happy times & tips for scholarships

In the past month, I’ve connected with alumni from Wonderland Law School, who are friendly and, dare I say, seem like happy lawyers. Even though my conversations with them were biased in favor of WLS and the legal profession in general, I’m going to appreciate their positive outlook and move on. I’ve had my fair share of not-so-positive conversations with lawyers who regretted their decision to attend law school.

Most people know that legal jobs are scarce and unpredictable (One word: Dewey), but it does give me hope that recent graduates from WLS have jobs and did not do Law Review, Moot Court, and a whole laundry list of things that normal human beings cannot achieve. Normal, hardworking people can get jobs. Don’t worry, I am mentally and emotionally preparing myself in sending out 50+ job applications and getting rejected. A lot.

So where’s the happiness in LR’s life? Remember those dastardly paper cuts?

I somehow managed to wing a scholarship! I am thanking my lucky stars for the stipend. It’s kind of remarkable how much my perspective about my personal finances has changed. In college, I didn’t appreciate scholarship money and naively took it for granted. WLS gave me a modest scholarship, and after doing the math, I quickly realized that I couldn’t go to my dream school unless I found a way to pay for it. In a way, I’m thankful for the small scholarship because it directly caused me to hustle on scholarship and loan applications.

If I can only impart one piece of advice to pre-law students, it’s this: search for scholarships and writing contests and apply, apply, apply! I don’t have a magic formula for getting scholarships, but I will leave behind some general thoughts.

LR’s Tips for Landing a Sweet Scholarship:

1. I made sure that I understood the target audience. Who is reading my essay and application? Who is their ideal candidate? Don’t ask useless questions like, “Am I good enough?” This is not the time for modesty.

2. I try to keep it simple with resumes: one page with relevant details. Even if you hate bullet points, use them. I’ve tried everything under the sun, but creativity points does not help with skimming your resume.

3. I try to exercise verbal economy. If they say 1 page, resist the urge to use 0.5 margins and 10 point font. It’s implicit that they’re judging your ability to write clearly and effectively. Even as I write this, I’m dying a little bit inside. I love to indulge myself by over-writing.

4. Have integrity.

3. I read about past winners and dissected their profiles shamelessly. I made mental notes of what made them successful. I kept the notes, and forgot about the people.

4. I try to submit applications way ahead of deadlines. I found that the applications that I submitted last-minute were sloppy and ugly. Brainwash yourself that the deadline is due a week in advance of the real deadline. Trust.

5. I like to talk out my ideas with others. I then watch their reactions and pick their brains for ideas. Long car rides are perfect for brainstorming sessions with small dance breaks to liven up the mood. Oh, and don’t forget to treat them to ice cream afterwards.