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.

How to Write a Criminal Record Addendum

Are you afraid you might not get into law school because of your criminal record?

It’s okay to be afraid. But don’t let that stop you from applying!

I’ve worked with many law school applicants who had a criminal record. From minor possession to felonies, I’ve seen a lot of unfortunate situations. Still, these records did not keep my students from being admitted to law school.

When it comes to having a criminal record, you should disclose it in an addendum. When in doubt, disclose.

Watch the video above for details on how to write a criminal record addendum for law school. For more tips, check out The No B.S. Guide to the Law School Addendum.

NOTE: If you have a serious criminal record, it’s important that you visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners to view the specific policies for taking the bar exam in the state where you want to practice law. Just because you’re admitted to law school doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to take the bar exam in all states.

Have questions about writing a criminal record addendum for your law school application? I’m here to help. Post your thoughts below and I’ll respond.

Two Things Prelaw Students Should Do in College

I often get asked the question: “I just started college, and I know I want to be a lawyer–what should I work on?”

Tip #1: Pick the major that most appeals to you.

Tip #2: Get really good at reading comprehension.

Simple, huh?

You’d be surprised at how many college graduates I meet who haven’t done either of these things.

Don’t make that mistake. Whether you just started college or are partway through, watch my video today for details on two important tips that will help you be more successful when you apply to law school.

Have questions or comments about being prelaw in college? I’m here to help. Post your thoughts below and I’ll respond.

Optional Essays are Usually NOT Optional

Most of the time, optional essays for law school applications are only optional if you do not want to get into that law school.

Let me repeat that.

Optional essays for law school applications are only optional if you do not want to get into that law school.

Watch this video for more details.

Law schools are listing that optional essay topic (or list of topics) for a reason. They want to see who takes the time and effort to read and follow their directions. They want to know who is willing to go the extra mile to write another essay. They want to see who really wants to attend their law school.

Be that person. Stand out from the crowd. Write the essay!

However, there are some cases where “optional” can actually mean optional. Sometimes you read the essay prompt and it really doesn’t apply to you. Or it’s about an issue that you already covered in your personal statement.

If you’re not sure about whether the optional essay is really optional, contact that law school’s admissions office. It’s perfectly okay to ask.

Have questions or comments about optional essays for your law school application? I’m here to help. Post your thoughts below and I’ll respond.

Who to Ask for Letters of Recommendation

Who should you ask for letters of recommendation (LORs) for applying to law school?

I recommend choosing three professors, teaching assistants (TAs), supervisors, or mentors who know you well, know your work, and still like you.

For more details and examples, watch the video posted above. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Finished?

Good. Now, let’s go over some more details about LORs.

Most schools require two LORs but I recommend getting three.

Why?

First, it is possible one of your recommenders may not follow through. It sucks, but it happens.

Second, you may need that third LOR for some law schools. Many schools require two LORs, but some require three. In general, I recommend sending in what they require, not what they will accept. So, if they require two, but will accept four, just send two.

Third, for law schools that only want two LORs (and many do), and then later place you on the wait list, you might be able to send your third LOR as further evidence that you are a great candidate.

Back to who you should ask for LORs.

If you are a current student, focus on securing all your LORs from professors and/or TAs.

If you graduated college two or more years ago, and are no longer in touch with your professors, ask for LORs from your supervisors and/or professional mentors.

In my next post, I’ll go over when to ask for LORs and how to ask for LORs. Stay tuned. Even better, scroll to the very bottom of this post and subscribe. You’ll get my next post delivered right to your inbox.

Have questions or comments about LORs? I’m here to help. Post your thoughts below and I’ll respond.