- July 17, 2017
- Posted by: Joy Blaser
- Category: Joy Blaser, Law-Blog
When a law school admissions officer reads your personal statement, what three words do you want to come to mind? Ideally, the classic triumvirate: passionate, tenacious and successful. There are multiple reasons why this traditional combination works and why it is so important to clearly establish these traits in your application to law school.
Identify Your Passion.
Everyone has something she is passionate about. If you are unsure of where or how to start your personal statement, this is a natural place. Whether your passion is in a more traditional area such as playing a musical instrument, volunteering or sports; in an emerging field like technology; or something conceptual like immigrant rights, all of us have something we love and care about, and perhaps for which we have even sacrificed. Identifying that passion, allows you to you tell your individual story and show that you possess internal drive. Telling the story well in your personal statement is what helps get you into law school.
The fact that your experiences are unique enables you to ground your essay in details that make it interesting. Sharing these experiences allows your own voice to shine through much like how a star athlete’s eyes light up when discussing her favorite game-winning play. The beauty of talking about something you love is that, in doing so, you not only demonstrate passion but the specific subject-matter expertise and perspective that you will bring to the entering law school class.
Highlight Challenges Overcome.
Everyone has encountered challenges in pursuing her passions. Not having the money, raw talent or parental support are traditional examples. Indeed, demonstrating a will and ability to overcome obstacles – whether you call it tenacity, grit, or perseverance – is fundamental to being a good law student and, ultimately, a good lawyer.
To craft the best version of your personal statement, detail how you approached those challenges and eventually overcame them to add color and authenticity to your essay.
Share Your Strength.
When writing about your success in light of the trials and tribulations you’ve encountered, highlight your area of strength. If your success has been externally validated through awards and rankings, that is even better. If the subject-matter of your passion doesn’t lend itself to external validation, success can be defined in other ways such as number of people you helped, the exhilaration you felt (or your family felt) when you succeeded, the impact you had on an individual life, or even the profound way in which the experience fundamentally changed the way you navigate through life.
The voyage of discovery you outline in discussing your obstacles and successes in following your passion leads you to the important conclusion and purpose of the personal statement: what you learned about yourself and how that relates to the law student and lawyer you will be.