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I can’t write my personal statement

DOs and DON’Ts When Writing a Personal Statement

(1) Pay Attention to Each School’s Prompt
Hopefully, for most applicants, this is a no-brainer. The prompt for each school is first available in August/September when law schools release that year’s application. The prompts typically don’t change much year to year, so you can get a head start by looking at the previous year’s application. For many/most applicants, the prompts are similar enough that the same personal statement template can be used with minor adjustments for each school (see Tip #2 on personalization). For some applicants, however, the prompts are different enough that you should write multiple personal statements. Be sure that the personal statement you use for a school does in fact respond to the prompt for that school. The ability to follow directions is a necessity for law school applicants.

(2) Personalize Your Statement
Most law schools want to see that you have put time and effort into researching why that school is a good fit for you. One of the ways you can demonstrate your due diligence is to include a paragraph (typically at the close of your personal statement) outlining several specific factors that have drawn you to that law school. Be specific. Important considerations to note: (a) Vague statements asserting that a law school is a good fit for you without any supporting evidence or information are useless, so do your research and work on articulating the reasons for your interest in each school. (b) You can review a school’s website to determine what you like about that school, but don’t just regurgitate information from the website. They want to know why that information is relevant to your interests and/or goals. (c) Top-ranked schools (typically, top 5 or so) pretty much know why you would like to attend, so personalization is less important unless there is something that truly differentiates that school from others to you. (d) Some schools have a separate “optional” essay allowing you to discuss why you want to attend that school. If that is the case for one of your schools, write the separate essay, and omit the personalized paragraph from your personal statement. (e) Be sure to submit the correct versions to each school. Save the school’s name in the title to help minimize any potential for error.

(3) Be Personable
As you now know, one of your goals as an applicant is to let admissions committees get to know you. It is just as important that they like you. Admissions committees are in no rush to admit applicants who are arrogant, pretentious, elitist, or rude. So the tone you use in your personal statement is important. Don’t assume that you need to use a formal tone just because you think lawyers write very formally. By using a formal tone, you are actually building a wall between yourself and the admissions committee—the opposite of what you should be doing. Aim for a more conversational (but not casual) tone so that the statement flows easily for the reader. Further, forget the big words that you think make you sound smart. They actually risk making you sound arrogant, pretentious, or even unintelligent (if used improperly). Strong writing conveys intelligence without the need for big words.

(4) Tell a Story
Another easy way to be both personal and personable in your personal statement is to start off with an anecdote about yourself that sets up the framework for the rest of the statement. For example, if you are highlighting certain characteristics in your statement, tell an anecdote that demonstrates those characteristics. If you are discussing a defining moment in your life, describe a scene from that experience. A well-told anecdote can immediately capture readers’ attention and draw them into your world. Even if you don’t include an anecdote in the statement, the topic that you choose should, in a sense, “tell a story” about you in a way that captures and keeps the reader’s attention.

(5) Be Concise
Some schools set no limit for personal statements, but most suggest either 2–3 or 2–4 pages. Aim for two pages, double-spaced. Do not make the error of thinking that more is better. Law schools value the ability to persuasively convey information in a relatively short space. Also, keep in mind that admissions committees are reviewing thousands of applications. Don’t waste their time.

10 DON’Ts
1. DON’T just restate your résumé in narrative form. That shows no critical thinking ability. If you are going to talk about more than one achievement or experience mentioned on your résumé, then connect the dots. Find a common theme that ties those items together.
2. DON’T address your weaknesses in the personal statement. Use an addendum.The personal statement should highlight the positives about you.
3. DON’T focus on your high school activities or accomplishments. Focusing on achievements in high school can draw attention to a lack of similar achievements in college.
4. DON’T be overly dramatic. Understatement is better.
5. DON’T spend too much time talking about someone or something else. Always bring the focus back to you.
6. DON’T start your statement with a famous quotation, no matter how well you think it might fit with the theme of your personal statement. Admissions committees want to hear your words, not those of someone else.
7. DON’T use legalese or Latin phrases.
8. DON’T be careless. Be sure not to accidentally mention the wrong school in your statement.
9. DON’T use big words in an effort to impress the admissions committees. It sets the wrong tone for the statement.
10. DON’T write a position paper or opinion piece. Even written well, those types of writings are not particularly useful to admissions committees because they miss the point of the personal statement.

Six tips for writing a unique personal statement (from a Year 13 student)

The best personal statements should consist of achievements, transferable skills, and why you actually picked your chosen subject. Bethan explains how you can make your personal statement unique.

A couple of weeks after we’d begun the year as second-year college students, our form tutor set us the following piece of homework:

“Write up a complete first draft of your personal statement. Due a week today.”

Naturally, the 15 of us sitting opposite her each reacted with the same look of dread, fear and panic that any college student has when hearing the words ‘personal statement’.

Why? Because it’s a task that we’ve never had any experience with, and many aspects of it – be it selling yourself to people you don’t know, keeping to the strict 4,000 character count or simply coming up with synonyms for ‘passionate’ – are things that most of us seem to struggle with.

A few months down the line and I’ve received offers from the five universities I decided to apply to due (in part) to the success of my personal statement.

Here’s some tips that’ll help you write the best personal statement that’s unique to you.

1. Work out why you want to study the subject you’ve picked

It may sound obvious to some, but it’s something that many people find incredibly difficult – working out why you want to study a particular course.

I’m a big fan of lists, so I encourage people to write out a list of all the things they love about the course they want to do; is there a particular area you find interesting? Do you like the career options? Does it play to your strengths?

Your personal statement should convince people that this course is important to you and also why it should be important to everyone else too. The more specific you are with your reasons, the better.

This will all go in your introduction and is a great way to present yourself as well as your subject. Perhaps you had a particularly encouraging teacher in college or a memorable childhood experience that inspired you to take your subject further? Don’t forget to mention this.

Take your time to make that list of reasons to form the perfect introduction (remember – you’re introducing yourself as well as your personal statement).

2. Add your transferable skills to your personal statement

Everyone writing a personal statement will have no doubt heard of the term ‘transferable skills.’ For those of you who haven’t, these are the skills that you’ll learn through school/college/part-time work/volunteering which you will need for the wider world of higher education and employment. These include time-management, essay-writing, independence and teamwork skills.

After speaking to our college careers advisors, I learnt that as well as this being a key part of your personal statement, it’s also the part that many admissions tutors see a lot of repetition in as the transferable skills students have at this stage can be limited.

Unfortunately, this is unavoidable as the subjects we’re taught before university and the part-time work available to us means that most of us will have incredibly similar transferable skills. However, it’s still possible to express your personality through this section. The next tip will help with that.

3. Include some anecdotes

Be sure to keep them short, as you don’t want to fall into the autobiographical trap. Do your friends or teachers describe your writing ability as your ‘craft’, or that you’re in your ‘element’ when composing or editing music? Make sure universities know that.

4. Don’t leave out your difficulties

Use your personal statement to explain how challenges have helped you as well as the successes – I, for example, am rubbish at keeping to the required word count (I’ve been known to go over by 1500 words before) but I’ve learnt how to be more concise and how to be harsh when editing my work. As annoying as qualities such as perfectionism can be, they can also be a huge asset.

5. Vary your language

Mix up your adjectives, verbs and sentence types – again, this will sound like you’re going back to the basics but it can make all the difference when you realise that the admissions officers at universities will go through hundreds of personal statements that are all saying the same things as you are.

Try to use alternative words for ‘passionate’ at every available opportunity – it’s incredibly over-written.

6. Make a list of all your achievements

My final point involves writing another list; this list, however, consists of every possible achievement, extra-curricular activity or work experience that you’ve ever had/done.

At this beginning stage, it doesn’t matter if they’re not all completely relevant and it certainly doesn’t matter if it doesn’t equal winning a medal in the Olympics or travelling the world – you’ll be surprised at how many transferable skills you can find in them. You, with the help of your tutor or a careers advisor, will be able to refine them later.

So try not to stress too much – it really isn’t as hard as it seems once you get into it. Think of it like this: every single person who has attended or is attending university has had to write a personal statement. If they can do it, so can you.

I cant write my personal statement

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Its so hard because I need it to be perfect and I just can’t think of anything good which is really putting me off. Like its so important and I just cant think. I’ve been writing ideas now and again and they’re completely rubbish, like I just can’t think

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What ideas do you have already? Also, do you know what subject you want to apply for?

I would brainstorm:
– about why you want to do your subject and maybe a little about what you hope to do with it
– anything you do to encourage your interest in this subject (for example, relevant work experience, wider reading, online courses)
– your personal qualities
– any extra-curricular activities
– any specific achievements in or outside of school

Once you have done this, you have the framework, it is just a matter of putting it together. You might also want to read this from UCAS for more information about personal statements. https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergradu. onal-statement

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Exaggerate your achievements. Try and link anything to what you’re applying for. For example if you did work experience at school talk about how it taught you teamwork and communication skills which will be useful when you do group work at uni. Even if the work experience was compulsory make it out as if you volunteered to do it. If you helped around at school for example helping in younger classes or helping make the yearbook or set up a sports day or charity event talk about that too. The hardest part is always starting off. Do NOT start with “I have wanted to be an engineer since I was a child” or whatever you’re applying for admission tutors know that’s bs. I started mine off with “The moment I knew I wanted to be an engineer was when I volunteered for a mechanical engineering work experience in June 2014” and then I went on to talk about why I found it valuable and what I did and what I learned and how I learned more about engineering from the employees there. Talk about how what you are studying at school links with what you are applying for. I had no idea how to structure it just like you but I googled stuff to write about and UCAS actually have a personal statement builder on their website. A good website I used was “Which?”

The above 2 websites helped me a lot. Good luck

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(Original post by Solbusiness)
I have not even had the chance to begin writing it yet. Also I think its the grade that really matters not some statement you can ask your grandfather to do.

The statement really does matter mate. Universities want to have students who show a real interest in the course and make an effort outside of just their academic studies. They want to know more about you as a person not just what grades you have. Meeting the entry requirements doesn’t guarantee you an offer there will be thousands of applicants, hundreds with similar grades as you but only a limited number of places so the way they decide who to offer a place to comes down to personal statement.

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(Original post by Unknown-99)
Exaggerate your achievements. Try and link anything to what you’re applying for. For example if you did work experience at school talk about how it taught you teamwork and communication skills which will be useful when you do group work at uni. Even if the work experience was compulsory make it out as if you volunteered to do it. If you helped around at school for example helping in younger classes or helping make the yearbook or set up a sports day or charity event talk about that too. The hardest part is always starting off. Do NOT start with “I have wanted to be an engineer since I was a child” or whatever you’re applying for admission tutors know that’s bs. I started mine off with “The moment I knew I wanted to be an engineer was when I volunteered for a mechanical engineering work experience in June 2014” and then I went on to talk about why I found it valuable and what I did and what I learned and how I learned more about engineering from the employees there. Talk about how what you are studying at school links with what you are applying for. I had no idea how to structure it just like you but I googled stuff to write about and UCAS actually have a personal statement builder on their website. A good website I used was “Which?”

The above 2 websites helped me a lot. Good luck

? You’ll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.

(Original post by Solbusiness)
I have not even had the chance to begin writing it yet. Also I think its the grade that really matters not some statement you can ask your grandfather to do.