Tailoring Personal Statement to Law Schools? (Columbia/Penn specifically)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 325803
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Tailoring Personal Statement to Law Schools? (Columbia/Penn specifically)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:00 pm

I'm looking for some opinions on whether it's wise to tailor my personal statement to the schools to which I'm applying. By "tailor," I mean weave a few significant things about the school into my essay (toward the end, when I'm explicitly discussing law) and linking these facts to the motivations and interests that have led me to apply. I don't mention a particular area of law that interests me, but I do focus on getting a legal education and practicing law more generally, so I worry that any effort to tailor my PS will come off as contrived.

I'm not concerned about this issue for schools with "Why X?" prompts. But I'm particularly curious to know what people think about tailoring for other schools, particularly Columbia and Penn, because of their PS prompts:

Columbia: "We are curious about your interests, goals, and aspirations and how the J.D. program at Columbia can help you achieve these. You are encouraged to think about the contributions you hope to make to both the Columbia community and the legal profession. . ."

Penn: "You may wish to describe aspects of your background and interests—intellectual, personal and/or professional—and how you will uniquely contribute to the Penn Law community and/or the legal profession.

Are these prompts asking for a tailored PS?

albanach

Gold
Posts: 1595
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:05 pm

Re: Tailoring Personal Statement to Law Schools? (Columbia/Penn specifically)

Postby albanach » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:28 pm

In the absence of a why x essay, I would say tailoring your PS is absolutely appropriate. Just check and double check that the correct essay is going to the correct school.

180degrees

New
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:52 pm

Re: Tailoring Personal Statement to Law Schools? (Columbia/Penn specifically)

Postby 180degrees » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:30 pm

@albanach I'm in the same boat. I asked the admissions counselors at these schools about this and they were very open-ended in their response. IMO, these prompts read like hybrid personal statement and why school x essays. Due to Columbia's two-page requirement, I think I'm going to just weave in a few unique things Columbia has at the end of my essay, as there's not much room to put in a ton of stuff with the personal statement content already in there. It's also interesting that one of Penn's optional essays is basically a Why Penn prompt. Did you notice that, too?

Have you decided how you're proceeding?

180degrees

New
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:52 pm

Re: Tailoring Personal Statement to Law Schools? (Columbia/Penn specifically)

Postby 180degrees » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:36 pm

Oops, I meant to direct that toward @Anonymous User

@albanach, thanks for your input on the question

Anonymous User
Posts: 325803
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Tailoring Personal Statement to Law Schools? (Columbia/Penn specifically)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:59 pm

@180degrees, I'll need every advantage I can get at Columbia with my stats (169/3.96), so I think I'll write a tailored PS for them. It shouldn't hurt as long as it doesn't come off looking like I copy-pasted stuff I could have said about any other school. I didn't initially interpret Penn's optional essay as a "Why Penn," but after looking around here and other sites, that seems to be the case. So I guess I'll be writing that essay. Thanks for the feedback @albanach.



Return to “Law School Personal Statements?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.