One. More. Week. for the Fall 2019 Application Cycle

We’re just over a week away from the close of our application for the Fall 2019 cycle, and things are getting CRAZY in the admission office (in the best way of course!) But before we hunker down in our offices and glue ourselves to the computer to do final application reviews, we have a few of your most pressing questions to answer!

  1. Can I take the March LSAT? Yes you can, as long as it’s NOT YOUR FIRST LSAT. You must have a previous LSAT score on record when submitting your application and use the March LSAT as a supplemental score. Results are released at the end of April and so there is little chance of seats still being available in the class when your application can be fully reviewed. However, we will review March LSAT scores when they are released and use that as additional information when evaluating our candidates.
  2. Can you evaluate my application with unofficial transcripts? Nope. Official transcripts must be submitted through CAS in order to be evaluated. We don’t receive a full application (which consists of our application, personal statement, and resume, combined with the CAS report including your transcripts and letters of recommendation) until every piece of the puzzle is accounted for.
  3. I submitted my application in December and I haven’t heard anything. What gives? We receive, on average, 3,500 – 4,000 applications a year, and many of those applications are reviewed multiple times. We want to make sure we have a full picture of the applicant pool, and it takes a while to do so! So be patient with us – you’ll hear soon!
  4. So then when do I find out my decision? Every year our goal is to send decisions on or before April 1st. While it’s not a guarantee, it’s a good time frame to be checking emails and mailboxes!
  5. What happens if I’m waitlisted? You’ll be notified of your status on April 1st, and updated regularly if we need to move to the waitlist for the class. There will be additional information provided with your decision email.

As always, you’re more than welcome to email us any question you have – in the meantime, we’ll be here doing a careful review of your application and building the William & Mary Law School Class of 2022!!

Let’s Get Personal

Application season is here, and William & Mary Law School has already received a number of strong applications for the Class of 2022! Many of you, however, are still in the midst of completing your applications, and one topic we often get questions about is the personal statement. Associate Dean for Admission Faye Shealy took the time to outline a few tips for personal statement success this week – certainly it’s not an exhaustive list, but hopefully this will give you a good idea of the things that we, and often many law schools, are looking for.

What should I write about?

library (47)You, you, you! We will read your GPA and LSAT scores on the LSAC report; the personal statement is your chance to attach a personality to those numbers. We are looking to enroll a dynamic class of people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Everyone has a story, and we want to hear yours. Find a way to tell us who you are and what you care about. Convince us that you have something to add to our community. There is no single “right” way of constructing the personal statement. We leave you with an enormous amount of liberty to show us who you are (but do remember that you’re applying to a professional school).

Keep in mind that your extra-curricular and community activities and recommendations will be important parts of your application materials. Your personal statement should supplement – rather than repeat – your credentials. If you want to change the world, tell us why and how. Should you want to write about a past experience, explain to us how it affected you. When you write about an issue of national or international importance, show us why you are so intrigued. Read your statement aloud before submitting it. Ask yourself if it’s sincere. Ask yourself if it’s you.  We read personal statements submitted with all applications, and we can easily separate essays with a clear voice from essays that are clearly canned.

How heavily do you weigh the personal statement in relation to the rest of the application?

We conduct a comprehensive review of your application, and every aspect of the application is important. William & Mary is a small school. When we mail acceptance letters, we are not merely building a class. We are building a community. We pride ourselves on producing Citizen Lawyers, and we keep that mission in mind as we select each class.

Can a strong personal statement compensate for low numbers?

Yes.  Again, we review your application as a whole. Although your academic record and LSAT score are very important factors, each applicant should invest the time and thought necessary to produce essays that impress us.  If your numbers aren’t stellar, the personal statement is your chance to blow us away.

What is the proper length for a personal statement?

As long as it needs to be…and no longer.  We read thousands of personal statements each admission cycle. Your personal statement should be gripping – especially if you choose to write a long piece.

What about the optional essays?

If you have a genuine and specific interest in one of our programs, tell us! We want people who want to come to William & Mary, and we want to know what’s attracting applicants. You can also use an optional essay to tell us about an event in your life of which you are especially proud and couldn’t include in your personal statement.

 Is content more important than style?

No. Both content and style are very important. Most lawyers spend the majority of their days writing. Above all, the personal statement is a writing sample. It demonstrates your critical thinking skills and your capacity for creativity. It demonstrates your ability to organize information cogently and convincingly. The statement demonstrates your attention to detail. Finally, it gives us a glimpse into your character. All these qualities are important to the successful and ethical practice of law.

Any other advice?

Think and then write.  Set it aside for a day or two.  Return for a review prior to submission.  And make sure that if you highlight a specific law school in your personal statement that it matches the specific school application!