Why X

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mysonx3

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Why X

Post by mysonx3 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:53 pm

I am making my "punchlist" of essays I need to write for my applications (I'll be blanketing the T13), and I'm wondering which schools I should plan on writing Why X essays for. I'm fairly concerned about yield protection, so I want to be fairly aggressive and err on the side of writing them for schools that are known to care, but obviously I don't want to do a bunch of extra work for no reason (obviously, Yale already knows why I want to go there).

I know Penn is a school where writing one is recommended. I think I've heard the same about Duke and UVA. Where else should I plan on writing one?

dvlthndr

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Re: Why X

Post by dvlthndr » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:42 pm

If you are really concerned about this (e.g., because you have a 4.0/180), you should write an essay for anything outside of the T6. It’s clear why a top applicant would go to HYS (they are the best schools). Similarly, it’s clear why a top applicant would go to CCN (they are the best schools that might give you a full ride).

Everybody else knows that they (normally) can’t compete with the prospect of Yale, Harvard, Hamilton/Ruby fellowships, etc. For truly exceptional applicants, a "why X" essay is justifiable for pretty much any school in the lower T14.

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: Why X

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:11 pm

I agree with the above "outside the T6" advice but I don't think that Why X's are only useful for avoiding 4.0/180 yield protection.

Splitters and URMs can benefit from adding some yield confidence because law schools are trying to hit a specific number of splitter/URM admits. (For the same reason, extreme splitters are one of the rare cases where ED makes a noticeable admissions difference.) Obviously, you still shouldn't write a Why X if you can't sincerely, but it seems like a good idea to help the adcomm decide which 3.5/175 to pick from the pile.

mysonx3

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Re: Why X

Post by mysonx3 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:48 pm

Thank you both for the advice. I had been under the impression that only certain schools were known to care about "Why X", but I guess I will be writing one for each non-T6 to which I apply. I just drafted one and it was not as daunting as I had imagined, so it shouldn't be terribly hard.

Do you have any advice for writing them when I don't really have a strong preference regarding which T13 I attend (and when I very much hope that I will have the opportunity to skip out on lower T13 for a T6)?

The Lsat Airbender

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Re: Why X

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:17 pm

mysonx3 wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:48 pm
Thank you both for the advice. I had been under the impression that only certain schools were known to care about "Why X", but I guess I will be writing one for each non-T6 to which I apply. I just drafted one and it was not as daunting as I had imagined, so it shouldn't be terribly hard.

Do you have any advice for writing them when I don't really have a strong preference regarding which T13 I attend (and when I very much hope that I will have the opportunity to skip out on lower T13 for a T6)?
Some schools care more than others. Michigan, UVA, Penn in particular have this reputation—and unsurprisingly they are on the outside looking in at the T6's admissions stats (less cynically, all three take a lot of pride in their culture and are genuinely interested in finding students who want to be there). If they actively solicit a Why X in their application then that's a dead giveaway.

But if you have a specific, concrete reason you'd really love to attend Northwestern, which doesn't ask for a Why X and isn't known for liking them, I'd still consider it. If possible, might be better to roll that info into your personal statement, but that's not always possible and also raises the specter of submitting your special NU personal statement to the wrong school.

I'd thumb through this resource when deciding what essays to submit where (should have linked this upthread but had to hunt for the URL): https://coda.io/d/The-7Sage-Law-School- ... ents_sumP8

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mysonx3

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Re: Why X

Post by mysonx3 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:39 pm

The Lsat Airbender wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:17 pm
mysonx3 wrote:
Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:48 pm
Thank you both for the advice. I had been under the impression that only certain schools were known to care about "Why X", but I guess I will be writing one for each non-T6 to which I apply. I just drafted one and it was not as daunting as I had imagined, so it shouldn't be terribly hard.

Do you have any advice for writing them when I don't really have a strong preference regarding which T13 I attend (and when I very much hope that I will have the opportunity to skip out on lower T13 for a T6)?
Some schools care more than others. Michigan, UVA, Penn in particular have this reputation—and unsurprisingly they are on the outside looking in at the T6's admissions stats (less cynically, all three take a lot of pride in their culture and are genuinely interested in finding students who want to be there). If they actively solicit a Why X in their application then that's a dead giveaway.

But if you have a specific, concrete reason you'd really love to attend Northwestern, which doesn't ask for a Why X and isn't known for liking them, I'd still consider it. If possible, might be better to roll that info into your personal statement, but that's not always possible and also raises the specter of submitting your special NU personal statement to the wrong school.

I'd thumb through this resource when deciding what essays to submit where (should have linked this upthread but had to hunt for the URL): https://coda.io/d/The-7Sage-Law-School- ... ents_sumP8
So should I avoid writing one for Northwestern (or other schools that are similar) if I don't have a solid, concrete reason already? For Penn, for example, I really don't have a pre-existing reason, so I will be doing a lot of research to try and sell myself on that school in order to write a strong Why Penn essay (Michigan and Virginia are easier because I have one pre-existing reason: strong desire to avoid going to school in a major urban area; similarly, I like that Berkeley would allow me to stay on the West Coast). Should I do the same for Northwestern? If not, what about Duke/Berkeley/Cornell?

mysonx3

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Re: Why X

Post by mysonx3 » Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:15 pm

Before cranking out too many of these, I'm hoping a couple people wouldn't mind giving feedback on this one that I drafted for Duke. Duke specifically makes their prompt a hybrid of "Why Duke" and "Why Law", so that's why the first paragraph or two is like it is. However, I'm also wondering if a similar "Here's why law and here's why this school will be particularly helpful for fulfilling that 'why law' reason" is a good idea for other schools, as well.

When I was in fourth grade and learned about the United States Constitution for the first time, I was in awe of the length the founders went to in pursuit of safeguards for criminal defendants. When I was older, I learned that those safeguards don’t always work as I had naively assumed: sometimes they are ignored, and sometimes they are simply insufficient to protect the innocent from conviction. This caused me so much distress that I decided that I needed to do something about it, so I resolved to become a lawyer. My dream was and is to fight for the accused – both before and after their convictions.
When researching Duke’s programs, I was struck by the multiple clinics that matched my goals perfectly. With other schools I had researched, at most one clinic seemed well-suited to my interests. With Duke, I can count at least three: Wrongful Convictions, Trial Practice, and Forensic Litigation. Wrongful Convictions, in particular, seems like precisely the right experience to prepare me for a career that I hope will be spent both preventing and undoing such convictions.
Duke is also attractive to me because of its location. I have always been averse to life in a big city. Unfortunately, that aversion doesn’t play well with my legal aspirations, since the vast majority of top law schools are in major urban areas. Of course, Duke is an exception in this regard. Whereas it’s hard to imagine myself moving to a major city for law school, Durham’s size would be a much more natural fit. Not having to make the uncomfortable adjustment to a big city would in turn allow me to more easily make the other adjustments that will be required of me as a first-year law student.
Being accepted to Duke would be life-changing: it would position me, in a way that other law schools couldn’t, to fulfill my dream of protecting the accused from becoming victims of the system. Attending Duke would be the opportunity of a lifetime.

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