Writing a law school personal statement can be daunting task. Below are a few tips to help you craft a unique and eye-catching personal statement.
• Choice of topic matters less than how you write about it. Don’t feel that your essay needs to be about a particular kind of experience. There’s no one thing admissions officers are looking for. Instead, write about something that will capture your personality and show off your unique qualities.
• It’s okay not to be perfect. Law schools aren’t looking for “perfect” people. They want people who have learned from their experiences and thought carefully about who they are and what they want. Writing about overcoming an obstacle can be a powerful narrative.
• Be yourself. Your essay should give the admissions officers an idea of what you will be like in the classroom as well as what kind of lawyer you might be. They are looking for people who are likable as well as interesting. Law is essentially a people profession, after all.
• Show, don’t tell. This is a mantra you’ve heard, but it’s true. Are you analytical? Good with people? Give an example or share a detail that shows you illustrating those traits.
• Just start writing and leave time to revise. Are you having trouble getting started? Set a timer for fifteen minutes and just write. If you get stuck on a word, write X. Write gibberish. A polished personal statement doesn’t fall from the sky; it comes from spending time writing and rewriting.
Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s PostBacc Program and teaches writing at all levels.
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