Law School Discussion

Need help with ECs

Need help with ECs
« on: January 11, 2014, 06:06:18 PM »
One thing that I'm having some trouble with is getting some unbelievable ECs, because that's where I'm the weakest right now. I rather not speak about my GPA yet, but I want to focus more on wowing the people that are going to read my application or interview me if I do manage to get in. I'm not asking people to choose ECs for me, but I would like to know if there is any ECs in particular that is more valued and a "gold mine" for applicants (such as joining peace corp, missionary work, etc.).

All I have to offer is I run a martial arts association at my school where I teach newcomers in various art forms, I'm on the school's "spirit squad" (mascot actually), I was involved with the engineering department in constructing a "soccer machine" for several physically disabled children, I was a assistant to the chairman of the children's section of my local library where I helped planned events, I am a part time amateur comic artist and photographer (I have a site, but I don't want to share it right now), I tutored various students in English and History, and I have worked with some churches and a mosque in blood drives in my community. I feel like this isn't enough to convince anyone that I'm law school worthy and I would REALLY appreciate it if someone can critique me (please do, because I want to impress anyone that reads this!). In addition, please let me know if there is anything the admissions of any school in general is looking for.

Re: Need help with ECs
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 09:05:40 PM »
I would only do extra-curriculars that you really want to do - otherwise, it will more than likely look pretty obvious that you are only doing them to wow the adcomms. The admissions reps want intelligent, passionate, interesting people in their law schools. The specifics do not really matter.

My recommendation is to invest the bulk of your free time not in trite ECs, but in LSAT prep. Stronger LSAT scores > unauthentic ECs. If you have more time left over, do ECs that you really enjoy (or something at least related to what you truly enjoy). If you are still in school, also make sure to get the strongest grades as you can (again, in whatever courses interest you the most).

The bulk of a decision will be based on your LSAT and GPA. Soft factors, like ECs, major, background, etc., will add to your file, but not make it.

Good luck!!!

Re: Need help with ECs
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2014, 09:33:19 PM »
Thanks, but do you think I got enough to get my ECs covered for application(s)?

Re: Need help with ECs
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2014, 10:06:56 PM »
Sure? Theres not really a way to answer this... There is no pre-requiste, cookie cutter path for applicants to follow in order to get into a particular school. Further, regardless of whether you have "enough" ECs - you should only do another EC if you were to do it regardless of applying to law school.

If you want more info on what adcomms are looking for, read the various blogs and what not that they have up. They explain (to great extent) of what they like and, more importantly, what they don't. Yale has a great one - the advice offered seems, for the most part, pretty universal to the admissions in law school.

and this as well...

Good luck!

Re: Need help with ECs
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 10:48:58 PM »
Your EC's probably approximate the ECs offered by the vast majority of applicants. That is, they are not especially impressive but they aren't bad either. Most applicants have some generic ECs, and they usually don't play a big role unless they are truly unique and impressive. 

As Miami88 said, these types of soft factors pale in comparison to numeric qualifications. Regardless of what law schools may say about looking for well-rounded individuals and examining the "whole person", numbers dominate the process. Focus on getting the highest numbers possible, and you won't need to worry much about anything else.

Put it this way, an applicant with a 3.8/175 could probably write an essay about how they think ECs are a waste of time and they'd still get scholarship offers from 90% of the schools out there. Conversely, an applicant with a 2.0/140 could have the most amazing ECs imaginable and still be out of luck. For the majority of applicants who fall between these two extremes, ECs might play a role if you are a borderline case. Take a look at the admission profiles available from LSAC. If your numbers are significantly above or below a school's median, your chances for admission are very predictable. 

At highly competitive elite schools ECs and other non-numeric qualifications do matter more than at lower tier schools. I think this is because the expectation is that of course you have a high GPA and stellar LSAT, but so do all the other applicants. What else are you bringing to the table? In those cases, you will see applicants with truly impressive resume experience.