University of Wisconsin–Madison

First Year Advising

Considering law school? Learn more about coursework options, financing and the LSAT through our office. Get started now by reviewing our Freshman Advising document.

Have further questions? Visit our Contact page to learn about walk-in advising sessions or to contact one of our Peer Advisors to schedule an appointment.

1. Explore Majors

At UW-Madison, there is neither a pre-law major nor a pre-law track. Why not? Because your classes in law school will teach you what you need to know to practice law. You should devote your undergraduate years to developing a broad base of knowledge. Take advantage of this freedom, and major in something that you will truly enjoy studying. Declare any major you want, but make every effort to do well academically in whatever you choose.

2. Consider Skill-Based Coursework

There is no requisite coursework that you should take in order to prepare for law school. Instead, the American Bar Association suggests that you focus on developing core skills and exposing yourself to broad areas of knowledge during college. See the Center for Pre-Law Advising’s (CPLA) Pre-Law Coursework guide found on our website for courses that can help you lay a strong foundation for law school in undergrad. Also, see our quick reference guide here with suggestions specifically for you to choose.

3. Get Involved

One of the benefits of attending such a large university is the opportunity to involve yourself in any one of the 800+ student organizations and/or hundreds of local volunteering opportunities. Law schools prefer students to demonstrate involvement in their communities and to take on leadership roles in those communities to the greatest extent possible. Such involvement tends to indicate that you will be an active participant in your law school community and the community in which you will practice. Academic involvement, including research with professors through the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, is another valuable form of involvement.

4. Confirm an Interest in Law

You do not need to be 100% sure about your interest in the law for quite some time, but you should use your early years in college to investigate the profession of law further and to confirm your continued interest. Consider joining a pre-law student organization, taking a law-related class, attending pre-law events on campus, and talking to or shadowing as many attorneys as you can (family members, family friends, parents of friends, speakers at panels, etc.).

5. Connect with the Center for Pre-Law

Schedule an appointment with one of our professional advisors, or browse the rest of our website for helpful information and to find events.

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