New 3+3 launched with the University of Montana
In August 2019, Carroll College announced a new partnership with the University of Montana School of Law creating pathway from Carroll College to UM Law. This cuts the time it takes to earn a Juris Doctor. Students can meet most requirements for common pre-law majors in three years, move on to UM, and then take credit for their first year in law school to finish their Carroll BA. Learn more about our announcement.
Pre-law at Carroll College
Q: What is Pre-Law at Carroll?
A: At Carroll College, our mission is to provide excellent pre-law advising. This program is centered in the Department of Political Science. There, faculty with experience directing students to law school and a consistent record of placing students in law schools will advise students interested in law.
Q: Do I have to study Political Science to go to law school?
A: No! A common misconception is that pre-law candidates must study political science, but this is not true. Instead, law schools are looking for strong students who have demonstrated an ability to read, write, and think critically: for example, national statistics show that biology, history, and English majors gain acceptance into at least one law school at rates comparable to—or exceeding—that of political science students. The pre-law advisor at Carroll will advise students of any major how to apply to and prepare for law school.
Q: How does the 3+3 program with the University of Montana work?
A: This is a new option to complete your BA and JD more quickly. You would complete most requirements for a major in a field such as Political Science, Business or English over three years. You then apply to UM in your junior year. If accepted, you would use the classes from your first year in law school to complete the Carroll BA. To do this, you need to be sure you want a career in law, most likely practicing in Montana, by the end of your first year at Carroll at the latest. If interested you should take the pre-law advising class (PO 201) in the spring of your sophomore year and work with Carroll's pre-law advisor.
Q: Should I consider a pre-law major?
A: No. Carroll College does not offer a "pre-law" major, partly because law schools will not admit students who major in pre-law. Indeed, you ought to be very skeptical of any four-year institution that offers such a major. The pre-law major exists at two-year institutions, but it typically prepares students for law enforcement careers rather than law school.
Q: Do I need to consider completing a minor or a second major?
A: Not necessarily. While law schools seek candidates with broad interests and training, a second major or a minor is not required.
Q: Are there any specific courses I ought to take to prepare for law school?
A: Not necessarily. Although certain courses might be very helpful to law school students, law schools generally have no prerequisites. Instead, they look for students who have done well in difficult courses and have demonstrated that they possess the thinking and communication skills that a career in law requires. Nonetheless, we recommend several courses for students who wish to gain a firmer grounding in law before attending law school.
For a full list of required and recommended courses, visit our Academic Catalog.
Q: When should I begin the law school application process?
A: During your junior year (or sophomore for the 3+3 program). At the start of your college education you should just pursue your academic interests and do well in your courses. You will have plenty of time to weigh the merits of attending law school.
Q: Should I take a preparation course for the LSAT?
A: Yes, probably. Your LSAT score can determine decisively where you attend law school. While it is possible to achieve a high LSAT score with independent study, we recommend students take one of these courses.
Q: I have decided: I am definitely going to law school. Why should I choose Carroll?
A: There are at least three reasons:
First-Rate Advising: Carroll College’s pre-law center offers personalized advising to students interested in legal careers. We have an excellent record of helping students gain admission to regional law schools and have placed exceptional students in nationally recognized, highly selective programs.
Excellent Courses: in addition to the demanding and rewarding courses of your chosen major, the Department of Political Science offers courses that provide a foundation in law (PO 104, PO 201, PO 210, PO 216), simulate the educational experience of law school (PO 210), and prepare students for the LSAT (PO 201, PHIL 113, ENWR 305).
Practical Experience: Pre-law at Carroll affords students the opportunity to gain experience in the legal profession before they ever go to law school. Carroll's legal internship program (PO 417) allows students to assist lawyers in private practice, in businesses or in governement in the capitol region while receiving academic credit.
Any student with a strong academic record and demonstrated ability to read, write, and think critically can go to law school, regardless of major.
Alex Street, Ph.D.
Department of Political Science