How to Position Summer Internships in Your Law School Application
Summer can be the ideal time to take on an internship to help bolster your law school applications.
“If you know you are going to apply to law school, you should use this opportunity to boost your application by completing an internship,” Todd Carney, an admissions counselor at Stratus Admissions Counseling, says. “Law school admissions committees want to see that you are a hard worker as well as an effective researcher and writer, that you have a lot of creativity, and that you are a self-starter.”
Regardless of whether you choose to intern at a law firm or a nonprofit organization, the key factor is how you present and showcase your internship experience in your law school application. That’s what experts say matters most.
RESUME: SHOW YOUR IMPACT
Your resume should clearly demonstrate how you spent your time as a summer intern.
“Use bullet points for each entry to specifically describe your roles and responsibilities, emphasizing the development of your own skill set and the contributions you made to the organization,” Kuris says.
The words you use on your resume matter too.
“Use specific, action-oriented language instead of a vague catchall term like ‘administrative tasks,’” Kuris says. “Did you answer phone calls or emails? Assist visitors? Proofread documents? Coordinate with office vendors? File documents? Could you provide any further details that show the value of the tasks you performed?”
PERSONAL STATEMENT: TELL YOUR STORY
Your internship experience can be a great topic for law school personal statements too.
“If you choose to center your personal statement on a summer internship, avoid repeating what you list in your resume,” Kuris says. “Instead, focus on your personal experience, what you took away from the internship and why it was such a pivotal step on your journey to law school.”
Rather than focusing on the internship itself, Kuris recommends framing your essay on how the experience shaped you and your goals.
“For example, if you worked in an accounting office, even if you did not work directly on legal issues, you may have gained familiarity with financial statements and audit processes,” Kuris says. “Not only is that a useful skill for corporate or tax lawyers, it can show an ability to handle important and detail-oriented work.”
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