Can a personal statement not mention law school at all?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
neonx
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Can a personal statement not mention law school at all?

Postby neonx » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:25 pm

I am worried. This is a very basic question, but one that I've been wavering on.

I do not mention my motivations for law school nor anything about the law in my PS. I just focused on offering insight on the person that I am.

Should all PS at least try to touch upon law school in some form?

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$1.99
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Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:49 am

Re: Can a personal statement not mention law school at all?

Postby $1.99 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:26 pm

you do not have to, but it would be nice to mention it a little. like how events led you to pursue law or what field you want to study

RTFM
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Re: Can a personal statement not mention law school at all?

Postby RTFM » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:49 pm

I've heard various opinions on this. My prelaw advisor said that there's no reason to mention law specifically unless the school's prompt asks for it, so after I awkwardly tried to tie my PS to law I went with her advice and just kept my PS on my original topic. However, I have had WE in law-related jobs so I felt more comfortable leaving "why law?" out of my PS.

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santisuk
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Re: Can a personal statement not mention law school at all?

Postby santisuk » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:10 am

Hi, new here. I just went through the Ivey guide myself, and read that it's not necessary to mention law school explicitly-- obviously since you're applying, they're going to know you want to study law. Often what they want to read about are qualities about you and experiences you've had that will equip you well for law school or contribute something unique to the classroom, and that can come out even if you never mention law school. An exception seems to be if you're non-traditional and/or are changing careers-- then they want to know more about your decision to change course.

neonx
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Re: Can a personal statement not mention law school at all?

Postby neonx » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:28 am

santisuk wrote:Hi, new here. I just went through the Ivey guide myself, and read that it's not necessary to mention law school explicitly-- obviously since you're applying, they're going to know you want to study law. Often what they want to read about are qualities about you and experiences you've had that will equip you well for law school or contribute something unique to the classroom, and that can come out even if you never mention law school. An exception seems to be if you're non-traditional and/or are changing careers-- then they want to know more about your decision to change course.


Thank you for this thoughtful response. The Ivey guide vs. comments on this TLS seemed contradictory.

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2Serious4Numbers
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Re: Can a personal statement not mention law school at all?

Postby 2Serious4Numbers » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:31 am

I would custom tailor each each ps to the skool I.e. Mention about a clinic or center that relates to your desires/directive w/ law.. It will make a difference

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vanwinkle
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Re: Can a personal statement not mention law school at all?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:44 am

santisuk wrote:Hi, new here. I just went through the Ivey guide myself, and read that it's not necessary to mention law school explicitly-- obviously since you're applying, they're going to know you want to study law. Often what they want to read about are qualities about you and experiences you've had that will equip you well for law school or contribute something unique to the classroom, and that can come out even if you never mention law school. An exception seems to be if you're non-traditional and/or are changing careers-- then they want to know more about your decision to change course.

I was a non-trad changing careers who never specifically mentioned law school, but I definitely did address the decision to change course in a way.

I wrote an "overcoming adversity" PS which described how I had gotten from my childhood to my current job and how I'd overcome different things that had been holding me back over the years, and felt ready to try accomplishing more with my life. I made sure the PS demonstrated how overcoming that adversity had given me skills and perspectives that would equip me well for future success. I made sure it was well-written, and had several people check it over for me before I sent it out, but I never mentioned law school in it at all. I ended it with something like "Having finally overcome all that, I'm eager to see how much further I can really go." Thus it was implied, but never said, that I considered going to their law school to be part of "going farther", since I was, y'know, applying to their law school.

Several of my acceptances included handwritten notes talking about how great my story was and how they felt I'd be happy attending their school. The upshot is that it's possible to write a really solid PS that doesn't mention law school at all, but you had damn well better know what you're doing.

The real key, IMO, is to demonstrate qualities/skills/abilities you know would be seen as positive by adcomms, because ultimately that's what they need to know about you. Saying you want to go to law school is less important, because they know you want to go to law school from the fact that you're applying to law school. If you have a good reason, it's worth giving it, but if you don't I think trying to manufacture one is a bad idea.




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