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Nontraditional student and personal essay.

lizpillizpil Member
edited September 2017 in Law School Admissions 282 karma

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for some advice. I'm a non-traditional student who has wide variety of life experience. I'm having a tough time narrowing down a personal statement category. Here's the run down:

1) I'm 39

2) Graduated with my undergrad when I was 35. I bounced around different schools one was an upward transfer; the others were to satisfy vocational courses. I was able to finish my degree from the University of Colorado online when I was 35 while living in LA.

3) I moved to LA because I was (to some degree) still a stand up comic. Now I feel compelled to go to law school. I don't really want to draw attention to stand up, cause I probably said something stupid online at some point and I don't want that to hinder me. I've cleaned up social media pretty much, but still.

4) I'm an expert witness. I've testified several times in CA Worker's Comp courts regarding the value liens. I help attorneys and sometimes appear as a hearing rep in helping litigate work comp medical liens.

5) My dad was a felon. I don't want to play that card, but I do understand that hardships can be "inspiring."

I really feel like I have to explain why my transcripts are so incredibly ADD. My GPA is pretty good minus the first year and a half after high school. If I calculate it right, it should be a 3.7 and a graduated with honors. Should I do this as an addendum?


  • rafaelitorafaelito Alum Member
    edited September 2017 1063 karma

    Hey, I think #4 is a great personal statement topic! I'm not sure what you mean by "playing that card" when discussing your dad being a felon. Are you talking about a "victim card?" In any case, if it is something that has shaped who you are in a positive way then I think it can be worth talking about. If it represents a challenge you overcame then it can definitely be worth writing about. Law school is a challenge. Being a law grad with debt is a challenge. So I think the admissions committees like to admit students who demonstrate their ability to persevere.

    I agree with you that #2 and the last paragraph would constitute an addendum topic. There is advice out there on how to write addendums. Just be clear and honest. Don't profusely explain why such and such didn't go your way. Life happens. Everyone has an addendum in life. Some are just written on our academic histories and require explanations to admissions committees.

    I feel like you'll have a great PS! Good luck!

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    I love the idea of incorporating #3. I think it will be really interesting and draw from a unique angle. If I've learned anything in @"David.Busis" class on personal statements it's to create a story and ensure you convey what you've 'learned' or how you've grown in someway. So whichever topic you choose, that is one thing to keep in mind.

  • David BusisDavid Busis Member Moderator
    7085 karma

    I would write about stand-up. You have to account for what you've been doing, and I guarantee you that the adcom doesn't get many applications from stand-up comedians. You will be memorable.

    Just write the truth. Tell us why you started doing stand-up and why you now want to transfer to law.

    Yes, I think you should probably write a grades addendum, although it's hard to say wihtout knowing more.

  • lizpillizpil Member
    282 karma

    @RafaelBernard You're right, I definitely don't want to play the victim card. My experiences with him being a felon shaped how I view the heinousness of the drug laws. But, I don't want to sound like a social justice warrior.

    @"David.Busis" and @tringo335 Stand up pretty much explains my gap in school, and my stand up isn't that controversial by any means. My hesitation is that I don't want to risk proving that I was a stand up by trying to be funny and then make the essay into one long joke.

  • lizpillizpil Member
    282 karma

    Also, for those of you who may be curious:

  • David BusisDavid Busis Member Moderator
    7085 karma

    @lizpil in that case…don't make the essay a joke :smile:
    No need to prove that you were funny. Just write a straight essay about why you did it and what made you decide to move on.

  • lizpillizpil Member
    282 karma

    Thanks, David!

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