My husband came up with a name for a syndrome I’m seeing a lot of right now – “Application Panic Syndrome.” There are many specific (and cumulative) causes of APS, including:
1. Seeing the LSAC common application form.
2. Trying to remember every job you’ve ever held and how many hours you worked when you were in college ten years ago.
3. Waiting for your LSAT score.
4. Watching Law School Discussion and Top-Law-Schools and seeing that (a) some people may have already been admitted to law schools; (b) some people have already applied to law school; and (c) those people are really enjoying their bragging rights (and are probably the same people who will be known as “jerks” in your section next fall~!!).
5. Trying to come up with the most brilliant and effective law school personal statement ever written.
So, what can you do to treat APS? Here are 3things that can help:
1. Get yourself on a timeline. Approach one piece of the application process at a time. Stick to the timeline. Knowing what to prioritize and how long to struggle with each ingredient is key to avoiding the panic that overwhelms almost every law school applicant. (And those who aren’t affected probably aren’t spending as much effort on the process as they should be, quite honestly).
I give each of my law school admission consulting clients a personalized timeline. I want everyone to take advantage of the rolling admissions process as much as possible, and to avoid feeling overwhelmed. You may have fallen behind where you’d originally hoped to be, but it doesn’t mean you should pack up and wait for the next admission cycle. Just be proactive NOW.
2. Don’t fixate on any one part of the application process. If it’s been weeks of toiling on your personal statement, put it aside for a week and take care of everything else, then look at it anew or just begin again with a fresh slate. In either event, remember that you have a sense of humor and try to write a silly (pretend) personal statement just to take the edge off. This is why I take my clients through a brainstorming exercise and questionnaire. I’m a big fan of flushing out ideas.
3. Call someone who can offer perspective. It might be a parent, a friend, a sibling – whomever that person is in your life who motivates you, calms you down, and makes you feel empowered all in one conversation. (Or, of course, it could be your law school admission consultant! You’re paying for a coach and that person should be available to you in your moments of panic, weakness, frustration, and exhaustion as well as when you’re celebrating).
Hang in there this week. October LSAT takers, concentrate on those things within your power until Friday night. And, yes, I’ll be available this weekend! December LSAT takers, you’re up next and I’ll start posting tips and tricks for y’all soon. (I just got back from Alabama and I don’t want to give up saying “y’all” quite yet, so please bear with me).
And, in the words of my high school AP Government teacher (whom I visited this weekend in Huntsville), for all of you suffering from APS, Bless Your Heart.