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Going overboard with "Why ___ Statements"...

ahnendc-1ahnendc-1 Member
in General 642 karma

Is anyone else feeling the tendency to try to write out a 'Why ___ Statement' for each school they apply to. I've written two unsolicited ones to essentially my TOP choices and I don't think my application is a shoe-in at either so I'm hoping this will be beneficial. I am also writing two other mandatory 'Why ___ Statements' (Michigan and Duke).

Weirdly now I feel 'guilty' for not writing unsolicited Why ___ statements to some of other schools lol.... Probs just stressing out at this point and I feel like any other Why ___'s would not be as convincing since truly they wouldn't be my top choices. Idk...

Anyone else feeling this?


  • 67 karma

    I feel the same way. So far I have written only one why statement for a top choice, explaining why I chose their school for early decision app, the school is Washington University Law. I plan on writing other why statements for schools that are not my top choices rather than writing why statements for all of my top choices. In my mind it is more likely that my top choices reject or wait-list me, and I do not want that to happen for the schools on my level because I did not give them a more thoughtful application. For me, those schools are Fordham, George Washington, Boston Uni.

  • Law and YodaLaw and Yoda Alum Member
    4289 karma

    I’ve heard it’s better to not force a Why statement/optional essay if it feels obligatory. Go with your gut on which schools to write it for!

  • VerdantZephyrVerdantZephyr Member
    edited October 2020 2054 karma

    Agree with @"Law and Yoda" Do not force a Why X statement (especially at Wash U, they specifically addressed bad Why X statements in a info session I attended). However, in my case, I am only applying to schools specifically because I like something about their program. I have not written any of them yet, but I have solid, concrete reasons I am interested in those schools. I have decided on a very specific and focused interest, and so that is easier for me than some people, but I will say that if you do not have anything to write for a Why X statement you might want to A: not write it and B:reconsider if you really want to go to that school.

    With that said, some general advice about Why X to whoever else reads this. Some people are not settled on a field or law or a specific experience or clinic they want and that is fine. Lots of applicants come straight out of undergrad and enjoy law and want that Big Law paycheck. I am not implying that they are not going to be great lawyers. They will have a harder sell writing Why X statements though, because they lack a program oriented reason for certain schools. Any school, if you just tell them you are interested in getting the best Big Law job you can find, is going to say "well, that is not a specific reason for coming to our school". Any Why X statement like that is not going to be powerful and could even hurt if they think you will prefer to accept an offer from a slightly higher ranked school.

    What you can do is look at their programs, find some that seem interesting, and write about wanting to do them if you can do that genuinely. Ad Coms have great noses for BS, do not BS them. @ahnendc-1

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