Writing a Personal Statement
- When applying to law schools, you will be asked to write one or more essays to submit with your application.
- This is your opportunity to give the admissions committee a better understanding of who you truly are, and more importantly answer why you want to attend their Law School.
- Take this essay seriously. Admissions committee's will read your statement when making their decisions.
Where do I begin?
The first step is to read the instructions provided for you by the law school to which you are applying.
The mission statement of the law school will provide good insight as to what the school emphasizes and encourages.
Law schools look for a concise, well-written personal essay that shows that you can write coherently.
Common themes found in Personal Statement's
These are common themes found in a large percentage of personal statement's. your personal statement is certainly not limited to these areas. These are only suggestions to give you an idea of what angle others have taken.
- Academic tenacity and persistence
- Intellectual curiosity
- An understanding of and experience with the skills necessary for academic success in law school
- Personal growth and maturity during your undergraduate education
- Motivation to study law
- Personal, academic, and social connection to our ever-diversifying community
What tips and suggestions can I follow before writing my Personal Statement?
- Organize information around a theme that allows you to present your ideas clearly and logically.
- Narrowing your appeal allows for easier transition, a concise point, and a confident personal statement.
- Indicate what in your background suggests suitability for law school (if applicable).
- Don't 'reach' for slightly relevant features or remind the school of its ranking.
- Success in the face of adversity: You can use your personal statement to show the law school admissions committee that you are able to perform well academically under stress.
- Remember that you are always answering the question, "Why do I want to go to law school?"
- Leadership or employment: Remember that law school is an academic institution. The leadership experiences that you describe should relate to your education (e.g. co-curricular clubs) or from a professional experience (e.g. internships, significant employment, military service, national community service, etc...)
- Bring out unique features of your undergraduate curriculum if they are not evident from your transcript or resume, such as independent readings, graduate level work, official undergraduate research, advanced writing, study abroad, etc.
- If you have any blemishes in your record such as a low GPA or LAST score, consider writing an addendum explaining them. Do not offer excuses or blame others; instead, explain how/why your record appears this way. If the problem is recent, carefully indicate to the admissions committee why you would be a successful student.
Reviewing your Personal Statement
Your personal statement should be critiqued by more than one set of eyes.
- Have a friend read your drafts for grammatical errors and consistency.
- Have the Writing Center review your draft
Your personal statement should be able to concisely answer: How can Law School better equip you for your goals in life.
If you are having trouble finding your concrete answer as to why you want to go to law school try asking yourself why five times: this helps trim fat off of your answer to find the root of your inspiration for attending law school.