U.S. law school applications will provide direction on the personal statement
Cornell Law 2011 Application states:
What should I write about in my personal statement?
The topic of the personal statement is up to you. We suggest that you approach the personal statement as your opportunity to present personal information about yourself that you would discuss during an interview. Your statement will be evaluated for both content and construction, so write about something interesting and write about it well.
What length should my personal statement be?
We ask that you limit your statement to two pages, double spaced, using a font size that is comfortable to read (not less than 10 point).
What sort of information do you like to see in a personal statement?
Include with your application a personal statement that will give the Admissions Committee any information you believe relevant to the admissions decision that is not elicited elsewhere in the application.
The statement is your opportunity to tell us about yourself; it may address your intellectual interests, significant accomplishments, obstacles overcome, personal or professional goals, educational achievements, or any way in which your perspective, viewpoint, or experiences will add to the richness of the educational environment of the School of Law.
Should I include a resume?
A resume is an excellent way to present an applicant's working and extracurricular involvement. We especially recommend that you send a resume if you have had significant working experience. You may also include a short addendum describing any significant extracurricular or volunteer activities.
Duke Law 2011 Application states:
Personal Statement: You are required to submit a personal statement. The statement is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the admissions committee and should include (1) what you think have been your significant personal experiences beyond what may be reflected in your academic transcripts and on your resume, and (2) your personal and career ambitions. There is no required length.
The personal statement, optional essays, and all other writing samples must be your own work. This means that the ideas contained in your essays and the expressions of them originated with you, and that you wrote all drafts and the final product. It does not preclude asking family members, friends, pre-law advisors, and others for proofreading assistance or general feedback.
Optional Essays: You are welcome to supplement your personal statement with optional essays. You may submit a Duke-specific essay by letting us know why you want to go to law school and why you have decided to apply to Duke. You may also choose to submit an essay that describes how you will enhance the educational environment of the Law School and contribute to the diversity of the student body. Because we believe that diversity enriches the educational experience of all our students, Duke Law School seeks to admit students from a variety of academic, cultural, social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. If you choose to submit the diversity essay, tell us more about your particular life experiences with an emphasis on how the perspectives that you have acquired would contribute to the intellectual community of the Law School.
Hear more about personal statements as a group of Admission Deans from UChicago, Columbia, UMichigan, NYU, Stanford, and Yale talk together and share their thoughts: http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/admissions/archive/2010/05/21/let-s-get-the-band-back-together.aspx
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