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How to Write the Perfect Personal Statement
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While a stellar LSAT score and GPA are ultimately the golden tickets to a prestigious law school, they are just numbers. That’s why law schools require a personal statement – to learn about the applicant beyond the numbers. The personal statement can decide whether your application will end up in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ pile in the admissions office. Just like any essay, your personal statement should be strong and unique.

Think of it as a written interview during which you get to choose the question. 

Do:

Tell your unique story

Admissions officers go trough piles of personal statements every year, so they recognize cliches, bad writing, and fake stories when they see them. Instead of telling the law school what you think they want to hear, tell them the truth. Tell a story about how you became who you are today and what inspired you to apply to law school. You don’t have to choose an extraordinary dramatic event that was life-changing. In fact, writing about a mundane event and making it seem extraordinary will improve your chances of standing out.

  
What
Where


Focus on the first paragraph 

Make sure the opening paragraph of your personal statement is attention-grabbing because it will decide whether the admissions officer keeps reading. Admissions officers are pressed for time and may not read beyond a dull opener. So, avoid cliches and pay special attention to the first paragraph.

Be brief and concise

Your personals statement should display your writing ability and big words do not denote good writing, just a big ego. Vague, soggy writing riddled with confusing words is most likely a deal-breaker. Keep it simple and choose your words with clarity in mind. Remember that your audience (the admissions officer) has a stack of applications to read and not a lot of time. Keep it short, simple, and concise. Stick to concrete events and examples, and avoid meaningful quotes, confusing digressions, and pretentious words.

Proofread and Edit 

The secret to good writing is good editing. Typos and grammar mistakes will make you look irresponsible and not ready for law school. Once you are done with the first draft, let it rest for a day or two and then read it again. 

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Look for apostrophe errors, capitalization errors, double words, missing articles, extra spaces, and homophone errors. Also, look for common word mixups:  affect and effect, i.e. and e.g., than and then, etc. 

Grammarly is a great tool that can help you spot typos, double words, and grammar hiccups. But software tools do not catch everything. You can, and should, share your essay with friends, college professors, and parents to get their feedback.

Do Not:

Don’t play a lawyer or a judge

Law school admissions officers do not expect you to know any legal concepts or jargon. So, you will not impress them by using them. In fact, you run the risk of misusing them, which is just embarrassing. Remember – you are not a lawyer, you are applying to law school to become one. 

Don’t tell your entire life story

From cradle to law school is a story that maybe your friends or family will enjoy hearing, but not an admissions officer. Resist the urge to expand on several life experiences, as you will end up trying to say too much while really saying nothing at all.

Don’t become a cliche

Maybe your abroad experience in an undeveloped country transformed the way you think and ignited your desire to help the underprivileged. That’s great, but don’t use it to impress an admissions officer. These topics are overused and don’t work. Consider how your story is unique and highlight your individuality. 

Don’t make unsupported claims

Bragging about your skills and your achievements, but claiming, “I am the best student you will see all year!” is just tacky and doesn’t go down too well, even if you think you can prove it. It’s ok to not sell yourself short, but don’t make unsupported and unrealistic claims.



 

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