Relative importance of academic awards / extracurriculars?

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Relative importance of academic awards / extracurriculars?

Post by warbler » Wed Nov 02, 2005 1:03 pm

Hello everyone,

Thank you for making such an informative website that is well organized and candid! It really helpes to alleviate some of the stress from people like myself this time of year.

My question: I am applying straight out of college and have a 3.72 (top 5 undergrad school) / 167 LSAT, which means that admission to some of the top law schools is reachable but will be competitive for me.

I am wondering what the relative importance of college activities and academic honors are in the evaulation process. Many of the applications I have filled out have asked me to detail them. Unfortunately in this regard, I am somewhat lacking because of the necessity I have had to work ten hours or so a week all throughout my college career to fulfill work study obligations. Is it wise to directly address this issue, or let them read my personal statement and have the committee draw conclusions on their own? Are there any schools that especially valued undergraduate extracurricular activities and honors? What is the best way to approach this situation?

Thank you all again so much; I'm so glad I found this site.


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Post by dag35 » Wed Nov 02, 2005 2:12 pm

Academic awars and extra curriculars certainly help your application, however they are not absolutely necessary. Schools will take into account your working while as an undergraduate. I can only speak from my own experiance, but I had a low GPA (2.97) form a top school, a decent LSAT (164), but no extracurricular activities. I did work while an undergrad and I was out of school for a couple years when I applied.

That being said, realistically I wasn't competitive at top 10-15 law schools b/c of my low GPA, but I did gain admission to two top 40 law schools (one directly and one off of the waiting list) and I was placed on the waiting list and later denied at two other top 40 schools.

Extracurriculars would certainly help differentiate you from everyone else, but w/out them you should still be very competitive b/c of your LSAT, GPA, and work while an undergrad. I would follow Ken's advice and apply to a bunch of schools b/c each admissions persons views things differently, so the more applications you put out, the better the chances of a positive result.

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Law School Admissions - Worth of Extracurriculars

Post by Ken » Fri Nov 04, 2005 2:58 am

The good news is that with your very solid GPA from a great college and a solid LSAT score, you will certainly be admitted to some top 15 law schools just on your numbers alone.

Having a strong and compelling story or a solid resume of extracurricular activities does make a difference if you are right on the cusp. For example, at Yale, which only takes the best, every applicant that is considered has an amazing LSAT score and stellar GPA. Thus, Yale picks those students who have dynamic and exciting individuals who are loaded up on academic honors, extracurricular activities, and social activism. Conversely, Harvard, which is nearly as prestigious but has a huge class to fill, is more concerned about the numbers and is not as concerned about your background. Stanford and Boalt also like unique individuals and are less focused on pure numbers. As a general rule, I have observed that law schools with small entering classes (Yale, Stanford) are more inclined to focus on the soft factors than schools with large entering classes (Harvard, Georgetown, Michigan, the U. of Texas).

Do not accentuate your weakness by explicitly addressing it. Your law school personal statement should focus on your strengths and not go into any flaws in your application. Of course, if the question of extracurriculars is explicitly asked in the law school application, tackle it but make no mention of this in your personal statement. Instead, use your law school personal statement to showcase your interest in law and how your background lead you to this path. You may want to bring up your working while in college if this fits with your legal interests or academic background, for by mentioning this you are implicitly addressing your lack of other extracurriculars.

The good news is that due to the strength GPA and LSAT score, you will be admitted to several top law schools. As Dag35 wisely mentioned, applying to many schools increases your odds of success.

Good luck and thanks for posting!


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Re: Relative importance of academic awards / extracurriculars?

Post by admin24 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:13 pm


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