The average age of a law school student falls between 22 and 24, according to LSAC and ABA data. One of the benefits older applicants may have is more work experience. But what about young applicants?
“The lifelong camaraderie that the stress of law school builds among classmates is one of the great benefits of law school,” Kuris writes. “Law school brings people of all ages and backgrounds together. While young students would hopefully feel welcomed, they may feel alienated to be at a different point in life than most of their classmates, especially when they can’t join in commiseration at a local bar.”
Life experience is important, Kuris says, for law school. And, simply put, younger applicants are at a disadvantage when it comes to experience.
Rather than applying to law school early, Kuris recommends younger applicants to gain more life experience prior to sending in an application.
“It can be smart for overachieving applicants to take time to explore career options in the legal world and further afield,” Kuris writes. “Living and traveling independently can cultivate crucial life skills like emotional resilience, adapting to setbacks, working with others and communicating across cultural boundaries. Not only do those skills prove useful in law school, they will also aid lawyers in building a successful practice.”
In addition to personal experience, younger applicants can take the time to invest in building important academic skills.
“Such a student might take extra classes across a range of subjects to build skills relevant to law school,” Kuris writes. “While law schools will receive transcripts of all classes taken by applicants at every institution of higher learning, they evaluate candidates holistically and give most emphasis to undergraduate grade point average. Applicants shouldn’t feel penalized for taking extra classes for enrichment, even if their grades sometimes falter.”
Building experience and skills before applying to law school will help younger applicants not only in the application stage, but beyond as well.
“Life is not a race and neither is the study of law, as competitive as it may feel at times,” Kuris writes. “Rather than rush to complete a law degree, young applicants are often better off building a strong foundation for future success.”