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Tailoring essays to schools

dandelionsroar
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Hi,

I wanted to know if you think it is important to tailor your personal statement or if possible a diversity statement to the school you are sending an application? Reason I am asking is on some of the essays for certain schools I am able to do this but on my personal statement tailoring it to a specific school makes the essay choppy and it does not flow, I think it is apparent that it is forced. Is this a necessary step, does tailoring your PS or other essays really give an advantage? Thank you!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff
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I'm not exactly sure how much one could tailor a could personal statement to a school (it would be somewhat unusual for it to be tailored to a specific school, aside from some closing statement that School X is the place you want to be) and I wouldn't see it as necessary. And, given that there's no inherent advantage in doing so, I would certainly avoid it if it's making your essay worse in any way.

And keeping up the theme from your LOR question, we have a free PS seminar too: PowerScore’s Law School Personal Statement Seminar.

Thanks!
Dave Killoran
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T.B.Justin
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Is that advice in general or specifically for top tier schools?

One of the schools I visited (mid-tier) in the fall, the director of admissions, mentioned while on the topic of personal statements that she prefers statements that include something about her school.

I assume the admissions staff at any school are the first line to get through in order to be reviewed by the committee.

I don't know if the committee would have any preference on that, but I am inclined to go with your advice to avoid that, however obviously this admissions director has a bias towards personal statements that include something about her school at the least she feels more interested in those statements.
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Staff
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It's an interesting question, and I suppose it really depends on how the essay is structured. As I note in the seminar, you don't have to explain why you want to be a lawyer and so the "need" to reference specific school traits is lessened. It's also the case that focusing on the school doesn't do anything for you. It doesn't tell the school about your character or why you'd be a good classmate or lawyer. So, my difficulty here is in understanding how you could smoothly switch schools in an essay aside from an ending comment about how School X is the best fit (or whatever applies). If a school discussion is truly integral to the essay, it would seem you'd lose some harmony and consistency by changing the school.

The real truth is there is no inviolable rule in essays, and just about anything can be made to work with the right execution. I've seen essays about atheism and abortion jump off the page and command attention, and an essay about winning a gold medal fall painfully flat. So, the real proof here is in how it turns out. As OP said, it seemed choppy, so that's a definite negative.

By the way, your point about school placement is a good one, and adcoms at mid and lower tier schools are often reassured by comments that indicate their school is realistically in the picture. This is why Why X essays are usually worth writing if you have the opportunity.

Thanks!
Dave Killoran
PowerScore Test Preparation

Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DaveKilloran
My LSAT Articles: http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/author/dave-killoran
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T.B.Justin
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I am considering adding a sentence or two in the last paragraph of my personal statement that asserts "these experiences can contribute to the diversity at <insert school>"

It could be a transitionary sentence into a separate diversity statement or it could qualify as a personal-diversity statement combination.

I am thinking big picture and the idea I have for how I'd like my application to be perceived: each piece smoothly transitioning into each other- together being excellent.


I think my opinion is unconventional than the more traditional ones I have received :)
Malila Robinson
PowerScore Staff
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Hi T.B.Justin,
From what you are describing it sounds like adding a sentence or 2 to your personal statement that will later be explained in detail in your diversity statement could work well! You may want to write a draft of your diversity statement first so that you know what type of set-up would work well in your personal statement.
Good luck!
-Malila