Frequently Asked Questions About Pre-Law at Calvin
Questions about Calvin's pre-law program? See below for some of the most common questions students ask. If your question isn't answered below, please contact the pre-law office with your question.
Wait, so Calvin's pre-law program isn't a major?
Calvin's pre-law program works differently than a major or minor program. Pre-law at Calvin is not a major; it's a specialization that you choose to pursue in conjunction with a major in another field. There are no required pre-law courses; instead, students select a major field of study in an area of interest to them as they prepare to attend law school after earning their four-year degree. The courses and experiences that comprise the pre-law specialization emphasize analytic and problem-solving skills, oral communication, political theory, history, ethics and justice.
Law schools accept undergraduate degrees in a wide variety fields and interests, with specific training in the field of law taking place in law school rather than college or university. Law school graduates become eligible to practice law by satisfying the licensing requirements of the jurisdiction(s) in which they intend to practice. See our Academics page for advice about selecting a major that fits your interest in law.
What major should I choose?
Since pre-law is a specialization, rather than a specific major or minor course of study, students should consider some basic information about both their skills and interests, as well as fields of study which are generally applicable to the practice of law. Law schools accept undergraduate degrees in a wide variety fields and interests, with specific training in the field of law taking place in law school rather than college or university. For this reason, there is no specific major that you must or should take in college to secure a successful career in law.
The American Bar Association (ABA) advises students to:
- Select a major that fulfills their intellectual interests
- Seek out difficult courses and demanding professors
- Take courses that develop core skills of writing, analyzing, problem-solving, researching, organizing, communicating, and listening
- Develop a broad knowledge of history (especially American history), political theory, ethical theory and justice, economics, basic mathematics, human behavior and diverse cultures
Common majors selected by pre-law students
The most common pre-law majors are political science, international relations, business, philosophy, psychology, economics, history and English, but law schools admit students from a wide variety of majors. For example, 2020-21 Calvin University pre-law program students represented more than 31 different majors and minors, and between 1996–2005, the University of Michigan Law School accepted students from 74 different undergraduate majors.
Do all law students need to take the LSAT?
Everyone applying to a law school in the United States or Canada must take the LSAT; during the 2019-2020 testing year, the test will be administered nine times. The schedule is published by the Law School Admission Council. Generally, students are advised to take the LSAT in February or June, a full year before they plan to attend law school. You would then receive your score in the spring, allowing you to make decisions about whether to apply and where.
You may take the LSAT more than once and most schools now take the highest score. However, some law schools average multiple scores or take the lower of the scores.
How well do Calvin students do on the LSAT?
As part of their education at Calvin, pre-law students are enrolled in courses that give them the foundation to take the Law School Admission Test. Historically, Calvin students do well on the test, with the average score of recently graduated seniors reported in the 71st percentile at a score of 155.9 points.
Where do Calvin students go to law school?
Calvin students have gone on to a variety of places to study different legal specialities. A few of the top law schools include Harvard, Stanford, and Northwestern. For a more complete list of law schools where Calvin graduates have been accepted, visit Law School & Beyond.
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