Thursday, June 15, 2006

A member of the testing tribe.

I don’t recall if I mentioned that I’m applying to law school. I probably slipped it in at some point but I don’t remember when. Anyway, last night, my test prep company and one of my top choice schools co-hosted an LSAT admissions event. I was somewhat dismayed to find that this school is in US News and World Report’s top tier and that admissions is more competitive than I’d hoped it was. (CC’s college grades were unimpressive.)

Though I know I will do well on the LSAT, I feel like my chances of getting in rest on my ability to claw my way as far up the percentile rankings as I possibly can. (We’re talking 95th+ percentile. But I did that well on my GREs or I couldn’t teach test prep.) I’m a very good test taker and willing to do the work.
But after hearing the Dean emphasize the importance of college grades, I was still dejected and I didn’t know what I would do for my personal statement. Something about my brother would be good if I could make it not too obvious. I once chased down a thief in a mall and could probably do something interesting with that. But I don’t know. (I probably won’t write it for a couple of months.)

I stood around with my friends from the testing center after the event as they answered questions. As the crowd began to thin, one of my friend Brad was talking about personal statements. He echoed the admission lady’s warnings about trying to be funny. Humor is subjective and applicants often aren’t as funny as they think they are.

“Damn,” I said. “I’d been planning to just write ‘I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. After that, law school seemed like the next logical step.” The group laughed. “Seriously, y’all, I have no idea what I’m going to write. The whole ‘this is your five minutes with the admissions committee’ concept is pretty intimidating. I don’t know how I’m going to get in.”

Not one of my friends hesitated. “We will help you, CC!”

“Bring your statement by. I’d want to read it anyway!”

“I’ve helped so many people get into law school…”

Um… duh. My friends from the Test Prep company do admissions for a living.

But beyond the fact that my friends are good at what they do and have probably read thousands of personal statements, their enthusiasm for helping me out really touched me. We’re unusually warm and affable co-workers and I’ve been working there part time for something like four years. We’ve hung out quite a bit and some of them came to my wedding, but it’s not like we’re super close.

But standing there last night, I got the intense sensation that I was a member of the tribe. Really close to everyone or not, if a member of a tribe wants to go to law school, the tribe’s going to help them out.

I’m not a joiner and not typically one for having groups of acquaintances. But the supportive nature of the interaction felt really, really good.

A moment later, someone said “Make sure to use lots of big words you don’t understand.”

And someone else put in “write the whole personal statement as a set of bullet points”

“Make sure to have your last sentence be “And that’s why I want to go to George Washington University law school.” (I was talking about applying to a different school.)

And the conversation descended into snark.

But as I was leaving, a guy said “So, CC, you coming to happy hour?”

I turned around and smiled. “Wouldn’t miss it.”



Anonymous said...

HA! Good luck!

You know, I haven't the foggiest recollection of what I wrote for my law school admissions essay.

The story about chasing down the thief would make a great blog post.

C. Arenas, FNP-BC said...

Good Luck CC. I know you will write the perfect statement. Glad to hear you are applying to law school.Congrats!