UW-Madison does not have a pre-law major. Law schools do not expect or prefer applicants to have pursued a pre-law major during college. To the contrary, law schools prefer for applicants to be well-rounded and to have explored other academic disciplines during college.
What majors do law schools prefer?
Law schools do not prefer any particular major or concentration of study. As the American Bar Association has explained:
“Students are admitted to law school from almost every academic discipline. You may choose to major in subjects that are considered to be traditional preparation for law school, such as history, English, philosophy, political science, economics or business, or you may focus your undergraduate studies in areas as diverse as art, music, science and mathematics, computer science, engineering, nursing or education. Whatever major you select, you are encouraged to pursue an area of study that interests and challenges you, while taking advantage of opportunities to develop your research and writing skills. Taking a broad range of difficult courses from demanding instructors is excellent preparation for legal education” (emphasis added).
So rather than approaching your choice of major from the perspective of “what major do law schools prefer?,” instead, take time to consider the range of majors that would best suit your individual strengths and interests. By choosing a major that is right for you, you are more likely to be engaged and to perform well academically. Law schools are looking for applicants who both challenged themselves and also succeeded academically. You will need to find the right balance for you.
Are there any classes I need to take before applying to law school?
There are no specific classes that you need to take before applying to law school. However, the American Bar Association (ABA) does recommend using undergraduate coursework in combination with extracurricular experiences to acquire certain skills and knowledge that can help prepare you for law school.
Skills that can help you prepare:
- Analytical/Problem-Solving Skills
- Critical Reading/Critical Thinking Abilities
- Writing Skills
- Oral Communication and Listening Abilities
Are there any undergraduate classes that could help me prepare for the LSAT?
UW-Madison has two logic classes in the Philosophy Department that could help supplement your LSAT prep work: PHIL 210 and PHIL 211.
Both are challenging classes that could help you develop reasoning skills that would aid you on the LSAT. If you choose to take either or both, be sure not to take the courses too early. You should plan to take the course(s) relatively close in time to the LSAT.
What courses could help me prepare for law school?
Courses that are heavy on reading, writing, research and analysis can help you develop useful skills for law school. In particular, consider taking several courses that require you to produce a significant research paper during the semester.
Disciplines such as History, English, Political Science, International Studies, Integrated Liberal Studies, etc. offer numerous opportunities for these kind of classes.