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Proofreading

It's now December or later. If you'd known it would take this long to apply, you'd have taken up something easier, like climbing Mt. Everest. You've filled out forms, attached attachments, hit the "submit" button, and you get another message. It says "Preview PDF." If you don't click on that button, you cannot continue to submit (a/k/a/ pay for) your application.

Your instinct is to click the "Preview" button and move right on to the next step.

Don't. Bad Idea. You'll live to regret it. Unwise. You know better. Etc., Etc.

Before You Send Those Apps:

One of the most valuable services I perform for my clients is proofreading every application before it's sent. Having screamed, insulted, nagged, belittled, coached and aided my way through thousands of applications, I am doing you an incredible favor: I'm telling you what you're doing wrong.

  • You're assuming that info filled in by the Common Information Form is correct. WRONG.
    • Sometimes the app has city and state as one field, sometimes as two; the program makes no distinction.
    • Some law schools ask you to print previous schools or jobs in chronological order (earliest first); others ask for reverse chron (most recent first). The program fills them in however you completed them on the Common Information Form, regardless of what the school wants.
  • You're assuming that "Optional" means "If you feel like it" instead of "If you want to be admitted."
    • If you don't feel like completing the forms, they may not feel like admitting you.
  • You're not distinguishing between "title of job, "number of hours," and "Nature of work."
    • "Title of job" is simply that: what is the job called? Summer intern? Bank teller? Janitor?
    • Number of hours should be given as a NUMBER, not FT or PT, unless that's really all they ask. Let them decide whether 30 hours a week is full or part time.
    • "Nature of work" means "What did you do?" Janitors sweep floors; bank tellers process and accurately settle money accounts; summer interns usually conduct research or field work on some project or another.
  • You're not checking the application instructions and supplemental forms, which are not included in the "Primary Application."
    • Supplemental Forms can include binding early decision forms, financial aid forms, or "Optional" information from your recommenders. See definition of "optional" above. Supplemental forms are not transmitted electronically, and must be snail-mailed.
    • Application Instructions can give you word or page limits not included in the main application. They can allow diversity statements and addenda not mentioned in the main application. Read them carefully.
  • You're not listing more than one phone number.
    • I know that you think you live in a truly enchanted world, one in which you've never lost your cell phone or its charger, never been in a "no bars" area, never had a call dropped. If you do live there, please let me know where it is, so that I can have all my clients move there. Instead, I have them list at least two and preferably three phone numbers. That way you can be called off a wait list in May even if your T-Mob plan has been dropped.
  • You're not writing responsive essays.
    • If they ask why you want to attend their law school, don't tell them why you want to attend law school generally. If they ask what your programmatic interests are, don't check "civil rights" and "multinational corporations."
  • You're not having someone else proofread for you.
    • The best way to find the words you've omitted, misspelled, or repeated, or the sentences that you've so convoluted that you can't follow your own reasoning, is to have someone read your essay to you aloud. You can often hear mistakes that your eye skips over.
  • You're not proofreading on the PDF version.
    • When you click on "Submit Application," the typeface, font size, even the spaces can change.
    • You must proofread THIS version of the application, since this is what the law schools will receive.
      • LSAC signals this to you by not allowing you to continue until you click on the "Preview PDF" button. Do yourself an enormous favor by actually proofreading this version instead of opening it and continuing without actually looking at it.
  • You're not assigning recommendations to each law school.
    • LSAC no longer automatically sends recs as you choose recommenders. You must take another step, listing which recs you want sent to each school; otherwise, the schools get no recs, your file is incomplete, you're either a month late or just rejected.
    • The place where you assign recs is under the "LOR" tab.

Why am I giving you all this really valuable advice for free? Because I want to help more people than the handful I take as clients. I can give very specific guidance to them, while the best I can do here is only generalities.

 

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