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As an incoming undergraduate hoping to apply to law school upon completing my degree, what kind of extra-curricular involvement would benefit me most in the application process?

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I'm currently a high school senior applying as finance and information systems management major to schools in LA, New York, Boston , and DC. As of now, I plan to pursue law school after graduation but perhaps with the application deferral (1-2yrs) offered by many law schools in order to use my degree first in the business world (some real world experience would be great). As I have not yet entered college I would like to know, aside from GPA and LSAT score (which I realize are the #1 components in the first place), what kind of opportunities (extra-curricular and otherwise) I should be looking for and taking advantage of to set me apart in the application process to T-14 schools. #law-school #law #corporate-law

Student Government, have a leadership position in any club that is meaningful to you, Speech and debate, debate clubs karina Z. Translate
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Matthew’s Answer

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Alexander,

As an initial matter, I would say you're on the right track by even thinking about these questions. Everyone's experience / path to law school is different, and I think that's OK. In other words, there is no one set of extracurricular activities that is going to make or break your application.

That said, there are some general themes you might consider following (this list is by no means exhaustive). Do something that helps you hone your writing ability, whether that be a creative writing club, pursuing an honors thesis at your undergraduate institution, or something else. Do something you're passionate about--a big part of the law school application process is the essays, and if you've pursued a passion, it's going to be much easier for you to sound interesting and committed when you write your essays. I went to law school with, among others, a piano performance major, a voice major, and a physics major; none of them had typical law school trajectories, but I'm sure they stood out as interesting candidates. Do something that gives you a chance to sharpen your leadership skills--just like undergraduate schools care not only about what groups you were in in high school, but also what positions you held in those groups, law schools (I think) care about the same stuff from college.

So as not to only give you general advice, I'll list a few of the things I was involved in most as an undergraduate. I was on the executive board of a college political group and my fraternity, I was a board member of the Undergraduate Hearing and Appeals System (it served a student disciplinary body, and the board was composed of professors, staff, and students), and I participated in at least one intramural sport every term.

Again, there is no one recipe for success. It's good that you're thinking about these questions now, but my advice, above all, would be not to let yourself be so focused on checking boxes for a possible law school application that you forget to experience college. With mounting pressure on undergraduates to do well to position themselves for graduate degrees, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that college should be a time in which you grow professionally and personally, not to mention having a ton of fun.

Hope this helps,
Matthew
Great advice! I think this sentence from Matthew's response is especially helpful for students to grasp when considering their options for Law School. "I went to law school with, among others, a piano performance major, a voice major, and a physics major; none of them had typical law school trajectories, but I'm sure they stood out as interesting candidates" Bryant Gomer Translate
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Mitchel’s Answer

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Alexander,

I wholeheartedly agree with Matthew above. While it is important to have a general plan in mind it is imperative to let your passions drive your pursuits. As you note, GPA and LSAT are going to be the lion’s share of your future application and these pieces are fairly standardized. That’s why the rest of your application should tell administers about you! Now that I’m on the other side and interviewing law students, I’ve realized how much more authentic/convincing candidates are when they are passionate about the items listed on their CV.

It sounds like you have interests in business and informatics. Perhaps look for student groups that share those interests and get involved with the aim to take on leadership roles as others note above.

Personally, I was an active member in a pre-law student organization. This has continued to be an amazing personal and professional network for me. I was also involved in student government and volunteering organizations. I highly recommend participating in some sort of service org for civic, personal, and professional reasons.

In sum, it is less important what you choose to do with your extracurricular time than the fact that you have a genuine interest in what you are doing. You can build your networking, leadership, and communication skills doing just about anything. If you have any specific questions about the practice of corporate law or any more questions about different paths to law school I’d be happy to discuss.
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