Despite having a non-traditional route to law school, the materials I used for my application we rather standard, including: resume/CV, recommendation letters and a kick ass personal statement.
Keys to a good resume:
- Consistent Formatting
- Easy To Follow
- Only Relevant Information
Consistent Formatting: the unswerving use of Bolding, Italics, abbreviations & periods
Just pick a standard pattern for delivering all of your information and Stick To It!
Attention to detail is tedious but simple way to set you apart from the slightly lazier
You are the most important part of your resume,
so don’t distract from yourself with inconsistency and sloppiness
Easy To Follow: (Use your Future Lawyer logic skills) to organize your information in a rational sequence
Following a personal information header Always showcase your Education and university related accolades at or near the top.
These include: specific degree, GPA, honors, varsity athletics, Greek affiliation, leadership roles and reputable clubs where you held office or position (advocate, representative, author, founder)
Relevant Experience came next for me. Here list company name, location, dates, reference and brief description of accomplishments, responsibilities, skill learned etc.
Next was Relevant Course Work. This section details (briefly) courses relevant to the program your pursuing, analytical skills, critical thinking, writing and anything STEM related.
Lastly I included Interests to just add a more human element to end on. After all the technical talk it is nice to remind readers that you are in fact a diverse human and not an academic drone.
Relevant Information: details of your life, academic, philanthropic and extracurricular accomplishments that actually contribute to your worthiness for admission
Your degree and alma mater will always be relevant whether you are applying straight out of undergrad or later in life.
Otherwise stick to things accomplished in the last 4-5 Years. Your high school lifeguarding job is NOT relevant!
Even athletic championships from your younger years are not important enough to take up space that could be put to better use!
When detailing coursework ONLY list courses where you acquired Actual Skills or created deliverables.
I was beyond blessed to have two absolutely outstanding mentors to write my recommendations.
Acquired your letters early and from people who got a chance to really work with you, preferable in some capacity Mentioned In Your Resume.
Do not be afraid to create Real Relationships with professors, employers and mentors. Do your work to the best of your ability, go to office hours and be generously kind (but not a doormat) and you’ll have no problem finding great recommendations.
Lastly, sit down with your writers and talk candidly about your goals, qualifications and reasons for seeking a certain program. Personal Anecdotes can set your letter apart from the pack.
U of A had a broad prompt on overcoming obstacles and a 2-5 page recommendation.
I chose to focus on the challenges of devoting my life to track and field then losing it and having to rebuild from the rubble.
This was my only shot at law school so I took the chance to be totally, Honest in this essay. This is a time to be Vulnerable, declare your humanity and affirm your capability.
Your resume and recommendations will prove you worthiness. Your personal statement will show admissions if you are the type of person they want to spend their limited slots on. If you’re the personality they want to invest in.
One mentor told me to, “make them want to open a bottle of wine and dig into your life.”
I hope my personal statement can help you find your bottle opener!
There you have it, all of the elements of my application to the University of Arizona, EXACTLY as I submitted them!