Top Ten Mistakes That Law School Applicants Make: #6

journal-collageThis post continues our 10-part series of posts on the Top Ten Mistakes That Law School Applicants Make.

The #6 Top Ten Mistake That Law School Applicants Make every year is…
THEY WRITE A PERSONAL STATEMENT THAT ISN’T PERSONAL.

First, let’s get one thing clear. Law schools want a personal statement, not a statement of purpose.

What’s the difference between a personal statement and a statement of purpose?

A personal statement is a story about yourself that reveals your strengths, while a statement of purpose is an essay about the research or academic trajectory you want to accomplish while in graduate school.

So, if a personal statement is a story, what kind of story should you tell?

One that is engaging, memorable, and authentic.

How are you going to do that?

You’re doing to make it personal. You’re going to make it about you.

Almost anything goes when it comes to telling a personal story. You can write about your proudest accomplishment and why you’re proud of it. You can write about an obstacle (or several) that you overcame and how you did it. You can write about a hobby that’s important to you and why it’s important to you.

Get the picture?

In most cases, applicants think back and write about an event, experience, or activity that shaped them and helped them become the person they are today. Remember, it’s a personal statement you want to share, not a statement of purpose.

If you’re wondering how to get started on writing a personal statement, I recommend doing the following.

  1. Read my post Law School Personal Statements (Pt 1): Reading Comes First
  2. Then read Law School Personal Statements (Pt 2): Finding Great Topics
  3. Then read Law School Personal Statements (Pt 3): The First Draft
  4. Lastly, read Law School Personal Statements (Pt 4): Revise, Revise, Revise

Everyone wants to read a good story, especially law school admissions officers. Tell them an engaging, memorable, and personal story about yourself and you’ll have them hooked.

Photo Credit: Paper Relics (Hope W. Karney) via Compfight cc