How "Legally Blonde" Got Me into Notre Dame

"You got into Harvard law? What, like it’s hard?"

Posted Nov 16, 2011

In the film, Legally Blonde, Elle Woods typifies the academic outcast. For in the movie, extremes of the feminist spectrum are displayed. There is her mean and catty trophy husband-seeking rival on one side, and a liberal bra-burning lesbian who wants to change the name "semester" to "ovester" on the other. She fits nowhere in between, nor does she boast the scholastic achievements of her Harvard classmates.

In my initial quest to gain admissions into graduate school, I was told time and again how incredibly competitive a Ph.D. in clinical psychology was. The first three people I spoke to, who were either in graduate programs or professors in psychology, all told me to pick another career. Social work is a shorter program. Industrial organizational psychology is where the money is. Most people get rejected from clinical programs, be ready to re-apply next year.

So in a huge leap of faith, I threw out the rubric. I did not apply to the 20 graduate programs they recommended. I chose five instead. I landed my top choice, Notre Dame, as well as an Ivy league school. How? Certainly four years of hard work and some helpful strategies that I discuss here, but also belief that who was to say that I couldn't make a dream come true?