Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

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BrightLine
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Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby BrightLine » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:57 pm

I have not been to this forum since I took the LSAT, but I remember that a lot of people were saying that it was not worth doing the sample at all. I just came across this interview with the admissions dean at Northwestern and thought that I would share.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/johann-l ... rview.html

TLS: You look at the LSAT writing sample?

We actually do.

TLS: Really?

Yeah. The reason is, based on the input we’ve received from employers, writing skills are really important. And so, the LSAT writing sample is an un-canned, unprepared for, candid look at a person’s writing. We’re fairly certain the LSAT writing sample was not proofread by other eyes, and it didn’t go to an admissions consultant, so it’s a really candid indication of a person’s writing style. So if, let’s say, we’re reading a personal statement, and it doesn’t really display an individual’s ability to write, we’ll turn to the writing sample to get a second opinion.

Believe it or not, we actually read them. I know a lot of people blow it off — we see all the writing samples when they come in on the LSDAS reports, and we see some where people just draw pictures on the entire thing. A little stick figure next to a house with a chimney and smoke coming out. That says something about an applicant.

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romothesavior
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby romothesavior » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:01 pm

The writing sample can only break you if you completely blow it off. If you write something that somewhat resembles the English language, you'll be fine.

This is not going to be the difference between acceptance and rejection. So just write a paragraph or two, and then don't worry about it again.

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BrightLine
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby BrightLine » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:18 pm

romothesavior wrote:The writing sample can only break you if you completely blow it off. If you write something that somewhat resembles the English language, you'll be fine.

This is not going to be the difference between acceptance and rejection. So just write a paragraph or two, and then don't worry about it again.



With all due respect, and granting that your statement reflects general consensus, how could you really know that?

minnesotasam
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby minnesotasam » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:13 pm

Just try ffs, it's insane that people draw pictures. I understand you're tired from having taken the LSAT and your adrenaline is fading causing a huge mental crash but suck it up and right out something that resembles coherent reasoning for 30 minutes.

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jtemp320
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby jtemp320 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:18 pm

BrightLine wrote:I have not been to this forum since I took the LSAT, but I remember that a lot of people were saying that it was not worth doing the sample at all. I just came across this interview with the admissions dean at Northwestern and thought that I would share.

http://www.top-law-schools.com/johann-l ... rview.html

TLS: You look at the LSAT writing sample?

We actually do.

TLS: Really?

Yeah. The reason is, based on the input we’ve received from employers, writing skills are really important. And so, the LSAT writing sample is an un-canned, unprepared for, candid look at a person’s writing. We’re fairly certain the LSAT writing sample was not proofread by other eyes, and it didn’t go to an admissions consultant, so it’s a really candid indication of a person’s writing style. So if, let’s say, we’re reading a personal statement, and it doesn’t really display an individual’s ability to write, we’ll turn to the writing sample to get a second opinion.

Believe it or not, we actually read them. I know a lot of people blow it off — we see all the writing samples when they come in on the LSDAS reports, and we see some where people just draw pictures on the entire thing. A little stick figure next to a house with a chimney and smoke coming out. That says something about an applicant.


OH GOD! OH GOD! No...no...no! He actually mentioned my little stick figure next to a house with a chimney and smoke coming out?! I cant believe they read those? WHHHHHHHHHHHY?! WHY?! :oops: :cry:

:lol: jk - thats really dumb - I wouldn't do that. Anything that goes with your application should be taken seriously - its a waste to put serious time into preparing for the writing sample but have an idea what you are going to do and don't blow it off...

Kurst
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby Kurst » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:26 pm

Given the severe title of this thread, I thought that the OP was going to share his story of being called by an adcomm at his #1 law school, in which he received not a congratulatory acceptance but a reprove for submitting a poor writing sample. Alas, it was not a phone call but an interview from 2009 which prompted this dire warning.

Let's hear from a couple of other deans of admissions.

TLS: What effect, if any, does the LSAT writing sample have on your decisions? Is there a specific reason you might use the writing sample as a factor in admissions? (LinkRemoved)
Paul Pless, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Illinois College of Law wrote:The LSAT writing sample has almost zero impact on my decision. The reason it is not absolutely zero is that occasionally someone will goof off on the writing sample, draw a picture, make some odd statement, etc. Typically I will deny someone who does that. I also look at it more when the LSAT is administered outside of the US. However, I don't think it is possible to come up with a good metric to score writing ability. I want a writing sample, but I want to see your best work, not what you come up with in timed conditions after 3 hours of testing. That is what we use the personal statement for. Some people worry that personal statements aren't a true reflection of a student’s ability, because they could have been edited by someone else. I certainly understand that concern, and that is one reason the LSAT writing sample is still around.

Dean Asha's remarks on the writing sample, read in context, betray its true weight. Can you read the following paragraph without smirking at the boldfaced text?
Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean of Yale Law School wrote:Numbers do not become irrelevant just because you get passed onto the full faculty review. It really depends on the faculty members reading your file. Some faculty are sticklers for the LSAT or your undergrad GPA. Some are more into your story. Some care only about what your recommenders say, because they feel that every other part of your application has been doctored. Some read every LSAT writing sample, and swear by it. It really depends on the combo of faculty reviewing your application which factors matter most. That's why our system produces such an interesting class...because the people who get the required scores have some core elements that three very different faculty members agreed on without even having to discuss them. Unfortunately, neither you nor I will ever know what those elements are.

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fatduck
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby fatduck » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:29 pm

I actually don't believe that anyone applied to Northwestern with a writing sample that consisted of a picture of a house with a chimney and smoke.

bhan87
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby bhan87 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:30 pm

I knew of a guy that wrote "F#$k you" on the writing section. He got rejected from every school he applied to despite having a 3.9x / 172.

Seriously... You have nothing better to do for 35 minutes. You might as well write something down about the topic.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby Holly Golightly » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:34 pm

BrightLine wrote: we see some where people just draw pictures on the entire thing. A little stick figure next to a house with a chimney and smoke coming out. That says something about an applicant.

And yet, they let DF in anyway.

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fatduck
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby fatduck » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:36 pm

bhan87 wrote:I knew of a guy that wrote "F#$k you" on the writing section. He got rejected from every school he applied to despite having a 3.9x / 172.

I also do not believe this happened.

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:37 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:
BrightLine wrote: we see some where people just draw pictures on the entire thing. A little stick figure next to a house with a chimney and smoke coming out. That says something about an applicant.

And yet, they let DF in anyway.


HA!


My cut-and-paste response for these threads...
SchopenhauerFTW wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:Dean Asha has stated explicitly in her Yale admissions blog that some professors have told her that they look at it when making their decision on whether to admit it. Admissions at the very top schools isn't just clear-cut numbers and they're looking for reasons to reject you to winnow down the ones they like---an indication that you blew off because it "didn't count" isn't likely to help you out.


I always assume that there will be at least one professor who will want to look at the writing sample at each school that I apply to.


And one of my favorites for Why do people spend 15+ minutes on the writing sample?

sundance95 wrote:Because some people, when told they have to do something, believe they may as well do it as well as they possibly can.

So crazy I know LOLOL!!!!1!one! Don't they know they can cynically adopt an unjustified sense of superiority and bomb it with no consequences?

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BrightLine
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby BrightLine » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:00 pm

Kurst wrote:Given the severe title of this thread, I thought that the OP was going to share his story of being called by an adcomm at his #1 law school, in which he received not a congratulatory acceptance but a reprove for submitting a poor writing sample. Alas, it was not a phone call but an interview from 2009 which prompted this dire warning.

Let's hear from a couple of other deans of admissions.

TLS: What effect, if any, does the LSAT writing sample have on your decisions? Is there a specific reason you might use the writing sample as a factor in admissions? (LinkRemoved)
Paul Pless, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Illinois College of Law wrote:The LSAT writing sample has almost zero impact on my decision. The reason it is not absolutely zero is that occasionally someone will goof off on the writing sample, draw a picture, make some odd statement, etc. Typically I will deny someone who does that. I also look at it more when the LSAT is administered outside of the US. However, I don't think it is possible to come up with a good metric to score writing ability. I want a writing sample, but I want to see your best work, not what you come up with in timed conditions after 3 hours of testing. That is what we use the personal statement for. Some people worry that personal statements aren't a true reflection of a student’s ability, because they could have been edited by someone else. I certainly understand that concern, and that is one reason the LSAT writing sample is still around.

Dean Asha's remarks on the writing sample, read in context, betray its true weight. Can you read the following paragraph without smirking at the boldfaced text?
Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean of Yale Law School wrote:Numbers do not become irrelevant just because you get passed onto the full faculty review. It really depends on the faculty members reading your file. Some faculty are sticklers for the LSAT or your undergrad GPA. Some are more into your story. Some care only about what your recommenders say, because they feel that every other part of your application has been doctored. Some read every LSAT writing sample, and swear by it. It really depends on the combo of faculty reviewing your application which factors matter most. That's why our system produces such an interesting class...because the people who get the required scores have some core elements that three very different faculty members agreed on without even having to discuss them. Unfortunately, neither you nor I will ever know what those elements are.



In your quote Dean Pless said "The reason it is not absolutely zero is that occasionally someone will goof off on the writing sample, draw a picture, make some odd statement, etc. Typically I will deny someone who does that."

And at Yale "some read every LSAT writing sample, and swear by it."


So the point is that despite the general attitude around here, there is no reason to blow off the writing sample because it doesn't "count."

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bk1
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:08 pm

BrightLine wrote:So the point is that despite the general attitude around here, there is no reason to blow off the writing sample because it doesn't "count."


Nobody is arguing for that. Stop making specious arguments.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:12 pm

The Illinois Dean seems to contradict himself about the importance of the LSAT writing sample.

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BrightLine
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby BrightLine » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:13 pm

bk1 wrote:
BrightLine wrote:So the point is that despite the general attitude around here, there is no reason to blow off the writing sample because it doesn't "count."


Nobody is arguing for that. Stop making specious arguments.



Ridiculous.

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BrightLine
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby BrightLine » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:14 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The Illinois Dean seems to contradict himself about the importance of the LSAT writing sample.



My understanding is that he is saying that the sample wont help your application but if you make a picture or treat is a joke then it can hurt you. But it's not like they are giving your ability a serious evaluation.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:15 pm

Or if the LSAT is administered outside of the US.

whymeohgodno
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby whymeohgodno » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:15 pm

So that explains why Yale rejected me when I had a 4.0/180. I didn't have a good writing section.

Edit: Should I retake my 180 and prep really hard for an impressive writing sample?
Last edited by whymeohgodno on Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:16 pm

BrightLine wrote:Ridiculous.


TLS consensus: answer the question posed on the writing section, don't blow it off, but don't sweat it like it matters.

You don't need to write something great or even good, just something sufficient.

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kwais
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby kwais » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:22 pm

If you are serious about going to law school, take everything involved with it seriously. Any other sentiment is bs. Also, if you blow it off because some dbags on an internet forum said it isn't important, you suck at life.

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bk1
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:24 pm

kwais wrote:If you are serious about going to law school, take everything involved with it seriously. Any other sentiment is bs. Also, if you blow it off because some dbags on an internet forum said it isn't important, you suck at life.


Allocate resources/time appropriately though. e.g. Don't spend more than one practice run on the written section when that time could be spent on studying other sections (or doing anything really).

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northwood
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby northwood » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:31 pm

BY not worry about it you should read into that as- dont go researching random topics in the hope of using some information to help your argument. Or dont bother writing out 60 writing samples during your test prep. Since all admissions people see the sample make sure to write an essay that is on topic- and to the point. It doesnt have to be rhodes scholar material, but it needs to ge thte job done. Follow instructions and go. You can always doodle on the scrap paper when you are done- but not on the official paper. ( the scrap gets tossed).

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beachbum
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby beachbum » Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:37 pm

bk1 wrote:
kwais wrote:If you are serious about going to law school, take everything involved with it seriously. Any other sentiment is bs. Also, if you blow it off because some dbags on an internet forum said it isn't important, you suck at life.


Allocate resources/time appropriately though. e.g. Don't spend more than one practice run on the written section when that time could be spent on studying other sections (or doing anything really).


Both responses are credited.

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romothesavior
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby romothesavior » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:07 pm

BrightLine wrote:
romothesavior wrote:The writing sample can only break you if you completely blow it off. If you write something that somewhat resembles the English language, you'll be fine.

This is not going to be the difference between acceptance and rejection. So just write a paragraph or two, and then don't worry about it again.



With all due respect, and granting that your statement reflects general consensus, how could you really know that?

Because I am brilliant.

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Andrzej
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Re: Warning: Do not blow off the writing section.

Postby Andrzej » Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:12 pm

Ive taken test and writing section is easy if you understand what ever dean wants. EVERY dean wants good professional student who can write and PROCESS ALL INFORMATION. key to good writing on test is writing for a reader who is dean and thinking of dean in your paper.




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