Top 8 Most Common Mistakes When Writing a Personal Statement

Posted by Laura Zuppo on Nov 4, 2015 3:01:38 PM

The LSAT is over, and it's time to send out applications.  You thought the rest would be easy, didn't you? Then you sat down to write your personal statement -- and you're still sitting there. How much should you share about yourself?  What will the admissions counselors think is important or worthy of acceptance? What makes my story unique, powerful, and interesting?  We know. It's tough.

We see a lot of personal statements done both well and done poorly.  Here are a few mistakes we don't want you to make.

Common Mistakes When Writing a Personal Statement


 

Mistake #1: Not paying attention to instructions, like page limitations. 

Stetson requires 2-3 double spaced pages; any longer or shorter, and we know that you're not paying attention to detail.  You've got one job!

Mistake #2: Relying on spell and grammar check and not actually editing properly.

It's pretty easy to pick out the machine-generated fixes and more importantly, the misses. Have a friend or family member read your statement out loud to you. You should be able to tell when transitions are weak or flow is off.

Mistake #3: Inappropriate use of humor.

Are you sure we're going to get your jokes?  Sarcasm and humor are very difficult to pull off in written form, so keep the jokes for another format.

Mistake #4: Misuse of the Find/Replace feature.

If you're applying to multiple schools, this is very important.  We don't want to hear that XYZ school is your top choice because you forgot to search and replace XYZ school with Stetson Law. Believe me: it happens far too often. 

Mistake #5: Not clearly answering our question, "Why Law School?"

We truly do want to know! What are your aspirations for the study of law? We are not asking for an academic statement like some of our competitors; we are not asking you to regurgitate your resume.  We want to know why you're choosing law school for your future.

Mistake #6: Teaching the law.

Really, just don’t do it. Law professors have one up on you and you sure don’t want to come across pompous when you are competing for a limited number of seats.

Mistake #7: Not doing your research.

I do want to know why you are interested in Stetson. This statement is like an interview on paper. Did you demonstrate that you did research on our school and that you have a true interest in the school?

Mistake #8: Plagiarism.

Obviously, or so I thought.


 

The personal statement is a way for us to assess your writing – is it clear, concise, organized and persuasive? Do you demonstrate attention to detail with respect to editing? Did you demonstrate that you researched the profession before deciding that law school was really your path to achieve your goals?  

We spend a lot of time reading these statements and they're evaluated alongside all of your other academic achievements, so spend the time and focus required to get it right.

Topics: Applying to Law School

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