Concluding a Personal Statement

Law School Expert Blog

Most of my law school admission consulting clients struggle to state the reasons why they are applying to a certain law school. Here’s a few of my favorite tips:

1. Do I have to say why I want to go to Law School X?

No. You don’t. Unless X Law School asks you to, and then – yes – you do.

And if they offer this as an optional essay topic, and you don’t do it, then – yes- I think (as a former director of admissions) that you’re being lazy.

2. Is there some advantage to saying why I want to go to Law School X?

Yes. If you can convince them, they’ll be more likely to admit you rather than wait list you and make you prove you deserve a coveted admission letter that they’ll then have to report for rankings purposes.

3. So, what can I possibly say?

It’s true – sometimes law schools just don’t seem to be that different from one another, especially when they are ranked similarly.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t say you love their Environmental Law program if nothing in your application supports your interest in Environmental Law.
  2. Don’t pick a study abroad program as your reason; you can do any ABA school’s study abroad summer program and transfer the credits (generally).
  3. Don’t list reasons that could be applied to any law school equally like ‘esteemed faculty’ or ‘national reputation’ or ‘bar passage rate.’ Be specific.
  4. If you’re applying part time, tell them why. Otherwise they’ll think you’re just using the part time program to be admitted through the “back door.”

Good luck, and I hope I’ve inspired you to do a little more research and critical thinking about why you’re choosing each law school on your list.

7 Responses

  1. I’m sorry to post it here but I didn’t know where to send this link. I think it’s ridiculously funny and it’s great for law students and perspective law students.

    I figured I’d post it here and you can use it as you like.

    This is what happens when you try to steal a 1L’s Laptop.

    On a side thought, this would be funny to write in a PS. Spin it on how you are so committed to law school that if someone tried to divert you from your path, you’d pummel them. Haha.

  2. Hello! Since I felt like you (virtually) held my hand through the nervous waiting for Oct LSATs, I really want to ask you for help one last time. I just got accepted into Georgetown and I can’t find anywhere on their website how long I have to accept their offer. I’m waiting for other schools.

    PS if you moderator-out this comment I would understand. It doesn’t have so much to do with Personal Statements. I’m just really confused all the time.

  3. I’m just taking a break from the tail end of the Logical Reasoning Bible to stop in here and say “hi.”

    This is a helpful blog post, Ann, and it makes me realize how relieved I am that I hired you to help me get through this process back in the summer.

    PHEW. You helped me tighten up my own Personal Statement so much, and the writing exercise you assigned me before we wrote it drew things out of me that I never would have thought to include in it, otherwise.

    In a prior blog entry you posted a link to some BU students’ Personal Statements. I didn’t like them much. I could tell you didn’t help them!! I thought they sounded a little bit too “canned” and way too trendy; I would not have been comfortable submitting anything similar with my applications.

    I love the one you helped me write! You helped me put together one that was really reflective of who I am, and I was amazed that we did it over the miles and without ever having met. I am still amazed that we fit it into two pages, double-spaced. I can’t thank you enough for all the help.

    Talk to you later,

  4. Sarah, thanks so much for the great comment! Thank you so much!
    I agree, I don’t think the BU essays are as good as those submitted by most of my clients ; )
    But, I do think they are among the best PS examples posted on the Internet that I’ve seen (and that is not saying much, I know). Plus, I want to give BU credit for actually posting something remotely helpful to applicants on its website.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. i just wanted to say that I agree about the personal statement. I never post comments so that say something! I gave my personal statement to my recommenders so that they could see my writing outside of work ( i have been out of school for awhile). They were impressed and I think that I really showed them a different side of myself.

    Thanks Ann!

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