Things to keep in mind when writing your personal statement :

1. Personalize your statement!

  • An event or issue that is important to you
  • Your accomplishments and passions
  • Overcoming obstacles in your personal life or academic life, but do not make it the main focus of your personal statement
  • Someone in your life who has been a positive influence in encouraging you to help people or help the community through the legal profession
  • A course you may have taken that sparked an interest in the law
  • Your individual skills which will help you to succeed in law school
  • Leadership in positions that you have held in college or the community
  • Community services or volunteer programs that you have participated in.

2. Writing your personal statement:

  • Draft an outline about what you want to say
  • Have a strong opening sentence or paragraph
  • Tie your story together from beginning to end
  • Give examples of your personal experiences, struggles, and/or achievements
  • Self-edit your personal statement, then have your pre-law advisor, parents, or grandparents review your statement

3. Do not:

  • Use slang or colloquialisms
  • Begin your statement with “I always wanted to be a lawyer,” or “when I was [age], my parents told me that I should be a lawyer because…” (The former is not original enough and doesn’t immediately immerse your reader in a story, and the latter shows how your parents want you to be a lawyer, not why you want to be one!)
  • Use a passive voice. An active voice “I did, I saw, I was” is more effective in keeping your reader engaged in your story.
  • Rely on spell check. Spell checking programs do not highlight the wrong word if it’s correctly spelled. Be careful for homophones like their/there/they’re, and your/you’re. Also watch out for usage of its and it’s. Be careful with possessive contractions.
  • Rewrite your resume in narrative format (don’t be redundant!)
  • Focus on your weaknesses or give excuses for poor LSAT scores or your GPA
  • If you’re using the same statement for more than one school, if you mention the school in your statement make sure you don’t send it to the wrong school (instant rejection!)

Perdue University: Writing the Personal Statement