We recently wrote a post about how to write a great personal statement. But to maximize your chances of admission, there are plenty of things that you shouldn’t do in your personal statement. In fact, there are some things that admissions officers just downright don’t want to see you write about. What are the top 7 things that you should avoid discussing or using to take your writing to the next level?
If your resume shows that you were vice president of your college’s botany club, general secretary of Basket-Weavers Anonymous, and founder of a campus-wide Pizza Appreciation Day, your personal statement need not repeat these things. Now, if founding Pizza Appreciation Day was such a transformative experience for you that you need to highlight it in your personal statement, be sure you’re telling admissions officers something new that your resume doesn’t already tell.
2. Your Autobiography
Admissions officers don’t need a play-by-play of your entire life’s events from day one. Autobiographies become long and rambling – two things your personal statement shouldn’t be. Focus on aspects of your life that truly differentiate you from others in a meaningful way.
3. Academic Issues
Law schools offer you space in a separate essay to explain academic discrepancies. Your personal statement is your chance to focus on the positive and show admissions officers you’d be an asset to their school. Don’t use your personal statement to go into detail about how your dog’s unexpected chronic migraines prevented you from getting a good GPA during your first year of college.
4. Legal Jargon
No, you’re not a lawyer yet – and law school admissions officers are not going to be impressed by legal jargon that’s used incorrectly or used as a way to show off. Keep your tone and language simple. Remember that your personal statement is meant to show your own voice.
Don’t be the student who bores admissions officers with another essay about how you want to be a lawyer because you like to argue. Avoid clichés – by definition, they’re overused and don’t add value. They make your personal statement generic, and you’ll fall flat when compared with other candidates.
6. Other People
Your personal statement should keep the focus on you. It’s great if you want to write about how your famous lawyer uncle inspired you to join the legal profession, but make sure the essay remains true to your story – not your uncle’s.
Admissions officers view the personal statement as a showcase of your best writing – so slang and casual English are best left behind. While you want your tone to be friendly, you don’t want to sound like you’re chatting with a best friend on a Friday night. Keep things professional.