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.
Thanks for the tips and the encouragement! It’s good to know that there are a bunch of us in the same boat, and that you have a plan for all of us.
I’ll be in touch later, but for now just THANK YOU for the helpful ideas on this blog.
Anne, I don’t remember how I originally stumbled upon your blog, but I’ve been reading it for a couple of months now. First I’d like to thank you for always having such great advice and understanding exactly how stressful this process can be. I’m applying for Fall 2009 (and definitely suffering from APS!), and I noticed you almost always answer questions posted here. So…
I go to Northeastern, and have been on 3 co-ops/internships, so I have a decent resume with law firm experience as well as experience in the legal department in a corporate setting. I was wondering if it’s necessary to change the wording/descriptions on my resume to better reflect the things that are important for law school admission. For instance, rather than detailing my responsibilities, maybe saying something about what I have learned or why it’s valuable?
However, my personal statement focuses a lot on my work experience (and how it has related to my education) because I think it has been very important in my understanding of why I want to attend law school and where I could go with a legal career. Since I’m writing about it already, might it be better to leave my resume as just a detailed description of what my positions actually were?
I actually have a pet peeve about people who list what they’ve learned in jobs like working at a law firm and saying “Observed the legal process and learned how justice is applied” or working at The Gap and saying “Learned to assist people in a stressful environment and provide top notch quality service..”
I always think, “Who says you’ve learned those things? According to whom?” leave those things to LORs for someone else to say about you… (Except please don’t have your manager at the Gap write an LOR!)
Hi Anne, thanks for your response to my comment! I actually didn’t see it until now, but I think I have it worked out. I didn’t change my resume, and I think my personal statement does a good job of mentioning my work experience without saying “look at me, I’m special, I worked in a law firm!”
Aside from being a law school expert, I think you’re also psychic because I actually do work at the Gap (or it might say that in my profile somewhere, I don’t know…)!! And while it is on my resume because it’s my current job and I’ve worked there for almost 4 years, I have left any mention of it very very far away from anything I’m writing. Ha ha, I wonder what my manager would say if I gave him an LOR form…
Kari! The Gap thing is too funny! That’s the example I always use!!!!
Good luck with everything, and thanks for reading.