Center for High Achievement & Scholarly Engagement
Pre-Graduate and Pre-Professional Advising

The Essay

The personal statement is in lieu of an interview and is an opportunity for law schools to look beyond the objective aspects of the application and discover something about you as an individual. The subject of the essay can vary between schools but many leave the applicant with significant discretion. An example is the brief provided by Harvard Law School:

"Applicants present themselves, their backgrounds, experiences, and ideas to the Admissions Committee in a Personal Statement. Because people and their experiences are diverse, you are the best person to determine the content of your own statement. It is for you to decide what information you would like to convey, and the best way for you to convey it. Whatever you write, readers will be seeking to get a sense of you as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Harvard Law School. In this context, it is generally more helpful to write what you think readers should know to have a better sense of who you are rather than writing what you think the readers want to read."

Other schools may be more specific and ask that you write about a specific achievement or experience. Some may even provide a title question. If the school does set specific requirements then you may have to write more than one personal statement but you should be able to write just one, or in some cases, two statements.