Tag Archive: Explanatory Essay

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Building Your Law School Application: The Explanatory Essay

As we head into September, those of you planning on attending law school next fall should be putting together your application materials. This post is designed to cover another facet of law school applications: the explanatory essay. For those of you keeping score at home, we’ve covered letters of recommendation, the personal statement, and the academic index. Those topics are all universally applicable, whereas the explanatory essay may not play a role in everyone’s application process.

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Writing an Explanatory Essay That Passes the Eye Roll Test

You’ve taken the LSAT, crafted a killer personal statement, and secured your letters of recommendation. In theory, admissions committees have all the information they need to make a decision. But what if a first glance at that information would give them the wrong idea about your capabilities – say, if you had a mediocre GPA because of a really low GPA one semester, or if you had to take the LSAT multiple times?

Guess what, kids – you’re in luck, because rather than trying to weave in an explanation in your personal statement, you get a chance to put it all in the explanatory essay. An explanatory essay is like it sounds—you get a chance to provide an explanation for something problematic.

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Explanatory Essays in the New Law School Admissions World

No one wants to need an explanatory essay for their law school application. It’s never a positive to explain why you were placed on probation your freshman year of college. Or why you felt the need to relieve yourself in that public alley. Or how that cop was just asking for it.

However, law school applications are down. Schools are being a little more lenient with admissions numbers. LSAT scores are dropping, and GPAs aren’t what they used to be. So surely a misdemeanor here or there will slip through the cracks, right?

Let’s split these explanatory essays up into a few categories and discuss how each one will be affected by the change in law school application volume.

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My Freshman Year I Accidentally… The Explanatory Essay for Law School Applications

Random smattering of beliefs I held five years ago: minivans are chick magnets, laundry will take care of itself if you just close your eyes and wish hard enough, water is bad for you, beer is good for you, credit is free money, college GPAs don’t matter, and baseball is a better sport than basketball