When a law school admissions officer reads your personal statement, what three words do you want to come to mind? Ideally, it’s the classic triumvirate: passionate, tenacious, and successful. There are many reasons why this traditional combination works and why it is so important to clearly establish these traits in your application to law school. In this blog post, we at Stratus provide some tips to help you evoke these three elements in your personal statement.
Identify Your Passion
Everyone has something they are passionate about. If you are unsure of where or how to start your law school personal statement, this is a natural place. Whether your passion is in a more traditional area such as playing a musical instrument, volunteering, or sports; in an emerging field like technology; or something conceptual like immigrant rights, all of us have something we love and care about—and perhaps for which we have even sacrificed. Identifying that passion allows you to tell your individual story and show that you possess internal drive. Telling your story well in your personal statement and connecting it to your reasons for pursuing a legal career is what helps get you into law school.
Having unique experiences to share enables you to ground your essay in details that make it interesting. Sharing these experiences allows your own voice to shine through, much like how a star athlete’s eyes light up when discussing their favorite game-winning play. The beauty of talking about something you love is that in doing so, you demonstrate both your passion and the specific subject-matter expertise and perspective that you will bring to your law school class.
Highlight Challenges You’ve Overcome
Everyone has encountered challenges in pursuing their passions. Not having the money, raw talent, or parental support to do so are traditional examples. Demonstrating a will and ability to overcome obstacles—whether you call it tenacity, grit, or perseverance—is fundamental to being a good law student and—ultimately—a good lawyer.
As you think about the challenges and struggles you have overcome in your life, don’t steer away from more significant hurdles because they may be too personal. It may be difficult to think about or discuss them, but if you can, these deep life struggles can form a solid basis for your personal statement. In addition, their significance to your life will come through to the reader as sincere, introspective, and mature.
To craft the best version of your personal statement and add authenticity and depth to your essay, detail how you approached challenges and eventually overcame them.
Share Your Strengths
When writing about your success in light of the trials or tribulations you’ve encountered, highlight your areas of strength. If your success has been externally validated through awards and rankings, include them—but know that success is not solely defined by these things and can be found also in personal growth. In addition, success can be defined by the number of people you’ve helped, the exhilaration you felt (or your family felt) when you succeeded, the impact you had on an individual life, or even the profound way in which the experience fundamentally changed the way you navigate your life.
When discussing your obstacles and successes in following your passion, the voyage of discovery you outline leads you to the important conclusion and purpose of the law school personal statement: what you learned about yourself and how that relates to the law student and lawyer you will be.
If you would like help crafting your best law school personal statements, sign up for a free consultation with one of our experts!