Law School Discussion

What NOT to say when transferring

What NOT to say when transferring
« on: October 16, 2006, 10:41:45 AM »
The school I am wanting to transfer to requires a statement of why you want to transfer (as I am sure most other schools to also).  Is there anything I want to explicitly avoid as to a reason I want to transfer, such as talking about how bad my current school sucks, etc.  Does the statement really give any weight to your application?  I'm looking for every advantage I can get considering the school I want to transfer to is not very transfer friendly, even though it is a middle of the road T2.  Any insight is appreciated. 

Re: What NOT to say when transferring
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2006, 11:10:57 AM »
I transferred to a T1 from a T4 and they required that.  I just talked up how strong their program was in the area that I wanted to go into and that they offered more courses geared to my concentration, their reputation in the state I wanted to practice in.  NEVER bad mouth your current school.  Good luck. 

Re: What NOT to say when transferring
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2006, 11:11:58 AM »
I successfully transfered from a t4 to my undergrad alma mater (Rutgers) which is ranked in the mid 60's. The statement will definetly be important especially if your target school isnt generally transfer friendly. I'm assuming that you just started your first year. Your grades this year will be absolutely crucial. In my statement, I emphasized the reasons why I wanted to transfer there including family, career, and especially because they have specific programs and courses that I am interested in. You should also focus on your past achievements and why you would make a good addition to their school. Try to point out unique things about yourself. Just stay away from anything negative. Don't complain about the LSAT, or your current school, etc. good luck

Re: What NOT to say when transferring
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2006, 12:31:07 PM »
Congratulations on your transfers jonesbp1 & drbuff123!

Re: What NOT to say when transferring
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2006, 12:57:24 PM »
I also transferred to my undergrad alma mater (PSU) from a T4 which was roughly 150 miles from my girlfriend and 300+ miles from home. In my personal statement I focused on the following things: (1) a personal struggle I've had, nothing earth shattering, but relevant nonetheless (2) Desire to move closer to home/gf/friends, and how I've grown since moving away from these people (3) Why I wanted to be in that location: tried to make it clear I wasn't just going to get my JD and bail (4) Why I wanted to go to the school.

Some things to focus upon:
-Why is the location important to you: why do you want to be there? Do you have friends/family/significant other living there? Do you want to settle down there?
-Why is going to that specific school important? If they're a T1/T2 school, they're already aware of their ranking/prestige, so dont give them a bunch of BS that you found on their website. If you have a specific program you're interested in, then go for it, but dont spout off a bunch of crap about how accomplished they are as a school.
-Why are you looking to leave your school? Be honest if related to positive things in your life/career. If youre at a location which is far from home, talk about how you'd be able to see your family/friends/significant other more often and about how this would improve your personal life. Stay away from negative things about your school, such as people you dislike, the lousy reputation of the school, how you couldn't get in anywhere else, etc. If you're going to Cooley, they're going to know why you want to get out of there.
-What have you learned about yourself this year and how have you grown as a person? You'll be able to reflect on this with more certainty next semester
-What struggles/adversity have you had to overcome in your life and during your first year at law school? Everyone's human and has had some type of adversity in their life. If applicable, make a brief mention of it and how you've worked to overcome that adversity. You'll humanize yourself in the eyes of the adcomms and make your PS more than just a reiteration of your resume/accomplishments.

Avoid Being Negative: Just to reiterate, don't focus on how you had a low LSAT score and how you've proven the system wrong b/c you did well.  Don't make excuses for yourself. Put yourself forward in a confident (not cocky) light and give them a reason to think you're an asset to their institution and community.
Avoid Addendums: Don't write an addendum about your C in property and about how you've all of a sudden figured out a better method with which to prepare for exams. They're going to see right through that. If it's your only bad grade, the school is going to know you either had a bad day, that the prof was terrible, or that you figured out the system. The assistant dean at PSU specifically told me that he assumed my C- in crim law was an anomaly, and basically disregarded this grade when evaluating my performance.

Obviously your grades will mean everything, and all these schools just want someone who can pay the tuition, pass the bar, and contribute to their schools. Best of luck to you and I hope you get into the school you want to get into!

Re: What NOT to say when transferring
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2006, 01:48:18 PM »
Oh yeah...the grades are crucial.  I was number 6 out of 134, which certainly didn't hurt.  I actually did explain the LSAT score, but didn't make excuses.  I just pretty much said "I am terrible at logic games."  Because I was 90 percentile in the reasoning and argument sections.  But I went onto their (Wake Forest's) website and course listings and went through it to see their program.  Just let them know that you want to go there and why. . . The real "why."

Re: What NOT to say when transferring
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2006, 01:54:43 PM »
Related question (on saying why the location is important)...

My husband may be transfered to the area (military). Is that considered a 'valid' reason for wanting to attend? I mean obviously its a consideration... But I don't want them to think I am only wanting to transfer because its the only law school in that area. Its a T1 school, and I've done great academically at my T4. My husband's potential transfer is part of the equation but not the only thing. (ie, he could get transferred many places, but this is one he would want and we can kind of pick and choose that.. so we are specifically looking at going to this area becasue of the law school there)

does that make sense?

thanks for any help