The Personal Section

Your Personal section is a chance to give the admissions committee a small taste of who you are. It can help you in three main ways.

1. You can play against type.
If you’re an athlete, this might be a good place to mention that you also enjoy quilting. If you’re a mathlete, this might be a good place to mention that you’re also a weightlifter. Surprising the adcom can make you more memorable.

2. You can show that you’re interesting and well-rounded.
Even if you don’t play against type, it’s a good idea to show that you have interests beyond law.

3. You can note extenuating circumstances.
If, for example, you nursed a sick child through school, and you didn’t manage to fit this information into your Education section, you can put it here.

What should you list?

List anything that doesn’t fit into the other sections, including the following:

1. Hobbies
Be as specific as possible. “Enjoy reading, especially Victorian novels and contemporary short stories” is more convincing and memorable than “Enjoy reading.”

2. Sports and outdoor pursuits
If you don’t do sports through an official organization, list sports here.

  • Enjoy Olympic weightlifting, squash, and running.
  • Enjoy backpacking—most recently, a five-day trip in the White Mountains.

3. Languages
Don’t exaggerate your proficiency:

  • Intermediate French, elementary reading knowledge of Hebrew.

4. Musical instruments

  • Eight years of piano lessons; enjoy playing classical music and jazz.

5. Computer skills
Don’t list “Microsoft Office,” “Mac OS,” or other basic computer skills. Only list skills that your average liberal arts major doesn’t have:

  • Proficient in several programming languages in the C family.

6. Certifications

  • Wilderness First Aid certification.
  • Realtor’s license in Pennsylvania.

7. Being the first in the family

  • First in my family to attend college.
  • First-generation American.

8. Family responsibilities

  • Chief caretaker of my epileptic and mentally challenged younger brother.

9. Publications, performances, and presentations

If you have more than one publication, casting credit, or conference presentation, you can list them under their own heading on a second page.

10. Travel
Many applicants have ventured out of the country. Don’t bother listing your travels unless they required imagination or skill.

  • Spent three months hiking the El Camino trail.
  • Traveled the world by boat to investigate insect-eating practices.

Note

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