Law School App Optional Statements

LSAT Blog Law School App Optional Statements
The below excerpt on making the most of optional essays and addenda on your law school application is from A Guide to Optional Essays and Addenda.

Making the Most of Optional Statements and Addenda

Once you’ve decided which optional statements and addenda are necessary for your application packet or would help the overall package, it’s important to think about how your content fits together before you begin to write. For example, if you’re writing a separate statement about why you’ve chosen to apply to this particular law school, you won’t want to belabor that point in your personal statement. Repetition won’t hurt you, but it will eat up valuable space without really adding anything. Likewise, you’ll want to use the more general optional essays to highlight something new about you; your response to a question about a challenging situation or a significant learning experience should be based on a different experience/facet of your life than that addressed in your personal statement, and you should look to highlight different characteristics—or at least, to show similar characteristics in a very different light—rather than just to reinforce what you’ve already illustrated in your personal statement or another of your optional essays or addenda.

You may want to begin with any required explanation statements; there’s not much flexibility in the subject matter of those statements, so getting the known pieces out of the way up front will allow you to work around the existing content as you move into the more open topics. Explanation statements will also typically be shorter and more fact-based, so they’re often quicker and easier to write than the more open-ended essays.

Required Explanation Statements

It’s critical to carefully read and follow instructions in every area of your law school applications, but it’s all the more important with regard to the obligatory pieces. Before you start working on a required explanation statement, take a close look at the instructions and make sure you understand exactly what’s required in terms of both explanation and documentation. When you’re done with the statement, have received any feedback you plan to request and made your all-but-final revisions, pull out the instructions again and re-read them before giving your response a final read-through.

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