What constitutes work experience?

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Asterismos

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What constitutes work experience?

Postby Asterismos » Mon Jul 18, 2016 10:56 pm

I know that certain law schools (like Northwestern) are especially favorable to work experience, and I'm wondering what exactly constitutes work experience? I'm going into my senior year of undergrad, but I have a really extensive resume of working both part and full time (but full time only over summers), including positions that have typically required bachelors' degrees but for which I was made an exception for. They were pretty impressive positions with my peers and co-workers typically being aged 29 and higher in the same position, so I feel like they would count as work experience.

But at the same time, it's not the traditional 'work experience' (i.e., taking gap years between undergrad and law school to work full time consistently).

Do these experiences constitute as work experience for me to benefit in the same way law schools look favorably upon work experience? (Moreover, will they help, at least to some small degree, remediate a low GPA? Or is work experience favored mostly because it puts a time distance between the low GPA?)

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rpupkin

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Re: What constitutes work experience?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:53 pm

Your chances of admission--even at a school like Northwestern--are determined primarily by LSAT and GPA. Work experience is a nice soft factor that helps more at some schools than others, but it's not going to make up for a low GPA or a low LSAT score.

And, no, your summer jobs will not be seen the same as an extended period (i.e., at least a couple of years) in the workforce. No matter how substantive the work, and no matter how old your peers are, a summer job that lasts a few weeks just won't give you the life experience (and accompanying increase in maturity) that you'll get once you're actually working full time.

ETA: I don't mean to suggest that your work experience won't help you at all. If it's as substantive as you suggest, it's definitely a plus. (And it's impressive that you held down a serious part-time job while in school.) It just won't be quite as helpful as post-grad work experience.

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benwyatt

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Re: What constitutes work experience?

Postby benwyatt » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:00 am

Agree with pupkin. Your work experience will certainly be beneficial in some respects but it won't be viewed the same as people who have been in the workforce full-time.

MyNameIsntJames

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Re: What constitutes work experience?

Postby MyNameIsntJames » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:24 pm

Asterismos wrote:I know that certain law schools (like Northwestern) are especially favorable to work experience, and I'm wondering what exactly constitutes work experience? I'm going into my senior year of undergrad, but I have a really extensive resume of working both part and full time (but full time only over summers), including positions that have typically required bachelors' degrees but for which I was made an exception for. They were pretty impressive positions with my peers and co-workers typically being aged 29 and higher in the same position, so I feel like they would count as work experience.

But at the same time, it's not the traditional 'work experience' (i.e., taking gap years between undergrad and law school to work full time consistently).

Do these experiences constitute as work experience for me to benefit in the same way law schools look favorably upon work experience? (Moreover, will they help, at least to some small degree, remediate a low GPA? Or is work experience favored mostly because it puts a time distance between the low GPA?)


Agree with all posters here. Unless you've worked a solid amount of time in the workforce, full-time post-grad then the WE is negligible. Luckily, this isn't a make or break by any means. Just one of those things that's an additional boost if you happen to have it, like military service.

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Blueprint Mithun

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Re: What constitutes work experience?

Postby Blueprint Mithun » Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:19 am

Asterismos wrote:I know that certain law schools (like Northwestern) are especially favorable to work experience, and I'm wondering what exactly constitutes work experience? I'm going into my senior year of undergrad, but I have a really extensive resume of working both part and full time (but full time only over summers), including positions that have typically required bachelors' degrees but for which I was made an exception for. They were pretty impressive positions with my peers and co-workers typically being aged 29 and higher in the same position, so I feel like they would count as work experience.

But at the same time, it's not the traditional 'work experience' (i.e., taking gap years between undergrad and law school to work full time consistently).

Do these experiences constitute as work experience for me to benefit in the same way law schools look favorably upon work experience? (Moreover, will they help, at least to some small degree, remediate a low GPA? Or is work experience favored mostly because it puts a time distance between the low GPA?)



Definitely mention those jobs in your resume, and depending on what you choose to write your personal statement on, you could incorporate some experience from them in there. As the other posters have said, it's not the same as working full-time out of college. Having worked in a professional environment full-time, with work as your primary responsibility, shows that you've been in the "real world" for a while and are still serious about attending law school.

But work experience of any kind is a soft factor, while GPA is one of the two most heavily weighted factors when considering law school admissions. The only thing that could help remediate a lower GPA is a high LSAT score.



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