3 Key Components of a Strong Personal Statement
A law school personal statement should tell admissions officers who you are as an individual and how your experiences have shaped your perspectives and goals.
“Our main concern is that you write about something that is quintessential to us understanding who you are,” according to Harvard Law. “We want to learn about you, so please don’t leave us wishing we could admit your relative, student, or client.”
Jessica Pishko, an admissions consultant at Accepted who received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, offered a few tips on how to craft a strong personal statement for law school.
HOW IS GREATER THAN WHAT
Experts say it’s not so much what you write about in your personal statement that matters, but how you write.
“There’s no one thing admissions officers are looking for,” Pishko writes. “Instead, write about something that will capture your personality and show off your unique qualities. It’s always best to write about something that you feel passionate about than it is to cram personal data onto a page simply because you think someone might find that information important.”
Admissions officers seek out applicants who have strong attention to detail. In terms of your personal statement, that means you’re able to follow instructions and check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
“A jumbled memo, a rambling oral argument, or a misplaced comma in a contract can all have major implications in the real world,” writes Nefyn Meissner, Associate Director at Harvard Law. “Law school will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to write incisive memos, craft compelling arguments, and draft ironclad contracts. Show us that you are ready for the challenge by formatting your essays appropriately, following word and page limits, and avoiding simple mistakes.”
AUTHENTIC, YET CONCISE
A strong personal statement tells an authentic and concise narrative about an applicant. Meissner says the best applicants at Harvard Law often start their statement with a powerful and clear introduction.
“Such essays start strong, dig deep, and end when they should end. These essays do so with a dash of authenticity and brevity.”
Additionally, you’ll want to highlight what makes you and your background unique.
“Admissions readers are looking for thoughtful, persuasive, and interesting essays that highlight your uniqueness,” according to Pishko. “Yes, they want good grades and test scores, but they also want real people with real stories and experiences to share.”