Wednesday, April 23, 2008

 

So, what's your major?


As usual, the Leiter blog is full of intriguing information, including this report on how various undergrad majors do on the LSAT, compiled by the philosophy department at IUPUI (Indiana Univ./Purdue Univ. and Indianapolis). Perhaps not surprisingly, philosophy majors are reported as doing pretty well. Here's the rundown:

The highest scoring majors:

Physics/Math (157.6)
Philosophy/Religion (156.0)
Economics (155.3)
International Relations (155.1)
Chemistry (154.5)
Government/Service (154.4)
Anthropology/Geography (154.1)
History (154.0)

And the lowest scoring:

Management (149.4)
Sociology/Social work (149.3)
Bus. Administration (148.6)
Health Profession (148.6)
Education (148.2)
Prelaw (147.3)
Criminology (145.8)

Comments:
Go Prelaw!!
 
Management Information Systems.
 
I took Criminology 101 at Michigan State when Dr. Evil was the department chair. He has since moved on to a career in medicine and works for the VA.
 
hahahaha I was a history major and that WAS my LSAT grade.

weird.
 
History
 
Philosophy represent.

Or not, depending on your theory of consciousness.
 
That's right Lane! We have to do well on the LSAT becuase there is little else we can do with our degrees!
 
Leiter only fuels the argument that most lawyers are completely clueless about how to interpret statistics.

A .7 distinction between the LSAT of philosophy and econ majors, and he believes it is significant? Please...what is the margin of error? This is likely not even statistically significant.

I would also caution any inference from this study about which majors "prepare" a student best for law school. To begin with, it would be very informative to track the majors with the undergraduate institution, as well as the SAT's of the students. Not to be snobbish here, but the fact of the matter is that many of the very top educational institutions that are major feeders to the LSAT and law schools (like liberal arts colleges such as Amherst, Colby, Bryn Mawr, Ivy League institutions, etc.) do not even offer undergrad majors like criminology, education, et. al. How many of these individuals who stated they had majors like "business administration" (again, not common in many top undergrad institutions) went to a college/university that had minimal entrance requirements, or less than rigorous course requirements? I would imagine a very large percentage.

Leiter is being disingenuous when he and many other law profs claim that philosophy majors necessarily have some sort of leg up on other students in law school...in my experience, this is not necessarily the case at all, once you control for other factors, such as undergrad institution, previous standardized test scores, etc.
 
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