Personal statement

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Blougram

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Personal statement

Postby Blougram » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:18 am

Without delving too deeply into my life's story, I am in my mid-30s with graduate degrees in English and a *ehrm* somewhat checkered work history (one of the reasons I would like to get a professional degree). Originally from Scandinavia, I moved to the US 4 years ago and am currently a permanent resident, but will hopefully (knock on wood) become a naturalized citizen within a few months. I am not sure if your status (resident vs. citizen) has any bearing on admissions or scholarship eligibility, though.

I am considering applying to law schools in the Midwest for 2018. I will be moving to the Twin Cities next month, and my target school is U of M. I would like to begin drafting my personal statement, but have no idea what to focus on. While my dream would be to work in information privacy law and/or immigration law, I don't have much prior experience within those fields (with the exception of me being an immigrant). I did work as a staff writer for a non-profit in the Midwest, and worked closely with our legal counsel (research, brainstorming, formulating a litigation strategy, etc.) when we filed a successful lawsuit against our governor for refusing to comply with a public records request. Would that be something worth mentioning? If not the lawsuit specifically, my work for the non-profit? Generally speaking, would it make more sense to stress my work experience (social justice work and its impact) more than my grad school experience since the former might be what sets me apart from other candidates?

I don't have a US GPA (except for a couple of PhD-level classes in which I technically got straight A's, but claiming a graduate GPA of 4.0 based on two classes would be stretching it); do you know if universities normally convert European grades, or would I automatically end up in the No GPA bucket?

I took the GRE a few years ago, and managed to score 170/170 on the Verbal section, but as I understand it -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- no law school will ever consider the GRE. This brings us to the LSAT; I just got my June results back, a not-very-impressive 162, but I have signed up for the September test and am fairly confident that I will get a score in the high 160s or, possibly (if I can get the hang of the logic games) 170+.

Cheers,
Blougram

cavalier1138

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Re: Personal statement

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:19 am

Your personal statement should not be a rehash of your work history, so I'd find a more personal topic.

But I'm also curious about your goals. If you want to work in Minnesota, then U of M makes perfect sense. But is there a lot of information privacy or immigration work in that state?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Personal statement

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:59 am

I disagree about the personal statement. There's nothing wrong with talking about something you experienced through work - you don't want your PS to rehash your resume, but talking about one specific experience from a particular job doesn't do that. If you want to write a "why law" kind of statement (which isn't necessary but I think can work well/help a non-trad applicant) and a particular work experience is part of what led you to choose law, I think it's fine.

You won't have a countable GPA so your LSAT will take on greater importance.

Blougram

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Re: Personal statement

Postby Blougram » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:17 pm

You won't have a countable GPA so your LSAT will take on greater importance


Does anyone know how this works? I have submitted the transcript request forms to my European alma maters (BA and MA). I was under the impression that the LSAC would apply some kind of conversion formula, but perhaps I am mistaken.

cavalier1138

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Re: Personal statement

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:21 pm

Blougram wrote:
You won't have a countable GPA so your LSAT will take on greater importance


Does anyone know how this works? I have submitted the transcript request forms to my European alma maters (BA and MA). I was under the impression that the LSAC would apply some kind of conversion formula, but perhaps I am mistaken.


It's not exactly a conversion. They give you a generic performance indicator (like "Superior") but no actual GPA.

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guynourmin

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Re: Personal statement

Postby guynourmin » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:29 pm

Blougram wrote:as I understand it -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- no law school will ever consider the GRE.


schools are starting to consider the GRE, but I believe that is only if you don't have an LSAT score. I think now that you have one no one will consider your GRE score. Not positive on that - schools accepting the GRE is new and still fairly limited (maybe only 2-3 schools do right now)

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Personal statement

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:40 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Blougram wrote:
You won't have a countable GPA so your LSAT will take on greater importance


Does anyone know how this works? I have submitted the transcript request forms to my European alma maters (BA and MA). I was under the impression that the LSAC would apply some kind of conversion formula, but perhaps I am mistaken.


It's not exactly a conversion. They give you a generic performance indicator (like "Superior") but no actual GPA.

My sense from reading around here is that some top schools will care whether you have a superior or something below that, but it doesn't get reported for ranking purposes so it's not quite the same as schools caring about your LSAT.

Blougram

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Re: Personal statement

Postby Blougram » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:59 pm

My sense from reading around here is that some top schools will care whether you have a superior or something below that, but it doesn't get reported for ranking purposes so it's not quite the same as schools caring about your LSAT.


Thanks for clarifying! I will definitely try to get my LSAT up to snuff (75th+ percentile for my target school). Right now I am actually one point below their 2016 median, so I take it my chances of getting in with no reportable GPA would be pretty slim without a retake -- not to mention the scholarship prospects.



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