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Importance of Extracurriculars in Admission-- How Would I Stack Up?

mjr1234mjr1234 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
This question is no doubt overdone, but I'm going to do it again.

I want to apply to top law schools, namely Harvard and Stanford. Assuming I was able to get a top LSAT score (170-175) and a solid undergrad institutional GPA (3.7-4.0, though not from a top school), how would ECs factor into my admissions opportunity?

As it stands, I am a debater in LD and Parli, I do extemporaneous speaking, I am on the varsity tennis team, and I am a regularly-cast actor at my university's theatre department.

I also plan to get involved with the school's newspaper.

Are these positions enough to not hurt me in the process? I didn't really run for student government, mainly because I don't have much time. Is this a mistake?

Replies to: Importance of Extracurriculars in Admission-- How Would I Stack Up?

  • Demosthenes49Demosthenes49 Registered User Posts: 1,489 Senior Member
    Not in the slightest. Law schools don't care about ECs. Have some, don't have some, it doesn't really matter.
  • HappyAlumnusHappyAlumnus Registered User Posts: 1,100 Senior Member
    When I was applying to law school (in the 1990s), the Harvard and Yale alumni I talked to said that I'd need to have some type of "zest", in addition to LSAT/GPA numbers that meet those schools' thresholds. In my applications, I described how the extracurriculars that I had done and other life experiences that I had tied to how I intended to use my JD. It worked: I went to HLS. So I think that the advice that I got was good: LSAT/GPA numbers come first, but you should also have extracurriculars that show your life's passions and relate to how you'll plan to use your JD. If there are extracurriculars that you're not passionate about or don't have anything to do with your post-law school life, drop them.

    People say that extracurriculars don't matter, and they point to LawSchoolNumbers.com, but if you look at who's admitted based on numbers, there is a gray area around top schools' median numbers, with some people with better numbers rejected and some people worse numbers accepted, so it's clear that things other than LSAT/GPA alone do play at least somewhat of a role in admissions, particularly at the margins.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,977 Senior Member
    edited September 9
    OP, aren't you just now starting freshman year? A year ago, you were getting ready to apply for undergrad.

    Get involved, then look to fine tune. Lots of time yet.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 24,428 Senior Member
    edited September 10
    Law schools don't care about ECs.

    In the aggregate, that is true. But those top three schools will small classes, such as Stanford (named by the OP), Yale and even Chicago do care about EC's, all other things being equal. In other words a tie-breaker for those apps over both medians, and a bigger help for splitters. In contrast, HLS is so large, it has to accept nearly every applicant over its medians.

  • SlippinJimmySlippinJimmy Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    Numbers are the most important. Softs can help, but few ECs you do in college are really going to be that impressive. The people with the best softs are usually people with interesting work experience post-college. I'm sure being busy with a few activities in college helps, but for any straight-through applicant, LSAT and GPA will matter the most. Just do the activities you enjoy doing.
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