personal statementDo’s And Don’ts For Writing A Personal Statement

Writing your personal statement is one of the most difficult parts of applying to law school. In this post, we give our best do’s and don’ts to help guide you along your way!

Do’s And Don’ts For Writing A Personal Statement

DO Take weeks or months to work on your personal statement.

The process of brainstorming and writing a personal statement can be long and difficult. Rest assured that this is completely normal. Take time to reflect. Think about who you are, the experiences that molded you, passions that motivate you, and your aspirations after law school. Whenever an idea strikes you, make sure you write it down along with a few bullet points on the idea. Soon thereafter, try to make a rough outline of what your topic will look like. Your ideas will evolve. You’ll discard many drafts and change your direction multiple times. That’s typical and all part of the process of writing a compelling personal statement.

DON’T Re-write your resume.

Though it can be tempting to try to highlight everything you’ve accomplished, avoid doing this in your personal statement! Most law school applications will ask for a resume. Allow the resume speak for you.  Your personal statement should build on of one or two experiences listed in your resume, but not reiterate the entire thing.

DO Focus on a specific topic or theme.

A compelling statement will be narrowly tailored to a specific topic or theme. Through your chosen theme, tell the story of who you are and how you’ve developed as a person. Your theme may be overcoming adversity, community involvement, family struggles, or other defining qualities about yourself or experiences you’ve had.  Trying to fit too many themes into a personal statement will leave it sloppy and generic. Choose one and focus on that.

DON’T Be a cliché

Though you may truly want to save the world, avoid being a cliché. Create a narrative about the work that you’ve done through your passion and motivation to make the world a better place. Do not state that you simply want to “help people” and let that be the end of it. While it’s an admirable quality, it’s also a very common theme among law school applicants and it won’t help you stand out.

DO Remember that it’s a PERSONAL statement.

There’s not one correct way to write a personal statement. This is a statement completely personal to you and no one else! Don’t try to write what you think an admissions office wants to read. Keep it focused on yourself and your own honest experiences. It’s perfectly okay if your personal statement doesn’t look like anyone else’s. In fact, that’s great!

DON’T Have it too heavily edited.

Your final statement should be flawless. The topic should be well thought out, demonstrative of your experiences and abilities, and free of any spelling or grammatical errors. While you should certainly have one or two people offer edits and feedback on your personal statement, you need to make sure it’s not too heavily edited. Ultimately, it needs to be an accurate reflection of your own writing abilities.

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