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I learned grades were the currency I needed to succeed. I attended mock trials, court hearings, and law lectures with Mark and developed a fresh understanding of the law that piqued an interest in law school. My outlook has changed because my mentor, my teachers, and my self-advocacy facilitated my growth. Still, injustices do occur. The difference is that I now believe the law can be an instrument for social change, but voices like mine must give direction to policy and resources in order to fight those injustices. I joined a Model UN club at a neighboring high school, because my own school did not have enough student interest to have a club.
By discussing global issues and writing decisions, I began to feel powerful and confident with my ability to gather evidence and make meaningful decisions about real global issues. As I built my leadership, writing, and public speaking skills, I noticed a rift developing with some of my friends.
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I wanted them to begin to think about larger systemic issues outside of our immediate experience, as I was learning to, and to build confidence in new ways. I petitioned my school to start a Model UN and recruited enough students to populate the club. I began to understand that I cannot force change based on my own mandate, but I must listen attentively to the needs and desires of others in order to support them as they require. While I learned to advocate for myself throughout high school, I also learned to advocate for others.
My neighbors, knowing my desire to be a lawyer, would often ask me to advocate on their behalf with small grievances. I would make phone calls, stand in line with them at government offices, and deal with difficult landlords. A woman, Elsa, asked me to review her rental agreement to help her understand why her landlord had rented it to someone else, rather than renewing her lease.
I scoured the rental agreement, highlighted questionable sections, read the Residential Tenancies Act, and developed a strategy for approaching the landlord. Elsa and I sat down with the landlord and, upon seeing my binder complete with indices, he quickly conceded before I could even speak.
That day, I understood evidence is the way to justice. My interest in justice grew, and while in university, I sought experiences to solidify my decision to pursue law.
Personal statements for law school | Madame Koo
As the only pre-law intern, I was given tasks such as reviewing court tapes, verifying documents, and creating binder with indices. I often went to court with the prosecutors where I learned a great deal about legal proceedings, and was at times horrified by human behavior. I worked with happy and passionate lawyers whose motivations were pubic service, the safety and well-being of communities, and justice.
The moment I realized justice was their true objective, not the number of convictions, was the moment I decided to become a lawyer. I broke from the belief systems I was born into. I did this through education, mentorship, and self-advocacy. There is sadness because in this transition I left people behind, especially as I entered university.
However, I am devoted to my home community. I understand the barriers that stand between youth and their success. As a law student I will mentor as I was mentored, and as a lawyer I will be a voice for change. Every pre-law student blames their lack of success on the large number of applicants, the heartless admissions committee members, the high GPA and LSAT score cut offs.
But, having taught more than a thousand students every year, I can tell you the REAL truth about why most students get rejected:. Most students don't do any form of planning for their applications. They scramble to complete their applications at the last minute, leaving their applications rushed and underwhelming. Most students don't formulate a strategy on WHAT to include in their personal statements, let alone HOW to present their ideas to their audience effectively.
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They just sit down and write their personal statement in one go. Most students don't do any form of proofreading; if they do, they only revise their statement once or twice before throwing in the towel and declaring it "good enough".
Quite frankly, "good enough" doesn't get you into law school. Most student don't ask for expert feedback.
They don't seek out someone who can provide them with a second set of critical eyes on their essays, because some random person in an online forum told them that they don't need professional editing, not realizing that everyone needs an editor. Even Hemingway had an editor. If Hemingway needed an editor, trust me, so do you and so do I, for that matter!
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Consider writing about the project and its impact in your personal statement. Don't worry if your project doesn't feel big enough. Remember, the most compelling projects are often those that initially seem small but are actually quite impactful. Good examples include community service work or a significant project undertaken at a job or internship.
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In the personal statement, explain the project and its impact on you with vivid language and anecdotes. In other words, take the reader on the growth journey with you, rather than just describing it to them. In addition to intellectual growth, many students experience significant personal growth in college.
When you reflect on your undergraduate years, what stands out? Perhaps one of your long-held beliefs was challenged by friendships you formed in college. Maybe you discovered an unexpected interest that changed the course of your academic or professional career. Reflect on your core values and beliefs before and after college.
If you see an obvious and interesting growth trajectory, consider using this topic for your personal statement. This personal statement prompt allows you to describe formative experiences and how they impacted your life and career choices. Good examples include a mid-life career change or the decision to have a baby while in college. Describing a truly life-changing experiences will help you stand out from other applicants, especially if you write reflectively and demonstrate how the experience connects to your pursuit of a law career.
If you were introducing yourself to an admissions officer, what would you want him or her to know about you? What makes you who you are, and what unique perspective can you add to the law school environment?
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Get started by reflecting on these questions and free writing your answers. You can also ask friends, family, teachers, and classmates for their input about your special qualities. By the end of the process, you should have a list of unique personal characteristics and experiences. A great law school personal statement will either focus on one specific personal characteristic or experience, or braid several of them together to paint a rich portrait of who you are.
Remember, the admissions committee wants to know applicants through their personal statements, so don't be afraid to let your personality shine through.
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