willwash wrote:When I apply for the 2013 cycle I will have 6.5 years active duty Navy, including 2 combat deployments, over 1,000 hours in the E-2C Hawkeye (earning 2 air medals) and over 150 arrested landings. I transferred to a more prestigious undergrad halfway through college, then I got married between my junior and senior years and had to wait tables to support my pregnant wife all through my senior year. The Navy then took an extra 6 months processing my application after I graduated, so for almost 2 years we, a family of 3 and then (and now) 4, were on food stamps, until I joined the Navy. Now I am a LT (O-3) making about 100k a year. I had to set aside my lifelong dream of going to law school because my personal situation became such that I needed to obtain immediate gainful employment, and only now, 5 to 6 years after graduating, am I revisitng the idea of law school.
And yet, even with these outstanding softs, with my 3.49 UGPA, many doors are closed to me no matter how highly I score on the LSAT. I'd probably be an auto-deny at HYS+Columbia and NYU even with a 180. I think my only realistic shot at t14 is if I get at least a 171 and apply in-state, ED to UVA, or if I somehow bust a 176+ and apply ED to splitter-friendly Chicago and rely on my softs to give me a little extra forgiveness of the UGPA. I guess I'd probably get into GULC with 3.49/17X with those softs as well...but it all hinges on an outstanding LSAT score.
Tennis and SGA are great, but the other responders are correct in that they will probably detract from your academic performance now, and that that distraction will overwhelmingly cancel out any marginal benefit to your application that may be derived from participation in these activities. If I could trade all of my softs for a .31 higher UGPA, my law school prospects would improve drastically.
I would like to think that a background such as this, a compelling PS, and a decent lsat scote (168+) give you a very good shot at t-14 with money and potentially some of the schools you count yourself out for. You are not as conventional of an applicant as the bulk of prospective students who apply straight out of undergrad.
With regards to the OP, I think that softs CAN be a factor in one's application but your softs are not extraordinary. I am applying to law school, I was also heavily involved in my school's SGA and sports programs. I am willing to be that several other candidates have simillar backgrounds as well. Many on these boards cite TFA/Cure for Cancer/Veteran as an example of softs that actually make an impact. To be quite blunt, I think they are treating softs to an extreme.
All of this being said. Your application is reviewed most heavily based upon your scores and GPA. Don't take these two factors for granted. In the meantime, work hard and continue to seek out experiences that contribute to your professional interests and development. Don't shy away from internships and opportunities simply because you feel your scores and grades are the most important thing. Get some experience and enjoy yourself in the process.