The College of New Jersey and the Pre-Law Advisory Committee at the College are committed to providing students with the best possible preparation for the law school admissions process, for law school itself and for the practice of law. Our students have had a great deal of success in navigating this path. In recent years, they have been admitted to some of the best law schools in the country.
In 2011-2012, 97% of seniors and 84% of alumni who applied to law school were admitted . Students completing their degrees at TCNJ have been admitted in recent years to Yale, Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Rutgers, Georgetown, Texas, Northwestern, Penn, George Washington, American, Virginia, William and Mary, Duke.
Students thinking of applying to law school should choose a major that seems interesting to them and that challenges them to develop the critical thinking and writing skills that will be important to them in law school and as practicing attorneys. In contrast to preparation for medical school, there is no standard pre-law curriculum in the United States. Any major can potentially serve as ideal pre-law preparation. What is most important is a strong grounding in the disciplinary or interdisciplinary area of the student’s choice. Thus, students at TCNJ from many different majors have met with great success in the law school application process. These include (among others): economics and business, English, history, philosophy, political science. Yet it should be recognized that a major in computer science, criminology, math or physics would be just as appropriate for the pre-law student.
At the same time, TCNJ offers options that give students the opportunity to study the law from different perspectives within the liberal arts, including economics, ethics, history and politics. These options include the Law and Society Interdisciplinary Concentration and the Politics, Law and Philosophy Interdisciplinary Minor. Links to these programs can be found at the top of this page.
Because the law schools themselves emphasize the desirability of a strong background in a disciplinary or interdisciplinary academic area, TCNJ does not offer a designated “pre-law” major. Instead, TCNJ leaves the teaching of law and legal research and writing to the law schools.
The core of the Pre-Law Program at TCNJ is its system of one-on-one advising. Students (whether incoming or already on campus) are encouraged in the strongest terms to consult with a Pre-Law Advisor at their earliest opportunity — before they declare a major and even before they select courses for their first term on campus. In many cases, Dr. Melinda Roberts, who chairs the Pre-Law Advisory Committee, will be a student’s initial contact. Dr. Roberts’ e-mail address and phone number appear in the panel on the right-hand side of this page.
Once the student has made the initial contact, Dr.Roberts will either work with the student directly or ask another Pre-Law Advisor to consult with the student. Students (whether incoming or already on campus) may also wish to contact a Pre-Law Advisor directly — for example, a professor who teaches in an academic area of particular interest to them. In any case, the easiest way to initiate contact is by e-mail or by phone. The names, departments, e-mail addresses and phone numbers of each of the Pre-Law Advisors are listed in the right-hand panel of this page.
Once the student is on campus, meetings with the student’s Pre-Law Advisor should be scheduled by the student each semester. Matters to be discussed include the selection of the major and any minors or concentrations as well as the next term’s course schedule. (Students who have already chosen a major will also regularly consult with their departmental advisor regarding, among other things, their course schedule. Students who have not yet chosen a major — “Open Option” students — will consult with the academic advisor who has been assigned to them through the Open Option program.) By the end of the sophomore year, the student ordinarily will have selected a major. At that point, discussions with the Pre-Law Advisor will begin to cover the details of the law school admissions process and how the student should prepare for that process.
NOTE: Students should see Dr. Roberts for the processing of any Dean’s letters or Dean’s certifications for their law school applications. Dr. Roberts’ contact information appears in the right-hand panel of this page.