PreLaw - Back to School 2010 - 34
Sometimes applicants worry more about the title of the person writing the letter of recommendation than what the person can tell us about the applicant, said Michael Boylen, assistant dean for admissions at Roger Williams University School of Law. Ask people who know you well, and don’t just ask them to write you a letter, ask them to write you a good letter, Boylen said. And always have an academic letter of recommendation. Opt for professors who know you well enough to write about you specifically rather than send a form letter. Avoid recommenders who will be viewed as having a bias, such as family and close friends. Also consider giving your potential recommenders an “out” if they are too busy or don’t feel comfortable writing the letter.
Letters of recommendation that impress
Who you are, what is important and how law school fits into the "big picture" of your life when listings your activities
6 Big Mistakes
Applicants make mistakes, but some of those mistakes are easy to avoid. Here are some common pitfalls from which you should stay away.
“It’s important to be authentic in your communications,” said Richard Matasar, dean of New York Law School. A common theme in winning applications is explaining the “who” and the “why” behind the applicant’s story — whether you grew up in poverty and want to give back to your community through your law school education or grew up helping with the family business and want to use your law degree for corporate work. On your personal statement, don’t simply regurgitate your resume and restate your activities. Explain them in context. For example, how a particular internship has helped mold you into who you are.
MISTAKE: Not doing your
research or applying to the wrong schools.
Provide an honest and clear picture of
Applying to law schools that are beyond your reach or simply outside of your realm (whether geographically, in terms of your goals, costs and expected returns, or simply in terms of fit) may be a big mistake. “Understand that many law schools are looking for a good fit, just like the student is,” Reid said. Matasar said pre-law applicants should be realistic in their choices and genuine in their applications. HOW TO FIX: Carefully research law schools before you begin the application process to determine which ones you should apply to. First, turn to the Law School Admissions Council Web site for general information about the law school admis-
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