Academic Strategies: Courses, Majors, & Grading Policies
- There are no specific courses or a specific major required for law school. Major in a rigorous field in which you are interested and will do well. Law schools welcome majors in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.
- WRITING is a crucial skill for law students and lawyers. Take writing intensive courses and take advantage of every opportunity to improve your writing skills.
- Since GPA is an important factor in law school admissions, challenge yourself but also take courses that allow you to show your strengths and excel.
- Pay attention to the variety and depth of your undergraduate coursework. Taking classes at increasingly difficult levels in a range of areas is a key component of an impressive transcript.
- Law schools prefer that you take a wide range of undergraduate courses and receive a broad education rather than focus primarily on law courses.
- The political science department and the urban studies department offer opportunities for internships relating to law and public policy which you can complete for credit.
- Taking more than one class with the same professor - and developing a relationship during office hours - will help them get to know you better, and observe your intellectual develoment over time. (Professors who know you well will be the best individuals to ask for letters of recommendation for law school when you apply.)
- Academic inidicia of success are important in applying for a seat in an academic class. Seriously consider invitations to participate in honors programs, and, if relevant, plan to write a thesis in order to graduate from your department with honors. (Writing a thesis is also a good opporutnity to build a relationship with a professor.)
- Be aware that the Credentials Assembly Service (CAS) calculates GPA according to its own criteria: CAS will consider a grade of NC (no credit) a failing grade. If you are really struggling with a course, seek help. Be aware that in terms of protecting your GPA, it is preferable to withdraw from a course early with a W than to receive a final grade of NC, D or F.
- If you are having trouble earning the grades that you want, ask for help. go to professors' office hours and find out how you should go about researching and writing that paper (which will also help you to get to know a professor whom you may later ask for a recommendation), seek tutoring, and speak with an academic advisor. Familiarize yourself with and take advantage of opportunities for academic support at Hunter, like the Center for Student Achievement.
- A few comments with regard to SPECIFIC COURSE selections:
- It can be helpful to develop familiarity with the formation and operation of the governmental institutions which underpin the American legal system, by taking core political science courses.
- A basic course or two in philosophy is recommended to hone students’ critical thinking abilities. Some students find Philosophy 103 – formal logic – helpful in LSAT prep. Math can be useful as well. Look for courses that will strengthen your analytical and critical thinking skills.
- Exposure to economics, accounting, and finance is encouraged for breadth. Clients' legal problems are often related to financial ones.
- In order to be admitted to the Patent Bar (lawyers who work in the very specialized area of obtaining patents), an undergraduate degree or training in a scientific or technical area is required. If you know that you are interested in a specific area of legal practice, find out if lawyers in that area use knowledge from a particular field. Alumni mentors can be helpful here - speak to the Pre-Law Advisor.