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Pre-Law Advising and the Political Science Major: Evidence from Pre-Law Advisors

  • H. Gibbs Knotts (a1) and Claire B. Wofford (a1)
Abstract

Political science is one of the most popular majors for law school applicants, and studies show that political science majors have high rates of law school admission. In addition, many political science departments have a pre-law advisor. However, little is known about the status of pre-law advising on college campuses or the views of pre-law advisors on political science. This article presents the results of a February 2015 survey of 313 college pre-law advisors from across the United States. The authors discovered that the majority of pre-law advisors hold faculty appointments and serve as pre-law advisors without additional compensation or course releases. Pre-law advisors also rate political science as the second-best major, among 14 popular majors, for preparing students for both admission to and academic success in law school. These findings should be of interest to political scientists as well as other faculty and administrators who are concerned with pre-law advising.

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References
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American Bar Association. 2015. “Preparing for Law School.” Available at www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/pre_law.html.
Astin, Alexander W. 1984. “Pre-Law Students: A National Profile.” Journal of Legal Education 43 (1): 7385.
Grigsby, Ellen, and Murphy, Amelia A. R.. 2012. “The Reach of Our Pedagogy: Political Science Undergraduate Classes and Pre-Law Academic Preparation.” In Before the Paper Chase: The Scholarship of Law School Preparation and Admission, eds. Garrison, Tim Alan and Guliuzza, Frank, 3140. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
Haynie, Stacie L. 2014. “The Start (A Coordinated Effort at Pre-Law Advising).” Law and Courts Newsletter 24 (3): 1517.
Kelley, James L. 1960. “A General Education for Pre-Law Students.” American Bar Association Journal 46 (11): 1184–7.
Knotts, H. Gibbs, and Schiff, Jennifer S.. 2015. “Major Competition: Exploring Perceptions of International Studies Programs among Political Science Department Chairs.” PS: Political Science & Politics 48 (1): 142–8.
Law School Admission Council. 2015. “Applicants by Major.” Newtown, PA.
Martellaro, Joseph A. 1984. “Business and Economics as Pre-Law Majors.” Social and Economic Studies 33 (4): 125–49.
Olson, Elizabeth, and Segal, David. 2014. “A Steep Slide in Law School Enrollment Accelerates.” New York Times. December 17.
Rivard, Ry. 2015. “Lowering the Bar.” Inside Higher Ed. January 16.
Tamanaha, Brian. 2012. Failing Law Schools. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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