What should I emphasize?

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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ehaller
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What should I emphasize?

Postby ehaller » Wed May 12, 2010 3:54 pm

I just graduated with a BA in English Writing and Rhetoric, and I'm taking the October LSAT and applying for schools shortly thereafter. I don't have my LSAT scores yet, but I was a 158 on my diagnostic. I'm going to study with a local prep guy from late June until October, treating it like my 9-5 job. I have a fairly odd history, though, and I was wondering which parts I should emphasize on my apps.

Here are the different things I think I have to work with:

1) I'm gay.

2) I've got a few drops of Mexican blood in me. But it's light-skinned Mexican and I can barely say I tan well.

3) My mother is schizophrenic, and she pulled me out of school in 5th grade to live far up in the mountains where she thought the neo-Nazis she feared wouldn't be able to get us. I spent a few years only talking to 2-3 people, with months of solitude in between. I got my GED and hadn't been in school for eight years when I went to college. I still swung a 3.91 by the time I graduated.

4) I'm a big believer in small government. Because of this, I am very interested in constitutional law, particularly originalism. I think that might be somewhat rare for people who are 1, 2, and 3.

What do you think I should prioritize? :?:

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D. H2Oman
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby D. H2Oman » Wed May 12, 2010 4:00 pm

LSAT Prep

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ehaller
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby ehaller » Wed May 12, 2010 4:02 pm

D. H2Oman wrote:LSAT Prep


Ah, I meant in my essays.

xyzzzzzzzz
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby xyzzzzzzzz » Wed May 12, 2010 4:08 pm

.,
Last edited by xyzzzzzzzz on Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wizger
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby wizger » Wed May 12, 2010 4:16 pm

it's somewhat rare for people 1 and 2 (more so 1). i don't see what it has to do with 3.


xyzzzzzzzz wrote:I say keep looking, if items 1 or 2 (or maybe 1 & 2 together) seriously impacted your life then write about them. You also might want to consider writing a Diversity statement about being mexican, if you feel its an important part of you. Three is interesting, so maybe. As for four, I'd do my very best to avoid politics. Try to write about something important to you, that is revealing about who you are. hope that helps.


correction: best to avoid conservative politics; liberal politics is fair game.

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trialjunky
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby trialjunky » Wed May 12, 2010 4:16 pm

# 3! I want to know more about it.

xyzzzzzzzz
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby xyzzzzzzzz » Wed May 12, 2010 4:18 pm

.
Last edited by xyzzzzzzzz on Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hiromoto45
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby hiromoto45 » Wed May 12, 2010 4:20 pm

1. Gay: there are many gay people, how will you stand out from the pack?
2. Mexican: Doesn't seem like you are that connected to your culture; BUT mention it in some way
3. Mentally Ill Mother: Some may say its risky, but it would make for a great story. I think there are a lot fewer people that have to deal with mental illness (on the scale you described)

4. boring

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3 Stripes
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby 3 Stripes » Wed May 12, 2010 4:31 pm

hiromoto45 wrote:1. Gay: there are many gay people, how will you stand out from the pack?
2. Mexican: Doesn't seem like you are that connected to your culture; BUT mention it in some way
3. Mentally Ill Mother: Some may say its risky, but it would make for a great story. I think there are a lot fewer people that have to deal with mental illness (on the scale you described)

4. boring


1.) Gay; you're right...it doesn't stand out but incorporate it in some way to your growth as a person and student
2.) Mexican; who's anyone to say whether he seems connected or not to his heritage, especially based off a thread post? but you should tie it into your PS/DS....but there's no need to make it a red herring
3.) YES! tie it in or make it the main theme/personal obstacle
4.) Use this to sum up your experience living with your mother and how it shaped your desire to practice law and succeed in law school.

In my humble opinion, you are a unique applicant and should work to compile a PS (&DS) that highlight all aspects of your diversity and strings it along to explain how you'd be a great lawyer (emphasize the desire to practice originalism in constitution law towards the conclusion). In this respect of putting together your PS, you're like a director and you have a theme (#3) and your end goal is to show how it shapes your goal of law school (#4) in spite of obstacles of being #1 and #2. Envision how Tarantino or Scorcese would put the film together and then add your touch in.


You got this!

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Sangiovese
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby Sangiovese » Wed May 12, 2010 4:34 pm

ehaller wrote:1) I'm gay.
2) I've got a few drops of Mexican blood in me. But it's light-skinned Mexican and I can barely say I tan well.
3) My mother is schizophrenic, and she pulled me out of school in 5th grade to live far up in the mountains where she thought the neo-Nazis she feared wouldn't be able to get us. I spent a few years only talking to 2-3 people, with months of solitude in between. I got my GED and hadn't been in school for eight years when I went to college. I still swung a 3.91 by the time I graduated.
4) I'm a big believer in small government. Because of this, I am very interested in constitutional law, particularly originalism. I think that might be somewhat rare for people who are 1, 2, and 3.

What do you think I should prioritize? :?:


1. So what? Just being gay doesn't make you an interesting or unique applicant. If you have some interesting experiences/background because of it, or have faced some significant hardships because of it... then consider writing about them. But just being gay doesn't make you a unique snowflake.

2. Same as #1 with this caveat. If your only relationship with the hispanic community is the fact that someone in your family tree was from south of the border... there is nothing for you here. In order to write a race-based essay, you need to have some connection to that community beyond a common ancestor.

3. This one is immediately interesting because it is DIFFERENT than the 100s of other essays the adcom will be reading during the week they read it. It also sounds like it probably shaped your outlook on life more than #1 and #2.

4. Conservative/libertarian viewpoints are probably not going to hurt you, but they probably aren't going to give you a compelling essay either, unless you have acted on them in the past and are writing about the experience. Believing in small government doesn't make an interesting essay. Working for a grassroots organization or political campaign in support of those beliefs might give you material for something interesting.

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merichard87
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby merichard87 » Wed May 12, 2010 4:37 pm

Play the crazy card! It worked for Augusten Burroughs. Actually you guys have a lot in common.

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HazelEyes
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby HazelEyes » Wed May 12, 2010 4:39 pm

I would definitely emphasize your unusual background and the hardships you underwent dealing with your mother’s mental illness.

Identifying your sexuality is really a personal choice, and can either work well in more liberal schools or backfire in more conservative schools.

Considering that you graduated with a great GPA and have a fairly decent raw LSAT score, you really are on the right track.

With a couple of months of hard studying you should be able to raise it at least 10 points, you should have a decent shot at some good schools.

Conclusion: If I were you, I’d keep the story of growing up as the main overcoming adversity kind of story. That's what I did.

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YCrevolution
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby YCrevolution » Wed May 12, 2010 5:10 pm

..

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DavidYurman85
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Wed May 12, 2010 8:34 pm

Your unusual upbringing in the mountains sounds kind of intriguing. I'm not sure if it's enough to make you STAND OUT, but at first glance, I wanted to know more.

Perhaps you can find a way to not so obviously state how your background has influenced number three.

By not so obvious I mean...don't make your essay scream "I'm gay and I had a nutty childhood and I believe in small government which makes me different from others in my situation so pick me"!

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20121109
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby 20121109 » Wed May 12, 2010 9:01 pm

trialjunky wrote:# 3! I want to know more about it.


<3

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PlugInBaby
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby PlugInBaby » Wed May 12, 2010 9:35 pm

Quick answer: 1 & 2 in diversity statement...3 in personal statement (interesting background/overcoming adversity). I am leary of 4....pure ideology as a driving force personally turns me off greatly...its a much different and riskier scope than say wanting to be an advocate for gay rights or environmental causes.

legalized
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby legalized » Thu May 13, 2010 3:18 pm

ehaller wrote:I just graduated with a BA in English Writing and Rhetoric, and I'm taking the October LSAT and applying for schools shortly thereafter. I don't have my LSAT scores yet, but I was a 158 on my diagnostic. I'm going to study with a local prep guy from late June until October, treating it like my 9-5 job. I have a fairly odd history, though, and I was wondering which parts I should emphasize on my apps.

Here are the different things I think I have to work with:

1) I'm gay.

2) I've got a few drops of Mexican blood in me. But it's light-skinned Mexican and I can barely say I tan well.

3) My mother is schizophrenic, and she pulled me out of school in 5th grade to live far up in the mountains where she thought the neo-Nazis she feared wouldn't be able to get us. I spent a few years only talking to 2-3 people, with months of solitude in between. I got my GED and hadn't been in school for eight years when I went to college. I still swung a 3.91 by the time I graduated.

4) I'm a big believer in small government. Because of this, I am very interested in constitutional law, particularly originalism. I think that might be somewhat rare for people who are 1, 2, and 3.

What do you think I should prioritize? :?:


#3 by FARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

#2 can be mentioned in passing in the buildup story of #3. Like, a few words in a sentence. Is the Mexican from mother or (apparently absent?) father?

#1 I don't see why people feel the need to mention their sex life. Is sex life no longer a private matter between the two people involved in it?

#4 How does this translate into how the school you are applying to will fit into your career aspirations? What exactly are your career aspirations?

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YCrevolution
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby YCrevolution » Thu May 13, 2010 3:21 pm

..

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vanwinkle
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu May 13, 2010 3:25 pm

legalized wrote:#1 I don't see why people feel the need to mention their sex life. Is sex life no longer a private matter between the two people involved in it?

It's not a private matter when there are many in this society who try to criminalize it, publically criticize those who do it privately, and undermine the relationships that gays have beyond intimate private matters by denying them access to things like marriage and partner benefits that straight couples get.

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vanwinkle
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu May 13, 2010 3:25 pm

merichard87 wrote:Play the crazy card! It worked for Augusten Burroughs.

I should have tried this. It might have gotten me into Yale. Will never know now.

legalized
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby legalized » Thu May 13, 2010 4:13 pm

YCrevolution wrote:
legalized wrote:
ehaller wrote:I just graduated with a BA in English Writing and Rhetoric, and I'm taking the October LSAT and applying for schools shortly thereafter. I don't have my LSAT scores yet, but I was a 158 on my diagnostic. I'm going to study with a local prep guy from late June until October, treating it like my 9-5 job. I have a fairly odd history, though, and I was wondering which parts I should emphasize on my apps.

Here are the different things I think I have to work with:

1) I'm gay.

2) I've got a few drops of Mexican blood in me. But it's light-skinned Mexican and I can barely say I tan well.

3) My mother is schizophrenic, and she pulled me out of school in 5th grade to live far up in the mountains where she thought the neo-Nazis she feared wouldn't be able to get us. I spent a few years only talking to 2-3 people, with months of solitude in between. I got my GED and hadn't been in school for eight years when I went to college. I still swung a 3.91 by the time I graduated.

4) I'm a big believer in small government. Because of this, I am very interested in constitutional law, particularly originalism. I think that might be somewhat rare for people who are 1, 2, and 3.

What do you think I should prioritize? :?:


#3 by FARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

#2 can be mentioned in passing in the buildup story of #3. Like, a few words in a sentence. Is the Mexican from mother or (apparently absent?) father?

#1 I don't see why people feel the need to mention their sex life. Is sex life no longer a private matter between the two people involved in it?

#4 How does this translate into how the school you are applying to will fit into your career aspirations? What exactly are your career aspirations?

This may come as a shock to you, but gays actually do think about things other than sex and do things other than sex. And society clearly worries about it a lot.


What does your revelation have to do with my question?

Mentioning gay just to mention that you're gay is pointless. Where is the unique individual aspect in that by itself? If there is some hurdles faced personally and overcome due to that status or hurdles observed out there that you plan to fight using your law degree, fine, but he didn't say that. He said "I'm gay." If he plans on going into corporate law or doing anything besides fighting bias against gays in the law...then being gay remains simply his private life and I don't see the need to address private life except as it relates to your legal aspirations. Not everyone who is gay had some terrible injustice done to them, not every gay wants to get married or adopt/grow children, etc. And if they are focusing on some other aspect of their lives that is tied into their legal career dreams, that still means there is no relevance in mentioning their sex life, now is there? The only difference between a gay person and a straight person is not all the other things they do with their lives but what gender they have sex with. Unless you're telling me that gay people have some cranial difference I am unaware of?

Because gays do and think other things besides same sex relations, is exactly why I asked the question. His #3 is relevant whether he is gay or not. Being gay by itself is not something whose emphasis brings something individual to the table.

legalized
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby legalized » Thu May 13, 2010 4:16 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
legalized wrote:#1 I don't see why people feel the need to mention their sex life. Is sex life no longer a private matter between the two people involved in it?

It's not a private matter when there are many in this society who try to criminalize it, publically criticize those who do it privately, and undermine the relationships that gays have beyond intimate private matters by denying them access to things like marriage and partner benefits that straight couples get.


He didn't indicate some burning desire to fight all those things.

He simply mentioned what he is as an entire topic.

Do you see that moving him past all the others who apply to whatever school he applies to? I didn't. But my opinion is just one of many, he is free to take it or leave it as he sees fit.

Edit* also, I believe in the case of sodomy (penetration of the anus), there are already laws on the books of many states from, what, centuries ago? If anything there are more efforts to decriminalize that these days. And, the laws are not enforced, they are just there, and obsolete, and no one has done a thorough housekeeping from state to state on archaic laws.

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vanwinkle
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu May 13, 2010 4:19 pm

legalized wrote:He didn't indicate some burning desire to fight all those things.

He simply mentioned what he is as an entire topic.

If he is gay, he has probably had to deal with those things in his life. I'm not talking about a burning desire to fight them, just the life experience of having lived through those things. The fact that he mentions like that, to me, says that he's talking about having lived that life and experienced those things. It's not about what he wants to do but who he is and what experiences that has given him that are worth talking about. That is an entire topic worth talking about, possibly.

legalized wrote:Edit* also, I believe in the case of sodomy (penetration of the anus), there are already laws on the books of many states from, what, centuries ago? If anything there are more efforts to decriminalize that these days. And, the laws are not enforced, they are just there, and obsolete, and no one has done a thorough housekeeping from state to state on archaic laws.

This may surprise you, but as recently as 2003, states were trying to enforce these laws. The ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that these laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable only came about because someone tried to enforce them.

And there are plenty of people who feel that court decision was wrong, and that states should still have the right to criminalize such behavior. Don't pretend that the world has evolved beyond such meddling in people's lives. You can't be that naive.

JOThompson
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby JOThompson » Thu May 13, 2010 4:32 pm

I'd say that #3 is the most appealing on the basis of getting adcomm attention. I feel that it could also be risky though.

legalized
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Re: What should I emphasize?

Postby legalized » Thu May 13, 2010 4:40 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
legalized wrote:He didn't indicate some burning desire to fight all those things.

He simply mentioned what he is as an entire topic.

If he is gay, he has probably had to deal with those things in his life. I'm not talking about a burning desire to fight them, just the life experience of having lived through those things. The fact that he mentions like that, to me, says that he's talking about having lived that life and experienced those things. It's not about what he wants to do but who he is and what experiences that has given him that are worth talking about. That is an entire topic worth talking about, possibly.

legalized wrote:Edit* also, I believe in the case of sodomy (penetration of the anus), there are already laws on the books of many states from, what, centuries ago? If anything there are more efforts to decriminalize that these days. And, the laws are not enforced, they are just there, and obsolete, and no one has done a thorough housekeeping from state to state on archaic laws.

This may surprise you, but as recently as 2003, states were trying to enforce these laws. The ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that these laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable only came about because someone tried to enforce them.

And there are plenty of people who feel that court decision was wrong, and that states should still have the right to criminalize such behavior. Don't pretend that the world has evolved beyond such meddling in people's lives. You can't be that naive.


No, I am not that naive, but it's not the norm for people to hear of one of the states trying to arrest someone for sodomy, come on! And yes that is a surprise. I mean how do they find that out, walk into someone's bedroom in the middle of the night? lol I can't even picture how they enforce those laws unless people are doing it in front of others, even way back when the laws were made. I am not into PDAs, no matter your inclination, so I don't even like seeing two opposite sex people french kissing and groping in a mall in front of me...I feel like it should be private and it's not private if I'm looking right at it. But anyway I digress.

I don't pretend to have a handle on how the country feels about gays, but this is definitely a much MUCH more tolerant country than some others that spring to mind. Trust me on that one.

His #3 still wins out over all else. He came through all that with a gpa near 4.0.




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