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How to Write a Personal Statement If You’re Just the “Average Joe”

So you have no idea what to write and you don’t think you’re special.  What should you do?

  • Think positive.  You’re not that average, you’re applying to law school.  Not everyone has that privilege.  In fact, only around 10% of the U.S. population earns a professional degree.  That in itself is remarkable!   So how did you get into this elite group?  You might be judging yourself more harshly than you realize.  Although cliché, everyone really does have a different perspective to offer in a classroom discussion.  In the U.S., it seems ordinary for some to go to college and graduate school.  But this is certainly not true.  Even if you had support along the way, you didn’t just sleep your way through high school and college (hopefully).  Take the typical and turn it around.
  • Take the pressure off and just write whatever comes to mind.   Once you have exhausted your thoughts and then review your brainstorming session.  Collect what’s relevant and form it into a paper.  You know how to do this because you’ve been trained to write since childhood.  But if you’re struggling organizing your thoughts, then visit the writing center at your college or alma mater.
  • DO NOT start with “although I’m not traditionally diverse . . .” Widener Law’s Admissions Committee seeks diversity in many ways, some you may not even consider in yourself – reflect.  What have you done that your friends or family have not?  How have you been praised?  What’s your favorite hobby?  Where have you traveled?  Who raised you?  Anything that has led you to the point of considering law school is significant.  You have a story to tell, no matter what your background.
  • The personal statement is important but it certainly does not make or break your application.  Make sure it is well written, grammatically correct, and purposeful.  Keep in mind, however, that Admissions uses your scores (LSAT and undergraduate GPA) as the objective indicator of success in the first year of law school.  Spend time on every component of your application, all of it is important, but if you have to choose between mulling over a sentence in your personal statement or mastering an LSAT question – go with the LSAT.

Finally, watch Dodgeball for some inspiration (and probably a much needed break).  The Average Joes come out on top!

Questions about applying to law school?  Email me – asdelpuerto@mail.widener.edu or visit law.widener.edu/admissions

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