Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
jivemonkey
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:49 pm

Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby jivemonkey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:44 pm

Hello everyone! I'm new here so I'm sorry if I don't know all the rules :)

I'm a senior at a top 20 undergraduate school majoring in poli-sci. I should graduate with around a 3.5 and want to take a year off (maybe two) before applying to law school (aiming for top 14). I have a strong resume and have done many internships related to government and public policy. My plan currently is to work at a non-profit in NYC. Just started looking but I applied to the ACLU as a legal administrative assistant (anyone know how competitive this is?) I'm not sure where else to apply, are there certain types of non-profits I need to focus on? Maybe branch out into other sectors? My main concern is not finding a job to make money, rather bettering my chances for law school. Thanks so much!

User avatar
emkay625
Posts: 1839
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:31 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby emkay625 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:52 pm

jivemonkey wrote:Hello everyone! I'm new here so I'm sorry if I don't know all the rules :)

I'm a senior at a top 20 undergraduate school majoring in poli-sci. I should graduate with around a 3.5 and want to take a year off (maybe two) before applying to law school (aiming for top 14). I have a strong resume and have done many internships related to government and public policy. My plan currently is to work at a non-profit in NYC. Just started looking but I applied to the ACLU as a legal administrative assistant (anyone know how competitive this is?) I'm not sure where else to apply, are there certain types of non-profits I need to focus on? Maybe branch out into other sectors? My main concern is not finding a job to make money, rather bettering my chances for law school. Thanks so much!


If it were me, I would delay graduation a year and take super easy classes to try to get that 3.5 up as high as possible, while simultaneously studying my butt off for the LSAT.

If that is not a financial possibility, than any kind of full-time WE is fine. Working for a non-profit would be fine and perhaps give you interesting material to write a PS about.

User avatar
luxxe
Posts: 830
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:12 am

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby luxxe » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:54 pm

jivemonkey wrote:Hello everyone! I'm new here so I'm sorry if I don't know all the rules :)

I'm a senior at a top 20 undergraduate school majoring in poli-sci. I should graduate with around a 3.5 and want to take a year off (maybe two) before applying to law school (aiming for top 14). I have a strong resume and have done many internships related to government and public policy. My plan currently is to work at a non-profit in NYC. Just started looking but I applied to the ACLU as a legal administrative assistant (anyone know how competitive this is?) I'm not sure where else to apply, are there certain types of non-profits I need to focus on? Maybe branch out into other sectors? My main concern is not finding a job to make money, rather bettering my chances for law school. Thanks so much!


Anything at the ACLU is going to be really, really competitive. If you want to do PI after law school, work at a nonprofit that focuses on what you want to after law school, network a LOT + gain relevant experience. If you want to do firm work, I doubt which nonprofit you worked for would matter much.

jivemonkey
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:49 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby jivemonkey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:11 pm

luxxe wrote:
jivemonkey wrote:Hello everyone! I'm new here so I'm sorry if I don't know all the rules :)

I'm a senior at a top 20 undergraduate school majoring in poli-sci. I should graduate with around a 3.5 and want to take a year off (maybe two) before applying to law school (aiming for top 14). I have a strong resume and have done many internships related to government and public policy. My plan currently is to work at a non-profit in NYC. Just started looking but I applied to the ACLU as a legal administrative assistant (anyone know how competitive this is?) I'm not sure where else to apply, are there certain types of non-profits I need to focus on? Maybe branch out into other sectors? My main concern is not finding a job to make money, rather bettering my chances for law school. Thanks so much!


Anything at the ACLU is going to be really, really competitive. If you want to do PI after law school, work at a nonprofit that focuses on what you want to after law school, network a LOT + gain relevant experience. If you want to do firm work, I doubt which nonprofit you worked for would matter much.


Thanks for the response. What do you think is the best way to go about this? Just google women's right non-profits in nyc and just apply there. Many smaller non-profits often don't have a formal process, do I just call them or shoot them an email?

Also, as far as networking, I tried searching my alumni online, but didn't have any luck. Do you suggest any other ways to network and get a job at a nonprofit?

User avatar
MrPapagiorgio
Posts: 1747
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:36 am

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:11 pm

I'm in the do a little to pad the resume, but mostly relax camp. Once you start law school, any chance you have to take an extended period of time off (i.e. a year) is mostly gone. Take in some new experiences, do some traveling. Once you have a career (especially one that entails the time dedication that biglaw does) and then a family, your chances to do what you want to do is extremely limited.

User avatar
Haymarket
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:09 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby Haymarket » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:12 pm

jivemonkey wrote:Hello everyone! I'm new here so I'm sorry if I don't know all the rules :)

I'm a senior at a top 20 undergraduate school majoring in poli-sci. I should graduate with around a 3.5 and want to take a year off (maybe two) before applying to law school (aiming for top 14). I have a strong resume and have done many internships related to government and public policy. My plan currently is to work at a non-profit in NYC. Just started looking but I applied to the ACLU as a legal administrative assistant (anyone know how competitive this is?) I'm not sure where else to apply, are there certain types of non-profits I need to focus on? Maybe branch out into other sectors? My main concern is not finding a job to make money, rather bettering my chances for law school. Thanks so much!

Jesus I hope you come from money and aren't just delusional.

If not, good luck finding any non-profit (let alone a name-brand like the ACLU) that is willing to pay you anything more than the bare minimum for living expenses for a shared 4-bedroom in upper Harlem.

jivemonkey
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:49 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby jivemonkey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:16 pm

Haymarket wrote:
jivemonkey wrote:Hello everyone! I'm new here so I'm sorry if I don't know all the rules :)

I'm a senior at a top 20 undergraduate school majoring in poli-sci. I should graduate with around a 3.5 and want to take a year off (maybe two) before applying to law school (aiming for top 14). I have a strong resume and have done many internships related to government and public policy. My plan currently is to work at a non-profit in NYC. Just started looking but I applied to the ACLU as a legal administrative assistant (anyone know how competitive this is?) I'm not sure where else to apply, are there certain types of non-profits I need to focus on? Maybe branch out into other sectors? My main concern is not finding a job to make money, rather bettering my chances for law school. Thanks so much!

Jesus I hope you come from money and aren't just delusional.

If not, good luck finding any non-profit (let alone a name-brand like the ACLU) that is willing to pay you anything more than the bare minimum for living expenses for a shared 4-bedroom in upper Harlem.


LOL. Hopefully not. I don't live too far away from the city and would just commute.

jivemonkey
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:49 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby jivemonkey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:17 pm

MrPapagiorgio wrote:I'm in the do a little to pad the resume, but mostly relax camp. Once you start law school, any chance you have to take an extended period of time off (i.e. a year) is mostly gone. Take in some new experiences, do some traveling. Once you have a career (especially one that entails the time dedication that biglaw does) and then a family, your chances to do what you want to do is extremely limited.


I was trying to do something that would give me an edge in the admissions process? Am I looking at this the wrong way?

Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely passionate about working at a non-profit.

jivemonkey
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:49 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby jivemonkey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:19 pm

emkay625 wrote:
jivemonkey wrote:Hello everyone! I'm new here so I'm sorry if I don't know all the rules :)

I'm a senior at a top 20 undergraduate school majoring in poli-sci. I should graduate with around a 3.5 and want to take a year off (maybe two) before applying to law school (aiming for top 14). I have a strong resume and have done many internships related to government and public policy. My plan currently is to work at a non-profit in NYC. Just started looking but I applied to the ACLU as a legal administrative assistant (anyone know how competitive this is?) I'm not sure where else to apply, are there certain types of non-profits I need to focus on? Maybe branch out into other sectors? My main concern is not finding a job to make money, rather bettering my chances for law school. Thanks so much!


If it were me, I would delay graduation a year and take super easy classes to try to get that 3.5 up as high as possible, while simultaneously studying my butt off for the LSAT.

If that is not a financial possibility, than any kind of full-time WE is fine. Working for a non-profit would be fine and perhaps give you interesting material to write a PS about.


I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish up this May. Do you think that for the most part, it doesn't really matter which non-profit I work at? As long as it's something I believe in (or can write a good PS about). For example, ACLU vs a small relatively unknown one?

User avatar
emkay625
Posts: 1839
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:31 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby emkay625 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:19 pm

jivemonkey wrote:
MrPapagiorgio wrote:I'm in the do a little to pad the resume, but mostly relax camp. Once you start law school, any chance you have to take an extended period of time off (i.e. a year) is mostly gone. Take in some new experiences, do some traveling. Once you have a career (especially one that entails the time dedication that biglaw does) and then a family, your chances to do what you want to do is extremely limited.


I was trying to do something that would give me an edge in the admissions process? Am I looking at this the wrong way?

Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely passionate about working at a non-profit.


Short of military service/peace corps, not much is going to give you anything more than a slight edge. Even then, 1 - 2 points more on your LSAT or .2 more on your GPA would be worth infinitely more.

User avatar
emkay625
Posts: 1839
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:31 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby emkay625 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:20 pm

jivemonkey wrote:
emkay625 wrote:
jivemonkey wrote:Hello everyone! I'm new here so I'm sorry if I don't know all the rules :)

I'm a senior at a top 20 undergraduate school majoring in poli-sci. I should graduate with around a 3.5 and want to take a year off (maybe two) before applying to law school (aiming for top 14). I have a strong resume and have done many internships related to government and public policy. My plan currently is to work at a non-profit in NYC. Just started looking but I applied to the ACLU as a legal administrative assistant (anyone know how competitive this is?) I'm not sure where else to apply, are there certain types of non-profits I need to focus on? Maybe branch out into other sectors? My main concern is not finding a job to make money, rather bettering my chances for law school. Thanks so much!


If it were me, I would delay graduation a year and take super easy classes to try to get that 3.5 up as high as possible, while simultaneously studying my butt off for the LSAT.

If that is not a financial possibility, than any kind of full-time WE is fine. Working for a non-profit would be fine and perhaps give you interesting material to write a PS about.


I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish up this May. Do you think that for the most part, it doesn't really matter which non-profit I work at? As long as it's something I believe in (or can write a good PS about). For example, ACLU vs a small relatively unknown one?


Agreed. It will not matter all that much. To be honest, I'd pick the one that a. you care about the most and b. allows you the most time to study for the LSAT

jivemonkey
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:49 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby jivemonkey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:22 pm

emkay625 wrote:
jivemonkey wrote:
MrPapagiorgio wrote:I'm in the do a little to pad the resume, but mostly relax camp. Once you start law school, any chance you have to take an extended period of time off (i.e. a year) is mostly gone. Take in some new experiences, do some traveling. Once you have a career (especially one that entails the time dedication that biglaw does) and then a family, your chances to do what you want to do is extremely limited.


I was trying to do something that would give me an edge in the admissions process? Am I looking at this the wrong way?

Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely passionate about working at a non-profit.


Short of military service/peace corps, not much is going to give you anything more than a slight edge. Even then, 1 - 2 points more on your LSAT or .2 more on your GPA would be worth infinitely more.


Really? That's interesting. Didn't know that.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby IAFG » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:22 pm

Beggars can't be choosers. Apply broadly, see what you get. Be picky after you get a couple offers, but not at the application stage.

jivemonkey
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:49 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby jivemonkey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:26 pm

IAFG wrote:Beggars can't be choosers. Apply broadly, see what you get. Be picky after you get a couple offers, but not at the application stage.


Agreed. But I guess my question is how do I go about applying broadly? Just googling non-profits or is there another way?

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby IAFG » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:30 pm

jivemonkey wrote:
IAFG wrote:Beggars can't be choosers. Apply broadly, see what you get. Be picky after you get a couple offers, but not at the application stage.


Agreed. But I guess my question is how do I go about applying broadly? Just googling non-profits or is there another way?

Indeed.com is one website that "compiles" job postings. There are probably others.

User avatar
luxxe
Posts: 830
Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:12 am

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby luxxe » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:30 pm

Haha, I want to do women's rights PI after lawl school, too. I've worked at a number of women's rights nonprofits.

Like other posters have said, it is much more likely that you are going to get an unpaid internship than an actual job, especially being a new college grad. Have you worked for/volunteered for any women's rights groups in the past? If not, I would set aside a few hours a week now to do that - it is going to make looking for a job/internship a lot easier if you have already displayed a commitment to a certain issue/have references that can speak to your dedication AND abilities.

Working for the ACLU would be great - it is, obviously, an amazing organization that would give you great connections in almost any progressive nonprofit you can think of. I don't totally agree with other posters in that any nonprofit will look the same. Showing a long-standing commitment to a certain issue is going to give you an advantage when applying for PI jobs after law school, will give you connections to people who work in nonprofits you want to work for after law school, and will give you a lot of insight into where you want to work after school. Getting a PI job after law school is a lot different than getting a big law job.

As for applying, send cover letters and resumes to nonprofits you want to work for - like other posters have said beggars can't be choosers, etc. Apply broadly, but there are dozens and dozens of women's rights nonprofits in NYC. You are going to get a lot more responses when looking for an unpaid internship vs. a paying job (if that gets you any at all).

As far as admissions, yes, +.1 on your GPA or 1-2 points on the LSAT will make a much bigger difference than any job.
Last edited by luxxe on Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
emkay625
Posts: 1839
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:31 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby emkay625 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:31 pm

jivemonkey wrote:
IAFG wrote:Beggars can't be choosers. Apply broadly, see what you get. Be picky after you get a couple offers, but not at the application stage.


Agreed. But I guess my question is how do I go about applying broadly? Just googling non-profits or is there another way?


go here: http://www.idealist.org/

also, what is your degree in/what are you qualified to do? (marketing, it, etc.)

jivemonkey
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:49 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby jivemonkey » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:54 pm

emkay625 wrote:
jivemonkey wrote:
IAFG wrote:Beggars can't be choosers. Apply broadly, see what you get. Be picky after you get a couple offers, but not at the application stage.


Agreed. But I guess my question is how do I go about applying broadly? Just googling non-profits or is there another way?


go here: http://www.idealist.org/

also, what is your degree in/what are you qualified to do? (marketing, it, etc.)


Poli-sci so I'm not sure exactly what I'm to do :P

I have had past internships and jobs in mostly administrative settings.

SchopenhauerFTW
Posts: 1793
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:22 pm

Re: Taking a year off after undergrad - What should I do?

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:37 pm

Get the most physically demanding job you can get.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: splitterfromhell and 7 guests