Developing Your Law School Application
How To Apply Extracurricular Activities In A Way That Makes Them Relevant & Impress Law School Admissions
Extracurricular activities are great not just for law school applications, but also to gain experience in the real world, apply your own interest’s, and develop skills that will help you in any future career you may choose.
As we discussed in the benefits of work experience prior to law school, today we’re going to cover the importance of extracurricular activities for your law school application and how to apply them to your law school personal statement in a way that will make any extracurricular activity relevant to law school, and have law school admission’s feeling you are a must have student.
(For the general overview on law school credentials, read our article about applying law school credentials to convey personality/characteristics/strengths)
Extracurricular Activities: The Importance & How to Apply Them Toward Your Law School Application
Before we get into the good stuff, lets first define what an extracurricular activity is.
Going by merriam-webster definition: “Extracurricular”—used to describe extra activities (such as sports) that can be done by the students in a school but that are not part of the regular schedule of classes”
Put simply: an extracurricular activity is any activity you participate in that is outside of class.
This can include, but is not limited to:
- Musical performances
- Involvement in clubs or organizations
- Editorial work such as journalism, newspaper or blogging
- Community service (which we cover more in depth here)
The Importance of Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are important to admissions for a few reasons. Unlike your LSAT score and UGPA (though those are both still very important) extracurriculars tell law school admissions things about you that academic scores cannot.
Extracurricular activities show you have a life outside of the classroom, have interactions with people, and of course, demonstrates certain characteristics about who you are outside of the classroom. Keep in mind law school admissions receive tens of thousands (if not more) applications every year. It’s important to understand that while your LSAT score and UGPA can define you as a student, it does not say much about who you outside of academics.
In a field such as law, which generally requires a wide range of skills, characteristics , and abilities, it’s important for law school admissions to be able to see and understand you not only can perform well academically, but are a multi dimensional person with various aspects to your personality.
Now that we understand the importance, let’s move on to how to apply your extracurricular activities, so no matter what activities you choose, they will be applicable toward your law school application.
How to Apply Your Extra Curricular Activities In A Way That Makes Them Relevant Toward Law School Admissions
Whether you are now just deciding on what extracurricular activities to pursue, or have already pursued a variety of activities and are now preparing your law school application, this is the part to pay attention.
When applying to law school, it may appear that activities such as debate, political clubs, or other organizations involving some form of law would be best for law school. While these are always great extracurricular activities to pursue, you can make any extracurricular relevant if you understand the correct way to make it relevant toward law school.
The way to do this is to take any extracurricular activity you participate in, and figure out the characteristics that activity shows about you, and then demonstrating how those characteristics’ will be applied toward law school, and as a future attorney (or however you choose to use your JD).
When applying to law school, especially a top ranked law school, it’s important to keep these 3 points in mind below when focusing on your extracurricular activities.
Demonstrate Your Characteristics
Now, the key is not just to participate in extra-curricular activities prior to law school, but demonstrate to law school admissions the qualities and characteristics these extracurricular either helped you develop, or put to good use the traits you already possessed. Some natural winning traits are: leadership, special skills, and intuitive.
Let’s say for example you were a member of the band in college. Now, this activity is generally not particularly related to law school, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be relevant toward law school.
For example, you could tell law school admissions about all the dedicated practice that went toward mastering your instrument and the musical pieces, and how this same dedication will be applied toward your studies and future endeavors as an attorney.
You could write about working as a member of the band, and how you gained experience working as a team, and a time you and the band were dealing with some type of difficulty, and were able to overcome it together as a team.
See how that works?
While being member of the band is not particularly relevant to law school, the skills and characteristics that were either developed or utilized as a band member can be, and this can be applied toward ANY activity you take part in.
For those who have read our article on the benefits of work experience, this is the same concept. Focus on the characteristics and skills that were either developed or utilized from your activities, and demonstrate how these will apply toward law school and as a future attorney (or whatever path you may choose with your law degree).
Shows Admissions Office How You Will Contribute Outside The Classroom
Are you the type of student who goes to class then goes straight to your room to either study or watch Netflix?
Or are you the type of student who will join or even organize a group club?
Are you the type of student who will work with professors outside of the classroom or work with the school newspaper?
Whatever it may be, law schools admissions (as well as all collegiate schools) like to see students who get involved outside of class. Extracurriculars shows admissions office how you may contribute to the entire school environment outside of the classroom. Make sure to emphasize on this if you choose to write about your extracurriculars in your law school essay.
Show you can make a commitment.
Law school is 3 years of dedicated hard work. The last thing law schools wants is a student who receives admission, attends for one year, and drops out. Law schools want graduates, and by demonstrating you can make a commitment, it shows your much more likely to become one.
When it comes to extracurriculars, be sure to emphasize the amount of time you participated, and ideally, you want this to be for atlas one year, and the more the better.
Admissions offices are more interested in seeing a student who had participated in a few activities over an extended period of time rather than a lot of activities for only a few months.
The dedication and commitment to a few activities says much about you than someone who spread themselves thin. Choose a few activities and stick with them.
Extracurricular Activities: Putting It All Together
The main aspect of extracurricular activities is that it shows law school admissions you have passion and dedication in your life. While great grades and great LSAT’s say’s a lot, the ability to work well with others, be a leader, and hold a commitment also speaks volumes about who you are as an individual.
Even if the activity is being a part of the running club, but you took yourself from someone who could barely jog one lap to a great overall runner, that still demonstrates much about your character. However, debate team and student government are also both excellent choices for those who want to take the more traditional route.
Focus on a few activities outside the classroom that you feel a passion for, and stick with them, they could very well be the difference between acceptance into the law school of your choice.
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