Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Personal Statements, Resumes, and Letters of Recommendation => Topic started by: Htown on December 01, 2014, 10:56:17 AM

Title: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Htown on December 01, 2014, 10:56:17 AM
Should I write a conclusion for each individual school, or just one generic one?

My personal statement is about wanting to help immigrants as an immigrant. Not sappy, or cheesy (hopefully).

Dont know a good way to end my PS that is simple and sweet.

Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Miami88 on December 01, 2014, 04:35:48 PM
I wouldn't if it feels at all like you are merely tacking it on at the end. In other words, if you are specifically tying in the school's programs/professors/etc with your personal statement, then ok. But if its a "insert school name" here kind of conclusion, I would avoid it. Also, research the FAQ sections for the school's admissions department. Several schools (like Yale) explicitly state they don't want you to take up real estate by, essentially, just blowing smoke - i.e., they don't want to see their name on the PS at all. Others welcome it.

I personally wrote school specific conclusions for the schools that had the programs I was really interested in (that fit in 100% with my PS). Other than that, I wrote generic conclusions.

In the end, I doubt it really makes much of a difference. If you have the time and can make the school specific conclusion sincere - go for it. Other than that, don't worry about it.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Citylaw on December 01, 2014, 05:58:57 PM
It will make little difference, but I know when I did mine I had a final sentence that said allowed me to plug in the name of the school at the end.

You could say something along the lines of I look forward to learning how to assist immigrants with achieving their dreams at  (INSERT LAW SCHOOL). Law School is well known for their outstanding legal education curriculum and I know that if I am admitted there (INSERT LAW SCHOOL) will be proud to call me an alumni.

At the end of the day, however your personal statement means little to your chances of admission. It is based almost entirely on LSAT/GPA.

Good luck on your pursuit of legal education.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Groundhog on December 02, 2014, 06:31:20 PM
You could say something along the lines of I look forward to learning how to assist immigrants with achieving their dreams at  (INSERT LAW SCHOOL). Law School is well known for their outstanding legal education curriculum and I know that if I am admitted there (INSERT LAW SCHOOL) will be proud to call me an alumni.
This is blatantly transparent. Admissions rolls their eyes at these.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: barprephero on December 02, 2014, 07:19:39 PM
Literally NO ONE cares about that letter. Seriously don't overthink it. It's valued even lower than references, which are also almost more ceremonial than anything else. "Can" it matter? Sure. But 99% of the time it's just filling in the box since its a requirement.

Just don't write it in crayon with spelling errors and swears and you should be fine.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Groundhog on December 02, 2014, 07:35:50 PM
Have to disagree. Personal statement can be much more helpful or harmful to an applicant than references. While no one is immune from their numbers, an amazing story or a poorly-written personal statement has a much more meaningful impact on the admissions committee than the usually dry letters. This matters the most when the applicant is competitive, but not a presumptive admit by the numbers, presumably the kinds of schools about which an applicant would care.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Citylaw on December 03, 2014, 08:52:49 AM
I think they matter as well, and as to the earlier comment agreed the conclusion I wrote will not win any awards, but I think it works. I think many applicants struggle for months on their personal statement, and that at the end of the day I think that is way to much time, because your numbers will make or break you, and you either have a truly inspirational story or you don't.

No matter how well you write about interning at X law office, or your desire to help people, etc admissions officers will likely roll their eyes, but at least you submitted a competent statement.  If you rescued orphans as a Navy Seal in Iraq spend time telling that story as well as possible, but 95% of law school applicants do not have a page-turning story to tell.

Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: barprephero on December 03, 2014, 01:29:00 PM
Maybe I worded it poorly, I meant its not enough to make up for GPA and LSAT and that even someone with horrible everything else but great GPA and LSAT will win vs perfect everything else and questionable GPA or LSAT. (based on what I've seen and heard in real life)
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Citylaw on December 03, 2014, 02:26:54 PM
It made sense it is meaningless, but not that high of a priority. At the end of the day GPA/LSAT make up 90-95% of your LSAT, and again unless you have a great story to tell worrying about a perfect personal statement is not that important, and most people do not have that exciting of a story to tell.

Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Groundhog on December 03, 2014, 05:22:04 PM
One mustn't have done something incredible to write a great personal statement. The best personal statements I've read were sincere and self-aware, gave me an idea about the applicant. None of the most outstanding personal statements I've read were about any particularly noteworthy achievements, but the writing set them apart. Years later, I remember one about playing the cello. The applicant wasn't particularly skilled in the cello, a competent college player at best, and made no effort to appear otherwise, but she described what it meant to her in a way that gave me understanding of who she was.

I feel like this discussion is partially missing the point. By the time one is writing a personal statement, one should already have an LSAT and GPA. Yes, those are the most important factors, and will account for 90% of your admissions chances. But that remaining margin is likely to matter at reach or target schools, where applicants are in a pile getting more scrutiny and either neither presumptively denied nor admitted(competitive) or slight presumptive deny.

In sum, the personal statement is important because it's the biggest factor outside of LSAT and GPA, which should already be determined by the time an applicant writes a personal statement. This matters the most for schools an applicant is most concerned about, the target and reach schools. It absolutely makes the difference at the best law schools where an applicant is likely to be admitted.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Citylaw on December 03, 2014, 05:50:08 PM
I agree with everything you said, but I think what often gets lost in these discussions, law school books, etc is that the majority of OL's are not trying to get into Stanford, Harvard, Yale etc. I would estimate that more than 75% of law school applicants nationwide are realistic enough to know that they are not getting into an Ivy League school. However, these OL's who have no intention of going to an Ivy League school read these books and think they need to write a personal statement that meets Ivy League standards for admission to Washburn Law School, which is not true. A well over 100 ABA schools schools the admissions committee will look at the GPA/LSAT and read the personal statement to see if the individual can write competently. They will not need to be moved to tears by the personal statement, and it just needs to get done.

So again, I agree with everything you said, but I think there is bigger disconnect as the individuals writing about law school admission typically went to T14 schools and couldn't imagine not wanting to be partner at Cravath or sitting on the Supreme Court, but the majority of law students just want a J.D., bar admission, and a job that offers some personal satisfaction.

I have now taken the topic almost completely off point, but I do think the fact that many people writing about law schools etc impose their views and ambitions on those that don't care as much creates confusion. 

Conclusion:
The personal statement is important, and is the third most important beyond GPA/LSAT. If you are trying to get into Harvard Law School and that is your goal then hire someone to review your personal statement and spend days reviewing it, because the margin for admission there is that thin.

However, if your goal is to get a J.D., admitted to a state bar, and practice law spend 10-20 hours on a personal statement have a friend or two review it for grammar, and apply. I cannot tell you how many people I see never end up pursuing their fairly achievable goals, because they think everything needs to be perfect.

Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Groundhog on December 03, 2014, 06:44:45 PM
It's not just about getting into Harvard. The personal statement matters just as much for anyone applying to schools where they aren't a lock based on numbers, regardless of whether it's the lowest-ranked ABA school or a Tier 1 or Harvard. Unless one is only applying to safety schools, writing a good personal statement is important.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: barprephero on December 03, 2014, 09:19:10 PM
One mustn't have done something incredible to write a great personal statement. The best personal statements I've read were sincere and self-aware, gave me an idea about the applicant. None of the most outstanding personal statements I've read were about any particularly noteworthy achievements, but the writing set them apart. Years later, I remember one about playing the cello. The applicant wasn't particularly skilled in the cello, a competent college player at best, and made no effort to appear otherwise, but she described what it meant to her in a way that gave me understanding of who she was.

I feel like this discussion is partially missing the point. By the time one is writing a personal statement, one should already have an LSAT and GPA. Yes, those are the most important factors, and will account for 90% of your admissions chances. But that remaining margin is likely to matter at reach or target schools, where applicants are in a pile getting more scrutiny and either neither presumptively denied nor admitted(competitive) or slight presumptive deny.

In sum, the personal statement is important because it's the biggest factor outside of LSAT and GPA, which should already be determined by the time an applicant writes a personal statement. This matters the most for schools an applicant is most concerned about, the target and reach schools. It absolutely makes the difference at the best law schools where an applicant is likely to be admitted.
I'm not saying it can't be "great", I am just saying it wont' have much difference even if it is.
Should you try to do your best at everything (including this) in life? Sure. Would even saying you made a promise to a dying priest that you pulled out of a burning orphanage that you'd go to law school for (random reason that makes sense)? Not really.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: barprephero on December 03, 2014, 09:21:50 PM
It's not just about getting into Harvard. The personal statement matters just as much for anyone applying to schools where they aren't a lock based on numbers, regardless of whether it's the lowest-ranked ABA school or a Tier 1 or Harvard. Unless one is only applying to safety schools, writing a good personal statement is important.
I"m not saying that a horrible one wouldn't make a top school cringle and toss yours out "I wunt to go to lawskull 2 b prezidunt" might ruin you. As might "I want to go to learn how to get away with murdering widows whose husbands wronged me" also might likely ruin you.

But......When applying to a safety school. Honestly I think saying "Hi, my name is George and I like pie" will still get you in if you otherwise qualified.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Citylaw on December 05, 2014, 02:04:03 PM
At the end of the day everyone more or less agrees.

If your numbers are in the median to low end of a school you really want to get into spend a lot of time on the personal statement it will be reviewed. However, if you are applying to Whittier for example and have a 3.4 160, write a solid personal statement. Even those numbers if you write something like IMD says i.e. I wunt law school to be Prez one day and make some straight cash, then you might end up rejected event though your numbers were well above the median.

However, a cookie cutter personal statement with a 3.4 160 will get you into the schools your numbers are close to. I think a lot more time is spent on it than necessary, I look back at mine and I must have spent weeks maybe months on my personal statement. I got into all the schools I expected to, scholarships from safety schools, and rejected from my reach schools. Exactly as the numbers predicted.

After passing the bar I reread my personal statement for sh**ts and giggles, and it was fine. It talked about wanting to help people, my experience as a paralegal, etc probably the same exact story all my classmates wrote.

Basically I spent way to much time on it and actually applied to less schools, because I focused on drafting a "perfect" personal statement for each school. I would have been better off spending time applying to some additional schools for more options instead of drafting a perfectly competent and normal personal statement, which I kept trying to make perfect.
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: barprephero on December 05, 2014, 07:32:18 PM
If I honestly thought I was on just a thin line where the smallest gust of wind from a cricket burping could knock me into the accepted or denied camps, I wouldn't leave it to myself to try to get it right. I'd PAY someone to do it.

I know that there are essay writing companies out there, and even thesis writing companies (I knew unethical people who used them to get A's in paper classes) So do you think there are companies that specialize in admissions writings? (retired admissions staff and the like)
Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: Citylaw on December 08, 2014, 08:52:09 AM
If you have time and money to spend on a personal statement advisor go for it. Also hire a personal trainer, nutritionist, personal stylist, so on and so on.

I am sure you could hire some former admission officer from Ex-School to assist you with your personal statement, but at some point why not just give a generous donation to the school. I have friends that have done that to gain admission to top schools.

Title: Re: Need advice on Personal Statement Conclusion
Post by: barprephero on December 08, 2014, 12:21:28 PM
If you have time and money to spend on a personal statement advisor go for it. Also hire a personal trainer, nutritionist, personal stylist, so on and so on.

I am sure you could hire some former admission officer from Ex-School to assist you with your personal statement, but at some point why not just give a generous donation to the school. I have friends that have done that to gain admission to top schools.
all satire aside, one costs almost nothing and the other requires a trust fund