A personal statement is your opportunity to express qualities about yourself that is not apparent in the rest of your application. You should dedicate quality time to choosing a topic that is compelling and will draw the reader’s attention.

Make sure to read and fully understand each law school’s personal statement requirement and follow each school’s formatting guidelines exactly.  You want your personal statement to speak directly to what each school is looking for in a successful candidate.  Do not plan on using the same exact personal statement for each law school- this approach will not benefit you in the long run. 

Personal statement basics:

  • Two-page double-spaced essay formatted exactly as requested by the law school
  • Is an image of YOU in s genuine and authentic way
  • Clearly illustrates your unique perspective, journey, or story on why you are so passionate about studying law and how you are confident in your abilities as a future law-related practitioner
  • Establishes how effectively you communicate
  • Tailored to your audience and each law school’s specific personal statement prompt
  • Should not reiterate information found in other areas of your application (i.e. GPA/LSAT score, etc.)


Before You Start Writing Your Personal Statement

  • Take a step back and reflect on your life’s challenges and how these contribute to where you are today in your life
  • Explore what has lead you to your decision to study law, and how you know you will be a good law student and future lawyer
  • Forecast what your future goals might be once you graduate from law school
  • Understand that law schools are not looking for your whole life story in the personal statement.  They are looking for cues that indicate you will make great student and lawyer.
  • Resist the temptation of mention your GPA or LSAT scores in your personal statement- you are more than your grades and test scores! Admissions reps can access that information elsewhere- spend the space in your personal statement sharing deeper insights regarding your personal characteristics and perspectives

Outlining Your Personal Statement

    After taking the time for these important reflections, start by writing an outline of what you would like to share in your personal statement.  Once you are comfortable with your outline, start writing without worrying about page length.  You can edit down later in future drafts- it is important to get your ideas out on paper for review.

What Makes a Great Personal Statement

    For tips on what makes a great personal statement, please review this handout.

Web Resources for Personal Statement

Crafting a compelling personal statement is crucial for various applications, such as college admissions, scholarships, and job applications. Here are some web resources where you can find guidance, tips, and examples for writing effective personal statements.

Writing support

An important to writing a great personal statement is to have a number of different people read your statement and provide constructive feedback.  Select people that know you well to see if they think you expressed your passion and interests in law well.

For general writing support, the USC Writing Center is available in Taper Hall 216.