Government and Legal Studies
CollegeAdvisor.com presents its majors series webinars on Government and Legal Studies in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panel will share their insider perspectives on how they chose their majors, how they applied successfully to colleges, and how they pursued their majors in college. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-02-27 Government and Legal Studies
[00:00:00] Hi, I’ll do I know. Welcome to the CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on Government and Legal Studies. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Hi everybody. My name is Brynlee Emery. I graduated from Georgetown in 2019 with a double major in government and history. Kinda my focus during that time was like us government. And your S immigration and citizenship history. And then I did a little bit of dabbling in [00:01:00] comparative government as well.
I’m currently finishing up my graduate program at the university of Illinois at Urbana champagne where I’m getting my master’s degrees, one in history and one in library and information sciences. And hopefully when I graduate, I’d like to be working as an archivist
and hi everyone, I’m Tara. I also graduated in 2019, but I went to Dartmouth. I studied, I had a major in government and a minor in public policy and my government major was pretty, primarily focused in international relations. So the focus on religion within that and how it impacts international relations, I am going to grad school in the fall to get a master’s degree in public policy.
So also related to government.
Okay. Great. So now we’re going to move into some frequently asked questions. You guys can alternate who goes first and we’ve answered, but the first [00:02:00] one is what led you to your major? Yeah, I can go first. I originally got interested in government in politics when I was in junior high and high school.
I lived in Arizona and at the time there is a lot of debate over this like really discriminatory, horrible law that I don’t need to get into detail here, but if he really upset and so I started learning more about kind of government and policy and just how all of that works.
No paying special attention to that in my high school classes and everything. And really enjoyed researching that history and policy side of things. And I was also watching a lot of the west wing at the time. So I was applying to college mostly as a history major. And when I ended up deciding to go to Georgetown their government program is really excellent.
And so I figured I may as well take a couple classes at least. But also being in DC wanted to make sure I took advantage of all the resources that the city had to offer to. So I [00:03:00] took I think it was like U S political systems or something my first year. And I really ended up enjoying it and decided at the end of my freshman year that I wanted to add government as a double major.
So that’s how I got started.
so I applied to colleges, having no idea what I wanted to study. I knew I wanted to do something vaguely in the social sciences, but I wasn’t sure where within that my freshman year I took classes all across the board. I took classes in sociology, engineering, economics and I took a class in public policy, which led to me getting an internship through the class on Capitol hill for the summer.
And after I spent that term on Capitol hill, I was like, this is amazing. I’m going to keep studying that I decided to do a government major towards the end of my sophomore year. And the government major at Dartmouth. I really liked because it was very flexible. You could study where you wanted to study, focus on the classes that you wanted to take.
Also at [00:04:00] Dartmouth, it’s a very popular major. So there were a bunch of good classes and a lot of wonderful professors who in the door.
Moving on tech and go for this one first, let extracurriculars did you do in high school? Sure. So I did a lot of, I went to a very small high school, so I was very involved. Well-rounded way I was, I did a couple of sports. I did, he ran cross country running, played tennis for a few years. I was involved with the theater program at my school, and I also founded a debate team at our schools.
Couldn’t middling success. I don’t think it lasted beyond my time there. I also in the summers, I was not doing an internship or anything. I was scooping ice cream in rural Idaho. So don’t think you have to have a perfect resume to get into a good college. You can just, you can make the most of the experiences you have.
Definitely. I was not a sports person in high school but I was [00:05:00] really involved in my school’s modern UN team. Being an officer a couple of times, I think it was the treasurer my senior year. And so that was definitely a good avenue for me to learn a little bit more about the policy making process and everything.
I also did a handful of like service clubs things like that through my school. And then I was really involved with piano all through growing up. So that was good. Non-school extracurricular. That was really important. And then I didn’t do a whole lot of like really organized summer things.
But I did do a intensive Chinese language summer camp one year. And that was really fun. And ended up coming in handy when I had to take a language in college too.
So now Bradley, we can start with you for just one. What was your college application process like? Yeah. Didn’t want to apply to too many schools. And I wanted to make sure that the schools that I applied to are going to be places that I’d be like really happy with. So I applied to one safety that I was [00:06:00] not, super excited about when I was like, very sure I’d get in.
And then five other schools that I was, more excited about near kind of all across the country. I ended up being accepted to three of them, including that safety wait-listed to another. So when it came down to actually deciding between schools I was mainly choosing between Georgetown and Northwestern.
And I think a really important part of the decision making factor are really important factor in the decision making process for me was college visits and actually getting to walk around campus a little bit, obviously right now that’s much harder. And I didn’t really do many like visits after admissions had come out.
I been yeah. In the summers or whatever, when my family was on another trip or something, just like dragging everybody to go see a college. So it was really useful to get a sense of how the school environment felt and get a sense for the relationship of the school, to like the bigger city around it.
And ultimately of course ended up choosing to [00:07:00] go to Georgetown and I loved it. If there’s something I could do differently, I would have told my past self to apply to more than six schools. Just because six is like really too few. And it worked out, but it was that’s not advice I would give to anybody to, I advise these days.
Great. And so I applied to Dartmouth early decision. I applied to a few other schools, early action. I applied to both boredom and university of Vermont. I got into both of those before I heard back from Dartmouth. So I was feeling good and I was so glad I applied to Starbucks early. It was, had always been my dream school.
It did not let down any of my expectations. I absolutely loved my experience there. Something I do wish I’d known though, is Dartmouth is a liberal arts school. So there are no more tangible majors. It’s only abstracts. So I minored in public policy because public policy is too [00:08:00] specific of a subject to be taught as a major, the same goes for and after education for finance, for business, none of those are majors at a liberal arts school.
That was something I just hadn’t thought about prior to starting college that I in retrospect was like that was probably something I should’ve considered a little bit more when thinking about what I wanted. Another thing is I really liked the quarter system, but I did not realize how much of an impact it does have on your college experience.
Doing three quarters, other than two semesters is a really different experience.
Moving on. What extracurriculars did you do in college?
Suddenly you can start yet. Okay. Sounds good. So I, I’m inspired by my model UN in high school, I got involved with the United Daikin’s association in college. Basically what [00:09:00] that was it was. Who do you learn about issues that the UN was considering? And we do lobbying on Capitol hill to fully fund the UN or fully fund particular priorities or things like that.
And so that was really interesting. I also got a little bit involved in student government. I was the religious policy chair for a little while. And related to that, I was on the executive board for the campus ministry student forum. Georgetown is a Catholic school. I’m not Catholic, but I am religious.
And so it was really interesting to spend some time working with other students from all sorts of different faith backgrounds on campus and getting to direct policy to make it A little bit more equitable for people. So in addition to those kinds of on-campus extracurriculars, I also did a lot of internships.
Some of them were like either remote or they were during my summers. And how at home? I worked on a Senate campaign after my freshman year. And I also had internships like with the federal government in DC. One of them was with Senator Harry Reid’s [00:10:00] office the semester that he retired and then another was with the us citizenship and immigration services, history library.
So those were really fun too. Definitely helped round out what I was doing in my classes.
Something I was involved with at Dartmouth is the Brock valley center for public policy. Helped me get my internship on Capitol hill, freshman year. And they also host policy research for the New Hampshire and Vermont legislators, which is really cool because you’re doing state level government work, but you are actively presenting your research to the actual legislators in those states, legislators come to Dartmouth with a policy problem.
Mine was about data security in the state of New Hampshire. And students are tasked with researching it and presenting a research brief to the state legislature, or a cup, either a committee or a group of people. And that’s just a very [00:11:00] cool experience to have that hands-on experience. And that was something I talked a lot about when I was doing jobs.
On campus. I was on the club ski team. I also, I participated in Greek life and Greek life leadership, which is a very, it’s a good way to get a sense of being, being a leader among your peers, the gearing out things like that, which is something that I also found was helpful in getting jobs and internships.
I also did a good amount of community service through different organizations at Dartmouth. And I did internships in three different cities and studied abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. My internship in New York was at a law firm as a paralegal, which was a really great way to test out the legal world.
Next step. You’re going to hear about some common classes by someone study in governance or legal study. So the way the government major works at Georgetown is. It’s pretty [00:12:00] flexible because like government covers a whole lot of different areas. If, when we introduced ourselves, we both talked about what we focused on and it’s really common to have different areas, maybe different things that you’ll pick to focus your classes on as a government major.
So I was mostly doing U S politics. Tara was mostly doing international relations and that’s pretty common across the board. So the way it worked at Georgetown was there were four introductory classes that everybody had to take. And you could take those whenever you wanted, but most people wanted to get them done with, by the end of their sophomore year or at least three out of the fours on by then.
And each of those classes covered like one of the main kind of four areas. You can go based on in government. So at Georgetown. U S political systems comparative political systems, international relations and intro to political theory. And then after that, there were just like six more classes that you needed to fulfill the major and you could do whatever you wanted.
So for those kind of first [00:13:00] two years I think most students took at least two, but probably more like three or four of those intro classes. And by her sophomore year, quite a few people also were taking more upper level electives. For example, I took congressional politics, I think my sophomore year.
Even though I wasn’t really done with the intro classes yet, it wasn’t like a prerequisite that I had to have those finished. It was just as you advanced in college, it’s nice to have like more interesting things and not like the super basic things that all your classes have already built.
Dartmouth is similar, actually. And then there being four different sub fields within the field of government. However, at Dartmouth, none of you’re not required to take classes in each of the four sub fields. You can just pick one. The only requirements in the government major is you have to take two intro level classes in whatever field you want, and then to seminar level classes your senior year, usually your senior year, you can start taking them earlier.[00:14:00]
I know people who took more than the two required ones, just because they liked a smaller classroom setting with more topics. I didn’t feel, I feel like that I really liked lecture classes because some of the professors being average is so knowledgeable and smart. I’d rather listen to them, but I mostly, I had a lot of capacity to choose which classes I wanted to take.
And so I did take a lot of international relations classes, but I also did some political theory. I did some comparative government, so it was a very self formed major, but definitely very interesting. And you were able to take things that interests you the most.
Okay, great. So now what was your favorite class related to your major?
My favorite class, like directly related to my major. Sorry. Oh, sorry. Go ahead.
No go for it. Sorry. [00:15:00] Okay. My favorite class directly related to my major was congressional politics. And I took that my sophomore year, as I mentioned. And it was just a really interesting look at how exactly things work in Congress because I think a lot of times it can feel like a black box, but we talked about like how committees function and kind of like that classic, like how a bill becomes a law, but going really into the nitty gritty of all of that. And we actually got to do like a mock committee session where we like actually all played a role as like a specific member of Congress and tried to pass a bill and make amendments and things like that.
So that was fun. And we also talked about things like, representation and kind of different theories of representation. And it was just a really interesting class that dived way more deeply into the actual functioning of Congress than I had ever experienced before in like high school classes or anything like that.
And I also took it at the same canvas. I was interning at the Senate, so it was fun to see what I was learning about in class, like going on [00:16:00] in person. So yeah, I think that was my thing.
so my favorite class was I took my senior winter. It was called diplomacy and it was understanding personal diplomacy through case studies, but it was taught by Jake Sullivan. Who’s currently Joe Biden, national security advisor. He’d also worked with Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. So he came to Dartmouth as a, through the Montgomery fellows program, which is how Dartmouth brings very high level high profile people to teach students, which is a really cool experience to get as an undergrad.
And there are not many schools where you can get that sort of. Especially outside the DC area, if you’re interested in government. But it was so amazing because he was talking about, you talked us through these situations with China, Iran, Israel that he dealt with when he was in the state department.
And now you see him in the news doing it again in the Biden [00:17:00] administration, which is just crazy that this guy who’s now writing international policy and shaping the face of American foreign relations two years ago was teaching me at Dartmouth and a class. So really awesome experience. I learned a ton and it’s just worth it for the cool factor of seeing my former professor in the news all the time now.
Okay. Next steps. What are some career options?
Or you can go first for this one, sorry. The government major offers a bunch of different career options since it is a very general major and you can shape it yourself. You can take it a lot of different places, Brindley. And I wrote this list. So these were just things that were coming to our minds.
But I know a lot of government [00:18:00] majors who are going on to go to law school, working as paralegals. I did consulting straight out of college in a public affairs communications field. I was in DC at a lobbying firms. I was also working with other former government majors who were on the lobbying side.
You can work on the hill. You can analyze policy at a think tank. Since government teaches you really good analytical writing skills, how to be concise and deliver messages effectively. That can be really well suited to journalism. Academia, other places that are high writing necessities right now, I’m actually doing, I’m working at a nonprofit that does philanthropic work.
I find my government major useful every single day, just because of the way I can look at larger contexts and dial it down to more specific cause and effects. I also know a lot of people from Dartmouth who took their government majors and went into banking.
Yeah. Like Tara said, there are so many things you can do with the government major. I know. [00:19:00] At Georgetown, at least it was really common for people to do like government with a double major in something else. Because it’s only 10 classes and I think you needed like 40 to graduate or something.
So it was not that big of a time commitment. So a lot of people would do like government and economics or government and history or English or biology or, whatever. So that they could be prepared for whatever path that they wanted to go down or, open up other options too.
I worked in campaigns for a little bit and did a little bit of stuff on the hill. My husband also was a government major and he has worked in like local government for a little bit here. And as I mentioned at the beginning of the call, I’m finishing up my degree so that I can work as an archivist that might not seem like.
Super related initially, but I’m working with a lot of federal documents and making sure that they are preserved and available for people to use in reference for generations going [00:20:00] forward. Hopefully. So I also use my government major every single day. Even if it’s I started at Georgetown thinking I was going to go to law school and decided that was not for me.
So even though it pivoted my career path a little bit, it’s still really useful and very flexible.
Okay, great. So now this is the end of the presentation. Part of the webinar I looked at, you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides in the handouts tab, or I found the link in the public chat, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll be through the question is submitted in the Q and a.
Paste them into the public chat. So I’ve been conceived and then I’ll read them out loud before our panelists give an answer. You come to ask you one specific question to one specific panelist or both. We’ll give an answer as I have that if your Q and a tab is whether you submit question, just double check that you joined the webinar [00:21:00] through the custom link in your email and not from the lab and our landing page.
So the first question as being friendly, you’re going to do this one first, because we think it’s in response to what you’re saying about the number of colleges. How many schools should you apply to then that’s a good question. To some extent, it depends on how satisfied you are with like your safety school.
But my usual recommendation is you’re apply to about eight to 10 schools with usually at least one or two safety schools in the mix. So that, No matter what you’re going to college. But then as many kind of match schools and reach schools as you’d like after that, but generally no more than 15 or 16 or so, unless they don’t have any essays for you to write because that’s a lot of work on top of your senior year.
Do you have anything to add about school numbers? So I admittedly only applied to three colleges, but I completely [00:22:00] agree with everything Brindley said, if you’re not doing you should only do early decision. If it’s something that you are completely certain about, I knew Dartmouth was my number one choice.
I knew there’s no school. I would pick over it. So I felt comfortable applying early. When you do apply early, you don’t need a safety school in the same way, but I also did a plot that’s applied to some schools early action, just so I would have that backup. If I did not get into Dartmouth and was going into the rest of the college.
This next question is also directed to you Brinley, going to school at Georgetown, so close to political hotspots, how easy or difficult was it to get internships? That’s a really great question. I think in a lot of ways it was actually easier to get internships because most of the students in the country that are, studying political science or government or something are not in DC.
And so for the most part, that window for getting an internship, it’s usually going to be the summer. So [00:23:00] summer internships are really competitive. But when you’re a Georgetown student, you can theoretically massage your schedule a little bit so that you can do an internship part-time in the school year.
Or I guess you could even take a semester off and do a full-time one as well. I know students have done that. I did a part-time internship during the school year when I worked at the Senate. And it was like a busy semester for sure, but it was totally fine. Definitely doable. It just depends on the like internship coordinator that you’re working with.
If they might have specific policies people have to work so many hours a week and you can’t do that. That could be an issue potentially, but taking advantage of those fall in spring semester, internships is definitely something that people can do take advantage of summer internships.
Like they are really competitive, but it also depends on where you’re going. Like the state department is so competitive to get an internship there, but there’s also. The sheer number of government [00:24:00] offices is astounding. And so there are also programs that can match you up with unfilled internships, if you’re really committed, like you want to stay there for the summer.
It just takes a little bit of planning because usually those applications are due like February or March before the summer that you start. So it really just depends on your priorities and what you want to, spend your time doing, what do you want to do those internships? But probably the vast majority of people that I know had at least one or two or three internships throughout their time.
And yeah, it was very doable.
Tara, do you want to share the other end of the experience where you didn’t go to school in the city? That’s right. So that is something that I also didn’t. I did not think about it in the college process. And when I was doing consulting in DC, after I graduated from Dartmouth, I was working with a lot of people.
Interns included from Georgetown and GW and all these kids [00:25:00] come out of college with four years of work experience in DC. Then an office is hill offices private companies all across the board. And that is really valuable and something that I hadn’t thought about. However at a school like Dartmouth, you are encouraged to make the most of your time off.
And you dedicate the entirety of those off terms or summers to your internship rather than having to balance school and internship. There’s a bit more of a division between this is my time for school. This is my time for interning, but I do think it is definitely valuable when you’re close to political hotspots to be able to have that part-time internship.
Okay. So next question I’m seeing is early decision, a better decision than anything else that you can take this one as you applied, sure for me, it was, I know that’s not everybody’s case, but I knew that Darvin’s was my number one. I knew that there is nowhere. I knew that had I, if I [00:26:00] got into Harvard, Princeton, I would still go for Dartmouth. So I felt okay. Unquestioningly signing that early decision agreement.
Okay. So the next question you guys can both give answers to this one, but tell you, you can start off. What’s the best advice for a high school student when applying to a certain school. First started in school. I think the important thing is do your research use CollegeAdvisor to talk to current students?
If you can. That’s one of the most valuable things you can do, especially in a pandemic when it’s not that easy to visit campus, not that easy to connect with students in person, they’re having the ability to talk to someone who currently goes there or recently graduated. No one is going to give you a better picture of the school and the students there.
They will be able to tell you what classes they liked. They will be able to tell you about the general student experiences. Reading the marketing materials put out by the school can be helpful, but it’s just not the same as talking to someone who’s actually [00:27:00] there.
yeah, I would second that I think that talking to students is such a valuable thing. It can be a little bit hard to reach out to them sometimes, but definitely CollegeAdvisor s are really good venue for that. And sometimes students can point you to specific resources that might not be flashy enough for the marketing materials, but might be exactly what you need.
So really the most important thing when you’re applying to a school is making sure that you’re not like you’re pulling out the things about that school that are important to what you want to study, and what’s important to you. Not necessarily what’s just the most like famous or popular thing about that school.
So finding those really specific bits of information is really important and students are a great way of finding that out. I know like sometimes university of Reddits are also really popular, there’s not someone from the school you’re interested in at CollegeAdvisor or something like that.
Sometimes throwing you a question up there can also get you some good answers, [00:28:00] some bad ones too, but better than nothing.
Okay. I’m not good. Any more questions in the queue at the moment are going to take a few from the pre panel question. So it’s submitted earlier, but if you’re in the audience, please get submitting whatever questions you might have. You guys can both answer this one based on your own experiences.
How difficult is it to get a job with this degree? Certainly you can start us off it as one. Okay. Yeah, I think that it that’s really dependent on what job you want to get and yeah, it really where you want to focus your job experiences, because if you want to, work in those most competitive areas, you want to work for the state department or you want to get a really like well-paying job relatively well-paying job on Capitol hill or something like sometimes it’s it’s competitive to get those positions, when everybody is graduating. Just because there’s a lot of people [00:29:00] competing for the same ones. And there’s you got to do some like grunt work before you get to the more interesting positions. But that’s just sort of nature, but the field of like actually working in government in terms of like jobs, generally though, like the skills that you get in a government major are very widely applicable and there hasn’t been any time when I’ve been like, oh, no, like I don’t have a job or I don’t have job prospects or anything since graduating. Because the things that you learn in your classes, like learning to write well, learn to make a good argument, looking to back up your arguments with like data.
And even if you take more of like a theoretical approach and do more like political theory, rather than data analysis kinds of things those are still really applicable and good skills that will come in handy in other positions. Like we were saying with the careers, like there’s a million ways you can apply a government major.
I would say like long story short. Yes. It’s like pretty easy to get a job. It just might be more competitive for those like flashier positions [00:30:00] that are, what everybody’s looking for.
Yeah, I agree with everything Brindley said. I also think that the government major is very marketable. You have a lot of different skills that jobs want. You’re a good writer. You’re a good communicator. You have analysis skills. I think that, of course their competitive jobs are competitive regardless of what you’re studying and regardless of where you go to school, but a government major is a really good starting point to be able to pitch yourself for any job you might want to do later on.
okay for this next question, Tara can start us off and then make them go to that. What are some tips about college that you wish you had known before attending? That’s a really good question. I think that’s something I wanted to do early on in college. The best advice that I received [00:31:00] actually. Take easy classes.
Your first term college is such an adjustment you’re living on your own. You’re figuring out what’s important to you. You do not want to be overburdened by work that very first semester that you’re there. It’s a hard adjustment and it’s hard to figure out how to navigate college classes. Especially if you’re like me, didn’t go to a particularly rigorous high school.
So I could easily have with my first term focused on finding my studying at school, making friends, figuring out what organizations I wanted to be involved with. And then I started to go into more challenging classes. And I’m really glad I did that because when I started to do harder classes struggle a little bit more academically, I already had a support network of friends and study buddies at school.
And that was really important.
Yeah, I totally agree with what Tara said. I would also recommend taking easy classes your first semester. Another Good really good piece of advice is I always liked having one class that was like mostly just fun. [00:32:00] Every semester, even if it wasn’t like super easy, but it was like when I got home from class and I was like, I have this mountain of work.
I need to start with something. What’s going to be the most fun thing that I can start. And like just get myself into a good rhythm. So for me that was a lot of just like English, like literature classes. But it can be whatever works for you. I think another really good piece of advice that I wished I had, but I just stumbled into any way was like Tara said have some study buddies.
It is, I was in like a kind of first year seminar where we did a lot of writing and had some professors that had probably expectations that were a little bit too high for first semester freshman, but they really pushed us to get better and what we figured out just me and like a group of other friends was just, it was way better to have your friend tell you that your argument was that, or you did work before your professor told you that it was bad.
So it’s really helpful to have a group of people where you can like, edit each other’s work and take a look at those papers before you submit them. Of course that [00:33:00] means you have to get them done a little bit earlier, but it can really see your grades and build your confidence.
Because I think also editing makes you a better writer. That’s what I would recommend to.
Okay, great. Next question. Do you have any book recommendations for those wanting to learn more about the topics of this nature? Suddenly you can start it. Okay. That is a really good question. I will need to think. I think it really depends on what kind of areas you want to focus in. I know like my classes were mostly like like U S politics and comparative politics, like I said.
But they were like really specific converter politics classes. So it was like politics of China. I can’t think of any titles off the top of my head for that one, just cause it was a long time ago. Let me think
Tara, feel free to jump [00:34:00] in. I might need to go back through my notes.
I have two that come to mind immediately and I will also write them in the Q and a. So the first one is why nations fail, which is a really cool bus about like developing countries, why some nations are able to establish a government and take off to become successful and why other ones can’t. So if you’re interested in IAR developing development and international staff act could be really cool.
And the other one that was one of my favorites is more of American government or political economy book, and it’s called Moneyball for government. So if any of you have seen the movie Moneyball, it’s something about sports betting. I’m not really sure what it means, but it’s applying sports betting claims.
And looking at past performances of different policies or athletes and applying them to government policy, government strategies and policies. And it’s just a really cool book. I read it my freshman year in a public policy [00:35:00] class, and it really influenced what I wanted to keep studying and got me hooked on studying gov.
Another thing I would recommend if you have a particular school in mind, go to their website, look at their government department. Most top professors have reds written books. So click a, find a professor who’s teaching in an area you’re interested in and find their book and get it or buy it online and read it because that can give you a good insight into like often classes imitate, whatever the books the professor has written.
So that could be a cool way to test out a class. So that actually attending the school. Yeah, definitely. Okay. Sorry, I’m just looking through like my old good reads account. One that I read fairly recently, not for a government class or anything, but that was a really good kind of view on how government works.
It’s called education of an idealist by Samantha power, who was the representative to the UN under Barack Obama’s term. And it’s just her memoir and it goes through how [00:36:00] she made her decisions. It’s like she was majoring in, I think maybe history or public policy or something like that and made her career decisions as well.
And so you get some insight into watching somebody else go through that process and what was important to them. And also, some fun behind the scenes look at policymaking and the kinds of causes and things that she’s been involved with. So I can type that in the chat too, but that’s a really interesting one that I read.
Okay. Great. Thank you guys. Both for that book recommendation. So next question, you can start us off yet. What made you interested in governance or legal studies? Okay.
I think I was primarily motivated by my internship freshman summer, because Dartmouth doesn’t make you declare a major until your sophomore year. I really embraced that. I didn’t know what I want to see my freshman year and [00:37:00] after being able to be on the hill and see the public policy process happening right in front of me.
And being able to contribute that as an intern does. So women actually writing policy myself, but I was part of the puzzle. I thought that was so cool. I thought it was so amazing that this is how our government runs and how everything operates. I also thought the government major was something I could take anywhere and I could do anything.
I did contemplate going the legal route. I did an internship in a law firm, in a corporate law firm. And after that I was like, you know what? I preferred my hill internship to my legal intern said I would rather go into government in an, in a more hands-on way, then go into law. So taking internships and being able to take that experience to test out different fields is also really helpful.
Yeah. As a mentioned earlier, I think what initially got me interested in kind of government and law stuff was just starting to pay attention to like current events a little bit more when I was like 13, 14. And I think what kind of kept [00:38:00] me in the major was being able to see the very practical ramifications of a lot of the things I was learning.
So it’s very easy to like bring in contemporary examples and think about. And I was taking my class in politics of China. Like we chat about current events in China at the time and how things had changed over the last century. It’s been quite a time for China and 80 years.
So like bringing in current events and talking about them and having it, not just be like, this is distracting us from what we’re really doing, but this is what we’re really doing. That was really fun and interesting. And I think also seeing how it tied in so well with a lot of the other classes I was taking, whether in my history major or in like just other electives and things like that the, like both of the specific things about the government that I was learning in my government classes and the like skills and like abilities that I was [00:39:00] developing in those classes really came in handy.
Other places. Yeah. Okay. This next question is what should students expect to gain through this major? Tara, you can go first for this one. Sure. I said this full of it before. It’s I apologize for repeating myself, but a lot of very marketable, applicable skills, really good writing skills, ability to read a lot and read analytically ability to analyze policy, analyze situations and pull out core components, most important facets.
All those things are not specific to study in government, but their skill you’ll get from the major and they’re skills that you can apply to really any job like people who can do those things major specifically. You get a really good sense of the world as Brindley. And I have both said the government major left, you focus on what you want to focus on, [00:40:00] but whatever your expertise is, or your area of study, you will become very knowledgeable in that.
Yeah, I totally agree. I think that like communication and writing skill are definitely top skills that whether you’re going on to like graduate school or you’re going on to just directly working in a job somewhere, those are going to be things that are always important. Those are almost always listed to like required qualifications for job descriptions and things like that.
So definitely the writing and the analytical skills. If you like, as we’ve said a million times you can focus what you want to focus on. Sometimes there are like political data analysis kinds of classes, so that can get you. Like usually just some baby steps into like political statistics which comes a little bit more into play in public policy, like graduate programs and things like that.
But getting a little bit of a taste of it can also help. You say I’ve worked with our, [00:41:00] or, this program or Python or whatever which knowing a little bit of that in class can like also really eat your advantage and jobs in the future. And yeah, I would agree that getting a sense of like the world and getting a sense of how to like process and evaluate information.
Those are all really important skills.
Okay. So now were partway through the Q and I, as a quick break, I wanted to tell you what you can do after this webinar. If you want to get help on your college from any of our panelists or other advisors from CollegeAdvisor , we have two monthly advising plan, which I had to start a plan. And the scholar plan, they’re both monthly subscription.
So you got matched with an advisor of your choice and you get one or two hours of one-on-one advising each month. We also have larger packages that come with a set number of hours and an extended relationship with your [00:42:00] advisor. As advisors, we will work with you on your college essays, choosing schools interviews.
I’m more of sending everyone at this panel, a link to get started on this offer. It links to our page to sign up and get started. Our students at CollegeAdvisor , I have had a ton of. The last admission season, we had college, their clients get into all the IVs and every top 25 school in the country, our clients it out of 10.
And that’s because advisors put a ton of care into working with you. One-on-one through every step of the application process. If you want to discuss one-on-one with any other panelists for other advisors, this is a great chance to work with us. Okay. Going back into the queue and I I know that neither of you are going to law school, but I know that you both considered it.
So this question is, are there prerequisites, I need to take before entering law school [00:43:00] friendly to start care. The short answer is no. Law school is not like med school where you are on like a pre-law track or anything. Some schools will have what they call a pre-law program, but law schools don’t require you to have taken any certain classes before you apply or attend.
The thing that is important for law school is working on those skills that we talked about with your things that you’ll gain during your time as a government major, or a lot of other majors too. But that’s going to be like communication analytical skills reasoning skills and the ability to read a lot and comprehend it.
So other than like getting good grades and taking the ELLs that there’s no formal requirements for getting into law.
I completely agree with all of that law schools also value people from a diversity of different academic backgrounds. So they there’s nothing that you need to be doing. [00:44:00] I do think government will emit mimic what you’ve learned in law school. Especially a lot of numbers. I took a government class on civil liberties, which was analyzing Supreme court cases.
That’s something that’s directly applicable to what you’d be learning in law school. You could also get that through history classes. You could get that from philosophy classes. Although government does give you some law opportunities to take classes. They are by no means mandatory to take before.
And if you are considering law school, that could also be a really good opportunity to do a government double major because some law tracks do require you to have a background, like a very specific background, like most specifically patent law. You need to have a bachelor’s level degree in like science or engineering or something that’s related to the kind of like the area of patent law you’re going to be studying.
So if you think that’s something you’re interested in consider a double major to get those those analytical and reading skills alongside like the more hard science skills that you need for a specific thing. But [00:45:00] that’s a specific case. Doesn’t apply to most people. Okay. So next question is, have you ever taken any philosophy courses?
If yes. How has this helped you in your studies? Third, you can start with it.
Sure. So I actually took a philosophy class in high school, which was a good barrier, a good entry level thing to this. But what I found it most applicable to in college was taking government theory classes. So a lot of political theory comes from philosophy topics in philosophy. So we were reading philosophers, we were studying philosophy, but we were applying it in a legal sense in a legal framework and in a government understanding.
So I thought that was really interesting. Yeah. I Georgetown requires students to take two philosophy classes. Actually one ethics, one philosophy. So I took an intro level philosophy class and then a class on human rights, [00:46:00] ethics, I think. And those were definitely helpful in Sort of understanding a lot of the theoretical underpinnings, like terrorist thing of a lot of like government texts and things like that.
And also like Tara mentioned usually you either have to, or often students will take a political philosophy class or two, and that really comes in handy to understand like, what’s, Plato’s Republic about and understanding marks is important. And you may read those in class. You may like just, I don’t know, eventually decided me to read it and Machiavelli.
Yes, Machiavelli, definitely. And I can give this. But there’s long story short. There’s a handful of people that you’ll probably come across at across various points in your government major career. I know I took a couple of other theory classes in other departments, like an English department, and that was helpful to get it from a different perspective because sometimes different teachers teach different things.[00:47:00]
They can’t possibly cover even one of these works in a semester. Definitely it’s helpful when reading theory. And once you get to reading more like formal articles other than like textbooks about government it’s helpful to have at least a basic understanding of kind of the major political philosophers and what their arguments are.
Okay. This next question is actually very related and sorry. What if someone is not an avid reader and doesn’t have much experience reading, very heavy material. How much will this affect someone? Can they develop this skill more? They’re friendly. You can start it off. Yeah. You can definitely develop that more in college.
And one I guess one piece of advice I’d give, like also as a current grad student is professors are going to assign a lot of reading. And part of the skill is learning what you really need to read thoroughly and what you can kind of skim. Not to say you shouldn’t do the reading because you should and it will come back to bite you if you don’t.
But the kind of general rule that [00:48:00] I’ve heard in our history classes, but applying to government as well is with like really dense books and things make sure to read definitely the introduction and the conclusion and like opening sections for every chapter or like opening paragraphs for every section in an article, read those very thoroughly.
Because you’ll get most of the main points from them. And everything else. You can read, read through it and get as much as you can from it, but you can, you don’t have to go quite as deeply into it. So that’s what I would recommend if you’re having trouble balancing all the reading because there is a lot, but also reading a lot is a skill.
And being like college professors know that you aren’t going to come in already being at a college reading level. Also work with your professors to see how they can help support you and help develop that. Scalable.
I agree with all of that, you will be able to build the skillset to read a lot at [00:49:00] college in your government major. A lot of people are coming in from high school. Without that skill. It is something that people will support you in developing. I don’t think we should. We’re not going to, we’re not going to mislead you.
There is a lot of reading when you’re studying government. That’s just how it is. And it’s something that you’re going to be able to begin to process and begin to get there. Especially if you want to go to law school. It’s great to be able to establish that scale on the undergrad level. Okay. The next question, how you can start us off.
What class did you take during high school that you found most helpful during college?
I actually think the most helpful class I took in high school was a pretty in my sophomore year of high school, we did grammar and writing skills and that’s something that I feel like I was shocked to get to Dartmouth, to see how many people didn’t know grammar rules, didn’t know formatting rules.
Couldn’t do a block quote. That was something that my high school, even though it was not the most academic had really [00:50:00] drilled into it. My punctuation skills are perfect. So that’s something that I felt was actually the most helpful class I took during high school. I realized that’s not something that everybody has the opportunity to take.
So aside from that, I think the most interesting class I took was a moral philosophy class during high school.
I think the most helpful classes I took in high school were my like junior and senior year history and English classes. I, my high school had an IB program. And so I did that. Which if you’re not familiar with it, basically you take a handful of classes like for both your junior and your senior years and go like really deeply into the subject and then take an exam at the end.
But anyway one thing that was really valuable was we got some, like research in like longer paper writing experience, which really came in handy when we got to the end of the semester. And it was like all right, you’re going to write a 3000 word paper on comparing these two books.
And [00:51:00] I didn’t feel like comfortable with that necessarily, but I had written a long paper before. So that was something really helpful. Also having a class where my teacher really taught us how to use citation methods it’s sounds really boring, but knowing the main citation method used for the field that you want to study on, whether that’s like Chicago or MLA or APA or something else, it’s really helpful to know how to do those before you even start college.
Because I found that professors like really varied in how much they expected you to know. And. It wasn’t ever they sat us down and were like, this is how to do Chicago format. Of course there are research. There’s so many resources if you don’t know when you get to college and it’s fine, go to your library, like they are there to help.
But it was really helpful to know that coming in. So that, that, wasn’t just like one more thing, stressing me out. Okay, great. Brandon, you could start us off on this one. How many advanced placement classes? And it was like, we needed to get into schools to study [00:52:00] government and laws. The next thing about like the number of classes, kinds of question that really depends on your school.
Part of the college admissions process is your school will send a like school report which places, the classes you’ve taken in context of what classes were offered at your school. So if your school only offers three AP classes and you took all of them You’re not going to get dinged for like only having taken three AP classes when like a student at another school that offers like all of them maybe took like way more than that.
You’re not going to be compared on the same level. So I would say if you’re trying to get into really competitive schools, try and take the most like advanced classes that you can while still doing well in them. Because if you like the kind of wisdom that I’ve heard is a, like a, in a regular, like honors class is better than my university in an advanced placement class.[00:53:00]
So there’s not really a set number. Just take as many as you can do while pushing yourself, but not overloading yourself. And also I think most schools offer some sort of like government or political science majors. You’re going to have more resources and maybe more accessibility to like internships and things.
When you’re at like a school that really prides itself on it, like govern Georgetown or Dartmouth, or, so many others, but you can see, I also just want to say to the answer, to the question, how many advanced placement classes, the answer is, none. You do know you do not need to take a single AP class to get into a good school.
I did not take any, but that’s in part because my college didn’t offer my high school didn’t offer APS. And so Brinley was saying, being able to take the most dance classes, your high school offers is important, but if you don’t have access to APS that will not be held against you.
Okay. We’re doing the end of the [00:54:00] webinar. This will probably be our last question. Tara, you can start here. Any tips on how to study for, or take notes for the courses that we’ve talked about in this webinar so far? Sure. So in studying and taking notes, I think that it’s important to do all your reading and write down key points.
Every couple of pages, every couple of sections pay attention to headers, pay attention, to try and get the main idea out of a text. And then when you’re studying, go back through your reading notes, go back to your class notes, try and draw threads to key points, key components, and just do your best at getting to really know the material that you’re learning in your lectures.
Yep. Definitely. I used an iPad for most of my note-taking in college, which is nice. Cause it didn’t have a million notebooks to lose. Sometimes professors don’t allow electronic note taking, which I find I found frustrating. But [00:55:00] usually what I would do is try and break up sections like in, for like in class notes, break up sections, according to like their PowerPoint, if they had one where you’re not don’t try and transcribe the class because you’ll get behind it, you’ll miss things.
But learned to pick out key words and things like that. And when you’re taking notes from reading I am like a highlighter and writing notes to myself in the margins girl. But sometimes like when it’s something really long, it’s I don’t want to go back through all of that. So I also find it helpful to once you finished your article or your book or a book chapter or something like that just write yourself a quick little summary.
You can do it in like a spreadsheet or a Google doc, or like in your, on your phone or post it, whatever works for you. But just to try and identify the main points maybe see if taking note, if there’s anything interesting or something that confused you. And that will not only help you to retain the material better when you’re studying it for an exam or something, or like writing a paper.
But identifying like the arguments and main points is also [00:56:00] like one of the critical skills that you should be getting out of the major. So it’ll help you practice that and get really good at that. Anyway.
Okay. Great. So that’s the end of our Q and a thank you for all the great questions that you submitted. Here’s the information about our panelists again, in case you missed it at the beginning and thank you to our panelists for answering all the questions. That’s the end of the webinar. We had a great time telling you about government and legal studies.
I hope this was helpful to you and that you feel more prepared with your college applications and goals. We have our webinar series for February about specific majors when she can see here. So thank you so much for coming on today.
And so Ave .