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Choosing the Right Law School / UW v UC Davis v BC v Fordham
« on: March 26, 2014, 07:20:41 AM »
Hi, so I have heard back from all schools as well as scholarship information, and I am having a hard time deciding..

Background: I want to practice public interest law, eventually in California (where I am from) or the west coast. I will be taking out loans to cover tuition not covered by scholarships. My main concern for choosing a school is obviously employment opportunities and LRAP and other public interest funding.

I am deciding between:

University of Washington: this was my top choice, but only received $10k/year in merit aid (tuition is $43k) emailed and asked for more aid, was told none would be available until maybe** after the deposit deadline

UC Davis: received $25k a year in merit aid (tuition is $47k), a little hesitant about living in a rural area, but in California so good for jobs

Boston College: received $22k/year in aid (tuition is $45k a year). I live in Boston now and went to BC for undergrad, it has a lot of programs I am interested in, but I am worried about trying to find a job on the west coast

Fordham: received $15k a year in merit aid, tuition is $48 k a year, emailed and asked for more money, have not hear back. I have lived in NYC and love it there, a lot of great PI law opportunities, but the school's employment rates are not great and again, worried about jobs on the west coast.

Any input on these schools and advice would be great!

does anyone have any insight or comments about starting the personal statement with a "hook" ie, a story or description? Do you think it is better to do that and follow it with a topic sentence or keep the statement more organized by starting with your main point and then going into stories and description?

The section I am thinking about placing at the beginning as a hook is only 4 lines, and followed immediately by the main point of my statement, then I back track a little to give more contaxt, then continue off of the hook by discussing what happened after that and how I grew from it.


After reading a bit more about diversity statements, I think that the following can be applicable, but I am hesitant.

Please let me know what your opinion is-is this a valid and helpful diversity statement, or is it completely wrong and/or insensitive to actual diversity statements?

Any comments appreciated!

Last year, as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, I lived in an intentional community with seven other women in Central Harlem. We chose to live out the values of simple living, community, spirituality, and social justice. Each of us earned $500 a month working at different public service organizations in New York City. We each put our entire paycheck into our shared bank account. As a group, we managed our account to pay for rent, groceries, house supplies, transportation, and modest personal spending.

We chose to live without cable and Internet, and we tried to make all of our meals from scratch. We ate together most evenings, each of us taking turns to cook for the community. We committed to having a spirituality night and a community night each week. During spirituality night, we would explore a particular value or faith, engage in a dynamic or personal reflection, or have a discussion about a social justice issue. For community night, we would go to a local event, volunteer as a group, or play board games together. In addition, we decided to take on a sustainability challenge each month. One month we did not eat meat, another month we did no buy any plastic water bottles or containers.

The lifestyle I led with my community last year was counter-cultural in a number of ways. At a time when our culture is defined by consumerism and individualism, especially among people in their 20’s, we made a conscious decision to share ourselves and our possessions and resources with each other every day. I learned to collaborate with my peers with understanding and resourcefulness, and I developed a strong ability to adapt to difficult situations with humor and creativity. I grew to be more open to different ideas and truly appreciate the company of others. I also grew in my ability to let go of my personal desires and ambitions in order to focus on how I can contribute to the good of the community, and I practiced lending my skills and ideas to positive teamwork.

Living as a Jesuit Volunteer was not easy, especially in New York City. My patience was tested beyond its previous limits, I missed luxuries I used to take for granted, and I was distracted by the commotion and glamour of the city. But this experience allowed me to grow in empathy and responsibility towards the people around me, awareness of the reality in which many people live, and self-confidence to be different and actively challenge societal norms and common injustices. Because of this experience, I will bring unique insight and fresh perspective and to (X school).

This is a draft for an optional statement, the prompt asks you what life events or experiences have had the greatest influence on your character and why. limit 500 words. I really wanted to write about running because it has had a hug impact on my life (added info on my resume-ran two years at BC, run for Boston Track Club, have completed 5 marathons) but now I think this just sounds stupid and generic, does anyone have any thoughts? Is this an okay direction or should I scratch it for something else? Thank you!!

A lot of things have happened in my life. My parents got divorced and family members and friends have died. I lived in Spain and re-built houses in rural West Virginia. All my experiences have contributed to who I am. But running has been a continual life journey that has had the greatest influence on my character. I have run every day for nine years. The skills and insight I have gained from running have allowed me to learn and grow from everything that I have been through. Running has shaped my personality and sharpened my best qualities; it stretches my curiosity for exploring places and ideas and improving myself.

The discipline and accountability I developed through running has translated into my academic and work performance. I have learned to achieve goals with both physical and mental endurance. Dedication is difficult, especially in the face of failure. I have been injured multiple times. I have finished last in races. My freshman year, I did not make the Boston College Cross Country team. During these trials I built the determination and confidence to pick myself up and try again. I developed an unwavering faith in tomorrow, in the next run and the next try. This mindset allowed me to not only earn a spot on the BC team my sophomore year, but also to overcome obstacles and excel in school, jobs, and service. My success in running is a reflection of my ability to sustain tolerance for a prolonged period of time. Growing as a runner has allowed me to grow in patience towards myself and those around me. I have worked with people who are difficult and people close to me have let me down. I approach these situations with an internal strength to resolve issues, help others, and thrive with continued passion and understanding. 

Running has altered my perspective of the world and has given me an overwhelming sense of appreciation. Few people have the privilege of running everyday, and each run acts as a reminder of the countless blessings in my life. I interact with other people and communities with the knowledge that I come from a position of tremendous opportunity and owe those around me everything I have. When I run, I am completely in the moment. The ability to be present in every moment allows me to fully give myself to others.
Training with talented runners and racing in marathons among thousands of people has given me a deep sense of humility. It easy to get caught up in myself. I have my own agenda and I have accomplished a lot. Running has taught me that life is not about me. Someone else is going to win the race, and countless will beat me. Very few people will know what school I go to or the success I have. But running has taught me to strive towards my best in spite of that, because I will make a difference in someone’s life, and that is enough.

Here is my rough draft, I would love any comments!

 I did not realize I was different until I was 22 years old. Up until then, I had only been distantly conscious of any reality outside of what I perceived to be normal. Then, literally overnight, I was caught in that reality. Suddenly, I was acutely aware of the color of my skin, the clothes I wore, and how I spoke. Every time I walked down the street it was as if I followed a few feet behind my body, witnessing my presence and how other people reacted to it. For the first time, I was uncomfortable with myself. Learning how to live and work outside of my familiar bubble helped me understand myself and the people and situations around me in a different way, and helped me develop a concrete sense of how I can best give myself to others.

When I committed to a year of post-graduate service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had always felt compelled to help others, but throughout high school and college I rarely did service work outside my white, upper class bubble. When I did, it was always with people I knew, and never for more than a week. I effectively stayed outside of the hardship I worked to end, and I only saw the surface of the unfamiliar communities I reached out to. When I moved to New York to start my JVC year, that all changed. My seven roommates and I lived in an old convent in the almost exclusively African American neighborhood of Central Harlem. I worked in Rent Stabilized apartment buildings throughout the Puerto Rican, Jamaican, and Indian neighborhoods of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. And I was the different one. Everything I did, from waiting for the bus outside the Soft Touch Car Wash to working out at the local YMCA, caused people to stare, call me names, and yell accusations. Every day, I felt like an intruder in peoples’ lives.

Working as a tenant organizer was particularly difficult. I was immersed way over my head in an environment with a level of distress I had ever seen. Not knowing what else to do, I moved forward as if I was still inside my bubble, separated from the communities with which I worked. I did my research, made brochures and meeting agendas, and went out to tell tenants why and how they should organize a tenant association. But my words were aimless. I had created invisible boundaries around the tenants, and I was afraid to cross them. This prevented me from really knowing their lives, problems, and ideas. But the tenants at 2425 Nostrand Avenue, a building with 169 units primarily occupied by first generation Trinidadian-Americans, did not let me get away with sustaining those boundaries.

The first meeting I held at 2425 Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn was the second tenant meeting I ever led. “Look!” one tenant shouted after I had delivered my introduction. “I was the president of the old tenant association, we’ve already tried it. What makes you qualified to be here, why should we even listen to you?” I was sure that every person in the crowded lobby could feel the sensation of sweat accumulating into patches on the inside of my shirt. “Okay,” I stammered. “It sounds like you all aren’t interested in organizing another tenant association.” After mumbling something about my contact information, I rushed out of the building. I had never been so blatantly and forcefully called out and questioned by anyone, about anything. And though I put up a confident front, complete with a ten-step guide to forming a tenant association and the ability to recite NYC housing statistics, I had no idea what I was doing.
I thought I would be able to forget about the tenants on Nostrand Avenue. I could not connect with them and did not know how to help them, and I assured myself that they had already forgotten about me. But soon the phone calls started to come. One Nostrand tenant, Marie Rezeau, called me twice per day. She challenged me to come back to the building, reminding me that I had promised to help them. She was right, and I went back. At her kitchen table, as she told me that some tenants had already discussed filing a Housing Part petition against their landlord for failure to meet legal conditions requirements, but they needed assistance. I did not know anything about housing court, and helping with an HP action was not exactly within my job description, but Marie’s pleading eyes pulled me in, and I agreed to do it.

Working with the tenants of 2425 Nostrand Avenue was physically and emotionally exhausting. I traveled to the building, a mile from the last stop on 2 train in Brooklyn, countless times. I spent evenings making phone calls and knocking on apartment doors to collect intake forms and surveys, and I spent hours talking and compromising with tenant leaders. I sat with a crying mother in her mold-infested apartment, saw floors ruined by years of flooding, and listened to the intimidating voicemails from the landlord on a tenant’s phone. But I also learned to teach, organize, and support tenants. And I saw them start campaigns and win a class action to get the repairs they deserved. Interacting with tenants throughout the New York City neighborhoods that most people never see, I experienced racism, suffering, and injustice in the most raw and personal way. As I grew more invested in the lives of the tenants, I overcame my fear of being different. I slowly broke down the barriers I had constructed and built effective relationships with those around me. The tenants had a way of pulling me out of myself and away from the narrow lens through which I had been viewing the world, and I developed a clearer understanding of my role in others’ lives from within the communities I came to love.

When I was a senior in college, I would have told anyone that I did not want to be a lawyer. “I want to do something meaningful for other people,” I would have said. But I was blinded from what that really meant. The year I spent as a Jesuit Volunteer was a defining one for me because it built upon my previous years of education and service to help me make sense of my passion for helping others. I learned to embrace unfamiliarity and invest the time to appreciate peoples’ obstacles and potential separate from my own opinions and ego. I helped people succeed on their own terms, and that is the most powerful and fulfilling work I have ever done. I realize my responsibility and sincere desire to be open to the reality outside of my bubble, to walk with and learn from those I serve.

As a tenant organizer, I was able to educate tenants and unify them around obstacles they faced. I helped them create awareness and long-term strategies. But I was often frustrated with my inability to help them achieve specific results and gain tangible control over issues. My work in housing court showed me how the law can be a powerful tool for those who are otherwise disadvantaged to earn results and control. I know that providing legal services is not always easy or successful. I worked alongside attorneys who exhausted themselves fighting seemingly impossible battles. But I also saw them help tenants exert legal pressure on landlords to make real change, like repairing a boiler that allowed tenants who had waited for five months to finally take warm showers and cook meals at home. Being able to help people create that change is worth the hard work. I now know that I want to study law because it will allow me to pursue a career in which I can use my knowledge, insight, and skills to be an agent of positive change and opportunity in individual lives and communities. Practicing law will allow me to combine my skills in research and writing with my passion for listening to and interacting with people to naturally and effectively contribute to the development the notion of the global common good and the movement towards a more just and sustainable society.


Law School Admissions / university of washington
« on: July 12, 2013, 11:37:45 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I took the June 2013 LSAT and got a 163. I have a 3.5 GPA. I am hoping to get admitted to U of Washington this coming admission cycle and apply for their public interest scholarship program. I am debating whether I should retake the LSAT in October. (I had scored a 167-168 pretty consistently on practice tests, so I think I can improve my score) or do you think I can be a strong candidate at U of W with my current stats? I also have two years work experience. Other schools I want to apply to: Boston University, Boston College, Fordham, American, George Washington, Vanderbilt, Emory, UNC, U of Colorado, Lewis and Clark, UC Hastings

Thank you!!

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