Enhancing Your Academic Records

Chapter 5

There are many certificate programs available at the University. Certificates may be earned in addition to a declared major and are designed to provide students a multi-disciplinary approach to a variety of issues, subjects, or areas of academic inquiry. Often representing newer fields of research, many certificate programs feature classes which strongly emphasize critical analysis. These classes are often smaller, and tend to have intensive writing requirements.

Information about certificate programs is available from advisors, academic departments, or online. Among the programs you may wish to consider: 

Environmental ethics is a certificate program in which students benefit by viewing environmental issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, including courses from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as Arts and Sciences, and is available to students in any college. For students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences there is a Certificate in International Agriculture which focuses on the special problems of international agriculture and trade relationships.

Global studies is a program that offers a certificate or a major through Interdisciplinary Studies. Classes draw from many disciplines, and students include a concentration in a geographic area, and earn additional hours in a foreign language. 

The Certificate in Leadership and Service is designed to enhance the leadership skills and orientation to service of students through an interdisciplinary approach to the study and practice of leadership. Students will gain experience in leadership in personal, team, organizational and community contexts. Courses to complete the certificate will provide students with the opportunity to work in groups, develop skills in communication and critical thinking, practice skills in decision making and problem solving, and serve in leadership roles in their college, campus organizations or community. 

The Institute for African American Studies provides a central focus to the study of the impact of African American contributions upon human culture. 

African studies, Latin American studies, German studies, French studies, and medieval studies are available for students who have specific geographic, language or historical areas of interest.

The Women's Studies Program offers students an interdisciplinary perspective on women. Like the women's studies minor and major (through Interdisciplinary Studies), the certificate in women's studies exposes students to the new scholarship on women emerging in different fields. WMST 4250 is a Special Topics course in Women's Studies. Recent offerings have included such topics as: WMST 4250 - Power, Privilege, and Law.

International Relations and Marine Science are two more among several Interdisciplinary Studies majors available to the qualified student that may be of special interest to the Pre-Law student.

Studies Abroad Programs and National Student Exchange are excellent opportunities to study in a different location, broadering your academic and cultural experiences.

Earning a double major, a minor, or a certificate in addition to your primary major can show an admissions committee that additional forethought and commitment have been applied in your undergraduate career. A second area of study will include more major-level classes, which often require more serious study, analysis and writing. However, you need not feel that you must have such an addition. You may find that you will benefit more from choosing good courses from many departments. Thoughtful choices of useful and complementary core and elective classes will be evident to an admissions committee, even if they do not carry an official recognition as a minor or a certificate. You may also want to point out such course selections in the personal statement you include with your application, particularly if organized around a general theme or interest of yours.   Finally, I strongly encourage you to try and find a student activity or student organization that you would like to be involved in while at UGA.  This resonates with admissions committees as it tends to indicate that you are a "well rounded" person who is concerned about his or her "community" both now and once you become a lawyer.

You should make good use of every course opportunity that you have in your undergraduate program. Expanding your general knowledge and enhancing your analytical, writing, and research skills are possible in any course in your curriculum, and the course suggestions found in this guide are in no way intended to exhaust the options of valuable courses for the Pre-Law student. Fine arts, religion, anthropology, psychology..., truly every course you take has the potential to develop your academic skills. Admissions committees look closely at your transcript. They want to see something more emerging from your academic record than a scattered hunt for a guaranteed "A." Use your course selection to develop and enhance the person, and potentially the lawyer, that you are seeking to become. 

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