What Can You Do in Your Gap Year(s) Before Law School?
- Dec 05, 2022
- gap year, Law School Admissions
- Reviewed by: Matt Riley
Whether law school has been on your mind since you could barely speak or it’s just starting to dawn on you as an option, you will find yourself in plenty of company whenever you embark on your J.D. journey. Although most law school applicants are under 25, the majority have taken at least 1 year off from school, and about 1 in 5 are over thirty.
If you’re thinking about taking a gap year before pursuing your J.D., your options for keeping busy are abundant. For any law school admission, you want to make sure that your gap year, in addition to being personally rewarding, helps address any potential weaknesses in your law school application and builds upon your strengths. Keep reading for some ideas on how to spend your time and what you may want to consider when making your decision.
1. Study for the LSAT
The first thing to consider is whether you need to take, or retake, the LSAT. It may be overwhelming to get started, but Blueprint can help you with many of its free resources, including a diagnostic test, pre–law advising, study plans, and free webinars.
You may also consider signing up for an LSAT prep course if you’re studying for the LSAT while working full time. Blueprint Prep has a variety of LSAT prep courses tailored to your individual learning style in becoming a law student. From a DIY Self-Paced Online LSAT Course to a Live LSAT Class to our new, intensive 170+ LSAT course and even a private LSAT tutor, we have the course designed to increase your LSAT score by 15 points, on average!
2. Work as a paralegal or in legal research
While it is by no means required, many people apply to law school after having some substantive experience working in a legal capacity. A paralegal position or legal research role in either the private or public sector can be extremely valuable in understanding if and what type of law and legal career you want to practice, strengthening your case for law school, and gaining exposure to attorneys who can tell you more about the different professional pathways available to you with a J.D.
This type of experience might be especially interesting for those non-traditional applicants whose prior academic and work experience is not legal or policy-related.
3. Work in government or policy
The connections between legal practice and positions in elected office or governmental agencies are vast! Many students come to law school with experience working alongside local, state, or federal politicians, policy advocacy organizations, and other government bureaucracies. These roles can be especially valuable in understanding how legal education can help shape legislation and policy implementation at all levels of government.
4. Work in industry or research in a non-law field
There is no one path to law school, and J.D. programs are increasingly exciting for students with varied backgrounds and expertise, whether that be in public health research or financial services or software development. After all, laws, statutes, and regulations govern all of these industries, and as long as you can clearly speak in your personal statement about how your work experience and insights in these fields shapes your interest in the field of law, you should feel empowered to dig deep into a legal career in any field or topic that interests you.
5. Participate in a gap year(s) program
There are numerous structured gap year programs and fellowships, some of which are described below and are often looked upon as a positive precursor to a J.D.:
AmeriCorps is a government agency that works with local and national partners to help solve some of the most pressing issues in the country.
City Year is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving public education.
The Fulbright Program, one of the United States’ Cultural Exchange Programs, is a prestigious and competitive program that is only open to U.S. citizens. Fulbright scholars pursue graduate study, conduct research, or teach English abroad.
Teach for America
Teach for America is a non-profit organization that recruits members that will teach for at least two years in a public school in a low-income community.
6. Rest and recharge
To state the obvious—applying to and completing law school can be a rigorous and stressful process! It is important that you take care of yourself beyond what will improve your chances as a law school applicant, while also asking questions like how long is law school or can you go to law school online. Invest in your hobbies, explore methods of caring for your mind and body, travel if you want to, read, spend time with loved ones, and have fun! Going into an education and career and law, having these outlets, support systems, and healthy habits will prove invaluable.
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