Cheat Sheet: Dos and Don’ts


  • read each school’s directions carefully;
  • tell a story about how you got to where you are;
  • look for five seconds that changed your life;
  • write about something you actually care about;
  • add specific details to key moments;
  • get feedback from at least one other person;
  • let your essay sit for a couple days before you revise;
  • ask yourself what point you’re trying to convey in each paragraph;
  • make your essay more concise;
  • read out loud as you proofread.


  • exaggerate, or try to pull off any other BS;
  • take the reader on a tour of your resume;
  • write an op-ed;
  • explain why want to be a lawyer, unless you mean it;
  • guess what the adcom wants to hear;
  • aggrandize yourself;
  • say you care about social justice, unless your record backs it up;
  • address the wrong school;
  • let a single typo or grammatical error slip through.

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