5 Tips for Applying to Law School

5 Tips for Applying to Law School

As I write this blog post, I can barely move my fingers across this keyboard. I am tired of writing, a sentence I never thought I would write. Over the past month, I have written thousands of words, and spent countless hours revising them. I still have four or five pages left to write, and the thousands of words typed and later deleted and then retyped have drained me of almost all motivation. The reason I’m subjecting myself to such misery is, of course, law school applications.


When I decided that I would be doing my law school applications this semester, I had no idea the work it would entail. Dear readers, I was unprepared. I was naive, believing that the whole process would take me a weekend, maybe two. Instead, I have labored for weeks writing and rewriting the documents that will determine my law school future.


If you are considering subjecting yourself to this same torment, I would urge you to make sure that your commitment is absolute. Working thirty hours at an internship four days a week, taking classes, and going to regular networking events while balancing a social life can keep you busy all on its own. When you add the law school application process to the mix, the workload can seem unmanageable. However, if you do decide to undertake the process, then I commend you, and have a few tips for you to ease the process.

 

1. Find fellow law school applicants.

Believe it or not, your friends will get tired of you saying “I’m so stressed about law school apps!” approximately six hundred times in a row. Your parents will get tired of it. Your co-workers will get tired of it. You will also get tired of saying it, but will be compulsively unable to stop yourself. However, finding other applicants to commiserate with can help ease the burden. More importantly, it provides a support group and a sounding board when you hit a metaphorical wall with your writing, and will keep you from literally banging your head into the wall out of frustration.

 

2. Manage your time efficiently

Have a twenty minute wait because you timed your metro trip poorly and the trains are running slow? Take out your laptop and get in a few paragraphs of your personal statement. Got an hour before you’re going out on Friday night, which is not enough time for a full movie on Netflix but too much time to just lie around? Write down a list of potential topics for your personal statement. Waiting in line to get into a museum? Ask your friends whether they think you should write about your most interesting mistake or your most humbling moment for that addendum essay. Sneaking in a little work here and there will help alleviate the burden, rather than trying to sit down and do it all at once.

 

3. Stay organized

At one point, I found myself panicking because I was overwhelmed by the immense amount of work I had left, and not knowing what was due when. To solve this, I made an Excel spreadsheet containing basic information about each school I am applying to, and the due dates on each part of the application. This has helped me prioritize which essays need written now, and which ones can wait until after a trip to the monuments or brunch with friends. Setting deadlines for yourself that work up towards a final finished product can also be helpful for managing the workload.

 

4. Seek outside help and input

So far, I have asked for advice from my Alumni-in-Residence, my evening course professor, my LEAD Instructor, and my fellow students. Knowing that I have too many essays for any one person to ever proofread, I try and find different people to help me with different components. Proofreading is key, and even one little typo could be the difference between admission and denial from a school. Getting input from other people has helped me put my work into perspective, catch mistakes, and get out of my head when I get too in the weeds. Which brings me to my next and most important tip…

 

5. Take a break

This is probably the most important tip I have to offer. It’s what I’m going to do as soon as I finish this blog post, in fact. After a certain point, working for too long will make the quality of what you’re writing or working on go down. You’ll get frustrated or tired, and those feelings may well translate over to your writing. It also compounds the sense of being overwhelmed and feeling as though the work will never end. On Friday, I rewarded myself for a solid five or six hours of work by going out with my roommate for a nighttime visit to the monuments. Find something that’ll get you out of bed or away from your desk, and take your mind off the stress.

Me on my nighttime adventure, taken from the Lincoln Memorial. If you squint, you can see the Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool behind me.

 

Applying to law school is stressful under any circumstances, but especially when there are so many other things to do. However, it’s not unachievable by any means. It takes self-discipline and pacing, but the finish line is within your grasp. Even now, I can see the end in sight for my personal journey as well - right after a break for some yoga and well deserved chocolate to keep my energy up.

 

Read Colleen's previous blog posts

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