A week ago, I attended the Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisors Conference here in Chicago; a conference composed of pre-law advisors as well as law school admissions representatives. The weekend provided a great insider’s perspective, so I wanted to share a few pearls of wisdom for those of you thinking about or in the process of applying to Law School:
There is no one right way to write a personal statement. Yes, I know. That’s irritating. But the conference reinforced the varying ways a ‘good’ personal statement is defined. The one constant I heard among all the admissions reps? ‘A good personal statement leaves us feeling as though we know the person better.’ So, make it about YOU. Make it a reflection of your character, your drive, and a story that could be written by no one other than YOU. Above all, make it memorable.
Apply early. The probability of getting into your target school is generally higher at the beginning of the rolling admissions process than at the end. This is due in part to the decreasing number of spots available over time, but also in part to the committee members themselves. They’re human too, and guess what? They get bored. So, who would you rather read your application- someone who has looked at 20 applications, or someone who has looked at 1,000? Take advantage of fresh eyes!
Ensure your application is complete. Most schools won’t look at your application until it’s final. If you’re waiting on December LSAT scores, talk to your schools. Make sure they’re aware of a pending score and keep those lines of communication open.
Explain yourself. Though addendums can be painful to write, it’s important to explain anything you feel might raise red flags (drops in your GPA, low initial LSAT, a conduct issue, etc.). This is not the time to leave it up to the imaginations of the admissions reps. Though they might shrug off minor flaws, they might also jump to the worst conclusion regarding your abilities and character. Don’t leave them in a position to hypothesize.
Keep your application updated. It’s great to hit that submit button, but that doesn’t mean you’re done. Schools want to see that your grades are being maintained or increasing during your senior year. Most of all, they want to make sure you’re a ‘stable bet’ as an incoming law student.
Keep these pointers in mind and come into UCS for additional help if you need it! Good luck, legal eagles!