Page limits

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
LSATNightmares
Posts: 535
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 10:29 pm

Page limits

Postby LSATNightmares » Sun Oct 17, 2010 6:53 am

So, a bunch of schools stipulate that essays should be two pages in length. So why do so many personal statements go on for much longer? I'm finding it hard seeing a great two-page personal statement. I mean, how can one write creatively and cover a bunch of different topics in it, like why you want to go to law school? Thoughts?

OmbreGracieuse
Posts: 254
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:39 pm

Re: Page limits

Postby OmbreGracieuse » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:28 am

And therein lies the challenge, I think. They want to see how well you can do in two pages, and the ability to do well or not do well is what will set you apart from your peers.

There are some GREAT ideas and suggestions on TLS though to help you get started. :)

Good luck!!


PS- if all else fails, you could consider using a DS in conjunction with your PS.

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kalvano
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Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Page limits

Postby kalvano » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:31 am

LSATNightmares wrote:I mean, how can one write creatively and cover a bunch of different topics in it, like why you want to go to law school?


Skip that topic anyway.

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kwais
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Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Page limits

Postby kwais » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:59 am

kalvano wrote:
LSATNightmares wrote:I mean, how can one write creatively and cover a bunch of different topics in it, like why you want to go to law school?


Skip that topic anyway.


Hey. I really want to skip this topic but I'm worried about ignoring it. Could you expand on your advice?

LSATNightmares
Posts: 535
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 10:29 pm

Re: Page limits

Postby LSATNightmares » Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:28 pm

Hmm, I see your point. But in my case, I have very good reasons for wanting to go to law school, as I've been in the professional world for four years. I could see why other people might want to skip that. But I'm sure most of you have seen the sample essays on these forums, with comments by the editors. The comments say, "Why didn't you talk about your qualifications for law school?" for example, even though the essay is over two pages. I wish the personal statement topic could be more focused. And I wish there were more examples of two-paged essays! :-)

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kalvano
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Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Page limits

Postby kalvano » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:52 pm

kwais wrote:
kalvano wrote:
LSATNightmares wrote:I mean, how can one write creatively and cover a bunch of different topics in it, like why you want to go to law school?


Skip that topic anyway.


Hey. I really want to skip this topic but I'm worried about ignoring it. Could you expand on your advice?



Best advice is from a law school themselves (and it's W&L, so it's not some shifty black hole of suck) -

The personal statement is your opportunity to give us a sense of who you are beyond what we can glean from the rest of the paper we've required of you. The best use of that opportunity? Tell us something about yourself that we won't discover otherwise. As a starting point, we recommend you imagine that our admissions committee has one seat available, and is considering your file and one other, both with the same numerical qualifications. Your personal statement will be read aloud. What do you want us to know about you before we make a choice? What makes you who you are?

We know this is still a daunting prospect, so here are a few concrete guidelines:

We read thousands of files, so you should strive for your personal statement to be memorable... within limits. Accordingly, if you summarize your resume, you've wasted the opportunity. On the other hand, iambic pentameter, baked goods, photo albums or the necessity of a decoder ring are not the sorts of "memorable" we're after. (You think we're joking, don't you? We're not.)

While the topic of your statement should actually be personal, it should stop short of triggering a "TMI" response. For most, this will rule out your assessment of the state of any particular aspect of the law, on one hand, and anything overly intimate on the other. In the world of personal statements, unique is good… unless it's very, very bad. If you'd feel queasy asking an acquaintance or potential employer to review your statement, we suggest you redraft.

Every year we receive numerous well-written personal statements that highlight the aspects of W&L Law the writer finds attractive. This sort of statement almost never hurts an applicant, but hardly ever helps as much as a personal statement can. Your discussion of an aspect of the educational experience available here, no matter how eloquent, is not likely to stick with us very long. We know about us; tell us about you.


Follow the rules. We provide guidelines on length and font size on our application. Ignore them and you run the risk of offending tired eyes, and worse, setting the bar for your statement higher than that applied to those who abide by the rules. It's never in your best interest for your actions to imply that your file is worth twice the review time as every other. (Consider the necessary editing process to be good practice for your chosen profession: courts all over the nation prescribe typeface, font size, margins and filing length; non-conforming filings are summarily rejected by the court clerk.)

We're willing to take your application as sufficient evidence of your interest in studying law, so you needn't try to convince us of the sincerity of your ambition. Remember, we're trying to get an idea of the voice you might bring to campus. While you'll do a lot of talking about law here, of course, we're after a sense of what might inform your contribution to the conversation. So tell us about your losing season, your musical aspirations, that pivotal vacation experience, the single most important piece of advice you've ever received, your troubled (or wonderful) relationship with your sibling, why you volunteered… you get the idea. Those are the things that bring manila folders to life.




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