A personal statement is a document that will accompany your grades and other application documents when you apply to a university or college, particularly for highly specialized faculties such as law or engineering. In most cases, the number of applicants is significantly greater than the amount of positions available. Competition to get into these schools is fierce, and academic excellence is not the only pre-requisite for admission. Often, you personal statement is the deciding factor when it comes to placement at your school of choice. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about personal statements.

What is a Personal Statement?
A personal statement is an essay that accompanies your grades when you apply to certain faculties and colleges, such as a law school. Essentially, it is a chance for you to express your character to the selection panel, to prove your worthiness for the course, and to differentiate yourself from thousands of other applicants without meeting them in person.

Which information should I include in my Personal Statement?
The selection panel will already have all of your academic and personal information, so try to reveal more about yourself. Allude to your character, strong points, potential weaknesses, and your desire to be selected for the course. However, it is important that you don’t come across as arrogant, or conversely, pleading. Aim to subtly convey the message and image you wish to present.

How formal should my Personal Statement be?
A law school personal statement should be written in an informal, but structured way. Law schools have high academic standards, and if you are applying then the panel is aware of your intelligence. Be concise and honest – think of your personal statement as a written version of what you would say at an interview.

What should I avoid saying?
The best advice when you are writing your law school personal statement is to be honest and open. Don’t try to bluff your way in, as lies will be frowned upon, which is understandable. Try not to blow your own horn. Also, try to avoid clichés and sob stories – remember that you want to be memorable and different. Any attempt to flatter yourself by relating highlight irrelevant past achievements, or to win sympathy by painting a picture of a troubled past will not be well received.

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