What major/courses should I take?
Students who are interested in a career in the law need not look to one particular undergraduate major. Law schools typically are more interested in your GPA than your specific major. Students should look for a major where they will find personal fulfillment. However, law school DOES care about certain skills. Regardless of your major, it is a good idea to take classes that will improve those skills. These include writing skills, oral communication skills, critical reasoning, analytical thinking, logic, perceptive reading and a strong command of the English language. Talk to your advisor and/or a prelaw advisor about majors and courses.
Have a Plan "B" (or "C," etc.) Whether you are 100% certain about studying law, practicing law, becoming a J.D., M.D., Ed.D. or Ph.D., you may not hit a home run with your first swing. Don't give up. There may be numerous reasons why it is not a reality your first time at bat. Money, family matters, competitive admissions to your first choice school, etc. may all reflect events that were not planned. You have to prepare for alternatives. This is where your undergraduate major is so important; what else might you do before law school. With the average age of a law school applicant being in the mid-twenties, it is clear that not everyone is fortunate enough to go straight from college to law school. All of this is meant to encourage you to plan ahead - along with studying hard and doing well, have alternatives just in case your law school plans are delayed.
What about the paralegal program? The American Bar Association (ABA) approved Paralegal Studies program offered through a collaborative program of study at Kutztown University can provide you with an excellent addition to your major if you are planning on law school as well as being a great choice by itself. Will being in the program help you get into law school? Probably not. But the classes included in this option will certainly help once you are IN law school as well as provide you with a career path in case you decide not to attend or to postpone law school.
The program provides you with skills such as legal research and writing that will allow you to enter law school already knowing things that most students do not. It can also be very helpful in developing "soft skills" needed to be successful in the job market. This program option has been offered since 1999 and many of the graduates have gone on to successful careers as attorneys and paralegals.
The following majors have a Paralegal Studies track option: Criminal Justice, English, History, Political Science, Psychology and Public Administration. Check the major's web pages for more details. Talk to paralegal advisor for the major or to Dr. Diane Tallarita (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about the paralegal program.