Personal Statement Samples

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

Postby hoyablue » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:21 pm

I want to do something with the idea of being an outsider, like how regardless of the activities I was in, the cheerleading team i was on, the choir i sang in, i knew i wasn't quite like everyone else.

This is a common belief among those with a narcissistic personality disorder.

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Postby not THAT guy » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:31 pm

A singer/cheerleader goes on vacation and sees terrorists protesting America, and this proves that her teen angst was valid, and thus she should go to an American law school.

Yeah, that's certain to work.


by the way, I do not believe it to be a good to involve yourself with the N17 group when applying to law school

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Postby MaoMao » Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:35 pm

I want to do something with the idea of being an outsider, like how regardless of the activities I was in, the cheerleading team i was on, the choir i sang in, i knew i wasn't quite like everyone else. Then, when i went to Greece on November 17 and witnessed the terror group, N17, protesting America, I realized that all i had felt for the previous 19 years was right, then show how the revelation of this led me into law.

I'm forwarding this to the FBI.

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Postby Kompressor » Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:15 pm

See, that's where I'm stuck now too but I think there's going to be a part of it that sounds cliche no matter what. Schools want you to say certain things so there are bound to be some sections of your essay that sound like everyone else's. Just try to make sure that there's another aspect to it that sounds personal. At least, that's what I'm telling myself now. For some background, I'm white, from a middle class family, and from Maine. I haven't had any awful tragedy strike my life, so I can't write about that either. My best advice to you is to give the honest answer as to why you want to go to law school. Even if it seems cliche to you, it may not be to the reader.


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Postby WildcatFan » Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:18 pm

Thank you very much for your advice. My family life sounds about like yours, average, happy, nothing tragic about it. Hopefully, my essay will sound okay if i do what you say. I think it will!

Thanks again. :)

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Postby Vasia » Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:24 pm

Dear TLS'ers,
Just wanted to remind you that this thread is for contributed PS's only. Let's not continue to flood this wonderfull thread and keep our forum as a nice place to be in.

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Postby Kompressor » Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:27 pm

You're right, we should stop or else this entire forum will die. I guess we can all look forward to 10 threads a day about individual PS questions.


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Personal Statements

Postby LDelpercio » Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:33 pm

I'm not up for posting mine publicly. But does anyone with expertise on this want to read mine? I am trying to finish it/make final revisions.

I could really use the feedback.

Msg me for details if you are up for it.

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Postby VVev » Sat Jul 28, 2007 12:49 am

Last edited by VVev on Wed Mar 12, 2008 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Please critique

Postby jeremybates » Thu Aug 02, 2007 4:49 pm

When I was eight years old, second grade was where I spent my days and my room was where I initially spent the nights as my new blended family and I had recently moved in. While my step-siblings were given everything they wanted and spent the afternoons watching “Punky Brewster” and “Full House,” I went outside to play in the backyard. Luckily for me, the neighbors to the east had a young boy my same age. He and I became great friends and on one hot summer day, we wrote “We’ll be buds forever,” on a piece of paper and buried it in his backyard.
One morning we wanted to skip school but Joe had to take his little sister’s coat to the Kindergarten class and was afraid that he would be forced to goto his class if he went there. I convinced him he wouldn’t get caught and after we delivered the coat, we pent the entire day in his garage eating Otter pops. On more than one Friday night, we camped out in the backyard together and stole soda pop from people’s garage refrigerators; our favorite was Fresca. This was before our criminal acts were realized. After a few weeks of refrigerator raiding, my friend had a new idea. After school we walked across the playground and the field to the gate at the end of the school boundary, where Joe divulged his plan to steal from “Teddy Bears,” (those four words comprising the entirety of his plan) the neighborhood market across the street.
Out of pity the clerks at Teddy Bears let us come in each day and spend a quarter or two on candy while stealing ten times as much. Eventually we ran out of money and would go into the store, fill our pockets and walk out. We would leave the store with bulging pockets and walk in with empty ones after trying to learn how to read at school. This system went on for months and expanded to include the little brother of Joe, in whose pant pocket was shoved a “Kool Aid Twister” on one of our thieving visits, and my older step-sister, Jenae, who only stole with us once.
One fall afternoon we walked over the leaves on the school grounds to the scene of our daily crime. As usual, we walked in and casually began to fill our pockets after pretending to be interested in the merchandise. The operation was completed in less than 20 minutes and we decided it was time to leave. We were half way out the door, when a voice from the cash register boomed, “Hold on! What’s in your pockets?”
I was paralyzed with fear as was my accomplice, thus the reason for us not simply running away. I turned around, looking embarrassedly at the ground pulling out hands full of caramels, taffy, and six feet of the new gum “Bubble Tape”. We were told we would have to wait there for the Police to come. We were forced to sit behind the counter so the other customers could purchase what they wanted and leave. Neither one of us spoke, as the time eked.
The Policeman, who was as big as four of us children, showed up and walked us to the police station a few buildings north of the Teddy Bears. Our parents were called, our fingerprints taken, and the law enforcement officer’s lectures were nodded in agreement to. The next week not only was I required to clean out the garden and weed-ridden corral in our back yard as punishment for my thieving but also to go with the Scout troop to the Police station to work on our fingerprinting merit badge. I did not ask any questions and looked at the ground the whole time.
Rather than writing about my father’s three divorces, my previously broken and fused back, and rehashing my resume, I want you to laugh. Besides, lawyers never complain anyway, do they? I hope to attend your law school, to keep my idle hands away from least until graduation.


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Postby lordarka » Sun Aug 05, 2007 6:53 pm

Stanford Hopeful:

When I first read your stats, I wondered how you could have gotten the acceptances you got. After reading your statement, I couldn't believe that anyone rejected you. Well done!

I am sure that many people on many admissions committees went through the same thought process I just did. Your story is an amazing one, and I feel that any law class could benefit from having someone like you in their midst. Congratulations on overcoming, and here's hoping that you continue to do so!

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Postby lotus » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:40 pm

. . .
Last edited by lotus on Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby PermanentlyOnline » Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:13 pm

I'd be up for posting my statement for some input, but I don't know if this is advisable seeing as I'm applying now. Any advice on this? Or better yet, anyone who's willing to look at it and critique the hell out of me?


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Postby readyfortheLSAT? » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:00 pm

like everyone else, i could definately use some feedback.
thank you, for any help.

UG GPA- 3.3
practice LSAT - 156
currently taking the powerscore prep course, plan on taking the sept test.

I walked into the office minutes after the receptionist unlocked the door; she gave me a strange glance as I stood in the middle of the lobby contemplating if I had made the right decision. It was the unexplainable feeling of being lost, but knowing exactly where you are the same time. The silence broke with her questioning my presence. I responded quickly, not wanting to give the impression the newest hire lacked even the most basic skill of awareness. She motioned to the faded couch in corner, instructed me to have a seat. I could not stop analyzing the decision I made; constantly having to reassure myself this job would be exponentially better than the last cubicle bound – headed no where addition to my resume. I had pretty good reason to believe in my decision – substantially higher salary with great potential, closer in proximity to my residence, excellent benefits with no waiting period, and a fast track to management – why should there be doubt? Being the first day, the manager let me have the afternoon off after taking me to were-happy-you-are-here lunch, that afternoon I realized I had made the wrong decision.

Looking back, it all started thirty-six months ago as a series of unconnected events that seemed to come together and fall apart all at the same time. I was finishing the last semester of my undergraduate degree with plans of attending law school the following fall semester, but that plan soon changed when I met her. My revised plan was to take a year off before I applied for admissions, not a complete dismissal to attending law school – more of a temporary vacation from the rigor of academic life. My parent’s level of disapproval was palpable consistently questioning my new agenda furtively searching for a future confirmation of my application intention. The reoccurring examination of my future persisted well into the new year, finally ending with my denunciation of law school completely – vowing I would never visit the thought attendance while secretly assuaging my fears of not having a goal that I could claim as mine. I found solace in my new position with a financial institution. I strived to be the best, I wanted the title of top-producer, most valued employee, always early, always stayed late, filled in whenever required. I was happy, an escape from the pressure of not living up to the standards set forth by my parents. Shortly after graduation, my grandfather became ill; admitted and released with regularity from the hospital. One morning before work I stopped in to see him during one of his visits – the nurses knew me so avoided telling me visiting hours had not started. That morning the doctor diagnosed my grandfather with bone cancer – inoperable due to age and physiological condition. The doctor’s grim prognosis gave little confidence in expecting more than a few months. The mix of ambivalent emotions was more than I anticipated – fear, grief, anxiety, justice, redemption, freedom. Less than a month later the family converged for a memorial service, I was by his side every day until the end. I am still perplexed by my feeling of vindication after his passing of not attending law school that fall. She crept into my conscience once again the day of his memorial service – reminiscing of the day she provided the financial possibility to come home from college to spend time with her, but ultimately allowing me one more memory of my grandfather’s last birthday. She, is my wife – has been for the last thirty-six months.

My desire for attending law school has never disappeared, just temporarily hidden from expectation. Recently, she traveled into the long deserted topic of law school attendance, which brought the aspiration rushing back to the forefront of my cognitive function. As I pondered the possibilities of attendance, I began to realize the time-off turned into avoidance, then mutated once more to fervor. But a central question remained affixed to any thought of law school, why now? The past thirty-six months life has placed salient obstacles in my path to maturation: marriage, death, self-awareness. Thirty-six months ago, I would not have been the type of law student South Texas College of Law would expect to uphold the sanctity of our nation’s legal system. Today – now, I regard admission and the practice of law not as an expectation, but rather a privilege, a duty devoted to truth.

I humbly submit my application for admission free from outside expectation, but resting solely on the premise my hiatus has allowed me to grow in ways otherwise unrealized. Yearning for the feeling of walking into a courtroom minutes after the doors are unlocked, surveying the room as I prepare to exhibit my legal education, with the clarity of why I am here.


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Accepted at all schools ...

Postby juliet-costa » Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:53 am

The theme of my life thus far is reflected in three words: adaptability, independence and perseverance. From early childhood, I moved between households, cities and countries almost annually, learning to adjust quickly to new circumstances. Born in Portugal, I lived there intermittently, as well as in Mexico, the United States and Barbados, before settling in Canada 15 years ago. Having to continuously navigate cultural and linguistic differences forged within me a keen sense of self-sufficiency and independence. At the age of 16, a year after arriving in Canada, I left home and began living on my own. I dropped out of high school and worked three jobs to support myself. A year later, I strategically entered the legal field, utilizing my fluent knowledge of Spanish to obtain employment (without prior legal experience) at an immigration law firm and have since then worked at various small and top-tier law firms. I advanced my career through demonstrated initiative from an entry level position to working with a managing partner at a corporate law firm to my current position as a systems analyst at the same firm.

I have always had a strong affinity for knowledge and learning. Intent on continuing my education, I enrolled as a mature student at the University of Toronto in 2001 and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in 2006, majoring in Political Science and Sexual Diversity Studies. Throughout my studies, I generally managed a full course load during the day, worked part time in the evenings (between 20 to 30 hours per week) and was involved in extracurricular activities. Studying as a mature student was a difficult transition, which was reflected in my first year marks. However, determined to succeed, I became more skilled at time management and subsequently achieved consistently high standings in later years.

I believe my personality is exceptionally suited to the field of law. Ten constructive years in the workforce, over four years of higher education and challenging life experiences have shaped and fine-tuned my analytical and interpersonal skills, allowing me to develop a strong sense of responsibility and strengthen my communication and organizational skills. I have honed my ability to critically and creatively analyse complex arguments and problems. It is an ability that I have relied upon in my academic and professional life. As a legal assistant, I consistently went beyond the scope of my duties. I actively read documents for content while inputting revisions, isolating points of concern that I would then bring to the lawyers' attention. The lawyers recognized my abilities and relied on me to compose correspondence and put together drafts of various legal documents, including consents, statements of claim, motions, orders and agreements. I was also frequently asked to conduct research utilizing online resources and QuickLaw. In my current position, I provide technical support to staff, lawyers and management. In addition to troubleshooting and remedying a variety of problems on a daily basis, I have resolved a number of outstanding issues on my own initiative that had implications for the whole firm, including printer driver customization, specialized software and hardware research and acquisition. Additionally, throughout the years, I have volunteered for various non-profit organizations and did freelance work, including business consulting, website administration, tax preparation, and translation. The owners of the small businesses with whom I worked often relied on my advice in making decisions concerning the improvement and advancement of their business.

I believe it would be invaluable to obtain practical legal experience and I plan on practicing law after obtaining a LLB. However, I am also interested in law from an academic perspective. I took a number of interdisciplinary courses that examined the relationships between law, politics, society and culture from comparative, historical and ethnographic perspectives. I am most interested in how law, through the specific use or manipulation of legislation and courts, is utilized to achieve particular social and political means, as well as the consequential reshaping of the established social fabric and social norms. Ultimately, I would like to further explore this academic interest in law by continuing my studies at a graduate level and pursuing a Masters of Law and, possibly, Doctor of Juridical Studies.

The LLB program offered at the University of ***, Faculty of Law, is most suited as a first step towards my goal as it ***


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Postby avo1985 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:28 pm

I wish more people would post here :) Come on guys!

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Postby M20009 » Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:06 am

I'm not a big fan of leading with quotes unless it's powerful and gripping, and I'm not sure this quote does it.

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Postby lawbutterfly11 » Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:15 pm

i too would like someone to look at my personal statement, to make sure its strong enough. I hope to submit it within the next 3 weeks, so PM me if you would not mind looking at it. I wrote it in about 2 hours, so it is a very rough draft. In case it completely sux, i have other topics available.

My PS is about overcoming bias, and wishing to be an advocate to help others do the same

I can also write about:
growing up in an ultraconservative religous enviroment
transitioning between two very different reigons in the US
leadership and my drive to succeed

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Postby M20009 » Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:32 pm

Laceface: my comment was not directed at only you. I think a lot of people use quotes that aren't gripping enough. Then again, in '55 Successful Harvard Law School Application Essays' the reviewer loves this one guy's leading with a quote, but I didn't so maybe I am overly harsh.

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Postby M20009 » Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:16 pm

If anyone would read over mine, I'd appreciate it.


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Postby mzing12 » Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:00 pm

Reading these personal statements, nearly every one of them is about becoming a public advocate - does anyone actually become one, or is it like some kind-of gimmick to show you have a heart to the committee? They have to know almost all of the best students will probably go right into firm or corporate work.

If that's the case, I find it hard to imagine the committee not rolling their eyes when they read about someone bringing cosmic justice to the world for x and y reasons (I'm currently working on my own personal statement, and yes, the only reason I'm even going to law school is to do actual, grungy, poverty-strickening, debt crushing, sometimes demoralizing, public advocacy work. I don't want to roll out what might be cliche or something they've probably read a million times and have them think, "yeah, right".).

Oh yeah, I'm a copywriter by trade, so part of my job is nitpicking potential audience reaction. Is the whole "I want to become public advocate" an appropriate route, or something that'd make the committee want to gouge their eyes out? any middle ground?


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Personal statement samples

Postby hobbla » Sun Sep 30, 2007 8:32 pm

you don't have to address anything about being any type of lawyer in your personal statement.

You don't need to talk about law school in any way, what you want to do after you graduate etc.

The Personal Statement advice on the UChicago website is really helpful.

to summarize they just want your PS to be

1) PERSONAL - as in about YOU, and who you are
2) Well written (this does not mean big words)
3) Interesting

I believe Anna Ivey (who used to work for Uchicago law admissions) said in her book that she did get sick of hearing "save the whales" personal statements.


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Personal statement samples

Postby schnoo » Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:51 pm

I used my personal statement to show my love of language, grammar, study of linguistics (showing analytical language skills at the graduate level) and study abroad in Japan (fostering cultural diversity).

i personalize each statement with the programs offered at each law school that fit well with my accomplishments/personal interests.

does any of this sound good???

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Law School Personal Statement Advice

Postby Ken » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:04 am

Many personal statements begin with a quote. This is a difficult structure to master, but when it is done well, it can be satisfying for the reader. Begin with a meaningful quote, which you unpack and refer to throughout your statement. Do not randomly pick a quote from Bartlett’s. Do not pick a quote by some famous person whose work you have never read or have barely encountered. Spend some time unpacking the various levels and resonances of the quote in relation to your life and goals. Do not use this structure unless you have hit upon a blockbuster quote and can work rhetorical magic upon it.

Schnoo, your statement does sound compelling and interesting. Tailoring your personal statement to that school is very valuable and conveys that you both know that law school, and will likely be a good fit there, and also that you took the time to do the research, which impresses admission committees. Here is something from my article on personal statements:

Tailor your personal statement for the law schools to which you are applying. Making specific references to a particular law school or specialty will demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to that law school. Check if professors have retired or changed institutions. A corollary to this suggestion is not send a personal statement to school B meant for School A. The admissions committee at Harvard Law School does not want to read about your desire to attend Yale.

Hobbla, the advice about being PERSONAL in your statement is very true. I expand upon this with these 2 tips:

1) Write about aspects of yourself readers cannot get from the other parts of your application. A personal statement that repeats what the committee can learn from other parts of your application is a wasted personal statement. Then again, do not let your attempts to distinguish yourself tempt you to use gimmicks. Do not write in crayon, structure your personal statement as if it were a legal brief, or write a poem instead of an essay.

2) Be personal in the law school personal statement. You do not want to blend into the faceless mass of personal statements that your committee will be reading. Do not be afraid to use the first person (“I”). Cultivate a positive ethos or mindset. Focus in an honest way on your most favorable characteristics. This will allow your personal statement to stand apart from the multitude of statements that merely reiterate a transcript or generically describe how being admitted to law school will benefit the applicant’s life. Write about things that make you genuinely excited and enthusiastic. Readers of your statement can tell when your enthusiasm takes over. Be optimistic.

Lets get writing!

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Personal statement samples

Postby Kompressor » Fri Oct 05, 2007 12:42 pm

I'm baaaack! I had been writing so many versions of my PS and I finally figured out some solid subject matter! In case you've been wondering (and you haven't) where I've been the last two months, well I've been on jury duty. It was an incredible--and stressful--experience but I think I've finally found something that should be unique and that I can write about with certain passion and clarity. When I finish it, I'll post it up here. If anyone is interested, I can PM the specifics of the case.

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