Pre-Law Curriculum and Extracurricular Activities

The Department of Political Science at Western Michigan University encourages students to prepare early for law school and to get involved in extracurricular activities.

There is no such thing as a pre-law curriculum. Law schools accept students from all majors and backgrounds. Prepare early to succeed in law school by working toward the strongest possible college record you can achieve. However, law school admissions is a numbers game; your undergraduate GPA and your score on the LSAT are the two most important factors determining the likelihood of acceptance into the law school of your choice.

Having the numbers to get in to law school does not guarantee you will be able to master a demanding law school curriculum if you haven’t honed the skills you need. You need strong writing skills and demonstrable ability in communication and reasoning. Lawyers must analyze complex and often conflicting cases and statutes that demand logical and analytical thinking, and the ability to express their reasoning with clarity and precision. Seminar format courses that accentuate writing and discussion usually contribute to developing these skills. At WMU, classes on logic (in the Department of Philosophy) are designed to give non-philosophy majors an introduction to logical reasoning. Math, philosophy and engineering majors may find they are developing logical skills that may not have a specific application to the law, but will be of enormous use in general application to the study of law. WMU offers a public law concentration in the political science major. If you feel your major does not adequately prepare you to write well or to think logically and analytically, you should take electives that will. Take challenging courses and exercise the self-discipline to do well in those courses.

Don’t neglect extracurricular activities that will help to separate you from other applicants with similar numbers. Any responsible leadership role you have taken helps to show admissions committees you have varied talents beyond your academic ones. Study abroad, honors you accumulate, work experience and internships enhance your application.

For those who have been out of school for more than a year or two, your undergraduate GPA will be less important. The law schools will focus more on your LSAT score and your accomplishments since leaving school. Graduate training and professional accomplishments are important, but community activities, child-rearing, political involvement, etc., will also be considered by admissions committees.