Law School Personal Statements: An Overview

By Peterson's Staff updated on Thursday, October 31, 2013
Many law schools are renowned for one particular field or subsequent career. For example, some schools are considered particularly focused on actual legal arguments while others are known to prepare graduates for positions in the judiciary. Some have particularly strong programs in fields like environmental or corporate law, while still others are more broad-based in nature.

Because of this variety, it’s impossible to say exactly what type of essay prompt you’re going to be focusing on in your particular application. Instead, we’ll take a look at some of the most common general categories of admissions essays in this market.

If you are interested in getting some specific tips, catered to the exact essay prompts you'll be dealing with, then you should head on over to EssayEdge and start working with one of the expert essay editors there today.

For law school applicants, the personal statement is the closest thing to a universal or common essay. Most programs ask for a personal statement as part of their application. but what exactly is a personal statement?

Put simply, a personal statement is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an essay in which you should explain the reasons you have decided to pursue law study and what you intend to accomplish through that study. Why are you applying to this program at this particular school at this time in your life?

Break your Law Personal Statement into Three Sections

It might help to think about your personal statement in 3 different contexts: your qualifications, motivations, and plans for the future. In other words, you want to give the admissions committee an idea of where you’ve been and where you’re headed. And while doing that, you want your writing to maintain an underlying sense of…well, purpose. Come across confident and directed, and you’re going to give yourself the best possible chance of admission.

One of the biggest mistakes law school applicants make when writing a personal statement is to simply sketch out a generic plan for the future. Others try to cram every single detail of the next 20 years of their lives in. Both of those tactics will leave you with an essay that doesn’t make much of a positive impression on the admissions officer. You need to strike a balance between solid plans for the future and a compelling narrative of what your overall life and career goals are.

And of course, don’t forget to help the reader understand why you’re pursuing advanced study in your particular field. While your transcripts and resume should cover this in part, some personalized content from you will make those points much more compelling.

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