While law schools do not require any prerequisites or a specific undergraduate major, there are some general academic skills that have been determined to be crucial to a law student’s success. According to the American Bar Association, these core skills include:
- Problem Solving
- Critical Reading
- Oral communication/Listening
- Task Organization/Management
Keep this list in mind as you select your undergraduate courses each term, choose your major, and seek involvement in extracurricular activities. Consider pursuing opportunities that will help you hone these skills.
For a more detailed explanation of the core skills, visit: American Bar Association: Legal Education Resources.
Choosing a Major
As mentioned previously, there is no required or even strongly recommended major that law schools expect applicants to pursue. Over the years, UCSB students from virtually all disciplines have gained admission to law schools around the nation.
Choose a major that both interests and challenges you, keeping in mind the core skills you will need for law school (noted in the panel above). If you are considering a double major, it is important to recognize that this pursuit generally does not give a law school applicant any significant advantage in the eyes of admissions committees. Pursue a double major only if you are passionate about both of your chosen disciplines, and you are prepared to take on the challenge of an increased workload.
Experience Beyond the Classroom
According to the American Bar Association, every member (and potential member) of the legal profession “should be dedicated both to the objectives of serving others honestly, competently, and responsibly, and to the goals of improving fairness and the quality of justice in the legal system.”
As part of your preparation for law school, seek ways to accomplish these objectives. Whether through community service, involvement in campus life, an internship, or a part-time job, find an appealing opportunity to assist others in the community. Experiences such as these will help you to build the skills and discipline required for law school while strengthening your résumé.
Keep in mind, however, that academics are your first priority. Avoid taking on too many commitments, or any commitments that might interfere with your studies.