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How To Make Your Personal Statement Stand Out

Wednesday 10/12/2016
Make your personal statement go to work for you.

Obtaining a copy of your college transcript? Easy. Penning a profound personal statement? A bit more difficult…or so you might think. Read on for tips to consider as you write your law school application essay.

Yes, your personal statement matters a lot. It’s an avenue to express so much more than what you can fit on a law school application, and it’s an invaluable opportunity to share your aspirations, underscore unique qualities, and convey how you will enrich the incoming class.

But the personal statement doesn’t have to be so overwhelming to complete that you’d rather not do it all. You just need to stay organized, stay on top of it (start it right after you read this post, if you haven’t already), and follow these guidelines.
Remember, a personal statement isn’t a resume; it needs to give a snapshot of who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re heading. Be confident, and be yourself. You’ve become motivated and goal-oriented as a result of your experiences, and now’s your time to shine. Best of luck!

  • Choose a topic that speaks to you. If you’re passionate about the topic—and you know it well—writing it will come much easier. Try translating some of your most rewarding experiences into qualities you’ve honed, such as perseverance, problem-solving abilities, and creativity.
  • Adhere to the guidelines. Whether the law schools you’re applying to want your essay short and sweet or of more epic proportions, follow the instructions explicitly. But even when the word count is generous, don’t go overboard. Resist the urge to tell long stories from your childhood or every detail of your dreams, and instead get to the point and be articulate. We want to learn as much about you and why you are applying to Syracuse Law as possible!
  • Tailor it to answer each school’s question. Take the time to write personal statements for each school you’re applying to; not one essay that sort of fits all. And make absolutely sure you don’t accidentally mention one school in another school’s essay.
  • Be honest. Exaggerations or flat-out misrepresentations never end well. Stay true to your voice and your history. Besides, you should want to attend a law school that appreciates your style and experiences anyway.
  • Impress the reader organically. In other words, try to avoid outright bragging. Remember the rule to “show” rather than “tell.” Show the reader how you overcame obstacles and challenging times in your life, if that’s what the statement’s goal is. This lets us form a picture of you that separates you from all the other candidates out there.
  • Triple check grammar, spelling, and syntax. The Syracuse Law Admissions Committee wants to see a well-written, polished personal statement. Read it aloud, then ask someone to read it for you and provide you with honest feedback. If you need to re-write, dig in and invest the time to do so. Strong writing is of major importance in law school and we are assessing your writing skills as much as reading the context of what you are saying.