Welcome to another installment of 7Sage's weekly advice column, "Dear AO,” a "Dear Abby"-style column where you can ask any question to former law school admissions officers. Each week, we'll publish our answers to a couple of our favorite questions. Submit questions here.

Dear AO,

Hi, I am a current senior who decided junior year I wanted to go to law school. I had a weaker GPA due to COVID and being pre-med. My advisors told me I should wait and apply after my senior year in order to apply with my full GPA. I have worked hard to get it up to a 3.5. I am now studying for the LSAT and plan to take it in either June or August. And I have my gap year. I would like advice on what is best for me to do in my gap year. And how would I be able to strengthen my application since I am not like the regular applicants? Is there a significantly different approach I should take for my applications compared to KJD applicants? Thank you!!


Boston Bound

Dear Boston Bound,

First, thank you for your questions!

The general response that admissions officers give when asked about what to do in a gap year is, do something productive. This can mean a myriad of different things depending on the applicant. For someone like you, who changed their major and career path, you may want to consider something to help solidify your reasoning for wanting to be a lawyer now. AOs will want to hear about what was the specific thing or things that contributed to why law now. Typically this is explained in a personal statement. Don’t fret thinking you are not a normal applicant. We’ve seen this a million times, where people change course, whether it’s their major in college, or careers. As long as it is a compelling story/reason, and it makes sense, you should be fine.

As to what to do in your gap year? That all depends on what your reasoning is. If it is because you are now more interested in the policy of healthcare, then perhaps an internship or job working at a health or government agency. This could help you get an idea of how healthcare policy is created, shaped, and/or adjusted. This could be at any level like local, state, or federal. Or, perhaps as an intern or legal assistant at a law firm that works on healthcare cases.

Remember this: there are a lot of applicants who are successful in getting admitted into their dream law school who are not KJD. As long as your whole story (e.g., detailed résumé, personal statement, GPA addendum, LORs, etc.) explains how and why you are now applying to law school, you will put your best foot forward. And, of course, if you strategically choose a group of law schools that will give you a chance at your dream job as a lawyer, you should have no problem reaching your goal.

I hope this is helpful!


Dr. Riley

Dear AO,

I planned on attending law school at the end of my undergraduate degree when I was 21, but ultimately ended up on a different path. Now that I’m thinking of attending again at 31, I’ve logged into my old LSAC account and noticed that I still have a letter of recommendation there from an undergraduate professor! Can I reuse this for my current round of applications, or would admissions officers be put off by a 10-year-old letter of rec? (I will also have letters from employers and co-volunteers from community orgs from the intervening years.)



Hi OlderAndSlightlyWiser,

Great question! At this point, I would consider this letter a bit stale, but what I would recommend doing is reaching back out to that professor (assuming they’re still teaching) and asking whether they might be willing to refresh your letter. You can request a 20-minute call to catch up, provide them with a copy of their old letter and your current résumé, and go from there. Refreshing a letter is less taxing since the substance of the academic performance will still be the same, but you’ll get an updated date and perhaps some brief assessment of what you’ve been doing these last 10 years that they think also points you in the right direction in terms of success in law school. It never hurts to ask!

If you find that you can’t get the letter updated, you’re far enough out from undergrad now where an academic letter is not typically expected (it’s certainly nice when we receive them, but many schools that require one usually waive that requirement after 5 years). Two strong professional letters (ideally from people at different organizations, because ones from the same job can tend to overlap and be redundant) can be extremely effective in this instance.

Best of luck to you!