Military veterans are hot commodities in law school, and with good reason: the qualities that make you successful in military service will carry you through your legal education and beyond, into your law practice.
Find out how to present your military service in such a way that wows law school admissions officers and helps you get into law school!
5 reasons law schools will love your military service
- You’ve been a leader and, more importantly, a follower. In law school, you will be trained to lead, but you will also be expected to listen.
- You understand what it means to commit. Enlisting in the military may have been your introduction to the legal world when you signed your enlistment contract. Unlike more traditional applicants whose experience may be limited to their undergraduate education, you have already made a major life commitment—of time and finances—and this shows law schools that you’re in it for the long haul.
- Diversity! The military is not a homogenous entity—far from it! In the military, you’ve learned to work together with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Law schools are always looking to build diverse cohorts that will engage and challenge each other in the classroom. Not only are you used to working with different people; your military service also enhances the cohort.
- Your experience isn’t theoretical. Most applicants to law school are under the age of 24 and fairly recent graduates. As such, their experience in the so-called “real world” is limited. Military experience, even without combat duty, is very real. Stakes and consequences are high, and your ability to successfully navigate your service is proof of competency in itself. Use that to your advantage.
- Your maturity and focus. Military veterans getting into law school tend to be older than most applicants, and some may already have spouses and children. Veterans have seen and experienced things a newly-minted college grad simply has not.
- There could be an “I” in “Team.” In the military, you’ve focused so much on the collective, that it can be a challenge to separate your personal achievements from your unit’s. Find the contributions you’ve personally made, and highlight them on your law school application. Remember that “I” is not a dirty word. Law schools want to learn about YOU. And remember that military experience IS work experience. Don’t downplay it.
- Get rid of the jargon! Most law school admissions officers are civilians with little to no experience with military terms. There are many resources available to help you “translate” your resume and experience into civilian terms.
- Law school is school. If there is a significant time gap between your undergraduate education and your application to law school, you will need to show that you are ready for the academic rigor of a legal education. Letters of recommendation from academic sources are great, but you also need to dominate the LSAT to demonstrate your critical thinking and reading skills.
- Research, research, research. You’ll be doing a ton of research in law school, why not start now by looking into military-friendly law schools? Many law schools take steps toward making their application and admission process military-friendly. From having a veteran read through applications, to having additional support in place for veteran students, to contributing to the Yellow Ribbon program, there are many schools out there telling you they want you.
- Make it personal. Your personal statement is your chance to highlight what you’ve learned in the military and tie it back to your plans for law school. Don’t shy away from your military experience; instead, tell a good story!