How to Demonstrate Your Interest in a Law School Through your Personal Statement
- Jan 28, 2016
Contrary to popular opinion, all law schools – even the best ones – like to see that you have a particular interest in their school. Although your level of interest is rarely determinative of whether you are accepted or rejected, it is often helpful for admissions officers to see that an applicant has done some research on the school, especially if you are a borderline candidate. A demonstrated knowledge of the school is probably the best way to communicate a genuine interest in attending it.
An effective way to demonstrate both that you have researched a school, as well as your particular interest in its offerings, is to mention a few specific courses, professors or groups that you would be interested in taking or getting involved with. But be careful not to go too far. For example, you shouldn’t explicitly state your “three-year-plan” at that law school; you don’t need to say, “If I’m accepted, I will seek a leadership position in the Federalist Society, the Transactional Law Society, etc.” Rather, your potential interests should be apparent from the rest of your law school personal statement.
The fact is that school administrators assess the success or failure of an admissions office largely by their yield (the proportion of accepted students who actually attend that school). Thus, you improve your chances of acceptance by making it clear that, if accepted, you are likely to attend. If there are glaring reasons why you might not attend, your personal statement may be a good place to carefully address them. And if you can do a better job to convince them you want to come, it removes one more block between you and that admissions letter.
While there are only a few appropriate ways of demonstrating that this particular law school is a “good fit,” for you, there are also plenty of ways to screw it up entirely.
Here are 4 mistakes to avoid when demonstrating that a law school is a good fit:
- Generic Praise – You could describe most top law schools as having “world-class students, faculty, etc.” If you could have simply plugged any school’s name into the sentence, rest assured that admission officers will think that you did. In short, keep it specific. Otherwise, you are wasting space at best, and looking insincere at worst.
- Common Offerings – Don’t say that you are especially excited for a particular class/clinic/program if it is offered by every law school. The exception to this rule is if a law school is truly renowned for this offering or area of study. For example, NYU for international law, Harvard for Islamic Law, etc.
- Interests that make no sense in the context of your application – If you have never participated in any activity or group related to the environment, then it is hardly believable that you are interested in the law school’s highly esteemed environmental law offerings. Like everything else in your application, your reasons for choosing this law school must be believable.
- Factual Errors – A friend who expressed his deep and abiding interest to work with a particular professor was mortified to learn after he submitted his application that that professor had moved to a different law school a few years earlier. (He got in any way, but don’t make the same mistake!)
Written By Joel Butterly
Co-Founder & CEO, InGenius Prep JD Candidate, Yale BA, Summa Cum Laude, Dartmouth
For expert advice on how to craft compelling law school personal statements, contact the law school admissions consultants at InGenius Prep.
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