. It also helped to broaden my general knowledge base on a wide range of subjects. Here's how I would make your choice:

1. If you're 100% certain that law school is the only career you want, major in whatever interests you the most/will be best for your GPA.
2. If you think you may want a STEM career if law school doesn't work out, go with a STEM degree.
3. If you don't think you want a STEM career if law school plans fall through, but don't know exactly what other career you would want at this point, major in something that will give you a broader range of options. I think a social sciences/humanities degree isn't a terrible option in this scenario.

Will a social sciences/humanities degree get you a high-paying job in an in-demand field right after graduation? Probably not. But if a high-paying job is your main educational goal, law school probably isn't your best bet anyway.

EDIT: The economy still sucks, so whatever you major in (especially if it's social sciences), work hard and distinguish yourself from the thousands of other recent graduates with decent internship and work experience. A 3.5 GPA and a generic internship in some department of your county government may not be an amazing resume after graduation, but it sure beats your counterpart with a 2.7 and nothing else but a part-time job at Taco Bell in high school.


Solid post. It is certainly true that often a liberal arts major will require some more hustling and flexibility to get a solid job as compared to a pre-professional major (though even this generalization is highly variable by school/luck/etc). However especially in this economy "the grass is greener" syndrome takes over far too much due to people looking at the average or above-average outcome and then assuming they would always get that or better if they had pursued that alternate path. In every field there's a significant portion of people struggling, though it is true that some fields are suffering more than others.

Beyond that, remember that 5+ years out the economy will have shifted again - some fields in demand now may no longer be in demand, and vice-versa. Many people who went into a field that was hot at the time (example: construction) now have to go back to school and start a new career because that field has dwindled after its boom-years.




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