Pre-Law on the Hill

At St. Olaf, we believe that a broad liberal arts education is the best preparation for a career in law. The most successful students and practitioners of law are well-rounded individuals who are able to think and express themselves with skill and creativity. For this reason, there is no set pre-law curriculum and students are discouraged from trying to limit their undergraduate education to the narrow field of legal studies. Rather, those interested in attending law school are encouraged to pursue a broad program of study that strengthens their abilities in writing, reading, speaking, and analysis. Students can pursue this type of broad learning through any department in the college, not just the traditional pre-law majors of political science, history and philosophy.

Guided by a shared commitment to the liberal arts, the Pre-Law Advisory Committee and the Piper Center for Vocation and Career work together closely to help students explore legal careers, address the law school application process, connect with alumni working in the field, and obtain valuable legal internship experience. Pre-law advisers help students learn more about the career of law, provide information on law applications, scholarships, joint degree programs, and law-related careers. Throughout the year the Piper Center organizes events with alumni to speak about their work and study, holds law school information workshops, and arranges visits from law school recruiters. The Piper Center houses information on internships in the field of law, a library of law school resources, and materials on preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). A special Pre-Law Bulletin Board is located on the third floor of Holland Hall. It contains information from the Pre-Law Advisory Committee and the Piper Center concerning law, careers in law, and law schools.

Oles in Law School

Each year 30 to 60 St. Olaf seniors and alumni apply to law schools. Slightly more than 80% are accepted at a school of their choice. While the majority of St. Olaf graduates study law in Minnesota, in any given year St. Olaf alumni who are studying law will be found scattered from the East Coast to the West. In the past five years, St. Olaf students have been accepted to 18 of the 20 top law schools, as ranked in U.S. News and World Report in 2012. St. Olaf students in recent years have attended such nationally known universities as Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, NYU, Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Northwestern, Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, the University of Washington, William & Mary, and Yale.

Law schools with the most St. Olaf graduates currently in attendance:

  • William and Mitchell College of Law
  • University of Minnesota School of Law
  • University of St. Thomas School of Law

In the 2010-2011 application cycle, 27 of the 30 total applicants were accepted to one or more law schools, yielding an acceptance rate of 90.0%. The acceptance rate for the previous 6 years (2005-2010) was 84%. The national acceptance rate for fall of 2011 was 71.1%, with a prior 5 year average of 64.3%.