Archive for the ‘Admissions’ Category

There is no formula for a winning law school personal statement. The following examples—among the best that we have ever worked on—are as various as a typical JD class, yet each was compelling enough to win over the admissions committee of a T14 school. Some essays are about a challenge, some about the evolution of the author’s intellectual or professional journey, and some about the author’s identity. One focuses on the author’s legal experience while the others only pivot towards law school at the end. The only common thread is sincerity. The authors of these essays did not write towards an imagined idea of what an admissions officer is looking for: they reckoned honestly with formative experiences.

Personal Statement about a Career Journey

The writer of this personal statement matriculated at Georgetown.

I don’t remember anything being out of the ordinary before I fainted—just the familiar, heady feeling and then nothing. When I came to, they were wheeling me away to the ER. That was the last time I went to the hospital for my neurology observership. Not long after, I crossed “doctor” off my list of post-graduate career options. It would be best, I figured, if I did something for which the day-to-day responsibilities didn’t make me pass out.

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Although this essay contradicts a lot of our advice—it focuses on the author’s childhood, brings up her mental health, and doesn’t really tell a story—it’s one of the best we’ve ever seen. To me, it’s an example of the 80-20 meta-rule: rules about writing are true about 80% of the time.

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What follows is one of the best and most honest personal statements we’ve ever seen. It’s worth reading as both a model of the genre and an essay that stands on its own. The writer was accepted to many top law schools and matriculated at Columbia.

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A law school applicant recently asked for our advice about booking a hotel in Seoul. He was traveling there from Tokyo because the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) couldn’t guarantee him a seat at an LSAT testing center in Japan.

If only he had been taking the graduate record exam! The GRE is administered almost every day, often twice a day, at multiple test centers in Tokyo. Its accessibility is one of the reasons that so many law schools are accepting it in lieu of the LSAT. As of this post’s publication date, you can apply for the JD programs of Harvard, Columbia, Penn, NYU, Northwestern, Cornell, and Georgetown among other schools without ever studying for the LSAT.

But should you? Is it a good idea to apply to law school with only the GRE? If you ask admissions officers at Harvard, Northwestern, or many other GRE-friendly schools (and we have), they’ll tell you that all standardized tests are given equal weight and that there is no penalty for applying without an LSAT score. Nevertheless, there are some reasons to hesitate before you go all in on the GRE.

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