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St. Olaf College

Pre-Law Coursework

Choosing Your Majors and Concentrations

There are no prerequisite classes or required majors for law school.  You should choose majors and/or concentrations that you enjoy and that you can do well in.  By designating yourself as “pre-law”, all you are doing is signifying that you are preparing yourself for the legal field by developing skills through classes, extracurricular opportunities, jobs and internships. As a St. Olaf liberal arts student, your education is designed to give you a broad base of knowledge and the ability to think analytically and express yourself clearly. In other words, you are already on the path to becoming a successful law school candidate.

When choosing your majors and/or concentrations, think about….

  • What you actually enjoy learning. You don’t have to be a political science and history major if you would rather study physics and environmental studies. (In fact, there is a demand for lawyers with a background in the sciences.) Furthermore, if you choose to study subjects that you actually like, you will probably excel more readily.  This is important because your GPA is heavily weighted in the admissions process.
  • If your course work is challenging enough. More challenging course work will prepare you for the demands of law school.

Choosing Your Courses

The American Bar Association suggests that you use your coursework to develop these skills:

  • Analytic / Problem Solving Skills
  • Critical Reading
  • Writing Skills
  • Oral Communication / Listening Abilities
  • General Research Skills
  • Task Organization / Management Skills
  • Public Service and Promotion of Justice

You can gain anything not covered by your major(s) or concentration(s) through GE requirements, electives, internships, extracurricular activities, and research experience. St. Olaf requires that you take an Abstract and Quantitative Reasoning (AQR) course-even if you tested out of this requirement or fulfilled it with a lower level math course, consider challenging yourself by taking a more advanced class that will force you to develop your reasoning skills. This will not only show admissions officers that you can excel in different types of classes but will also help you prepare for the LSAT and the kind of thinking required of law students.

Ask your academic advisor and the pre-law advisors for more help in finding classes that will develop the skills you need for law school.