The “Why Our Law School?” Essay
Many law schools ask a supplemental essay question along the lines of “why do you want to go to our school in particular?”
Sure, it’d be great if we could wave a magic wand and take out all individual law school application essays. Unfortunately, if a law school asks the “Why OUR Law School?” essay question, you’ll have to answer it, too.
There are two big reasons they ask this question:
1. They want to keep their yield high.
Yield = % of students who choose to enroll after they’ve been offered admission.
The higher the % of students accepted that choose to go there, the fewer they have to accept from the waitlist, the lower their acceptance rate, and the better they’ll look in the rankings, statistics, etc.
2. They want students who will be happy and do well.
Law schools aren’t just looking to accept the best, the brightest, and most interesting. They also want to find the students who are the best matches for their school. They want students who will thrive, not transfer out, and who will contribute to campus life.
So, these application essays are important. Make sure you spend some time on them. If the school you’re writing about is a safety, and you’re not super-excited about it, don’t let that show in your essay!
Here are my top 5 tips on answering the “Why OUR Law School?” essay:
1. Do research the school.
Look at the website, read the catalog, look at what books and articles say about it, talk to someone from your alma mater who went there, and visit if you can. The more little details you mention, the more you’ll convince them that you really want to go there.
2. Don’t recycle the same essay for all the schools.
I know it’s tempting – you’re busy and writing these essays isn’t fun. But this essay is all about showing how much you want to go to the specific law school, and why you’re a good match for it. If you try to recycle these essays, they’ll end up being too general, which will end up hurting you.
3. Do talk about yourself.
I can’t stress it enough: it’s an essay about why you will do great at their law school. They already know their school is great, what they want to know is why the school is great for you, and you for them.
So, write about how you’ll contribute to campus life, how you’ll make the most of what they have to offer, and how they’ll help you to achieve your goals. If you visited the school, share your thoughts and reflections on the campus, students, and classes. Anecdotes and details are always the best approach. Show the admissions committee why you’re the perfect match!
4. Don’t bash other schools.
Negativity is never good, and won’t impress anyone. In fact, it’s best to mention other schools at all. Be positive, and focus exclusively on why this law school is so perfect for you. Leave out the comparisons.
5. Do talk about specifics.
Mention journals, clinics, curriculum, departments, professors, student body diversity, size, campus community, internships, study abroad, research opportunities, campus culture, class size, and location. There are more than enough specifics you can mention to fill this short essay!
YOUR ACTION STEP
Start reading the school’s website, catalog, and whatever you can find online. Like I said, the more details you mention, the more you’ll show that you really do want to go there.
Although the focus of my law school admission coaching is on the main law school personal statement, I also give you a template for how to write the “Why OUR Law School?” essay.
Of course, every one of these law school application essays must be different and unique to the law school, but, from what I’ve seen, students find it helpful to have a guide on how to structure these essays, too.
So, if you’re looking for more help with your law school application essays, you might want to find out more about working with me for law school admissions coaching.
Before I sign off for now, I want to ask you to do me a quick favor. Reach out and let me know:
What’s the biggest question you have about law school admissions?
Tell me what you’re struggling with right now about law school admissions. I read all my messages and respond to as many as I can.
And I’ll do my best to answer your questions in future articles.
1. Law School Admissions Coaching
Get personalized 1-1 help on every aspect of the law school admission process — or just the law school personal statement.
2. Law School Admissions Guide
I’ve written a concise guide to the law school admission process with tips on completing every aspect of your applications from start to finish. It’s a small price to pay for a whole lot of guidance, and it’s short enough that you’ll actually read the whole thing.
3. Law School Admissions Cheat Sheet
Quick-reference guide for the law school personal statement, the “Why X?” essay, and the law school résumé. (You can also get it with the LSAT Cheat Sheets.)