Law School Discussion

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Author Topic: Patterns I've seen  (Read 33570 times)

Vannabunny

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #110 on: January 23, 2006, 07:40:46 PM »
Thta's what I've heard as well
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Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #111 on: January 24, 2006, 12:33:13 AM »
This is curious. I'm sensing a divide between explicitly stating for the reader "why law?" and showing an aptitude for challenge and writing and critical thinking.

I think one of the reason pre-law advisors don't emphasize "why law" for the PS is because a great deal of recent undergrads who apply  directly to law school may not have much that is concrete to discuss. Trying to create a "why law" essay out of a few marginally related experiences would likely result in an unnecessarily weak essay. Also, I have heard adcomms note that often what a pre-1L thinks their law path will be is so warped from the reality of law school that there is no point in writing a whole essay of what essentially amounts to rabid speculation. (All those trendy 1L books reiterate this point--that law school is never as one imagines it will be.) Though, if an application asks for a 'why law' response, it should be touched upon, I agree. Though, I muse that this prompt is really to weed out the rabid speculators. ;-)

I would argue that it is valid to discuss a topic that shows one's ability to surmount challenge--starting a business, doing something significant for the community, overcoming a large obstacle with grace and vigor--that may not directly relate to the law. Indeed, the strong, holistic essays I've seen have subject matter that is handily extrapolated to indicate an aptitude for great challenge. I've seen a number of strong essays this season, and a few standouts. I'd say overall that 50% of the essays I've read accomplish what they ought to--leaving the reader with a strong, positive, action-oriented impression of the candidate (bonus points for extreme memorability/genuinely unique topic).

Getting multiple opinions on one's essay from a source such as this (as opposed to a writing center or a professor) will probably result in multiple opinions, some of which are divergent. At this point in our education, I imagine we're pretty good at figuring out what advice 'sticks'--so you take what you need from what you get, I suppose. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from putting forth their honest opinions here (especially those that volunteer their time), but it is worth noting that the essay writer will have to contextualize the opinions they get. The onus is on the writer in this instance--the readers here all have varied experience with editing and feedback--that's just how it is. To ask for "comments one can use," then, isn't asking for anything concrete--the reader gives what they can, and you take what you need. Discard what you do not.

The edict "be nice?" I suppose I've had that trained out of me during workshopping, so I may be guilty of a somewhat surly aside at times.  ;) But, I also keep in mind that we value personal feelings and self esteem to a great degree more in the US educational system than is asked for in most other countries. This could be to our detriment--I've heard arguments on both sides (some claim we learn more when we feel positive, and some claim we assume we've learned something if we 'feel good' about it). Suffice to say, one can say "gee, this isn't making much sense to me--maybe you should rephrase?" or "Man, this sucks" and the information is essentially the same--something in that section simply isn't working for that particular reader. The writer just has to interpret around the personality of the individual readers to divine the needed information.

glad to see the discussion alive and well! I hope this thread has helped a few folks during this nutty process.

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #112 on: January 24, 2006, 11:31:18 AM »
And on that note, there are different ways of saying something, so if you’re going to edit, be nice but informative. It can be done

Being honest *is* being nice. If a PS is terrible, I say so.  I am quite certain that I have spent more time editing and commenting on some of the PS's sent to me as "final drafts" than the author has writing it. Some people send out drafts that they claim to be happy with, and in those cases a firm wake-up call is what they need before they submit something that would be a discredit to their application.

Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #113 on: January 24, 2006, 04:53:39 PM »
I showed my PS to an aunt, two teachers, and a recent law grad.

I didn't tell any of them the others were reading it, and waited for their reply.  All of them said it was good but did not show enough about "why law school."

Perhaps it was a more important question to answer for me since I have been out of college for 4 years and an adcomm might be interested in why I want to change directions like this now.

I still think it is somewhat important to address why, maybe less so depending on the prompt or the applicant.

I have to say I support Sara's comment that answering the prompt is important.  Just like on the LSAT, there are lots of answers that work, but the correct answer will be the one that addresses the prompt most directly.  That prompt may be different from school to school.

I had a large hiatus from school & am a slightly older candidate (27 in a few short weeks!), so I took the same route--I discussed 'why law' in about 25% of my essay. It may be a little pie-in-the-sky of me--I know I can be starry-eyed about these things. We'll see, I suppose. ;-)

best,

dani
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pistolpete23

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #114 on: January 24, 2006, 09:35:38 PM »

such negativity.

lets just wait and see who gets in where....

Yale College Inferno

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #115 on: January 24, 2006, 10:22:12 PM »
Another factor might be your transcript.

If you've taken a lot of poli sci, econ, philosophy, sociology, or international studies, for example (especially if you major in one or more of these fields) and are applying straight out of UG, it's probably clear that you're interested in law/government and not necessary to elaborate unless the prompt asks for it.

On the other hand, if you've taken a pre-med curriculum, or are a music or astronomy or math major, it would seem to be more important to give the adcoms some insight into why you're applying to law school, and that you're not just doing it because your parents want you to, or just because your boyfriend is applying.
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thelynifer

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #116 on: January 24, 2006, 10:54:51 PM »
Another factor might be your transcript.

If you've taken a lot of poli sci, econ, philosophy, sociology, or international studies, for example (especially if you major in one or more of these fields) and are applying straight out of UG, it's probably clear that you're interested in law/government and not necessary to elaborate unless the prompt asks for it.

On the other hand, if you've taken a pre-med curriculum, or are a music or astronomy or math major, it would seem to be more important to give the adcoms some insight into why you're applying to law school, and that you're not just doing it because your parents want you to, or just because your boyfriend is applying.


I agree with this statement entirely. if i were on an adcom i don't think i would be interested to know why some undergrad philosophy major (such as myself) wants to study law. obviously the person likes to think and argue. with a hard science major there might be some explanation needed, but not necessarily since IP is becoming so popular. Right now I am having a hell of a time trying answer CUA "why law" question. I can't imagine having to send this crap to every school.

Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #117 on: January 25, 2006, 01:44:11 AM »
Another factor might be your transcript.

If you've taken a lot of poli sci, econ, philosophy, sociology, or international studies, for example (especially if you major in one or more of these fields) and are applying straight out of UG, it's probably clear that you're interested in law/government and not necessary to elaborate unless the prompt asks for it.

On the other hand, if you've taken a pre-med curriculum, or are a music or astronomy or math major, it would seem to be more important to give the adcoms some insight into why you're applying to law school, and that you're not just doing it because your parents want you to, or just because your boyfriend is applying.

This is an excellent point. Reiterating what one already has in their transcript (or in their resume) is simply redundant--best to use the limited PS wordcount to emphasize something else to make oneself a more attractive candidate. It could be good to explain why an BFA in ceramics might be applying to law, but for Philosophy or Poli Sci majors, the interest in constructing arguments, or in government, is implicit.

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SolarysBlue

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #118 on: January 25, 2006, 01:41:49 PM »
Another factor might be your transcript.

If you've taken a lot of poli sci, econ, philosophy, sociology, or international studies, for example (especially if you major in one or more of these fields) and are applying straight out of UG, it's probably clear that you're interested in law/government and not necessary to elaborate unless the prompt asks for it.

On the other hand, if you've taken a pre-med curriculum, or are a music or astronomy or math major, it would seem to be more important to give the adcoms some insight into why you're applying to law school, and that you're not just doing it because your parents want you to, or just because your boyfriend is applying.


I agree with this statement entirely. if i were on an adcom i don't think i would be interested to know why some undergrad philosophy major (such as myself) wants to study law. obviously the person likes to think and argue. with a hard science major there might be some explanation needed, but not necessarily since IP is becoming so popular. Right now I am having a hell of a time trying answer CUA "why law" question. I can't imagine having to send this crap to every school.

Then don't (or atleast do subtlety) unless it's a statement of purpose prompt. Good luck.

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #119 on: January 26, 2006, 04:53:47 PM »
I am more than happy to read anyone's PS, I WANT to read them. I have a 2.5 gpa and a 160 lsat so my PS will be crucial. Im not sure what Im looking for, Im just trying to assess whether mine is any good.