Pre-Law Advising

Extracurricular Experiences

Be engaged. Law school admission is based on more than just your GPA and LSAT score. Schools also value student engagement in activities outside the classroom too.

Being engaged is what’s important, not the particular type of engagement. Students who are active in student government, on-campus or off-campus jobs, athletics, theater, arts and music, research, writing and community or public service all do well in law school admissions. Your application essays will provide an opportunity to make sense of your activities.

Law-Adjacent Activities

There are many types of activities that will give you insight into the profession of law. There are many opportunities that will expose you to law and law-adjacent professions. Use your imagination and follow your interests. Think you might like environmental law? Look for volunteer or internship activities with organizations that do environmental work. Interested in criminal defense work? Look for an opportunity with a public defenders office. You don’t have to work in a law firm to get exposure to lawyers in action. Advocacy organizations, not for profits, NGOs, lobbying and consulting firms, state and federal agencies all have lawyers who can provide insight into the field of law.  

Note: The Swearer Center is a good place to learn about community service opportunities.

Legal Activities

It is by no means necessary to do legal work in order to get into law school; you should look for this type of work if you want to learn what lawyers’ jobs are like and to get a sense if the profession seems interesting as it’s actually practiced. It’s difficult, but not impossible, for undergraduates to find substantive work in law firms and other legal service providers. The most fruitful avenues are state and local prosecutors offices, state attorneys general (Rhode Island’s attorney general has hired many Brown students on a part-time basis). Small law firms are more likely than large ones to hire undergraduates; legal aid organizations and sometimes even state and local courts may look for and hire undergrads. 

Extracurriculars vs. Coursework

Law schools understand the demands of various concentrations and student commitments such as varsity and club sports or work-study requirements and take these into account in connection with your extracurricular portfolio. If you are writing a thesis, or are carrying a difficult or heavy course load, don’t worry. Admissions officers look at everything, including your extracurricular activities, in context.