Dear EA Community,
I am about to complete my undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree, and had initially been thinking about going to grad school for philosophy. After carefully considering the arguments made by several 80k hours authors, I am beginning to think I might be able to do more good working in government or public policy.
I know that an MPP is a common recommendation for people in my position. However, there is a massive gap between my verbal and quantitative reasoning ability. I scored in the top .1 percent in the verbal section of my university entrance exam, but only in the 62nd or so percentile for the quantitative section. I am told that quantitative analysis is an important part of an MPP, and I wonder if many of the roles it leads to rely heavily on economics. However, many people in the Australian government (especially elected officials) have law degrees. Law school focuses more on verbal reasoning than an MPP, so I think I am more likely to enjoy law and get excellent grades. Reading law textbooks, I am often fondly reminded of issues that I have encountered in philosophy. Assume for the sake of the argument that I am able to get into a top Australian law school, and that the funding for law is better than for an MPP (I will not bore you with the details). Do you think I am right to consider law school over an MPP given my particular situation?
If I do study law, will there be a lot of content that isn't directly relevant to the work one would do in public policy? Or do you think the general benefits of law school outweigh this?
Edit: after carefully reflecting on this, and considering the responses you have given me, I think that the decision of whether to go straight into the public service or to go to law school may come down to personal fit. At the moment I just feel so enthusiastic and excited about law, so I think it may be best if I give it a try. If my first semester goes brilliantly and I am enjoying myself, I can probably be justified in continuing. If not, entering the public service one year later as a generalist with a wee bit more debt doesn't seem like such a terrible outcome.