Do’s and Don’ts When Applying for Law School

Ways to set yourself apart in your personal statement

Cecelia Germain, Contributing Writer

Does writing your personal statement for law school stress you out? Well then, you have come to the right place.

According to abovethelaw.com, a news site about law, legal news and the legal profession, law school applications become available between the end of August and the beginning of October. Most schools state deadlines somewhere between February 1 and June 1, and most law schools start admitting people shortly after applications become available (in October and November).

Last Thursday, Professor Joseph Kenny,  St. John’s Pre-Law advisor and economics professor, hosted a workshop called “Applying to Law School — Personal Statements and Letters of Recommendation.” If you weren’t able to make it, don’t worry, because the Torch was present and we are here to tell you what to do and what not to do when writing your personal statement. Keep in mind that your law school application is simply an interview on paper to give the admissions committee a sense of who you are — you have complete power over what is written. This is your moment to show them your growth and why you are deserving of being admitted.

A  couple  of do’s:

Your personal statement should be a maximum of two pages, double spaced, depending on the school. It is recommended that you have an introduction and conclusion in order for the admissions officer to consider your personal statement. Always establish your purpose early on with something that’s engaging. Be creative, but stay relevant to your theme.

Some   don©ts:

Avoid clichés and do not use contractions. You shouldn’t linger on any deaths in the family or any other tragic events. You should submit something that you are comfortable with, because not only will the admissions office read these, but so will the Bar examiner upon passing the exam. Lastly, do not submit your statement with a childish email address, because they won’t take your application seriously.

A  few  tips:

Having a central theme is important in your personal statement. You don’t want to distract the reader. Think about this: have you overcome an obstacle, has a specific person brought you to this decision to apply to law school? This should express the most you can say about yourself. Your law school application should reflect who you are and who you plan to be. There are many applicants, so make sure that you make yourself stand out; do you bring something to this school that others wouldn’t? Show them that you really want to attend their school.

Talk about your academic experiences: did you study abroad, do you have any relevant work experience? What’s your motivation for applying, why do you want to apply to this specific law school, what are your long-term goals?

The last piece of advice from this workshop is to have someone read it over, preferably someone who knows you personally or academically. Consider making an appointment with the writing center. This is going to take time, and I can guarantee that you will have multiple drafts before you perfect your personal statement. Good luck, and make sure you plan ahead if you haven’t already.