Tailoring PS to specific schools.

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SunDevil14

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Tailoring PS to specific schools.

Postby SunDevil14 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:40 pm

Would the following be an advantageous approach: Doing some investigate research into specific law schools, and framing your personal statement to show that a certain law school/program really speaks to your personality, character, experiences, and ambitions.

1. I am talking about substantive reasons, not just restating the schools admissions webpage in your personal statement, or spewing insincere superficial crap that can be easily spotted.
2. The above approach would be for schools that you really have very strong interest in attending, a different personal statement would be sent to other schools you are applying to.

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UVA2B

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Re: Tailoring PS to specific schools.

Postby UVA2B » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:12 pm

I think it's more work than it's worth for a couple reasons.

1. All law schools tend to claim strength in many areas of law, so claiming one program is noticeably better is largely flame. For instance, if a school pushes a heavy externship program, excellent curriculum in a given area, or whatever things you can pull out from researching a given school probably won't particularly ingratiate you to the admissions people.

2. Even if you tickle their fancy because you looked deeper into the school, I have serious doubts you'll be able to find substantive reasons to connect your personal experiences with a particular strength of a school. Even if you believed in the strength of a given program or curriculum area, the entire premise of your idea is that different schools are good for many different reasons. From there, can you really find effective ways to tie your experiences to a strength in (for instance) a strong regulatory curriculum, expansive externship program, great business law curriculum, and a connection to environmental law? I think it's likely to come off false and disingenuous unless you're the world's most interesting person that has heavy amounts of work experience in a wide variety of areas.

3. The entire idea likely defies the underlying purpose of the PS, which is to give your application a valuable third dimension. They want to learn something different and interesting about you that makes them want you in their class. If you're trying to fit yourself into what they already are, you're missing the opportunity to instead just show them what they really want to see: the best parts of you. Connecting your experiences in a given area they claim is strong may miss a valuable opportunity to show them what is best about you if that's not what you would write about otherwise.

I don't think it's the worst idea, but your time is better served if you just spend the time to be introspective and ask yourself what you want an admissions person to learn about you through the PS. Figure out your strengths that aren't immediately evident in the rest of your application and shine a spotlight on that quality with an interesting story that shows me that thing about you.

This is all incredibly vague because I don't know what you're best off writing about in your personal experiences, but once you figure out what you think is most desirable about you as a candidate for a law school, figure out how to show that and put words on the page. Don't make the PS about the schools. It's all about you and is intended that way. Save your connections with the school for possible "Why X" essays (possibly excepting Boalt because they give you more space in your PS to discuss why you want to go to Berkeley).

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SunDevil14

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Re: Tailoring PS to specific schools.

Postby SunDevil14 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:05 pm

UVA2B wrote:I think it's more work than it's worth for a couple reasons.

1. All law schools tend to claim strength in many areas of law, so claiming one program is noticeably better is largely flame. For instance, if a school pushes a heavy externship program, excellent curriculum in a given area, or whatever things you can pull out from researching a given school probably won't particularly ingratiate you to the admissions people.

2. Even if you tickle their fancy because you looked deeper into the school, I have serious doubts you'll be able to find substantive reasons to connect your personal experiences with a particular strength of a school. Even if you believed in the strength of a given program or curriculum area, the entire premise of your idea is that different schools are good for many different reasons. From there, can you really find effective ways to tie your experiences to a strength in (for instance) a strong regulatory curriculum, expansive externship program, great business law curriculum, and a connection to environmental law? I think it's likely to come off false and disingenuous unless you're the world's most interesting person that has heavy amounts of work experience in a wide variety of areas.

3. The entire idea likely defies the underlying purpose of the PS, which is to give your application a valuable third dimension. They want to learn something different and interesting about you that makes them want you in their class. If you're trying to fit yourself into what they already are, you're missing the opportunity to instead just show them what they really want to see: the best parts of you. Connecting your experiences in a given area they claim is strong may miss a valuable opportunity to show them what is best about you if that's not what you would write about otherwise.

I don't think it's the worst idea, but your time is better served if you just spend the time to be introspective and ask yourself what you want an admissions person to learn about you through the PS. Figure out your strengths that aren't immediately evident in the rest of your application and shine a spotlight on that quality with an interesting story that shows me that thing about you.

This is all incredibly vague because I don't know what you're best off writing about in your personal experiences, but once you figure out what you think is most desirable about you as a candidate for a law school, figure out how to show that and put words on the page. Don't make the PS about the schools. It's all about you and is intended that way. Save your connections with the school for possible "Why X" essays (possibly excepting Boalt because they give you more space in your PS to discuss why you want to go to Berkeley).


Thanks for the input. Back to the drawing board. I believe my main issue comes from the fact that I tend to embody a "lovable rouge" character archetype. I was not the type of student that was a teacher's aid helping with research, rather I'd call my favorite professors by their first name, kick back and have a beer with them, and or play with their kids/meet their family. Much of my own unique personal strength(s) and voice comes from a place that is more ambiguous than most. To be honest, I am hesitant to write a personal statement that best captures my unique voice and dimension, because I fear that it may be harshly judged.



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