The Application Process and Personal Statement

You’ve made it through the LSAT and now it is time to start applying for law schools! It is a very daunting task, but you can do it! The biggest piece of advice that I can give you is: DON’T WAIT. Start the process early, do not wait until the last second.

Here are some things that I wish I would have known while applying to law schools:

  • It can take a few weeks for your transcripts to be uploaded. I recommend requesting them a month or more before you want to start applying. Even with a month before applications were due, I was stressing at the timeframe it would take and worried they would not be received in time to apply.
  • Some schools require letters of recommendation. Some don’t. Some have a minimum amount they require, while some have a maximum amount you can send. Look into this right away when you decide what schools you want to apply to. I didn’t look and was not able to apply to some schools due to not having enough letters of recommendation.
  • You are going to write several drafts of your personal statement. This is not a “write the night before it is due and get an A” type of paper. You are going to want to write several versions and have several different eyes look at it.
  • You need to write a resume! Include all your schooling, awards, volunteer service, relevant work history and special interests. That’s right, you can add special interests on your resume! This is a small part for you to show a little bit of your personality. One of my special interests was “rubbing elbows with professional chefs”. It wasn’t a gimmick, I actually have met quite a few professional chefs and have the pictures to prove it. But have fun with this part!
  • Each application can take a long time to fill out. Give yourself time to apply, don’t wait until the last day in case anything goes wrong in the system.

When writing my personal statement, I came up with a really good introductory paragraph to grab their attention. It was nothing to do with law school, why I want to go to law school or some imaginary story about be attending their law school. It was about a life experience that I had that I feel helped shape me into the person I am. I went along writing the rest of my personal statement. Then I read it and realized the only good thing about it was the first paragraph. The rest of the statement was absolute crap. So I let it sit for a couple of days and I thought:

What makes me special?

Re-reading my personal statement, I realized that the bones were there. It just needed a grab, a pull, to keep the admissions office interested in what I had to say. Then I realized what made me special and added that as a recurring theme in my statement. My statement focused on the time that I moved to Arizona and the time I spent living before deciding to go back to school, but based on a metaphor of one of my favorite hobbies- running. When I finished adding these touches to my personal statement, I felt like my statement was a slam dunk. It was the best thing that I have ever written so far. I think if you don’t feel that way about your personal statement, it will show. Take the time to read it, re-write it and love it before submitting it in your application. If you have an okay LSAT score, an amazing personal statement can make all the difference.

The waiting for responses was probably the most stressful part, especially if there is a school you really want to go to. Find an outlet and ways to keep busy so you are not obsessively checking your emails all day long (like me!). I applied to a binding decision and was told I would have a decision in two weeks, so as the end of the two weeks drew closer, the more times I checked my email. In the end, the dean ended up calling me to tell me of my acceptance, then said I would receive further instructions in my email. (So I back to obsessively checking my email.) What I can say is, the email will come when it comes. Don’t waste time sitting around waiting for it. Go out and enjoy yourself! You are finally through the long process of applying for law school and you deserve a break or a celebration or both!

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The LSAT

It’s time to talk about the LSAT! Are you currently studying for the LSAT? How is it going? Don’t feel bad if you feel overwhelmed and feel like you are biting off everyone’s head around you. I know when I was studying, people being in the same room as me breathing set me off. Luckily, those people love me enough they are still around now that I am done studying.

Studying

When I was studying for the LSAT, I was going to work full time and working full time as well. I certainly don’t recommend that. I do not feel that I was able to dedicate the time to studying that I would have liked. I chose to self study since it worked better for my schedule as well as my budget. Obviously, I am not saying that was worked for me will work for you. The books I used were Exam Krackers LSAT. I liked the way these books were broken down by each section. The books walked you through each question type, common ways to try to distract you from the correct answer, step by step guide to get to the right answer and had plenty of practice questions in it. I got it from Amazon for under $80 at the time and that seemed way more appealing than the thousand dollar price tag of a program.

Here are some of my tips if you chose to self study:

  • Schedule time for studying. Put it on your calendar or planner. Don’t put it off.
  • Take breaks. I did an hour of studying, then took a 20 minute break.
  • Take time for yourself. It might seem like you don’t have time, but it is important not to forget about yourself while studying.

 

 

Taking the Test

It’s time to take the test! You can do it! Trust yourself and your studying.

  • Take the night before the test off of studying. There is nothing that you can learn the last night that is going to change the results of your test.
  • Do something to help you relax- yoga, bubble bath, family game night. Whatever your thing is!
  • Make sure to eat a good meal and get a good night’s rest.
  • I recommend packing your gallon size Ziploc bag the night before so you aren’t stressed the morning of the test. Don’t forget your:
    • Number two pencils
    • Pencil sharpener
    • eraser with no sleeve
    • highlighter
    • analog watch
    • snack
    • water bottle with no label
  • Put your clothes out the night before so you aren’t stressing over anything. Dress so you are comfortable, wear layers to plan for temperature changes. When I took the test, the room was a million degrees, then it was zero degrees.
  • Breathe! You got this!

Good luck!

 

Life Changes

Hello all!

It’s been a while, I know. It’s funny how quickly life passes you by without you realizing it. But I wanted to take some time to give some updates and hopefully do better keeping this blog up to date!

First of all, I got accepted to Law School! I got into my first choice school- Sandra Day O’Connor Law School! I am excited to say that I was accepted as a Merit Scholar, which provides a scholarship to help out with tuition. I am going to write a few other posts on different parts of the admissions process and life preparing for law school. These posts are going to include:

  • Studying for the LSAT
  • The Application Process and Personal Statement
  • Saving money and paying for Law School
  • Creating a law school wardrobe
  • Stress management and making time for you

Once law school starts, I am going to do my best to keep you updated on this such as orientation, the first day, the first week, the first year, etc. Well I will do my best at least. The majority of my time is going to be spent studying as much as possible.

As for life right now, nothing really exciting has been going on. We are trying to find a new place to live right now and it is pretty stressful trying to find a place that fits our needs in our price range and that doesn’t go off the market in a day. Since I am going to be leaving my job, they are not allowing me to take any time off. Needless to say, this paired with illness in the family and preparing for law school is causing a great deal of stress at the moment.