One of the most important tools you’ll have to make the admissions committee choose you over any of the thousands of other qualified candidates is your personal statement.
Choosing to attend law school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Since it is so difficult and extremely competitive, chances are you’ve been preparing since early in high school. You stayed in nights and weekends to focus on your grades, you put in extra time to prepare for the LSAT, and you pushed yourself well past your preconceived limits at college. But now the real work of applying and being accepted to a quality law school begins. One of the most important tools you’ll have to make the admissions committee choose you over any of the thousands of other qualified candidates is your personal statement. It’s your only chance to show them what makes you a unique asset to their program. But the way you present your life experiences, your background, and training can make all the difference. So if you’re absolutely committed to getting into law school and eventually becoming an attorney, follow these personal statement writing tips for success.
Show Your Uniqueness
What’s probably more important than anything else is that you make your personal statement really and truly personal. Make sure it feels like a statement that you alone could have written. Remember, this is your chance to show them what makes you unique, so spend the time to list out the qualities that set you apart from the competition. What is it about you exactly that will make you a successful lawyer? And, what has led you to choose this path? Many people may have the requisite skills, but the desire to pursue them is what will make you successful in the end. Consider your most important or interesting personality attribute, or the single most integral experience that pushed you down this path and focus in on that. The more specific it is, the better.
Keep It Short
As personal as you make it, you’ll also want to keep it concise. This is not the time to craft your skills as a novelist. The admissions board will be interested in something unique, but not flowery or over-written. It shouldn’t be longer than two pages, double-spaced. The last thing you want is for their attention to lag, so don’t create a document that begs to be skimmed. Make sure you present an argument for your admission in a clear, precise and professional way.
Don’t Waste Time on Negative
Don’t take any time to dwell on the negative. You might have a blemish on your record, and could be concerned that they will pass on you because of it. Don’t make your personal statement about excusing or explaining that blemish. Just leave it aside and focus on selling your positive attributes to the committee.
Do whatever is necessary to insure that there are absolutely no mistakes in your personal statement. Any grammatical or spelling issues will instantly place your statement in the ‘decline’ pile. Be clear in your communication, and find ways to restructure any awkward sentences so that they express your thoughts clearly and succinctly. Ask trusted friends and associates for feedback on your work before you send it out. That will insure you ferret out any missed typos, and will help you see how the personal statement comes across to a reader.
Succeed in Your Writing
Finally, take the extra time to adjust your personal statement for each school you apply to. Even if your goal is to get your degree in criminal justice online, every program will have a slightly different requirement for the document. The adjustments could be minimal, but make sure you follow their instructions to the letter and you’ll be set up for the best possible result.