Director of Admissions & Financial Aid
Notre Dame Law School
Roles of the Personal Statement
Review of Personal Statements
Suggestions for crafting the P.S.
A few words about the resume
Roles of the P.S.
An opportunity for the reviewer to gain a fuller understanding of the applicant (in lieu of an interview)
The basis for assessing how the applicant might contribute to the law school classroom, the student body, and/or the profession
As an indicator of applicant’s writing ability and judgment
As an indicator of applicant’s motivation for becoming a lawyer
As an indicator of applicant’s interest level in this law school
Admission and scholarship assistance consideration
Application Review…from the Committee’s Perspective
Does this candidate have the ability to succeed academically at our law school?
Does this candidate possess those qualities that our law school considers to be important for the study/practice of law?
How does this candidate compare to others?
Suggestions as you prepare to write your Personal Statement
Consider how it will complement your resume and how the reader might view it in light of your resume
Ask yourself what abilities and traits you possess that will serve you well as a law student and as an aspiring lawyer
Reflect on your personal and professional goals, as well as your strengths and values
Ask yourself why you are applying (and potentially enrolling) at particular law schools
Suggestions for Writing
the Personal Statement
Craft a Personal Statement that allows the reader to develop a fuller sense of who you are
Ask what 2, 3 or 4 “points” you would like to communicate to the reviewer
Plan to write multiple drafts; share with others
Support statements with examples
Strike a positive tone; be sincere and succinct
Use active verbs…researched, managed, etc.
Pause or halt before …
Offering a value judgment that the reviewer may not share or that may offend the reviewer
Expounding on theories of law, society, etc.
Writing a personal statement that focuses exclusively or nearly exclusively on one topic
Taking a very “creative” approach
Writing a “one-size-fits-all” personal statement
Using less than 12-point type
Exceeding the stated page maximum
A resume provides a factual description of how you have spent your time, your accomplishments,
and skills you’ve developed:
Does not need to be limited to one page
Should include minimal academic information; exclude that which can be readily found elsewhere in the application
Should give appropriate space and placement to relevant
accomplishments, employment, ECs, etc. (e.g., hours worked, titles, accomplishments, responsibilities)
Should be formatted in such a way that draws the reader’s attention to especially significant information