How To Highlight Extracurriculars In Your Law Application
Lack work experience? That’ll put you at a disadvantage when you apply for law school. One solution? Highlight your extracurriculars.
Daniel Waldman, a contributor at US News, recently discussed how law school applicants can leverage their outside activities to improve their odds when when applying to law school.
Don’t Leave Out Non-Law Related Activities
It may be tempting for applicants to only highlight their law-related extracurriculars. However, Waldman advises applicants to not exclude other activities.
“Law schools do not expect you to come in knowing much about the legal system,” he writes. “They evaluate your application based on the traits you’ve shown more than on any actual knowledge gained during those activities.”
In this way, Waldman says, it’s crucial for you to highlight activities where you’ve demonstrated in-demand traits.
“Being the captain of a varsity team or the president of a sorority or fraternity all show skill, ambition and social involvement that schools love to see on the application,” Waldman writes.
Keep The List Short
When choosing activities to highlight, it’s important to emphasize ones in which you’ve demonstrated certain traits.
“Ask yourself if that activity showcases qualities that the law school would value in a student,” Waldman suggests.
Listing too many activities runs the risk of an oversaturated application.
“Treat your extracurriculars like jobs,” Walman writes. “Just like you wouldn’t list 15 different positions on your professional resume, limit yourself to the most significant activities, preferably the ones which you’ve been involved in for a long time.”
Look Outside The Resume
A resume isn’t the only part of an application to mention your extracurriculars.
Waldman suggests that applicants look at all areas of the application to possibly mention significant activities.
“Ideally, you could weave in a specific example of your work into your personal statement or optional essays to control the narrative of the activity,” Waldman writes. “Another option – especially important for schools actively looking for students with work experience, like Harvard Law School or Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law – is to point out relevant activities in an addendum.”
According to Stratus Law School Admission Consulting, an addendum is most commonly “designed to explain discrepancies between the applicant’s GPA and LSAT score.” However, Waldman argues, applicants can take this one step further by conveying how an experience has supplemented a discrepancy.
“Use the addendum to acknowledge that deficiency in your application – which might win you some Brownie points for showing honesty and maturity – and then address it by describing your most significant extracurriculars, noting your part in them and making parallels to comparable work experience,” Waldman writes.