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Advice for Pre-Law Students

 

What is a good major for studying the law and preparing for law school?


Many Edinboro pre-law students major in political science, because many of the pre-law courses offered at Edinboro are political science courses and therefore fulfill the requirements of the major. In addition, Edinboro University offers a B.A. in political science with a concentration in legal studies.

Note, however, law schools will accept students from almost any major so long as the law school sees that the major is academically rigorous.  Law schools are most comfortable accepting students who graduate with a degree in a “traditional” area of study:  political science, English, history, economics, business, and philosophy, among others.  Traditional areas of study develop a student’s ability to read and think critically, conduct research, and write and speak clearly and persuasively.  If a student is serious about attending law school, he or she must actively seek a major that is both interesting to the student and challenging.   

What should pre-law students do while they are at Edinboro?


In no particular order, you should do the following:

  • Take a wide variety of challenging courses that emphasize reading and interpreting difficult texts, development of critical thinking skills, and the development of oral and written communication skills
  • Keep an electronic and paper portfolio of all written assignments
  • Keep a current resume
  • Develop a list of professors and/or supervisors (at least three) who would be willing to write a letter of recommendation and/or serve as a reference; take courses from the professors on your list several times and have them get to know you academically
  • Serve at least one internship in your field of study and/or related to law
  • Participate in at least one club/organization related to law or politics, such as student government, Model United Nations, Model NATO, The Spectator (student newspaper), SEED, Identity, or AFRICA
  • Participate in intellectual activities on campus, such as lectures, debates, law-related movies, and book clubs
  • Visit a law school or two
  • Form a study group for a class and meet once a week for an entire semester (this is a common practice in law school)
  • Meet lawyers and talk to them about law school and the profession
  • Study for the LSATs


What skills should a pre-law student develop while at Edinboro?


The American Bar Association recommend that students develop the following skills (the following list is quoted from their web site):

  • Analytic/problem solving skills
  • Critical reading skills
  • Writing skills
  • Oral communication/listening abilities
  • General research skills
  • Task organization/management skills
  • Public service and promotion of justice


What should pre-law students know about the world?


The American Bar Association recommends that students develop competency in the following areas of knowledge (the following list is quoted from their web site):

  • A broad understanding of history, including the various factors (social, political, economic, and cultural) that have influenced the development of our society in the United States
  • A fundamental understanding of political thought and of the contemporary American political system
  • Some basic mathematical and financial skills, such as an understanding of basic pre-calculus mathematics and an ability to analyze financial data
  • A basic understanding of human behavior and social interaction
  • An understanding of diverse cultures within and beyond the United States, of international institutions and issues, of world events, and of the increasing interdependence of the nations and communities within our world


What are some courses a pre-law student should take while at Edinboro?


Liberal arts/general education courses. The following courses offered at Edinboro are particularly useful in achieving competency in the above-listed skills and areas of knowledge, regardless of major:

  • POLI 100, Introduction to Politics
  • POLI 101, Introduction to American Politics
  • POLI 102, Introduction to Comparative Politicis
  • POLI 103, Introduction to Global Politics
  • POLI 370, Political Thought I
  • POLI 372, Political Thought II
  • HIST 101, World Civilizations I
  • HIST 102, World Civilizations II
  • HIST 261, History of U.S. I
  • HIST 262, History of U.S. II
  • ECON 220, Microeconomics
  • ECON 225, Macroeconomics 
  • MATH 260, Elements of Statistics
  • PSYC 101, General Psychology
  • ANTH 180, Introduction to Anthropology
  • PHIL 200, Introduction to Philosophy and Values
  • PHIL 240, Introduction to Contemporary Moral Issues
  • SOC 100, Introduction to Sociology
  • A course in research methods (any discipline)


Pre-law courses. The following courses constitute the "core" pre-law courses at Edinboro University. They focus not just on content (what the law "is") but also on what the law is "about" (the philosophical, historical, political, etc., influences on law and legal systems):

  • POLI 343, Law and Legal Systems
  • POLI 463, Civil Liberties
  • POLI 465, Constitutional Law
  • POLI 469, Criminal Procedure and Evidence
  • POLI 550, International Law

There are several additional law-focused courses offered at Edinboro. The key is to take some, but not too many, pre-law courses. Additional pre-law courses offered at Edinboro regularly include the following:

  • CRIM 265, Introduction to Courts, Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
  • BUAD 260, Business Law I
  • BUAD 365, Business Law II
  • BUAD 410, Legal Environment of International Business
  • PSYC 355, Psychology and Law
  • CRIM 462, Pennsylvania Criminal Code