Admissions Question: November 11th
Q: What should my personal statement say?
Every law school is going to have certain instructions with regard to the personal statement/essay so you will want to pay attention to what they are asking you to write about. Some schools have very specific questions (e.g. Why do you want to go to law school? What challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them? What experience or person has had an impact on how you live your life?). Other schools will have very general instructions (e.g. Tell us about yourself in 800 words or less.) If there is a specific question, then make sure your essay answers it. At Lewis & Clark, our essay “question” is very general. We ask you to share how your background, abilities, interests, and/or experiences make you a good candidate for Lewis & Clark Law School. Past essays have covered topics such as a memory of an influential person, an important discussion with a parent, a significant life experience, a special accomplishment, a unique talent, a strong interest in something – you get the idea.
First and foremost, admissions committees are going to be evaluating your writing ability. Your essay should be polished; that is to say it should be well-written, be without grammatical or spelling errors, flow well, be clear, and show correct word usage. You will want to proofread your essay multiple times, with and without spell check. You may also want someone you know who writes well take a look at your essay and give you feedback on (not rewrite) your essay.
Secondly, it is nice if your statement is interesting. What often makes for an interesting personal statement is that it is personal and genuine. We want to know how you think, feel, and/or live and you should be true to yourself. This is your opportunity to tell us who you are in your own words.
Lastly, have fun with it, because it can be an enjoyable exercise and you can even learn some things about yourself by doing it!