Writing a personal statement is a daunting task for any student applying to study law at university. While there is not necessarily a “recipe” or checklist that will guarantee you an offer, strong and successful personal statements do share some features. Read on for advice on key ingredients yours should feature to stand out to university admission teams.
Many students make the mistake of over-complicating their personal statements with quotations, making their applications seem generic and disingenuous. Admissions officers are not interested in regurgitated quotes taken out of context for the sake of demonstrating that you have read a law-related book. Instead, they want to know about you as a person; what experiences shaped you and the interests you pursue.
In order to do this, you should show the admissions officers why you’d make a good law student rather than just simply tell them. Instead of writing that you have strong written skills and are a confident public speaker, explain how you developed such skills. Were you part of your school’s publication? Did you compete in regional debate competitions? This will help admissions officers get to know you a little better and help you stand out from the countless applications they receive every year.
This sounds self-explanatory but, while you do not need to have studied law previously to apply for a law course at university, you do need to demonstrate a strong interest. This could be in any sector that interests you, from commercial law and international human rights to family law and criminal law. It also does not need to be about a particular area of law but perhaps about the strong critical and analytical skills that are developed through training to be a lawyer or a better understanding of the business world. Regardless of what spurred you to apply for a law course, you need to effectively and concisely get that across to the admission teams. And the reasons need to be more developed and nuanced than attractive salaries and the perks of the job.
Law is an undoubtedly competitive field and therefore aspiring professionals are expected to have a strong academic record. If you have received any awards for hard work or excellence in studies, be sure to mention these!
However, academics are not the only thing university admission teams look for in candidates. Aspiring lawyers are also expected to balance their school subjects with extracurricular pursuits. Whether this is volunteering at a local charity, taking part in mock trials or playing football for your school’s team, any interests you have could help portray you as a well-rounded and high-achieving individual.
An obvious tip, but one that most students can easily forget about, especially if they are scrambling to submit their personal statements at the last minute. It is crucial that you double and triple check your personal statement (and get a friend or family member to read through it as well). Spelling or grammatical errors are easy to fix and can easily undermine your application as it reflects sloppiness and a lack of careful attention.
Overall, it is important that you explain your personal motivations for wanting to study law, the experiences you have undertaken to explore this career path and the qualities you possess that make you a strong candidate. Your personal statement is your opportunity to express yourself, justify your suitability for law and to sell yourself to your chosen universities.
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