Despite being an English major, I have to admit a little fear enters my heart when thinking about the personal statement. What exactly am I supposed to say? How am I supposed to say it? And how do I make my boring life sound interesting? I have written 14-page papers, but this little two page essay about myself may be the hardest I will ever do as an undergrad.
The best piece of advice I feel I have been given on how to attack the personal statement is to always consider the person who has to read it. To use the most cliché of phrases, put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It is said that a member of the admissions committee spends only about three minutes reading your paper (which is one of hundreds!), so find something that will make you seem different. But remember, this essay is an interview. Above all else, the interviewer wants to learn the answers to two big and very telling questions:
- Why do you want this?
- What skills or talents can you bring with you?
If you can answer these questions in a meaningful and honest way, you’ve done the job! Easier said than done though, right?
Think about some of the most defining moments of your life. Have you gone through any hardships? Overcome any obstacles? If you’re like me and feel that you haven’t, consider the inspiration approach. Be creative with this. Talk about what inspires you to pursue this career and how you would plan to use it for good in the future. If you plan on using it for evil, it might be best not to include that last part, but always think outside the box because there are a million things to do with a law degree.
Compose the essay as you would any normal essay: intro, body, and conclusion. Don’t forget to have some kind of thesis statement to get your over-arching point across clearly to the reader. Spend some serious time on this; it’s a representation of you! Lastly, check your spelling and grammar. Know your to, too, and two’s and the difference between their and there. Take your essay to the University Writing Center to have another set of eyes search for mistakes your brilliance may miss.
But ultimately, have fun with it!
Just kidding, the fun starts when it’s all over and you get your acceptance letter in the mail.
Article Written By: Emily Fox
2012-2013 PreLaw Program Ambassador