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Activities that Law Schools Look For on Your Resume
Admissions committees look for you to demonstrate that you can successfully handle involvement in the world outside of yourself while maintaining an impressive GPA. They search for significant leadership roles and a commitment to something other than your studies. Whatever activity you choose, it should demonstrate meaningful community involvement, leadership, and responsibility. This will show the committee that you have other talents than simply academic ones.
The most important thing to remember with your extracurricular involvement is to hold a leadership position. Leadership positions demonstrate that you probably have skills such as organization, time management, delegation of authority, and public speaking. This soft factor is important, and should be included in your pre-law plan checklist for each university.
Determining How Many Organizations to Join
You should remember that involvement (or over-involvement) in extracurricular activities will not substitute for academic performance. In other words, an active calendar of involvement is not going to adequately compensate for poor performance. Never sacrifice your hard factors (GPA/LSAT) for involvement in these activities. Remember that the hard factors matter the most. These activities are merely to add to your resume of diversity qualifications and to serve as tie-breakers against other similar law school applications.
How Involvement in Organizations Can Hurt Your Application
As stated above, your academic performance matters the most. If involvement in these activities hurts your GPA or interferes with your LSAT prep, it hurts your application. But, to be admitted at the top schools, you need to be involved.
You should note that law schools are not impressed by long lists of extracurricular activities. Having shallow involvement with too many organizations comes off as contrived. You want to be seen as genuine.
When choosing your extracurricular activities keep in mind the reasons that law schools consider them: 1) It shows that you’ve maintained a balance between your academic and personal life; 2) Leadership demonstrates skills that are keys to success in law school; and 3) Your involvement shapes your perspective and the viewpoints that you can offer your law class.
Finding activities that fulfill these factors will differentiate your application from that of the average student and increase your chances for success.