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Personal Statement
Information Provided by Kaplan Test Prep

There's no one correct way to write a personal statement, but admissions officers do provide some helpful tips about what they like and don't like.

The "Do's"
  1. Tell stories. Readers respond much better to an illustrative anecdote than to an abstract list of attributes.
  2. Make it interesting. Remember that admissions officers are reading hundreds - perhaps thousands - of essays in a 6-month period.
  3. Be funny if you can pull it off.
  4. Be unique. What qualities or experiences in your life would make you a particularly valuable member of a law school class?
  5. Start with a great lead. It's important to grab admissions officers from the beginning.
  6. Have a general theme. Don't ramble.
  7. Don't be afraid to express opinions; law schools are looking for people with ideas.
  8. Tailor your statement to a particular law school. If you're especially interested in a school because it offers a particular program or professor, be sure to talk about that.
  9. Open up a little. No, you don't have to bare your soul, but don't be afraid to let them know a little about yourself.

The "Don'ts"
  1. Avoid the resume approach, which begins at birth and recites every event in your life.
  2. Avoid the "Why I Want to Go to Law School" essay. What person in their right mind would go through this hassle if they didn't really want to go?
  3. Avoid "I Want to Save the World." You're playing to a fairly skeptical audience.
  4. Avoid talking about your negatives. This isn't the place to call attention to your flaws.
  5. Don't be too personal. Confessional essays can sometimes cross the line.
  6. Watch the use of fancy vocabulary. The trend these days is toward less legalese.
  7. Don't discuss legal concepts. You run the risk of showing a certain amount of ignorance.
  8. Avoid immature subjects. Discussing how you got drunk last summer, for example, isn't appropriate.
  9. Don't put down lawyers or the legal profession. Spewing cynicism about the legal profession is not a clever device.
  10. Shy away from the bizarre. Law schools claim to value creativity, but some applicants confuse being creative with being outlandish.
  11. Don't try to cover too many subjects. Focus on one or two areas you really want to talk about.
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None of the trademark holders are affiliated with Kaplan or this website.
2001 Kaplan, Inc.


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