Recommendation Letters, Transcripts & Personal Statements for Law School
Letters of recommendation are an extremely important part of your application. They are a chance for others to commend your accomplishments both in and out of the classroom. Typically, law schools ask for three (2 academic, 1 professional). For your professors, it is ideal to choose two who you have either had multiple classes with, have excelled academically with them, or they are a professor in your major and therefore know a more accurate extent of your academic capabilities. For a professional reference, this could be a supervisor at an internship, job, community service organization, etc.
It is important that, when asking for rec letters, to give your writers enough time to fill them out. When making the initial ask, give an approximate deadline for when you would like them to complete the letter (ideally at least more than 3 weeks away). You should also consider attaching a draft of your personal statement for them to read over and reference.
See this attachment for an example on how to ask for recommendation letters.
Transcripts are quite straightforward; in that they are the academic summary of your time spent at your institution. You can request your transcripts via your myNOVA account. Our third-party vendor, Parchment, will then send your electronic transcripts to LSAC on your behalf. These will then be sent off to your schools.
It is important to note that law school’s require transcripts from the following institutions you have attended:
- Community colleges
- Undergraduate and graduate institutions
- Law, medical, or professional institutions
- Institutions attended for summer or evening courses
- Institutions attended even though a degree was never received
- Institutions from which you took college-level courses while in high school even though they were for high school credit
- Institutions that clearly sponsored your overseas study
- International transcripts, if applicable
If you have any questions about this, please visit the Law School Admission Council’s website on Requesting Transcripts.
The personal statement is, at its core, a 2-page double-spaced essay reflecting on a culminating/impactful experience you have gone through that has shifted your worldview or taught you a valuable lesson; and how this experience connects to your journey to law school. The personal statement is unique in that it can be more narrative in nature. However, there are certain beats that are important to touch on throughout the essay:
- Create a strong hook to get the reader’s attention
- Craft a thesis statement that serves as your summarizing sentence and provides a preview to what you will be discussing throughout the essay
- Develop a theme (What did you learn about X and how does it connect to Y?)
- Connect to law school
Overall, your personal statement should provide a window into a part of your life that admission counselors will not be able to glean just by reading your application. The topic that you choose can be quite personal in nature, providing you feel comfortable sharing it.
If you would like someone to review your personal statement and provide feedback, please visit the following resources:
- The Writing Center (for grammatical minutiae and sentence structure)
- Pre-Law Advisor (for topic choice and overall flow)
Additionally, to get started, please use this Brainstorming Worksheet to begin constructing your outline.