Tips for Law School Personal Statements

Finding the Appropriate Structure for a Personal Statement

Start with a sound structure. Your law school personal statement should have a readily identifiable structure. To ensure that this happens, it is highly important to construct the statement from an outline. An outline should make sense by itself; the ideas should follow logically in the order that you list them. Your body paragraphs should consist of events, experiences, and specific examples that support and move along the theme.

Great personal statements incorporate many different elements. They have strong introductions and conclusions. They follow a logical progression, using active voice and the first person “I.” They are creative, employing metaphors and analogies. And, finally, they are clear and to the point. They don’t waste the reader’s time. Every sentence flows and advances a purpose.

Eight Style Tips You Should Follow

1. Avoid telling the reader about yourself in a through conclusions. Instead, let the reader draw their own conclusions. If your essay says “I am driven/determined/ambitious, etc.” rewrite the section with examples.

2. Remember to answer the question that was asked. Some schools want you to address specific issues in your essay; make sure yours clearly does.

3. Use an active voice. Passive essays come across as cold and boring. Instead of stating “the competition was won by me and my team,” state “my team and I won the competition.”

4. Your personal statement should be truly personal. It is an opportunity for the admissions committee to get a picture of who you are.

5. Write succinctly. Condense, condense, condense. A good writer can say a whole lot in a few words.

6. Attempt to convey information to the reader about yourself that is not covered elsewhere in your application.

7. Write a strong opening and conclusion. Hook your reader. Your opening sentence is the most important part of your statement.

8. Use a professional and formal tone. Avoid contractions, clichés, slang, and colloquialisms. But do not try to write like a lawyer or use fancy words in an attempt to showcase your intellectual talent—it may backfire. Be polished, but be yourself.