Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Summer Advice from a Pre-Law Advisor

For those of you still in undergrad but without a strong pre-law advisor, I've decided to start reposting relevant information from my alma mater, the University of Southern California.  I've edited the information to be more concise and reflect my application cycle, tutoring, and application advising experience.
  • Build your resume This can mean many things, including getting a job/internship, doing some volunteer work, researching with a professor, or starting a business.  Don't worry so much about finding something that pays unless you really need the money.  Look for opportunities that will help make you a more interesting applicant--i.e. stand out from the law firm intern mold--for when it comes time to apply to law schools.     
  • Figure out what you want to do with a law degree We stress this over and over again because its such an important point.  You should really know what you want to do with your law degree before you apply.  You dont have to know exactly what type of law you want to practice (although that would be ideal), but you should have an idea for what type of job you'll want to get after law school.   There are various ways of exploring this, and it may take some soul searching.  Talk to as many lawyers as you can this summer, and find out more about what lawyers actually do.  You can also check out the legal tabloid www.abovethelaw.com for interesting news on the legal world. 
  • Travel If you can afford it, traveling is a great way to explore the world, learn more about other cultures, and in turn learn more about yourself.  While the best personal statement topics rarely come out of students experiences living abroad, the perspective you'll gain will shine through in any well-written statement
  • Take classes For those of you who need to raise your GPAs, taking more classes over the summer (and focusing only on them) may be a good strategy for boosting your GPA.
  • Read some books Here are a few autobiographies or biographies about practicing lawyers, which can also help with figuring out what you want to do with a JD.