Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Personal Statements, Resumes, and Letters of Recommendation => Topic started by: Jessica on May 06, 2001, 03:53:56 PM

Title: what should i write about
Post by: Jessica on May 06, 2001, 03:53:56 PM
hi everyone,

i'm a junior at james madison university in virginia.  i'm just getting started on my law school applications and i'm starting to think about what i'm goign to write for my personal statement.  my only problem is, i really haven't done anything that extraordinary or law related.  i've heard that it's not good just to talk about why you want to be a lawyer.  does anyone have any advice?
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: rwillaa on August 14, 2001, 12:58:27 PM
I know you wrote this in May but maybe you will check this again. Anyway I am having a similar problem. I was trying to think of an experience in my life that would reveal the kind of person I am without just coming out and saying I am this and I have done that and I want to do this etc.

Any suggestions PLEASE!!!
Even just suggestions for brainstorming are welcome

(Senior at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville)
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: harvard 1L on September 07, 2001, 10:15:51 AM
the obvious answer here is to write about yourself.  this is your opportunity to tell admission committees what makes you special.  you have several options:

1. write about an experience or activity (hopefully not law-related) that reveals your best qualities.  for example, i wrote about the characteristics that i developed through musical studies--self-motivation, perseverance, leadership and teamwork (through chamber music).  as long as the characteristics that you choose are broad enough, it will be easy for the law school to see how that could make you a good law student and, eventually, a good lawyer.

2. if you've been out of school for a while, or if you have a non-traditional route to law school, you may want to take a chronological route to explain why you want to go to law school now...  what are (were) you doing?  why don't you want to do it anymore?  what made you consider law school?  why do you think that you'll like practicing law more than what you were doing?

3. write about overcoming some type of obstacle--physical disability, family problems, anything--and how that difficulty changed your life.  a good friend of mine wrote about food allergies.  she was so allergic to wheat products (everything made with flour) that she would go into respiratory distress.  her story is one from painful reality to triumph (as she identified her allergy, then learned to live with it).  i don't think that she ever mentioned law anywhere in her essay, but her strengths (optimism, creativity, etc.) were highlighted without sounding stuffy or self-righteous.

4. write about the factors that have shaped you into the person you are today, a person wanting to pursue law as a career.  you could merge themes of family, education, extra-curriculars, honors, and work experience into this type of general personal statement.

5. write whatever you want... there really aren't any rules for this, as long as it's not too long.  most schools want a 2-page double-spaced document, so you'll probably have to do some serious editing.  get something on paper first, though, and take your time.

if, at some point, you'd like me to look over your current draft, i'd be happy to do so.  just e-mail me at china4now@yahoo.com.  i'll respond as i have time.
Title: me too!
Post by: Red on September 10, 2001, 12:13:23 PM
Hey!  I'm right outside of Philly!  Are you applying locally?  

I just found this site; I usually am found perusing the Princeton Review discussion boards, but this seems like a helpful site. Needs more traffic, though, to liven it up some...
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Jube on September 10, 2001, 01:06:54 PM
Here's a tip that an admissions officer gave me. Paraphrased, of course.

The person holding your essay isn't reading it with a big red pen going, "Why didn't she say this? Why didn't she say that? Where's the explanation for this? Why didn't she cure aids?" Instead, we're just reading it to get a sense of you as a person. Don't write "I want to go to law school because . . ." but tell us what led you to where you are.

Heh, this may not help at all, but I hope it does . . . a little? 8) Good Luck!
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: LindaAbraham on June 09, 2002, 11:37:05 AM
Most of the posters have provided excellent input.  But to put my advice in a nutshell:  Write about what's most important to you and distinctive about you.

Good luck!

Linda Abraham
Accepted.com
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Thomas on July 12, 2002, 08:39:54 AM
Have you checked out the website EssayEdge.com?  You can look through their many successful application essays for free.  If you decide to use their editing service, you'll need to pay a fee though.  But with the 10% discount coupon code ("1018119302"), the price is actually quite reasonable, plus their editing expertise is top-notch.  

Also I found this customers poll on their site:

1. Were you a college, professional school, or graduate school applicant?
33% college applicants, 43% professional school applicants, 19% graduate school applicants, 5% other applicants

2. On a scale of 1 - 10, how much did your editor improve your essay? Select "10" for "tremendous improvement"; select "1" for "absolutely no improvement."
9.1

3. To what extent will you incorporate EssayEdge edits into the final version of your essay. Select "10" for "accept every edit"; select "1" for "reject every edit."
8.7

4. Were you satisfied with EssayEdge?
99+ percent "YES"

5. Did you find the critique helpful?
93 percent "YES"

6. On a letter grade scale of F to A+, please rate the overall quality or EssayEdge editing?
A

7. Did you get into one of the top three schools on your initial list? Did you get into the top school?
At least one of top three: 94 percent yes. Top school: 66 percent yes

8. Do you think EssayEdge editing improved your chances of admission?
96 percent yes

9. Would you recommend EssayEdge to a friend?
98 percent yes

 
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Dustin Farahnak on April 29, 2003, 03:37:05 PM
great thomas, thanks for the commercial, i know of people who used essay edge, paid a fortune, and got nothing in return.  here's a tip friends, if you are such a poor writer that you need to pay hundreds for someone to write about you, or you don't feel like you are the most qualified to be your own personal statement author, don't go to law school.  being an attorney means having one skill first: the ability to write.  it is obvious when you submit a canned resume or essay, and people who are great authors can find better work.  do it yourself, and get your school or freinds to look it over...

sorry if i offended anyone, but getting into a law school that meant to screen out non-writers when you can't write is an expensive exercise in mediocrity >:(
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Alec on May 30, 2003, 07:34:30 AM
I completely agree. There's nothing wrong with having someone proofread your essay, but you don't need a paid service for this. If you cannot write well enough to get into law school (given appropriate credentials), then it may well be worth considering other options. As far as "canned" essays go, you must also consider whether you feel ethically comfortable representing that product as your own work. I certainly wouldn't.
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Madison on July 26, 2003, 06:32:14 PM
A guy actually had the nerve to post on Craigslist, looking for someone to write his law school personal statement. As he put it he was just too busy with work and lazy to write the paper. You've got to be foolish to solicit writers on the web for a personal statement. That person has probably written the same or similar paper for others!  ::)
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: CDangerz on August 08, 2003, 06:40:53 PM
Is it okay if I write about how losing a lot of weight (25lbs) changed my life for my personal statement?
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: labraham on August 11, 2003, 01:12:16 PM
Quote
Is it okay if I write about how losing a lot of weight (25lbs) changed my life for my personal statement?


That depends. I would need to know much more about you before answering definitively. Perhaps you have had other experiences that demonstrate more leadership or communications skills or dedication to your community and those experiences would be more appropriate. Perhaps this is the most appropriate experience and then you should try to show how this transformational achievement has led to great things.

Good luck!  :)
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Ivy_Hopeful on August 12, 2003, 10:04:29 AM
Maddison,
    I am outraged to hear that mature law school applicants
would actually stoop as low as to have someone do some of the work FOR them.  I hope that they are caught and reprimanded (such as an over qualified person to a school, gets rejected becasue they see that two different people have the same essay or close to it).  These people do not deserve to go to law school, they make me sick, don't you agree? And also being that they are soliciting on the web is just plain idiotic.
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: beninoregon on September 02, 2003, 08:18:19 AM
Hmmm... I think those essay services are for an act of desperation. ;)  

Overcoming adversity definately is a good topic.  That is what I wrote about, and I got accepted to schools I had no business being accepted to. =) I eventually picked one which gave me a very decent scholarship.

I wrote about overcoming being extremely introverted.  So, you see, you don't have to be a poor, downtrodden child of an immigrant coal factory worker to write about overcoming adversity.  Just make sure that you don't OVERSTATE the horrors of your adversity if it was not life threatening.
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Ivy_Hopeful on September 02, 2003, 05:29:39 PM
I am most likely goingto be including how I overcame adversity, I had this in mida all along.  I have been throgh alot and I will mention it if need be, it all depends on what they are looking for particularly in the Personal Statement.  Last comment is to Ben, how could your personal statement have so much pull at a school that you believed "you had no business" being accepted to? I realize that many portions of one's application are considered for admission, including Personal Statements, and essays alike. However I strongly doubt that it was your personal statement that put you through the doors of admission into a school that (you believe) clearly would not have admitted you otherwise.  I am simply curoius about this matter.  :)
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: beninoregon on September 03, 2003, 07:33:16 AM
Well, its not true that I had no business being accepted there... as, clearly, I WAS accepted there, so it must have been my business. ;)

But anyhow, I was helped by many things.  My PS DID turn out very well.  Also, I have a lot of volunteer and leadership activities on my resume.  Also, I am part asian.  Also, I was a music major.


I guess I just look spiffy!  Remember... if you are half something other than white, mark your race as "mixed" or "other" on your application.  They SAY it doesn't matter... but who believes that? Give yourself all the advantages you can get.

BUT DO NOT LIE.  Wanted to make sure I made that clear.  Those Bar guys will getcha!
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Ivy_Hopeful on September 03, 2003, 08:19:26 AM
Ben,
I know what you mean diversity is everything for prospective law students I am half Sicilian and half German, althoug I am caucasion my heritage speaks for itself.  I am sure that I can claim my heritage for my mother is 100% german and my father is 100% Sicilian, that makes me 50/50 and no in between went applying to law school I will be as I am a Sicialn-German applicant.   :)
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: beninoregon on September 03, 2003, 02:33:23 PM
Yep.  Thats fairly white. lol. =)  I think you have to be from two continents or something for it to count....

or whatever.  =\
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Ivy_Hopeful on September 03, 2003, 06:53:56 PM
Touché  :)
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: josh on September 10, 2003, 07:47:10 AM
Quote
Hmmm... I think those essay services are for an act of desperation. ;)  

Overcoming adversity definately is a good topic.  That is what I wrote about, and I got accepted to schools I had no business being accepted to. =) I eventually picked one which gave me a very decent scholarship.

I wrote about overcoming being extremely introverted.  So, you see, you don't have to be a poor, downtrodden child of an immigrant coal factory worker to write about overcoming adversity.  Just make sure that you don't OVERSTATE the horrors of your adversity if it was not life threatening.


hey, do you mind sharing a little more of what you wrote about in your personal statement? it's a really interesting angle... but how exactly does overcoming shyness translate into academic success? totally not a criticism. just wondering if you could elaborate a bit.
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: law school hopeful on September 13, 2003, 08:32:00 AM
I wrote about a project in high school that first got me interested in law school and then  how when I went to college I found accounting interesting so I decided to combine my two interests.  My statment is only a page and a half typed. Does anyone think this is too short?
Title: Re: what should i write about
Post by: Ivy_Hopeful on September 13, 2003, 12:35:29 PM
No I don't believe that the quantity matters at all.  More or less the quality of the statement. Your approach in the Personal Statement is very unique and I think it will be treated as such, good luck in law school!  ;)
Title: Need some help?
Post by: Jenny on December 13, 2003, 01:43:19 AM
Wow.. what a great message board! I hope some of you experienced lads are reading this post from me...sooner the better! I want to hunker down some solid effort into the personal statement.

Anyone familiar with the SCALE program at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles? It's the only 2 year interdisplinary program approved for an ABA school, or so they claim.  As much as I'm interested in applying there, the limited acceptance to this particular program Has convicned me that my essay needs to be spotless! Stellar! Last year they only accepted 45 from the pool of 800. Actually total student body may have been about 300 total??

So, last night I wrote up a draft of my work experience -- overcoming some difficulty this year at the workplace. I read it over. I'm not happy. So, I started another draft of another job-related, emotionally tramatic experience. In fact, this whole year at work has been a tramatic experience. I guess I'd really appreciate some solid input from strangers since I don't feel comfortable having anyone I know personally to read it.

Does this make sense? Any excellent editing critic out there willing to read these sacred thoughts? Umm.. Help? Please email me. I think you can just click on my name. :)

THANK YOU!!!
Title: Re:what should i write about
Post by: Jenny on December 13, 2003, 01:45:16 AM
Yikes. I'm not linked. My email is redvinesla@yahoo.com