Six smart ways to make the most of a gap year before law school

    Article by Petrina Darrah

    Petrina Darrah

    Posted: March 30, 2022

    If you’re planning on taking a gap year before law school, you should know that you can have fun and work towards a career at the same time. 

    Choosing to take a gap year before college gives you a breather from your studies. It also helps you gain skills and experience that will make your law school application stand out. 

    Applying to college after a gap year will be a breeze, as long as you make the most of your time away from the classroom.

    Here are six clever ways to make the most of your gap year. 

    1) Develop your leadership abilities



    Taking a gap year before law school is an excellent chance to develop your leadership acumen. 

    Leadership abilities demonstrate that you have the necessary qualities to succeed in a law career. 

    Law schools will look favourably on your application if you can demonstrate leadership training or situations where your leadership skills came into play. 

    GVI’s volunteer or internship abroad programs can teach you both theoretical concepts and the practical skills necessary to lead a team.  

    2) Gain real-world experience in a field you care about



    Taking a gap year is a chance to gain work experience. Make the most of your gap year and apply for an internship or volunteer program in an area you’re interested in. 

    Even if you choose to work in a field that isn’t specifically law-related, working abroad can help you develop skills and talents that can be transferred to the field of law. 

    For example, an internship in Peru can help you develop the oral and written skills that are essential for a successful law career. Real-world experience proves that you are mature and capable, with knowledge that extends beyond a college classroom. 

    3) Work on your soft skills



    Law school admissions committees look for candidates that possess a strong set of soft skills. These types of skills are fundamental to succeeding in law school and in a law career. 

    GVI is committed to improving the employability of our program participants. When you choose to volunteer or intern abroad through one of GVI’s programs, you will be actively encouraged and supported in learning valuable soft skills such as critical thinking, communication, flexibility, patience and collaboration. 

    4) Set out to achieve your personal goals



    Another way to set yourself apart from other law school hopefuls is by demonstrating your talents or achievements. A gap year is the perfect time to build on these. 

    Grab hold of the opportunity to learn how to scuba-dive, work on a public health program or learn another language

    Setting goals for yourself is a great way to make the most of your gap year before law school. Set out to achieve a certain qualification, such as a PADI Divemaster or TEFL certification, so that you can clearly demonstrate what you have achieved in your year off.

    5) Show your commitment to supporting others



    One of the best things to do in a gap year is to volunteer abroad

    Volunteer experience is a valuable addition to law school applications. Showing that you are committed to making an impact in the world is a strong indicator that you will make a great contribution to society as a lawyer. 

    Volunteer programs are also an excellent way to gain a global perspective on issues such as education, women’s empowerment and public health, with many projects tying in with your career goals. 

    As well as looking good on your resume, our programs will help you grow into a well-rounded, globally-minded individual.

    6) Follow your passions



    One important thing to keep in mind when deciding what to do in a gap year, is to avoid choosing activities simply for the sake of resume building. 

    Thinking ahead to your career and what might benefit you in the future is important, but your gap year is also a time for freedom and discovery. 

    Gap year travel is a chance to pursue your passions and perhaps discover new ones. 

    Embrace the opportunity to explore your interests on a deeper level. You might not have had time to do this before and you might not have time again. 

    In the end, authenticity will win out over strategic planning on your law school application. Showing that you have clear interests, passions and motivations is more significant than simply ticking all the standard boxes. 



    Awesome gap year ideas that will ignite your passion include:


    Make the most of your gap year before law school with GVI. Explore our wide range of volunteer and internship abroad programs and apply today. 

    We understand that you may have questions about how COVID-19 will affect your travel plans. Visit our FAQs page which explains our latest safety protocols in response to COVID-19. 

    Disclaimer: The images in this article were taken pre-COVID-19.

    By Petrina Darrah

    Petrina Darrah is a freelance writer from New Zealand with a passion for outdoor adventure and sustainable travel. She has been writing about travel for more than five years and her work has appeared in print and digital publications including National Geographic Travel, Conde Nast Travel, Business Insider, Atlas Obscura and more. You can see more of her work at