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Activities & Involvement

Active involvement in clubs, organizations, community service, volunteer work, research, internships, and leadership activities while at UC Merced will assist you in strengthening skills for your future law school application as well as your future legal career.

It's never too early to become involved!  At UC Merced, you can explore and connect with new experiences and groups starting in your first year.

Begin to keep a complete list of your college activities, too.  Keeping an updated list will help you build your resume and have that information ready to include on your future law school applications.

Wondering where to start?  Browse our BAC page on Exploring Interests & Majors for examples and links to information about career exploration, leadership, internships, off-campus activities, research, volunteer work, and more.

Examples of other opportunities that may be of interest as you start your pre-law journey are below (note that this list is NOT exhaustive).



Search CatLife for a complete list and description of student clubs and organizations at UC Merced.

Examples of student groups that may be related to your specific law school interests or future legal career (but there are more than 200 registered student groups at UC Merced):

  • Associated Students of UC Merced (ASUCM)
  • Black Student Union
  • Bobcat Farmworker Alliance Network
  • Bobcat Model United Nations
  • CALPIRG (California Public Interest Research Group) at UC Merced
  • College Republicans at UC Merced
  • Merced Mock Trial
  • Merced Pre-Law Society
  • Phi Alpha Delta (Pre-Law Fraternity)
  • Prison Reform and Incarceration Abolishment Advocacy Club
  • RFK Young Leaders
  • Young Democratic Socialists of America UC Merced Chapter









California State Assembly Office of the Chief Clerk Internship Program

  • Paid full-time internship ($2,579 per month in 2023) in Sacramento at the California State Capitol from February through September.  Interns perform duties as legislative clerks, including amending and proofreading bills; processing legislation, analyses, and paperwork; and serving as liaison between the Assembly, Senate, Secretary of State, and Governor's Office.
    • Target applicants:  limited to third and fourth year students in any major enrolled at UC Merced, UC Davis, or CSU Sacramento or recent graduates from those three universities


Capital Fellows Programs

  • Paid fellowship in Sacramento in one of three programs:  Executive Fellowship Program, Judicial Fellowship Program, or Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship Program.  Programs begin in September or October and continue for 10-11 months.  Each fellowship includes a monthly stipend and health, dental, and vision benefits.
    • Target applicants:  must have a bachelor's degree by September 1st of the fellowship year and be at least 20 years old


The Maddy Institute Legislative Intern Scholar Program

  • Placement in part-time internships during the semester (3-6 hours per shift, 10 hours per week, 150 hours per semester) or in full-time summer internships (40 hours per week, 8-10 weeks per summer) in regional government offices, State of California offices in Sacramento, and national offices in Washington D.C.  Allows students to develop public leadership skills while gaining practical knowledge of the day-to-day operations of government and the political process.  Awards academic credit as well as a stipend.
    • Target applicants:  third or fourth year students or second year students with junior standing of 60 or more completed units


Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Congressional Internship Program

  • Paid summer (late May through early August) or fall semester (early August through mid-November) internship in Washington D.C. with leaders dedicated to improving the Latinx community.  Benefits include additional stipend for domestic round-trip transportation to Washington D.C. and furnished housing (rent and utilities covered).
    • Target applicants:  current full-time undergraduates with evidence of leadership skills and potential for leadership growth; preference given to students with financial need


Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Public Policy Fellowship Program

  • Paid nine-month fellowship (gross stipend of $29,574 in 2023) from August through May in Washington D.C.for Latinx college graduates pursuing a career in public policy.  Benefits include additional stipend for domestic round-trip transportation to Washington D.C.; medical, dental, and vision insurance; monthly stipend for the Metro (public transportation); housing voucher for up to four weeks before the start of the program.
    • Target applicants:  preference given to recent college graduates with financial need


Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Post-Graduate Fellowship Program

  • Paid nine-month fellowship (gross stipend of $34,200 in 2023) from August through May in Washington D.C. for exceptional emerging Latinx leaders interested in immersion in a specific public policy area.  Benefits include additional stipend for domestic round-trip transportation to Washington D.C.; medical, dental, and vision insurance; monthly stipend for the Metro (public transportation); housing voucher for up to four weeks before the start of the program.
    • Target applicants:  must have a completed master's degree or J.D. (law degree) within two years of program start date


Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship

  • Four-week multi-location summer program to empower 12 students of color with a curated study abroad experience focused on leadership, intercultural communication, and the tools needed to create positive change.  Participants receive free airfare, housing, and field trips and explore strategies for promoting social justice, resolving conflict, and advancing peace.  Summer 2023 program took students to Washington, D.C.; Cape Town, South Africa; and Dublin, Ireland.  All students who apply--even if not selected for the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship--will receive a $1500 Frederick Douglass Scholars Grant that could be used toward the cost of other Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) international programs.  Applications typically open in December and are due on Frederick Douglass' birthday (February 14).
    • Target applicants: current college freshman, sophomore, or junior with cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher.  Must be U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident and identify as American Indian/Native American, Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander.  Fellows are selected based on academic achievement, communication skills, and commitment to social justice.


UCLA Dream Summer

  • Paid summer fellowship ($7,000 fellowship award in 2023) from late June through mid-August coordinated by the UCLA Labor Center's Dream Resource Center (DRC).  Empowers immigrant youth and allies to be the next generation of social justice leaders.  Fellows are placed within social justice-based host organizations across the state of California and throughout the U.S. and work to incorporate and strengthen the role of immigrant rights issues alongside the unique challenges of queer and transgender communities, Asian and Pacific Islander communities, Black immigrant communities, the ongoing mass incarceration and criminalization of people of color, workers' rights, and health care access for all.  Promotes an intersectional, cross-racial, and intergenerational approach to social justice.
    • Target applicants:  open to all immigrant youth regardless of immigration status (including undocumented or DACA) and students who are both experienced social justice leaders as well as those who wish to begin or strengthen their involvement in social justice.  Applicants can indicate requested city and state of fellowship placement and do not need to live in the Los Angeles area.


Voyager Scholarship:  The Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service

  • Competitive two-year experience for approximately 100 college students interested in pursuing a public service career; provides access to travel, education, scholarship funding, and experienced mentors.  Selected Voyager Scholars attend a Fall Summit in junior year (round trip airfare and hotel provided) to help define and inspire their public service journey and plan for their individual Summer Voyage.  Design and complete Summer Voyage (approximately 6 weeks) between junior and senior year; receive $10,000 stipend and Airbnb travel credit to pursue this summer work-travel experience.  Receive "last dollar" financial aid up to $25,000 per year in both junior and senior year to cover remaining tuition, fees, and/or living costs after university financial aid.  Participate in ongoing speaker series with a network of regional, national, and international leaders.  After college graduation, Voyager Scholars 1) become part of the Obama Foundation global community with access to Foundation resources and programming and 2) receive $2,000 travel credit every year for 10 years (total $20,000) from Airbnb to continue to broaden horizons and forge new connections to enhance their public service career.  Applications typically due in March with selected participants notified in July; program begins in September.
    • Target applicants:  second year students in any major with demonstrated financial need entering their junior year of college at an accredited 4-year university in the U.S.  Must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or DACA recipients and have a 3.00 or higher cumulative GPA, junior standing academically, and a demonstrated commitment to pursue a public service career (including government, non-profit, or private sector).