Current Events as Personal Statement Topics

Law School Expert Blog

Happy 4th of July! This is a great day to talk about current events, but that doesn’t make it a great day to write about current events in your personal statement for law school.

As Director of Admissions at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in fall 2001, I must’ve read hundreds of September 11th essays. I think only one of them was by someone who was actually at ground zero that day.

A few people this year have asked if they should write about how the Virginia Tech massacre impacted their decision to go to law school; the only person who has asked me this question who should consider writing about it is the client who actually attended Virginia Tech this year.

Why is this? Because, above all else, your personal statement must be PERSONAL. You must pick a topic that demonstrates your own growth, maturity, professionalism, background and experiences. Sentiment toward a headline makes you human, but make sure you tell your own story and not someone else’s if you want a law school personal statement that works to your advantage.

Have a wonderful 4th of July.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Ann,

    Love your book and blog (as evidenced by the fact I’ve made it back to your oldest blog post here)! Anyways, 2 questions:

    1. I feel very good about my personal statement content but it seems to oppose this so what’s your take on this: I write about how I settled on my noble career aspirations after college by taking a sales job, didn’t feel like I was making a difference (because I wasn’t), and was looking into careers more focused on helping people. While looking, two fatal police shootings of black men took the media by storm and I decided I wanted to fight apparent inequalities like this by becoming a civil rights lawyer. I began studying for the LSAT a week later and soon after left my job to dedicate all my efforts to law school.

    2. You mention in your book that listing international traveling is good as long as it doesn’t appear like privileged vacations. What if some was for volunteer work and a lot was vacation, but nearly all were looks into other cultures and not akin to a beach trip at Turks and Caicos? I’m considering just mentioning the ones that I could go into detail about the culture or did service work in.

    Thanks! Sorry for the wordiness!

    1. Nick, I’m thrilled the blog has been so helpful to you – thanks for your kind words and your good questions.
      I think you need to connect the headline personally to yourself, #1. Number 2, include your volunteer work and travel.
      Happy New Year!

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