Bad “Why X” Essay
While deciding what I wanted to do with my life, I became aware of many indignities and struggles that existed in the life of an undocumented immigrant. I was moved towards this cause and had a need to help this community. The harsh realities of their lives became my reality and I grew very concerned that it could even be a reality. I needed to harness the frustration I felt towards this system and focus it in a way that could help people and make impactful change. This is how I decided I wanted to go into immigration law. Everything I have done since that point has been to prepare me to go into law school. The only remaining question is what law school can give me the best chance to succeed in helping the immigrant community. I have decided that school is UC Irvine.
Something I hope to be able to do in the future is pro bono work. Many immigrants have a difficult time paying the typical lawyer fees and fall into despair. Yet, should they not also be able to find help with their situation? An immigration case can be too complicated to just be done pro se. Money shouldn’t always be the most important thing. I truly appreciate the emphasis UCI puts on pro bono work and helping the community. Since this is something I am already interested in I would add to the sense of commitment to public service.
I am drawn to UCI for its clinical programs. The immigration clinic in particular is of great interest to me. That will allow me to begin helping clients right away and gaining hands on knowledge on how to help the client in a professional manner. I also believe I would help UCI’s reputation, when it comes to helping clients, since I have been on that side of the fence and know what makes a client feel more at ease, and what tendencies lawyers can have that make a client nervous. Working in the clinic and in my own career I want clients to always feel safe to ask anything, and most importantly I want them to feel secure in my ability to get them the best possible result. The hands on training will help accomplish this goal. I am also interested in trying other clinics as I value having a well-rounded basis and understanding different parts of the law.
UCI Law has created an atmosphere that is friendly to students but maintains the professional outlook needed in law. The class sizes are just right and will allow me to have meaningful dialog with my professors and classmates. In addition, the many student organizations will permit me to have greater exposure to various interests; I would enjoy joining the ‘Orange County Human Rights Association’, as my passion for human rights is what started me on the path I am on. There is also the ‘Law Student for Sensible Drug Policy’ organization, which I find fascinating. The drug war, especially internationally, influences Mexico a great deal, and has a large connection to criminalizing immigrants.
I am attracted to UCI for many reasons such as its clinical programs, the student organizations, and the commitment to students. Yet most of all I wish to attend UCI because it is unlike any other school in the sense that it is trying to create something new and ideal for the modern age of law. Every person at UCI has a voice and an ability to help better the school and move it towards its goal. Just as I want to be a part of the immigration movement, I want to be part of this school’s legacy. I want to be able to say that I helped UCI grow and reach the potential I know it has. Because of the passion I have and my ability to face down challenges that are put on my path, I believe I could help UCI Law grow.
This “why school X?” essay contains too much personal-statement-like material. You don’t need more than a sentence or two to explain your interests and goals. The rest of your essay should focus on why a given school will help you pursue those interests and achieve those goals better than any other school.
This essay is also too general. The author includes no information that one couldn’t find with a quick Google search. To make your own essay compelling, you need to show the admissions committee that you’ve done research. In this case, I advised the author to explain why UCI’s immigration clinic is better than other immigration clinics. She might have dug deeper into the school’s promotional material, researched her potential professors, or, better yet, spoken to alumni or admissions officers.
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