Topics to Avoid in Your Personal Statement

When it comes to law school application personal statements, it’s important to know what topics to avoid.  Here’s a preliminary list:

  • Why I want to go to law school
  • Something abstract about law or justice
  • Your deep interest in international/social justice/corporate law
  • Why you didn’t do well in college

These are all topics that applicants commonly write about. If you’re a splitter, you must absolutely avoid writing about the last topic–grades.  Trust me–nobody wants to read this stuff! When I applied, I initially planned to write about why I wanted to go to law school but after reading Anna Ivey’s book, I realized that it definitely not the way to go. (When I was applying the Anna Ivey book was hands down the best book out there on law school personal statements. She’s the former dean of admissions at UChicago Law.)

Related: Law School Admissions Officers Reveal How They Evaluate Candidates.

So how do you write a good personal statement? Anything that demonstrates good writing.  Write about a meaningful experience. Remember to show, not tell.  Avoid using big words–write as if you were speaking to someone. You’re not going to win anyone over with your intellectual essay, so take this opportunity to show the admissions committee the real you.

Do not discuss grades in your personal statement! A lot of applicants try to ram everything into their personal statement.  For example one common type of terrible essay is when the applicant turns their resume into narrative form, and adds a quick explanation as to why they didn’t have good college grades. Don’t write about grades in your personal statement! If you have something to say, include it in a separate addendum (more on that below). Your personal statement should be 100% about something positive–things that make you an interesting person or a desirable candidate.

If you’re a high LSAT low GPA splitter, remember to check out my post on How To Get Into a Top Law School with a Low GPA.