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Law School Personal Statement Guide

A strong personal statement is an integral part of a successful law school application. Most law schools do not conduct applicant interviews, making the essay your only chance to show the admissions committee that you are more than a set of numbers. A good essay can make the difference between acceptance and rejection at your top-choice school, so use the tips below to ensure yours is a winner.


Start Early

It is difficult to whip up a powerful personal statement in a day. Give yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, research, draft, and revise your essay by starting well in advance of your deadlines.

These essays require a great deal of self-analysis and introspection, and you may not be used to writing about yourself in this way. This is where brainstorming comes in. Take time to come up with a list of themes and ideas, regardless of how good or bad they may be. Then whittle down the list based on how much support or material you have for each one.


Tell a Story

Your personal statement should read like a narrative, and explain what has brought you to apply for admission to law school. Do not merely repeat the information that can be found on your résumé. Instead, expand on why certain experiences were meaningful to you or what you learned from them, being sure to avoid clichés.

It is critical that the narrative you develop is cohesive; the experiences, activities and interests you discuss should all be connected by a common theme, even if this means leaving out other accomplishments that are unrelated. Like most narratives, it should have a beginning, middle, and an end that provides a resolution to your story and presents who you are now as an applicant.


Be Specific

Tailor all of your personal statements to the schools to which you are applying – and not just by replacing the school name. Do your homework so that you can include real reasons why you would like to attend each school. These can range from well-respected legal clinics and faculty expertise, to unique joint programs and internship opportunities.

It’s not enough to write, “I am applying to [school name] because I want to receive the best possible legal education.” That kind of statement could apply to almost any university. In order to tailor your statement well, you need to identify something about each school that truly stands out. Ask yourself what you can get from an education at that school that you can’t get anywhere else.


Language Matters

Lawyers work with complex language every single day; it’s their primary tool, so you need to demonstrate you candle handle it with care and precision. That means not only writing a personal statement that is thoughtful and persuasive, but that is entirely free of errors.

Triple-check your work, and have a fresh set of eyes review it, too. We’re often blind to our own mistakes, and your spell check won’t fix things like unclear sentences or confused homophones. Put your statement aside for a few days between rounds of editing so you can look at it dispassionately and more easily spot sections that require changes.


Show, Don't Tell

The cardinal rule of good writing applies to your admissions essay. Rather than saying that you are a dedicated student, can you demonstrate that through describing your academic accomplishments? Can you show your commitment to a cause through a history of involvement as a volunteer?

Direct statements about your character (“I am extremely hard-working”) come off as pompous and unconvincing. Avoid these assertions at all cost, and back up any claims with evidence so they will carry more weight.

 


 

Not sure how to explain your unique reason for attending law school?

Don’t trust your friend to edit a dangling participle?

Our Essay Editors have helped students gain acceptance to their top-choice law schools, including Queen’s, Osgoode Hall, and University of Toronto, and will work with you from the first draft right up to your polished, final essay. Call or email us at 416-225-4242 or info@ivyglobal.ca to get started.

 

 
 
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