What Should I Major in Before Law School?

By Rebecca Safier · March 19, 2024 · 6 minute read

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What Should I Major in Before Law School?

Getting into law school is competitive, especially if you’re aiming for a top-tier school. To make yourself the strongest candidate possible, you may be wondering about the best major for law school.

However, there’s no single path to law school admissions nor one best pre-law major; law students typically have a variety of academic backgrounds. Choosing a major that will equip you with the skills to succeed in law school — as well as help you earn good grades — is more important than selecting a specific pre-law field.

As you consider what undergrad degree to pursue for law school, read on for some help making your decision, including what are the most popular majors among law school students..

Do Law Schools Really Care About Your Major?

While law schools care about your GPA and LSAT scores, they don’t require you to study a specific major as a student. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), students from almost every academic discipline are admitted to law school.

According to the ABA, you may choose to major in subjects that are considered to be traditional preparation for law school, such as history, English, philosophy, political science, economics or business. Another option is to focus your undergraduate studies in areas as diverse as art, music, science and mathematics, computer science, engineering, nursing or education, if that’s what appeals to you.

Law schools want to see that you’ve challenged yourself as an undergraduate student. They also may appreciate relevant professional experience that you gained from an internship or job following graduation.

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How Should You Choose Your Pre-Law Major?

Rather than choosing a specific pre-law major, pursue a course of study that you find both interesting and challenging. Taking a range of difficult courses can prepare you for law school and help you develop skills you’ll need as a lawyer.

According to the ABA, some core skills to prioritize developing prior to law school include:

•   Problem solving

•   Critical reading

•   Research, writing, and editing

•   Oral communication and listening

•   Organization

•   Relationship building and collaboration.

By honing these skills through your courses, extracurriculars, and professional experiences, you’ll become a stronger candidate for applying to law school. Having some background knowledge and exposure to the law can also be helpful in your quest for law school admission. You might be able to gain this knowledge from legal courses, an internship, or post-graduation work.

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What Are the Most Popular Majors of Law School Applicants?

While there’s no single best major for getting into law school, some majors are popular among students accepted to law school. Here are some of the most popular pre-law majors, based on 2023 data from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).

Top 10 Most Popular Pre-Law Majors

Here’s a look at the college major choices that many prospective law school students pursue:

1.    Economics: In 2023, 3,149 economics majors applied to law school, and 80% succeeded in getting in. As an economics major, you’ll likely study the global economic conditions that often play a major role in legal policy and reform.

2.    History: Among the 2,763 history majors who applied to law school in the 2023 enrollment year, 79.7% were accepted. Majoring in history can help give you the background knowledge, research experience, and writing skills that are helpful for law school.

3.    Philosophy: More than three-quarters (77.9%) of the 2,454 philosophy majors who applied to law school were admitted. Whether you focus on ethics, political philosophy, or another area, you’ll gain analytical, argumentation, logic, and communication skills that will benefit you as a future lawyer.

4.    English: English majors also tend to have a good shot of getting into law school. In total, 2,688 English degree holders applied, and 76.6% were admitted. The writing, editing, research, and communication skills you hone as an English major can be useful for the study and practice of law.

5.    Finance: About 76% of the 1,735 finance majors who applied to law school got it in. As a finance major, you might study business economics, accounting, and other related topics.

6.    Political Science: Political science is one of the most popular majors among law school applicants, as 13,659 political science majors applied to law school. Of that group, 75.3% were admitted. Studying political theory and system of government can help prepare you for a career in any specialty of the law.

7.    Psychology: Psychology majors also had a high acceptance rate at 72.9% out of 4,153 applicants. Studying human behavior can be helpful in many types of law.

8.    Arts and Humanities: Among the 2,493 arts and humanities majors who applied to law school, 72.3% were accepted. This large category could include a number of specialties, such as music, art, literature, and languages.

9.    Communications: If you want to study public speaking, journalism, public relations, or another communications field, you may be glad to find out that 69% of the 1,634 communications majors who applied to law school got in.

10.    Sociology: Rounding out the list of popular pre-law majors is sociology, or the study of social theory, policy, religion, human behavior, and related topics. According to the LSAC, 2,007 sociology majors applied to law school and 68.8% gained acceptance.

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Is Pre-Law a Major?

Pre-law is not a major at some schools, but you may work with a pre-law advisor as an undergraduate student. If you’re interested in going to law school, a pre-law advisor can help you select courses that will teach you about law. They might also have suggestions for paid or unpaid internships and other ways to expose yourself to the legal profession.

If your school does offer a pre-law major, your schedule might involve courses on law and other classes that build your analytical, reasoning, research, and writing skills. However, if you are in another program, you don’t necessarily have to rush to switch majors.

Choosing a challenging major that you enjoy, while also cultivating the skills that will help you succeed in law school, may be a better option than a pre-law major.

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The Takeaway

If you’re interested in pursuing a law career, there’s no single college major that you have to choose, since admissions officers accept students from a wide range of academic backgrounds. It can be wise to pick a major that you find interesting and that will also develop skills and knowledge that will help you succeed as you continue your studies.

Along with planning your academic journey, you might start thinking about the best way to finance law school. Grants, scholarships, federal financial aid, and private student loans can help you cover your cost of attendance.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.

With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.

Photo credit: iStock/AzmanL

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If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.

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