Law School Admissions Tip No.3: Extracurricular Activities, Community Service, and Leadership – What Counts?


The Top 15 Things Every Law School Applicant Should Know is a series that will teach you the ins and outs of successful law school applications. Stay tuned for the remaining elements. This week we’ll discuss the importance of extracurricular activities in the law school admissions process

Part of your strategy for applying to law school should be figuring out what makes you stand apart from the crowd. The numbers are the numbers, but what you do outside of school and how you spend your free time is uniquely your own. And how you present this information is just as important as the information itself. Here’s what you need to know.

In its purest form, law is still seen as a “helping profession,” so having a strong track record with involvement in the world beyond the classroom is important. Hopefully your extracurricular activities include some level of community service and volunteerism, but if not, you might want to consider adding that to your “strategy” for applying to law school. Volunteering for something related to the legal field, i.e. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) or Legal Aid, for example, is a great way not only to demonstrate service, but will also give you a real world glimpse into what it is like to be an attorney. But the reality is that any kind of community service is valuable, so choose something that is meaningful to you and to which you can make a genuine commitment.

Other extracurricular activities that show your involvement with your school and community can include sports, hobbies, clubs, and other activities. Again, if you have written law related articles for your school’s newspaper – great! But if not, your extracurricular activities will give the adcom an idea of who you are and what is important to you. The best kind of extracurricular activities are the ones that are most meaningful to you and the ones in which you have taken a leadership role. You don’t need fifteen different activities, just a few that you really care about. Highlighting your authentic interest in and commitment to these activities will be an important part of your application. If you are uncertain how to go about doing this, admissions consultants can help you figure out how to best frame this part of your application so that you stand out from the crowd. It’s all part of your overall strategy to convey to your readers who you are, the causes that you care about, and what you can bring to the school to which you are applying. By making sure that you demonstrate this commitment to the world around you, you are setting yourself apart from the rest of the pack.

By Catherine Cook, an Accepted.com admissions consultant, published author and former Duke Law admissions officer. Accepted.com, the premier admissions consultancy and essay editing company, has helped applicants around the world gain admissions to over 450+ top schools since 1994.

This blog post originally appeared on Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog.

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