One of the difficulties in applying to law school (besides the LSAT) is the personal statement. The simple answer of, “I want to be an attorney” isn’t enough, that you enjoy learning about the law and it’s affect on everyday life is not enough. No, you have to put in two pages or less (which isn’t a lot but seems like it when you are trying to be thorough) why you want to attend law school and in particular why you want to attend their law school. So between now and when I take the LSAT and for a while I am going to be working on answering that one question.
I have a few ideas and thoughts on the matter, but it always ends up feeling like I am saying, “Because I want to!”, which is not the right and or best answer. I talked with my uncle about it and I told him my two reasons (to get as much education as possible and to help businesses) and he said, “I’d like to see a little more altruism in your response.” The problem is, those are my honest reasons. Not the made up ones or the flowery ones. Sure it would not win any noble prizes in literature but it is the truth. The hard cold unabashed truth!
If I were the admissions counselors I would find it refreshing to have a student write an honest personal statement not the personal statement that they thought I wanted to hear. Because in the end, is not the student that wants the education and to do good things with the education what they are looking for? If it were me, I would prefer that type of personal statement to the ones that are embellishing just to get in, but once they do their true character comes out.
One thing I’ve learned over time is that most people stay consistent, take my GPA for instance. I’ve been in school for a good part of my life, and my GPA has remained almost the same. That does not mean I cannot improve it but it takes a significant amount of effort to improve an average. On the flip side of that point is that if I am doing bad in a class (and I’m applying the same type of effort I always do), then there must be an alternative reason for me to not be doing as well as my GPA would show I should.
In those instances, I would say it is one of two things. First if the subject is incredible difficult for me such as chemistry, calculus, etc., or second if the professor is exceptionally difficult, then my GPA will show it.
So my point is that I would prefer a student that gives me the “truth” from the beginning because that shows what their average is going to be. It is not the glamorous or heart wrenching stories that I would want to hear, it’s the student that is willing to quietly put their nose to the grind stone and do something great that would get my vote (all other things being equal).
Look forward to posts about my personal statement, because it’s going to be honest and awesome!