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Use a gap year to strengthen your law school application

From a national service gap year to law school

Interested in law school? Our university partner at the University of Florida’s (UF) Levin College of Law believes that it does not hurt to take a gap year, as it allows applicants the opportunity to gain valuable skills that will take them far–both in the program and in their legal career.

“Taking a gap year to gain real-world experience exercising these core values is a growing trend among law school applicants,” said Ian McInnis, associate director for admissions recruitment at University of Florida. In fact, this year the school reports that more than 43% of their Juris Doctor candidates took at least one year off before enrolling in their Juris Doctor degree program.

“It adds to the diversity,” McInnis said. “City Year corps members’ experience serving in the inner city and their experience working with different populations and people from all types of backgrounds is something they can bring into our classrooms. […] It adds to the discussion and enriches the conversation and changes the experience for their classmates, as well.”

What makes someone a good attorney? McInnis believes it goes beyond a good LSAT score and undergraduate grade point average. City Year’s core values of empathy, inclusivity, a commitment to service and social justice are important qualities as well.

“These are all something an attorney needs to have in practice. They’re going out and dealing with differing values in communities, and they need to know how to value that diversity and act with empathy for the community. When we’re bringing students into [our program], we want them to have those skills. And we hope to build on those skills while they’re here.”

A gap year with City Year is one way applicants can deepen their understanding, experiences and commitment to those core values.

Because UF values the experiences AmeriCorps members bring to both the law industry and their school climate, every year a minimum of five City Year applicants are eligible for a minimum 25% tuition scholarship. To learn more about our partnership and eligibility, click here.

With a rich alumni network, more than 21,000 strong, The University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law has been committed to educating professionals, advancing legal scholarship, serving the public and fostering justice since 1909. Their program is designed to offer students a well-rounded legal education, and the opportunity to study and explore many areas of law.

To the City Year alumni who are interested in applying, McInnis offers this advice: Apply early. “The earlier you apply, the better the opportunities you’ll have. It opens the door for a timely decision and [merit-based] scholarships to still be available.”

A number of our alumni pursue careers in law after their service year. “I always knew I wanted to study law, but City Year helped me sharpen my focus and hone my management skills before I went to law school,” Matthew Tow, City Year Boston alumnus, said. Matthew is now an Attorney Advisor with the Social Security Administration. “City Year knows how to put its corps members into positions that will challenge and train them. I learned how to look at the big picture and think more responsibly.”

City Year Alumni University Partners are a network of higher education institutions providing benefits to members of the City Year network. Our wide range of partners believe the service experience of City Year alums can be an incredible asset to their communities, no matter the specific focus of their program. City Year is proud to partner with the University of Florida Levin College of Lawoffering a minimum 25% annual tuition scholarships to City Year AmeriCorps members, alums or staff.

Want to learn more about serving with City Year? Connect with us today:

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