Writing a personal statement for Law is one of those things that needs to be developed over time, governs your future and unfortunately frustrates a lot of students. A bit like the Common Law itself really. But don’t panic. If you’re applying for Undergraduate Law, you’re probably pretty clever already and all you really need to do is incorporate a bit of structure and interesting content into a well-supported testimony of your absolute brilliance.
What do I need to demonstrate?
Entrance to any law course can be incredibly competitive and you need to show that you are interested in the law (even better if you can be specific about which area or current issues interest you). Also, you need to prove that you are the right person for the course (show that you have the correct skill set such as an aptitude for complex reasoning and argumentative writing).
The starting point for planning your personal statement should be a brief, bullet-pointed list of what you want to tell the admissions tutors. It can include but shouldn’t be limited to:
1. How your course (A-levels or otherwise) and subjects in particular have given you the necessary skill set to study law (for example – Maths and Physics have significantly developed my problem solving capacity and ability to follow complex reasoning.)
2. How outside of school activities such as internships, work experience, debating or otherwise have sparked your fascination for law and/or developed your abilities.
3. What are your particular interests in law and how have you read into them further?
4. What qualities do you possess that make you stand out from the thousands of other applicants?
Structure is everything when writing something to impress, and a personal statement that flows is one step to showing you’re capable of structuring a legal essay. Try and make sure every sentence relates to the one before it and isn’t about something entirely different. It can be difficult to read paragraphs that aren’t clearly focused on one particular aspect and have unrelated sentences everywhere. Fish fingers should be oven cooked or deep fried until they are crisp and golden. It can be a little bit distracting.
What not to do
– Don’t use clichés or broad and overused, sweeping statements such as “From a young age I have always wanted to study law…”
– Don’t write about your abilities unless you can back up how/where you acquired them.
– Don’t overuse the same words, keep a Thesaurus at hand! Or find one online.
– Don’t forget to check your grammar and proof-read your statement multiple times.
– Don’t tell the admissions tutors that your passion for law is down to the TV show Suits (or anything similar), as cool as Harvey Spectre might be…
The jury’s verdict
Writing a captivating, compelling personal statement will take some time. Honestly though, it’s worth every minute once you get into your top choice law school. Trust me, I’m a law student!