6 Subjects to Avoid in Your Personal Statement
The personal statement is your opportunity to go beyond LSAT and GPA numbers, connect emotionally with admissions officers, and make yourself an attractive and unique candidate for law school admission. The focus of your personal statement should always be on you and those events, people, or circumstances that have shaped who you are and your decision to apply to law school.
So what shouldn’t you write about? Here are six subjects from online essay writing service McEssay to avoid in law school personal statements:
#1. Low LSAT Scores
If your LSAT score is not as high as you would hope, there’s no need to draw even more attention to it in your personal statement; law school admissions committees are well aware of your score.
Moreover, as your law school grades will likely depend on single final exams, don’t emphasize that you may not be so great with tests. Write an outstanding personal statement highlighting why you’d be such a wonderful addition to the entering class instead.
#2. Low College Grades
Your grades are listed on your transcript, which law schools will receive, so there’s no point in trying to explain away low grades; very few reasons will not end up sounding like excuses.
Regarding both low LSAT scores and college grades, some law schools allow the submission of separate essays in addition to personal statements. If you truly have a compelling reason to address low LSAT scores or grades (death in the family close to exam time, for instance), you might consider writing a supplemental essay.
If you do, keep it short (a page or less) and to the point; something you could emphasize, if it applies, is that your GPA in your major was significantly higher than your overall GPA and/or that it improved greatly each year.
Even if you think you’re pretty sure about an admissions committee’s political leanings, it’s best to stay away from overly partisan personal statements. Your personal statement shouldn’t become a position paper on controversial issues such as the death penalty, abortion, war, etc.
The exception to this rule, of course, is if you have worked for a politician or in depth on a particular issue and that experience has greatly shaped your desire to attend law school; still, though, keep the focus on you and not on the politician or issue.
#4. Random Childhood Memories
If a specific childhood memory was particularly formative in your development or in your decision to go to law school, by all means write about it—in fact such an anecdote can make for a great opening—but don’t just throw in random bits and pieces of your life that add nothing to your essay’s thesis.
#5. Poetry or Other Creative Writing
Law schools love creative people, but your personal statement is not the time to draft of a screenplay. Also, you can use humor to a small degree, but don’t write the equivalent of a stand-up monologue.
Law schools are looking for intelligent, mature, hard-working individuals, so your personal statement should highlight those characteristics and not state your case for eventual employment on late night television.
#6. Awards and Achievements
If you dwell too much on your own awards and achievement, you risk coming across as a pompous braggart—and not someone an admissions committee would necessarily want in a law school class. Your resume is probably already part of your admissions packet, but if not, your awards and achievements are likely listed somewhere on your application form.
So instead of rehashing information already in your application, use the personal statement to your advantage by including more personal, in-depth information about what makes you so special, and why the admissions committee would be foolish to not extend you an offer.