Personal statements demonstrate to law school admissions committees that you offer something beyond grades, extracurriculars and LSAT scores. A well-crafted statement can communicate this story organically while at the same time conveying polished prose.
The best statements take a narrative approach and focus on your reasons for wanting a JD degree, rather than using generic statements that admissions committees may have seen before.
1. You want to be a lawyer
Answering “why do you want to become a lawyer?” requires taking an honest assessment of one’s motivations and goals. Lawyers play an essential role in society; many choose law due to a strong desire to help others and uphold justice; in addition, lawyers often enjoy excellent salaries due to high compensation levels compared to other professions – this may also make becoming one an attractive career option.
However, law school admissions committees look beyond your professional aspirations when reviewing your personal statement. They want to get to know who you are as an individual – the best way of doing this is through sharing your narrative. Previous applicants have used their personal statements to discuss pivotal experiences or explain how certain obstacles have helped shape them.
Finding a successful personal statement requires striking a delicate balance between sharing your motivations and being sincere. Forced stories or using overused themes will come across as contrived and artificial; for example, sharing an experience of overcoming adversity should not become overly sobby or maudlin; admissions committee members have read hundreds of personal statements and can easily detect when you’re acting out emotions falsely.
Additionally, it’s essential that you tailor your response specifically for each institution’s prompt. Even if the questions appear similar, don’t submit the same essay everywhere as this will highlight that you have not addressed their individual query and damage your credibility.
Additionally, be mindful to avoid too much technical or legal language that might confuse the reader or come off as pompous. Finally, use your personal statement only to highlight positive aspects of life that align with legal profession. Rather than talking about academic inconsistencies or hardships – use addendum section instead for this content – focus on positive aspects that connect to legal career. By following these tips you can write an impactful personal statement demonstrating why law school would be an excellent fit for you!
2. You want to make a difference
Law school may be your ticket to doing meaningful work that makes an impactful statement about who you are. Lawyers make an impactful statement about communities, businesses, individuals and defending rights of all kinds of people – it’s hard not to feel like doing something worthwhile by helping others!
Experiences gained while volunteering to teach children to read, training for a marathon to raise money for charity or advising peers regarding career decisions will make you an empathetic and helpful colleague–qualities which admissions officers value when reviewing prospective student candidates.
Another effective way you can use your law school education to make an impactful contribution is through giving back to your community or even worldwide. Many law schools provide clinics, externships and other opportunities that enable legal advice or representation to the community at large. Your professors are invaluable resources when it comes to this endeavor, from connecting you with potential jobs to having candid discussions about career goals.
One key consideration when writing your personal statement is remembering that each law school has different instructions and expectations in terms of length, format and words/characters. You should carefully review each prompt before beginning to draft your essay – for instance one may request you write about an experience which demonstrates leadership capabilities while another might ask you to explore how you overcame obstacles or challenges in life.
At law schools, clarity and concise language is highly valued in their students. Avoid overusing legalese as this could come across as pompous or unnatural and could cause admissions officers to turn away.
Be true to yourself in your personal statement; don’t include information that doesn’t pertain to law. Admissions officers can spot when someone attempts to impress them with passion and energy; so be genuine.
3. You want to be challenged
Avoid using too many general or vague concepts when writing your personal statement; this is your opportunity to show admissions officers what makes you special and distinct from everyone else.
Your law school personal statement’s opening should immediately capture the admissions committee’s interest. Aim to begin your story with something relevant that engages readers – an anecdote is best; refrain from starting off with quotes or mantras as this may come across as cliche and doesn’t represent you properly as an applicant.
Avoid excessive legal language; even if you understand its meaning, using too many legal jargon words can make you appear pompous or artificial in your story telling. Instead, use your personal statement to give concrete examples that showcase your strengths and abilities.
Your personal statement or diversity statement are great places to explore topics that define who you are as an individual. If your ethnicity, family background or religion play an integral part in who you are, consider including it here as well. Just ensure it remains consistent with other aspects of your application.
Once your introduction has engaged readers, the conclusion of your personal statement should serve to tie everything up neatly. Much like its introduction, this section should tie up themes and events from earlier on while still satisfying readers.
Proofreading your personal statement thoroughly is the final step in crafting an outstanding personal statement essay. This includes checking its spelling and grammar as well as having another set of eyes look over it in order to ensure a clean essay with no errors that might give off an impression of being careless or lacking attention to detail.
Though it’s tempting to become preoccupied with writing the ideal law school personal statement, it’s essential not to get lost in trying to create the ideal version of yourself. Top law schools receive applications from talented applicants with different experiences and goals; therefore it is up to you to stand out amongst the competition by investing your time into following all applicable guidelines for your application and stand out among competitors.
4. You want to be part of a community
Although law school applications can be extremely competitive processes, they also create an atmosphere of like-minded people. You should strive to become part of this community as an attentive student who will enrich classroom environments. Your personal statement should demonstrate this desire by detailing all of your qualities that make you a good match with this particular group of like-minded individuals.
One applicant interested in patent law described themselves as being adventurous individuals who enjoy skiing and extreme sports such as snowboarding and wakeboarding. Her writing demonstrated this interest well to the admissions team who knew she would make an outstanding addition to law school community.
Personal statements often contain details that grab readers’ attention, such as one highlighting a student who wanted to become a lawyer because he has an affinity for math and science subjects. His passion will likely shine through his classes, showing the admissions team that this student will be an active part of law school community and an asset in their program.
Remind yourself that writing a law school personal statement is an extremely professional document. Avoid informal language and overly colloquial phrasing, and remember that it should not exceed four double-spaced pages in length. Also ensure your essay is completely original without collaboration among multiple people – if needed for assistance consult with tutor or application counselor before final submission.
Keep in mind that law schools usually provide different prompts when writing your personal statements for admissions applications, and you should write one specifically tailored to each school to which you apply. Submitting the same statement across multiple applications only creates the impression of poor writing with no attention paid to details; make sure each essay responds specifically to each prompt while mentioning each school explicitly if applicable.