*Take a peek at our Personal Statement Guide for more ways to attack the paper.
Make sure that the vast majority of your essay is centered around YOU. Many students spend far too much time discussing details, telling a story, or describing the scene. You should always be the main character and the reader should always be aware of where you are in the story and how it is affecting you. The actions you took are far less important than WHY you took those actions! So make no mistake, you need to be the focus of this paper and no one else.
~ Scott Bailer
Boston University School of Law ’16
The more personal statements I read, the more I believe that students have all come to the absurd conclusion that if you didn’t grow up destitute, disabled, or disadvantaged, you have nothing to write about. Don’t apologize for having a privileged past; in fact, there’s literally no need to mention it if you don’t have to. Simply focus on the events throughout your life that have shaped your journey to the here and now. How have you grown? What has been the catalyst for this growth? Why is law school a natural extension of your academic/professional pursuits? These are the questions that law schools want answered.
Boston University School of Law ’15
Don’t rely on shock value. A personal statement doesn’t need to be this grand turning point in your life. Simply open up and let the reader see a glimpse of what’s on the inside.
No need to use a bunch of big words; lawyers need to write so people can understand them. Packing your personal statement with superfluous language and legalese will most likely sour your PS. Write clearly, and write with a purpose. Showing off your vocabulary won’t score you any points if there’s no substance behind it all.
Molding your own story to emulate a sample personal statement you saw at some point is the wrong way to go about it. The point of the personal statement is to show who you are and what you’re all about. You want everything to flow from the heart. Let your writer’s voice be heard!
You should never have to write the sentence “I will succeed in law school because _______” in your PS. After digesting your essay, the reader should not only know, but be convinced that you will make a great lawyer someday. The conclusion of your essay should be clear and unquestionable. If you need to explain yourself than your story isn’t strong enough.
It’s helpful to talk about the specific law school you’re writing about, especially if you discuss a specific concentration that appeals to you. But if you’re going to talk about a specific program, you must detail a past experience that lead to your interest.
Don’t write: I’m especially interested in Berkeley’s Environmental Law program, which is nationally recognized as one of the premier concentrations in the country.
Instead write: I have been especially interested in Berkeley’s Environmental Law program ever since I volunteered for a think tank in Beijing last summer. For six weeks, a handful of us devoted our time researching ways in which both federal and local laws could help guide businesses to act more environmentally friendly without strangling the economy. I hope to learn more about environmental law practices so I can further develop my interests in the interaction between the law, big business, and the environment.