In my temporary position at the law school, I read a ton of personal statements. After the first month, they all started sounding the same. I have thought a lot about what I would recommend to people writing a statement and here are my thoughts:
1. First, remember this is probably your most important academic paper yet. Proof read, then have others proof read, then proof read again.
2. Don't write this like it's some creative writing english essay. Honestly, I don't want to read about your toes drifting through the lapping of the waves off your boat dock. And neither does the admission committee.
3. Everyone applying for law school wants to be there. You really aren't unique. Nor is your drive to go to law school.
4. Don't include a photo.
5. Don't minimize your mistakes. Own them in full.
6. Don't tell us why you would be a good candidate for another law school.
So, having bumped the negatives out real fast, let me tell you what I would do to make myself standout:
1. Give the committee a snapshot of you and your passion. This is your one shot to show why you stand out as a PERSON, not as a student. Your GPA will will tell your success as a student. Your recommendations will also give evidence to this...... but your personal statement allows the committee to see who you are and how you will meld with the class profile that is growing. Make yourself standout.
2. We need to know you are a fighter. Law school requires immense amounts of focus, tenacity and perserverance --- show us you have that.
3. Write actively, persuasively, and positively.
4. Show us that you have researched our school and incorporate specifically what it is about our programs and community that makes you want to call our school home.