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Monday, June 26, 2017
In Your Law School Admission Essay, Say Something-Not Everything
Ever been on the receiving end of a monologue disguised as a conversation? How long did it take you to tune out? How did you feel when you walked away? If you're like most people, you don't like getting talked at. Particularly if it is long and meandering.
Still, many law school personal statements read just like that. As an editor, I've come across hundreds of these essays, where only one issue is clear: the writer doesn't have any idea why they really want to go to law school. Remember, your reader has heard the phrases "serve justice" and "help people" more times than they'd care to count. However well-intended these goals may be, they aren't a sturdy enough hook to bear the weight of ill-defined ambitions.
The most effective law school personal statements are clear and concise. They don't start with a cliché or platitude. If you want to study law, know why, and tell your reader. Right away.
Remember that this is graduate school. You're approaching this juncture with some academic and professional experience. Talk about it. Don't simply state your interest in law-explain it. It's okay if you don't know what area you hope to specialize in, but you should have some sense of what a J.D. is going to do to enhance your potential.
Stringing many long words together is no substitute for pith. Know what you want, and be able to articulate it. If you can't assemble a persuasive argument in a law school essay, you're unlikely to be able to do it in practice. And that's what this written audition is really about.
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