Resumes, Extracurricular Activities, and GPA

The next step in the admissions process is making sure you have a professional resume, which includes a summary of your education and other college/life experiences. Extracurricular activities and your GPA are important to include on your law school resume, especially if you are going to law school straight out of undergrad or with only a couple gap years. Oftentimes, people think you can have one or the other- to maintain a high GPA, you must limit extracurricular activities or that more extracurricular activities mean a lower GPA. However, this does not have to be the case.


Your resume is the summary of your education, work experiences, extracurricular activities, volunteering, and honors you have received. As many law school applicants already have a resume, I will keep this section brief.

One way that law school resumes differ from others is that they do not have to be limited to one page. As a business major, I was taught that my resume had to be less than one page, which resulted in a 10-point font resume with experiences left off. Law schools want to see everything and will not limit your resume. Even with this knowledge, keep in mind that most resumes should not be longer than two or three pages.

My last recommendation is to submit your resume in PDF form. Submitting a Word document can cause formatting issues and leave awkward or unintended spaces. Like all resumes, your law school one needs to be professional.

Extracurricular Activities

Just like colleges, law schools want to see that you participated in extracurricular activities.  Law schools especially love seeing leadership positions or devotion to a certain activity. Being in three clubs and having leadership experience in two of them will look better than being in ten clubs and having no leadership experience in any of them.

From my experience, most law schools do not care about which extracurriculars you partake in. Join clubs that you like and are interested in. Volunteer in areas that you are passionate about. Not everything you do has to relate to law school, but it can.  If you want to go into environmental law, volunteering at a recycling center will look good on your resume. Join a sorority or fraternity to network. Join the honors organization for your major if you qualify. Join the pre-law club on your campus, as this can offer great insight into law school, life as an attorney, and more. Do what you like, try to have leadership experience, but do not spread yourself too thin.

Having a part time job, full time job, or internship also looks great on your resume.  If you are coming directly out of college, it shows that you have time management skills. If you have taken a gap year, it shows experience. I have found that many people who take a gap year have a job or internship that relates to what they want to do as an attorney, which can really strengthen an application.


GPA isn’t everything (especially if you have taken gap years), but it isn’t nothing. Law schools will compare your GPA to their median and 25th and 75th percentiles. This will impact your acceptance decision and scholarships. Law schools also take into account your major. Since some majors have more difficult classes and lower GPAs than others, this will be considered (shout out to all you science and engineering majors).

It is important to find balance between extracurricular activities and GPA. A student with a 4.0 and an LSAT score of 180 will get into any school she applies to, regardless of if she had a job or participated in extracurricular activities. But let’s be realistic, most of us aren’t that applicant. So balance is important: what says studious but also involved? That differs for each person. To determine this balance for yourself, think about what matters most to you and what will help you reach your end goals. Also, look at the law schools you are considering. All law schools release GPA information for each incoming class. Do not be afraid to contact admissions and ask what they look for in applicants. Reaching out to them will also put you on their radar, which can be beneficial when the admissions team reads your application.

I hope this helped to clarify the resume, experience, and GPA components of the application process. Be professional, get involved, but also maintain an impressive GPA. Good luck when applying!


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