Law School Discussion

How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2006, 12:38:17 PM »
My favorite bad essay in the Ivey book is Jorge.

For those of you who haven't read it: I (writer) feel bad that I got a sweet allowance and a slick car for my 16th birthday when our lawn boy had to endure manual labor. I want to become a lawyer so I can fight social injustice for people like Jorge.

What a tool!

Another one I can't stand is in "Law Essays that Worked." Michael Harrington's essay in the form of a UNC basketball sports commentary about his fabulous career as a sports agent made possible by a UNC degree. Isn't that the absolute "DO NOT" cliche???

There's one really good one I've read by a young Southern woman who talks about everything her mother taught her about being a proper young lady, their trials as she grows up "I had the audacity to join a sorority other than Tri-Delta" and her mother finally telling her that she loves her and is proud of her. It's a very well-written PS.

That book is filled with bad essays.  I absolutely can't stand that last "character essay" in which the writer just recites the classes (s)he's taken and the GPA in each set of classes.  There was another bad essay about qualifications where someone pretty much wrote, I am a PHD candidate at UMich, and this is some of my work experience....and then the essay later cuts off mid-paragraph.  How did these get into law school?

juliemccoy

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2006, 01:01:09 PM »
I love the essay by the guy who's 1/8th Native American and says, "I never planned to apply to Cornell until you sent me a fee waiver." The essay has got to be 6 pages long and it just rambles about him, then he talks about his 1/2 N.A. grandmother and then about being an older student. I mean, it just goes on FOREVER.

I took at tour at UT (back in the days when I dreamed about going to UT... I'm not going to waste their time with numbers that falls below their medians). They showed me a binder of PS's they had received over the years and really liked. There were some good ones in there-- one of the older ones was a bit unorthodox. Instead of an intro, the writer structured his opening as a logic game scenario whereby 5 students applied to UT and only one would be selected. The PS went on, and then at the very bottom, he "solved" the logic game-- he was the lucky student to be offered admission.

I read so many books on PS's when I first started on this. I really wonder if they are pulling our legs by saying that they are the best of the best submitted by adcomms!

Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2006, 08:47:53 PM »
Pretty Horses was retarded. Sending that in would be applicant suicide.

Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2006, 09:02:04 PM »
Anna Ivey told me that the "Pretty Horses" essay was a real essay submitted by a real client of hers, and that she would have prefered if the applicant had focused more on talking about one particular book that had a strong impact on him.  I preferred the room 405 essay by far. 

I read the 37 essays that made a difference book, and while the essays were terrible (there was one where the kid just talked about how awesome he was and he clearly got rejected from several schools that his numbers made him a very strong applicant at), I thought it was really useful to read it straight through.  It really puts you in the mindset of an admissions officer, reading essay after essay, and by the time you're done, you should notice patterns of things that are cliche, or things that turn you off.

Electric Counterpoint

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2006, 01:25:50 PM »
"Room 405" works so well because the author is a golden god. Mathematician, accomplished cellist, AND immigrant?! Get this man a full ride!

If you've got the life experience, your essay should write itself. For the rest of us... well, I'm racking my brain for interesting personal anecdotes that I can turn into a David Sedaris-esque essay. Something funny that personalizes me in the reader's mind, that's the best I can hope for.

skeeball

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2006, 05:34:50 PM »
This one might be from a more recent version, but I liked the essay in Ivey essay about from the guy who was interested in health care law. It was more about him as a professional and what he worked on that got him interested in getting a law degree.

Maybe I like it so much because that's the kind of essay I'M trying to write. Nothing spectacular, just a well written essay that communicates "This is what I did in the professional world, this is why I think it's important," and making it really easy for the ad comms to connect the dots between what I did after college and why I want to go to law school.

It's no Shakespear, but it'll get the job done...

Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2006, 10:24:36 PM »
Yeah, but that type of essay really only works for a non-trad with significant work experience.

paigeroo

Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2006, 06:46:59 PM »
Just curious about how others think of the sample essays included in Anna Ivey's book. Do you like all of those "good" ones if you are an adcomm? Do you agree with what Anna said about them? I, for one, did not care for the one titled "Pretty Horse". What is your opinion on it and other essays?


That one about the different books was just draining and long.  But the one about the mental hospital made me cry.  I know I'm such a dork right zyhue..  :-\

Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2006, 11:02:34 AM »
Sorry for the late bump.

I generally don't like the essays in the Ivey book:

Tattoo Tom -- the story is definitely well written, however the conclusions the author draws are bland and inevitable. Person volunteers at Alzheimer's clinic and is struck by a resident's moving story? Amazing.

Morris 405 -- as a math person, this one particularly annoyed me. The guy is just plain full of himself and seems to be trying to wow non-math people. Plus the math+music connection is not diverse -- in my experience, math people are naturally musical people as well.

Pretty Horses -- this one wasn't too bad. It doesn't really tell us anything about the author though, just about his/her opinion of the books he/she read.

The statement of purpose essays were both good, but they both seemed like a cheat. Both of the people had this amazing work history which directly lead into their desire for law. I'm sure the essays almost wrote themselves. I'd like to have seen some essays written by people who are either right out of school, or whose work history has nothing to do with their desire to go into law. Given that Ivey says that these sorts of essays are the hardest to write, it would have been nice to see an example of such.

juliemccoy

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Re: How do you like the sample essays in Anna Ivey's book?
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2006, 11:39:43 AM »
Try "Law School Essays That Worked." There are some terrible cliches, but a few gems here and there. Princeton Review's books of essays is the same. Ignore the ones that are written as scripts, offer quotes from famous authors as a lead-in, etc. But there are some good ones in there for traditional students.

Also, I'm not sure about all law schools, but when I visited UT-Austin, they showed me a book of their favorite PS's from over the years.