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Law School Preparation Overview
Law schools look at your choice of courses. Admission committees estimate the degree of difficulty of majors and pay particular attention to the array of courses you have selected. They will review all of your transcripts to determine whether you have consciously selected challenging course work. Committee members are familiar with Penn State curricula.
Work with your academic adviser to build a diverse curriculum that will help you meet the following goals:
- Learn to write and speak clearly and effectively. Choose courses that emphasize skills in argumentation, rhetoric, presentational speaking, forensics, and logical reasoning.
- Achieve depth in one or more fields of knowledge. If you are in a general major such as Letters, Arts, and Sciences, do not choose diversity at the expense of depth.
- Develop an understanding of the moral and ethical problems of our time. These topics are addressed in any number of courses in sociology, philosophy, political science, African and African American studies, women's studies, anthropology, science, technology and society, human development and family studies, etc.
- Develop an appreciation of other cultures and times. Take advantage of diverse course topics at Penn State: comparative literature, history, medieval studies, political science, English literature, and foreign languages and literature. Don't be afraid to explore!
- Develop a critical approach to the ways in which we gain and apply knowledge in the areas of literature, art, history, math, and the physical and biological sciences.
While undergraduate law courses may be useful in familiarizing you with the language of the law and some basic legal concepts, law school admission committees typically do not give preference to applicants who have taken such courses. The first year of law school provides training in the essentials such as case study methods, legal research, briefing a case, and outlining and analyzing facts, issues, arguments, and decisions, etc.
Take advantage of opportunities to participate in honors programs. Internships can be useful tools for career opportunities. Gain some familiarity with the basic concepts of economics, accounting, and government, and be sufficiently skilled in mathematics to comprehend statistical analysis.
Following these suggestions while maintaining a strong, competitive grade-point average will help you prepare for success in law school. Your goal is to make yourself competitive in a very large pool of applicants.