Tips for Perfecting Your Law School Application
Applying to law school can be a daunting task! What should a personal statement look like? Who are the best people to choose to write letters of recommendation? What makes an application stand out? Here are some tips for submitting a strong application. Keep in mind that each individual law school may have its own set of requirements, so always read instructions carefully.
- The personal statement is your chance to share your story. In many cases, this is your interview to law school. Rather than outlining your résumé in paragraph form, use this portion of the application to demonstrate your writing ability, life experience, and personality. An authentic essay from the heart is going to read better than an essay trying to fit itself into a perceived perfect mold of a “good” personal statement. Don’t forget to proofread carefully and ask for feedback from several trusted sources prior to finalizing.
- Speaking of your résumé, don’t fret if you do not have legal experience. Recent undergraduates should use this piece to showcase their activities and involvement in college. Be sure to include those retail, serving, and barista jobs as they highlight dedication, hard work, and the ability to deal with conflict in the form of angry customers!
- Choose the authors of your letters of recommendation carefully and according to the requirements of each school. Recommenders should be very familiar with your abilities, specifically those that apply to predicting your success in law school such as critical thinking, analysis, and work ethic. It is highly preferable to choose a recommender who knows you well rather than one who has an impressive title but cannot give a substantial, first-hand assessment of your skills. Meet with your recommender to discuss your goals, to remind them of your achievements, and most importantly, to ensure that they are comfortable speaking positively on your behalf.
- Optional essays are a great way to expound upon your personal experience, passions, and specific interest in a school. Give these essays the same care to quality writing as the personal statement. While optional essays can be a great supplement to your application, if the topic does not speak to you, it may be better to skip one or more of these.
- If an important area of your application, such as grades, LSAT score, or gaps in undergraduate education need further explanation, consider submitting an addendum. If you have a character and fitness issue, this is often mandatory. An addendum is an opportunity to provide context to the answers you provided on your application and give evidence that these items will not inhibit your ability to succeed in law school.