While you may think that having an unusual college major for your undergraduate degree is sure to decrease your chances of being accepted into law school, this is far from the truth. In general, law schools love to see diversity and different academic viewpoints among their students. However, how you explain and package your major in your law school applications makes all the difference, which is why we’re here to help.
When explaining a more unusual college major, there are a few things you want to keep in mind that will help improve your chances of being accepted by law schools. In this article, we will discuss the best way to approach explaining your major, all while giving you tips on what law schools may be looking for in each applicant.
What Are Law Schools Looking For?
Though many students believe that law schools are only interested in candidates that have shown a dedication to law and legal studies throughout their academic and extracurricular experiences, this is not necessarily the case. Many law schools are interested in applicants that can bring something unique to campus and their entering class, and an unconventional college major is part of this.
What’s important with an unusual college major is to demonstrate the other major factors that law schools look for in potential students and relate your major to these as much as possible. For instance, most law schools look for applicants who are academically proficient, highly responsible, and able to demonstrate that their skills make them ready for success in law school. Admissions committees also value applicants that are successful in a few extracurricular activities or otherwise involved in their communities.
What Counts as an Unusual College Major?
You may also be wondering if your college major is, in fact, unusual or not. This is hard to say based on the many college majors and concentrations out there, but a good rule to go by is if the major you are in is far removed from legal studies, such as a major in dance, a particular language or linguistics, or any visual art, then it is considered an unconventional major. However, as we mentioned above, the trick for explaining these majors is to select the skills they hone and discuss why they can also be applied to your time in law school.
With that being said, let’s move on to the technique for adequately explaining your college major on any law school application.
Explaining an Unconventional College Major
It is not required that you elaborate on your college major when applying for law school, but it is usually a good idea. Elaborating can help the admissions committee get to know you more and give you a chance to market yourself to the school further. There are two places where you can talk about your college major – the personal statement and an addendum.
In general, it is safer to cover your college major in your personal statement, as this essay is all about telling your story and motivations for law school to the admissions committee. Addendums are usually reserved for explanations of low test scores or large gaps in work and academic histories. However, you may choose to write your explanation in an addendum if you have another more moving personal statement idea that is difficult to work an explanation of your college major into.
Below, we will discuss the pointers that you should keep in mind when writing any explanation about your college major.
It is best to write the explanation of your college major with a positive outlook. It is important to keep from being defensive or putting down your choices of having that major in the first place, even if you regret it because the admissions committee will pick up on this tone. It can be difficult to convince them that your college major is interesting and part of what makes you unique if you don’t believe it yourself.
Be confident when you write about your college major and discuss the motivations that led you from that particular major to an interest in a legal career. Make sure to indicate that you are ready for the challenges of law school, something that can illustrate your commitment to succeeding in your legal studies – admissions committees love to see students that are prepared to weather the challenges of law school.
Highlight Transferable Skills
When crafting your personal statement and your resume for your law school application, you should highlight skills that are easily transferable to the legal profession. These can be items like performing well under pressure, collaborating, developing communication skills, and self-discipline or self-motivation.
You can touch on these items in your personal statement as you explain why you would be a good candidate for a school and take the chance to relate your desire to perform well in law school to your unusual major. You may also want to streamline your resume to remove industry-specific terms or achievements that the admissions committee may not understand. Reword and tailor key points to a more legally focused crowd and exclude items that would not be relevant for an admissions committee. You can read more about crafting the perfect law school resume here.
Show Your Academic Potential
It is important to demonstrate any academic achievements or potential to the admissions committee. While a good track record of grades isn’t the only indicator of performing well in law school, it certainly helps. Even if your grades are not as stellar, you should still highlight parts of your academic experience that enhanced your research, writing, and analytical thinking skills, as these are essential skills for succeeding in law school.
You may also want to select individuals to write recommendation letters for you that can attest to your proficiency in these skills and your academic potential. This means entrusting a close professor or workplace manager to give specific examples of times you have demonstrated these critical skills and to speak knowledgeably about how your skills will benefit the law school’s program.
Even if you are proud of your unusual college major and have a lot to speak about or many ideas on how to relate it to your ability to succeed in law school, you should not approach an explanation of your major with overconfidence or in a bragging way. Instead, you should broach the topic with humility and discuss the lessons you learned during your time in that major.
Make sure to credit people who may have helped you on your path from your college major to deciding to go to law school and focus on what achieving a legal career will mean for you and your life goals. Doing this demonstrates a sense of maturity and realism about your college major that the admissions committee will surely appreciate.
Making the Best of Your Major
An unusual college major is nothing to be ashamed of when applying to law school. In fact, a college major that is unique and less commonly seen by admissions committees may even give a boost to your application. Just remember when explaining your choice of college major to the admissions committee to include the reasons that led you from your major to attending law school. It’s also important to stay humble and highlight all of the skills of your major that can help you succeed in a legal career. Do this, and you are sure to present a strong application to any law school’s admissions committee.