The public law major in the Department of Political Science at Western Michigan University attempts to prepare students for a career in law. However, no special college program is required or recommended by most law schools. Generally, law schools urge a solid four-year program leading to a bachelor’s degree. As long as a student receives a quality education featuring critical analysis, logical reasoning and written and oral communications, a number of majors are acceptable for the pre-law student.
Regardless of major, certain kinds of courses are essential during an undergraduate career. Courses, which stress writing, are indispensable. Courses, which require students to use legal reasoning such as administrative law, constitutional law and business law, are highly recommended. Courses which develop an awareness of the structure and processes of government such as national government, legal environment and judicial processes are also valuable. Finally, acquaintances with the structure and development of American business, the American historical experience, economics, politics and logic is advisable.
There is a serious competition for admission to law school. Admission decisions are based on a variety of factors, but several ought to be stressed. A student’s undergraduate record is a good predictor of likely performance in law school. Grades will be carefully examined and substantial weight will be afforded to this factor. Selection of advanced courses will be viewed favorable as will consistency of performance. It is especially important to perform well in the last two years.
The second major factor is the Law School Admission Test, a standardized test intended to assess mental capabilities, measure reading ability and comprehension, writing and reasoning. The test does not stress particular academic content and no advantage or disadvantage results from majoring in one field rather than another. All law schools require the LSAT and its role in determining admissions cannot be overemphasized. Other factors such as personal accomplishments, graduate or professional school work and letters of recommendation are often considered though they are less weight than GPA and LSAT.