Category Archive: Personal Statements

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Getting Personal On The Personal Statement

I have a confession to make: My personal statement was awful. Just ridiculous and awful. I got into the school I wanted to nonetheless because of my LSAT score, and really only because of my LSAT score. With three years of law school since and many years after guiding students in the admissions process, I’ve learned a lot about what a winning personal statement looks like and what doesn’t.

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From The Vaults: Should You Write a Diversity Statement for Law School?

Good law schools want a rich learning environment for their students. A rich learning environment involves the inclusion of different perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, and philosophies contributing to the dialogue, debate, and discussion in each class. Good law schools recognize that having a diverse student body is a benefit to all law students (and to law professors as well). The diversity statement is one way to see if an applicant would contribute to a diverse 1L class, because the application form may not give the law school admissions committee enough information about the applicant’s background and diversity factors.

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Personal Statement Myths, Debunked

There are some prevalent myths about what a winning personal statement must look like. Aspiring law school students often do themselves a disservice by adhering to these myths. It’s not just that buying into them is not helpful; buying into them may turn an otherwise solid effort into something that makes admissions committee members groan and roll their eyes. That’s not a recipe for success. So, let’s take a look at just two of these myths and see how you can avoid them.

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The Biggest (and Most Obvious) Mistakes to Avoid in Your Personal Statement

Writing a law school personal statement is hard. Your job is to tell law schools about yourself and about why you want to and should go to law school. It’s a challenge to come up with the right topic and figure out the best way to present it. Fortunately, there are some things you definitely don’t want to do in your personal statement, and they’re pretty straightforward.

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Should You Write a Diversity Statement for Law School?

Everyone knows you need to write a personal statement when applying to law school, but did you know you might need to write a diversity statement too?
Before I share tips on how to write one, let’s first talk about the purpose of the diversity statement.

Good law schools want a rich learning environment for their students. A rich learning environment involves the inclusion of different perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, and philosophies contributing to the dialogue, debate, and discussion in each class. Good law schools recognize that having a diverse student body is a benefit to all law students (and to law professors as well). The diversity statement is one way to see if an applicant would contribute to a diverse 1L class, because the application form may not give the law school admissions committee enough information about the applicant’s background and diversity factors.

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Hindsight Is 20/20: Reviewing My Own Personal Statement

Today we’re bringing back a classic post from the vault. This post was originally published on October 18, 2011 – and, much like a fine wine, has only improved with age. Matt Shinners is a Harvard Law graduate who taught and provided application counseling for Blueprint LSAT Prep. His application clearly turned out *okay*, but nevertheless, we can all learn from his successes (and failures, such as they are).

I applied to law school in October/November of 2006 with a 3.7/180 and the following law school personal statement. It was not even close to the strongest element of my application package.

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Personal Statements: Not as Scary as You Think

Writing your personal statement can feel like the most stressful part of applying to law school. I put off working on my personal statement for a long time, but once I realized what makes a good personal statement, it wasn’t very daunting at all.

First, let’s take a look at some personal statement prompts. Here’s one from the University of Chicago Law School: “Please use the personal statement to introduce yourself to the Admissions Committee and to help the Committee get to know you on a personal level.” Chicago wants you to tell them a story about yourself so they can get to know you beyond your LSAT score and GPA.

Columbia’s prompt is similar. They first give you a long, wordy list of topics you could write about, and then they say you may write about “any other factors that you think should inform the Committee’s evaluation of your candidacy for admission.”

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Stay Ahead on Your Law School Applications

Today’s tips come from Eileen Conner, who helps law school candidates write excellent admissions essays in her work as founder of Pen and Chisel.

If you’re taking the December LSAT, you’ve probably been spending most of your application time developing a strong study regime. Great! But even though the LSAT is a critical part of your argument for admission, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the other parts of your application.

What else should you do between now and the exam to make sure you’ll be ready to submit your applications as soon as you receive your scores?

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Personal Statements: Focus on You or Them?

The most trying aspect of the law school application process—apart from actually studying for and taking the LSAT—is writing a (hopefully) well-crafted, original personal statement. Generally speaking, a strong personal statement will concern itself with answering two questions: Why do you want to be a lawyer? And why do you want to attend this law school? For many applicants, difficulties arise when attempting to determine how much space to dedicate to the former question and how much to the latter. 

Although it is important to address both issues, you should spend more time discussing your reasons for wanting to become a lawyer than your reasons for attending a particular school. Virtually every law school prescribes a maximum length of two pages for the personal statement. I would recommend allocating roughly a page and a half to discussing your reasons for wanting to become a lawyer. In the course of this discussion, you should attempt to tie together the various aspects of your application in a cohesive and succinct manner.

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Talking Law School Personal Statements and Letters of Rec

Last week, Hank attended a handful of events at the 2014 Pacific Coast Association of Pre-Law Advisors (PCAPLA) Conference and blogged about them. This is part 2 of 3.

It might be a law school applicant’s market right now.

But you still have to make a compelling case.

That was the final message delivered by Golden Gate University School of Law Associate Dean of Admissions Angela Dalfen to close out the PCAPLA Conference discussion on personal statements and letters of recommendation last Friday at UCLA School of Law.

Dalfen, along with UCLA School of Law Director of Admissions Talin Broosan, discussed law school admissions essays and letters of rec for about an hour, passing along their best pieces of advice to the dozens of pre-law advisors from all over the country who were in attendance.