Example of a personal statement for law school application: “Where do you live?” This was the easy question. It was the follow-up questions that posed a greater problem. This was not just any ordinary person asking, this was an attorney in the law firm where I worked. If I hid now, from a lawyer, I knew a series of complicated semantic shifts and half-truths would follow, requiring me to constantly be on guard. I ran through my informal checklist. Andrew was male, over 30, and while not overtly religious, I did not know where he was educated or where he grew up. Based on this information (or lack thereof), I chose not to tell him that I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my partner, whose gender would have given away the fact that I am a homosexual. In high school I lived in fear of being discovered after a teacher warned that coming out of the closet would jeopardize my safety. My experience in college differed dramatically; my floor mates accepted my homosexuality. I thought the world of hatred was behind me until I joined the Coming Out Group, a group of men who met in secret. I went to the first meeting expecting a social group, but soon found myself in shock over the intense difficulties my peers faced. Each week, I heard horror stories of classmates whose parents refused to talk to them, put them into therapy or threatened to disown them if they stayed gay. One student never got invited to social events with his male co-workers. As I worked more with the group, eventually becoming its leader, I helped classmates deal with these hardships. As I watched others struggle, I started treading more carefully. The trick was figuring out who could be trusted and who could not. I developed a foolproof way of distinguishing one from the other. It was at this point that I began forming the mental checklist. Then I found myself back in Andrew’s office, where he asked me about my weekend plans. This time, I began my response with the words: My boyfriend and I. Without a moment’s hesitation he simply replied, Oh, that sounds like fun. His reaction, or lack thereof, stunned me. My checklist had pointed me in the wrong direction. Even more troubling was the realization that I was the victim of my own stereotyping, not Andrew’s. Because of fear, I began to judge some people more harshly than they judged me. My own fear has held me back from relationships with people far more than reality has. Each incorrect judgment I made in the past perhaps halted a relationship from forming. Since becoming aware of this pattern, I have changed the way I approach meeting new people. I admit I still use my checklist; but I remember the items on that list are just guidelines, not rules, and I am cautious in making judgments too quickly. Approaching a problem with a rigid mind loses critical nuances. As I enter law school, I will take this lesson with me. By P.A., New YorkFor ideas and strategies on writing your law school personal statement, The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert offers an entire chapter dedicated to this topic.