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Messages - Burhop

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For October test takers, it is a good idea to have all elements of your applications complete and uploaded (all essays, letters, etc) so that when you receive your LSAT score, you can simply click "submit."

The best months to apply during rolling admissions are typically Sept-Oct, because rolling = first come, first served. It usually takes adcomms a couple weeks after you apply to review your application materials. Early-mid November is also all right. Once you hit Thanksgiving, you're up against Thanksgiving and Winter vacations, so admissions review typically slows, and then picks up again in January.

If you took the October LSAT and did not receive a sufficient score to achieve admission at your preferred schools, you may be better off waiting a cycle. The prior advice about receiving waivers for application fees is excellent, but might only benefit you if you meet or exceed the 50% LSAT/GPA split for your target schools. Throwing a Hail Mary application with a low LSAT runs the risk of you not achieving admission at your preferred school, and then that school remembering that they rejected you once already if/when you apply the next cycle. Always aim for best foot forward, and don't be afraid to wait a cycle if need be. - DB

Hi Amicus - this would be a more powerful PS if you focused just on the details of what you went through to rehabilitate yourself. Writing on a theme of overcoming extreme obstacles is usually a strong PS strategy. You have too much information in here currently, and it is best not to discuss grades etc. in the PS.

Recommendations / Re: Online Profs
« on: September 21, 2011, 05:09:48 PM »
For recommendations, the best are, ranked (if they actually know you)

Renowned professor
Full Professor
Associate Professor
Assistant Professor
Supervisor of a good job you've held who has a related background/holds a JD or LLM or graduate degree
Senior Lecturer
Visiting Lecturer of some importance
Postdoctoral Fellow
Graduate student TA (even if they now have their degree)

...without knowing the title of the person who taught the online class, it's hard to say. If it's someone without a PhD or title, it probably won't carry much weight, but if you haven't got anyone else, it shouldn't hurt.

That's the thing with recommendations - they rarely help, but can hurt. One bad recommendation from anyone hurts more than three glowing recommendations help - because most recommendations are usually pretty glowing, or at least generically positive. They aren't what will differentiate you as an applicant, except in the rarest of cases. - Dani

Personal Statement / Re: Are contractions acceptable?
« on: September 21, 2011, 04:06:53 PM »
The personal statement is not meant to be a formal piece of writing - it's meant to shed light on your character. Avoiding contractions could affect the tone of your essay in an adverse way, depending on the topic at hand. If it is a light, or friendly topic, contraction use is perfectly okay. The goal is not to sound too serious. Don't use contractions in your resume/CV, however - Dani

Personal Statement / Re: Critique and Suggestions Please
« on: September 21, 2011, 04:02:56 PM »
The good news is I was able to follow your prose easily - it's clean. What you eventually write will probably come across well. But yes - this is too broad, too young. You need a story where A) You're an adult and B) You come across as a leader, or hero, or caregiver, or some other "type" that is easily recognizable as a type that usually succeeds in law school. Your story should show that you are smart, strong, ambitious, thoughtful. This topic shows that you are inconstant, changeable, unsure.

best - Dani

You won't go wrong if you keep it to around 750 words. Schools that want you to write more, like Berkeley, will explicitly ask you to write more. - Dani

GPA is always an issue; check Law School Numbers to get a sense of places that are willing to take a chance on a big LSAT/GPA split. Don't throw money away on applications to places that won't take the risk. Writing an addendum is only recommended if you are able to say "everything is great now because of XYZ"; a good addendum (on any topic) doesn't just explain, it reassures. - Dani

Personal Statement / Re: PS - please evaluate
« on: September 21, 2011, 03:51:57 PM »
Hi! You've "buried the lede" - the reader should have a clear idea of the focus of this essay by the first paragraph. Starting in the airport doesn't add any value, IMHO. I recommend that you start your essay with the "grueling four concerts" (be sure to check yourself on adjectives and adverbs, though - too many litter this prose, which clutters its progress). Great topic, though - keep working on this - Dani

Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: October 26, 2007, 02:53:52 PM »
Heh heh...and it'll get harder as the months wear on, for sure...if you think you're stressed now, it gets worse if you're still working on your app in December! The optimal time to send a properly polished essay is in the next 2-4 weeks, if you haven't already.

But you can do some stuff to get those endorphins up...go for a jog or something. Call an old friend who is always ridiculously funny, or read some Calvin & Hobbes. Whatever makes ya crack a smile.


Who doesn't write their PS in a funk? You're doing it during app season, you're in a funk.

Personal Statement / Yale 250 Parody Thread
« on: October 26, 2007, 06:57:08 AM »
I love the Yale 250. Folks get really anxious about writing this particular essay; I find it's a good exercise to write a couple parody Yale 250s. Getting creative with that format can seriously free up some brain space.

The basic idea is to choose the world's most absurd topic--a topic that would be unbelievably ridiculous to send to Yale--and write a parody "250" on it. I don't know if I've got any fellow Creatives in the house here, but I hope so, because I want to see this thread get redonk.

Two entries from me:

Yale 250: My Boyfriend's Microwave is Better than Mine

I frequently make oatmeal in the morning, from those little pre-packeted flavored pouches; I favor maple undertones, with the occasional cinnamon kicker. Sometimes I'll go for freeze-dried cranberry bits in with the oats--the tartness is a welcome wake-me-up.

I mention this because my microwave has only two options for oatmeal texture: soup or glue. I have been unable to find the sweet spot on the timer for the proper consistency.

It is possible I could boil water on the stove instead; I have heard the factoids about microwaves destroying all nutrients in everything they zap. I've tried to picture this phenomenon: beautifully-wrought double helices dissolving into a softly bubbling pool of watery muck, like the Wicked Witch of the West. Where do the nutrients go? Are the B vitamins really that delicate? Maybe they're hardy. Maybe they've evolved, and now thwart the evil zapping powers of microwaves everywhere. Of course, that makes no sense--where's the selective advantage? I don't think B vitamins mate, for instance. In any case, I eat oatmeal for fiber, which might gremlinify into six grams of radioactive evil, but should still scrape my insides clean.

Iconic movie references aside, I must admit: My boyfriend's microwave nukes more superbly than my own. (This is not meant to be a metaphor.) Oatmeal that spends two minutes in his white box emerges in the proper creamy-fluffy texture that oatmeal eaters everywhere pine for. I can guess blindly at the amount of water I ought to add, and it's like his microwave can appreciate this and adapt to my capriciousness. It's lovely.

Yale 250: On Cartoon Eyeballs

Open your newspaper to the funny pages. See all of the cartoon eyeballs? Nota Bene: They are all some form of sphere, with some sort of dot within. Let's say 90% of cartoon eyeballs get no more complex than that.

The artist can nudge the eyeball a millimeter and suddenly the wee cartoon man is angry; another nudge sends him into sadville; the next nudge might make him appear maniacal. Moving the "pupil" a smidge can take a cartoon face from genius to drooling. Sure, sure, sometimes it's the eyebrows doing the work, raised so far up they are no longer even attached to the cartoon head they are meant to modify, but instead are hanging like two lazy commas surfing the updraft of a heat register in December. But eyebrows are all hyperbole; eyeballs, subtlety and finesse. The noisy already get plenty of attention in this world. It's the eyeball's turn to shine.

To eyelid or not to eyelid?, that is the question. For here's the rub: in cartoons, we can simply bend the outer rim of the eyeball until it creates a recognizable facsimile of a human emotion. Eyelids are great for alluding to sleepiness, but otherwise can be discarded. Cartoons, after all, do not need to blink.

Eyeballs in actual human heads are sometimes pretty, sometimes alarming, sometimes mundane. But eyeballs in cartoon heads meet the sonic standard set by the word itself--eyeball, after all, is a hilarious word. Like monkey. Or: Underpants. Bubble. Wattle. Banana. Forty-two. Pickle. Llama. Well, you get the idea.

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