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What is it like to be a politics or government major?

I am looking at being some type of lawyer. This is often the most related major a lot of colleges have. I’m curious to know the kinds of classes and assignments people with this major typically have. #givingiscaring #college #university #major #government #lawyer #college-major #choosing-a-major

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Rem’s Answer

Hi Olivia!

I studied Political Science and majored in International Relations when I was in Uni. Some of the classes I've had were Intro to PoliSci, Political Development, Political Behavior and Theory, Political Analysis, Economics / Economic Development and so on. In the Philippines, we also have Law classes to prep us for law school (e.g. Labor Law, Public International Law & etc)... since it's "usually" the next step after getting a degree in Political Science.

Also, I agree with Desire! You should pick a major that you will enjoy learning about.❤️

My advice tho is to read, read and read. A lot of reading materials / cases will be assigned to you and it's always good to be prepared for the recitations and written exams.

That's all! Stay safe wherever you are.


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Sandra’s Answer

First, if a high school student is interested in being an attorney and is interested in political science, then I would recommend signing up to be a “page,” during the legislative session. It provides two things: a great experience to add to a resume and it gives student pages a great ‘inside look’ on how laws are debated and voted on. You get ‘the real deal.’ Awesome, right? Also, being an attorney doesn’t just limit someone to a law practice. State legislatures hire attorneys to work on legislative committees to study and recommend bill language. Taking courses such as civics, writing, project management, public speaking and government will help anyone who is interested in working as an attorney.

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Pepper’s Answer

I chose Political Science because honestly, I found it interesting. And at 18, I found very little interesting other than parties, friends, social outings. I intended to go to law school but got drunk and missed the LSAT. My parents refused to pay for a second chance, so I set out to work as a PoliSci grad.

I worked in consumer finance, sold insurance, worked a little retail here and there and eventually decided to work for AT&T. Just in a call center, no degree required. But I liked it. I was promoted, and somehow began working more and more with elected officials (sheriff's -- I worked in the pay phone division, and phones in the jails are (at least were) assigned there).

My career just evolved. And as it has, it's aligned with my studies. I went back to school for a graduate degree in Public Administration (employer paid) and work now in external and legislative affairs. And I love it.

Don't discount a major if you're really interested in it. It my lead you to a career you never considered or imagined.

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Desiree’s Answer

I leave it to others to answer your question about political science or govnt majors - because I wasn't either! And you're right to note that many lawyers had these majors - along with history.

But I am a lawyer and I strongly encourage you to think about what subjects/majors you enjoy and excel in, because good undergraduate grades are a huge factor in getting admitted to a top tier law school (which is a huge factor in getting a good job offers to be a lawyer!). Law students and lawyers need to have great logic, analytical, and writing skills which you can find in many majors. If you love any of the Sciences for their problem solving, English for its essays and writing, those could be terrific gateways into law school, too. Also, the great thing about most university degree programs in the US is that they allow "electives" outside your major - so you can major in English and take a political science class if you want to have some more traditional boxes checked for law school.

Please don't pick a major just to get into law school - pick a major that you will enjoy learning about and which suits your strengths and interests.

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Charles’s Answer

Hi Olivia D,

I majored in Government (now called "Politics" at my alma mater) many years ago, graduating from a small liberal arts college in 1977. At that time I was truly interested in politics (having spent much of the summer watching the televised Watergate scandal hearings on television) but did not want to be an attorney. My course work consisted of classes in three separate disciplines: American Politics, Comparative Government (study of foreign political systems) and Political Philosophy. I ended up "sub-majoring" in American Politics, with a secondary interest in Political Philosophy. The latter courses included a study of great thinkers John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, among others. These writers explored the theoretical "state of nature", or the ideal government for citizens if one could choose from a variety of models. Comparative Government gave me an opportunity to learn about other political systems (primarily in Europe, with an emphasis on Great Britain - a British Politics course), and how they compare with our governmental system, which is truly unique in the world. American Politics taught how bills are created, modified and ultimately passed in the House of Representatives and Senate; as well as the interplay and intended "checks and balances" among our three separate branches (Legislative, Executive and Judicial).

Coursework consisted of voluminous reading, writing essays on themes either given to the class or chosen by students, and taking mid-term and final exam essays (for the most part - a couple of introductory courses were multiple choice and short answer tests). In-class discussions provided much food for thought as we explored course material. Upper division courses with small class sizes were conducted as seminars, with everyone contributing to discussions. (You can't hide in a class of ten students!)

During our senior year, all government majors had to choose whether to write a thesis (the path typically chosen by those interested in pursuing academic careers), or take a Comprehensive Exam covering our field of emphasis as well as other "sub-majors"). I chose to take the Comprehensive Exam, which required me to review all prior course materials taken as a government major. We had to answer three of the six or so questions posed during an all-day exam.

Only after I graduated and worked for four years as a claims adjuster and supervisor did I enroll in law school. It was a great decision. I have been fortunate to work in a profession which I truly enjoy (most of the time), and which is challenging but also rewarding.

I hope my response helps you to choose whether or not to major in Political Science. Don't worry if this isn't the right major for you. Many of my law school classmates majored in English, History, Economics, Business or other subjects. The most important goal is to learn how to write well and persuasively, think clearly, analyze complex issues and be able to orally articulate your position, all while anticipating your opponent's response, and thinking quickly about how to rebut those arguments. (This example assumes a career as a litigator.)

Best of luck to you as you continue to discern what collegiate major is best for you.