Highlighting Soft Factors In Your Law School Application
If you’re applying to law school, you might want to take a closer look at your life experiences.
Daniel Waldman, a contributor at US News, recently discussed how “soft factors” are critical to improving your chances of acceptance.
What Are Soft Factors?
Soft factors are anything that don’t fall into the scope of a single document.
“Your LSAT score and GPA are considered ‘hard’ factors due to the heavy emphasis that law school admissions offices puts on those numbers,” Joshua Craven of Lawschooli says. “All other factors that might play a smaller role in a law school’s admission decision are considered to be ‘soft’ factors.”
According to Craven, things like work experience, volunteer work, extracurricular activities, your personal statement, and student diversity are all “soft factor” aspects that are important to admissions officers.
What To Highlight In Your Law School Application
There are a number of soft factors that applicants can choose to highlight in their application.
For those who have been in the military, it may be helpful to highlight specific achievements or decorations.
“Any decorations – especially the rarer ones, such as a Service Crosses or a Silver Star – would give you a leg up on other veterans, so you should discuss the circumstances surrounding any decoration in a personal statement or an optional essay,” Waldman writes. “Additionally, commissioned service, or serving as an officer, is viewed more favorably, as it carries with it additional training and leadership experience.”
Work experience is another area of interest to highlight. Expertise, knowledge, and work ethic are all areas of interest, according to Waldman.
“Think about how exclusive your position was to determine how much weight it will be given. Scooping ice cream is unlikely to move a needle much, but being a top-tier executive at a Fortune 500 company would be quite appealing to law school,” he writes. “Extensive work experience in a field relevant to legal field, for example, working as a chemist for a biotech company who is now looking to get into IP law, could also reflect favorably with the admissions committee.”
Admissions officers are specifically looking for those who can lead. Waldman says the more leadership experience you can demonstrate, the stronger your application will be.
“One such example is that of college athletes: Law schools would love to have a captain of a team that went on to win a national title, as that person demonstrated the ability to lead others and not buckle under extreme situations, both of which are invaluable assets in law school,” he writes.
Sources: US News, Lawschooli