What makes for a good law student or spy-master?

Derek T. Muller gathered data on prospective law students, in taking the LSAT: “the best prospective law students were the Classics majors.” Philosophy majors also did well. In a post about law school matriculants, he concluded that:

You can see classics, math, linguistics, art history, and physics all near the top. Philosophy and economics are two of the larger disciplines that perform quite well. Hover over the data for your own observations!

Maybe this shouldn’t be surprising. It is the whole purpose of a liberal arts education to create a well rounded person. Traditionally, a central part of this was philology, the study of languages and texts. It might be related to the reason some spy-masters were professors of literary criticism, as textual analysis is an important skill.

Liam Kinney discusses the value of a Classics major:

It is hard to say whether the study of Classics teaches testing skills or the types of people who choose this difficult major are better testers. Does the hard work pay off or are the people who do it just the kind of people who like hard work? It seems the latter argument is supported by this fact: students who major or double-major in Classics have a better success rate getting into medical school than do students who concentrate solely in biology, microbiology, and other branches of science, According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (The Princeton Review, 2014). In other words, concentrating in a field that overlaps with pre-med requirements is the easy path, but those who add Classics on top have a better chance of getting into Med School. It seems like the people who go into Classics like rigor, ok, but is it the major that teaches them rigor? It’s a chicken-or-egg problem.

This doesn’t undermine the fact that Classics is inextricably linked to success in graduate program acceptance, and in graduate school itself. According to Harvard Magazine, Classics majors (and math majors) have the highest success rates of any majors in law school. Three of the most represented majors, political science, economics, and pre-law, lag fairly far behind (The Princeton Review, 2014). When it comes to navigating higher education, it seems like a Classics major is invaluable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s