Advisor: Dr. Nicholas Steneck
A juris doctor (J.D.) degree leads to a broad range of careers that impact people’s lives. Lawyers help with buying homes, writing wills, prosecuting and defending criminals, creating business contracts, and attempting to protect people from litigation. A law degree may also open up law-related careers in government, business, higher education, health care, communication, and numerous other fields. Legal practice is intellectually challenging and requires the use of ethics, reasoning and judgment. To practice law, students must typically complete an undergraduate degree, earn a JD degree from an accredited law school, and pass their state's bar examination.
No particular pre-law major is required for entrance into law school, but a pre-law minor is strongly recommended. Students are encouraged to choose a plan of study that builds a strong foundation of academic skills and relevant experiences as preparation for legal education. Law schools are looking for students that have developed exceptional evidence-based analytical writing skills. They also value students who demonstrate the ability to think critically, conduct sound, ethical research grounded in real world issues and problems, and who communicate clearly and concisely, both in writing and verbally. You should choose a major you enjoy, and one in which you will excel. In addition, having a pre-law minor will strengthen your application to law school. Admission to law school is competitive and undergraduate grades matter a great deal, as does a strong Law School Aptitude Test (LSAT) score. Whatever major you choose, pick courses that will allow you to develop strong logical reasoning, critical reading, writing and problem-solving skills.
Law schools differ in their preferred coursework, so make sure to check with the institutions to which you are applying, to verify that you have the undergraduate academic background they prefer or require. Consult the pre-Law Advisor, Dr. Nicholas Steneck, for assistance with coursework, planning, and timeline.
|YEAR ONE Fall Semester||YEAR ONE Spring Semester|
|Gen Ed Electives/ENG 111||Gen Ed Electives/ENG 111|
|Foreign Language||Foreign Language|
|WISE 101||COM 202|
|POL 115||Major Coursework|
|YEAR TWO Fall Semester||YEAR TWO Spring Semester|
|Gen Ed Electives/HIS 130*||Gen Ed Electives/HIS 135*|
|Major Coursework||Major Coursework|
|ACC 201||POL 320|
|YEAR THREE Fall Semester||YEAR THREE Spring Semester|
|Major Coursework/Gen Ed Electives/PDE||Major Coursework/ Gen Ed Electives/PDE|
|BUS 310||COM 340* or PHI 223* or PHI 224*|
|YEAR FOUR Fall Semester||YEAR FOUR Spring Semester|
|Major Coursework||Major Coursework|
|Gen Ed Electives||Gen Ed Electives|
|COM 340* or PHI 223* or PHI 224*||COM 340* or PHI 223* or PHI 224*|
*Choose two courses from this list, for a total of 6 hours
This course list is for a MINOR; YOU MUST HAVE A MAJOR in order to graduate from Wesleyan College.
The resources below are helpful for students preparing for a career in law. Wesleyan's Center for Career Development can help students with deciding if this path fits them, as well as with strategic career planning, creating resumes/CVs, writing personal statements, and more.
Law schools want evidence that students have developed exceptional critical thinking, analytical, research, and oral/written communication skills. These can be gained in a variety of settings, so don’t limit yourself to just interning at a law firm. Also consider opportunities where you can hold leadership roles, or where you conduct extensive research, synthesize large amounts of information, write for a variety of audiences, and analyze information or data. Nonprofits and advocacy organizations often offer experiences where you can practice these skills. Wesleyan's Center for Career Development can help you prepare a resume and practice your professional introduction as you get ready to contact organizations about shadowing, volunteer, or internship opportunities.
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