Gaining admission to law school requires skills in problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis, and writing and communication. Unlike medical, veterinary, and dental schools, law schools do not require you to fulfill pre-requisites courses, required courses, or even suggest a definitive list of majors that prepare you for advanced study in law. A strong pre-law advising program is key to helping you plan and prepare for law school admission.
The RIT Pre-Law Advising Program provides you with the expert advice and guidance you’ll need to become a strong, competitive applicant to law school.
The RIT Pre-Law Advising Program is not a major or a degree program. Instead, it provides guidance and academic counseling to students of all majors who are interested in pursuing law school. What can you expect from the Pre-Law Advising Program?
Personalized Advising–Academic counseling on course selection and planning, including the selection of electives, minors, immersions, and other academic pursuits that will help you develop and strengthen the core skills you need for success in law school
LSAT Preparation–Resources to help you prepare to take the LSAT are available, such as review classes and discounts on commercial LSAT prep courses.
Extracurricular Activities–Participation in clubs and student organizations are valuable to illustrating your skills in leadership and teamwork.
Events–A schedule of pre-law events helps broaden your understanding of the law field, helps you make valuable career connections,and gives you insight into life as a law student.
Work with your academic advisor and the pre-law advisor to review and register for the required courses for your degree program. Discuss with your advisors which general education and elective classes will be most beneficial preparation for law school.
Begin conversations about co-op/internship options that are required or recommended for your program with your faculty advisor.
Participate in extracurricular activates on campus that will help you develop the skills necessary to succeed in a law program, such as leadership, public speaking, critical thinking, analysis and communication, among others. (But don’t get carried away—studies come first!)
Students from all majors are welcome to apply to law school. The Pre-Law Advising Program recommends that you select a major that interests you and provides a challenging curriculum that includes the development of skills in problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis, and writing and communication. In addition to your major, a selection of other academic pursuits can enhance your studies and elevate your competitiveness as a law school applicant.
Minors and immersions are concentrated areas of study in a particular subject area. Minors consist of five courses while immersions consist of three courses. RIT offers more than 170 minors and immersions to augment your academic studies. The Pre-Law Advising Program highly recommends the following minors or immersions for the development of the skills and aptitudes needed for law school:
Legal Studies–Legal studies explores the relationship of law to other aspects of society and culture, such as politics, social institutions, and the economy. Legal studies is offered as a minor and an immersion.
Public Policy–Gain a deeper understanding of public policy, the policy making process, and how policy analysis impacts policymaking. Public policy is offered as a minor and an immersion.
Communication-Develop a foundation in communication theories and research while you enhances your skills in public speaking, persuasion, and writing.Communication is offered as a minor and an immersion.
English-Build your awareness of the methods, theories, and technologies for both the creation and analysis of literary texts while you gain skills in critical or creative writing. English is offered as a minor and an immersion.
Philosophy-Evaluate complex problems, identify and examine underlying principles, investigate issues from diverse perspectives, and clearly communicate your point of view. Philosophy is offered as a minor and an immersion.
Many of the degree programs at RIT can be combined into a double major, though you will need to work with your Academic Advisor to develop a plan to finish both majors without extending your time-to-degree. While certainly not required, if a double major is desired, the Pre-Law Advising Program recommends considering the following options for the development of the skills and aptitudes needed for law school:
Criminal Justice–Explore issues of law and justice as you evaluate the intended and unintended consequences of criminal justice policies and decision-making. A focus on theory and social science provides students with the problem-solving skills necessary for addressing today’s most pressing social issues.
Economics–Combine math and statistics with your desire to impact policy and social issues to research, collect, and analyze information.The economics major emphasizes the quantitative analytical approach to dealing with economic problems, providing students with necessary skills and the intellectual foundation to succeed in a law program.
Philosophy–Most of the skills required for student and career success—how to learn, how to apply that learning in professional and personal environments, and how to communicate that knowledge—are central to philosophy. Philosophy students are taught to evaluate complex problems, identify and examine underlying principles, investigate issues from diverse perspectives, and communicate clearly in both written and oral forms.
Chemistry–Knowledge of chemistry is fundamental to an understanding of biology, biochemistry, geology and medicine, and areas of astronomy, physics, and engineering. It is especially useful for students who wish to pursue a career in patent law.
Extremely motivated students may wish to pursue both undergraduate and graduate degrees at RIT through an accelerated course of study prior to attending law school. These dual-degree programs allow you to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in less time than it would normally take to complete each degree separately. Most accelerated programs require completion of freshman and sophomore course work at RIT before applying for admission.
Some accelerated dual degree options that may be of interest to pre-law students include:
Applied Mathematics BS/Applied and Computational Mathematics MS
Criminal Justice BS/MS
Environmental Science BS/MS OR Environmental Science BS/Science, Technology and Public Policy MS
International and Global Studies BS/Science, Technology and Public Policy MS
Mechanical Engineering BS/MS OR Mechanical Engineering BS/Science, Technology and Public Policy MS
Getting involved in activities outside the classroom will allow you to connect with other students who share your interest in the law, as well as provides the opportunity to hone the skills necessary to succeed in law school in new and fun ways. While you're encouraged to join a variety of clubs and organizations, several that may be of particular interest include:
Pre-Law Association–The Pre-Law Association provides opportunities to visit law schools to sit in on a first-year courses, meet admissions representatives to learn more about what they look for in successful law school candidates, and attend LSAT review seminars. This is a great way to meet other pre-law students of all majors at RIT.
Mock Trial Association–RIT’s mock trial team competes in both invitational and regional tournaments sanctioned by the American Mock Trial Association. It offers excellent preparation for students interested in attending law school, providing networking opportunities as well as practice in developing persuasive, cohesive arguments and delivering them in a court-like setting.
There are no specific majors that prepare you for law school. The American Bar Association (ABA) encourages undergraduate students to choose a major in which they have a genuine interest and one that includes course work that develops skills in language and communication, creative problem solving, a basic understanding of ethical theory and theories of justice, and critical thinking. Additional academic pursuits, such as minors and immersions or double majors, can enhance and strengthen these skills.
Although there are numerous criteria that law schools consider, such as extracurricular activities, employment experience, and co-ops and internships, the primary factors are the applicant's Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) score and grade point average (GPA). Therefore, the best advice for students to follow is to concentrate on your grades. Do not sacrifice good grades for involvement in extracurricular activities.
However, padding your GPA by taking easier courses at the expense of gaining a diverse and rigorous education and sharpening your analytical and writing skills will work to your disadvantage in scoring well on the LSAT and being prepared for the rigors of legal study. Make sure you are taking challenging course work and are taking it seriously.
The LSAT should be taken either in June after your junior year or in the September/October test dates of your senior year. One advantage of signing up for the summer test is that you will have your results back in time to determine an appropriate range of schools to which to apply. For information on the LSAT, visit the Law School Admission Council.
Students can join the Pre-Law Advising Program at any time as an undergraduate student. The pre-law coordinator will work with you personally to review the courses you have completed to date and will make course selection recommendations for any areas where you need to gain knowledge or skill development.