Law School Personal Statement Writing Blog

Applying to Law School? Tips to Help Your Application Stand Out

Imagine that a student has graduated from law school and a year later is hired by the same school to serve as an admissions representative.  Part of her job is to read and comment on applications for admission that the law school receives, and there are a few thousand of them. For each application that comes across her desk, she asks an important question:  How does this candidate stand out from all the others? To answer this, certain criteria are applied, which have to do with what the law school – and, in a larger sense, law schools in general – are looking for in an applicant. If you’re applying to law school, this blog post will help to answer that question by offering tips that you, as an applicant, can find useful.

5 Tips for your law school application

But before we begin, we should keep in mind two factors:  GPA and LSAT. These two scores – undergraduate Grade Point Average and performance on the Law School Admissions Test – are keys  that can open the door to eligibility if you’re a candidate for admission. They’re important, but once that door is open, other considerations come into play.  Let’s look at a few of these.

1 – Reading, Research, and Writing

A large part of the law school experience is devoted to critical reading, research, and writing. That’s why the personal statement is important; it shows your writing skill, ability to organize information, and skill at effective written communication. Oral communication is important, too.  Anything in your past experience – for example, work on a school publication or participation in a debating society – will add to your credibility as a candidate.

2 – Leadership experience

A second critical factor is leadership, which demonstrates the ability to organize and communicate with people who are involved in a project or activity. Leadership experience can be acquired in a variety of ways, such as participation in class projects, college clubs, and internships.  In your personal statement you might discuss how or why you were selected for this leadership role, the impact you made, and what you learned from the experience.

3 – Experience in the “real world”

Third, it’s always interesting to write about life experience in the “real world.”  This encompasses many situations and activities, such as past work experience, parenting, a stint in the military, participation in athletics, and so on.  As an applicant, your purpose in writing about involvement in the “real world” is to show that you’re well-rounded and can bring a unique perspective to the law school classroom.

4 – What sets you apart?

Fourth, as we saw at the beginning of this blog post, you’ll want to write about what sets you apart from other applicants. Does this mean that you’ve had previous legal training and have done work, as a paralegal for example, in the field of law? Not necessarily.  Past legal experience will probably enhance the application, but it won’t answer the question of what makes you unique. An unusual background, a particularly interesting hobby, an honor or achievement that is extraordinary – these will help you to stand out.

5 – Relationship building

Fifth, and last: problem-solving and relationship-building. At first  these might seem to be unrelated factors, each deserving its own place on this list.  But while they’re distinct – someone might be skilled at solving abstract problems but not as good at working as a team member – they’re placed together here because problem-solving can also involve resolving differences among people.   Take an example: in college you worked with classmates on a project that had to do with using social media to promote an undergraduate club’s activities. The abstract part was about which social media to use and how to present the club in an attractive way.  Everyone had his own ideas. As leader of the project, your role was to help team members talk with and not at one another.  In other words, to solve the abstract problem, you had to build rapport.

Which leads me to this fact:   there are 237 law schools in the U.S.   As a candidate for admission, you won’t apply to all of them, but the ones that you do apply to will want to know what makes you stand out.  If you keep in mind the factors that I’ve mentioned, the chances are good that you could receive an acceptance letter. And then the real work of law school will begin.

 

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