You don’t need me to remind you of this, but I will say it anyway: law school can be really, really hard. Add to this the complications of being a single parent and you may end up not having nearly enough time to complete your classwork or study for important exams. This could result in a much lower GPA than anticipated. With this in mind, you may be fretting about how to get an internship with a low GPA. This is completely understandable. Two things to know right off the bat, though: you are not alone, and there is plenty that you can do to compensate for lackluster grades.
Get Yourself a Great Internship with a Not-So-Great GPA
Contrary to what you might expect or believe, plenty of people are in your exact same position. And, more helpfully, there are a number of practical “hacks” that you can employ to make the best of what you do have. WayUp recommends a handful of tips and tricks for anyone on how to get an internship with a low GPA.
The first suggestion is so obvious that you may kick yourself for not having thought of it already: just take your GPA off of your resume. That’s right. There’s no law saying that you have to display your grade point average for all the world to see. If it’s not “top of the class” amazing, then you are probably better off not including it in any way.
The next thing you can do also pertains to your resume. Basically, make it sparkle. I don’t mean use a glitter pen. WayUp says that you can set yourself apart from the rest of the pack by tailoring your resume application. Make each one specific to the actual firm or justice or organization to which you are applying.
Go further than this, though. Write the best cover letter the world has ever seen and send it to every one of your desired employers. Ask your law professors and career services center to help you improve it until it shines. Librarians are often helpful in this regard as well. If you have any work samples or pieces you wrote for your school’s law review, go ahead and include those, too.
Even with all this, the truth is that you may still find it difficult to get your most highly desired internship. That said, there is one high-level “hack” that works better than just about anything else for how to get an internship with a low GPA. In fact, this particular trick of the trade can be successful regardless of grade point average. I’m talking, of course, about referrals.
Connect with people in your network and determine if there is anyone that knows of a job opening, has a connection to that position, and is willing to vouch for you and thus refer you to the proper channels directly. It is hard to overstate the value of a personal referral. All companies know that hiring someone with at least a tangential connection to the organization is nearly always a better situation than not. According to one survey, nearly 90% of “respondents felt that referrals were the number one source for a quality candidate.” That is a staggering statistic, and it could very well mean the difference between you getting a job or sitting the summer out.
Summary Judgment for Getting Internships with a Low GPA
Again, there is no lex scripta for resume applications and how to get an internship with a low GPA. If your grades aren’t off the charts, just leave them all off. Instead, do everything that they aren’t expecting you to do, like the stellar cover letter and the legal writing samples. And there is nothing quite like a personal recommendation. That could land you a summer internship regardless of your grades or GPA.
Finally, I’m going to end with something else that you already know. If your GPA isn’t where you want it to be, do you absolute best to improve it over the coming year(s). That way, when your law school tenure is at a close, you will know both that you did the best you could and that you have a better chance of securing that prized gig you really wanted to land.
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