Students preparing for law school often try to tailor their majors, coursework and even extracurricular activities based on what they think law schools want to see on applications. It’s simply not necessary to second-guess law schools—they’re looking for a wide variety of personal traits, achievements and activities.
When it comes to law schools, diversity means more than just gender and race. Schools are looking for people with diverse backgrounds. Harvard Law School states, “Our admissions committee seeks not only to identify and recognize characteristics that are important to academic success in law school, but also qualities that will contribute diversity of perspective and experience, general excellence, and vitality to the student body.”
One thing is certain: the better your grades, the better your likelihood to get into the law school you choose. In addition to stellar grades, admissions committees will look at your transcript. Achieving a 4.0 GPA while taking basket-weaving and snowboarding is very different than earning a 3.8 GPA with courses in quantum physics.
Simply put, your LSAT score matters. The higher, the better—no question about it. Study hard and retake the exam if your first score is low.
Law school admissions boards love to see students with a wide variety of interests and pursuits. Don’t be concerned about what will look good; simply follow your passions. A good mix of extracurriculars is key. If you do something that is unique, all the better. During the application process (and later, the interview process), talk about the things you’ve done that will make you stand out. For instance, while many candidates may play the piano, few play the bassoon.
Law schools like to attract responsible citizens; as an attorney, you’ll be part of America’s justice system and will be expected to be a good example to those in your community. A history of volunteerism is looked on favorably. Again, follow your passions and don’t worry about your volunteer work aligning with law—helping young children learn to read or visiting a third-world country to help dig water wells are just as impressive. Look for volunteer work that will truly help you grow as a person. Not only will that help you on your law school application, it will help you throughout your life.
Seek out opportunities for leadership throughout high school and college. Positions in student government, community leadership and even acting as the team captain for the soccer team all add to your skill set and make you a better candidate for a successful law school student.
Regardless of what ends up on your law school application, make sure that your accomplishments and activities reflect your true personality. As long as you’ve been diligent with your grades and involved in building a meaningful life, law schools will be interested in hearing more about you.