Top Ten Mistakes That Law School Applicants Make: #3

map-colorfulThis post continues our 10-part series of posts on the Top Ten Mistakes That Law School Applicants Make.

The #3 Top Ten Mistake That Law School Applicants Make every year is…
THEY DON’T FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.

For example, many applicants think that optional essays are optional.

They are only “optional,” if you do not want to get into that school!

Follow the directions.

If you can reasonably answer the optional essay prompt, you should.

For example, Penn Law has several optional essay prompts. They indicate that “you may answer more than one essay topic if you so choose.” Thus, if there are two essay topics that make sense for you to answer, you should do that. If there are three that make sense for you to answer, go ahead.

You may be thinking, three essays? That seems like an awful lot.

It does. But when you read the prompts, it may not seem so far fetched.

For some applicants, it’s reasonable for them to write an essay for Penn Law’s diversity prompt, for their “Why Penn Law?” prompt, and for the prompt that allows you to explain an academic record or test score that doesn’t reflect their ability to succeed in law school.

That’s three optional essays right there. Not unusual for many of the students I’ve worked with.

I’ll describe another scenario that happens a lot.

Many law schools want you to attach a resume with your application and they also want you to detail your jobs, internships, and extracurriculars within the application.

Seems redundant?

It is. But the reason so many schools do this is because so many applicants write vague and brief resumes.

Don’t do that. Write a detailed, thorough resume and then cut and paste from your resume into the boxes or spaces indicated on the application.

Follow the directions. Give the law schools what they want.

If you’re not sure about something on the application, contact the law school’s admissions office. Find out what they want before you skip a step and possibly jeopardize your application.

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