In the original poster's case neither the paralegal certificate nor the master's degree will help with respect to law school admissions, but for very different reasons. Paralegal studies, as with most college prelaw majors, are frowned upon by elite law schools because, simply put, they do the opposite of what law school does; paralegal & prelaw programs of study tend to teach certainty whereas law schools teach uncertainty. That is why the first year of law school is such a difficult period of graduate study & it is why so many straight "A" college grads do not do well in the first year of law school. The master's degree, on the other hand, will not help the OP's case for law school admission because it is not a pursuit of passion nor one of practicality for a law practice.
A master's degree in English, writing, a foreign language, science, engineering, business among other areas of study can offer direct benefits to the practice of law.
The most sought after law schools' admissions officers are vary wary of accepting applicants who apply because they seemingly have no other options.
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