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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
Getting into Harvard Law School
The Best Application Essays. What worked for them can help you too to get into Harvard or other top law schools in the world.

In this series of essays, Lawyers Update helps you to get into world's top law schools.

"I want to Be A Lawyer Because."

Noelle Chung

I grew up in a small town in Eastern Washington. As a pre-teen making the social rounds in junior high, I began supplementing my academic diet with classes at three local colleges. By the time I was thirteen, I had garnered enough credits to earn an associate-of-arts honors degree with 4.0 GPA from Walla Walla Community College. I was nominated for student speaker at graduation. But the school's nominating committee, fearing that my exceptionally young age would upset the "traditional" student population, rescinded that nomination.

Though I realized that my relative youth and inexperience might continue to cause many such setbacks, I decided to use this situation to my advantage. I put off graduation to spend another year exploring all the disciplines the school had to offer. I also campaigned for the seat of associated student body president, declaring that my age made me no less capable of fulfilling the duties of the office. To everyone's surprise, I won the election. I then went on to serve the five-thousand-plus students' body in a position of leadership that allowed me to contribute to the school community on a scale I could not have achieved otherwise.

With all the transferable college credits I had compiled, I could easily have kept to the fast track through a four-year institution. Instead I adhered to my intention of exploring my academic journey to the fullest. I wiped the slate clean and entered Whitman College as a freshman after accepting its generous full-ride academic scholarship. I was determined to diversify my store of knowledge and experiences. While at Whitman, though still much younger than others, I was fortunate to participate fully in all facets of college life: living in the French language-interest house, performing with the Whitman Dance Theater troupe, swimming on our NCAA Division III team, and trying to improve the campus by serving on the Student Life Board and working as an intern for the Intercultural Center-all while making sure to continue to excel academically within the liberal arts spectrum.

My intellectual pursuits eventually culminated in the creation of a personally designed major intended to fill a gap in the Whitman curriculum revealed by the rising importance of the European Union. I successfully argued to the Board of Review that my proposed comprehensive course of interdisciplinary study would create an understanding of the increased importance of shared European culture in defining European nations. By the end of my junior year I had met all the requirements for my B.A. degree in continental European cultural studies. But once, again in the spirit of delving as deeply as possible into the resources available to me, I did not forgo my senior year.

Rather, I devoted the next eleven months to approaching my proposed disciplines from the European perspective of Paris. Living in Paris and familiarilising myself with the city's institutions, such as the Sorbonne, and its cosmopolitan organizations, such as the Sociètè des Amis du Louvre, enhanced my ability to comprehend the daily experience of the new Europe, where I completed an eighty-page honors thesis, "A Historical and Literary Analysis of French Anti-semitism between the Wars."

The summer following my junior year, Whitman presented me with the Best Summer Internship Project Award, which would fully fund my internship as a research assistant at the headquarters of the Hudson Institute. While I was working at this internationally oriented think tank, the South Korean government commissioned a report concerning the possible effects of Western free-trade agreements on Korean trade and investment. I was in charge of compiling an extensive annotated literature review. It was through this process that I first glimpsed how my undergraduate training in European affairs and the cultural sensitivity stemming from my Korean roots could both serve to facilitate a flow of knowledge between East and West in the evolving global community.

Studying abroad during my senior year confirmed my resolve to continue upon a multi-disciplinary and international path that, after graduation, immediately led me to pursue a master's degree in international studies at Yonsie University's Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul, South Korea. At Yonsei's GSIS, which awarded me a full-ride academic scholarship, I have been supplementing knowledge in the history and culture of Asia and Europe with the basic disciplines of international relations, skills of methodology, and principles of economic analysis. Even here, French and Korean lines cross, specifically at the Research Institute of Comparative History and Culture where, as an assistant researcher, I analyse the two countries' respective periods of mid-twentieth-century political and cultural collaboration.

I have deliberately prolonged my intellectual and social journey until now, when I am finally on the same footing, agewise, as most fresh-from-college law school applicants. I have anticipated this milestone for many years, and everything I've learned and attempted so far has been in preparation for the legal education that I consider my true academic gateway into a purposeful and self-fulfilling career. I hope, through the legal training offered by your institution, to specialize eventually in the world of international law encompassing both the Eastern and Western spheres in an era that will undoubtedly experience numerous confrontations of global proportions.

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