How important?

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greg737
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How important?

Postby greg737 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:46 pm

So how important do law schools consider these personal statements? I can't imagine that they are at the same level, as in as meaningles as the LSAT writing sample, but do they really make a difference?

Basically, if you're a shoe-in at school thanks to your GPA and LSAT score, does the PS even matter? Can a poor one, or rushed one, kill your chances at a school you'd otherwise be a lock?

I imagine they are kind of used as a "tie-breaker" among borderline applicants and various schools. Is that the sense you all have?

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St.Remy
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Re: How important?

Postby St.Remy » Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:00 am

greg737 wrote:So how important do law schools consider these personal statements? I can't imagine that they are at the same level, as in as meaningles as the LSAT writing sample, but do they really make a difference?

Basically, if you're a shoe-in at school thanks to your GPA and LSAT score, does the PS even matter? Can a poor one, or rushed one, kill your chances at a school you'd otherwise be a lock?

I imagine they are kind of used as a "tie-breaker" among borderline applicants and various schools. Is that the sense you all have?


If it's too poor or rushed then you can be screwed, but by and large what you describe is correct for the majority of schools. There are some more holistic schools that put more emphasis on the statement than others, namely Yale Stanford Berkeley, but the other schools mostly want to see that you can write something halfway decent that doesn't have any huge mistakes or describe any major character flaws. If you are a lock at a school it would be very difficult for your PS to put you in the reject pile. Some people disagree, but honestly if you look at the numbers breakdown for applicants it becomes increasingly clear that the PS being more of a formality than a substantive part of the application process is the established party-line on TLS for a reason.

AKenter
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Re: How important?

Postby AKenter » Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:51 am

Hearing this makes me wonder if I should spend as much time as I am trying to perfect mine rather than just settling for good enough sending out my applications as early as possible...

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hokie
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Re: How important?

Postby hokie » Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:28 am

AKenter wrote:Hearing this makes me wonder if I should spend as much time as I am trying to perfect mine rather than just settling for good enough sending out my applications as early as possible...


don't half-ass it, but it also isn't necessary to take another few weeks to do negligible fine-tuning (aka rearranging sentences back-and-forth for days figuring out which has a "better flow"). Granted your numbers are competitive for the school(s) you are applying to, as long as there are no grammatical mistakes and it is half-decent, send it in as soon as possible

greg737
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Re: How important?

Postby greg737 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:35 am

Yea I figured it wasn't worth as much time as people on the board seemed to make it out to be. Not to discount it or anything, but it seems like people were taking months to do it (and treating it like the LSAT). Seems as if you can put together some coherant thought with everything spelled correctly, you should be fine at schools where your marks would get you in.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: How important?

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:38 am

greg737 wrote:Yea I figured it wasn't worth as much time as people on the board seemed to make it out to be. Not to discount it or anything, but it seems like people were taking months to do it (and treating it like the LSAT). Seems as if you can put together some coherant thought with everything spelled correctly, you should be fine at schools where your marks would get you in.


wahh? if anything, ppl on TLS tout numbers as being the most important thing, and then numbers as being the next most important thing lol

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glitched
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Re: How important?

Postby glitched » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:21 pm

Honestly... in my opinion the best thing to do for a ps is get them to like you. If they like you and then look at your numbers it WILL help. Unless youre way above or below the numbers. How do you get them to like you? Tell a unique story, be really positive, let your excitement/passion just leak through the words, and/or just write like a pro. Just to name a few things.

Ps is pretty much the only part of the application where you have full control.... and they will read it... so use it. Unless you have a 4.3/180. Then draw pictures of cats.

btr77
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Re: How important?

Postby btr77 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:34 pm

How about a school that you are a "shoe in" but are hoping to get $. Is that sort of thing based solely on numbers too, or is it subjective likeability with the PS playing a big part?

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hokie
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Re: How important?

Postby hokie » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:43 pm

leeronalda wrote:Honestly... in my opinion the best thing to do for a ps is get them to like you. If they like you and then look at your numbers it WILL help If they look at your numbers and then they like you [in your PS] it WILL help. Unless youre way above or below the numbers. How do you get them to like you? Tell a unique story, be really positive, let your excitement/passion just leak through the words, and/or just write like a pro. Just to name a few things.

Ps is pretty much the only part of the application where you have full control.... and they will read it... so use it. Unless you have a 4.3/180. Then draw pictures of cats.


Corrected; vast difference in ordering. LSAT/GPA>PS pretty much always. If you're numbers aren't there, chances are they are NOT going to like you (not personally, of course) :wink:

With regards to $$$, yea, it is primarily a numbers game as it is generally merit-based scholarships given to entice students that have [on average] stellar numbers (with regards to the respective school). However, PS very well might factor in; you never entirely know......

Saltqjibo
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Re: How important?

Postby Saltqjibo » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:08 am

oh how TLS misleads...

Write as good a PS as possible. if you are a "lock" it will help you stay off of YP and get $$$. If you are in that grey middle area where 1/2 to 3/4 of applicants fall, it will be a deciding factor.

TheTallOne0602
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Re: How important?

Postby TheTallOne0602 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:35 am

It is all about the marginal benefit. The marginal benefit of a 1 point increase in LSAT or a .1 increase in GPA is much more substantial than a slight increase in PS quality, so don't sacrifice grades or LSAT preparation (assuming you are preparing) for PS (though I have never understood why you can't do all three).

Assuming your scores are fixed, however, a PS is actually incredibly important. Will it bump you above people with better scores? Probably not. But there will be many, many people with numbers similar to yours at each school to which you apply. To break those ties, they have to look at other things. Then, the marginal benefit of having a better PS could be the difference between getting in and not.




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