Personal Statement Advice
November 6, 2018
This fall, we will discuss each major component of your application in a series of blog posts. Our next topic is personal statements.
Applicants often ask us about the personal statement. As we state on our application, we see the personal statement “as an opportunity to give the Admissions Committee a better sense of who you are as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Harvard Law School.” We really believe that you are the best person to decide what to include in your personal statement, but this post provides some guidelines to assist you in this process.
Here are five important things to keep in mind as you prepare your personal statement:
- First, let’s talk about basics. Follow directions! Say it with me: two pages, double-spaced, 11-point font or larger (but not much larger). Times New Roman or another basic font is a good choice for this document.
- This is a very important part of the application and you should spend some time on it. While your transcript and test scores are important, this is where we get to hear directly from you about your candidacy. It is also a piece you have total control over, where you can introduce yourself in your own voice. Therefore, make sure you have enough time to spend on this component of the application.
- Get input from others and proofread! Nothing takes away from a personal statement like typos or grammatical mistakes. This is also a writing sample in your application and we treat it as such. It is important that this work is your own, but you are welcome to ask a friend to give it a read and make sure you are communicating what you intended to share in the most effective way.
- Keep an open mind about your topic. Sometimes it makes sense to talk about your journey to applying to law school and why you want to attend. Other times, you would rather share a personal story or other aspect of your past. As long as we are learning about you and your experiences, we truly have no preference about what approach you take. Our main concern is that you write about something that is quintessential to us understanding who you are. We want to learn about you, so please don’t leave us wishing we could admit your relative, student, or client.
- Finally, think about how the personal statement fits into the rest of your application. Consider all of the components of your application and make sure you’re adding something new in your statement . Remember that we have your resume, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Add something new and help us learn about you!
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Ll.m. applications: the personal statement.
The personal statement can be a daunting part of the LL.M. application process—what to write, and how to write it? Here are some tips from admissions officials to help guide you through the process.
While it’s only one of many elements going into an LL.M. application, the personal statement can be a tricky one to master.
Many law schools are not very specific about the requirements for the personal statement, aside from word count. Georgetown University Law Center, for instance, asks applicants to describe their background, goals, and reasons for applying to the program; Stanford is looking for information about the applicant’s experience in legal practice, interest in graduate study, and professional goals.
“To be honest we are purposefully broad in our description because we want applicants to have the freedom to express themselves in whatever way they see fit,” says Justin Swinsick, director of graduate admissions at Georgetown.
“However, applicants should think about what they would say to the admissions committee if they were sat in front of them and had the chance to highlight the very best things about themselves and how the program and school will take them where they want to go.”
Other law schools are more explicit; Northwestern asks applicants to answer two essay questions, while Harvard requires a two-part statement—one addressing a theoretical framework or analysis to a current legal problem, and another that says something about the applicant’s motivations for the LL.M. and how it relates to his/her future plans.
This year, University of Pennsylvania also updated its personal statement requirement to include a bit more guidance, calling for a statement of no more than two pages, and specifically recommending that the applicant avoid repeating his/her CV.
For some schools, like Trinity College Dublin, the personal statement is optional; around 10 to 15 percent of each year’s pool of applicants sends one as part of their applications, according to Kelley McCabe, senior executive officer of the School of Law at Trinity.
“We’re looking for further insight into the applicant's current research interests and their career plans and goals for the future,” she says. “But we focus mostly on academic transcripts, the two academic references and the applicant's CV.”
“These documents give us a holistic picture of the applicant.”
Tackling the LL.M. personal statement
One of the cornerstone pieces of advice is: be specific. Admissions officers read many personal statements, and you want yours to stand out in their memories.
“Spend some time really thinking about why you want to get an LL.M.” and why that specific program fits this reason, says Elise Kraemer, director of graduate programs at UPenn.
Be honest and open about yourself; you could be moved to write about an inspirational figure in your life, an important event, or even about the school itself—which is fine, as long as you direct the statement back to you, Georgetown’s Swinsick recommends.
Kraemer agrees: “Although a personal and/or family stories can be moving, if you use one, be sure that it directly supports your application.”
Sometimes, a well-justified directness can pay off. Swinsick says one applicant start her statement by writing that she wanted to pursue an LL.M. in order to make as much money as possible. “This was certainly an unusual way to start and played into negative stereotypes of why one pursues legal education,” Swinsick recalls. But she went on to tie this into how she planned to leverage her legal studies, career and financial success into bringing help and visibility to problems plaguing her community in a developing country.
“It was very well written, highlighted her best qualities, and tied together why she wanted to pursue the program and why Georgetown’s program in particular would help her achieve her goals.”
Mistakes to avoid in your personal statement
While it’s a good thing to be personal, don’t overdo it either. “Some of the more colorful statements I have read entail very personal details that usually would only be shared with clergy, partners or close personal friends,” Swinsick says.
And polish is key: proofread, check your word limit, and make sure it looks as professional as possible. For Kraemer, a minor typographical or grammatical error—especially from non-native speakers—is not a deal-breaker, but a statement that is “poorly written or contains unprofessional content” can be.
“Take some time to work on it,” Kraemer says. “Don’t leave it to the last minute.”
And the resounding consensus from every law school is: always, always check the name of the school at the top of the page. Every year, every admission committee receives personal statements addressed to the wrong school. “I tend to be relatively forgiving on this one, but it never looks good,” Kraemer says.
How much does your personal statement matter?
The value of the personal statement can vary from school to school, but in general, a strong one can significantly bolster the merit of an application.
“It’s the only communication that we receive in the applicant’s own voice and is one of the best ways for the committee to ‘get to know’ the person applying,” says Kraemer. “It is not uncommon for a personal statement to have a significant impact on how we evaluate a candidate—a particularly strong or weak statement can be determinative.”
It can also afford an opportunity for the applicant to explain or put in context to the admissions committee a negative element of their application—a poor grade or language score, for instance. And this effort will show; an applicant that puts time and thought into their personal statement shows that they are serious about pursuing graduate legal education, Swinsick says.
“A personal statement is just that—personal,” says McCabe. “It gives the admissions committee a sense of who the applicant is so, when writing it, they should be true to themselves.”
LL.M. personal statement quick tips
- Be specific. Address why you want to get an LL.M. and your career goals.
- Be honest, about your background and the reasons for applying for an LL.M.
- Address any negative elements of your application, such as a low TOEFL or ITELTS score.
- Make sure to proofread your personal statement and check your word count.
- Make sure that you've addressed the statement to the right law school.
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Writing A Law School And LLM Personal Statement
Find your perfect llm program search our database of over 2500 courses.
A great LLM (Master of Laws) personal statement should be persuasive, concise and easy to read:
Persuasive – you want the admissions board to choose you over the competition.
Concise – you need to compress information about your past, present and future into a limited word count.
Easy to read – you don’t want the admissions board to give up on it halfway through.
Why is your LLM personal statement so important?
Your LLM personal statement is a vital part of the process of applying to an LLM course, and together with your academic record and relevant work experience , it is a key element to the success of your LLM application.
It is crucial that you allow yourself enough time to craft the perfect LLM personal statement, one that showcases all your skills, qualifications, experience and personality.
1. An LLM personal statement explains gaps
If you've got a few spaces in your work history or a job that ended poorly, then the LLM personal statement is your chance to explain what happened and what you have learnt from the experience. An unhappy or bad experience can be a significant learning experience and might have provided you with additional skills or motivations that will make you able to contribute to the course in a unique or significant way. Many law schools encourage students to explain any career gaps.
2. Provides insight into motivation
It's important that your motivations for applying for and doing the LLM course match with the law school's ethics and ethos. Your LLM personal statement is your chance to show that you are a good match for the law school and the LLM course. Explain your reasons for wanting to do this course and why you are passionate about the law or the particular part of the law you are planning on studying. You can show what you will bring to the course and why you will be an asset to the law school.
3. Make yourself stand out
A popular LLM course at a prestigious global law school will receive many more applications than spaces on the course. Everyone applying to that course will have an excellent academic record and a wealth of relevant work experience. Your LLM personal statement might make the difference between being accepted onto the course and not. Make yourself stand out with the language you use, but don't overdo it. Explain the finer details of your experience and why you've chosen to attend this course at this particular law school.
4. Important part of the law school’s decision making
Almost 90% of universities use the LLM personal statement to make their decision about applicants. This means the time you spend on your personal statement is crucial. Try and get some other people to read through your statement and offer their advice/opinion, especially if you know someone who has completed the LLM course recently. Make sure that your personal statement is your own work and that any revisions you make on the recommendation of others don't change your personal statement beyond recognition and lose the essence of you.
5. Proves you can follow instructions
There will be guidelines and advice provided by the law school or university to help you write your LLM personal statement. Use these instructions to prove that you can follow directions. It's also an opportunity to show off your written English skills, this could be particularly relevant if English is not your first language, and your English test scores are not what you would like them to be.
6. The first chance for potential professors to ‘meet’ you
Your LLM personal statement is your introduction to your future law school professors and the people who you might connect and reconnect with throughout your legal career. View your personal statement as the first introduction to this new part of your future network.
What information should you include?
Key things to bear in mind to achieve success when crafting the perfect LLM personal statement are:
1. Conciseness: whatever you do, you MUST remain within the institution’s word limit. Legal professionals are expected to be able to summarise masses of information without losing any essential facts, and your personal statement is an indicator of your ability to do this.
2. Language: don’t use complicated words in an attempt to impress. As a legal professional, you will be working with clients who may not understand technical terms so your ability to communicate in a formal yet simple style will not go unnoticed.
3. Format: keep your LLM personal statement uncluttered, with lots of spacing and white space, to make it easy to read. It's important for the document to look good as well as to read well.
4. Structure and flow: your intro could summarise the reasons why granting you a place is the right decision for the admissions board to make. The main body should be broken up into your past (academic, professional and personal info; relevant experience, your interests and motivations and what led you to the point of applying), your present (all the details about the LLM; why you chose it at that particular institution, which modules you’re really keen on) and your future (what you plan to do after you complete the LLM). Your conclusion is a summary of your main points and should end on a memorable note. After you’ve written your first draft, print it out and review it to see if it makes sense, making notes in the margins along the way as if you were an editor editing another writer’s work.
LLM personal statement top tips
Here are some tips and strategies to creating the perfect LLM personal statement.
Discuss what you studied as an undergrad and whether the LLM is a natural progression or would represent a change in career path. Do you have a first degree in law and are you working your way towards a PhD in Law and a future in legal academia? If your first degree was not in Law, how would the LLM complement it; do you have a first degree in Economics and want to do an LLM in International Business Law for example?
Make it personal
Mention what interests and motivates you, and what has happened in your life that put you on the path to applying for an LLM at that institution. If you’ve chosen a small college, explain why you prefer institutions with a small population. If you’ve opted for a large law school, let the admissions board know why you thrive in a busy environment. It’s important to explain your preferences so the admissions board gets a sense of who you are and why you fit in with their law school. Include relevant information – like volunteer experience or extra-curricular activities – that have inspired you with your choice. The admissions team want to understand the personal reasons why you want to study their LLM course.
Don’t make claims you can’t support
Since you are applying for a postgrad legal program you should be familiar with making persuasive arguments. As legal arguments are evidence-based, be prepared to apply the same approach in your statement by avoiding unsubstantiated claims. If you state that certain modules are ‘relevant to your career’, state specifically how. Don’t leave it to the admissions board to try to work it out for themselves. If you claim that you are a top student, highlight your grades even though you will submit transcripts as part of your application. Use clichés like ‘leadership skills’ only if you can give examples of instances when you demonstrated these traits. And don't forget that if you are subsequently called in for an LLM interview, this personal statement will probably be used as the basis for the interview, so always tell the truth!
Don’t just write it, craft it
When it comes to the actual writing of your LLM personal statement be prepared to write, edit and rewrite your personal statement several times. Remember all those essays you wrote in your undergrad days? Well, the same rules of presentation, structure and flow apply to your personal statement; the only difference being that this time, the essay is about you. And once you think you’ve written the perfect LLM personal statement get a trusted friend or colleague to read it through to offer you constructive criticism and to pick up any typos or grammatical errors.
Pick a referee who can provide you with a good academic reference, so choose a tutor and lecturer who will remember you from your undergraduate studies. Including your employer as a referee is a good idea if your current job is relevant to the course, or include someone you did relevant work experience for. You will need to ask potential referees before you submit your application.
Writing a personal statement – real-life examples
With all this key information on writing the perfect LLM personal statement – explore our law expert’s analysis of real applications to help you craft the ideal introduction and give yourself the best chance of getting onto your dream LLM program.
Introduction to our law admissions expert
To help you achieve the success you deserve with your LLM applications we have taken four genuine (and successful) LLM personal statements from four genuine LLM students and asked LLM admissions expert Robynn Allveri to fine-tune them to make them as good as they possibly can be. To put it simply, our admissions expert cast her (very) critical eye over all four law school personal statements – that had already proved successful – and offers advice on how they can be improved. She highlights where the LLM personal statements let the candidates down, and of course also shows where and why they enable the candidate’s qualities to really shine through.
Our genuine LLM personal statements have been written by both international students and home students, applying to law schools in the UK, the USA and Canada. This unique selection of real law school personal statements will give you real insight into how to make you own law school personal statement a success. Armed with our knowledge of the dos and don’ts of LLM personal statement writing and unique admissions tips , you should be just a hop, skip and a jump away from LLM admissions success!
So here is our real-life guide on how to write a law school personal statement to guarantee success with your LLM application .
Emma Williams* is a UK student applying to study an LLM at a UK law school.
Having recently returned from a 3-month placement in Freetown, Sierra Leone, I am unswervingly [odd word choice] determined to enhance my academic development in international social policy, human rights law , and security through the International Law and International Relations course. During my consultancy assignment, I felt privileged to produce d the social justice strategy for an international NGO, and made recommendations that I believe are sustainable and innovative – all based upon personal first-hand research. It is my firm hope that I might receive the opportunity to advance my conceptual thinking and educational experience by continuing my study at the University of XXXX.
Throughout my time in West Africa, I had countless opportunities to implement ideas influenced in part by my undergraduate studies at the University of XXXX. I found further inspiration from global movements that intentionally invest in women and children - as found in reports reported by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, as well as through the development and cultural writings by Paul Collier. The former’s findings that most gripped me centered upon personal story as the most powerful tool for international change, and on the importance of moral responsibility as a global citizen. The latter intrigued me in terms of organisational culture – that successful NGOs possess a supreme ability to communicate with – and invest in – their workforce, who then have the capacity to impact through an internalisation of organisational aims and objectives. [awkward last sentence – maybe break it into 2 separate sentences]
Evolving from current academic concepts such as these, I witnessed and influenced the beginnings of positive, real-world impact upon communities of slum dwellers who are generationally living in absolute poverty. Studying Social Policy provided me with some theoretical framework and understanding that was helpful in the design of localised, empowerment practises in Freetown; extending my studies to the postgraduate level will enhance and solidify my curiosity and insight.
I am particularly enthused enthusiastic [enthused is too casual – use “enthusiastic”] about the International Law and International Relations course due to its interdisciplinary approach that will enable me to explore the connectedness and congruence of people on local, regional, national and international scales. Of specific interest are the Human Rights, International Security, and Conflict, Security and Development modules, [good mention of specific modules] as each will further my knowledge and capacity to one day influence decisions in those spheres. It is my ambition to pursue a career as an international consultant – with focus on corporate social responsibility and development that aligns with social justice. In completion of my postgraduate study, I hope to broaden my experience of living in developing countries in order to consult the policy [what do you mean?] and best practise of local NGOs. My longterm goal is to work for a UK-based consultancy that is committed to delivering innovative solutions within professional, international, cross-cultured environments. [good clear summary of her chosen career path]
In the two years since completing my undergraduate degree, I have widened my skillset through multiple managerial roles in non-profit not for profit organisations. Positions in the UK, Canada and West Africa have increased my capacity to lead, think critically, and communicate publicly. Living abroad has allowed me to develop an understanding of culture and its impact upon varying worldviews and human rights policy. Working with marginalised groups in unfavourable living conditions has further increased my perseverance, as well as my passion for global social responsibility. Writing a 20,000-word report in 6 weeks has strengthened my ability to meet the demands of postgraduate study. Where my undergraduate dissertation mark may have hindered my overall degree classification [good to acknowledge a low mark – shows candour] , I know that my ability to form research and reports has since matured greatly astronomically , and that this advancement is irreversible as I eagerly anticipate further study.
I am excitedly applying for this combined course because I believe that it provides much credibility, necessary learning and a challenging environment that intentionally calls for students to excel. I believe that it will aid my academic and personal development as I seek to consult professionally in the future. Moreover, I anticipate the rewarding progression of studying at postgraduate level after fieldwork experiences that I am confident will enhance my education. I love the city of XXXX, the University of XXXX, and my involvements in managing XXXX both during and after my Social Policy studies. With International Law and International Relations being of utmost importance to me, I anticipate your consideration and welcome the opportunity of an interview or further communication should you require an expansion of any of the above. I am incredibly hardworking, passionate and wholly committed to producing excellent work as your postgraduate student.
- Emma has included interesting and relevant examples of past experiences, and her commitment to social justice shines through. These are both excellent for demonstrating her suitability to the LLM program.
- Emma mentions specific modules of interest which shows that she's fully researched the LLM program that she's applying to.
- It's good that she refers to her disappointing bachelors grade as this shows honesty and also the fact that she has learnt from her previous mistakes.
- This LLM personal statement demonstrates good overall writing and organisation.
- Emma should use less intensifiers and tone down adjectives so it doesn’t sound like exaggeration. For example – use “greatly” instead of “astronomically.”
- Watch for repeated word use (such as “anticipate,” “influence,” and “enhance”). Find synonyms for these words.
*Names have been changed to protect the students' privacy.
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Tips for Writing a Personal Statement for Your LL.M. Application
If it's been a few (or many) years since you last filled out an application, you may be asking yourself: What should I write about in my personal statement? What should I include, or leave out? How should I write it? What will make the best impression?
These questions are a normal part of the process. Determining what to include and how to complete your LL.M. personal statement can be difficult. Let us help with our tips for writing a top-notch personal statement.
Make it Personal
Your personal statement is the heart and soul of your LL.M. application. Make sure the content, tone, and personality of the statement express who you are as a person and professional, and accurately showcases your strengths and uniqueness. Presenting yourself in the best light possible is important, but avoid exaggerating or oversharing.
Craft it Carefully
The LL.M. personal statement is capped with specific word limits, so don’t waste any valuable space. Plan ahead so your statement remains focused and organized, with logical structure and purpose throughout. Once you have completed your rough draft, go back and review it word for word, making changes to improve it as necessary.
Be specific! While we may enjoy a general overview of your experiences and goals, we prefer details that help express your ideas and personality. Specifics allow us to get a better idea of what you are capable of and what your goals may be.
You want your application to stand out among the many, many others received each year. Showcase your uniqueness by injecting some creativity in your word choice, descriptions, and ideas. Go above and beyond to show your motivation and skills, in ways that are eye-catching and interesting.
While creativity, honesty, and the ability to stand out in a crowd of LL.M. personal statements is a must, remember that first and foremost you have to prove that you are well-qualified for our program. Writing style and format should be professional, clear, and sophisticated, but not dramatic or overly complicated. Lastly, double (and triple!) check your personal statement for any spelling or grammatical errors.
The LL.M. personal statement is a critical element of your application. As you plan, write, and critique your own work, keep in mind that the goal of the statement is to give the law school an idea about who you are and what makes you unique. Your personal statement should express your professionalism, strengths, legal experience, and passion. When you read your statement and feel it encompasses all those things, then you know you're ready to submit. Good luck!
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15 Law School Personal Statement Examples in
Article Contents 37 min read
This blog contains law school personal statement examples written by applicants who were successfully accepted to multiple law schools after working with our admissions experts as part of our application review programs . Your law school personal statement is one of the most important parts of your application and is your best opportunity to show admissions officers who you are behind your numbers and third-party assessments. Because of its importance, many students find the personal statement to be daunting and demanding of the full scope of their skills as writers. Today we're going to review these excellent law school personal statement examples from past successful applicants and provide some proven strategies from a former admissions officer that can help you prepare your own stellar essay.
Note : If you want us to help you with your applications, interviews and/or standardized tests, book a free strategy call . If you are a university, business, or student organization representative and want to partner with us, visit our partnerships page .
Law School Personal Statements: More Than Just Following Directions
Students are always asking how to write a personal statement for law school, particularly one that stands out from all the rest. After all, advice from most universities can often be quite vague. Take this zinger from the University of Chicago : “Write about something personal, relevant, and completely individual to you… Just be yourself.” For motivated students with the world at their fingertips, it’s a tough ask to narrow your character down into a few hundred words! But this is exactly the point of such generic guidelines—to challenge aspiring law students to produce something unique and convincing with minimal direction by the university. Law is, after all, a profession that demands your language to be persuasive, and the personal statement is merely one of many exercises where you can demonstrate your language skills.
While the law school personal statement is about far more than just following essay directions, you still need to keep basic formatting and length restrictions in mind. Most law schools ask for a 2-page personal statement, but lengths can range from 2-4 pages. Georgetown, for instance, recommends a 2-page personal statement but explicitly states that there is no official minimum or maximum. In general, length does not make a personal statement better. Rambling, meandering sentences and tiresome descriptions will only hurt the impact of your ideas, especially considering how many thousands of pages admissions committees have to churn through each year.
It focuses on just one theme: justice for immigrants. Each paragraph is designed to show off how enthusiastic the student is about this area of law. Personal statements—including those for law school—often begin with a personal anecdote. This one is short, memorable, and relevant. It establishes the overall theme quickly. By constraining their essay’s focus to a single general theme, the writer can go into great depth and weave in emotional and psychological weight through careful and vivid description. The personal statement isn’t a standard 3-paragraph college essay with a spotlight thesis statement, but it conveys similar impact through presenting a central focus organically, without resorting to simply blurting out “the point” of the piece.
Connected to this, this statement focuses on showing rather than telling. Rather than simply telling the reader about their commitment to law, the applicant describes specific situations they were involved in that demonstrate their commitment to law. “Show don’t tell” means you want to paint a vivid picture of actions or experiences that demonstrate a given quality or skill, and not simply say "I can do X." Make it an experience for your reader, don't just give them a fact.
In my home community, the belief is that the law is against us. The law oppresses and victimizes. I must admit that as a child and young person I had this opinion based on my environment and the conversations around me. I did not understand that the law could be a vehicle for social change, and I certainly did not imagine I had the ability and talents to be a voice for this change. I regularly attended my high school classes because I enjoyed the discussions and reading for English and history, and writing came easily to me, but I wasn’t committed to getting good grades because I felt I had no purpose. My mindset changed as I spent time with Mark Russell, a law student who agreed to mentor and tutor me as part of a “high school to law school” mentorship program. Every week, for three years, Mark and I would meet. At first, Mark tutored me, but I quickly became an “A” student, not only because of the tutoring, but because my ambitions were uncorked by what Mark shared with me about university, the law, and his life. I learned grades were the currency I needed to succeed. I attended mock trials, court hearings, and law lectures with Mark and developed a fresh understanding of the law that piqued an interest in law school. My outlook has changed because my mentor, my teachers, and my self-advocacy facilitated my growth. Still, injustices do occur. The difference is that I now believe the law can be an instrument for social change, but voices like mine must give direction to policy and resources in order to fight those injustices.
Early in my mentorship, I realized it was necessary to be “in the world” differently if I were to truly consider a law career. With Mark’s help and the support of my high school teachers, I learned to advocate for myself and explore opportunities that would expand my worldview as well as my academic skills. I joined a Model UN club at a neighboring high school, because my own school did not have enough student interest to have a club. By discussing global issues and writing decisions, I began to feel powerful and confident with my ability to gather evidence and make meaningful decisions about real global issues. As I built my leadership, writing, and public speaking skills, I noticed a rift developing with some of my friends. I wanted them to begin to think about larger systemic issues outside of our immediate experience, as I was learning to, and to build confidence in new ways. I petitioned my school to start a Model UN and recruited enough students to populate the club. My friends did not join the club as I’d hoped, but before I graduated, we had 2 successful years with the students who did join. I began to understand that I cannot force change based on my own mandate, but I must listen attentively to the needs and desires of others in order to support them as they require.
While I learned to advocate for myself throughout high school, I also learned to advocate for others. My neighbors, knowing my desire to be a lawyer, would often ask me to advocate on their behalf with small grievances. I would make phone calls, stand in line with them at government offices, and deal with difficult landlords. A woman, Elsa, asked me to review her rental agreement to help her understand why her landlord had rented it to someone else, rather than renewing her lease. I scoured the rental agreement, highlighted questionable sections, read the Residential Tenancies Act, and developed a strategy for approaching the landlord. Elsa and I sat down with the landlord and, upon seeing my binder complete with indices, he quickly conceded before I could even speak. That day, I understood evidence is the way to justice. My interest in justice grew, and while in university, I sought experiences to solidify my decision to pursue law.
Last summer, I had the good fortune to work as a summer intern in the Crown Attorney’s Office responsible for criminal trial prosecutions. As the only pre-law intern, I was given tasks such as reviewing court tapes, verifying documents, and creating a binder with indices. I often went to court with the prosecutors where I learned a great deal about legal proceedings, and was at times horrified by human behavior. This made the atmosphere in the Crown Attorney’s office even more surprising. I worked with happy and passionate lawyers whose motivations were pubic service, the safety and well-being of communities, and justice. The moment I realized justice was their true objective, not the number of convictions, was the moment I decided to become a lawyer.
I broke from the belief systems I was born into. I did this through education, mentorship, and self-advocacy. There is sadness because in this transition I left people behind, especially as I entered university. However, I am devoted to my home community. I understand the barriers that stand between youth and their success. As a law student, I will mentor as I was mentored, and as a lawyer, I will be a voice for change.
Although the applicant expressed initial reservations about the law generally, the statement tells a compelling story of how the applicant's opinions began to shift and their interest in law began. They use real examples and show how that initial interest, once seeded, grew into dedication and passion. The statement, therefore, shows adaptability—receptiveness to new information and the ability to change both thought and behavior based on this new information. The writer describes realizing that they needed to be "in the world" differently! It's hard to convey such a grandiose idea without sounding cliché, but through their captivating and chronological narrative, the writer successfully convinces the reader that this is the case with copious examples. It’s a fantastic case of showing rather than telling, describing specific causes they were involved with which demonstrate that the applicant is genuinely committed to a career in the law.
This law school personal statement also discusses weighty, relatable challenges that they faced, such as the applicant's original feeling toward law, and the fact that they lost some friends along the way. However, the applicant shows determination to move past these hurdles without self-pity or other forms of navel-gazing. Additionally, this personal statement ends with a conclusion that alludes to why the applicant is suitable for the specific school to which they’re applying and points to their future career plans. The writer manages to craft an extremely immersive and believable story about their path to the present, while also managing to curate the details of this narrative to fit the specific values and mission of the school to which they’re applying.
Check out our video discussing other Law School Personal Statement examples here:
Law School Personal Statement #3
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What’s Great About This Third Law School Personal Statement?
This writer opens with rich, vivid description and seamlessly guides the reader into a compelling first-person narrative. Using punchy, attention-grabbing descriptions like these make events immersive, placing readers in the writer's shoes and creating a sense of immediacy.
They also do a fantastic job of talking about their achievements, such as interview team lead, program design, etc., without simply bragging. Instead, they deliver this information within a cohesive narrative that includes details, anecdotes, and information that shows their perspective in a natural way. Lastly, they invoke their passion for law with humility, discussing their momentary setbacks and frustrations as ultimately positive experiences leading to further growth.
Law School Personal Statement #4
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What’s Great About This Fourth Law School Personal Statement?
Like the third example above, this fourth law school personal statement opens with engaging description and first-person narrative. However, the writer of this personal statement chooses to engage a traumatic aspect of their childhood and discuss how this adversity led them to develop their desire to pursue a career in law.
Overcoming adversity is a frequent theme in personal statements for all specialties, but with law school personal statements students are often able to utilize uniquely dramatic, difficult, and pivotal experiences that involved interacting with the law. It may be hard to discuss such emotionally weighty experiences in a short letter but, as this personal statement shows, with care and focus it's possible to sincerely demonstrate how your early struggles paved the way for you to become the person you are now. It's important to avoid sensationalism, but you shouldn't shy away from opening up to your readers about adverse experiences that have ultimately pointed you in a positive direction.
Law School Personal Statement #5
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What’s Great About This Fifth Law School Personal Statement?
This writer does a fantastic job of incorporating their accomplishments and impact they had on their community without any sense of bragging or conceit. Rather, these accomplishments are related in terms of deep personal investment and a general drive to have a positive impact on those around them—without resorting to the cliches of simply stating "I want to help people." They show themselves helping others, and how these early experiences of doing so are a fundamental part of their drive to succeed with a career in law.
Additionally, they do a great job of explaining the uniqueness of their identity. The writer doesn't simply list their personal/cultural characteristics, but contextualizes them to show how they've shaped their path to law school. Being the child of a Buddhist mother and a Hindu father doesn’t imply anything about a person’s ability to study/practice law on its own, but explaining how this unique aspect of their childhood encouraged a passion for “discussion, active debate, and compromise” is profoundly meaningful to an admissions panel. Being able to express how fundamental aspects of law practice are an integral part of yourself is a hugely helpful tactic in a law school personal statement.
If you’re heading North of the border, check out list of law schools in Canada that includes requirements and stats on acceptance.
Law School Personal Statement #6
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What’s Great About This Sixth Law School Personal Statement?
Similar to the writer of personal statement #5, this student utilizes the cultural uniqueness of their childhood to show how their path to law school was both deeply personal and rooted in ideas pervasive in their early years. Unlike the writer of statement #5, this student doesn't shy away from explaining how this distinctiveness was often a source of alienation and difficulty. Yet this adversity is, as they note, ultimately what helped them be an adaptable and driven student, with a clear desire to make a positive impact on the kinds of situations that they witnessed affect their parents.
This writer also doesn't shy away from describing their temporary setbacks as both learning experiences and, crucially, springboards for positively informing their plans for the future.
Are you preparing for the LSAT?
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What’s Great About This Seventh Law School Personal Statement?
One of the hardest things to accomplish in a personal statement is describing not just early setbacks that are out of your control but early mistakes for which you must take responsibility. The writer of this personal statement opens with descriptions of characteristics that most law schools would find problematic at best. But at the end of this introduction, they successfully utilize an epiphany, a game-changing moment in which they saw something beyond their early pathological aimlessness, to clearly mark the point at which they became focused on law.
They clearly describe the path forward from this moment on, showing how they remained focused on earning a law degree, and how they were able to work through successive experiences of confusion to persist in finishing their undergraduate education at a prestigious university. Of course, you shouldn't brag about such things for their own sake, but this writer makes the point of opening up about the unique feelings of inadequacy that come along with being the first person in their family to attend such a school, and how these feelings were—like their initial aimlessness—mobilized in service of their goal and the well-being of others. Their statement balances discussion of achievement with humility, which is a difficult but impactful tactic when done well.
Law School Personal Statement #8
What’s great about this eighth law school personal statement .
Commitment to one’s community is a prized value in both law students and law professionals. This writer successfully describes not only how they navigated the challenges in their group environments, such as their internship, the debate team, etc., but how these challenges strengthened their commitment to being a positive part of their communities. They don’t simply describe the skills and lessons they learned from these challenging environments, but also how these challenges ultimately made them even more committed to and appreciative of these kinds of dynamic, evolutionary settings.
They also avoid placing blame or negatively describing the people in these situations, instead choosing to characterize inherent difficulties in terms neutral to the people around them. In this way, you can describe extremely challenging environments without coming off as resentful, and identify difficulties without being accusatory or, worse yet, accidentally or indirectly seeming like part of the problem. This writer manages to convey the difficulty and complexity of these experiences while continually returning to their positive long-term impact, and though you shouldn’t seek to “bright-side” the troubles in your life you should absolutely point out how these experiences have made you a more capable and mature student.
Law School Personal Statement #9
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What’s Great About This Ninth Law School Personal Statement?
Expressing privilege as adversity is something that very few students should even attempt, and fewer still can actually pull it off. But the writer of this personal statement does just that in their second paragraph, describing how the ease and comfort of their upbringing could have been a source of laziness or detachment, and often is for particularly well-off students, but instead served as a basis for their ongoing commitment to addressing the inequalities and difficulties of those less comfortable. Describing how you’ve developed into an empathic and engaged person, worked selflessly in any volunteer experiences, and generally aimed your academic life at a career in law for the aid of others—all this is incredibly moving for an admissions board, and can help you discuss your determination and understanding of exactly why you desire a career in law.
Additionally, this writer is able to show adaptability while describing their more prestigious appointments in a way that’s neither self-aggrandizing nor unappreciative. One of the big takeaways from this statement is the student’s commitment and flexibility, and these are both vitally important qualities to convey in your law school personal statement.
Law School Personal Statement #10
What’s Great About This Tenth Law School Personal Statement?
In a word: passion. If you’re one of the rare students for whom service to others has always been a core belief, by all means find a novel and engaging way of making this the guiding principle of your personal statement. Don’t overdo it—don’t veer into poetry or lofty philosophizing—but by all means let your passion guide your pen (well…keyboard). Every step of the way, this student relates their highs and lows, their challenges and successes, to an extremely earnest and sincere set of altruistic values invoked at the very beginning of their statement. Law school admissions boards don’t exactly prize monomania, but they do value intense and sustained commitment.
This student also successfully elaborates this passion in relation to mature understanding. That is, they make repeated points about their developing understanding of law that sustains their hopefulness and emotional intensity while also incorporating knowledge of the sometimes troubling day-to-day challenges of the profession. Law schools aren’t looking for starry-eyed naivete, but they do value optimism and the ability to stay positive in a profession often defined by its difficulties and unpredictability.
If you’re eager to get started, check out our video on How to Write a Law School Personal Statement here
Every pre-law student blames their lack of success on the large number of applicants, the heartless admissions committee members, or the high GPA and LSAT score cut offs. Check out our blog on law school acceptance rates to find out more about the admission statistics for law schools in the US. Having taught more than a thousand students every year, I can tell you the REAL truth about why most students get rejected:
- Most students don't do any form of planning for their applications. They scramble to complete their applications at the last minute, leaving their applications rushed and underwhelming. Start early and plan meticulously, gathering information about the schools to which you’re applying and giving yourself enough time to adapt your personal statement to these details as needed. If you're applying to law school in Ontario, check out our blog on the OLSAS application for everything you need to know.
- Most students don't formulate a strategy of WHAT to include in their personal statements, let alone HOW to present their ideas to their audience effectively. They just sit down and write their personal statement in one go. Good writing takes time and planning, and the best writing often involves careful planning and structuring in order to make it flow for the reader. Plan not only the structure of your personal statement but its contents. Make notes of ideas and experiences that seem at all relevant, and refine your drafts from here. Start big and sharpen down over multiple drafts. Going straight from a rough to final draft is possible in some things, but with a personal statement you need to really give things time and attention in order to transform them into a polished final product.
- Most students don't do any form of proofreading. If they do, they only revise their statement once or twice before throwing in the towel and declaring it "good enough." Unfortunately, "good enough" doesn't get you into law school. Editing is grueling work for both the writer and their editor, but its importance can’t be overstated.
- Most students don't ask for expert feedback. They don't seek out someone who can provide them with a second set of critical eyes on their essays, maybe because a random person in an online forum told them that they don't need professional editing, not realizing that everyone needs an editor. Even Hemingway had an editor. If Hemingway needed an editor, trust me, so do you (and so do I, for that matter!).
These mistakes put the student in a vicious cycle of self-condemnation and rejection letters. The savviest and successful students normally escape the rejection letter by:
- Planning in advance
- Proofreading their personal statement multiple times, and
- Seeking expert feedback
5 Additional Law School Personal Statement Examples for You to Review
Now that you have a better idea of what your law school personal statement should include, and how you can make it stand out, here are five additional law school personal statements for you to review and get some inspiration:
Law school personal statement example #11
According to the business wire, 51 percent of students are not confident in their career path when they enroll in college. I was one of those students for a long time. My parents had always stressed the importance of education and going to college, so I knew that I wanted to get a tertiary education, I just didn’t know in what field. So, like many other students, I matriculated undecided and started taking introductory courses in the subjects that interest me. I took classes from the department of literature, philosophy, science, statistics, business, and so many others but nothing really called out to me.
I figured that maybe if I got some practical experience, I might get more excited about different fields. I remembered that my high school counselor had told me that medicine would be a good fit for me, and I liked the idea of a career that involved constant learning. So, I applied for an observership at my local hospital. I had to cross “doctor” off my list of post-graduate career options when I fainted in the middle of a consultation in the ER.
I had to go back to the drawing board and reflect on my choices. I decided to stop trying to make an emotional decision and focus on the data. So, I looked at my transcript thus far, and it quickly became clear to me that I had both an interest and an aptitude for business and technology. I had taken more courses in those two fields than in any others, and I was doing very well in them. My decision was reaffirmed when I spent the summer interning at a digital marketing firm during my senior year in college and absolutely loved my experience.
Since graduating, I have been working at that same firm and I am glad that I decided to major in business. I first started as a digital advertising assistant, and I quickly learned that the world of digital marketing is an incredibly fast-paced sink-or-swim environment. I didn’t mind it at all. I wanted to swim with the best of them and succeed. So far, my career in advertising has been challenging and rewarding in ways that I never could have imagined.
I remember the first potential client that I handled on my own. Everything had been going great until they changed their mind about an important detail a day before we were supposed to present our pitch. . I had a day to research and re-do a presentation that I’d been preparing for weeks. I was sure that I’d be next on the chopping block, but once again all I had to was take a step back and look at the information that I had. Focusing on the big picture helped me come up with a new pitch, and after a long night, lots of coffee, and laser-like focus, I delivered a presentation that I was not only proud of, but that landed us the client.
Three years and numerous client emergencies later, I have learned how to work under pressure, how to push myself, and how to think critically. I also have a much better understanding of who I am and what skills I possess. One of the many things that I have learned about myself over the course of my career is that I am a fan of the law. Over the past three years, I have worked with many lawyers to navigate the muddy waters of user privacy and digital media. I often find myself looking forward to working with our legal team, whereas my coworkers actively avoid them. I have even become friends with my colleagues on the legal team who also enjoy comparing things like data protection laws in the US and the EU and speculating about the future of digital technology regulation.
These experiences and conversations have led me to a point where I am interested in various aspects of the law. I now know that I have the skills required to pursue a legal education and that this time around, I am very sure about what I wish to study. Digital technology has evolved rapidly over the last decade, and it is just now starting to become regulated. I believe that this shift is going to open up a more prominent role for those who understand both digital technology and its laws, especially in the corporate world. My goal is to build a career at the intersection of these worlds.
Law school personal statement example #12
The first weekend I spent on my undergrad college campus was simultaneously one of the best and worst of my life. I was so excited to be away from home, on my own, making new friends and trying new things. One of those things was a party at a sorority house with my friend and roommate, where I thought we both had a great time. Both of us came from small towns, and we had decided to look out for one another. So, when it was time to go home, and I couldn't find her, I started to worry. I spent nearly an hour looking for her before I got her message saying she was already back in our dorm.
It took her three months to tell me that she had been raped that night. Her rapist didn't hold a knife to her throat, jump out of a dark alleyway, or slip her a roofie. Her rapist was her long-term boyfriend, with whom she'd been in a long-distance relationship for just over a year. He assaulted her in a stranger's bedroom while her peers, myself included, danced the night away just a few feet away.
I remember feeling overwhelmed when she first told me. I was sad for my friend, angry on her behalf, and disgusted by her rapist's actions. I also felt incredibly guilty because I had been there when it happened. I told myself that I should have stayed with her all night and that I should have seen the abuse - verbal and physical harassment- that he was inflicting on her before it turned sexual. But eventually, I realized that thinking about what could, should, or would've happened doesn't help anyone.
I watched my friend go through counseling, attend support groups, and still, she seemed to be hanging on by a thread. I couldn't begin to imagine what she was going through, and unfortunately, there was very little I could do to help her. So, I decided to get involved with the Sexual Assault Responders Group on campus, where I would actually be able to help another survivor.
My experience with the Sexual Assault Responders Group on campus was eye-opening. I mostly worked on the peer-to-peer hotline, where I spoke to survivors from all walks of life. I was confronted by the fact that rape is not a surreal unfortunate thing that happens to a certain type of person. I learned that it happens daily to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends. I also learned that most survivors try to manage this burden on their own, afraid of judgment and repercussions and fearful of a he-said-she-said court battle.
I am proud to say that I used my time in college to not only earn an education, but also to advocate for survivors of sexual assault. I protested the university's cover-up of a gang rape that took place in one of the fraternity houses on campus. I spearheaded a 'no means no' campaign to raise awareness about consent on campus. I also led several fundraising campaigns for the Sexual Assault Responders Group that allowed us to pay for legal and mental health counselors for the survivors who came to us for support.
One of the things that this experience helped me realize is that sexual assault survivors often do not know where to turn when the system tries to tell them that it'd be best to just keep quiet and suffer in silence. My goal is to become one of those people that they can turn to for counsel and support. I believe that a law degree would give me the knowledge and tools that I need to advocate for survivors on a more significant scale.
Have you started working on your law school resume? Check out this infographic for tips
I grew up in two different worlds. My world at home was full of people of various skin tones and accents. It was small, loud, and often chaotic in the best ways. I remember walking home and getting to experience music from across the world before I got to my apartment building. Loud reggaeton and afrobeat were always playing somewhere in the distance. Aunties and uncles usually stopped by unannounced and slipped money in your palm when they hugged you goodbye. And the smell of fried plantains was almost always present.
My other world was in school. It was a much quieter, more organized world with white hallways, navy blazers, and plaid skirts. It was full of people who did not look or sound like me and teachers who thought my hair was "interesting." It was also full of great books and engaging debates about everything from foreign policy to the influence of Jazz on hip hop.
I lived in these two worlds because I was born and raised in Xtown, but I went to a private school in a much richer neighborhood. I loved both of my worlds, but I hated that I had to act differently in both of them. When in school, I had to "code switch" to sound like I belonged there. When I was at home, all the people who shared the interests I was developing in school were either working or in college, so I had no one to talk to about them.
My words never felt more divided until I started considering a career in law. I remember telling one of my uncles that I wanted to become a lawyer and his response was, "So you want to become the man, huh?"
I wasn't surprised by his response, or at least I shouldn't have been. One of the things that I know for sure about the first world I lived in is that many of its inhabitants do not trust the law. I had believed this for so long simply because of the conversations that I would hear around me. However, in my second world, I was learning about all of these great freedoms and rights that the law was designed to give all Americans, and I wanted to bring those to my community.
I started working on this during the summer before my final year of high school. I got an internship with the legal aid office in my neighborhood and spent three months learning from people who, like me, had grown up in Xtown and wanted to help people. During my time in the legal aid office, I understood that the people in my community did not trust the law for two main reasons: 1. They did not understand a lot of it, and 2. It had been used against people like us many times.
I remember one particular case that Ms. Sharma - the lawyer I was learning from then and who still mentors me today - handled that summer. It was the case of a young mother who had received a notice of eviction from her landlord two days after refusing his advances. The man claimed that she violated her contract because she made homemade shea butter that she sold on Etsy. Ms. Sharma had me look through her rental agreement. After she confirmed that I was right in determining that the young mother had not violated her contract, she contacted the landlord to advise him that what he was doing was intimidation and sexual harassment.
My experiences in the legal aid office with Ms. Sharma opened my eyes to the disgusting behavior of human beings, but it also gave me the opportunity to see that the law was my opportunity to use what I learned in my second world to help the community that I was raised in. I returned to school with a new motivation that followed me to college. In addition to completing my bachelor's degree in sociology and African American studies, I spent most of my college years participating in legal internships and community outreach programs.
I believe that these experiences have given me the foundation I need to be a successful law student and, eventually, a lawyer who can truly be an advocate for members of his community.
Law school personal statement example #14
One day, my parents noticed that the other children in my age group had been speaking and communicating, but I had not. At first, they thought that my lack of speech was just me being shy, but eventually, they realized that on the rare occasions that I did speak, my words were practically incomprehensible. It wasn't long before they took me to a specialist who diagnosed me with a severe phonological disorder that hindered my ability to verbalize the basic sounds that make up words.
I started going to speech therapy when I was three years old. I saw numerous speech therapists, many of whom believed that I would never be able to communicate effectively with others. Lucky for me, my parents did not give up on me. I went to speech therapy thrice a week until the 8th grade, and I gave every single session my all. I also spent a lot of time in my room practicing my speech by myself. My efforts paid off, and even though I didn't become a chatterbox overnight, I could at least communicate effectively.
This was a short-lived victory, though. A year later, my speech impediment was back, and my ability to articulate words was once again severely limited. This complicated matters because it was my freshman year of high school, and I was in a brand-new school where I did not know anyone. Having been bullied in middle school, I knew first-hand how vicious kids can be, and I didn't want to be the butt of any more jokes, so I didn't try to speak at school. I knew that this was preventing me from making new friends or participating in class and that it was probably not helping my impediment, but I was not ready to face the fact that I needed to go back to speech therapy.
Eventually, I stopped resisting and went back to speech therapy. At the time, I saw it as accepting defeat, and even though my speech improved significantly, my self-confidence was lower than it had ever been. If you ask any of my high school classmates about me, they will likely tell you that I am very quiet or timid – both of which are not true, but they have no way of knowing otherwise. I barely spoke or interacted with my peers for most of high school. Instead, I focused on my studies and extracurricular activities that didn't involve much collaboration, like yearbook club and photography.
It was only when I was getting ready for college that I realized that I was only hurting myself with my behavior. I knew I needed to become more confident about my speech to make friends and be the student I wanted to be in college. So, I used the summer after my high school graduation to get some help. I started seeing a new speech therapist who was also trained as a counselor, and she helped me understand my impediment better. For example, I now know that I tend to stutter when stressed, but I also know that taking a few deep breaths helps me get back on track.
Using the confidence that I built in therapy that summer, I went to college with a new pep in my step. I pushed myself to meet new people, try new things, and join extracurricular organizations when I entered college. I applied to and was accepted into a competitive freshman leadership program called XYZ. Most of XYZ's other members were outgoing and highly involved in their high school communities. In other words, they were the complete opposite of me. I didn't let that intimidate me. Instead, I made a concerted effort to learn from them. If you ask any of my teammates or other classmates in college, they will tell you that I was an active participant in discussions during meetings and that I utilized my unique background to share a different perspective.
My experience with XYZ made it clear to me that my speech disorder wouldn't hold me back as long as I did not stand in my own way. Once I understood this, I kept pushing past the boundaries I had set for myself. I began taking on leadership roles in the program and looking for ways to contribute to my campus community outside of XYZ. For example, I started a community outreach initiative that connected school alumni willing to provide pro bono services to different members of the community who were in need.
Now, when I look back at my decision to go back to speech therapy, I see it as a victory. I understand that my speech impediment has shaped me in many ways, many of which are positive. My struggles have made me more compassionate. My inability to speak has made me a better listener. Not being able to ask questions or ask for help has made me a more independent critical thinker. I believe these skills will help me succeed in law school, and they are part of what motivates me to apply in the first place. Having struggled for so long to speak up for myself, I am ready and eager for the day when I can speak up for others who are temporarily unable to.
Many law schools have started conducting video interviews. This video can help you prepare :
Law school personal statement example #15
“ You talk too much; you should be a lawyer.”
I heard that sentence often while growing up because Congolese people always tell children who talk a lot that they should be lawyers. Sometimes I wonder if those comments did not subconsciously trigger my interest in politics and then the law. If they did, I am grateful for it. I am thankful for all the experiences that have brought me to this point where I am seeking an education that will allow me to speak for those who don’t always know how to, and, more importantly, those who are unable to.
For context, I am the child of Congolese immigrants, and my parents have a fascinating story that I will summarize for you:
A 14-year-old girl watches in confusion as a swarm of parents rush through the classroom, grabbing their children, and other students start running from the class. Soon she realizes that she and one other student are the only ones left, but when they both hear the first round of gunshots, no one has to tell them that it is time to run home. On the way home, she hears more gunshots and bombs. She fears for her survival and that of her family, and she starts to wonder what this war means for her and her family. Within a few months, her mother and father are selling everything they own so that they can board a plane to the US.
On the other side of the town, a 17-year-old boy is being forced to board a plane to the US because his mother, a member of parliament and the person who taught him about the importance of integrity, has been executed by the same group of soldiers who are taking over the region.
They met a year later, outside the principal’s office at a high school in XXY. They bonded over the many things they have in common and laughed at the fact that their paths probably never would have crossed in Bukavu. Fast forward to today, they have been married for almost two decades and have raised three children, including me.
Growing up in a Congolese household in the US presented was very interesting. On the one hand, I am very proud of the fact that I get to share my heritage with others. I speak French, Lingala, and Swahili – the main languages of Congo – fluently. I often dress in traditional clothing; I performed a traditional Congolese dance at my high school’s heritage night and even joined the Congolese Student Union at Almamatter University.
On the other hand, being Congolese presented its challenges growing up. At a young age, I looked, dressed, and sounded different from my classmates. Even though I was born in the US, I had picked up a lot of my parents’ accents, and kids loved to tease me about it. Ignorant comments and questions were not uncommon. “Do you speak African?” “You’re not American! How did you get here?” “You don’t look African” “My mom says I can’t play with you because your parents came here to steal our jobs”. These are some of the polite comments that I heard often, and they made me incredibly sad, especially when classmates I considered my friends made them.
My parents did not make assimilating any easier. My mother especially always feared I would lose my Congolese identity if they did not make it a point to remind me of it. She often said, “Just because you were born in America doesn’t mean that you are not Congolese anymore.” On one occasion, I argued that she always let me experience my Congolese side, but not my American side. That was the first time she told me I should be a lawyer.
Having few friends and getting teased in school helped me learn to be comfortable on my own. I Often found refuge and excitement in books. I even started blogging about the books I read and interacting with other readers online. As my following grew, I started to use my platform to raise awareness about issues that I am passionate about, like climate change, the war in Congo, and the homeless crisis here in XXY. I was able to start a fundraising campaign through my blog that raised just under $5000 for the United Way – a local charity that helps the homeless in my city.
This experience helped me understand that I could use my skills and the few tools at my disposal to help people, both here in America and one day, maybe even in Congo. I realized that I am lucky enough to have the option of expanding that skillset through education in order to do more for the community that welcomed my grandparents, uncles, aunties, and parents when they had nowhere else to go.
The journey was not easy because while I received immense support and love from my family for continuing my education, I had to teach myself how to prepare and apply to college. Once there I had to learn on my own what my professors expected of me, how to study, how to network, and so much more. I am grateful for those experiences too, because they taught me how to be resourceful, research thoroughly, listen carefully, and seek help when I need it.
All of these experiences have crafted me into who I am today, and I believe that with the right training, they will help me become a great attorney.
Assuredly, but this length varies from school to school. As with all important details of your law school application, thoroughly research your specific schools’ requirements and guidelines before both writing and editing your personal statement to ensure it fits their specifics. The average length is about 2 pages, but don’t bother drafting your statement until you have specific numbers from your schools of choice. It’s also a good idea to avoid hitting the maximum length unless absolutely necessary. Be concise, keep economy of language in mind, and remain direct, without rambling or exhaustive over-explanation of your ideas or experiences.
You should keep any words that aren’t your own to a minimum. Admissions committees don’t want to read a citation-heavy academic paper, nor do they respond well to overused famous quotes as themes in personal statements. If you absolutely must include a quote from elsewhere, be sure to clearly indicate your quote’s source. But in general, it’s best to keep the personal statement restricted to your own words and thoughts. They’re evaluating you, not Plato! It’s a personal statement. Give them an engaging narrative in your own voice.
Admissions committees will already have a strong sense of your academic performance through your transcripts and test scores, so discussing these in your personal statement is generally best avoided. You can contextualize these things, though—if you have an illuminating or meaningful story about how you came to receive an award, or how you enjoyed or learned from the work that won you the award, then consider discussing it. Overall though, it’s best to let admissions committees evaluate your academic qualifications and accomplishments from your transcripts and official documents, and give them something new in the personal statement.
When you first sit down to begin, cast a wide net. Consider all the many influences and experiences that have led you to where you are. You’ll eventually (through editing and rewriting) explain how these shape your relationship to a career in law, but one of the best things you can give yourself during the initial drafting phase is a vast collection of observations and potential points for development. As the New England School of Law points out in their tips for applicants , “just write!” Let the initial draft be as messy as it needs to be, and refine it from there. It’s a lot easier to condense and sharpen a big draft than it is to try to tensely craft a perfect personal statement from nothing.
Incredibly important, as should be clear by now! Unlike other specialties, law schools don’t usually conduct interviews with applicants, so your personal statement is in effect your one opportunity to speak with the admissions committee directly. Don’t let that gravity overwhelm you when you write, but keep it in mind as you edit and dedicate time to improving your initial drafts. Be mindful of your audience as you speak with them, and treat writing your personal statement as a kind of initial address in what, hopefully, will eventually turn into an ongoing dialogue.
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How long should a Personal Statement be? Is there any rule on that?
BeMo Academic Consulting
Hello V! Thanks for your question. Some schools will gave very specific word limits, while some will not. If you do not have a limit indicated, try to stick to no more than a page, 600-800 words.
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Here are five important things to keep in mind as you prepare your personal statement: First, let’s talk about basics. Follow directions! Say it with me: two pages, double-spaced, 11-point font or larger (but not much larger). Times New Roman or another basic font is a good choice for this document.
LL.M. personal statement quick tips Be specific. Address why you want to get an LL.M. and your career goals. Be honest, about your background and the reasons for applying for an LL.M. Address any negative elements of your application, such as a low TOEFL or ITELTS score. Make sure to proofread your personal statement and check your word count.
A great LLM (Master of Laws) personal statement should be persuasive, concise and easy to read: Persuasive – you want the admissions board to choose you over the competition. Concise – you need to compress information about your past, present and future into a limited word count.
Make it Personal. Your personal statement is the heart and soul of your LL.M. application. Make sure the content, tone, and personality of the statement express who you are as a person and professional, and accurately showcases your strengths and uniqueness. Presenting yourself in the best light possible is important, but avoid exaggerating or ...
Feel free to use it as a template for your own statement (but don’t plagiarize, of course!). Law School Personal Statement Example: #1 When I was a child, my neighbors, who had arrived in America from Nepal, often seemed stressed. They argued a lot, struggled for money, and seemed to work all hours of the day.