Write your law school personal statement *now*

Are you feeling pressure to work on your law school applications, but still haven’t settled on a list of schools yet?

Maybe your parents and friends are asking you every day. Each time they ask, you get more worried about what you should’ve done by this point.

That’s okay. Instead of panicking about where you’re going to go, I encourage you to just sit down and write your law school personal statement.
You’re probably thinking, “Why should I even bother writing it if I don’t even know where I’m sending it?”
Let’s find out why. 


1. You can use it for comparison.

To write a great 
law school personal statement about your experiences and your future plans (which is what most law school personal statements essentially consist of), you’ll need to do a little introspection. A self-analysis will help you better understand who you are now, why you’ve become the person you are today, and how you plan to impact society with your skills.

This deep thinking may lead you to uncover some interesting discoveries about yourself. You may make new realizations about your values, beliefs, and outlook on life. Comparing these traits to law schools that are known to share the same values may help you in the decision-making process.


2. It might help you determine a career path. 

By this point in your education, you probably already know which legal practice areas interest you most. But in between LSAT studying, keeping your GPA up, and  requesting letters of recommendation, have you really had time to just sit and think about what you’d like to do with your law degree?

The 
law school personal statement allows you to focus on your future. It gives you ample time to reflect on your past, too. By brainstorming topic ideas, you can think back on what you did well in school and work and compare that with what you actually enjoy. Your future legal practice area just might be right in the middle.

And, once you have a legal practice area in mind, it’s even easier to narrow down school choices.


3. You’ll have one less task on your list.

Once you do decide on a list of target schools, you’ll be glad to have one less thing to do to complete the application process!

Bottom line: You can use the same law school personal statement for most schools anyway!

But where do you start if you don’t have a particular law school in mind? 


That’s completely fine. Most law schools have the same personal statement requirements, so you can get a jump start on writing your law school personal statement now without even knowing which schools you’ll wind up applying to. You can always go back and tweak it for length or tone once you have reached a decision.

In fact, that’s what many of the students I work with wind up doing. Rachel, for instance, was unsure about which law school she’d want to attend. 


Yet, she knew it was getting late in the law school application cycle.
I gave her a prompt, and together we came up with a law school personal statement that would wow any admissions officer.

In my next article, we’ll discover how Rachel was able to produce an impactful essay without even knowing which school she wanted to attend.
Until next time, 

Steve



P.S. If you need help with your law school personal statement, just reach out and let me know. I’m a real person and read every message myself. I’ll do whatever I can to help you.

Recommended Resources:

1. Law School Admissions Coaching
Get personalized 1-1 help on every aspect of the law school admission process -- or just the law school personal statement.

2. Law School Admissions Guide
I've written a concise guide to the law school admission process with tips on completing every aspect of your applications from start to finish. It's a small price to pay for a whole lot of guidance, and it's short enough that you'll actually read the whole thing.

3. Law School Admissions Cheat Sheet
Quick-reference guide for the law school personal statement, the "Why X?" essay, and the law school résumé. (You can also get it with the LSAT Cheat Sheets.)



What to do if law school + past experiences don’t match

In my last article, I showed you some ways to write a strong law school application essay for a particular school.

One technique I shared was using past experiences to show why you chose that particular school.
.
But what if your experiences don’t exactly line up with the idea of law school?



Let’s say you took science classes all throughout college, but you’ve recently decided you want to pursue a career in law?
It may seem difficult, but it’s still possible. You can make a connection between almost any college major and law school.


Instead of ignoring the fact that your college background in science doesn’t seem to support her decision to go into law, confront it head-on.
Although it’s commonly believed the two subjects aren’t closely related, you can show examples of ways in which they actually are (such as patent law). You can make an argument that seemingly opposing academic interests can actually assist a student in pursuing a single subject in the field of law.



It may seem like a challenging feat, but you can use the same method to draw connections between any two fields of study.
Still stumped? Get in touch with me, and we can chat more about it. If you’ve chosen a major that doesn’t have an obvious connection to your educational experiences, I’d love to help you do the same.


Until next time,
Steve


P.S. If your college major does match up more closely with law school, congratulations! It will make your application essays that much easier. But make sure you review my law school admissions resources to help you ace your essays.

Recommended Resources:

1. Law School Admissions Coaching
Get personalized 1-1 help on every aspect of the law school admission process -- or just the law school personal statement.

2. Law School Admissions Guide
I've written a concise guide to the law school admission process with tips on completing every aspect of your applications from start to finish. It's a small price to pay for a whole lot of guidance, and it's short enough that you'll actually read the whole thing.

3. Law School Admissions Cheat Sheet
Quick-reference guide for the law school personal statement, the "Why X?" essay, and the law school résumé. (You can also get it with the LSAT Cheat Sheets.)



Perfect Law School Admissions Essays (Supplemental)

In my last article, I shared why the “Why X Law School?” supplemental essay is so important. Now, I’d like to show how you can master that essay, showing why you've chosen a particular law school.

Here are 3 of my best strategies for these law school admissions supplemental essays:

1. Include Details


Which programs or courses interest you, and why? It may require a little digging to come up with those answers, but it’s worth it. It will show admission officers you’ve done your research.

Likewise, are there any professors or organizations you’re drawn to? Don’t just state that you’re interested in them, say why

When we worked together, I encouraged my student Sarah to answer these questions. (We’ve looked at Sarah’s story in my last few articles.) In her supplemental essay, she specifically talked about a professor she admires at the law school.

Which details about your past education, work experience, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities support your interest in a particular law school program (and law school in general?


2. Link Your Objectives to the School’s Programs  

How are you going to make an impact on the world? It’s a big question, but this is the time to start thinking about it.

It’s also time to start thinking about how your school of choice will help you do that.


My student Sarah, for instance, wanted to incorporate more sustainable options into the fashion world. Her latest projects included finding ways to reuse old clothing. But she needed the resources at Cornell, like “Walter the sweating mannequin” to see whether her ideas will work.

Sarah had very specific objectives that Cornell’s programs can support. It may seem challenging to identify your own right now, but with a little discussion and one-on-one work together, we can get there.

For instance, maybe you’re a prospective chemistry major. As you know, some chemistry labs are better-equipped than others. Does your top-choice school have the best chemistry lab in the Northeast?

Or is there a professor at your dream school who’s well-known in your major for making major advancements?

At the simplest level, try to show what excites you about your future, and how your school of choice can help make your future goals a reality.



3. Link to the School’s Values      

A great way to show why you and the school are a perfect fit for one another is by linking your own goals or experiences to the school’s values or mission statement. 
In doing this, you link your own goals to what the law school is best-known for. See how that might make a great impact on a law school admission officer?
You can apply all of these same principles in your supplemental essay, too.


But again, you’ll only be able to make a strong argument if you’ve chosen the right school for you in the first place.  


If you’re still in the early stages of that process, head on over to my law school admissions resources page to check out articles on every aspect of the admission process, including choosing a law school.


Until next time,
Steve


P.S. If you’re further along in the law school application process, you might be wondering about how to connect your college major to law school in your application essays. Keep your eyes peeled for my next article, where I’ll share some strategies for dealing with this.


Recommended Resources:

1. Law School Admissions Coaching
Get personalized 1-1 help on every aspect of the law school admission process -- or just the law school personal statement.

2. Law School Admissions Guide
I've written a concise guide to the law school admission process with tips on completing every aspect of your applications from start to finish. It's a small price to pay for a whole lot of guidance, and it's short enough that you'll actually read the whole thing.

3. Law School Admissions Cheat Sheet
Quick-reference guide for the law school personal statement, the "Why X?" essay, and the law school résumé. (You can also get it with the LSAT Cheat Sheets.)



Supplemental law school admissions essays


In many of my previous articles, I’ve shared strategies for writing your main law school personal statement.

Many schools also require a supplemental essay that answers the following question: Why do you want to attend this law school? 
On the surface, it seems like a simple question. You can probably answer it easily.



But it’s actually not quite as simple as most students think.
Here’s why: your main law school personal statement aims to show why you deserve to be accepted to the school. It should show what the school would gain by having you attend.



That’s only half of the equation.


Your “why this law school” essay addresses the other part. It shows why the school is a good fit for you


Ultimately, law school admission officers need to be convinced of both. 


Just how do you do that? As with your main law school personal statement, you must use the supplemental essay to make your case.


Remember Sarah, from my most recent articles? I showed you some examples from her law school personal statement, which revealed the powerful role feminism played in her education. Through her essay, we discovered how Sarah became passionate about using feminism to make a positive impact. 


Sarah’s personal statement was thought-provoking, powerful, and ultimately did everything the PS should do. But it only shows why Sarah would be a great student to have.


In fact, it shows that Sarah would be a great student to have at any law school. But why Cornell in particular?


That’s what the supplemental essay explains.

Sarah could say that Cornell Law a top school. She could say she’s heard they have a great program in her area of interest. She also could have written that having a law degree from Cornell will increase her employment prospects.


But she didn’t write any of that.


Just as with your law school personal statement, you’ll want to use your supplemental essay to tell admission officers something they don’t already know. 


Here are some things Sarah included, for example: 

            • She already visited the campus.

            • She sat in on two classes and was excited by what she learned in them.

            • She’s not only interested in Cornell Law’s academics, but also their legal clinics (which she names specifically).


As you can see, Sarah gave very specific examples about what makes Cornell Law the right fit for her. It’s far different from her personal statement, which, again, shows why she’s a good candidate for Cornell.  


What about you? Which law school have you selected, and why do you think it’s the right fit? If you can’t answer that question or you haven’t yet decided on your top-choice schools, take a look at this video where I discuss law school selection


Once you do find the right fit, it’ll make writing your supplemental essays much simpler. In fact, in my next article, I’m going to share some important advice for writing the perfect supplemental essay. Keep an eye out for it!


Until next time,


Steve



P.S. If you don’t have previous experience with a particular school like Sarah did, don’t worry. While it’s certainly a bonus, it’s by no means a must. So even if you’ve never set foot on your dream school's campus, there are still ways to link your experiences to the school’s programs and values. You’ll discover how in my upcoming articles.


Recommended Resources:

1. Law School Admissions Coaching
Get personalized 1-1 help on every aspect of the law school admission process -- or just the law school personal statement.

2. Law School Admissions Guide
I've written a concise guide to the law school admission process with tips on completing every aspect of your applications from start to finish. It's a small price to pay for a whole lot of guidance, and it's short enough that you'll actually read the whole thing.

3. Law School Admissions Cheat Sheet
Quick-reference guide for the law school personal statement, the "Why X?" essay, and the law school résumé. (You can also get it with the LSAT Cheat Sheets.)



Does your law school personal statement have too much detail?

Great writing is all in the details. Well, that’s not all that great law school personal statements need, but it’s still very important.

The problem is, many students wonder: exactly how much detail do I need in my law school personal statement?

There’s no perfect answer. What makes it even more difficult is that some admission officers like lots of it, while others prefer less. 
You have to include just enough to make everyone happy.

Maybe you’ve had similar experiences with professors. Some are always writing “Add more detail!” or “Cite some examples” in the margins of your papers. Others might tell you to tone down the details.

When it comes to adding detail, how can you walk that fine line between too much and not enough? 


A lot of the times, less is better.

Let’s revisit Sarah’s 
law school personal statement, from my previous article.

Remember how she included details about the speaker’s voice in the auditorium? It created a powerful image. But the rest of the personal statement wasn’t loaded with detailed imagery. 

You don’t need much of it. Just a few “sprinkles.”

Think about it this way. If Sarah used that level of description to write about every meaningful moment she had with feminism, her 
personal statement would become boring and overly detailed.

Instead, we decided it would be best for her to describe – using a few key details – the most important defining moment she could recall. 

That’s not to say the rest of her law school personal statement is lacking detail. She includes some other details, such as the specific activities she was involved with during her time in the feminist society.

But they aren’t describing one specific instance in great detail.

So, how do you choose which instance to describe with lots of detail?

It should be the one defining moment that means the most to you.

Yet, the details you choose to incorporate are just as important as the moment itself.

For instance, if Sarah had described that the speaker’s shirt was red, that wouldn’t really matter, would it?

Instead, she talked about how the speech was so powerful that it drowned out everything else in the room.

The details have to matter.

If you’re struggling with including details in your law school personal statement, go easy on yourself. This is something that almost everyone has trouble with.

It takes a few tries, but I’m confident that I can help you get it just right.

Here’s a little secret I share with my students: details can always be added in later. In fact, the right amount of detail is what takes a good 
law school personal statement and makes it a great one.

Luckily, I know just how much detail you’ll need to add, and where it should go. After all, I’ve been doing this for years – I’ve chatted with dozens of admission officers and become friends with many more. Through our conversations, I’ve come to learn exactly what they’re looking for.

I’d love to share what I’ve learned with you, so you can write a law school personal statement with the perfect amount of detail to get into your dream school. 

Want to make it happen? Just reach out so we can talk more about it.

-Steve


P.S. Where are you with the rest of your law school application tasks? I know there’s a lot to think about. From getting letters of recommendation to narrowing down your law school choices, you might feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do. My articles have focused a lot on the law school personal statement because it’s something students tend to struggle with most, but don’t forget to check out my other law school admissions resources to help you with all the rest!

P.P.S. Check out my law school admissions coaching sessions on YouTube to see what it's like to work with me 1-1.


Recommended Resources:

1. Law School Admissions Coaching
Get personalized 1-1 help on every aspect of the law school admission process -- or just the law school personal statement.

2. Law School Admissions Guide
I've written a concise guide to the law school admission process with tips on completing every aspect of your applications from start to finish. It's a small price to pay for a whole lot of guidance, and it's short enough that you'll actually read the whole thing.

3. Law School Admissions Cheat Sheet
Quick-reference guide for the law school personal statement, the "Why X?" essay, and the law school résumé. (You can also get it with the LSAT Cheat Sheets.)



Is your law school personal statement idea good?

Last time, I showed you some ways you could tell your law school personal statement might need a do-over. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the next question is: How do you know when you’re on the right track?
It’s not always as easy as you might think. 

When you’re writing one of the most important essays of your life, you’re bound to have some doubts. 

So, today, I’m sharing a few tips to help you know when your law school personal statement idea is working, and that it’s what admission officers will want to read.

How do I know? Because I’m friends with the people who’ve worked in admissions offices like Harvard and NYU – I can stay up-to-date on the latest changes at a wide variety of top schools. (You can actually listen to and watch our conversations on the LSAT Unplugged podcast and LSAT Unplugged YouTube channel.)

The students I work with get complete access to all the insights I’ve collected from these schools (and many more).

If you want to be completely certain you have a strong 
law school personal statement idea, just reach out, and I’ll do what I can to help. 

In the meantime, here are two ways to tell you’re probably off to a good start:


#1: The words are coming easily. 

When you’ve chosen a main idea that works for you, writing will become less difficult. It will still require you to think carefully. But, because it’s a topic that means something to you, writing will be easier.

Let’s talk about Sarah again for a moment, who I mentioned briefly at the end of my previous article. After some brainstorming and one-on-one work with me, she decided to write about her experience with feminism throughout college.
She listened to a prominent feminist’s speech in her freshman year. In time, feminism began to take on an important role in her education and life overall. 

Soon, Sarah joined her school’s feminist society. She went on to become Vice President of the society. Finally, she became the club’s President.

Now, she can’t envision her future without feminism.

Sarah made this clear in her law school personal statement, and with some help from me, she did a great job of discussing how she’d apply her experiences with feminism to a future at Cornell.

It worked, and she got accepted.

Sarah still had to put thought and effort into her law school personal statement, but once she decided on her topic, the writing wasn’t so difficult.

We can find the topic that works for you, too. 


#2: You’re recalling clear memories. 

The right 
law school personal statement idea will require you to think back on experiences that shaped you into the person you are today.

Because these experiences were truly life-changing, you should be able to recall them with clarity

Let’s go back to Sarah’s law school personal statement. She opens it with that detailed memory of hearing a renowned feminist give a speech. Sarah includes details like hearing the speaker’s voice “vibrate through the auditorium.” She also says the speech drew her in so much that she didn’t even hear cameras clicking as they took pictures.

What are some of the most vivid memories you have from your time in college?

If they shaped you into the person you are today as well as the person you hope to be in the future, they might deserve a place in your law school personal statement.


Let me help you decide. I’d love to hear from you so we can work on getting you into the school of your dreams. It’s worked for my other students, so it can work for you, too. Just get in touch, and we can chat more about it.

Until next time,

Steve


P.S. Even though I talked about including memories in your law school personal statement here, not everything needs to go into your law school personal statement. It’s extremely important to include the perfect amount of detail in your law school personal statement. Look out for strategies in my upcoming article to help with this.


Recommended Resources:

1. Law School Admissions Coaching
Get personalized 1-1 help on every aspect of the law school admission process -- or just the law school personal statement.

2. Law School Admissions Guide
I've written a concise guide to the law school admission process with tips on completing every aspect of your applications from start to finish. It's a small price to pay for a whole lot of guidance, and it's short enough that you'll actually read the whole thing.

3. Law School Admissions Cheat Sheet
Quick-reference guide for the law school personal statement, the "Why X?" essay, and the law school résumé. (You can also get it with the LSAT Cheat Sheets.)