Most applicants are afraid of writing a law school personal statement or essay—even if they’re fully aware that it’s a requirement. It’s quite difficult to make a personal essay about one’s self and it’s certainly not easy to figure out what the admissions committee of your prospected school is looking for.
Remember that most law schools no longer require interviews and would prefer to read personal statements instead—this is your opportunity to provide them an insight on what makes you a good candidate. The two pages of essay (or you know, the amount of words required) that you’re going to write can make or break your entry. Sometimes, it can be too weak for the admission committee, or it can be strong enough to grant you an entry.
Personal Statement Examples
The Purpose of a Personal Statement
Law school is full of writing, and creating your personal statement if one of the earliest ways for you to learn how to improve your skills in writing. This is also a chance for you to provide them with information that you weren’t able to list down on your application. Law schools ask you for one because they want to have an idea of how well you present yourself in writing—all good lawyers are excellent writers.
Use it to give the admission committee a chance to know your abilities in organizing your thoughts and putting them on paper. Then again, don’t use legalese and stay away from the thesaurus. These people are experts and they know if you’re just using “big” words to fluff up your admission. These papers are also your law school’s first look into finding out who deserves the place and who has the most determination and intelligence to keep up with the workload. So, try to put in interesting tidbits about your personal life and accomplishments. Make your paper stand out among the thousands of other applications.
For a better understanding of what to look for, here are some law school personal statement examples that you can look at as inspiration for your own:
What You Need To Say
Obviously, this is all about you, so make sure to write about yourself. Most applicants seem to talk too much about law’s effects in society and the media. While their ideas about that may be interesting or thought provoking, admission committees will just look past those, as they’re not related in any way to what they’re looking for. Try to avoid showing too much dedication by making sentences like, “I’ve decided to become a lawyer after I watched all episodes of Law and Order.” Or even vague statements like, “I think law is very interesting.” – admission committees are sick of reading passages like that and they want something that gives them something unique and legitimately interesting.
Some topics and ideas that you can use could be:
- Your job experience while studying and why it made finishing your studies a difficult but satisfying achievement for you.
- Your perspective about unique/special occurrences or events in your life
- Personal accomplishments that you think beefs up your being interesting
- An anecdote about a goal that you’ve accomplished or an obstacle that you’ve survived
Personal Statement Tips
It’s Okay to be Weak
There are some people who choose to include their weaknesses in their personal statements. However, if you’re going to discuss things such as weak performances in school exams, or that one semester in college where you had to leave because you got sick or you had personal matters to attend to, should better be written in a letter that’s separate from your personal statement.
Proper Styling and Formatting
There are some law schools that put limits when it comes to the amount of pages or words that you have to submit for your personal statement. If there aren’t any particular guidelines for that, then your best bet is to provide two to three pages of computerized and double-spaced worth. Submitting one that looks like a mini-thesis will only irritate admissions officers. It’s okay to go over the word count limit, but there’s no excuse for you to add an additional 500 to 1000 words. It’s also advisable to choose a font that’s easy to read, margins are properly placed, and that your paragraphs aren’t huge blocks of text (this makes things look messy.)
Start your personal statement with something interesting or unique, because admissions officers usually read around 40 to 50 essays in a single day—you’re going to want to stand out. Don’t forget to showcase your ability in writing and keep everything short and simple. You’re going to sound very pretentious if you try and inject law terms—even if you use them sparingly.
Let your creative juices flow and think up of a topic about yourself that you think is unique or interesting. It’s highly discouraged for you to create an alternative form of a personal statement. There are those who write monologues or screenplay-like essays that make it seem like they’re trying too hard to get into law school. If you’re inclined to do something similar, get opinions from other people before pushing through with it. If you show too much creativity, the admissions committee might end up thinking that you’re not worth the trouble.
- Be informative – If you’re planning on discussing your activities or previous jobs, don’t be too vague about things. Admission committees don’t know everything and you might leave them feeling confused about what you used to do. Take the time to give an explanation of what the activity was or what role you played in the job. Also include the importance of those experiences to your life. There’s no need for you to just create a list of things—it helps to be informative. It makes you unique.
- Train of thought – Write and rewrite until your words start to flow naturally. This will take some time, but it’s important that you’re making sense and that you’re not incoherent with your word structures.
- Proofreading is king – It’s always advisable to never proofread your own work, as you might miss some mistakes. Ask someone else to do it for you. Don’t have anyone to help out? Read your work aloud. This method almost always catches most mistakes.