Pre-Law Program at Miami University
Student Spotlight: Nathan Holaday (Class of 2016)
- sophomore Pre-Law student with accountancy major
- minor in political science
- from Lake Zurich, IL
- plans to complete his Miami undergraduate degree in 3 years and then complete his master of accountancy one year later
Taking pre-law courses related to accounting and political science is a good combination for me, since in law school you can study any type of law. I could become a prosecutor with a business degree, or for corporate law, I'm looking at becoming a general counsel for a company.
"It was mainly the Farmer School of Business that made me consider Miami, since its reputation speaks for itself, and then I visited campus and was absolutely astounded by how gorgeous it is. Miami is about the right size; I looked at University of Illinois, but it seemed a little too large. Miami has a wealth of classes and activities, but it's also small enough where the focus on class size is important.
I'm from Illinois, but for Illinois students it can be just as expensive to go in-state as it is to go out-of-state, and being farther from home has actually been a good growing experience because you can be more independent. My first year started off a little slow—it was just getting used to the college experience, understanding the classes, the less structured class schedule with breaks in between, and trying to figure out which organizations I wanted to become a part of. Then, second semester I took 21 credit hours, so it flew by. I had no down time, I was going from class to class, sleeping, eating, and doing club activities. But I really like the fast pace—you're always doing something."
Best Things about Miami
"I like the activities, the people, and having companies like Deloitte, PWC, and all the Big 4 accounting firms stopping by giving out free gear just to try to attract students. From Day 1 I tried networking with them. I went to Career Fair as a freshman, giving out my resume. Everyone here at Miami seems very willing to help you, and the professors are friendly and approachable. I know this from talking to college students at other universities—this is not typical!
"I joined an outstanding business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, which has been a great networking tool. Before Career Fair we met one-on-one with businesses that were attending. You get to meet students that are also business-motivated and are able to share resume ideas and get involved with other activities. I also sat on the Pre-Law Student Advisory Council here, run last year by Maria Vitullo. It's a great opportunity to make sure, as pre-law students, that we're doing our best to promote Miami's Pre-Law Program.
"Mrs. Vitullo has been a great mentor. I started off just having her as a teacher in her introductory class, and then I ended up going to the first Janus Lecture series last year here at Miami. She offered to let me meet both of the speakers, Ari Fleischer and Ezra Klein, beforehand. It's the little things like that that drew me into the Pre-Law Program and made me love it. She's really playing an active role in student education."
Miami's Pre-Law Program
"One of the things I always recommend is doing your best in undergrad. If you have solid grades in your Miami degree, it looks better when you're applying for law school. And that's where the grass roots movement we worked on in the Pre-Law Student Advisory Council last year comes in—helping to prepare students for a career in law. The Council was combined with the Amicus Curiae student organization this year, and we're going to see how it plays a role in the future.
"Taking pre-law courses related to accounting and political science is a good combination for me, since in law school you can study any type of law. I could become a prosecutor with a business degree, or for corporate law, I'm looking at becoming a general counsel for a company. One of the things Mrs. Vitullo encouraged from the start was to do what you're interested in, because law schools can accept you with any degree, no matter what your major is. And that's something I took to heart, that I don't have to be a political science major to be pre-law. You can do whatever you want, whatever you're interested in. It's how you shape your law degree that's important."
Miami and Liberal Arts Education
"Im actually an accounting major, so although I'm not getting a degree from the College of Arts and Science, I'm going to try to pick up a political science minor. I've known since seventh grade, when I dressed up as a judge for Halloween, that I wanted to go the legal route. This has always been my core area of focus, and my goal is to go to law school.
"Last year I took Introduction to the American Political System [POL 241]. I just finished POL 352, Constitutional Law and Politics, and it's probably one of my favorite classes at Miami, even though I love business. In just the first two weeks we studied a half dozen court cases to examine different things like judicial review, why it's important, how it's been shaped by different court cases, and how the U.S. Constitution was interpreted. These are things I know I'll be studying in law school. I love briefing court cases and seeing what shaped our political system and our laws today. To have that focus now and still being able to make progress on going to law school is very important at this stage.
"I definitely have a passion for the College of Arts and Science's Pre-Law Program, but you need to have passion for any career. My fellow accounting majors want to work for a Big 4 firm, and they want to do tax or audit because they know where it's going to get them. Similar with pre-law, you have to want to be an attorney. It's got to be the desire to be an attorney, to help people or businesses navigate the legal system."
Advice to Students
"Definitely reach out to all the Miami resources that are available, because it's a difficult decision to make on your own. With law school being so expensive now, you have to weigh the options.
"Stats for jobs coming out of law school aren't as great these days as what they used to be, but it doesn't matter to me—this is my path, and I'm not going to change my career aspirations because of how the economy is doing at the moment. So that's why I was always dedicated wholeheartedly to go for that pre-law focus. I would encourage pre-law students to turn to Mrs. Vitullo in the Pre-Law Program as well as various faculty in the College of Arts and Science to explore different major opportunities and immerse themselves in what they're interested in.
"Try to get involved as early as possible. If you just focus on one or two leadership roles in an organization and show you're passionate about that organization, that will get you much further."