Law Admissions: Your Personal Statement

By Peterson's Staff updated on Thursday, October 31, 2013

You won't be able to get through law admissions without including a personal statement — a task which seems to create angst for a great number of people. It's a rare person who feels comfortable writing about themselves in a positive and winning light, but if it makes you feel any better, most everyone else applying to law school is going through the same thing.

Tell a story in your law admissions essay

Your personal statement is essentially a short story about an aspect of your life. It doesn't need to be a long composition about you, your values, your love life, or your family — just a one-page, roughly 450-word essay about some important event in your life. It should be interesting and easy to read, but it doesn't need to be a masterpiece that's ready to go straight to publication. The law school admission committee will seek reassurance that you can evaluate and reflect on your goals with a critical eye.

Common mistakes in the law school admissions essay

It is easy, though, to make one of two very common mistakes when you write your personal statement — either overselling yourself or going overboard on listing your accomplishments. It's important that you don't come across as one big ego or full of yourself. Compose your statement with modesty, but don't sell yourself short.

By the same token, your writing shouldn't consist of a long list of your accomplishments with little explanation of how you achieved them or how they made you who you are today. There's a section on your law school application elsewhere to list your awards, charitable work, club membership, offices held, etc.

Like any well-written essay, a personal statement needs form and substance — a main idea, a body, and a conclusion. You want to convey some meaningful pieces of yourself without duplicating information.

A personal statement is a key part of law school requirements

The personal statement isn't the most important part of your application, but if you do it poorly, you can be sure the admission committee will notice and it may do you more harm than good.

Likewise, a good personal statement can tip the balance in your favor if the admission committee is on the fence regarding your application. Your statement can be charming, moving, or painfully forthright — so long as it makes the difference between admission and rejection.

Law Admissions Personal Statement Editing

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