The University of Chicago The Law School

In their own words: admissions essays that worked.

Throughout this issue, countless examples show why we are so proud of the students at the law school. One might think that we get lucky that the students the admissions office chose for their academic accomplishments also turn out to be incredible members of our community, but it’s really all by design. Our students show us a great deal more in their applications than just academics—and we care about a lot more than their numbers. In these pages, meet five of our students in the way we first met them: through the personal statements they wrote for their law school applications. And through their photos, meet a sixth: Andreas Baum, ’12, the talented student photographer who took these pictures for us.

Tammy Wang, ’12

EDUCATION: Johns Hopkins University, BA in International Relations, concentration East Asian Studies, with honors (2007) WORK EXPERIENCE: AsianFanatics.net LAW SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: University of Chicago Law Review, Immigrant Child Advocacy Project Clinic, APALSA, Admissions Committee, Law School Film Festival I fell in love for the first time when I was four. That was the year my mother signed me up for piano lessons. I can still remember touching those bright, ivory keys with reverence, feeling happy and excited that soon I would be playing those tinkling, familiar melodies (which my mother played every day on our boombox) myself. To my rather naïve surprise, however, instead of setting the score for Für Elise on the piano stand before me, my piano teacher handed me a set of Beginner’s Books. I was to read through the Book of Theory, learn to read the basic notes of the treble and bass clefs, and practice, my palm arched as though an imaginary apple were cupped between my fingers, playing one note at a time. After I had mastered the note of “C,” she promised, I could move on to “D.” It took a few years of theory and repetition before I was presented with my very first full-length classical piece: a sonatina by Muzio Clementi. I practiced the new piece daily, diligently following the written directives of the composer. I hit each staccato note crisply and played each crescendo and every decrescendo dutifully. I performed the piece triumphantly for my teacher and lifted my hands with a flourish as I finished. Instead of clapping, however, my teacher gave me a serious look and took both my hands in hers. “Music,” she said sincerely, “is not just technique. It’s not just fingers or memorization. It comes from the heart.” That was how I discovered passion. Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn: the arcs and passages of intricate notes are lines of genius printed on paper, but ultimately, it is the musician who coaxes them to life. They are open to artistic and emotional interpretation, and even eight simple bars can inspire well over a dozen different variations. I poured my happiness and my angst into the keys, loving every minute of it. I pictured things, events, and people (some real, some entirely imagined— but all intensely personal) in my mind as I played, and the feelings and melodies flowed easily: frustration into Beethoven’s Sonata Pathétique, wistfulness into Chopin’s nocturnes and waltzes, and sheer joy into Schubert. Practice was no longer a chore; it was a privilege and a delight. In high school, I began playing the piano for church services. The music director gave me a binder full of 1-2-3 sheet music, in which melodies are written as numbers instead of as notes on a music staff. To make things a bit more interesting for myself—and for the congregation—I took to experimenting, pairing the written melodies with chords and harmonies of my own creation. I rarely played a song the same way twice; the beauty of improvisation, of songwriting, is that it is as much “feeling” as it is logic and theory. Different occasions and different moods yielded different results: sometimes, “Listen Quietly” was clean and beautiful in its simplicity; other times, it became elaborate and nearly classical in its passages. The basic melody and musical key, however, remained the same, even as the embellishments changed. The foundation of good improvisation and songwriting is simple: understanding the musical key in which a song is played—knowing the scale, the chords, the harmonies, and how well (or unwell) they work together—is essential. Songs can be rewritten and reinterpreted as situation permits, but missteps are obvious because the fundamental laws of music and harmony do not change. Although my formal music education ended when I entered college, the lessons I have learned over the years have remained close and relevant to my life. I have acquired a lifestyle of discipline and internalized the drive for self-improvement. I have gained an appreciation for the complexities and the subtleties of interpretation. I understand the importance of having both a sound foundation and a dedication to constant study. I understand that to possess a passion and personal interest in something, to think for myself, is just as important.

Josh Mahoney, ’13

EDUCATION: University of Northern Iowa, BA in Economics and English, magna cum laude (2009) LAW SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: Student Admissions Committee, flag football, Tony Patiño Fellow The turning point of my college football career came early in my third year. At the end of the second practice of the season, in ninety-five-degree heat, our head coach decided to condition the entire team. Sharp, excruciating pain shot down my legs as he summoned us repeatedly to the line to run wind sprints. I collapsed as I turned the corner on the final sprint. Muscle spasms spread throughout my body, and I briefly passed out. Severely dehydrated, I was rushed to the hospital and quickly given more than three liters of fluids intravenously. As I rested in a hospital recovery room, I realized my collapse on the field symbolized broader frustrations I felt playing college football. I was mentally and physically defeated. In South Dakota I was a dominant football player in high school, but at the Division I level my talent was less conspicuous. In my first three years, I was convinced that obsessively training my body to run faster and be stronger would earn me a starting position. The conditioning drill that afternoon revealed the futility of my approach. I had thrust my energies into becoming a player I could never be. As a result, I lost confidence in my identity. I considered other aspects of my life where my intellect, work ethic, and determination had produced positive results. I chose to study economics and English because processing abstract concepts and ideas in diverse disciplines was intuitively rewarding. Despite the exhaustion of studying late into the night after grueling football practices, I developed an affinity for academia that culminated in two undergraduate research projects in economics. Gathering data, reviewing previous literature, and ultimately offering my own contribution to economic knowledge was exhilarating. Indeed, undergraduate research affirmed my desire to attend law school, where I could more thoroughly satisfy my intellectual curiosity. In English classes, I enjoyed writing critically about literary works while adding my own voice to academic discussions. My efforts generated high marks and praise from professors, but this success made my disappointment with football more pronounced. The challenge of collegiate athletics felt insurmountable. However, I reminded myself that at the Division I level I was able to compete with and against some of the best players in the country.While I might never start a game, the opportunity to discover and test my abilities had initially compelled me to choose a Division I football program. After the hospital visit, my football position coach—sensing my mounting frustrations—offered some advice. Instead of devoting my energies almost exclusively to physical preparation, he said, I should approach college football with the same mental focus I brought to my academic studies. I began to devour scouting reports and to analyze the complex reasoning behind defensive philosophies and schemes. I studied film and discovered ways to anticipate plays from the offense and become a more effective player. Armed with renewed confidence, I finally earned a starting position in the beginning of my fourth year. My team opened the season against Brigham Young University (BYU). I performed well despite the pressures of starting my first game in front of a hostile crowd of 65,000 people. The next day, my head coach announced the grade of every starting player’s efforts in the BYU game at a team meeting: “Mahoney—94 percent.” I had received the highest grade on the team. After three years of A’s in the classroom, I finally earned my first ‘A’ in football. I used mental preparation to maintain my competitive edge for the rest of the season. Through a combination of film study and will power, I led my team and conference in tackles. I became one of the best players in the conference and a leader on a team that reached the semi-finals of the Division I football playoffs. The most rewarding part of the season, though, was what I learned about myself in the process. When I finally stopped struggling to become the player I thought I needed to be, I developed self-awareness and confidence in the person I was. The image of me writhing in pain on the practice field sometimes slips back into my thoughts as I decide where to apply to law school. College football taught me to recognize my weaknesses and look for ways to overcome them. I will enter law school a much stronger person and student because of my experiences on the football field and in the classroom. My decision where to attend law school mirrors my decision where to play college football. I want to study law at the University of Chicago Law School because it provides the best combination of professors, students, and resources in the country. In Division I college football, I succeeded when I took advantage of my opportunities. I hope the University of Chicago will give me an opportunity to succeed again.

Osama Hamdy, '13

EDUCATION: University of California, Berkeley, BA in Legal Studies, AB in Media Studies (2010) LAW SCHOOL ACTIVITES: BLSA, Intramural Basketball I was a shy thirteen-year-old who had already lived in six locations and attended five schools. Having recently moved, I was relieved when I finally began to develop a new group of friends. However, the days following September 11, 2001, were marked with change. People began to stare at me. Many conversations came to a nervous stop when I walked by. However, it wasn’t until one of my peers asked if I was a terrorist that it really hit me. Osama, my name is Osama. I went from having a unique name that served as a conversation starter to having the same name as the most wanted man in America. The stares and the comments were just the beginning. Eventually I received a death threat at school. I remember crying alone in my room, afraid to tell my parents in fear that they might not let me go to school anymore. My experience opened my eyes up to racial and religious dynamics in the United States. I started to see how these dynamics drove people’s actions, even if some were not aware of the reasons. The more I looked at my surroundings with a critical eye, the more I realized that my classmates had not threatened me because of hate, but because of fear and ignorance. This realization was extremely empowering. I knew that mirroring their hostility would only reinforce the fear and prejudice they held. Instead, I reached out to my peers with an open mind and respect. My acceptance of others served as a powerful counter example to many negative stereotypes I had to face.With this approach, I was often able to transform fear into acceptance, and acceptance into appreciation. I chose not to hide my heritage or myself, despite the fear of judgment or violence. As a result, I developed a new sense of self-reliance and self-confidence. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the change that I had brought about in my own life. I wanted to empower others as well. My passion for equality and social justice grew because I was determined to use my skills and viewpoint to unite multiple marginalized communities and help foster understanding and appreciation for our differences and similarities alike. The years following September 11th were a true test of character for me. I learned how to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations. This allowed me to become a dynamic and outgoing individual. This newfound confidence fueled a passion to become a leader and help uplift multiple minority communities. During the last two summers I made this passion a reality when I took the opportunity to work with underprivileged minority students. All of the students I worked with came from difficult backgrounds and many didn’t feel as though college was an option for them. I learned these students’ goals and aspirations, as well as their obstacles and hardships. I believed in them, and I constantly told them that they would make it. I worked relentlessly to make sure my actions matched my words of encouragement. I went well above the expectations of my job and took the initiative to plan several additional workshops on topics such as public speaking, time management, and confidence building. My extra efforts helped give these students the tools they needed to succeed. One hundred percent of the twenty-one high school juniors I worked with my first summer are now freshmen at four-year universities. I feel great pride in having helped these students achieve this important goal. I know that they will be able to use these tools to continue to succeed. Inspired by my summer experience, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the position of Diversity Outreach Ambassador for the San Francisco Bar Association Diversity Pipeline Program. In this position, I was responsible for helping organize a campus event that brought educational material and a panel of lawyers to UC Berkeley in order to empower and inform minority students about their opportunities in law school. In this position I was able to unite a diverse group of organizations, including the Black Pre-Law Association, the Latino Pre-Law Society, and the Haas Undergraduate Black Business Association. Working in this position was instrumental in solidifying my desire to attend law school. The lawyers who volunteered their time had a significant impact on me. I learned that they used their legal education to assist causes and organizations they felt passionate about. One of the lawyers told me that she volunteered her legal services to a Latino advocacy association. Another lawyer explained to me how he donated his legal expertise to advise minority youth on how to overcome legal difficulties. Collaborating with these lawyers gave me a better understanding of how my passion for law could interact with my interest in social justice issues. My experiences leading minority groups taught me that I need to stand out to lead others and myself to success. I need to be proud of my culture and myself. My experiences after September 11th have taught me to defeat the difficulties in life instead of allowing them to defeat me. Now, whether I am hit with a racial slur or I encounter any obstacles in life, I no longer retreat, but I confront it fearlessly and directly. I expect law school will help give me the tools to continue to unite and work with a diverse group of people. I hope to continue to empower and lead minority communities as we strive towards legal and social equality.

Eliza Riffe

Eliza Riffe, '13

EDUCATION: University of Chicago, AB in Anthropology, with honors (2006) WORK EXPERIENCE: Sarbanes-Oxley coordinator and financial analyst, ABM Industries Harper Library, situated at the center of the main quadrangle at the University of Chicago, resembles a converted abbey, with its vaulted ceilings and arched windows. The library was completed in 1912, before Enrico Fermi built the world’s first nuclear reactor, before Milton Friedman devised the permanent income hypothesis, and well before Barack Obama taught Constitutional Law. Generations of scholars have pored over Adam Smith and Karl Marx in the main reading room, penned world-class treatises at the long wooden tables, and worn their coats indoors against the drafts in the spacious Gothic hall. Abiding over all of these scholars, and over me when I was among them, is an inscription under the library’s west window that has served as my guiding intellectual principle: “Read not to believe or contradict, but to weigh and consider.” Per this inscription, which is an abridgement of a passage by Sir Francis Bacon, we readers ought to approach knowledge as a means of enhancing our judgment and not as fodder for proclamations or discord. The generations of scholars poring over Marx, for example, should seek to observe his theories of economic determinism in the world, not immediately begin to foment a riot in the drafty reading room at Harper. The reader may contend, though, that too much weighing and considering could lead to inertia, or worse, to a total lack of conviction. The Harper inscription, however, does not tell its readers to believe in nothing, nor does it instruct them never to contradict a false claim. Instead it prescribes a way to read. The inscription warns us to use knowledge not as a rhetorical weapon, but as a tool for making balanced and informed decisions. On the cruelest days in February during my undergraduate years, when I asked myself why I had not chosen to pursue my studies someplace warmer, I would head to Harper, find a seat from which I would have a clear view of the inscription, and say to myself: “That is why.” On such a day in February, seated at a long Harper table with my coat still buttoned all the way up, I discovered how much I appreciated Carl Schmitt’s clarity and argumentation. I marveled at the way his Concept of the Political progressed incrementally, beginning at the most fundamental, linguistic level. As an anthropology student, I wrongfully assumed that, because Schmitt was often positioned in a neo-conservative tradition, I could not acknowledge him. That day in February, I took the Bacon inscription to heart, modeled its discipline, and was able to transcend that academic tribalism. I added the kernel of The Concept of the Political , Schmitt’s “friend-enemy” dichotomy, to an ever-growing array of images and ideas that I had accumulated, among them Marx’s alienation, C. S. Peirce’s indexicality, and Pierre Bourdieu’s graphical depiction of social space. This patchwork of theories and descriptive models, when weighed and considered, informs my understanding of new ideas I encounter. The academic dons who decided to place the Bacon quote under the western window intended that the idea would transcend the scholastic realm of its readers. Indeed, in my work as a financial analyst for a publicly traded company, it is often a professional touchstone. Though each day in the world of corporate finance is punctuated with deadlines and requests for instantaneous information, I am at my best as an analyst when I consider all of the data thoroughly and weigh the competing agendas. Like emulsified oil and vinegar that separate over time when left undisturbed, the right answer will emerge from among all of the wrong answers when I take the time to consider all of the possibilities. An extra hour spent analyzing an income statement can reveal even more trends than could a cursory glance. Moreover, the more I weigh and consider when I have the opportunity, the more I enhance the judgment I will need to make quick decisions and pronouncements when I do not have time.With inner vision sharpened by years of consideration, I am able to “see into the life of things,” as Wordsworth described in writing of “Tintern Abbey.” Wordsworth’s memory of the abbey provided him much-needed transcendence in moments of loneliness or boredom. The memory of the inscription under the west window at Harper—“Read not to believe or contradict, but to weigh and consider”—has a similar function. For Wordsworth, Tintern alleviated emotional anguish; for me, the Bacon inscription reaffirms a sense of intellectual purpose. The words under the window, their meaning, and the very curvature of the letters in the stone are fixed in my mind and will continue to be as I enter the life of the law. What intrigues me most about legal education is the opportunity to engage simultaneously in the two complementary processes the Harper inscription inspires in me—building a foundation of theories and descriptive models while enhancing my judgment with practice and patience.

Evan Rose

Evan Rose, '13

EDUCATION: University of Otago (New Zealand), BA in Philosophy (1999) WORK EXPERIENCE: Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass, Eurospecs Limited (NZ) LAW SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: LSA 1L Representative, BLSA, Student Admissions Committee As I tumble through the air, time seems to slow. I have fallen hard many times before, but even before I hit the ground I can tell this fall is different. I complete one and a half back flips and slam shoulders-first into the slope. As I lie on the hill, the snow jammed into the hood of my jacket begins to melt, and icy water runs down my back. I do not yet know that the impact has broken my neck. I grew up only a short drive from some of New Zealand’s best ski resorts, but my family could never afford ski vacations. My first opportunity to try snowboarding came on a trip with my university flatmate.With expectations shaped purely by the media, I left for the trip assuming snowboarding was a sport for adrenaline junkies, troublemakers, and delinquents. Much to my surprise, I instead found that it provided me with a sense of peace that defied these preconceptions. Anxiety had been a constant companion throughout much of my childhood. I had not always been this way, but years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of my stepfather had taken their toll. My once carefree demeanor had changed, leaving me fearful, panicky, and timid. On a snowboard these feelings faded into the background for the first time in years, and the difference was profound. I never truly realized the pain I had endured until riding gave me the opportunity to escape it. I sought out every possible opportunity to go riding, and through the sport I pushed the limits of both my physical and mental courage. Snowboarding became a vehicle for regaining the confidence and self-worth that had been taken from me through the injustice of abuse. Even as I began to ride competitively in boardercross racing and halfpipe, launching myself into the air over sixty-foot jumps, the sense of peace I gained during my first day on a snowboard stayed with me. It did, at least, until that April afternoon. As I lay in a hospital bed a few hours after my accident, an overwhelming sense of fear replaced any confidence that snowboarding had instilled in me. I faced the prospect of a lengthy and complicated surgery, with no certainty about the outcome. I knew my shattered vertebrae could easily leave me paralyzed. I was lucky to be alive, but any sense of luck eluded me as pain sent me in and out of consciousness. Two days later, surgeons worked for seven hours to rebuild my neck. I awoke to learn that I had escaped any serious nerve damage. However, I would need to be immobilized by a brace twenty-four hours a day, and for over three months, before I could even contemplate rehabilitation. Those months passed slowly. When I was finally able to start the process of rehabilitation, I made recovery my full-time job. I quickly learned that pain was to become the central reality of that year. The first day I could walk to my mailbox marked a significant achievement. Determined to return to full health, and even hoping to eventually return to riding, I gritted my teeth through the daily therapy sessions. At each subsequent visit, my doctor expressed his surprise at the progress of my recovery. Only twelve months after my injury, he cleared me to make a few careful runs on an easy, groomed slope. While I made it through those first few runs safely, they left me shaking with fear. Since then, I have again found joy in riding, but no amount of determination will allow me to ride the way I had before. I won’t be attempting double back flips again any time soon. Rather than focusing on my own riding, I now direct my energy into coaching. My experiences showed me the transformative power of courage and self-confidence, and taught me to build these qualities in others. At the Aspen Skiing Company, I develop and implement teaching curricula for more than two hundred snowboard instructors. My goal is for my fellow coaches to recognize that snowboarding can offer much more than just a diversion. It has the potential to have a profound and inspiring impact on their students’ lives. In the ample time my recovery allowed for reflection, I found solace in the fact that the abuse in my childhood fostered in me not bitterness, but an enduring dedication to fairness and justice. As a college student, this dedication led me to seek out classes in ethics and morality. As a manager and leader, I strive to display both courage and enduring fairness. My interest in the legal profession stems from my belief that laws represent the concrete expressions of justice and fairness in our society. After discovering the salvation it held for me, I believed that I was reliant on snowboarding. Yet, being forced to face the grueling process of rehabilitation without it allowed me to take the final step to recovery from the trauma of my childhood. I realized I am much stronger and more resilient than I had previously believed. I realized that courage is not something that snowboarding gave me but something that has always been within me. These realizations have prepared me to broaden the scope of my dedication to justice. Secure in the knowledge that the courage and determination I have shown will help shape my future success, I am now ready to take on this new challenge: the study and practice of law.  

Application Toolkit: Written Statements

On this webpage, you will find our advice and guidance for approaching the two written statements in the application.

Beginning with the application for Fall Term 2024 enrollment, we now require that all applicants submit a Statement of Purpose and a Statement of Perspective. Although it is no longer an application component, much of the advice we shared about the personal statement may still be useful to applicants as they develop their Written Statements. We have preserved that information on this toolkit for your reference.

Changes to the J.D. Application Components

Instructions

Every applicant must submit both a Statement of Purpose and a Statement of Perspective, responding to the prompts below. Each Statement must be one to two pages in length, using double-spacing, one-inch margins, and a font size that is comfortable to read (no smaller than 11 point). We expect every applicant to use at least one full page for each Statement.

Statement of Purpose : What motivates you to pursue law? How does attending law school align with your ambitions, goals, and vision for your future?

Statement of Perspective : The Admissions Committee makes every effort to understand who you are as an individual and potential Harvard Law School student and graduate. Please share how your experiences, background, and/or interests have shaped you and will shape your engagement in the HLS community and the legal profession.

Blog Advice

  • Visit the Admissions Blog
  • View All Written Statements Blog Posts

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Changes to the J.D. Program Application Components

August is here, and that means the J.D. Admissions Office is finalizing our application for the 2023–2024 cycle before it opens on September 15. One exciting change for this year: we have reworked our essay requirements and prompts.

August 4, 2023

Should you include a “why Harvard” statement in your application?

Each year at this time, we receive questions about how applicants should express interest in Harvard Law School. Include a “Why Harvard” essay? Talk about HLS in the personal statement? Maybe an addendum on this topic? The answer to all these questions is the same: no, that’s not necessary.  Let’s start with the separate “why

December 2, 2022

Overrated/Underrated Part 3

Continuing our Overrated/Underrated series, this week, we shift our focus to highlight some of the overrated approaches that we recommend applicants avoid as they craft their applications. 

November 17, 2021

Overrated/Underrated Part 1

The J.D. Admissions team recently came together to offer their thoughts on some underrated and overrated approaches that applicants might take towards their HLS application. We hope you’ll find some of these nuggets useful.

September 9, 2021

Real Talk: The Personal Statement

For our first entry in the Real Talk series, Associate Director Nefyn Meissner shares advice on approaching the personal statement.

August 6, 2020

Personal Statement Advice

The personal statement is “an opportunity to give the Admissions Committee a better sense of who you are as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Harvard Law School.” But what does that mean to us?

November 6, 2018

Podcast Advice

Navigating law school admissions with miriam & kristi.

Miriam Ingber (Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Yale Law School) and Kristi Jobson (Assistant Dean for Admissions at Harvard Law School) provide candid, accurate, and straightforward advice about law school admissions — direct from the source. They will be joined by guest stars from other law schools to discuss application timing, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and more.

  • View All Episodes

Written Statements Workshop

Our Statement Workshop provides applicants with straightforward advice on how to craft essays with a reflective activity and guiding questions to consider.

We do understand mistakes happen. You are more than welcome to upload an updated document through your status checker. We will review the new material alongside what has been previously received.

Note that when you complete your application and hit “submit”, the information contained in your application may not be altered or deleted in any way by you as an applicant or by us as an admissions team.

Yes. Reapplicants will need to submit new written statements with their application.

We ask that transfer candidates also address the reason(s) for applying for transfer enrollment. Please visit our Transfer Applications Components for more information.

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How to write a law school personal statement + examples.

law school admissions essay sample

Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 01/16/23

Law school personal statements help show admissions committees why you’re an excellent candidate. Read on to learn how to write a personal statement for law school!

Writing a law school personal statement requires time, effort, and a lot of revision. Law school statement prompts and purposes can vary slightly depending on the school. 

Their purpose could be to show your personality, describe your motivation for attending law school, explain why you want to go to a particular law school, or a mix of all three and more. This guide will help you perfect your writing with tips and law school personal statement examples.

The Best Law School Personal Statement Format

Unfortunately, there’s no universal format for a law school personal statement. Every law school has a preference (or lack thereof) on how your personal statement should be structured. We recommend always checking for personal statement directions for every school you want to apply to. 

However, many law schools ask for similar elements when it comes to personal statement formats. These are some standard formatting elements to keep in mind if your school doesn’t provide specific instructions: 

  • Typically two pages or less in length 
  • Double-spaced 
  • Use a basic, readable font style and size (11-point is the smallest you should do, although some schools may request 12-point) 
  • Margins shouldn’t be less than 1 inch unless otherwise specified 
  • Left-aligned 
  • Indent new paragraphs 
  • Don’t return twice to begin a new paragraph 
  • Law schools typically ask for a header, typically including your full name, page number, LSAC number, and the words “Personal Statement” (although there can be variations to this) 

How you format your header may be up to you; sometimes, law schools won't specify whether the header should be one line across the top or three lines. 

Personal statement format A

 This is how your header may look if you decide to keep it as one line. If you want a three-line header, it should look like this on the top-right of the page: 

Personal statement format B

 Remember, the best law school personal statement format is the one in application instructions. Ensure you follow all formatting requirements!

How to Title a Personal Statement (Law) 

You may be tempted to give your law school statement a punchy title, just like you would for an academic essay. However, the general rule is that you shouldn’t give your law school personal statement a title. 

The University of Washington states , “DON’T use quotes or give a title to your

statement.” Many other schools echo this advice. The bottom line is that although you're writing your story, your law school statement doesn't require a title. Don't add one unless the school requests it.

How to Start a Personal Statement for Law School 

Acing the beginning of your law school personal statement is essential for your narrative’s success. The introduction is your chance to captivate the admissions committee and immerse them in your story. As such, you want your writing to be interesting enough to grab their attention without purposefully going for shock value.

So how do you write a law school personal statement introduction that will garner the attention it deserves? The simplest way to get the reader involved in your story is to start with a relevant anecdote that ties in with your narrative. 

Consider the opening paragraph from Harvard Law graduate Cameron Clark’s law school personal statement : 

“At the intersection of 21st and Speedway, I lay on the open road. My leg grazed the shoulder of a young woman lying on the ground next to me. Next to her, a man on his stomach slowed his breathing to appear as still as possible. A wide circle of onlookers formed around the dozens of us on the street. We were silent and motionless, but the black-and-white signs affirmed our existence through their decree: BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

The beginning lines of this personal statement immediately draw the reader in. Why was the writer lying on the road? Why were other people there with him, and why was a man trying to slow his breathing? We're automatically inspired to keep reading to find out more information. 

That desire to keep reading is the hallmark of a masterful law school personal statement introduction. However, you don’t want to leave your reader hanging for too long. By the end of this introduction, we’re left with a partial understanding of what’s happening. 

There are other ways to start a law school personal statement that doesn't drop the reader in the middle of the action. Some writers may begin their law personal statement in other ways: 

  • Referencing a distant memory, thought, feeling, or perspective
  • Setting the scene for the opening anecdote before jumping in 
  • Providing more context on the time, place, or background 

Many openings can blend some of these with detailed, vivid imagery. Here's a law school personal statement opening that worked at the UChicago Law : 

“I fell in love for the first time when I was four. That was the year my mother signed me up for piano lessons. I can still remember touching those bright, ivory keys with reverence, feeling happy and excited that soon I would be playing those tinkling, familiar melodies (which my mother played every day on our boombox) myself.”

This opening blends referencing a distant memory and feeling mixed with vivid imagery that paints a picture in the reader's head. Keep in mind that different openers can work better than others, depending on the law school prompt. 

To recap, consider these elements as you write your law school personal statement’s introduction: 

  • Aim for an attention-grabbing hook 
  • Don’t purposefully aim for shock value: it can sometimes seem unauthentic 
  • Use adjectives and imagery to paint a scene for your reader 
  • Identify which opening method works best for the law school prompt and your story
  • Don’t leave the reader hanging for too long to find out what your narrative is about
  • Be concise 

Writing a law school personal statement introduction can be difficult, but these examples and tips can get your writing the attention it deserves.

How to Write a Law School Personal Statement

Now that you’re equipped with great advice and tips to start your law school statement, it’s time to tackle the body of your essay. These tips will show you how to write a personal statement for law school to captivate the admissions committee. 

Tips for writing a law school personal statement

Understand the Prompt

While many law schools have similar personal statement prompts, you should carefully examine what's being asked of you before diving in. Consider these top law school personal statement prompts to see what we mean: 

  • Yale Law School : “The personal statement should help us learn about the personal, professional, and/or academic qualities an applicant would bring to the Law School community. Applicants often submit the personal statement they have prepared for other law school applications.”
  • University of Chicago Law : “Our application does not provide a specific topic or question for the personal statement because you are the best judge of what you should write. Write about something personal, relevant, and completely individual to you.”
  • NYU Law : “Because people and their interests vary, we leave the content and length of your statement to your discretion. You may wish to complete or clarify your responses to items on the application form, bring to our attention additional information you feel should be considered, describe important or unusual aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent in your application, or tell us what led you to apply to NYU School of Law.”

Like all law personal statements, these three prompts are pretty open-ended. However, your Yale personal statement should focus on how you’d contribute to a law school community through professional and academic experience and qualities. 

For UChicago Law, you don’t even need to write about a law-related topic if you don’t want to. However, when it comes to a school like NYU Law , you probably want to mix your qualities, experiences, and what led you to apply. 

Differing prompts are the reason you’ll need to create multiple copies of your personal statement! 

Follow Formatting Directions 

Pay extra attention to each school's formatting directions. While we've discussed basic guidelines for law school personal statement formats, it's essential to check if there is anything different you need to do. 

While working on your rough drafts, copy and paste the prompt and directions at the top of the page, so you don't forget. 

Brainstorm Narratives/Anecdotes Based on the Prompt

You may have more wiggle room with some prompts than others regarding content. However, asking yourself these questions can generally help you direct your personal statement for any law school: 

  • What major personal challenges or recent hardships have you faced? 
  • What was one transformative event that impacted your life’s course or perspective? 
  • What are your hobbies or special interests? 
  • What achievements are you most proud of that aren’t stated in your application? 
  • What experience or event changed your values or way of thinking? 
  • What’s something you’re passionate about that you got involved in? What was the result of your passion? 
  • How did your distinct upbringing, background, or culture put you on the path to law school? 
  • What personal or professional experiences show who you are? 

Keep in mind that this isn't an exhaustive list. Consider your personal and professional experiences that have brought you to this point, and determine which answers would make the most compelling story. 

Pettit College of Law recommends you "go through your transcripts, application, and resume. Are there any gaps or missing details that your personal statement could cover?” If you've listed something on your resume that isn't further discussed, it could make a potential personal statement topic. 

Do More Than Recount: Reflect

Recounting an event in a summarized way is only one piece of your law school personal statement. Even if you’re telling an outlandish or objectively interesting story, stopping there doesn’t show admissions committees what they need to know to judge your candidacy. 

The University of Washington suggests that “describing the event should only be about 1/3 of your essay. The rest should be a reflection on how it changed you and how it shaped the person you are today. ” Don’t get stuck in the tangible details of your anecdote; show what the experience meant to you. 

Beth O'Neil , Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at UC Berkeley School of Law , said, " Applicants also tend to state and not evaluate. They give a recitation of their experience but no evaluation of what effect that particular experience had on them, no assessment of what certain experiences or honors meant." 

Consider What Qualities You Want to Show

No matter what direction you want to take your law school personal statement, you should consider which qualities your narrative puts on display. Weaving your good character into your essay can be difficult. Outwardly claiming, "I'm a great leader!" doesn't add much value. 

However, telling a story about a time you rose to the occasion to lead a group successfully toward a common goal shows strong leadership. "Show, don't tell" may be an overused statement, but it's a popular sentiment for a reason. 

Of course, leadership ability isn't the only quality admissions committees seek. Consider the qualities you possess and those you'd expect to find in a great lawyer, and check to see the overlap. Some qualities you could show include: 

  • Intelligence 
  • Persuasiveness 
  • Compassion 
  • Professionalism 

Evaluate the anecdotes you chose after your brainstorming session and see if any of these qualities or others align with your narrative. 

Keep Your Writing Concise

Learning how to write a personal statement for law school means understanding how to write for concision. Most prompts won't have a word limit but ask you to cap your story at two pages, double-spaced. Unfortunately, that's not a lot of space to work with. 

Although your writing should be compelling and vibrant, do your best to avoid flowery language and long, complicated sentences where they’re not needed. Writing for concision means eliminating unnecessary words, cutting down sentences, and getting the point quickly.  

Georgetown University’s take on law school personal statements is to “Keep it simple and brief. Big words do not denote big minds, just big egos.” A straightforward narrative means your reader is much less likely to be confused or get lost in your story (in the wrong way). 

Decide the Depth and Scope of Your Statement 

Since you only have two (or even three) pages to get your point across, you must consider the depth and scope of your narrative. While you don’t want to provide too little information, remember that you don’t have the room to summarize your entire life story (and you don’t have to do that anyway). 

UChicago Law’s advice is to “Use your discretion - we know you have to make a choice and have limited space. Attempting to cover too much material can result in an unfocused and scattered personal statement.” Keep the depth and scope of your narrative manageable. 

Ensure It’s Personal Enough 

UChicago Law states, "If someone else could write your personal statement, it probably is not personal enough." This doesn't mean that you must pick the most grandiose, shocking narrative to make an impact or that you can't write about something many others have probably experienced. 

Getting personal means only you can write that statement; other people may be able to relate to an experience, but your reflection, thoughts, feelings, and reactions are your own. UChicago Law sees applicants fall into this pitfall by writing about a social issue or area of law, so tread these topics carefully.

Mix the Past and Present, Present and Future, Or All Three 

Harvard Law School’s Associate Director Nefyn Meissner said your personal statement should “tell us something about who you are, where you’ve been, and where you want to go.” 

Echoing this, Jon Perdue , Yale Law School's Director of Recruiting and Diversity Initiatives, states that the three most common approaches to the Yale Law School personal statement are focusing on: 

  • The past : discussing your identity and background 
  • The present : focusing on your current work, activities, and interests 
  • The future : the type of law you want to pursue and your ideal career path 

Perdue said that truly stellar personal statements have a sense of “movement” and touch on all or two of these topics. 

What does this mean for you? While writing your law school personal statement, don’t be afraid to touch on your past, present, and future. However, remember not to take on too much content! 

Keep the Focus On You 

This is a common pitfall that students fall into while writing a law school personal statement. UChicago Law cites that this is a common mistake applicants make when they write at length about: 

  • A family member who inspired them or their family history 
  • Stories about others 
  • Social or legal issues 

Even if someone like your grandmother had a profound impact on your decision to pursue law, remember that you’re the star of the show. Meissner said , “Should you talk about your grandmother? Only if doing so helps make the case for us to admit you. Otherwise, we might end up wanting to admit your grandmother.”

Don’t let historical figures, your family, or anyone else steal your spotlight. 

Decide If You Need to Answer: Why Law? 

Writing about why you want to attend law school in general or a school in particular depends on the prompt. Some schools welcome the insight, while others (like Harvard Law) don't. Meissner said, “Should you mention you want to come to HLS? We already assume that if you’re applying.”

However, Perdue said your law school personal statement for Yale should answer three questions: 

  • Why law school?

Some schools may invite you to discuss your motivation to apply to law school or what particular elements of the school inspired you to apply. 

Don’t List Qualifications or Rehash Your Resume 

Your personal statement should flow like a story, with an identifiable beginning, middle, and end. Simply firing off your honors and awards, or summarizing the experiences on your resume, doesn’t tell the admissions committee anything new about you. 

Your personal statement is your opportunity to show how your unique experiences shaped you, your qualities, and the person you are behind your LSAT scores and GPA. Think about how you can show who you are at your core. 

Avoid Legalese, Jargon, And Sophisticated Terms 

The best law school personal statements are written in straightforward English and don't use overly academic, technical, or literary words. UChicago Law recommends avoiding legalese or Latin terms since the "risk you are incorrectly using them is just too high." 

Weaving together intricate sentence structures with words you pulled out of a thesaurus won’t make your personal statement a one-way ticket to acceptance. Be clear, straightforward, and to the point. 

Don’t Put Famous Quotes In Your Writing 

Beginning your law school personal statement with a quote is not only cliche but takes the focus off of you. It also eats up precious space you could fill with your voice. 

Revise, Revise, Revise 

Even the most talented writers never submit a perfect first draft. You'll need to do a lot of revisions before your personal statement is ready for submission. This is especially true because you'll write different versions for different law schools; these iterations must be edited to perfection. 

Ensure you have enough time to make all the edits and improvements you need before you plan to submit your application. Although most law schools have rolling admissions, submitting a perfected application as soon as possible is always in your best interest. 

Have an Admission Consultant Review Your Hard Work 

Reviewing so many personal statements by yourself is a lot of work, and most writing can always benefit from a fresh perspective. Consider seeking a law school admissions consultant’s help to edit your personal statements to perfection and maximize your chances of acceptance at your dream school!

How to End Your Personal Statement for Law School 

Law school personal statement conclusions are just as open-ended as your introductions. There are a few options for ending a personal statement depending on the prompt you’re writing for:

Law school conclusion strategies

Some of these methods can overlap with each other. However, there are two more things you should always consider when you're ready to wrap up your story: the tone you're leaving on and how you can make your writing fit with your narrative's common thread. 

You should never want to leave your reader on a low note, even if you wrote about something that isn’t necessarily happy. You should strive to end your personal statement with a tone that’s hopeful, happy, confident, or some other positive feeling. 

Your last sentences should also give the impression of finality; your reader should understand that you’re wrapping up and not be left wondering where the rest of your statement is. 

So, what's the common thread? This just means that your narrative sticks to the overarching theme or event you portrayed at the beginning of your writing. Bringing your writing full circle makes a more satisfying conclusion.

Personal Statement for Law School Conclusion Examples

Evaluating law school personal statement conclusions can help you see what direction authors decided to take with their writing. Let’s circle back to the sample personal statement openings for law school and examine their respective conclusions. The first example explains the applicant’s motivation to attend Harvard Law. 

Sample Personal Statement for Law School Conclusion #1

“…Attorneys and legal scholars have paved the way for some of the greatest civil rights victories for women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and (people living with disabilities). At Harvard Law School, I will prepare to join their ranks by studying with the nation's leading legal scholars. For the past months, I have followed Harvard Law School student responses to the events in Ferguson and New York City. I am eager to join a law school community that shares my passion for using the law to achieve real progress for victims of discrimination. With an extensive history of advocacy for society's most marginalized groups, I believe Harvard Law School will thoroughly train me to support and empower communities in need. 
Our act of civil disobedience that December day ended when the Tower’s bells rang out in two bars, hearkening half-past noon. As we stood up and gathered our belongings, we broke our silence to remind everyone of a most basic truth: Black lives matter.”  

What Makes This Conclusion Effective 

Although Harvard Law School states there's no need to explain why you want to apply, this law school statement is from an HLS graduate, and we can assume this was written before the advice changed. 

In his conclusion, he relates and aligns his values with Harvard Law School and how joining the community will help him fulfill his mission to empower communities in need. The last paragraph circles back to the anecdote described in his introduction, neatly wrapping up the event and signaling a natural end to his story. 

This author used these strategies: the motivation to attend a specific law school, stating his mission, and subtly reiterating what his acceptance would bring to the school. The next example conclusion worked at UChicago Law: 

Sample Personal Statement for Law School Conclusion #2

“Songs can be rewritten and reinterpreted as situation permits, but missteps are obvious because the fundamental laws of music and harmony do not change.
Although my formal music education ended when I entered college, the lessons I have learned over the years have remained close and relevant to my life. I have acquired a lifestyle of discipline and internalized the drive for self-improvement. I have gained an appreciation for the complexities and the subtleties of interpretation. I understand the importance of having both a sound foundation and a dedication to constant study. I understand that to possess a passion and personal interest in something, to think for myself is just as important.”

What Made This Conclusion Effective

This law school personal statement was successful at UChicago Law. Although the writing has seemingly nothing to do with law or the author's capability to become a great lawyer, the author has effectively used the "show, don't tell" advice. 

The last paragraph implements the focus on qualities or skills strategy. Although related to music, the qualities they describe that a formal music education taught her mesh with the qualities of a successful lawyer: 

  • A drive for self-improvement 
  • The ability to interpret information 
  • The ability to learn consistently 
  • The ability to think for herself 

Overall, this essay does an excellent job of uncovering her personality and relating to the opening paragraph, where she describes how she fell in love with music.

2 Law School Personal Statement Examples From Admitted Students

These are two law school personal statement examples that worked. We'll review the excerpts below and describe what made them effective and if there's room for improvement. 

Law School Personal Statement Example #1

This is an excerpt of a law personal statement that worked at UChicago Law : 

“The turning point of my college football career came early in my third year. At the end of the second practice of the season, in ninety-five-degree heat, our head coach decided to condition the entire team. Sharp, excruciating pain shot down my legs as he summoned us repeatedly to the line to run wind sprints. I collapsed as I turned the corner on the final sprint. Muscle spasms spread throughout my body, and I briefly passed out. Severely dehydrated, I was rushed to the hospital and quickly given more than three liters of fluids intravenously. As I rested in a hospital recovery room, I realized my collapse on the field symbolized broader frustrations I felt playing college football.
I was mentally and physically defeated. In South Dakota, I was a dominant football player in high school, but at the Division I level, my talent was less conspicuous. In my first three years, I was convinced that obsessively training my body to run faster and be stronger would earn me a starting position. The conditioning drill that afternoon revealed the futility of my approach. I had thrust my energies into becoming a player I could never be. As a result, I lost confidence in my identity.
I considered other aspects of my life where my intellect, work ethic, and determination had produced positive results. I chose to study economics and English because processing abstract concepts and ideas in diverse disciplines were intuitively rewarding…Gathering data, reviewing previous literature, and ultimately offering my own contribution to economic knowledge was exhilarating. Indeed, undergraduate research affirmed my desire to attend law school, where I could more thoroughly satisfy my intellectual curiosity…My efforts generated high marks and praise from professors, but this success made my disappointment with football more pronounced.
The challenge of collegiate athletics felt insurmountable. However, I reminded myself that at the Division I level, I was able to compete with and against some of the best players in the country…After the hospital visit, my football position coach—sensing my mounting frustrations—offered some advice. Instead of devoting my energies almost exclusively to physical preparation, he said, I should approach college football with the same mental focus I brought to my academic studies. I began to devour scouting reports and to analyze the complex reasoning behind defensive philosophies and schemes. I studied film and discovered ways to anticipate plays from the offense and become a more effective player. Armed with renewed confidence, I finally earned a starting position in the beginning of my fourth year…
‍ I had received the highest grade on the team. After three years of A’s in the classroom, I finally earned my first ‘A’ in football. I used mental preparation to maintain my competitive edge for the rest of the season. Through a combination of film study and will power, I led my team and conference in tackles…The most rewarding part of the season, though, was what I learned about myself in the process. When I finally stopped struggling to become the player I thought I needed to be, I developed self-awareness and confidence in the person I was.
The image of me writhing in pain on the practice field sometimes slips back into my thoughts as I decide where to apply to law school. College football taught me to recognize my weaknesses and look for ways to overcome them. I will enter law school a much stronger person and student because of my experiences on the football field and in the classroom. My decision where to attend law school mirrors my decision where to play college football. I want to study law at the University of Chicago Law School because it provides the best combination of professors, students, and resources in the country. In Division I college football, I succeeded when I took advantage of my opportunities. I hope the University of Chicago will give me an opportunity to succeed again.”

Why This Personal Statement Example Worked

The beginning of this personal statement includes vivid imagery and sets up a relevant anecdote for the reader; the writer’s injury while playing football. At the end of the introduction, he sets up a fantastic transition about his broader frustrations, compelling us to keep reading. 

The essay's body shows the writer's vulnerability, making it even more personal; it can be challenging to talk about feelings, like losing your confidence, but it can help us relate to him. 

The author sets up a transition to writing more about his academic ability, his eventual leadership role on the team, and developing the necessary qualities of a well-rounded lawyer: self-awareness and confidence. 

Finally, the author rounds out his statement by circling back to his opening anecdote and showing the progress he’s made from there. He also describes why UChicago Law is the right school for him. To summarize, the author expertly handled: 

  • Opening with a descriptive anecdote that doesn’t leave the reader hanging for too long 
  • Being vulnerable in such a way that no one else could have written this statement 
  • Doing more than recounting an event but reflecting on it 
  • Although he introduced his coach's advice, he kept himself the focal point of the story 
  • He picked a focused event; the writer didn’t try to tackle too much content 
  • His conclusion references his introduction, signalling the natural end of the story 
  • The ending also reaffirms his passion for pursuing law, particularly at UChicago Law 

Law School Personal Statement Example #2 

This law school personal statement excerpt led to acceptance at Boston University Law. 

“She sat opposite me at my desk to fill out a few forms. Fumbling her hands and laughing uncomfortably, it was obvious that she was nervous. Sandra was eighteen, and her knowledge of English was limited to “yes” and “hello.” While translating the initial meeting between Sandra and her attorney, I learned of her reasons for leaving El Salvador. She had been in an abusive relationship, and though she wasn’t ready to go into detail just yet, it was clear from the conversation that her boyfriend had terrorized her and that the El Salvadoran police were of no help…Eventually, Sandra was given a credible fear interview. The interviewer believed that she had a real fear of returning to El Salvador, and Sandra was released from detention with an Immigration Court hearing notice in her hand. She had just retained our office to present her asylum case to the Immigration Judge.
I tried to imagine myself in Sandra’s shoes. She hadn’t finished high school, was in a completely new environment, and had almost no understanding of how things worked in the US. Even the harsh New England winter must have seemed unnatural to her. Having lived abroad for a couple of years, I could relate on some level; however, the circumstances of my stay overseas were completely different. I went to Spain after graduating from college to work in an elementary school, improve my Spanish skills, and see a bit of the world…I had to ask hundreds of questions and usually make a few attempts before actually accomplishing my goal. Frustrating though it was, I didn’t have so much riding on each of these endeavors. If I didn’t have all the necessary paperwork to open a bank account one day, I could just try again the next day. Sandra won’t be afforded the same flexibility in her immigration process, where so much depends on the ability to abide by inflexible deadlines and procedures. Without someone to guide her through the process, ensuring that all requirements are met, and presenting her case as persuasively as possible, Sandra will have little chance of achieving legal status in the United States…
Before starting at my current position at Joyce & Associates, an immigration law firm in Boston, I had long considered a career in law. Growing up, I was engaged by family and school debates about public policy and government. In college, I found my constitutional law courses challenging and exciting. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until I began working with clients like Sandra that I became convinced that a career in law is the right choice for me. Playing my part as a legal assistant in various immigration cases, I have been able to witness how a career in immigration advocacy is both intellectually stimulating and personally fulfilling. I have seen the importance of well-articulated arguments and even creativity in arguing a client’s eligibility for an immigration benefit. I have learned that I excel in critical thinking and in examining detail, as I continually consider the consistency and possible implications of any documents that clients provide in support of their application. But most importantly, I have realized how deserving many of these immigrants are. Many of the clients I work with are among the most hardworking and patriotic people I have encountered…
‍ I am equally confident that I would thrive as a student at Boston University, where I would be sure to take full advantage of the many opportunities available. The school’s Asylum and Human Rights Clinic and Immigration Detention Clinic would offer me invaluable experiences in various immigration settings…Given my experiences in an immigration firm, I know that I would have much to offer while participating in these programs, but even more to learn. And while I find BU’s immigration programs to be especially appealing, I am equally drawn to the Boston University experience as a whole…I hope to have the opportunity to face those challenges and to contribute my own experiences and drive to the Boston University community.”

This statement makes excellent use of opening with an experience that sets the writer's motivation to attend law school in motion. We're introduced to another person in the story in the introduction, before the author swivels and transitions to how she'd imagine herself in Sandra's shoes. 

This transition shows empathy, and although the author could relate to her client's struggles on a more superficial level, she understood the gravity of her situation and the hardships that awaited her. 

The author backpedals to show how she's cultivated an interest in law in college and explored this interest to know it's the right choice for her. The conclusion does an excellent job of referencing exactly how BU Law will help her achieve her mission. To recap, this personal statement was effective because: 

  • She started her personal statement with a story 
  • Although the writer focuses on an event with another person, she moves the focus back to her 
  • The author’s statement shows qualities like empathy, compassion, and critical thinking without explicitly stating it 
  • She connects her experiences to her motivation to attend law school 
  • This statement has movement: it references the author’s past, present, and future 
  • She ends her statement by explaining in detail why BU Law is the right school for her 

Although this personal statement worked, circling back to the opening anecdote in the conclusion, even with a brief sentence, would have made the conclusion more impactful and fortified the common thread of her narrative.

How to Write Personal Statement For Law School: FAQs

Do you still have questions about how to write a personal statement for law school? Read on to learn more. 

1. What Makes a Good Personal Statement for Law School? 

Generally, an excellent personal statement tells a relevant story, showcases your best qualities, is personal, and creatively answers the prompt. Depending on the prompt, a good personal statement may describe your motivation to attend law school or why a school, in particular, is perfect for you. 

2. Should I Write a Separate Personal Statement for Each School? 

Depending on the prompts, you may be able to submit the same or similar law school personal statements to different schools. However, you’ll likely need more than one version of your statement to apply to different schools. Generally, students will write a few versions of their statements to meet personal statement instructions. 

3. How Long Should My Law School Personal Statement Be? 

Law school personal statement length requirements vary by school, but you can generally expect to write approximately two pages, double-spaced. 

4. What Should You Not Put In a Law School Personal Statement? 

Your law school personal statement shouldn’t include famous quotes, overly sophisticated language, statements that may offend others, and unhelpful or inappropriate information about yourself. 

5. What Do I Write My Law School Personal Statement About? 

The answer depends on the prompt you need to answer. Consider your experiences and decide which are impactful, uncover your personality, show your motivation to attend law school, or show your impressive character traits. 

6. Does the Personal Statement Really Matter for Law School? 

Top LSAT scores and high GPAs may not be enough, especially at the T-14 law schools. Due to the high level of competition, you should take advantage of your personal statement to show why you’re an excellent candidate. So yes, they do matter.

Writing A Law School Personal Statement is Easy With Juris

Writing a personal statement can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. Juris Education is committed to helping you learn how to write a law school personal statement with ease. We help future law school students develop their narratives, evaluate writing to ensure it’s in line with what law schools expect, and edit statements to perfection. 

A stellar law school personal statement helps you stand out and can help you take that last step to attending the law school of your dreams.

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ChatGPT, Law School Application Personal Statements, and the LSAT Writing Sample

By Troy Lowry

Worries about ChatGPT being used to write law school personal statements are growing. This generative AI program can easily craft high-quality personal statements, leading some schools to be concerned. Should they be?

Law school applicants have often sought help with their personal statements, and an industry has even grown from this need, with some consultants charging thousands of dollars per applicant. Some argue that ChatGPT and other generative AIs might simply level the playing field, aiding those who can’t afford these high-priced consultants.

In the end, efforts to stop applicants from using ChatGPT might prove futile. The same difficulties that make preventing applicants from using consultants nearly impossible — such as the challenge of determining if the writing is truly original — will likely make it extremely tough for schools to stop the use of AI like ChatGPT.

What Does “Using ChatGPT” Mean Anyway?

The question of how to define ChatGPT usage is riddled with complexity and ambiguity. Having ChatGPT write an entire personal statement, including fabricating facts, is clearly unethical. Yet a survey by Best Colleges revealed that 20% of respondents don’t believe that “using AI tools to complete assignments and exams constitutes cheating or plagiarism.”

Are one-in-five students sincerely convinced that submitting work generated by ChatGPT is permissible? Does this statistic suggest that one-in-five prospective lawyers are so unscrupulous as to claim someone else’s work as their own?

I believe that the issue is more nuanced, and the question itself is too broad.

ChatGPT’s functionality is vast. It can not only draft an entire personal statement but also:

  • Generate a range of ideas suitable for your personal statement
  • Evaluate a list of ideas you’ve created, highlighting the strongest ones
  • Analyze your personal statement and suggest improvements
  • Identify logical inconsistencies in the personal statement
  • Proofread the personal statement, correcting punctuation and grammar errors

While preparing this blog post, I inquired of ChatGPT how it might assist me, aside from writing my personal statement. The AI suggested it could aid applicants in understanding their own motivations for pursuing legal studies and identifying long-term goals, forming a robust foundation for the personal statement. Anything that helps people understand their own motivations, even a computer program, counts as a benefit in my book.

To many, these uses of ChatGPT seem entirely reasonable. If friends can review your personal statement and provide feedback, why not employ ChatGPT? While a (hopefully extremely small) segment of the applicant population is unethical, the majority of the one-in-five respondents who disagreed with the statement about ChatGPT and cheating likely have a more nuanced understanding of the tool. They recognize legitimate uses that most would not consider dishonest.

However, what if a law school decided to ban all use of ChatGPT for personal statements? Would they be able to tell who used ChatGPT?

Can ChatGPT-Generated Content Be Detected?

Many products in today’s competitive market profess the ability to detect whether text was written by ChatGPT. My personal exploration of these tools has yielded results that are unreliable.

On the positive side, they were quite proficient at identifying texts generated by ChatGPT without alterations, marking them with a high rate of accuracy.

Curiosity led me to task ChatGPT with mimicking particular styles, such as those of Maya Angelou, Ernest Hemingway, and Yosemite Sam. Surprisingly, most of the detection products maintained a high rate of accuracy.

However, a comprehensive test should not only flag texts authored by ChatGPT but also accurately identify those that were NOT. I found myself scandalized when one tool repeatedly and erroneously identified my own work as likely written by ChatGPT. While I admit my writing may not be flawless, I like to believe it’s far from robotic! (Of course, the ultimate judgment lies with you, the reader.)

Taking the experiment further, I used a process known as fine-tuning , in which I trained ChatGPT with 100 paragraphs of my writing style. After running it through the training, I instructed ChatGPT to “write like Troy” for a law school personal statement. The result? A well-crafted statement that evaded all ChatGPT detectors. This process required significant expertise, work, and some expense, so it’s unlikely the average applicant would endure such an ordeal. But tools are already appearing on the web to do similar training at less cost and with no expertise in generative AI needed.

This experiment revealed a crucial insight: the development of AI tools is accelerating at a pace that outstrips the advancement of detection tools.

Ultimately, I halted my testing prior to completing the entire planned examination. While the majority of results were correct, the inconsistency was alarming. I grew concerned that even one false positive could lead to unwarranted consequences.

I pondered ways to render this technology useful for law school decision-making. LSAC prides itself on being the “gold standard” and only delivering to schools products used to evaluate applicants that we can verify are of the highest quality. While they have their uses, these detection tools did not appear to meet that high standard.

Then I came across an article detailing how OpenAI had discontinued their product designed to detect AI-written text, citing “low accuracy.” If even the experts behind ChatGPT can’t reliably discern what was written by their creation, then the possibility that anyone else can seems a distant hope. It seems to me that the implications of this realization extend beyond mere curiosity, touching on broader questions about the evolving relationship between technology and authenticity.

LSAC’s Writing Sample: A Proctored Way to See How the Applicant Writes

All is not lost in this quest for authenticity, however! As part of the LSAT, every applicant is required to complete the LSAT Writing sample. This unscored essay, given under timed, proctored conditions, presents an ideal opportunity to assess an applicant’s writing ability.

Recognizing the inherent value of the LSAT Writing sample in assessing an applicant’s writing skill, I became intrigued at how AI might further contribute to this assessment. Could the power of artificial intelligence be harnessed to compare and contrast different writing samples? This sparked an experiment using ChatGPT’s ability to evaluate the authenticity of authorship between two different pieces of writing.

ChatGPT can take two pieces of writing, compare them, and give a confidence level as to whether they were written by the same author. As an interesting bit of research, I used this method to compare personal statements and writing samples from the same author and from different authors to see if AI could accurately tell the ones written by the same author.

The results? Not so hot. One major issue is that these are written under very different conditions. The LSAT Writing sample demands quick thinking within a 35-minute timeframe, requiring the applicant to read a prompt and then rapidly organize and articulate their thoughts. Conversely, the personal statement is typically crafted over weeks or even months and often undergoes numerous revisions.

Moreover, the tone between these two pieces is strikingly different, with the personal statement being intimate and reflective, while the writing sample is a more detached and analytical argument.

Despite these challenges, the AI managed to predict correctly better than two-thirds of the time whether the author was the same or not and provided reasons to support its predictions.

However, while impressive, this is not good enough when evaluating applicants. Both law schools and applicants depend on our products to be extremely precise. Mere “impressive” falls short when stakes as high as admissions are in play. Consequently, while this was an enlightening experiment and the insights may contribute to the development of future products, the technology is not yet accurate enough to be integrated into LSAC’s current offerings. This experience serves as a sobering reminder that even the most advanced AI tools must be approached with caution and clear understanding of their limitations.

Conclusion: Might the Carrot Work Better Than the Stick?

As we’ve seen, ChatGPT can be utilized in various ways, some more controversial than others. The reliability of detecting items penned by ChatGPT, without mistakenly identifying an applicant’s work as machine-generated, remains dubious. Even a detection system that is 100% accurate today could soon be rendered obsolete by the rapid advancements in AI, making it unreliable.

In short, a complete ban of ChatGPT would be challenging to enforce and justify.

Might schools find more success with a different approach instead of attempting to ban ChatGPT? They could state that while applicants are free to use ChatGPT or other generative AI, personal statements written without such assistance tend to feel more authentic, and this authenticity could influence admissions decisions.

Applicants, always eager for an edge, would then have a compelling reason to use their own voice. This approach not only offers a practical solution but also has the advantage of being true.  

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Troy Lowry is senior vice president of technology products, chief information officer, and chief information security officer at the Law School Admission Council. He earned his BA from Northeastern University and his MBA from New York University.

I Got a Full-Ride to Law School Using This Personal Statement

Jack Duffley

Law school admissions certainly are intimidating, especially when it comes to the rather daunting task of writing a personal statement with no real prompt. Generally, law schools will ask for no more than two pages of basically whatever you would like to talk about.

However, there are a few well-established principles for writing a successful personal statement. Here are 4 principles, along with my own personal statement, to help you hit a home run:

The personal statement should only drive your application forward. If it is holding it back in any way, it is not ready.

Your personal statement should explain your interest or purpose for studying the law.

This does not have to be the backbone of the entire piece, but it should be at least mentioned somewhere. It should also avoid legal jargon and should not be some sort of showcase for legal knowledge. It also should not be a regurgitation of your resume. The committee will already have your resume, so the personal statement serves as a supplement to it.

Spend the time making your personal statement better.

To get a competitive offer from whichever law school you may be applying to, it all starts with a good application package. The admissions committee is going to want to see a good LSAT score , a strong GPA, some recommendations, and a well-written personal statement. That much is clear. Your personal statement may never feel like it is just right, but it can only become better with consistent time and effort spent drafting it again and again.

Research examples of well-written personal statements.

To get some ideas about what a good personal statement could look like, I did a preliminary search to read a few successful ones. The University of Chicago had a few essays posted on  their site  from admitted students that gave me a good point of reference. Although there is tremendous flexibility in writing the personal statement, it should not be so wacky as to discourage the admissions committee in your abilities as a writer or in your seriousness about attending law school.

Take advantage of the resources around you to make your statement the best.

For my statement, I went through a couple of potential concepts and decided to do one on my life’s motto. And, no, it was not some cliché that I pretended was my motto; I picked words that I truly lived by and continue to live by to this day. I spent many hours writing and rewriting my personal statement. Thankfully, I had the invaluable help of my roommate, who is a strong writer himself, and he gave me useful feedback on many of my drafts (I promised him a nice dinner if I ended up getting admitted with a full-ride to somewhere). When I got close to a final draft, I took it to my school’s writer’s workshop to have someone I had never met before read it aloud. It allowed me to hear where someone might misunderstand something so that I could make changes accordingly for the final product.

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Beginning in the spring, picking up in September, accelerating further in October, and finishing in November when I sent my applications out, the whole process produced something that I thought gave me a very strong shot at success. So here it is. Enjoy:

“Ball: outside!” declared the umpire.

“Come on now! Get ahead, stay ahead, kid!” demanded my coach.

I checked the sign: fastball. That pitch was just not there; I shook my head no. My catcher gave me the next sign: curveball. Yes, the get-me-over-curve, my signature pitch. I stepped back to begin my windup.

“Steeeeeriiike! One and one,” the umpire grunted.

“That’s the way, Duff! Just like that!” my coach exclaimed.

My catcher fired that ball back to me. I toed the rubber and focused on his signs: he flashed two fingers and motioned to the right—curveball, outside. I nodded affirmatively. He and I were on the same page. I began my windup again, picked up the leg, and spun my big overhand curve to the plate.

“Two! One and two.” The batter stood motionless as he watched my back door hook clip the outer edge of the strike zone.

“One more now, Duff! Come on, kid!”

The pitch count, or the current amount of balls and strikes in a given at bat, is perhaps the most impactful construct of baseball. After every pitch, the umpire declares it to be a ball or strike, subsequently adding it to the count. If the batter reaches four balls, he earns a walk, or a free pass to first base; if he gets three strikes, the batter is out. The batter’s goal is to reach a base before three strikes. The pitcher does everything that he can to stop that.

As I got the ball back, I knew I was in the driver’s seat. The batter was at a tremendous disadvantage and would have to react to my pitches on two strikes rather than just being able to lock in on one. I leaned in for the sign: one finger, right, up—fastball, high and outside. I liked it. Even though it was not my best pitch that day, I understood that I could still use it effectively to keep batters off balance since I was ahead. I stepped back into the windup and let the pitch fly.

The batter flailed at the pitch. “Three!” shouted the umpire, raising his fist in the air to call him out. He was sitting on the big, slow curveball and not the fastball, but he could not be selective because he was down in the count. On to the next one.

“Atta kid! That’s what happens when you get ahead!”

Get ahead, stay ahead.

While my organized baseball playing days may be over, that fundamental is still strong. A picture of all-star pitcher Max Scherzer hurling a baseball towards the plate sits above my desk with that same motto in bolded letters:  Get Ahead, Stay Ahead .

What does getting ahead provide? For one, it gives the peace of mind that comes with flexibility; there’s room to react in case something goes off course. In baseball, it gives the pitcher more room to work within the count because he has more options when the batter must play defensively. In short, he can do what he wants. One of the key differences between baseball and life, however, is that baseball has a simple, predetermined goal: score more runs than the other team! Life, on the other hand, allows for enormous flexibility in choosing a goal. Rather than be content with the usual four-year bachelor’s track, I pushed forward as hard as I could to graduate in three years. Many people are surprised when I tell them about my efforts to graduate early; they often wonder why I chose to accelerate my education. I usually explain that it saved me a significant amount of money while expanding my room for error. Most importantly, I tell them, by efficiently reorganizing my schedule, getting ahead actually  gave  me time to think.

The most successful people throughout history have all had an overarching goal, no matter how grand; with the time from getting ahead, I chose mine. Andrew Carnegie sought to provide affordable steel, Henry Ford wanted to create a universal automobile, and Elon Musk aims to put a city on Mars. After seeing their success, I think about how I can do the same. Simply put, I want to be a leader in sustainable real estate. More specifically, I want to make green living universal. Whenever I get the same surprised looks from this claim as when I tell someone that I am graduating early, I clarify that there are already some pioneers designing revolutionary apartments with trees planted on all of their floors, working to clean the air in polluted cities. Stefano Boeri, for example, has designed a thirty-six-floor building covered with trees on terraces jutting out from its sides, dubbed the “Tower of Cedars.” I want to take this premise further: my mission is to expand clean living to all, not just the elite who can afford it. The law is one of the most important tools that I will need to achieve this. The complexities of environmental and real estate law will be major challenges. Regardless, to lead the industry, I must get ahead. When I start my business, I will reflect on my experience in running the Trial Team as its president, the perspective on efficient business systems that I gained with American Hotel Register, and the tips that the CEO of Regency Multifamily shared with me for optimally running a large real estate firm, among many other things. But I will always be looking forward. While history shows that there are answers in the past, only the future knows them. Thankfully, controlling the present by getting ahead can make the future that much more certain.

I stepped back into the windup, again. As I drove off the rubber towards the plate, I extended out as far as I could to get as much control and power as possible. The big hook landed firmly over the outer third of the plate, right into my catcher’s mitt with a solid  phwump .

“Steeeeeriiike! Oh-and-one.”

“Atta kid!” My coach was elated to see my pitch command this inning.

Are you inspired to get ahead? Don’t you just feel a sudden urge to admit me into your program? Well thankfully, it made an impression on someone. I did my best to show my ambitions while showing a bit of my personality. The greatest risk that I took was that some of the baseball jargon may have been hard to understand for someone unfamiliar with the sport, but I made sure that it would not detract from the overall meaning of the piece. It served as a useful supplement to the rest of my application.

As of 2018, I am enrolled at Chicago-Kent College of Law with a full tuition scholarship. While it is no Ivy program, it is a respectable school with a strong regional reputation. The great thing about having the financial burden of law school off my shoulders is that I can now focus on getting the most out of my studies, rather than stress to figure out how I am going to pay off the debt that would have financed my education. And if it turns out that the program is not the best option for me, I can walk away with no financial strings attached.

The personal statement should only drive your application forward. If it is holding it back in any way, it is not ready. Keep it professional but do be creative and show the reader more of your personality than a resume alone would give. You are selling them your brand as a student, so do not let them gloss over your application without much of a thought.

Jack graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2018 with a degree in Economics and History, and he currently works in property management while attending Chicago-Kent College of Law on a part-time basis. He hopes to use his law degree to enhance his career in commercial real estate and eventually lead sustainable large-scale real estate developments nationwide.

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Find helpful tools and gadgets

Because neurodivergent people often need visual prompts or sensory tools, it is helpful to figure out what works best for you. Maybe you need a quiet fidget to use under your desk in class to help you focus. Maybe you need to incorporate the use of timers throughout your day. If you struggle with time blindness, you can use hourglasses to help you visualize time. Perhaps you struggle with extraneous sounds and need to use noise-cancelling headphones. More and more tools and gadgets are being made for neurodiverse individuals that can help you throughout law school.

Find the best time to be productive

Society can dictate when you are supposed to be most productive. See the traditional 9-5 work schedule. However, that model does not always work best for neurodiverse individuals. Some people are not morning people, and that is fine. Figure out when you have the most energy during your day to be your most productive self.

Identify your organizational system

Find one system to use for organization and don’t change it. Trying too many organizational systems can become overwhelming. If your phone calendar works best, use that. If you are a list person, write all the lists. If you are a planner person, find the coolest one to use throughout the school year.

Write everything down

It would be nice to think that you can remember every task or deadline, but let’s be honest, that’s probably not true. Write down every deadline, every task, meeting, assignment, important date, etc. in the organizational system that you use.

Figure out your maximum focus time

Just like you can only put so much gasoline in a car, most neurodiverse individuals only have so much room in their focus tank. Figure out how long you can truly focus and apply yourself to a task before you need a break. That amount of time is typically shorter for neurodiverse individuals. If you can only truly focus for 20 minutes, study for 20 minutes, take a break, and then come back for another 20 minutes.

Find your friends

You may have started law school with your mind full of horror stories. Throw them out the window. Most of the people you attend law school with are genuinely kind and helpful people. Try to find a group or a couple of people that you can trust and lean on when necessary. Your law school friends can help you stay on task, body double, and even provide notes on the days you may be struggling. These friends can be one of your greatest assets throughout your law school journey.

Be honest with your professors

Only discuss your neurodivergence with your professors to the extent that you are comfortable. If there are things you are concerned about related to your neurodivergence, it can be beneficial to make your professors aware at the beginning of the semester. Whether you are worried about cold calling or need a topic broken down, most professors love opportunities to discuss their area of law! They can’t know that you may need help if you don’t let them know. This is especially important if you aren’t successful in getting accommodations from your school’s Disability Services.

Trust your methods

As a neurodivergent student, you may not fit the traditional mold of all the things a law student is “supposed to do” in order to be successful. You have been in school for years, and now is the time to trust yourself and not be afraid to be an “outside of the box” law student. There is no harm in trying new study methods, but never fear going back to your personal basics. If you need help figuring those out, see if your law school has a learning center or faculty member that can assist you.

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American Law Reports

Your go-to secondary source, finding an a.l.r. (american law reports) article covering your topic is a great starting point for research. you'll get a quick summary of the legal issue you're researching and a table of cases, laws, and rules to see the law across all jurisdictions. you can also use annotations to find additional secondary sources, such as legal encyclopedias, treatises, and periodicals. no wonder they're nicknamed already done legal research see it in action: the legal discussion to compensate student athletes is heating up. check out this alr article to see how the legal picture for tomorrow’s student athletes comes together in one place., keycite graphical history, procedural history made easy, are you reading a case and not sure how you got there procedurally reversed, remanded or otherwise, we got you. just sign into westlaw and follow the steps below... 1. grab one of the citations you see in your case book and type it into the search box on westlaw . (ex. 480 u.s. 102), 2. click on your case in the drop-down menu., 3. click on the history tab to see your procedural history., keycite graphical history works best when you have a federal case and a complex issue. check out some additional examples from your classes below. contracts - koken v. black & veatch const., inc. - lamps plus, inc. v. varela civil procedure - national equipment rental v. szukhent - helicopteros nacionales de colombia, s.a. v. hall torts - palsgraf v. long island r. co. - kentucky fried chicken of cal., inc. v. superior court, law school resource center, flowcharts, overviews & more..

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2. click on copy another class, 3. enter your copy code, set your options, click copy course, determining whether a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction over a non-class action case..

If the case arises out of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, rules or regulations, or a treaty signed by the U.S., and the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction, then the case must be litigated in federal court.

If the case does not arise out of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, rules or regulations, or a treaty signed by the U.S., and there is not complete diversity between the plaintiffs and defendants (a.k.a they are both from different states or one is a citizen of a foreign country), then the case must be litigated in state court.

Restatement of Contracts 2d

Counter-offers.

(1) A counter-offer is an offer made by an offeree to his offeror relating to the same matter as the original offer and proposing a substituted bargain differing from that proposed by the original offer.

(2) An offeree’s power of acceptance is terminated by his making of a counter-offer, unless the offeror has manifested a contrary intention or unless the counter-offer manifests a contrary intention of the offeree.

Negligence Defined

Restatement (second) of torts 282.

In the Restatement of this Subject, negligence is conduct which falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. It does not include conduct recklessly disregardful of an interest of others.

Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed.2014)

Demurrer: A means of objecting to the sufficiency in law of a pleading by admitting the actual allegations made by disputing that they frame an adequate claim. Demurrer is commonly known as a motion to dismiss.

(2) An offeree’s power of acceptance is terminated by his making a counter-off, unless the offeror has manifested a contrary intention or unless the counter-offer manifests a contrary intention of the offeree.

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Negligence defined

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How to Reapply to Law School

Law school reapplicants should strengthen their applications with a new LSAT score or job change.

This image showcases a young woman who is multitasking by taking notes on her notepad while using her laptop for studying

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As a reapplicant, it is important to refresh your application materials and to show a substantial change in your candidacy. 

It can be heartbreaking to be denied admission to your dream law school . Before giving up, it’s worth considering whether you may be able to improve your application and reapply. The ability to persevere, and to bounce back from a setback, will serve you well in your legal career.

Law schools are disinclined to reconsider the exact same application. Thus, as a reapplicant, it is important to refresh your application materials and to show a substantial change in your candidacy. 

Revising Your Law School Application

At a minimum, you should write a more compelling personal statement . There is no formal requirement to rewrite your essay, but admissions officers will have access to your previous applications, and recycling the same personal statement would appear lazy.

If you haven’t shared your essays with others, take the opportunity to solicit input. When reapplicants reach out to me as a law school admissions coach , I often find that the essays they submitted contain potential red flags, like a haughty tone or a lack of commitment to a law-related career.  

It is less important to shake up other materials, like your recommendation letters and optional essays . However, if you think you can secure stronger recommendation letters or try a different tact with your other essays, it is better to revisit those materials as well.

Be sure to carefully read the instructions when the school releases its new application. It’s not uncommon for optional essays to shift from year to year.

Unless you made a critical error on your application or applied very late in the process , a change in your personal statement alone would be unlikely to tip the scale. 

Improving Your Candidacy

To have a real shot, you would need to pair a new personal statement with a more concrete change in your candidacy, like new work experience or a better LSAT score.

If you don’t anticipate a promotion in your current job, consider taking time to gain legal experience as a paralegal or volunteer at a nonprofit or government office. That may help round out your resume in the absence of other career updates.

If you feel willing and able to retake the LSAT , this is the soundest step you can take to better your odds. Even a few extra points may make the difference.

Before diving back into test prep, reflect on any past weaknesses on the test and what you can do to shore up these gaps to break through a score rut . 

Reapplying More Than Once

Without a significant change in your candidacy like a substantially higher LSAT score, I would discourage applicants from applying to the same school more than twice. Many top law schools, like Harvard Law School in Massachusetts, allow applicants to apply up to three times total.

If your dream school is a no-go, widen your target list by choosing some new law schools to apply to. Perhaps you can find a less-selective school in a similar location, or a school with offerings like programs or legal clinics that match your career goals.

Fortunately, there is no need to aim for only the highest targets. You don’t need to get into a tippy-top law school to have a highly successful career. Instead of fixating on a few dream schools , take a fresh look at some other highly regarded law schools that may be within slightly easier reach.

Famous Alumni From Mid-Tier Law Schools

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About Law Admissions Lowdown

Law Admissions Lowdown provides advice to prospective students about the law school application process, LSAT prep and potential career paths. Previously authored by contributors from Stratus Admissions Counseling, the blog is currently authored by Gabriel Kuris, founder of Top Law Coach , an admissions consultancy. Kuris is a graduate of Harvard Law School and has helped hundreds of applicants navigate the law school application process since 2003. Got a question? Email [email protected] .

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Law School Admission Essays

Law school admission essays, also known as personal statements or application essays, are written documents that applicants submit as part of their application to law schools. These essays are a crucial component of the law school application process and play a significant role in the admission decision.

Writing Admission Essays ... Read More Law school admission essays, also known as personal statements or application essays, are written documents that applicants submit as part of their application to law schools. These essays are a crucial component of the law school application process and play a significant role in the admission decision. Writing Admission Essays for Law School Admission

When it comes to applying to law school, your admission essay, also known as a personal statement, is a critical component of your application. It's your opportunity to convey who you are, why you want to pursue a legal education, and why you're a strong candidate. Here are some tips and guidelines for crafting an effective law school admission essay:

  • Tell Your Story: Your essay should authentically convey your unique experiences, values, and motivations. Be genuine in sharing your personal and academic journey. Highlight moments or experiences that have shaped your desire to study law.
  • Focus on Your Why: Explain why you want to pursue a legal education and a career in law. Clearly articulate your motivations and long-term goals, demonstrating how a law degree aligns with your aspirations.
  • Be Specific: Use concrete examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points. Avoid vague or overly general statements. Share specific instances where you demonstrated your qualities or skills.

Unique Law School Admission Essay Examples

Crafting a compelling law school admission essays is a crucial step towards achieving your dream of becoming a legal professional. In addition to showcasing your passion and qualifications, your law school admission essay should also persuade the admissions committee of your suitability to excel in the field of law. Delve into 15 unique admission essay topics that will help you create impactful essays that stand out, and enable you to make a compelling case for your candidacy, addressing critical legal issues and demonstrating your unwavering commitment to positive change.

  • Your Path to Law
  • Passion for Justice
  • Advocacy for Change
  • Global Legal Challenges
  • Mentorship and Influence
  • Overcoming Legal Hurdles
  • Impact of Legal Research
  • Collaboration in Law
  • Ethical Dilemmas
  • Community Engagement
  • Innovative Legal Solutions
  • Diversity in Law
  • Legal Technology
  • Legal Writing and Advocacy
  • Life Beyond Law

Examples of Law School Admission Essays

The process of selecting the right topic for your law school admission essay marks the initial and crucial step toward crafting an impactful narrative. It is vital to consider various factors when making your choice, including relevance, personal interest, feasibility, significance, and the availability of information. Whether you opt for a topic from our curated list or find inspiration to craft your own, you are well on your way to creating a thought-provoking essay that exhibits your readiness to confront real-world legal challenges with wisdom and resilience.

  • Access to Legal Representation
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Environmental Law Advocacy
  • Social Justice and Human Rights
  • Equality in the Legal Profession
  • Legal Education Accessibility
  • Consumer Protection
  • Technology and Law
  • Legal Ethics and Accountability
  • Law and Public Policy

Choosing Admission Essays for Law School Admission

Selecting the right topic for your law school admission essay is the first crucial step towards crafting an impactful narrative that will resonate with admissions committees. Consider factors like relevance, personal interest, feasibility, significance, and the availability of information when making your choice. Whether you choose a topic from our list or draw inspiration to create your own, you're well on your way to creating a thought-provoking essay that demonstrates your readiness to tackle real-world legal challenges.

Why UVA Law: Shaping Minds, Empowering Change

I am compelled to apply to the University of Virginia School of Law. UVA Law, with its esteemed faculty, rigorous academic program, and vibrant community, presents an unparalleled opportunity for me to pursue my intellectual growth and develop the skills necessary to effect positive change…

Thriving at the University of Delaware: Academic Aspirations

Introduction As I stand at the threshold of embarking upon my college journey, I am filled with excitement and a strong desire to pursue higher education at the esteemed University of Delaware. With its rich academic history, vibrant campus community, and exceptional faculty, I firmly…

Why Berkeley Law: Social Justice, and Global Impact

I have spent countless hours pondering the path that my future will take. I have questioned what it means to pursue a career that aligns with my passions, allows me to make a meaningful impact on society, and challenges me to continuously grow and learn….

Why X Law School: Impactful Education

The pursuit of justice has always driven my intellectual curiosity and passion for social change. It is this unwavering commitment to make a positive impact on society that has led me to consider X Law School as the ideal institution to continue my legal education….

Why NYU Law: A Passion for Justice and Global Impact

My decision to apply to NYU School of Law is driven by a multitude of factors that encapsulate my commitment to justice, my eagerness to learn from a diverse and renowned faculty, and my aspiration to make a global impact through legal advocacy. First and…

Applying to Law School: Transforming Lives through Law

As a college student approaching the end of my academic journey, I find myself irresistibly drawn to the world of law. Growing up in a family that experienced various legal battles, I witnessed firsthand the impact a skilled attorney can have on the lives of…

Why Georgetown Law: Nurturing Intellectual Curiosity and Excellence

I have always been intrigued by the intricate workings of the legal system and its impact on society. It is this fascination that has driven me to pursue a career in law, and I believe that Georgetown Law School would be the perfect institution to…

Why Duke Law: A Passion for Justice and Excellence

I am honored to submit my application for admission to Duke Law School. The esteemed reputation, unwavering commitment to justice, and exceptional academic offerings of Duke Law make it my ultimate choice for furthering my legal education. My passion for the law has been deeply…

Why Columbia Law: A Journey Towards Justice

As I stand at the crossroads of my academic journey, contemplating the next step that will shape my career and my lifelong pursuit of justice, Columbia Law School emerges as the ideal destination. The rich legacy, unparalleled academic excellence, and vibrant intellectual community of Columbia…

Personal Statement: Pursuing Law to Advocate for Justice

Witnessing the struggles faced by marginalized individuals, I developed a burning desire to advocate for those who could not advocate for themselves. This aspiration, combined with my unwavering belief in the power of the law to bring about positive change, has led me to pursue…

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Six Law School Personal Statements That Got Into Harvard By David Busis Published Feb 10, 2021 Updated Feb 10, 2021

The essays below, which were all part of successful applications to Harvard Law, rely on humble reckonings followed by reflections. Some reckonings are political: an applicant grapples with the 2008 financial crisis; another grapples with her political party’s embrace of populism. Others are personal: a student struggles to sprint up a hill; another struggles to speak clearly. The writers have different ideologies, different ambitions, and different levels of engagement with the law. Yet all of them come across as thoughtful, open to change, and ready to serve.

Jump to a personal statement:

Essay 1: Sea Turtles

I stood over the dead loggerhead, blood crusting my surgical gloves and dark green streaks of bile from its punctured gallbladder drying on my khaki shorts. It was the fifth day of a five-week summer scholarship at the University of Chicago’s Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and as I shuffled downwind of the massive creature, the pungent scent of its decomposition wafted toward me in the hot summer breeze. Aggressive flies buzzed around my head, occasionally pausing to land on the wad of plastic we had extracted from the loggerhead’s stomach. The plastic had likely caused a blockage somewhere, and the sea turtle had died of malnutrition. When the necropsy was finished, we discarded the remains in a shallow hole under a thicket of trees, and with the last shovel of sand over its permanent resting place, its death became just another data point among myriad others. Would it make a difference in the long, arduous battle against environmental pollution? Probably not. But that dead loggerhead was something of a personal tipping point for me.

I have always loved the clean, carefully objective nature of scientific research, but when I returned to the US from my native XXXX to study biology, I began to understand that because of this objectivity, scientific data rarely produces an emotional effect. It is difficult to initiate change based on such a passive approach. My ecology professor used to lament that it was not science that would determine the fate of the environment, but politics. The deeper I delved into research, the more I agreed with her. Almost every day, I came across pieces of published research that were incorrectly cited as evidence for exaggerated conclusions and used, for example, as a rebuttal against climate change. Reality meant nothing when pitted against a provocative narrative. It was rather disillusioning at first, but I was never one to favor passivity. In an effort to better understand the issues, I began to look into the policy side of biological conservation. The opportunity at the MBL came at this juncture in my academic journey, and it was there that I received my final push to the path of law.

After weeks of sea turtle biology and policy debates at the MBL, we held a mock symposium on fishing and bycatch regulations. Participants were exclusively STEM majors, so before the debate even began, everyone in the room was already heavily in favor of reducing commercial fishing. I was assigned the role of the Chair of the New Bedford Division of Marine Fisheries, and my objective was clear: to represent the wishes of my constituents, and my constituents wanted more time out on the sea. However, that meant an increase in accidental bycatch, which could hurt endangered marine populations and fill up the bycatch quota for commercial fishermen before the season ended.

There were hundreds of pages of research data on novel technological innovations for bycatch reduction that I had to wade through, but with the help of my group, I was able to piece together a net replacement plan that just barely satisfied my constituents, the scientists, and the industry reps. Although the issue of widespread net replacement incentives for the commercial fishermen remained, there was no doubt that I enjoyed the mental stimulus of tackling this hypothetical challenge. I was able to use my science background to aid in brokering a compromise that would reduce the amount of damage done to the environment without endangering the livelihood of the people involved in the industry.

By the end of the symposium, I knew that I wanted to bridge the gap between presenting scientific data correctly and effecting change in the policy world. Although there are many ways for me to advocate for change, I believe that only legal and legislative enforcements will have a widespread and lasting effect on the heavy polluters of the world. I want to combine my legal education and a solid foundation in the biological sciences to tackle the ever-growing slew of environmental challenges facing us in the twenty-first century.

The night the symposium ended, we patrolled the beach for nesting females. As I walked beneath the stars, I thought of that sea turtle and of the repeating migration of my own life, from my birthplace in XXXX to my childhood in the US, back to XXXX and now the US again. With the guidance of the Earth’s magnetic fields, sea turtles are able to accurately return to their birthplace no matter how far they deviate, but I like to imagine that they, like me, do need to occasionally chart another course to get there. Standing on a beach in Woods Hole, thousands of miles from home, I knew that I was on the right path and ready to embark on a career in law.

Essay 2: Joining the Arsonists To Become a Fireman

On the morning of the 2004 presidential election, my sixth-grade teacher told me to watch out for John Kerry voters in the hallways because our school was a polling station. I nodded and went to the water fountain, thinking to myself that my parents were voting for John Kerry, and that as far as I could tell, they posed no risk to students. It was a familiar juxtaposition—the ideas at my dinner table in conflict with the dogmas I encountered elsewhere in my conservative Missourian community. This dissonance fostered my curiosity about issues of policy and politics. I wanted to figure out why the adults in my life couldn’t seem to agree.

Earlier in 2004, Barack Obama’s now famous DNC keynote had inspired me to turn my interests into actions. Even at age twelve, I was moved by his ideas and motivated to work in public service. When Obama ran for president four years later, I heeded his call to get involved. I gave money I had made mowing lawns to my parents to donate to his campaign and taped Obama-Biden yard signs to my old Corolla, which earned it an egging and a run-in with silly string in my high school parking lot.

While I knew in high school that I wanted to involve myself in public service, I wasn’t sure what shape that involvement would take until signs of the financial crisis—deserted strip malls and foreclosed homes—cropped up in my hometown. I was amazed by the disaster and shaken by the toll it took on my community. As I saw it, the crisis wasn’t about Wall Street, but about people losing their jobs, homes, and savings. I didn’t understand what Lehman Brothers had to do with the fact that my neighbor’s appliance store had to lay off most of its employees.

Intent on understanding what had happened, I started reading up, inhaling books about financial crises and articles on mortgage-backed securities and rating agencies. Along the way, I also developed an affinity for the policymakers fighting the crisis. I admired how time and again these unknown bureaucrats struggled to choose the best among bad options, served as Congressional piñatas on Capitol Hill, and went back across the street to face the next disaster. I decided that I too wanted to work in financial regulation. I thought then and believe today that if I can help protect consumers and mitigate the downturns that force people from their jobs and homes, I will have done something worthwhile.

Strange though it may seem, this decision led me to join Barclays as an investment banking analyst after college. While in a sense I was “joining the arsonists to become a fireman,” as one skeptical friend put it, banking gave me immediate experience working with the firms and people who had played key roles in the response to the financial crisis years before. I was initially worried that I would discover financial rules and regulations to be impotent platitudes, without the power to change the financial system, but my experience taught me the opposite. New regulations catalyzed many of the transactions on which I worked, from bank capital raises to divestitures aimed at de-risking. Ironically, becoming a banker made me even more of an idealist about the power of policy.

I envisioned spending years in the industry before moving to a government role, and I left banking for private equity investing with that track in mind. When I began making get-out-the-vote calls on behalf of the Clinton presidential campaign, however, I realized that I needed to change my plans. I cared more about contacting voters, about the result of the election, and about its policy implications than anything I did at work. Although I’m grateful for what I’ve learned in the private sector, I don’t want to spend more time on the sidelines of the policy debates and decisions that matter to me.

That’s why I am pursuing a J.D. I want to help shape the policies that will make the financial system more resilient and equitable, and to do so effectively, I need to understand the foundation upon which the financial system is built: the law. The post-crisis regulatory landscape is already in need of recalibration; large banks still pose systemic risks, and regulation lags even further behind in the non-bank world. Advances in financial technology, from online lending platforms to blockchain technology, are raising new questions about everything from capital and liquidity to smart contracts and financial privacy. Policymakers need to confront these issues proactively and pursue legal and regulatory frameworks that foster public trust while encouraging innovation. A J.D. will give me the training I need to be involved in this process. I don’t claim to have a revolutionary theory of financial crisis, but I do hope to be a part of preventing the next one.

Essay 3: Populism

Growing up, I felt that I existed in two different worlds. At home, I was influenced by my large, conservative Arizonan family, who shaped my values and understanding of the world. During middle school, my family moved, and I enrolled in a small, left-leaning school with an intense focus on globalism and diversity. I enjoyed being surrounded by people who challenged my beliefs, and I prided myself on my ability to dwell comfortably in both spaces.

In 2015, American political reality disrupted the happy balance between my two worlds. The Republican presidential primary, in a gust of populism, was proposing ideas that I didn’t recognize and wouldn’t condone, like a hardline immigration stance, opposition to free trade, and a tolerance for harassment. I resented this populist wave for hijacking the party, and the voters who created it. I didn’t understand them, and I didn’t think I could.

Despite my skepticism, I decided to make an attempt. As the founder of the Bowdoin College Political Union, a program that promotes substantive, inclusive conversations about policy and politics among students, I brought speakers with diverse ideologies to campus and hosted small group discussions with members of the College Democrats, the College Republicans, and students somewhere in between. In the winter of my senior year, I helped organize a summit that brought together students with a broad spectrum of views from dozens of universities throughout the eastern United States.

As a resident assistant during the 2016 presidential election, I held open-door discussions for individuals from across the political spectrum and around the globe. Facilitating these discussions felt like a natural extension of my role on campus, and I learned not only that having space for open dialogue can ease tensions, but also that the absence of that space does not erase political difference. Instead, it creates feelings of isolation and fosters ignorance.

But it was the death of a family member in early 2016 that helped me understand another perspective, namely the populist views beginning to overwhelm the Republican Party. After the death of my mother’s cousin from cancer, I called my second cousins, all three of whom are around my age, to offer my condolences. I was surprised to learn that none of them had finished high school. Instead, they had worked to help pay for their mother’s treatment. While I had been worrying about which summer internships to apply for, they were worried about maintaining their family home. In the past, I’d thought that their views on economic policy and immigration came from a place of ignorance or spite. I realized over the course of our conversation that I had no idea what it was like to not have a high school degree and compete for employment in a rural area where wages are low. For the first time, I was engaging with people in the demographic that was generating the populist wave that was sweeping the country. This conversation led me to expand my studies in politics and to think beyond the left-right spectrum to consider class and urban-rural divides within my own party. Ultimately, reconnecting with my extended family informed my decision to write my senior thesis on populist movements and why economics drives them. It also changed the way I thought about politics and its effect on people like my second cousins.

After my college graduation, I took a job with a political and opposition research firm called XYZ in Washington, because I felt that my understanding of 2016’s populism was still lacking. XYZ gave me the opportunity to work with people from different parts of the Republican Party: both establishment operatives and grassroots operations. This enabled me to work within the framework of Republican politics that resembles my own, while being exposed to the perspectives of people working to represent people like my second cousins. My time at XYZ helped me see the power of the populist movement, but also understand the limitations of its proposed solutions, like a resurgence of manufacturing. Now that I have interacted with populist groups, I see that ultimately, the valid frustrations of many working-class Americans need to be addressed by empathetic leadership and challenging but necessary evaluations of policy in the areas of economics, education, and culture.

I want to apply my passion for political discourse in law school and in my career as a lawyer. My passion for engaging with others will serve me well in the classroom and in a career at the intersection of law and politics. I hope to continue to make connections between people of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints and to engage in meaningful, bipartisan discourse.

Essay 4: Pop Warner

One summer, when I was eight years old, I signed up to play Pop Warner Football for my hometown. After the calisthenics, scrimmages, and the rest of practice concluded in the midst of the sweltering early August sun, I would sprint thirty yards up a hill steep enough to go sledding down. I had to lose nine pounds in order to make weight for my junior pee-wee football team. I wanted nothing more than to be on the team, so it didn’t faze me that I was the only one running up and down the hill. A dirt path marked the grassy knoll from my countless trips up and down. I usually managed to hold back the tears just long enough until I got home. As an eight-year-old, this was the most difficult challenge I had ever been tasked with. But the next day, I would get down in a three-point stance and sprint up the hill under the red sky of the setting sun.

When I finally made the team, I was elated; I had achieved a goal I often felt impossible in those moments of sweat and tears. The excitement was, nonetheless, short-lived. The other kids still called me “Corey the Cupcake,” a nickname I thought I’d left behind with the extra pounds. In every game of the season, my first playing football, I received my eight minimum plays and rode the bench the rest of the game. It was an unusually wet September, and I caught a cold a few times from standing there for two and a half hours in the nippy morning rain. I hated it, but I kept playing.

I continued to play every fall through high school. My freshman year, during a varsity practice, I broke both the radius and ulna bones in my left arm and simultaneously dislocated my wrist, which required a plate and four screws to repair. To this day, I can’t help but flash back to that frigid November afternoon when I look at the five-inch scar on my left arm or when the breaking point is hit precisely. Sophomore year, I was introduced to a coach who frequently criticized me for “not being black enough,” or sometimes, contradictorily, for acting “too black.” I was even benched for my entire junior year for being unable to attend football camp over the summer.

Why did I play football for eleven years? It might have been for the Friday nights in front of the school, as there was nothing more thrilling than making a crucial catch and hearing the whole town cheer. It might have been because I wanted to fit in with my athletic classmates. It might have been because I felt that I was improving after each catch, each hit, and each drill. But I believe, above all else, it was because I just don’t like to give up.

My first job as a project assistant at a large law firm was somewhat similar to my experiences as a young football player; both required grit and determination to push through difficult circumstances. Late one evening, two days before Thanksgiving, my supervisor asked me to complete and organize the service of eighteen subpoenas for the following day. The partners and associates were so busy with internal politics—one of the head partners was leaving the firm—that no one was available to walk me through the process. I felt ridiculous when I Googled “How to fill out and serve a subpoena,” but it was important to me that I complete the project properly.

I am appreciative of the challenges that I faced as a project assistant. If it weren’t for those experiences, it is unlikely that I would have been fortunate enough to be hired by the Delaware Office of the Attorney General, where I work today. My job here has confirmed that law is exactly what I want to do. I realized this through several opportunities to draft written discovery. I loved fashioning objections to each individual request in a given set. Developing legitimate grounds for disputing discovery on its merits and intent was inspiring to me. I can’t wait to do this more and on a larger scale as an attorney.

The steadfastness that I obtained as a young athlete defines who I am. I couldn’t see it at the time, but every day on which I gave something my best effort, whether it was on the practice field or in my tiny office on the twenty-seventh floor, I became a little bit stronger, a little bit wiser. I am confident that my perseverance and dedication will facilitate my future success, both in law school and afterwards.

Essay 5: Speech Therapy

When I was very young, I was diagnosed with a severe phonological disorder that hindered my ability to verbalize the most basic sounds that make up words. It didn’t take my parents long to notice that as other children my age began speaking and communicating with each other, I remained quiet. When I did speak, my words were mostly incomprehensible and seemed to lack any repetition. I was taken to numerous speech therapists, many of whom believed that I would never be able to communicate effectively with others.

From the age of three until I was in seventh grade, I went to speech therapy twice a week. I also regularly practiced my speech outside of therapy, eventually improving to such an extent that I thought I was done with therapy forever. This, however, was short-lived. By tenth grade, I realized my impediment was back and was once again severely limiting my ability to articulate words. That was also the year my family moved from Vancouver, Canada to Little Rock, Arkansas, which complicated matters for me.

I knew that my speech was preventing me from making new friends and participating in classroom discussions, but I resisted going back into therapy. I thought that a renewal of speech therapy would be like accepting defeat. It was a part of my life that had long passed. With college approaching, though, I was desperate not to continue stuttering words and slurring sentences. I knew that I would have to become more confident about my speech to make friends and to be the student I wanted to be. During the summer before my freshman year, I reluctantly decided to reenter speech therapy.

I see now that this decision was anything but an acceptance of defeat. In fact, refusing to reenter therapy would have been a defeat. With my new therapist, I made significant strides and the quality of my speech improved greatly. Using the confidence that I built in therapy that summer, I pushed myself to meet new people and join extracurricular organizations when I entered college. In particular, I applied to and was accepted into a competitive freshman service leadership organization called Forward.

The other members of Forward were incredibly outgoing, and many of them had been highly involved in their high school communities—two things I was not. I made a concerted effort to learn from those who were different from me. I was an active participant in discussions during meetings, utilizing my unique background to provide a different perspective. My peers not only understood me, but also cared about what I had to say. I even began taking on leadership roles in the program, such as directing a community service project to help the elderly. My time in Forward made it clear to me that my speech disorder wouldn’t be what held me back in college; as long as I made the effort, I could succeed. The confidence I gained led me to continue to push past the boundaries I had set for myself in high school, and has guided the bold approach I have taken to new challenges in college.

When I first finished therapy in seventh grade, I pretended that I had never had a speech disorder in the first place. Having recently finished therapy again, I can accept that my speech disorder has shaped the person I am today. In many ways, it has had a positive effect on me. My struggle to communicate, for example, has made me a better listener. My inability to ask questions has forced me to engage with problems on a deeper level, which has led me to develop a methodical approach to reasoning. I believe these skills will help me succeed in law school, and they are part of what motivates me to apply in the first place. Having struggled for so long to speak up for myself, I look forward to the day when I can speak up for others.

Essay 6: Ting Hua

“Ting hua!” I heard it when I scalded my fingers reaching above the kitchen counter to grab at a steaming slice of pork belly before it was served; I heard it when I hid little Twix bars underneath the bags of Chinese broccoli in the grocery store shopping cart; I heard it when I brought sticks back home to swing perilously close to the ceiling fan. Literally translated, “ting hua” means “hear my words.” Its true meaning, though, is closer to “listen to what I mean.” Although the phrase was nearly ubiquitous in my childhood, that distinction—between hearing and listening—did not become clear for me until much later in life.

That childhood began in Shanghai, where I was born, and continued in Southern California, where we moved shortly after I turned four. Some things stayed the same in the US. We still ate my mom’s chive dumplings at the dinner table. On New Year’s, I could still look forward to a red envelope with a few dollars’ worth of pocket money. But other things changed. I stopped learning Chinese, and my parents never became proficient in English. Slowly, so slowly I almost didn’t realize, it became harder and harder for me to communicate with them.

Because I didn’t feel like I could talk to them, I could never resist opening my mouth with others. I talked to good friends about Yu-Gi-Oh, to not-so-good friends about Pokemon, and to absolute strangers about PB&J, the Simpsons, and why golden retriever puppies were the best dogs ever. Even alone, I talked to my pet turtle Snorkel and tried out different war cries—you know, in case I woke up one morning as a mouse in Brian Jacques’s Redwall .

The way I communicated with my parents didn’t change until I came back for Thanksgiving my freshman year of college. I was writing for the school newspaper—a weekly column on politics. I had written an article in support of gay marriage. My parents had asked me about it, and in the way I was wont to do, I answered briefly before moving on to talk about my friends and my floor and my classes.

While I was brushing my teeth that night, my dad came into the restroom. He stood in the doorway and said, “Hey. I read the article you wrote about gay marriage… you should be careful saying things like that.”

His words—you should be careful saying things like that— sounded to me like homophobia. I knew that in China, same-sex relationships were illegal, stigmatized, banned, so I thought I understood where my dad was coming from, even though I also thought it was bigotry. I was about to brush him off, to accept that we had different views, but when I looked up, I didn’t see the judgment I was expecting. In the way he stood slightly hunched in the doorway, in the way he touched his chin, in the way his eyebrows drew together, I saw love. So I swallowed down “don’t worry about it” and asked what he meant. He told me about a cousin of his, someone I would have called Uncle, who was expelled from his school and sent to the countryside for his political comments. In that moment, I realized that my dad wasn’t concerned about my politics—he was concerned about me. Had I not stopped to listen , rather than just to hear, I would not have understood that. I would not have known why he told me to be careful.

Although I still enjoy talking to other people about PB&J sandwiches, I have learned to listen, to actively engage with my parents when we communicate. More importantly, whether I’m interviewing witnesses on the stand in mock trial, resolving disagreements between friends, or sitting in a chair while teachers and professors give me advice, I’ve made an effort to remember those words my mom has spoken since I was a toddler: “ting hua.”

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Application Requirements

We look forward to learning about you through your application.

Here you'll find a detailed explanation of each admission application requirement. Most of the information here applies to both first-year and transfer applicants, and requirements are the same for domestic and international applicants.  

Don't forget to reference our Application Tips for guidance on filling out the Common Application.

Application

We accept the Common Application  and the Coalition Application by Scoir . Both are treated equally by the Admissions Committee. Complete and submit your materials as soon as possible to ensure full and timely consideration of your application. Your portions of the application are due by the application deadlines (November 1 for Restrictive Early Action and January 1 for Regular Decision); high school counselors are given an additional week to submit materials on your behalf. 

If you use the Common Application , you must submit your application before your supporting materials (Secondary School Report, Teacher Recommendations, etc.) can be released to a college. Until you submit your own application sections, no part of your application will be transmitted to the Harvard Admissions Office.

If you use the Coalition Application , remember you must submit the separate Harvard supplement in addition to the application by the application deadline for your application to be considered complete. 

Submitting Your Application

Receiving confirmation of your application.

After you submit your application, we will send an email confirmation with a PIN to access the Applicant Portal. We begin sending these daily application confirmation emails in mid-September each year. Most applicant receive their confirmation email the day after they submit their application online. Applications sent in the mail will take up to two weeks to process.

If you have not received your confirmation email, please check your spam/junk folder for messages from [email protected] or [email protected]

If have searched your inbox and still cannot find your confirmation email, we encourage you to check the application system you used and ensure you clicked "Submit" and not just "Save".

If you still cannot locate your application confirmation email, please contact us . Choose the category “Admissions” and then the subject “Applicant Questions (if you've already submitted your application)” in the drop-down menu, or call 617-495-1551.

Paying the application fee or requesting a fee waiver

You may pay your application fee online with a credit card via the Common Application or Coalition Application, Powered by Scoir websites.

You may also send a check or money order to Harvard College Admissions, 86 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Please include the applicant’s name with the payment.

Fee waivers: We are committed to making the application process accessible for all students. If the admissions application fee presents a hardship for you or your family and you plan on applying for financial aid, the fee will be waived. Please follow these instructions to request your fee waiver . Requesting a fee waiver will not disadvantage your application in any way.

Completing the Harvard supplement questions

Complete the Harvard Questions with the Common Application or Coalition Application, Powered by Scoir*. This includes the following five required short-answer questions, each with a 200 word limit. 

  • Harvard has long recognized the importance of enrolling a diverse student body. How will the life experiences that shape who you are today enable you to contribute to Harvard?
  • Briefly describe an intellectual experience that was important to you. 
  • Briefly describe any of your extracurricular activities, employment experience, travel, or family responsibilities that have shaped who you are.
  • How do you hope to use your Harvard education in the future?
  • Top 3 things your roommates might like to know about you. 

*Please note that the Harvard supplement is separate for the Coalition Application, so you must submit both the application AND supplement for your application to be considered complete. 

Additional application questions

What if i am homeschooled.

Each applicant to Harvard College is considered with great care and homeschooled applicants are treated the same as all other applicants. There is no special process, but all relevant information about your educational and personal background is welcome. In addition to the application, all applicants are required to submit a transcript (which can be created by the family member or agency overseeing your schooling), and recommendations. If the application fee presents a hardship for your family,  simply request a fee waiver .

Hear from Harvard students who were homeschooled, in the Harvard Gazette article ‘ Homeschooled en route to Harvard .’

What if I need to make updates to my application after I submit it?

Do not resend your application in order to make updates. If you need to update your identification or contact information, or send updates, additional information, or corrections, please do so via the  Applicant Portal .

Misrepresentation of Credentials

Be completely accurate in your application materials. If we discover a misrepresentation during the admissions process, you will be denied admission. If you have already been admitted, your offer will typically be withdrawn. If you have already registered, your admission will normally be revoked, and we will require you to leave the College. Harvard rescinds degrees if misrepresentations in application materials are discovered.

The determination that an application is inaccurate or contains misrepresentations rests solely with the Admissions Office and will be resolved outside the student disciplinary process.

School Reports and Teacher Recommendations

Secondary school report.

The secondary school report is a required form that is submitted by your school counselor or another school leader. This form gives an overview of the student's academic record. It includes the applicant's academic transcript(s), a letter of recommendation, and a school profile (if available). If a counselor is unable to submit a letter of recommendation for the applicant, another teacher or school leader may submit an additional recommendation letter. 

Midyear School Report

When you apply, your school counselor will often send your transcript with few or no senior year course grades included. That is why the midyear school report is required - to allow us to review your performance in the first half of your senior year coursework .  The midyear school report must be completed by your school counselor or other school official. Please request that the midyear school report is completed and returned to our office as soon as possible. 

Midyear School Report FAQs

What if i'm applying restrictive early action and i don't have my midyear grades yet.

Restrictive Early Action applicants are not required to submit the midyear report by the November 1 deadline. If you applied Restrictive Early Action and are deferred to Regular Decision, please submit the midyear report and transcript in February, or as soon as your midyear grades are available.

I'm an international student and my academic year is different. Do I still need to submit the midyear report?

If you study the IB curriculum or the A-level curriculum, then we expect that your school will send predicted grades, based on your current classroom work and the results of any internal or mock exams you have taken up to that point. If your school does not issue official or predicted midyear grades for your final year of school, then you do not need to submit the midyear report form, although the item may remain on your checklist.

What if I have already graduated from high school?

If you have already graduated from high school, you should ignore the midyear report requirement (though the item may remain on your Checklist in the Applicant Portal) and simply ask your school to send a final school report if you have not already done so.

Teacher Evaluations

Ask two teachers in different academic subjects who know you well to complete the Teacher Recommendation forms (which includes an evaluation form and a letter of recommendation). If you wish to submit additional letters of recommendation, you can do so after you submit your application. In your application confirmation email, there will be a personalized link to send to your recommenders.

What courses should I take to prepare for applying to Harvard?

There is no “one size fits all” rule about which curriculum to study during secondary school years. Students should challenge themselves by taking courses deemed appropriate by their teachers and counselors. But some students believe that “more is always better” when it comes to AP, IB or other advanced courses.

While some students prosper academically and personally by taking large numbers of such courses, others benefit from a more balanced approach that allows them additional time for extracurricular and personal development. Even the best students can be negatively affected by taking too many courses at once, and might benefit instead from writing, reading or research projects on subjects of great interest to them.

To learn more, read our Guide to Preparing for College. To avoid the “burnout” often seen among secondary school students, please refer to our article, Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation .

Is there a specific math requirement?

Applicants to Harvard should excel in a challenging high school math sequence corresponding to their educational interests and aspirations. We recommend that applicants take four years of math courses in high school. Ideally, these math courses will focus on conceptual understanding, promote higher-order thinking, and encourage students to use mathematical reasoning to critically examine the world. Examples include rigorous and relevant courses in computer science, statistics and its subfields, mathematical modeling, calculus, and other advanced math subjects.

Students’ math records are viewed holistically, and no specific course is required. Specifically, calculus is not a requirement for admission to Harvard. We understand that applicants do not have the same opportunities and course offerings in their high schools. Moreover, many programs of study at Harvard do not require knowledge of calculus. We encourage applicants to take the courses that are available to them and aligned with their interests and goals.

Students intending to study engineering, computer science, physics, mathematics, statistics or other fields where calculus is needed may benefit from taking calculus in high school. However, students at Harvard can still pursue such fields by starting with one of our introductory calculus classes that has no high school calculus prerequisite. On balance, we encourage all students to master foundational mathematical material instead of rushing through any of the more advanced courses.

Final School Report and Transcripts

All admitted students who choose to enroll are required to send a Final School Report and transcript as soon as their final grades become available – no later than July 1. The Final School Report and transcript should be completed and sent by a school counselor or other school official through Parchment/Docufide or Scrip-Safe International, if your school has access to these submission options.

IB students should send their final results as soon as they are released in mid-July. We will expect to see final A levels results by mid-August.

Standardized Test Scores

For the College Classes of 2027-2030, students may apply for admission without standardized test scores. Please read our announcement for more details on the application changes for the upcoming cycles. 

If you choose to submit standardized tests, you may submit the SAT or ACT (with or without the writing component). While the College Board no longer offers Subject Tests and they are not a requirement for applying, you may submit Subject Tests taken in the last 5 years. If you choose to submit Subject Tests, it is more useful to choose only one mathematics test rather than two. Similarly, if your first language is not English, a Subject Test in your first language may be less helpful.

Standardized Testing FAQs

How do i let harvard know whether i would like my application reviewed with or without test scores.

When you apply for admission, you can choose whether or not our review of your application will include your standardized test scores (SAT and ACT).

  • If your scores already are on file before you apply and you choose at the time of your application to proceed without scores, we will not consider those scores. 
  • If you initially chose an application review without scores and would now like to include scores in your file, you may make this request by submitting the "Change to consideration of test scores" form on your Applicant Portal. 
  • If you ask that our review includes your scores, either at the time of application or after you apply by submitting the form in the Applicant Portal, they will be part of your application throughout the admissions process.

Can I self-report my test scores?

Yes. Applicants may provide self-reported SAT and ACT test scores (including Subject Tests, Advanced Placement, IB, etc.). Admitted students who decide to enroll at Harvard College will be required to submit official test scores.

How do I send my test scores?

You are free to use the College Board Score Choice option or the similar option offered by the ACT. Our official codes are 3434 for the College Board SAT Reasoning Tests and 1840 for the ACT if you are submitting official test scores as part of your application.

  • How to send your SAT scores
  • How to send your ACT scores

Are there test score "cutoffs"?

There are no score cutoffs, and we do not admit “by the numbers.” For the ACT, we will evaluate your highest composite score and any other scores you choose to share with us. We take into account your educational background when reviewing your scores.

Should I prepare for standardized tests?

Opportunities to prepare for standardized tests vary greatly for students of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Research indicates that short term test preparation usually has little effect, but the free “test prep” now offered by the SAT and the ACT might make a significant difference for students who follow their programs for extended periods of time. Such free programs could help to level the playing field for students from under-resourced schools by providing the academic skills that will serve them well on standardized tests and also in college. Students can also do well by studying widely and deeply over a long period of time on their own with the help of family, school, or community organizations.

What do standardized tests and grades indicate about academic preparation for college?

Standardized tests provide a rough yardstick of what a student has learned over time and how that student might perform academically in college - but they are only one of many factors considered. High school grades in a rigorous academic program can also be helpful in assessing readiness for college courses, but the thousands of secondary schools around the country and the world employ various high school curricula and a wide range of grading systems - and some have no grades at all. Other students have been homeschooled or prepared for college by taking part in multiple schooling opportunities both in person and electronic.

Given the wide variation in how students prepare for Harvard – as well as the fact that most applicants and admitted students have outstanding academic records – it is difficult for high school grades to differentiate individual applications. That does not mean that high school grades are unimportant. Students who come to Harvard have done well day to day in their high school studies, providing a crucial foundation for academic success in college, including a 97% - 98% graduation rate.

SAT and ACT tests are better predictors of Harvard grades than high school grades. However, admission officers understand that not all students attend well-resourced schools throughout their lives, and that those who come from modest economic backgrounds or first-generation college families may have had fewer opportunities to prepare for standardized tests. Each application to Harvard is read with great care, keeping in mind that talent is everywhere, but opportunity and access are not.

Does Harvard accept SAT Subject Test scores?

As announced by the College Board, Subject Tests and the essay portion of the SAT have been terminated, except in certain special circumstances. See the  College Board's announcement for more details. Harvard admission officers review all material that an applicant submits, so if you have already taken Subject Tests or the essay portion of the SAT, you may still submit it along with your other application materials.

How do I choose whether to submit my standardized test score?

Choosing whether or not to submit test scores is a personal decision for every applicant. There are many reasons why students do not submit test scores, including expense. In general, though, anything that might give a more complete or positive picture of an applicant can be helpful. Even if you feel your test scores do not fully represent your strengths, perhaps because of a lack of resources at your school or limited opportunities to prepare for or take the tests, you could note this fact in your application to provide context. There are no score cutoffs and we do not admit “by the numbers.”

Why can't I view my standardized test scores in the Common Application?

Since Harvard College is not requiring applicants to submit standardized test scores for the 2022-2026 application cycles , your standardized scores will not display in the Common Application PDF preview, even if you have chosen to submit them. However, if you entered your test score information and would like it to be considered, that data will still be transmitted to us with your application and we will review it. You can verify this by viewing the Application Checklist in your Applicant Portal. You will see a green check mark if we have received your standardized test scores.

How will Harvard evaluate the new digital SAT?

The College Board's shift to a digital delivery of the SAT will not impact the way in which Harvard reviews test scores within applications. For the College Classes of 2027-2030, students may apply for admission without standardized test scores. Students who do not submit standardized test scores will not be disadvantaged in their application process. Please  visit the College Board FAQs  for more information.  

Supplemental Materials

Our standard application materials typically give us ample information for making admission decisions. However, we recognize you may have truly exceptional talents or achievements you wish to share, and we want you to have every opportunity to best represent yourself.

At the discretion of the Admissions Committee, supplementary materials—such as music recordings, artwork, or selected samples of academic work—may be evaluated by faculty. These materials are entirely optional.

Material Types

How to submit documents and articles.

Scholarly articles, research, creative writing or other documents of which you are the primary author should be submitted in the Upload Materials section of the Applicant Portal . This is the most efficient and direct method of submitting these materials, because they will be added directly to your official application. All submissions should include a list of any individuals with whom you collaborated in the production of the work. If appropriate, please identify your research sponsor, mentor, and/or laboratory or research group leader and provide a short description of your particular contribution to the work.

How to submit media (video, audio, or images)

You may submit optional supplementary media materials (e.g. videos, audio recordings, or images) electronically via Slideroom . Details for submissions in art, dance or choreography, musical performance or composition, will be found on the Slideroom website. There is a small submission fee, but if this fee causes you economic hardship, you may request a fee waiver at the point of submission. You may also contact us to request a fee waiver.

If you encounter technical difficulties on Slideroom, you may submit a document via your portal with YouTube video links. Our team may follow up to request a Slideroom submission at a later time. 

Should I submit other academic materials?

Harvard accepts other standardized tests or other academic credentials if you choose to submit them. In any admissions process, additional information can be helpful. For example, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, A-levels, national leaving examinations, national or international contests, early high school assessment scores such as the PSAT or pre-ACT, or courses taken outside your school during the school year or summer are just some examples of information that could be submitted. Subject Tests and the essay portion of the SAT have been terminated, except in certain special circumstances. Harvard admission officers review all materials that an applicant submits, so if you’ve already taken Subject Tests or the essay portion of the SAT, you may still submit them along with your other application materials.

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Stanford Law Personal Statement Examples

Stanford Law Personal Statement Examples

To apply to Stanford Law, one of the most competitive law schools in the US , you’ll need to leverage everything you’ve got, and looking at Stanford Law personal statement examples will help immensely in crafting one of the most noteworthy components of your application.

In this article, we will provide a quick overview of what goes into a personal statement, what the format should be for Stanford Law, and then provide some example statements for your perusal.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

Article Contents 10 min read

What to include in a personal statement.

Unlike with other admissions essays, in which you have law school admissions essay topics , the only topic in a law school personal statement is you. What you’re going to talk about is your story, how you came to be applying to law school, and what your aspirations and dreams are.

The objective of your personal statement is to introduce yourself to the admissions committee as a unique person. This is why you focus on your story – because anybody could have a similar law school resume or transcript to yours, but only you have your specific story.

Check out the top Harvard Law School personal statement examples in this video:

You can focus on two or three main points or events in your life, taking yourself from your first inkling of wanting to be in law, to your current condition of applying to law school, and along the way talking about accomplishments you’ve had and lessons you’ve learned. These might take the form of law school extracurriculars , jobs, courses, or other growth events in your life, but you should choose only the best – the ones that give the clearest, most impressive picture of who you are.

You want to include anything that will make you fit in with Stanford Law in particular. While you don’t need to specifically mention Stanford, you should look out for any way you can synchronize your values or ambitions with those of your chosen school.

You will be following a standard essay format. When thinking about how to write a college essay , you can’t go wrong if you focus on three main areas: the introduction, body, and conclusion.

  • Remember how to start a college essay : with a “hook” sentence – the opening statement that grabs the reader’s attention. Use something that forces the reader to keep reading, even if they didn’t have to as part of their job.
  • The rest of the introduction sets up the body of the essay. Your introduction should quickly establish what you’re going to talk about next.
  • The body of the essay contains one or two main ideas – don’t go beyond this, you don’t have the space – and drives forward to the conclusion.
  • The conclusion wraps up the essay. You might want to talk about your career goals and aspirations here.

The best way to approach formatting your story is chronological. Other structures might work, but a chronological story is easier to write and easier to follow as a reader.

Example No.1

We almost lost everything, and I spent a large part of my high school days not knowing if my parents would have a job tomorrow. They are entrepreneurs and small business owners, and everything seemed great until they hired an employee I’ll call “John,” who caused them no end of trouble. John put so much effort into not working that he could have been a millionaire if he put the same effort into jobs. At the end of his employment with my parents, John got injured on the job and locked our family into legal battles for almost two years.

My dad stayed up late at night, looking over the legal documents. He didn’t understand them but looking them over made him feel a lot better. I was a night owl, so I was often right there with him, and at first, he didn’t really talk to me. But, as the nights went on, he started to talk to me about the documents and what was happening with the case. I think it was his way of venting stress. But for myself, I was fascinated by the documents, and I started to read them closely.

I discovered something strange: what should have been opaque to me – all the legal jargon – didn’t seem terribly impenetrable. So, I started to look up the terms I didn’t know and make my way through the case. This improbable incident started me on my journey toward law school. The law was something I was developing a passionate interest in, that I enjoyed reading about, and that was affecting me and my family on a deeply personal level.

At some point – I don’t even know how – I managed to work up the courage to ask our lawyer if he would mind talking to me about his job and what went into it. He agreed, although I think at first, he thought I was only interested in what was going on with my family’s case. Soon, he understood that what I wanted to know was everything, and he suggested that I shadow him for a couple of days to see what a lawyer went through on a day-to-day basis. I accepted with enthusiasm.

He showed me the nitty-gritty of the daily life of a lawyer, thinking I would be frustrated by the paperwork and how slow the law moved. I wasn’t. I was fascinated from end to end. Once, while discussing case law, I offered several insights I had obtained while going through my parents’ files at home. While these insights were hardly novel and had certainly not been overlooked by our attorney, he was impressed by my acumen and told me so. He wrote me a wonderful letter of recommendation to study pre-law in college.

As I progress in my college journey, I continue to be a bit of an anomaly. While many of my peers seem to seek the heady thrills of courtroom law, I am content to sit at a desk and scrutinize documents for the optimal strategies, precedents, and data necessary to operate as a lawyer.

I had a cruel introduction to the law, but it ended in the best possible way. Not only did my parents win their case against their former employee, but I also found a vocation in life that fascinates me endlessly, and for which I have an aptitude. It is rare to receive such a fine gift as a job you are truly excited about, but I say without reservation that I cannot wait to study law and start practicing. Ultimately, I want to work in the corporate sector and handle the complex cases that come along with any employers and businesses. This is how I first came to love the study of law, and it’s what I’m most passionate about pursuing.

Want to learn how to get into law school with a low GPA? Check out this infographic:

Example No.2

Pacing back and forth during a brief recess, I wasn’t sure where I could go next. I was due back in the courtroom at any moment, and I couldn’t seem to stop sweating. Perspiration cut down my temple like condensation on a water glass. I felt like I was made of water when I should be made of stone. The jury were implacable, unreadable – a team of twelve poker players, or so it seemed. I heard the bell, mopped my brow, and strode out to my desk to meet the rest of the trial.

The cafetorium had been outfitted with a judge’s bench, and I can still remember my buddy Rod sitting up there, playing the role of the court. He had joked that he wished we were holding a mock trial based on England’s justice system because then he could wear a powdered wig.

I was taking part in an ongoing program with my school during which we staged mock trials to get to know the legal system better and learn various aspects of the law, particularly trial law, as well as how to study for and present cases. All of this was in partnership with several local law offices, which generously donated time and resources to our school so that we could get the best possible legal education.

Most of the mock trials were based on high-profile cases, but we also had more obscure or completely fabricated cases so that we could experience a trial with less knowledge and fewer biases or preconceptions concerning what would occur. In this particular case, the trial that I was getting so sweaty over, it was a fabricated case about a shooting incident, and I was acting as prosecutor.

Mr. Thompson was my advisor. He came from a law firm called Gould and Partners, and if you didn’t know him professionally, you’d think Mr. Thompson was nothing but easygoing and jovial. In court, he was an absolute pit bull. Mr. Thompson was generous with his time and with giving me access to his work. I had sat in court several times as a member of the public and watched him work. Gone was the joviality, replaced by tenacity, and although never angry or inappropriate, Mr. Thompson was always direct and powerful whenever he took the floor.

I tried to channel this energy into my own trial, and as I walked from the recess room – which was really just the cafetorium’s supply closet – I locked eyes with Mr. Thompson at our desk, who nodded. Then, I went into my closing arguments.

In the days preceding the mock trial, Mr. Thompson had looked over the case I had prepared. He grilled me, just as if I was on trial, and made sure I knew the case inside and out.

“If you’re nervous,” he told me, “Just think back to all this prep stuff – the boring stuff, for most people – and remember that it isn’t paperwork. It’s stonework. This is your foundation.”

I swear I could feel those stones beneath my feet as my shoes clicked on the linoleum. That foundation was solid, and my arguments were delivered without another bead of sweat trickling down my forehead. I knew the case backward and forward; I had learned from experience with these mock trials to prepare thoroughly. It felt good and right, and when the jury returned a guilty verdict, Mr. Thompson shook my hand.

“This feeling never goes away,” he said. “You’re made of stone now.”

I was getting snowed under between work, school, and family life. My father had recently had an invasive operation performed, and while he was recovering nicely, he was frequently on my mind during my studies. It made any additional responsibilities unfeasible for me that year.

I was taking a Victimology course, and we had been assigned group projects. Our presentation was going to be on victim statistics, both in terms of how to accurately gather data and how to read those data to best serve future victims and prevent crime. This was a huge subject, and I was at first quite grateful to have the benefit of a team to rely on. It became apparent to me, however, that I could not rely on all team members equally.

It always seems to be the case that there is one team member who just isn’t as effective in their role in the group as the others are. In this case, I had a classmate named Stacy who was habitually late to meetings and who didn’t understand the material. Working with Stacy became a large hurdle on my path to becoming a lawyer.

My journey into law started back in high school when I got involved with every kind of club that I could think of and found that I most loved our model UN, debate club, and classes on political science and civics. This led me to a series of conversations with our career counsellor, who helped me choose law as a good career path for my skillset and interests. Along the way, I have dealt with all manner of hang-ups and problems.

My first major hurdle was the sheer amount of knowledge there was on the subject, and it often felt like I would never get it all sorted out in my head. Of course, there are so many different kinds of law to go into as well, which meant that there was a tremendous amount of potential information to learn. Through these experiences, I was forced to develop better study habits and better time management skills. I’m glad I did, too, because thanks to better scheduling, I have more time to continue getting involved in all kinds of clubs and activities, like student government, which I have been in since starting my undergrad.

However, all those obstacles were nothing compared to Stacy. My main problem here was that all other obstacles were about the amount of work there was to be done. I could improve my own study habits myself. I could employ my organizational skills to narrow down my legal readings and get all the information I needed. I could even grapple with problems in student government or in the debate club because I was up against or working with people who were as passionate as I was. Although it was hard, we all wanted the same things.

However, Stacy needed a different motivator because she just wasn’t as dedicated as we were; she was contemplating switching majors and wasn’t sure she would need victimology. Once I found that out, I had a conversation with her. It was friendly, over cups of tea in the cafeteria after a team meeting. I told Stacy that I liked to stay organized, and if she wanted to, I might be able to help. I helped her work through logical possibilities, which amounted to two real choices: drop the course or give it everything she had to help us. She elected to stay the course, work harder, and help us out. She committed.

I learned something invaluable through working with Stacy. It was a strange obstacle to encounter: trying to accomplish something with someone who isn’t on my wavelength. My attempt at mediation – calm, friendly, but professional – was a new way to approach adversity for me. I hope to build on that approach going forward, as I think it will be very useful when I am trying to be part of or lead a team at a firm, or when I am in negotiations with other firms and their clients.

 Stacy and I are still friends, my dad is fully recovered, and I’m on track to head into law school with the best experiences I could possibly have, showing that I have persistence as well – a much-needed quality of fine lawyers.

Stanford says that statements should be “about 2 pages” long. While you could go a little more than 2 pages, try not to fill 3 pages completely. In fact, in this case, less is more, and you should probably aim for a little less than 2 pages. This means that your personal statement will be, on average, 600–1,000 words.

Stanford doesn’t officially say, but most essays are written double-spaced, so you can assume double-spaced.

Yes. This isn’t a spelling test, but you won’t leave a good impression with bad syntax.

It’s not necessary, but you can. The statement is focused on you, personally, not Stanford, but it’s not off-limits.

Spend a good amount of time with it. A little time each day for 2–3 weeks is good, giving you time to write, re-write, edit, proofread, or use a law essay writing service to check your work.

Not formally, but every aspect of your application is part of the complete picture you give to Stanford, so take it as seriously as you would if it was graded. You may even wish to work with a law school advisor to ensure that this crucial component of your application is the best it can be.

Law school acceptance rates place Stanford as the second most difficult school to get into, at least in the US.

Not directly. You would need to contact Stanford and ask to make the correction.

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  6. Law School Admissions: Think About This When Picking A Law School

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  1. In Their Own Words: Admissions Essays That Worked

    In Their Own Words: Admissions Essays That Worked. March 31, 2011. Throughout this issue, countless examples show why we are so proud of the students at the law school. One might think that we get lucky that the students the admissions office chose for their academic accomplishments also turn out to be incredible members of our community, but ...

  2. Sample Law School Personal Statement Essays

    This sample law school personal statement is about half the length of Essay 1 and concentrates on the author's post-college work experience. In its brevity and focus it's the mirror image of Law School Essay 1. The contrast between the two highlights the diversity that can work in law school essays. This applicant writes about the impact of ...

  3. 2 Law School Personal Statements That Succeeded

    The second essay is written by Cameron Dare Clark, a Harvard Law School graduate. Pishko says these two personal statements demonstrate the necessity of sincerity in an admissions essay. "It has ...

  4. 18 Law School Personal Statement Examples That Got Accepted!

    Law School Personal Statement Example #1. When I was a child, my neighbors, who had arrived in America from Nepal, often seemed stressed. They argued a lot, struggled for money, and seemed to work all hours of the day. One day, I woke early in the morning to a commotion outside my apartment.

  5. Excellent Law School Personal Statement Examples

    Excellent Law School Personal Statement Examples. We've rounded up five spectacular personal statements that helped students with borderline numbers get into T-14 schools. You'll find these examples to be as various as a typical JD class. Some essays are about a challenge, some about the evolution of the author's intellectual or ...

  6. Law School Personal Statement: The Ultimate Guide (Examples Included

    Part 2: Why does the law school personal statement matter? A quality personal statement—a short essay in which you articulate who you are and why you want to go to law school—allows an admissions officer to understand your motivation to attend law school, and the reasons why you want to attend their school, specifically.

  7. 4 Outstanding Real-World Law School Personal Statement Examples

    They display an understanding of the law school's values and sincere interest in attending. They tell an attention-grabbing yet relevant story. Check out the personal statement examples below to get inspired, and be sure to read our advice for writing an outstanding law school application essay of your own.

  8. How to Write a 'Why This Law School' Essay

    The School of Law at the University of California—Irvine has a mandatory essay of up to 750 words about why you are interested in their school. Other schools may ask applicants to address this ...

  9. PDF Sample Law School Application Essays

    1-on-1 consulting for law school admissions Expert guidance for all application components ( essays , resumes , letters of recommendation , and waitlist letters ) Interview prep Free resources - admissions guides , articles , and a podcast The Accepted Admissions Blog

  10. Application Toolkit: Written Statements

    One exciting change for this year: we have reworked our essay requirements and prompts. August 4, 2023. ... provide candid, accurate, and straightforward advice about law school admissions — direct from the source. They will be joined by guest stars from other law schools to discuss application timing, letters of recommendation, personal ...

  11. ⭐️How to Format Your Law School Personal Statement

    Use one-inch margins all around. Double-space your essay. Left-align or justify your essay. Add half-inch indentations to each paragraph. Don't add an extra return between paragraphs. Use one space after periods. I've implemented this formatting in the personal statement format sample. Learn about our admissions consulting and editing services.

  12. Tips For Law School Personal Statements: Examples, Resources ...

    This essay is an opportunity to share your identity with an admissions committee—beyond just transcripts and test scores. Personal statements are typically two to four pages long. Most law ...

  13. PDF Law School Essay Examples

    from actual PowerScore Admissions Consulting students, and the "after" results were achieved after students worked with a PowerScore Admissions Consultant to refine their theme, topic, approach, and verbiage. The first "before" and "after" pair is a general law school personal statement. The second "before"

  14. How to Write a Law School Personal Statement + Examples

    Review full law school personal statement examples, tips, and more. Get in touch: (800) 551-3410. Law School. JD Admissions. ... Although most law schools have rolling admissions, submitting a perfected application as soon as possible is always in your best interest. ... The essay's body shows the writer's vulnerability, making it even more ...

  15. Law School Admissions 101

    Download our guide to learn what you need to know to start the law school application process. Resources to help you create a law school application plan. Take our quiz to help assess your law school admissions chances. Use Accepted's Selectivity Index to discover the law schools where you are competitive and to easily compare law schools.

  16. ChatGPT, Law School Application Personal Statements, and the LSAT

    ChatGPT, Law School Application Personal Statements, and the LSAT Writing Sample August 31, 2023. By Troy Lowry. ... As part of the LSAT, every applicant is required to complete the LSAT Writing sample. This unscored essay, given under timed, proctored conditions, presents an ideal opportunity to assess an applicant's writing ability. ...

  17. I Got a Full-Ride to Law School Using This Personal Statement

    Law school admissions certainly are intimidating, especially when it comes to the rather daunting task of writing a personal statement with no real prompt. ... The University of Chicago had a few essays posted on ... Start with a sample brief on your specific fact pattern in 3 easy steps! Find a Sample Brief - Choose Your Jurisdiciton ; Type in ...

  18. Law School Essay Prompts

    Updated: Jan 01, 2024. Law school essay prompts are questions, instructions, or statements to which an applicant must respond in their admissions essays. These prompts indicate which direction your law school personal statement, law school letter of intent, law school diversity statement, or law school optional essay should take.

  19. How to Reapply to Law School

    Law Admissions Lowdown provides advice to prospective students about the law school application process, LSAT prep and potential career paths.

  20. Law School Admissions Essay Topics

    What Are Law School Admissions Essay Topics? Each law school you're planning to apply to is going to ask for an essay with specific requirements, usually in the form of a law school personal statement, law school letter of intent, and law student cover letter.Some schools also allow law school optional essays, such as a law school diversity statement or a law school addendum.

  21. Law School Admission Essays by GradesFixer

    Unique Law School Admission Essay Examples. Crafting a compelling law school admission essays is a crucial step towards achieving your dream of becoming a legal professional. In addition to showcasing your passion and qualifications, your law school admission essay should also persuade the admissions committee of your suitability to excel in ...

  22. Six Law School Personal Statements That Got Into Harvard

    Some reckonings are political: an applicant grapples with the 2008 financial crisis; another grapples with her political party's embrace of populism. Others are personal: a student struggles to sprint up a hill; another struggles to speak clearly. The writers have different ideologies, different ambitions, and different levels of engagement ...

  23. "Why This Law School?" Essay Example

    Since we already mentioned a prompt from Stanford Law School, let's review a sample essay for their prompt. And before we jump in, this is what Stanford Law School has to say about its culture: ... In fact, one of the most challenging aspects of the law school application is the supplemental essays. Most students struggle with the law school ...

  24. Application Requirements

    For example, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, A-levels, national leaving examinations, national or international contests, early high school assessment scores such as the PSAT or pre-ACT, or courses taken outside your school during the school year or summer are just some examples of information that could be submitted.

  25. Stanford Law Personal Statement Examples

    To apply to Stanford Law, one of the most competitive law schools in the US, you'll need to leverage everything you've got, and looking at Stanford Law personal statement examples will help immensely in crafting one of the most noteworthy components of your application.. In this article, we will provide a quick overview of what goes into a personal statement, what the format should be for ...