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    Law School Admissions Essay

    1. Letters of Recommendation – Virtually all law schools will require you to submit letters of recommendation. Check the requirements of the law schools you are applying to for specific requirements. If you are currently in an undergraduate program, letters from professors are strongly recommended. That means you should begin to get to know your professors as soon as possible. The better you know your professors, the more personal a letter they will be able to write on your behalf. Ask questions in class, visit them during office hours, and take advantage of any opportunity to work with them in small group settings. Other possible letter writers include: Lawyers and Judges, Politicians, Employers and Supervisors. It is not advisable to ask a prominent person whom you do not know well to write your letter. It is much better to get a strong endorsement from a professor who is familiar with you and your work rather than a form letter from a senator who gets dozens of requests every year. If you have been out of college for a number of years, check the admissions materials to see what is recommended as a substitute for college professors. It is not a disadvantage to be older (especially if you have work experience).

    2. Transcripts – Grade Point Average (GPA) is an important factor in law school admission. Remember that it is not the only factor. A student with a 4.0 GPA and nothing else may not be as attractive to admissions committees as a person with a low GPA, a strong LSAT score, strong letters of recommendation, extra curricular activities, work experience, public service experience, and other factors that make a well rounded candidate. You will have an opportunity to explain a low GPA in the personal statement if there are other factors that contributed to it.

    3. Personal Statement – This portion of the application package is arguably the most important section. If you have competitive scores and GPA, this is your opportunity to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants and allow the admissions staff to get to know you on a more personal level. Likewise, if your GPA and scores are not as high as you would like them to be, this is an opportunity to sell yourself as a potential student and explain factors that may have contributed to the situation (a death in the family, prolonged illness, crime victim, English not first language, etc.). As with everything else, you should check your admission information for specific instructions on how to approach the personal statement. Some schools may want you to answer specific questions, and others may not give any instruction. Most schools want to know why you are choosing law as a career, and why their particular law school fits your needs. In any case it is a good idea to get help writing your statement. Make sure you are using proper grammar and spelling. Have other people who know you well read the statement and critique it. There are books available to help you write an effective personal statement, although you should be careful following a canned outline to still make it a “personal” statement.

     


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