I can't recall exactly when I first started writing my personal statement for law school, but I will say that I've been working on it for quite a while now. I'll read through it out loud, add some words, take out some words, and what do you know?
I become completely satisfied with it only to read it at a later date and feel the need to repeat the same cycle all over again! Fortunately, I now know the exact direction that I want to go with my personal statement.
It wasn't always that way, however.
For instance, sometimes you'll be given a prompt that seems so vague and simple, it's almost as if anything you can think to write about won't be as appealing to an admissions officer as you would like it to be.
That's where this Odyssey article comes in! In it, I've included six specific ways to help make your personal statement more appealing to the law school admissions officer(s) who will eventually read it.
Trust me, every piece of writing is better with a sense of direction, and that's what I hope to give you with the following set of tips.
1. Look at it as a "personal story" rather than a "personal statement."
Before you even learned about the requirements for applying to law school, did you even know what a personal statement actually was? Chances are, you probably would have had a better reaction to the thought of writing a "personal story" instead of a "personal statement."
So, why not just think of it like that?
You could talk about an experience that impacted your life in some way, and use it to help address your specific qualities every once in a while.
You can definitely showcase your qualities without having to list them (that's just boring). Instead, structure your personal statement like a story that engages your audience while still demonstrating your worth and potential as an applicant.
2. Appeal to their emotions by doing more than just saying how you felt.
Appealing to anyone's emotions will help them to feel more connected with your writing. However, it's going to take a lot more than just saying how a particular experience made you feel in order for that connection to even happen. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself in order to go a bit further in terms of writing about your emotions:
1) What impact did this experience have on my lifestyle and perceptions of how the world actually functions?
2) Why did this experience cause me to feel the way(s) that I did?
3) How can I make my readers feel like they are actually experiencing my emotions in the exact moment that I discuss them?
3. Provide specific reasons as to why this specific law school is so valuable to you in the first place.
For instance, do they have an on-campus law clinic that you hope to join? What about joining that particular law clinic seems so beneficial to you, and why is that? This is your chance to show any admissions officer that you are extremely passionate about attending their particular law school, and will also allow them to see why you would fit right in with their community of students.
4. If a sentence doesn't make sense to you, either rephrase it or explain what it means in another sentence.
Sometimes it's impossible to explain exactly what you mean in a single sentence. While it may make sense to you, the admissions officer might be left wondering what you meant instead of focusing on the significance of your personal statement as a whole.
To avoid this, simply rephrase or provide explanations for sentences that are confusing to you in even the slightest degree. This way, the admissions officer will keep on reading and connecting your ideas together instead of feeling like they don't really understand your point of view.
5. Keep your intended audience in mind as you write and revise.
Remember who you're writing to here! These are law school admissions officers who are on the hunt for future lawyers.
That being said, what kinds of qualities do you affiliate with someone who has a career in the legal profession? In my case, professionalism, the ability to advocate, and a strong sense of determination are definitely a few examples.
As a writer, think of how can you effectively incorporate these and other specific qualities into your writing. Each time you read through a draft of your personal statement, do you feel like these qualities have been satisfied in some way through your content?
If not, what else could you include to better illustrate them to the admissions officer?
6. Have an expert read over your personal statement once you feel confident enough.
And no, you don't necessarily need to pay a large sum of money for their services (I most certainly won't be doing that).
Fortunately, UCF has a department that's specifically devoted to helping Pre-Law students to finalize their personal statements for law school!
The best part is, since we're Pre-Law students, we won't get charged for it!
Besides that, having an expert review your personal statement will help to ensure that it is in the best possible quality for any admissions officer who will eventually read it.
You can learn more about UCF's Pre-Health and Pre-Law personal statement services by visiting https://phpladvising.ucf.edu/services/personal-statements/.