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Your Law School Admissions Essay: What Not to Do

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Without a doubt what you write in your law school admissions essay or personal statement is critical to your application. But what not to write is just as important. Remember that the law admissions committee reads hundreds of letters each year. Avoid these common errors that will make them toss your law school application.

Do not send an essay with typos and incorrect auto-corrections.
Take great care in proofreading your essay. Be sure to list the appropriate school and not send School X a letter addressed to School Y.

Avoid clichés.
Do not tell the admissions committee that you have wanted to be a lawyer since childhood or since the first time you saw a lawyer on TV. It is a common approach that often turns off readers and can land you into the rejection pile.

Do not submit your essay before evaluating its flow.
Read it aloud. Have someone else read your essay and ask him or her to read it aloud to you. Sometimes listening to your words will help you catch errors and places where you writing can improve.

Do not write in legalese.
Remember that you are not writing a law brief. Do not show off your legal skills. Send an essay, as requested.

Do not send the same personal statement to every law school.
Tailor your essay to each school. Read the application to determine what they are asking for and ensure that your essay fulfills the request. In some cases you may choose to tailor your essay to focus on a unique aspect of the school. If so focus on yourself. The admissions committee knows all about the program.

Do not write about high school experiences.
It implies that you are recycling your essay and that nothing of import has happened to you since.

Do not relay your CV
Do not review your curriculum vitae and application. Your admissions essay should not simply relay this information. Use your essay as an opportunity to elaborate on these, highlight what is most important, and, preferably, include relevant information and experiences that are not on your resume.

Avoid controversial topics such as religion and politics.
If you offend the reader you will not get in to law school.

Do not be negative.
It is common and often advised to write about challenging experiences but the purpose is not to be negative but instead to show how you overcame difficulties. How you became a better person no negativity and complaining.

Do not be dramatic.
Don’t try to shock the reader – instead try quickly get interest. Don’t see emotional reactions from readers but instead be you – honest and insightful stories of disadvantage and difficulty are only useful if they show how you turned it around.

Do not write about everything that has ever happened to you.
Choose relevant experiences. Don’t write too much go on for too long. Most programs request 500-1000 words. 750 word is unusually enough.

Don’t focus on your personal expect with the legal system.
Stories about being arrested, witnessing your parents’ divorce, serving on a jury, or witnessing a crime often are not useful stories to include in or application because lawyers are supposed to be unbiased and not swayed by emotional experiences. Instead your stories should highlight your character intellect and work ethic more than your experiences with the law those experiences will come with time.

Don’t use big words when small ones suffice.
Do not over-inflate your vocabulary and use words that are not familiar to you. It will be obvious and portray you as insincere.

Do not over-edit.
Editing is crucial to writing an effective personal statement, but take care not to over-edit. Make sure that the final essay sounds like you and is not sterile.

Don't explain poor performance.
Do not not use your essay to explain bad grades or a low LSAT score. Instead write an addendum for explanations.

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