Monday, August 24, 2015

Ask Asha: What is your advice on writing the personal statement?

When writing their personal statement, I would advise applicants to keep in mind three things. The first is that their personal statement should give the reader an idea of why they are applying to law school. This might seem obvious but you want the reader to come away understanding why law school is the logical next step, even if you don’t conclude with that statement. The second thing is that the personal statement should connect the dots of the meaningful experiences in your life. It could be the background and personal experiences that you’ve had in your life that have influenced you and have given you this interest in law. It could be your professional experiences or the ideas that you’ve encountered in school. But whatever it is, whether it’s personal, professional, intellectual, the personal statement should weave together what has happened to you and in a way that makes sense. The third thing is that, in my opinion, a good personal statement reads like a glorified cover letter. It tells the reader all the important things that have happened and describes them. But a great personal statement takes this one step further and is reflective, meaning that it tells the reader why these have mattered to you, how do they all fit together, what questions do they raise, what is still in the gray area for you? I want to know how you think because how you think and how you perceive the world is what I think adds value to the class. And that helps me see how you would fit in as a student here. 

Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid, gives tips on the personal statement. Read more from Asha in her blog entries P.S., P.S. Boot Camp: Make Sure You Have More Than One Trick, and P.S. Boot Camp: Reality Check, the Finale.