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GEMJRERCHS

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Postby GEMJRERCHS » Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:41 pm

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Last edited by GEMJRERCHS on Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dnptan

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Re: Law School Application questions

Postby dnptan » Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:19 pm

GEMJRERCHS wrote:I have gotten my BA last year, taken Feb 14 LSAT, and am planning to apply for law school Fall 2015 semester. I am planning to apply for all the Top 14 law schools and I want to submit my application as early as possible. Three of my professors have already agreed to write my letter of recommendations, all my transcripts are received by LSAC, and I am researching on these schools right now. I do have a few questions regarding the application process.

1. Is there a way to find the actual instructions for personal statements, diversity statements, and essays for each of these schools so I can start writing early? I know there are general instructions on their websites, but I am planning to write them now and submit them asap and I don't want to suddenly having to spend a few more days changing these essays when I open the applications and find out specific components that I have to add.

2. Should I write a specific essay for each school that I am applying to, or can I get away with writing generic personal statements/essays/diversity statements, and then just be careful at submitting the essay with the right school name for each school?

3. I have taken Testmasters LSAT class to prepare for my LSAT, and they also have services that help my personal statements/essays. Is there any reason that I should get a service like this, or is asking a friend to read my essays for me sufficient for writing good essays? I do have a friend who is currently a law student at Cornell, and he agreed to help me. He is really busy right now, which is why I am asking you guys here.

4. Since I have never seen an actual law school application, can you tell me how long they are and how fast can I finish each?

5. I have a physical disability that I want to include in my diversity statement as a part of the hardship that I endured. I remember when I applied for my undergraduate school, the application asked the diagnostic report from a physician. Can you tell me what specific documents that I may have to submit in my law school applications and how recent the diagnostic report or test it has to be?

6. I am about to become a U.S. citizen soon and I want to change my legal name. Do you advise me to change it after I am admitted to a law school so there will be less confusion, or is changing it while I am applying fine?

Thanks for your help!


1) There are no hard-and-fast "instructions" for personal statements. I suggest you read up in-depth on each school you intend to apply to, as you can gauge not only format, but the style they would (more likely would not) appreciate based on their writing or on what others have had to say. Here is a good start: http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html

2) It depends. If you have the time for it, then do so. I wouldn't do it if you're just going to dig information and fabricate stories based on each school. Write your story. If it's different for each school, then so be it. But I sincerely doubt it's different for ALL schools since you just plan on blanketing. A generic app is best for blanketing.

3) I just had friends/family edit mine. I don't think $400 (or whatever price) is worth the edits. It was important for my for my PS to sound like me, and you won't get that feedback from people who don't know you. YMMV but I'm against it. If you have the money though, why the hell not? P.S. DO NOT LIE in Yale's App if they ask if "you've taken an LSAT prep course."

4) If you rush it, 20 minutes (not including essays). Mine took months.

5) LS will ask for the document if it's interested. For a DS, don't write on how your disability held you back, but how you succeeded in spite, OR EVEN BETTER, BECAUSE of it. LS isn't a place for sob stories.

6) After. Consistency is key.

GEMJRERCHS wrote:I am Asian American immigrant of 10 years, graduated history major at UC Berkeley, Department Honors for my Senior Thesis. My overall GPA is 3.65, but I struggled with writing when I first came to UC Berkeley since I didn't know how to write well, and for my last 4 semesters, my GPA ranges between 3.85 and 4.0. I am planning to mention that in my app, and I will have some of my professors who know me to write in their letters of rec as well. I got 167 from December 2013 LSAT, and I am intended to apply for law school for Fall 2015.


Unless you get 170+, don't bother with Stanford. Unless you get 173+, don't bother with Y/H. I do't think you need to mention that you were a poor writer. Glad you waited out the cycle, hopefully your app will be powerful this coming fall. Apply early, and best of luck! HTH

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malleus discentium

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Re: Law School Application questions

Postby malleus discentium » Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:42 am

GEMJRERCHS wrote:1. Is there a way to find the actual instructions for personal statements, diversity statements, and essays for each of these schools so I can start writing early? I know there are general instructions on their websites, but I am planning to write them now and submit them asap and I don't want to suddenly having to spend a few more days changing these essays when I open the applications and find out specific components that I have to add.

Register for CAS and look at the applications from this year if they're still open. They're not likely to change substantively between this year and the next. CAS is good for five years.


2. Should I write a specific essay for each school that I am applying to, or can I get away with writing generic personal statements/essays/diversity statements, and then just be careful at submitting the essay with the right school name for each school?

Generic is fine, with the obvious exceptions of Why X essays (which you should write for at least Duke, M, P and UVA). All the T14 want essentially the same thing out of a PS. Y requires a 250, and some schools have effectively mandatory "optional" essays (see previous) but the core essays will always be the same. None of the core essays should mention a school by name.

3. I have taken Testmasters LSAT class to prepare for my LSAT, and they also have services that help my personal statements/essays. Is there any reason that I should get a service like this, or is asking a friend to read my essays for me sufficient for writing good essays? I do have a friend who is currently a law student at Cornell, and he agreed to help me. He is really busy right now, which is why I am asking you guys here.

Paying for help for anything other than LSAT prep is controversial on TLS. Nobody needs it; everything you need can be found here or Mike Spivey's thread or Anna Ivey's book. Getting a consultant for just my PS gave me peace of mind and I do not regret it. But it was very expensive and I probably didn't need it. If you have the money to spare then it's not the worst idea ever even if it's unnecessary. But only use Mike Spivey/Karen Buttenbaum: they're both former adcoms and only adcoms matter. (You could also retain Anna Ivey for the same reason, I suppose, but MS/KB are helpful all over the place so you should use them.)

4. Since I have never seen an actual law school application, can you tell me how long they are and how fast can I finish each?

90% of all applications are the same and mostly autofill on LSAC (I don't know why they don't just combine all that basic information into one app, but whatever). They'll take about 20 minutes, give or take. See No. 1.

5. I have a physical disability that I want to include in my diversity statement as a part of the hardship that I endured. I remember when I applied for my undergraduate school, the application asked the diagnostic report from a physician. Can you tell me what specific documents that I may have to submit in my law school applications and how recent the diagnostic report or test it has to be?

I don't know the answer to this question, but I'm going to give you some very cynical advice: if you're looking to get test accommodations for the LSAT, consider whether you really really need them. Accommodated scores are flagged and not reported to UNSWR, (though this may be changing, IIRC) which makes them essentially useless for schools' medians. (Note also that once you have an accommodated score, every test you ever take will be flagged, even if those other ones are not themselves accommodated.) I am not suggesting that you deprive yourself of the accommodations if you need them, but keep this in mind.

If you're just planning to base your DS on it, you don't need to provide anyone documentation.


6. I am about to become a U.S. citizen soon and I want to change my legal name. Do you advise me to change it after I am admitted to a law school so there will be less confusion, or is changing it while I am applying fine?

It shouldn't matter before or after, but if you're doing it before, make sure everything is tidy before you do anything. Definitely do not do it during applications.

Thanks for your help!



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