Involvement is a broad term that includes activities that allow you to engage with the UW-Madison and local communities. Examples include:
- Joining, forming, and/or leading a student organization
- Undertaking research with a professor or TA;
- Participating in student government (including committee and intern positions)
- Playing sports at any level
- Playing in a University band or orchestra
- Singing or dancing with a University group
- Joining a fraternity/sorority
- Working part-time or securing paid or unpaid internships
- Joining a FIG
- Studying abroad
How can involvement help me with law school?
Many of the skills that you develop through involvement can better prepare you to succeed in law school and the practice of law. Law schools realize the value of involvement and will review your application to see how you chose to get involved during college.
It’s important to note that law schools prefer that you show a depth of involvement, not necessarily a breadth of involvement. So don’t just become a serial joiner. Instead, choose activities that you will want to devote significant time to and that might offer opportunities for you to develop skills in communication, leadership, organization, problem-solving, or other skills relevant to law school.
Do law schools prefer one type of involvement more than others?
No. Rather than wanting to admit a class full of law students with similar experiences, law schools prefer to admit applicants with a diversity of backgrounds. They prefer that you both seek out the types of involvement that most interest you and that you make the most of those experiences. So regardless of the type of involvement you choose, you should use it as an opportunity to develop the types of skills that will benefit you in law school.
What kind of volunteering should I do?
There is no one particular kind of volunteering that looks good on an application. Many law school applications have a theme. If the theme of your personal statement is that you really like helping people, and you want to work as a public interest lawyer, seeing some volunteering (any kind) on your resume helps support your theme. If your theme is around the environment and wanting to be an environmental lawyer, then volunteering in that context makes a lot of sense. Some applicants don’t immediately see a theme for themselves and that’s okay! You have time to figure that out before you apply. Many candidates don’t know what type of lawyer they want to be until after law school and that will not hurt you. You may find out later that your theme is some quality or trait about yourself that you are able to use in all of your activities. The key here is to follow your own interests and passions. If a volunteer opportunity appeals to you, it’s for a reason, and you should pursue what you like. Law schools want to see motivated, involved individuals, in whatever context that may be. If you’re looking for ideas for law related non-profits and other entities that you might be able to volunteer with, check out this list of sample volunteer opportunities. (This list is not updated regularly so it may not be up to date, and is intended to give ideas only.)
To find and join student organizations:
To find opportunities to volunteer:
Morgridge Center (UW Madison office dedicated to connecting students with volunteer opportunities)
To find research opportunities:
Examples of pre-law student organizations on campus:
Criminal Justice and Health Association (Exploring the overlap between health and law)
To find international opportunities:
*Note: Always check with the Study Abroad Office before signing up for any study abroad programs to find out if this is a University approved program and if not, what you should know about outside study abroad programs.