Top-Law-Schools.com Guide to Personal Statements
|by Ken DeLeon, J.D
Founder of Top-Law-Schools.com
© Copyright by Ken DeLeon 2009
All Rights Reserved
|with Joann Kleinneiur, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief at Revision Editing
Foreword - This book is designed to teach you how to write a great personal statement. The introduction focuses on theory. The rest of this book gives this theory flesh by... (continue)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION TO THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
- Chapter 1: Preparing to Write Your Statement
- The Importance of the Personal Statement
- Avoid Avoidance Behavior
- Chapter 2: Understanding the Admissions Committee and Its Expectations for the Personal Statement
- About Your Audience
- Seven Questions the Admissions Committee Will Ask
- Have you demonstrated intellectual excellence?
- Have you had a tangible impact on individuals or groups?
- Have you demonstrated good leadership skills?
- Have you had real-world experience?
- Can you look at an issue from multiple perspectives?
- What will you bring to our school?
- What brings you to our school?
- Chapter 3: The Rhetorical Approach to the Personal Statement
- Convincing Your Audience to Admit You to Law School
- Logical Appeals
- Emotional Appeals
- Ethical Appeals
- Cultural Appeals
- Chapter 4: Choosing Structure and Topic
- Structuring Your Statement
- Tell a personal narrative or story.
- Begin with a personally meaningful quote.
- Sketch a character.
- Use a metaphor or analogy.
- Pose rhetorical questions.
- Present a problem and how you solved it or would solve it.
- Topics for Law School Personal Statements
- Describe how you endured adversity.
- Describe what makes you a diversity candidate.
- Show how you have matured.
- Describe what you have learned from a mentor.
- Write about an event or issue of particular importance to you.
- Write about coursework or research.
- Write about your passions, ideals, or favorite hobbies.
- Write about leadership experience that you have had.
- Chapter 5: Writing Powerful Sentences
- Hook your reader immediately.
- Write strong sentences.
- Use the active voice.
- Vary your words and sentences.
- Write in a professional and formal tone.
- Do not make elementary writing mistakes.
- Do not mismatch the number of a noun and its verb.
- Avoid clichés.
- Avoid sentences with empty subjects.
- Conclude powerfully.
- Chapter 6: The Personal Statement Checklist
- Have a clear idea of what you want to convey before writing.
- Write about aspects of yourself that reader cannot get from other parts of your application.
- Do not use gimmicks.
- Be personal in the law school personal statement.
- Offer specific, meaningful stories and experiences.
- Tailor your personal statement for the law schools to which you are applying.
- Focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses.
- Adhere to the page or word limitations.
- Edit your law school personal statement.
- Make your personal statement do extra work for you.
PART TWO: SAMPLE PERSONAL STATEMENTS AND COMMENTARY
- Chapter 7: Making the Most of the Sample Personal Statements and Commentary
- Chapater 8: The Personal Narrative (Structure)
- Silicon Valley Start-Up
- Senior Design
- Stay-at-Home Dad
- Happy Camper
- Coming Out
- Belorussian Lawyer
- Mormon Conflict
- New York Artist
- Chapter 9: The Organizing Quote (Structure)
- PR Agency Builder
- Alice in Casinoland
- Kentucky Governor’s Scholar
- Chapter 10: The Character Sketch (Structure)
- South Dakota
- Magazine Industry
- Russian Grandfather
- Chapter 11: Overcoming Adversity (Topic)
- Kenyan Immigrant
- Gordie Day
- Surviving Rape
- Parental Disability
- Chapter 12: Diversity Candidates (Topic)
- Resisting the Label “Muslim”
- Muumuus and Moving On
- Hurricane Katrina
- First to Attend College
- Chapter 13: Chronological Growth (Topic)
- High-Stakes Law Experience
- Uganda and Cambodia
- UK Study Abroad
- Delmarva Shorebirds
- Chapter 14: The Mentor (Topic)
- Debate Skills
- Korean American
APPENDIX: ADDITIONAL APPLICATION ADVICE
- Appendix A: Reach School Risk-Taking
- Appendix B: “Why Our School?” Essay
- Why Penn?
- Why Michigan?
- Law in the Casbah
- Appendix C: Yale 250s
- Porgy and Bess
- Violin Maker
- The Buildings of Stories
- Multiple Heritages
- Volunteer Work
- Appendix D: Ending on a Good Note
- Application Addendum
- Letter of Diversity
- Proud Latino Heritage
- Garment Factory to British Marshall Finalist
- Swimming Lessons
- Appendix E: Letters of Recommendation
- Requirements for Letters of Recommendation
- Selecting a Good Recommender
- Requesting Your Letter of Recommendation
- Do Not Draft Your Own Letter of Recommendation
- To Waive or Not to Waive
- Appendix F: Letters of Continued Interest
- What Should I Write About in my LOCI?
- How long should my LOCI be?
- When should I send my LOCI?
- Who should I send my LOCI to?
- How should I send my LOCI?
- Other Points About LOCI’s
- Sample LOCI
- Interest in Juvenile Law
- Zebra Law School Letter #1
- Zebra Law School Letter #2
- After You Send a LOCI
- Appendix G: Considering a Joint Degree
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