Every statement is unique and represents an individual; therefore, the following general guidelines may not apply to you. You should plan on writing a main personal statement which can serve as the core statement. In addition, some law schools will ask you to write on a specific topic. You can usually use your core statement for the heart of their specific statement, polishing and tailoring to their specific topic as required. Be sure to address their topic directly, however, even if this means abandoning your core statement.
In general, the statements which have the most positive impact on the admissions decision have certain characteristics. From the experience of members of the Loyola faculty who have read hundreds of these statements in the past, you are strongly advised to adhere to the following guidelines:
- The length should not exceed two pages, double spaced, one inch margins, 12 pt. font. Remember, the law school admissions people have many statements to read. Nuances in long statements will be missed by most readers. Small fonts will be resented, especially by readers whose eyes are going.
- The statement should have an interesting title.
- The statement should be unique. It should be a statement which only you could write. A generic statement, for example, one concerning “why I want to go to law school,” “how I overcame a serious obstacle in my life,” “My strengths as a potential lawyer,” etc....such statements could demonstrate a lack of creativity, an attraction to triteness, and could even harm your admissions profile.
- The grammar has got to be right! Spelling, too!
- The topic can be anything but the theme of the statement should be linked to the legal enterprise in some way, usually near the end of the statement.
- The statement should be personal. It is your statement and should concern your view on something, your experience(s), etc.
- Sink the hook in the beginning of the statement
Several recent statements come to mind as especially good statements and especially illustrative of some of the above guidelines:
I am sure that the admissions people, on beginning to read these statements, did not sigh, “Oh, gosh, here’s another Khmer Rouge statement. Why can’t these people write something to keep me awake?” or “Another crack house statement! Boy, do I get tired of these!”
Whatever you write, write something unique to you. Others with whom you confer may advise you in other directions. You must decide on what approach best represents you and what approach will put you in the best light with a law school admissions reader. Next steps:
- Make an appointment with the Writing Center to go over the personal statement.
- Next, identify a faculty member whom you would like to advise you about your personal statement. Coordinate working with the faculty member. Do not ask the faculty member to read a first draft or anything short of a polished statement.
- After you have finished with the faculty member and have revised your statement (if revisions are needed), email the statement to the pre-law advisor and set up an appointment to go over the statement.
- Once all that is done, send the personal statement to LSDAS.
For more information on writing your personal statement, visit the Top Law Schools website.