Law school admissions essays: how to create an outstanding paper
Writing your admissions essay is one of the most important things you’ve had to do thus far in your pursuit of a law degree. Your admissions essay could be the difference between getting into the school of your dreams, settling for second best, or even having to wait another year because you haven’t received an acceptance letter. The critical importance of this essay can make the writing process feel overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be, however. Stay focused, optimistic, and follow these three simple stages to write an outstanding law school admissions essay.
First Stage: Inspiration
Once you’re ready to fill out applications, begin brainstorming about your admissions essay. Spend a couple of weeks just musing on the topic and making notes when a bright idea presents itself. During this stage, think about things like:
- Who are you?
- What have you accomplished?
- What do you want your future to be like?
Think about your personality traits, interesting hobbies and talents, things that have influenced you throughout your life, etc.
Think about the things you’ve done in your life—academics, employment, volunteer work. Think about things you’ve succeeded at, and things you’ve struggled with. Think about obstacles you’ve overcome—and those you haven’t. How have these things contributed to your worldview?
Where do you want to live? What sort of law career are you interested in? What will your hobbies be in 5 years? In ten?
Second Stage: Defining a Theme
You’ll find the entire process far simpler, and end up with a far more cohesive result, if you define a theme for your essay. You can present your thoughts in the context of a narrative from your life, for example, weaving in interesting and pertinent facts about yourself. Or, you can frame your essay by describing one of your passions.
Third Stage: Writing
By now, you should have notes on a number of different things you’d like to include, and a concept for your essay’s defining theme. Create an outline for your introduction, which should set the theme and introduce your main points. Outline the body of your essay, which should expand on your main points while maintaining your theme. Finally, write a strong conclusion. Your theme should reach its climax here—whether it’s the end of your narrative, the defining nature of the passion you’ve described, or what have you. It should also explain how your acceptance to this school would play a role in the future you’ve envisioned for yourself.