October 26, 2015, by Anum Yoon – Getting into law school is never easy, but even if you’ve been out of school for several years while serving in the military, it’s not an impossible task. In fact, your military experience may even make you more likely to be accepted. Most law schools look for more than just high GPAs and LSAT scores, and your work in the military can give you a leg up over other applicants.
Students with real-life work experience are often more attractive to law schools. In fact, only about one in three law students are accepted directly from college. Your military service shows that you are disciplined and hardworking. It also proves that you can handle stressful situations, and that you can show decorum and professionalism.
Being in the military is a tough job, and law schools know it. Law school is pretty tough as well. Schools want students who won’t drop out halfway through because it’s too hard, or because they can’t handle the pressure. You, on the other hand, have made it through basic training. If you can persevere through that, there’s little chance law school will have you running home to mommy.
Law schools are also more likely to give you a shot because it may be easier to get you into a job after you’ve completed your education. The men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces carry a reputation for discipline and hard work that carries far beyond law school, and that’s exactly the kind of character evidence employers look for.
The Personal Statement
One of the most important parts of the application process is the personal statement. It gives the school a chance to see what kind of person you are, beyond just your grades. Your experience can help you out here as well. I’ve yet to meet a military man or woman who didn’t have at least one or two great stories to tell. Just remember that the focus should be on you. The story about that new recruit who fumbled a training grenade doesn’t say a lot about your own character.
There are a few things you need to be careful with when submitting your application. First of all, avoid using military jargon, even if the meaning seems obvious to you. You can’t count on your admissions officer knowing what an FOB or a CO is. Spell it out. Second, make sure you study hard for the LSAT. Chances are you’ve been out of school for a while, and you need to prove you still have what it takes academically. You can’t cruise into law school on charisma and muscles.
It can also be helpful to do some research on particular schools. Some law schools have special programs or resources to assist those in the military with the applications process. Regardless of what school you choose, however, your military experience and a bit of careful planning will go a long way toward making sure your application gets accepted.