Pre-law is an advising category designed to provide students who have an interest in attending law school with the guidance and career development they need in their preparation to enter law school. Pre-law is a non-degree granting program focused on helping students build the academic and interpersonal skills and characteristics desired in the law profession. Skills identified as important for a successful career in law include: analytical reasoning, problem solving, critical reading, writing, oral communication, listening, research, organization, public service, collaborative relationship building, and negotiation skills. By working with a pre-law advisor, pre-law students can identify the curricular and extracurricular activities that will help them develop these desired skills.
The Explore Center serves as UNL’s advising resource for pre-law students. Pre-law advisors work one-on-one with students to provide specialized pre-law advising, which supplements advising in the academic major. In addition to meeting with an advisor for their academic major (if declared), all pre-law students should meet once per semester with a pre-law Explore Center advisor for help in planning the necessary pre-law experiences required to apply to law school. Pre-law advisors help students create short- and long-range plans so that they can be in the best possible position to gain admittance to law school. The Explore Center also provides a number of pre-law advising resources, workshops, and events to help students develop and move forward in their career plans in the field of law. See https://explorecenter.unl.edu/pre-law for resources.
Professional academic advisors in the Explore Center are available for individual student meetings on a walk-in or appointment basis weekdays in 127 Love Library South. Pre-law students who have not yet chosen a major have an assigned Explore Center academic advisor but are welcome to meet with any advisor in the Explore Center. Students can find their assigned advisor through “My Success Network” in MyPLAN or in MyRED. For complete and current information on Explore Center academic advising visit https://explorecenter.unl.edu/about/appointment or contact the Explore Center by visiting 127 Love Library South or by calling 402-472-3605.
Most law schools require that students complete a bachelor’s degree in order to be admitted to law school. Pre-law students are encouraged to explore and declare a major that will help them to develop key pre-law skills and provide them with a rigorous academic background in preparation for further studies in law school. Any Nebraska undergraduate degree is acceptable for admission to law school. Because there are no specific undergraduate prerequisite courses required by law schools, the bulk of course work pre-law students will take at Nebraska will be in their major field of study. Students who have not yet decided which UNL major they would like to declare may temporarily select a major of “Pre-Law” in the Explore Center. Regardless of whether an academic major has been declared or not, pre-law students may receive pre-law information and advising from the Explore Center by indicating their pre-law interest with their college advising office and filling out a pre-professional status form.
Consistent with the mission and values of the University, Achievement-Centered Education (ACE) is based on a shared set of four institutional objectives and 10 student learning outcomes. The ACE program was approved by faculty in all eight undergraduate colleges and endorsed by the Faculty Senate, the student government, and the Academic Planning Committee in January 2008 for implementation in fall 2009. ACE aligns with current national initiatives in general education.
Key characteristics of ACE that demonstrate the benefits of the program to students:
- Students receive a broad education with exposure to multiple disciplines, critical life skills and important reasoning, inquiry, and civic capacities.
- ACE is simple and transparent for students, faculty and advisors. Students complete the equivalent of 3 credit hours for each of the ten student learning outcomes.
- Students connect and integrate their ACE experiences with their selected major.
- Students can transfer all ACE certified courses across colleges within the institution to meet the ACE requirement and any course from outside the institution that is directly equivalent to a UNL ACE-certified course. Courses from outside institutions without direct equivalents may be considered with appropriate documentation for ACE credit (see academic advisor).
ACE allows faculty to assess and improve their effectiveness and facilitate students’ learning.
ACE Institutional Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes
To meet the ACE program requirement, a student will complete the equivalent of 3 credit hours for each of the ten ACE Student Learning Outcomes (a total of 30 ACE credit hours). See the ACE website for the most current information and the most recently certified courses. Students should meet with an Explore Center advisor to discuss the planning and completion of ACE courses and requirements.
The sample 2-year plan below is a general outline of the first two years of classes for students with Undeclared, Pre-Health, or Pre-Law academic plans. Actual course selection and sequencing will vary and should be discussed individually with an Explore Center advisor. You and the advisor will discuss your individual academic goals and design a 2-year plan for declaring a major and/or pursuing a pre-health or pre-law course of study. Most pre-health and pre-law students will declare a major and create a 4-year plan for their major. Throughout those 4 years, pre-health and pre-law students should seek supplemental advising in the Explore Center to engage in 4-year planning for pre-health and pre-law academic and/or extracurricular requirements.
- Pre-Law students must declare a major within three terms (excluding summer) of reaching sophomore standing. Students transferring into the Explore Center at sophomore standing or above must declare a major within three terms (excluding summer).
- Pre-Law is an advising category and not a degree-granting major.
- Maintaining a competitive GPA for law school is very important for pre-law students. It is important to meet with an Explore Center advisor each semester.