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Six Steps to an Awesome Law School Personal Statement

Six Steps to an Awesome Law School Personal Statement

Many of you are applying to law school this fall. Part of that process involves writing an awesome Personal Statement; the kind of essay that will make law schools fall in love, send scholarship offers rolling in, and set the flowers in bloom and the robins in song. Yes; that kind of statement.

To help you accomplish this goal, here are Dave Hall's top six tips for writing an ass-kicking personal statement:

1. Find a story to tell.

Somewhere in your life, there is a story that indicates who you are, and why you're you. Think until you find that specific, true story, and then use this space to tell it. Your personal statement should be a narrative; it should show the reader why you're a good fit for her school, instead of trying to explain anything.

2.  Demonstrate leadership.

Your story should indicate that you have an impact on your world. Show how you've changed your environment. This tells the reader that you are a go-getter; that you make your life happen instead of watching it happen to you.

3.  Show why you're a good fit.

Your personal statement should show the school that you're a natural fit. It's like a first date; you need to show the school why you'll be compatible. You’ll do this foremost through strong writing. Think 4 C’s: your statement must be Clear, Cogent, Compelling, and Correct (free of all error).

4.  Avoid cliché.

Everybody wants to change the world. Everybody wants to make the world a better place. Why, specifically and individually, do you want to do those things? By keeping your statement as specific and detail-oriented as possible, you'll avoid the tropes that every other applicant trots out come personal-statement-time.

5.  Don't mention your weaknesses.

Readers have an emotional connection to well-written essays. You don't want that connection to be pity or scorn. Use the addendum to your application to talk about your low GPA (if you must). In your personal statement, keep the focus on all the things that make you wonderful, and that show what a great addition you'll be to the school(s) you're applying to.

6.  Put yourself in their shoes.

Your personal statement is a sales pitch. If you want to convince someone that they need what you're selling, you have to first understand what it is they need. Admissions officers want bright, active, diverse, accomplished student bodies. Keep those attributes in mind as you write, and use this space to show how you are all of those things. 
So first, plan and write an essay that does those things. Then, watch the offers come flooding in your mail slot.