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Nature of the undergrad degree

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I've heard before (probably inaccurate though) law school couldn't really care less about your major unless it's geared towards ''pre-law' (if that's even a thing). That's the only major they might look down upon.

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7 hours ago, darklightness said:

I've heard before (probably inaccurate though) law school couldn't really care less about your major unless it's geared towards ''pre-law' (if that's even a thing). That's the only major they might look down upon.

That’s also not true. They just don’t care, period. A degree is a degree, as far as the schools are concerned. 

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On 2/1/2019 at 12:57 AM, darklightness said:

I've heard before (probably inaccurate though) law school couldn't really care less about your major unless it's geared towards ''pre-law' (if that's even a thing). That's the only major they might look down upon.

There is no real “pre-law” degree and law schools do not care about things labelled as such, positively or negatively.

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Pro tip for all readers: never, ever refer to your criminalogy degree as “pre law”.

It will have the opposite effect of what you intend. 

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In considering this, I suspect that people who were hoping to go to law school started calling themselves “pre-law” in imitation of people who hoped to go to medical school who were calling themselves “pre-med.” But the term “pre-med” isn’t as silly as the term “pre-law” because the MCAT actually does (did? I know it has changed) test substantive knowledge in the sciences so that you needed to have taken certain courses to do well on it and there was actual material to study. Some universities actually offer (offered?) a bundle of those courses to students that the schools labeled “pre-med” courses. Saying “pre-med” therefore actually referred to something specific and not just the hope of going into medicine. You can take any courses you want in order to do well on the LSAT and in law school and to be accepted to law, so the “pre-law” label is meaningless.

As to criminology and criminal justice programs, I think they produce more probation officers and police officers than lawyers. 

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On 1/30/2019 at 4:13 PM, Honks202 said:

In terms of law school I've generally heard they don't (I would like to think they do to help justify my high school self choosing to suffer through a pure science degree).

However, I know this can be the case for other professional school programs because one of my referees used to work on a medical school admissions committee and she told me they do look at "the nature of one's degree".

Medical school is NOT Law school

Edited by Luckycharm
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I would disagree with this. I think anyone who takes the approach of easiest = best is going to struggle in law school. 

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On ‎2‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 9:35 AM, Ryn said:

 They just don’t care, period. A degree is a degree, as far as the schools are concerned. 

LOL...true dat!  I had an undergrad Phys Ed degree and got in.....and successfully out!  (Top Ontario Law School) :) 

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3 hours ago, Hegdis said:

I would disagree with this. I think anyone who takes the approach of easiest = best is going to struggle in law school. 

If the alternative is not going to law school, your argument doesn’t really stand. GPA medians for general admissions appear to be on the rise and applicants need every advantage they can just to get in, let alone choose where they’d like to attend law school.

Besides, I’ve seen students from STEM backgrounds struggling in law school just as often as I’ve seen criminal justice or Poli-sci backgrounds struggle. Picking a program you aren’t naturally gifted in (I.e. is not easier for you) does not seem like a good approach, and is certainly not going to prevent struggling in law school. Quite the opposite IMO, if you show you can study smarter, time manage effectively and approach school and learning from the perspective of how to excel in exams, you will be better prepared for law school.

This may be a sad reality from an experiential point of view (compared to making the most of your learning), but so long as schools maintain heavy reliance on exams with curved grade profiles and firms rely predominantly on marks to select candidates, it’s the reality we live.

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On 1/31/2019 at 9:57 PM, darklightness said:

I've heard before (probably inaccurate though) law school couldn't really care less about your major unless it's geared towards ''pre-law' (if that's even a thing). That's the only major they might look down upon.

The amount of time's I've gone to a law school event and had someone tell me they're in Pre-Law only to find they are studying Politics or International Relations.

I don't really think undergraduate matters one bit, probably biggest impact it has in helping people determine how they want to apply their degree, for example lot's of my STEM friends looking at law seem to be more interested in patent/intellectual property law vs social science friends who look more at policy, etc.

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17 hours ago, Hegdis said:

I would disagree with this. I think anyone who takes the approach of easiest = best is going to struggle in law school. 

I intentionally majored in a subject (Film Studies) that I thought would be relatively easy, and because I was interested in it. I figured it would be easier to get good grades that would help me get into law school. Half way through law school now and my GPA is significantly above average, I've received multiple As. How "hard" or "easy" your undergrad program is has absolutely 0 impact on how well you'll do in law school. 

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4 hours ago, canuckfanatic said:

How "hard" or "easy" your undergrad program is has absolutely 0 impact on how well you'll do in law school. 

True.

And also, what you consider "easy" may be hard for someone else, and vice-versa, so I think at the end of the day, that's why schools just take degrees and marks at face value.

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On 2/3/2019 at 2:30 PM, TrqTTs said:

If the alternative is not going to law school, your argument doesn’t really stand. GPA medians for general admissions appear to be on the rise and applicants need every advantage they can just to get in, let alone choose where they’d like to attend law school.

Besides, I’ve seen students from STEM backgrounds struggling in law school just as often as I’ve seen criminal justice or Poli-sci backgrounds struggle. Picking a program you aren’t naturally gifted in (I.e. is not easier for you) does not seem like a good approach, and is certainly not going to prevent struggling in law school. Quite the opposite IMO, if you show you can study smarter, time manage effectively and approach school and learning from the perspective of how to excel in exams, you will be better prepared for law school.

This may be a sad reality from an experiential point of view (compared to making the most of your learning), but so long as schools maintain heavy reliance on exams with curved grade profiles and firms rely predominantly on marks to select candidates, it’s the reality we live.

I don't think anyone is disagreeing with any of that. Of course, you shouldn't intentionally pick a program you are not naturally gifted in if you want to get the best possible grades to try to get into law school. But there is a difference in picking a program that matches your strengths and intentionally trying to pick the easiest courses possible. There are several problems with trying to pick an "easy" course. It is difficult to say what is objectively "easy", first of all. Secondly, at least when I was in school, what people called "easy" courses generally had more to do with the professor's approach, or what students perceived or claimed was his/her approach, rather than what the course was. "Easy" courses were the ones that either had lighter workloads and/or the professor was an "easy" marker. Assuming that you pick courses where this is actually true, taking a lot of classes in university where you don't have to do much work and get grades you don't deserve aren't going to help you study smart, time manage etc in law school. Nor will they help you on the LSAT. Plus, professors still have to conform to the university's rules on grade distributions and the whole class can't get an A+, so even where everything is "easy", they have to find a way to distinguish between students, and if the class is "easy" and everyone meets basic requirements, then the distinctions become more minute and it could actually be harder to stand out. A lot of students don't mind getting a B or C in a course with little effort and will brag that the course was "easy", but if your goal is not just to get your degree but get into law school, coasting to a C or B may not be good enough. 

You should take courses in areas where you have the appropriate skills and interest but that will also challenge you as much as possible. Of course, if academics come easily to you then your courses may end up being "easy" for you anyway. 

This is a totally separate issue than STEM courses and success in law school. Obviously, everyone who excels in undergrad, STEM student or not, cannot excel in law school. Law school success is about "getting" law school materials and exams early on, and it's difficult to predict who will do that or to prepare for law school before going. People from a variety of undergraduate disciplines do well in law school and people from a variety of disciplines struggle. So, just do what interests and challenges you in undergrad, take it seriously, focus, and do as well as you can. There is no advantage or disadvantage from taking STEM courses.

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4 hours ago, providence said:

You should take courses in areas where you have the appropriate skills and interest but that will also challenge you as much as possible. Of course, if academics come easily to you then your courses may end up being "easy" for you anyway. 

 

I agree with you that there is no objective definition of an "easy" program in undergrad, which is why choosing a program you find "easy" to get A's in is not a bad approach at all. These will likely be the subjects that you inherently have skills and interest in; otherwise, good marks wouldn't come easily to you.  What is easy for one can be quite difficult to another (i.e. those who excel in English Literature would likely not in Engineering, and vice versa), isn't the opposite of this the basis for every STEM vs Humanities/Social Science debate that we are all sick of reading about?

Any program in undergrad can be challenging if you invest the time into it and take it seriously (i.e. strive for A's...) Challenging yourself is more a function of how you approach your studies than the discipline itself unless you can name me a program that you believe is objectively not challenging?

So, if we agree that no discipline can be said to be objectively easy or challenging, then how is it that pursuing a subject which one finds easy to get A's in is undesirable or contrary to anything you've said about interests/skills? We are talking programs not individual professors or courses here.

 

4 hours ago, providence said:

But there is a difference in picking a program that matches your strengths and intentionally trying to pick the easiest courses possible.

1

We were discussing programs, not individual courses/professors.  Though I would agree, fulfilling your degree requirements with as many 1st year electives with "bird profs"  might not be the best approach to preparing for law school.

 

4 hours ago, providence said:

 So, just do what interests and challenges you in undergrad, take it seriously, focus, and do as well as you can.

1

I would say "do what interests you and you are naturally skilled at."  One might be challenged by writing essays but able to absolutely crush Calculus.  I'd say unless you hate it, Calculus would be the better choice over English Lit if your goal is to get into law school.  If the program you choose, despite how interesting or challenging you find it, does not allow you to excel and get the marks needed to get into law school, the conversation about preparation for law school is meaningless! Again, median GPA's to gain admissions have gone up over the years, it is increasingly difficult to stand out and one cannot ignore that.

Now, the career prospects of different undergrad disciplines as a safety net in the case of not gaining admissions to LS is another matter entirely, and something that does warrant consideration by potential applicants given that only 1/3rd of applicants to law school gain admission (if Ontario statistics are consistent with the rest of the country).

Edited by TrqTTs
Why can't I get rid of those stupid 1's?

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2 hours ago, TrqTTs said:

I agree with you that there is no objective definition of an "easy" program in undergrad, which is why choosing a program you find "easy" to get A's in is not a bad approach at all. These will likely be the subjects that you inherently have skills and interest in; otherwise, good marks wouldn't come easily to you.  What is easy for one can be quite difficult to another (i.e. those who excel in English Literature would likely not in Engineering, and vice versa), isn't the opposite of this the basis for every STEM vs Humanities/Social Science debate that we are all sick of reading about?

Any program in undergrad can be challenging if you invest the time into it and take it seriously (i.e. strive for A's...) Challenging yourself is more a function of how you approach your studies than the discipline itself unless you can name me a program that you believe is objectively not challenging?

So, if we agree that no discipline can be said to be objectively easy or challenging, then how is it that pursuing a subject which one finds easy to get A's in is undesirable or contrary to anything you've said about interests/skills? We are talking programs not individual professors or courses here.

 

We were discussing programs, not individual courses/professors.  Though I would agree, fulfilling your degree requirements with as many 1st year electives with "bird profs"  might not be the best approach to preparing for law school.

 

I would say "do what interests you and you are naturally skilled at."  One might be challenged by writing essays but able to absolutely crush Calculus.  I'd say unless you hate it, Calculus would be the better choice over English Lit if your goal is to get into law school.  If the program you choose, despite how interesting or challenging you find it, does not allow you to excel and get the marks needed to get into law school, the conversation about preparation for law school is meaningless! Again, median GPA's to gain admissions have gone up over the years, it is increasingly difficult to stand out and one cannot ignore that.

Now, the career prospects of different undergrad disciplines as a safety net in the case of not gaining admissions to LS is another matter entirely, and something that does warrant consideration by potential applicants given that only 1/3rd of applicants to law school gain admission (if Ontario statistics are consistent with the rest of the country).

I would say that, just as with law school, you can't always predict who is going to get As in university, let alone whether it will be "easy" to do so. So the idea of picking courses based on speculation as to what you can get easy As in just sounds like cutting corners to me. It may be a semantic debate. I don't know that everyone is "naturally skilled" at some things and not others, but I agree that if someone has a particular aptitude for a certain area and is interested in it, that is what they should pursue, whether it is labeled STEM, arts, pre-law or something else. 

I think that there are some programs that are objectively easier but I'm not getting into that here  😃😃

I wonder if the phenomenon of grades going up is simply the result of grade inflation at universities? 

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