Pre-Law at Ripon College

Academics | Pre-Law

Pre-Law

An undergraduate preparation for a career in law does not require the study of a specific body of courses. The American Bar Association recently published a statement emphasizing that no particular field of study is the best way to prepare for law school.

They endorsed Ripon’s approach to preparing for law school: emphasizing the development of skills necessary for success in the profession.

Law schools demand that pre-law training at the undergraduate level center on intellectual development in four areas: the capacity to write clear and precise analytical prose, the capacity to think logically at a pragmatic level, the capacity to articulate ideas clearly in oral expression, and an understanding of the role of institutions in society.

While many other schools also have pre-law programs, pre-law students likely will find features of a Ripon education distinctly advantageous. Most of Ripon’s courses strongly emphasize analytical writing, which builds the particular writing skills sought by law schools.

 

Program Details

Ripon has an unusually low faculty/student ratio and a long tradition of close faculty-student relationships. As a result, Ripon students are able to back their law school applications with the detailed letters of recommendation that law schools seek in making admission decisions. Ripon graduates also have a sufficiently distinctive rate of success in their law schools that makes these schools willing to give our graduates special consideration in admission decisions. Finally, Ripon has a faculty member specifically designated pre-law adviser who is fully accessible at all times to all students.

While Ripon College does not offer a major in pre-law, students do have the opportunity to minor in Law and Society. This interdisciplinary program provides a network of courses designed to focus the student’s attention on the role of law and legal structure in modern society. Law is a primary means of ordering conduct and resolving social conflicts. The Law and Society minor seeks to help the student understand the function, nature and limits of the law.

Law & Society Requirements

Law and Society Requirements

The minor in Law and Society provides a network of courses designed to focus the student’s attention on the role of law and legal structure in a human community. Law is a primary means of ordering conduct and resolving social conflicts. The minor seeks to help the student understand the function, nature and limits of law. The minor is not intended as a pre-professional curriculum for the student interested in a career in law. Rather, it is designed for a wider audience interested in the entire question of the role of law and legal structures in a human community. Students interested in pre-professional preparation for a career in law should see the pre-law adviser.

Requirements for a minor in Law and Society: Politics and Government 312 (Introduction to Law); 4 credits of independent study at the senior level in a topic in law and society, philosophy, politics and government, sociology or other appropriate department; and 12 credits selected from among the following courses (no more than eight hours of elective courses from one department may be counted toward the minor):

Economics 332: Resource and Environmental Economics Environmental Studies 120: Environmental Studies Global Studies 112: Our World Today: Resources, Conflict, Cooperation History 262: American Race Relations Philosophy 241: Ethics Law and Society 115 Philosophy 353: Human Rights Politics and Government 220: American Politics and Government Politics and Government 412: Constitutional Law Sociology 115: Social Problems Sociology 306: Criminology Other law-related courses, with the consent of coordinator Jackie Clark

 

Unique Opportunities

Gaining experience in the field

Ripon College has a long tradition of offering an outstanding academic curriculum. In addition to the liberal arts education, we strongly encourage our students to spend a semester off campus, either on an international or domestic program.

While each of Ripon’s programs has unique characteristics, all offer the opportunity to gain valuable experience – interning in a field of interest, gaining exposure to a foreign culture or seeing some of the world’s most famous sites.

Pre-law students particularly might be interested in two domestic programs. Many students have gone on the Washington Semester to study the judicial process, American government, U.S. foreign policy or journalism. The program involves a seminar where they often are brought face-to-face with some of the leading American and foreign political figures of the day. It also involves an internship in a politician’s office or in the national office of an interest organization.

Other students have gone on the ACM Chicago Program, which has an Urban Studies emphasis that again involves both organized study and an internship and helps students of politics and government become intimately aware of the problems of modern American cities.

 

Faculty

Steven Sorenson

 

Advising

Ripon College encourages all students to embrace a Four-Year Career Development Plan. This plan is based on the premise that career planning is a development process that involves learning and decision-making over an extended period of time.

First Year

  • Incoming students are assigned a Faculty Mentor based on their interest area(s). Please see the FACULTY tab under your major area;
  • All Freshman are required to enroll in a First-Year Seminar, which is designed as a transition from high school to college learning, providing an interdisciplinary introduction to the liberal arts and the pursuit of in-depth study;
  • Freshman are encouraged to meet the career development staff early on and complete interest and skills inventories, and self-assessment tools; and,
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks.

Third Year

  • Assume leadership positions in on-campus clubs and organizations;
  • Participate in mock interviews with the Career Development Office;
  • Attend the Wisconsin Foundation of Independent Colleges Job Fair in February and other relevant career fairs;
  • If relevant, begin to research potential graduate school programs and take the appropriate entrance exam(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Continue to build a solid network and a list of work references, and build your resume;
  • Consider off-campus study: Semester and/or alternative Spring Breaks;
  • Continue to job shadow; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Second Year

  • Get involved with on-campus clubs and organizations, athletic teams and/or intramural sports;
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks;
  • Declare a major;
  • Meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor or match your interests with a faculty member in your major department. Determine which professors have areas of expertise most similar to your interests. Talk to people in the academic department to find out about faculty research, scholarly, and creative interests;
  • Attend on-campus career workshops;
  • Work with the Career Development Office to create an approved resume;
  • Job shadow people involved in various careers and professions of interest; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Fourth Year

  • Complete a Senior Capstone/Thesis in your major area(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Perfect your interviewing skills;
  • Expand your existing network of contacts;
  • Finalize your resume and prepare cover letter;
  • Build a credential file in the Career Development Office;
  • Interview with on-campus recruiters;
  • Set-up informational interviews with target companies;
  • If relevant, apply to graduate school programs, and if necessary, re-take entrance exams; and,
  • Practice career goal-setting.