Why I Call Bullshit on Some Prelaw Students

Since I first started posting prelaw videos on YouTube in 2011, I’m always surprised to hear that this one is people’s favorite.

In this video, I basically call bullshit on prelaw students who tell me they don’t have a sad, tragic story to tell and so they can’t write a good personal statement.

If you watch this video, you will probably think that I am pissed.

You’re right. I am.

Maybe that’s why so many people like it? Maybe some people like seeing a prelaw adviser say “crap” and “bullshit”? Maybe others find that my message resonates with them? For whatever reasons people like this video, I am glad.

I am glad because I tried to be as honest as possible while recording this video. I wanted to get through to the thousands of prelaw students who actually think this way. They actually think that because they’ve lived a so-called “normal” life without any sad tragedy that they can’t write as good of a personal statement as those “other” people.

Do people not realize now privileged that sounds?

Do people not realize how entitled they sound when they say that?

Perhaps they do and perhaps they don’t. But it’s been said to me so many times that I had to make a video about it back in 2011, and sadly, this sentiment still gets said today in 2015.

If you think your life is so “boring” and so “normal,” that you don’t have anything to write about for your personal statement for law school, I have two options for you.

OPTION #1:
Don’t go to law school right now. Work full-time for three years. If after that time period, you still can’t think of a good topic for your personal statement, work full-time for another year. Keep repeating this until you think of a good topic. Why do I recommend this? Because if you can’t think of anything to write about, it’s very likely that you haven’t worked enough and experienced life enough. Get out there and work…and live!

OPTION #2:
Some of you are thinking, there’s no way I’m going to work full-time for three years. I need to go to law school NOW. For you, I’m going to be as brutally honest as I am in the video. Stop making excuses. Take off the blinders. Do the work. Sit down and write down everything in your life that makes you mad, sad, happy, or all of the above. Write it down. Write it ALL down. From the past to the present. If you want a more organized and structured way to do this, take my class. If you still can’t find a topic, take a break for a day and go back at it. Repeat until you figure out a topic.

There’s reasons people keep asking me to help them with their law school applications year after year. It’s not just because I’ve been doing prelaw advising for 12 years. It’s because I’m honest with them. It’s because I want the best for them. And sometimes, the best thing I can do is to be honest and give tough advice that’s wrapped in love.

And that’s why I call bullshit on some prelaw students.

4 thoughts on “Why I Call Bullshit on Some Prelaw Students

  1. Peg. Thanks so much for addressing this issue. I’m going to be a non-traditional student in Fall 2016. In the test prep classes I’m taking with so many just-out-of-undergrad, they are all talking about expectations of MBA’s and money. When I talk about going into non-profits, they see a man to pity with less-than. Tragedy and struggle is what strengthens ones humanity. A couple years as a seeker is not a bad thing.

    As you wonderfully noted: Do people not realize how privileged that sounds? Do people not realize how entitled they sound when they say that? All these one-percenters have not experienced anything near some of the horrors in this galaxy. And do not seem to have internal dialogue to any sensitivities.

    Sorry. Your post hit a raw nerve so am letting out on you, an innocent.

    Always love your posts and plan to contact you when I start my essay. Just concentrating on those three little numbers at the moment.

    Be well. Peace.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to respond, G.A. I hear you. Tragedy and struggle do strengthen one’s humanity. And for those lucky ones who have not gone through that, developing compassion and empathy is key. I’m so glad you wrote in and am especially heartened to hear you want to work for non-profits someday. More power to you! Best wishes on your LSAT prep.

  2. Hey Peg,

    Thanks so much for your wonderful blog. I’ve already done the work thing, and now I’ve realized I want to be a lawyer. I’m hoping you can help with a question I have about the personal statement: Should I specify what type of law I want to practice when I graduate? If so, are there any areas that law schools are particularly looking for?

    I work in the entertainment industry. While I’m not sure I’m going to practice entertainment law when I graduate, I’m wondering if law schools might find it attractive. Do they value having a presence in media? Or would they prefer their grads to work at big firms/clerkships?

    I’m specifically looking at top 8 schools, and I’m not planning to do a specialized program in entertainment law (unless it’s helpful for admission).

    Thanks!

    • Thanks for writing in, Joseph. I’m glad you’re finding my blog helpful.

      You do not need to indicate what kind of law you want to study or specialize in within your personal statement. Unless there is a law specialization that is a natural part of your essay’s story, no need to include it. And there is no particular kind of law that will make you look more attractive to law schools. Thanks for your question and feel free to post more if there’s anything else I can help you with!

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