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Future JD Students

Personal Statement or Essay

Every law school candidate has something of interest to present. Maybe you’ve had some experience, some training, or some dream that sets you apart from others. Law schools want to recruit people who are qualified for reasons beyond grades and scores. The essay or personal statement in your application is the place to tell the committee about yourself.

You are a storyteller here. You want a living person—you—to emerge. The statement is your opportunity to become vivid and alive to the admission committee while also demonstrating your ability to write and present a prose sample in a professional manner.

In general, your evaluation of actual experiences and past accomplishments has more value to the committee than speculation about future accomplishments. Also, if you have overcome a serious obstacle in your life to get where you are today, by all means let the admission committee know about it. Any noteworthy personal experience or accomplishment may be an appropriate subject for your essay; however, be sure to do more than just state it. Describe your experience briefly but concretely, and why it had value to you, whether it is a job, your family, a significant accomplishment, or your upbringing. You are simultaneously trying to add information and create structure. Be brief, be factual, be comprehensive, and be organized.

Interviews

In general, interviews are not a part of the law school admission process. You are encouraged to visit law schools to gather information, and often an appointment with admission personnel will be a part of the visit. The purpose of your conversation with the admission staff usually will be informational rather than evaluative and will not become a part of your admission file. An occasional school will grant an interview, and some may even request it, but, in general, you should not count on an interview as a means to state your case for admission; this is best done in the personal statement.

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