One of the main reasons for law-school rejections is a weak admissions essay, according to law-school admissions counselor Shawn P. O'Connor, writing in the Law Admissions Lowdown blog on US News & Word Report Education.
"Essays are critical to success for those placed in the 'maybe' pool," writes O'Connor, founder and CEO of Status Prep. "There are a lot of fish in that pond, so if your essays lack a compelling story or fail to show your unique attributes, your application may be passed over."
Your law-school essay is always important, but takes on added weight if your GMAT and LSAT scores fall short of the average for the program you want. But you still can get into Harvard Law School, for example, with an LSAT in the 160s "by composing stellar essays, which speaks volumes about the impact of application materials beyond your GPA and LSAT score," according to O'Connor.
Other factors, O'Connor writes, that most often contribute to law-school rejections: Your LSAT-GPA index was too low and the program you applied to received a large number of applications from students of similar backgrounds.
Everyone will tell you that to become a better writer you must become a better reader. And they're right.
There are endless resources to help you write a college essay that sets you apart from the crowd. Dulles High School in Sugar Land, Texas, has an excellent reading list that will help prepare high school juniors for the daunting task ahead.
Prepared by Abby Brasell, the school's college- and career-readiness adviser, the list suggests not only step-by-step guides to good, clean, clear narrative writing, but also a couple of gems: 50 Successful Harvard Application Essays and The Berkeley Book of College Essays.
Both will be invaluable before you sit down to tackle that intimidating first draft.
It's not too soon for high school juniors to begin thinking about attending college fairs in the fall.
College representatives are "there to spread the word about their college to high school students — and they want to talk to you," reports the "bigfuture" blog on collegeboard.org. "Bigfuture" offers tips on preparing for this coming season's college fairs:
- Before you go: Find out what colleges will be there and make a list of the ones you want to learn about.
- While you're there: Check out some of the colleges not on your list. You may stumble onto a great school you hadn't considered.
- When you get home: Do more research on the colleges you’re thinking about. Explore websites, contact the admission office or plan a campus visit. If you liked what you saw at the fair, it may be time to see the college in person.
Arnie Rosenberg is the founder of The Center for Essay Excellence. He writes regularly about college essays and their importance to the college-admission process. Contact him at Arnie.Rosenberg.Editor@gmail.com.
© 2014 The Center for Essay Excellence