Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did I get bad personal statement advice from my tutor?

I have a tutor that asked me a series of questions for brainstorming a personal statement. Essentially, it was what the most shitty things in my life were and then they suggested I make a personal statement around these things. This seems strange to me as some of these experiences aren't connected in anyway to the type of law I want to pursue. I've also heard that students shouldn't make their personal statements the "tragedy Olympics" so I feel uncomfortable about this advice. Thoughts?


  • sarakimmelsarakimmel Member
    1488 karma

    I think you got advice that might be right for someone, but it sounds like it’s not the right advice for you. You need to write an essay that feels like it makes the best case for the admissions committees to accept you into the various law schools to which you are applying.
    You can discuss accomplishments, challenges, motivations, etc. there’s no “right” topic (unless there’s a prompt asking for something specific). You just want to keep in mind that this is your introduction, as most schools don’t offer interviews. Tell them what they need to know about you, about what makes you a great addition to their school.

  • 13 karma

    If that "shittiest thing" has played a role in your decision to pursue law school and you can tie the two together, then not the worst advice. If, however, that tragedy, adversity, or whatever it may be is in no way connected to law school, it can make for a really awkward personal statement.

    As somebody said above, don't do that if it doesn't feel genuine. This is the part where you get to express who you are and separate yourself from others. There is almost certainly something about you that is unique and makes you more apt for law school; highlight that.

  • clear227clear227 Core Member
    edited October 2021 350 karma

    Highlighting tragedy can be great, as long as you write about how you overcame it. One good personal statement I read was about a girl who was raped, but then decided to fight against sexual violence and became involved in activism.

    It's really about highlighting your unique personality qualities. Examples of tragedy that highlight personal qualities:

    Your parents were drug dealers - you raised your younger brother and became a straight A student even though they were never around. You did this because you are a person who can find hope in even the most unlikely of places (who are you?)

    You got AIDS - you faced a lot of stigma but kept going to school because you were raised not to care what others think and you valued your education (who are you?).

    Basically, be vulnerable and unique. Show yourself. I also heard about a successful personal statement where the writer talked about how they couldn't ride a bike as an adult, and how they persisted in learning. That's a minor failure, but still shows their personality. It's also good because it's kind of weird.

    Be open and different from everyone else.

Sign In or Register to comment.