Real or nah? ‘Legally Blonde’ versus real-life universities

By Waldy Diez (USA Today College) – We all know at least one perfectly manicured person in college who fulfills the “bimbo” stereotype.

That is exactly who Reese Witherspoon plays in Legally Blonde. Her character, Elle Woods, gets dumped by her boyfriend because he needs “to marry a Jackie, not a Marilyn.” So she decides to go to Harvard Law School to impress her ex-boyfriend. Clearly the only way to a boy’s heart is through smarts and not the “bend-and-snap” technique (but that’s an entirely different discussion for another time).


Elle goes through the rigorous process of entering law school. How well does Legally Blondetranslate to the real world of obtaining this postgraduate degree?

Here at USA TODAY College, we’re breaking down flicks to see if what they depict is admissible or if it should be dismissed.


When Witherspoon’s character tells her academic adviser and parents she wants to go to law school — and Harvard Law School, at that —  they immediately try to convince her to reconsider.

Her adviser is stunned that somebody with a 4.0 in Fashion Management wants to go to law school. Her parents argue that she’s not “boring, ugly or serious” — the sole personality traits of all law students, apparently — and therefore shouldn’t go.


There will be people in the world who will try to discourage you from achieving your dreams. This holds particularly true for students who study the liberal arts, such as journalism (because we totally HAVEN’T experienced that before).

Ultimately the choice to attend graduate school is completely up to you. Do what feels right. However, if you decide to become a lawyer or a doctor, you inevitably need to continue your education beyond obtaining an undergraduate degree.


Elle Woods spends what seems like an endless amount of time studying. She studies for the LSATs — the law school entrance exam —  as well as for law classes in general.

Grad school is no different. You will likely have to study for an entrance exam, such as the GRE. It tests you on verbal and quantitative reasoning, as well as critical thinking and analytical writing skills. Oh, and it’s also a grueling four-hour test.


Once you get in, the studying doesn’t stop or get any easier. There are always new topics to learn, projects to do, or speeches to prepare. But don’t fret! It will all be worth it in the end. 


All of Elle’s hard work comes to fruition when she lands a coveted spot in one of her professor’s elite internships. This day will come for you, too.

When you land your dream internship or get hired, it will be one of your proudest achievements. All of that hard work you’ve done will finally pay off. Those naysayers will seem like a thing of the past as you continue to kick butt and build an awesome future.


Waldy Diez is a summer 2015 USA TODAY intern.

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