A personal statement is really no more than telling a story—one that illuminates the “you” a law school would be lucky to have in its student body. In this series, a jdMission Senior Consultant will discuss how elements of storytelling can—and should—be applied to your personal statement.
This is a suggestion for those of you who are working on your personal statement and are truly stumped by writer’s block—wholly, super, mega-, try-anything stumped. (Or just stumped.)
Whether you have drafted your essay but it sounds stifled and you cannot seem to infuse any energy into it, or you have spent the past week staring at a blank Word doc with a blinking cursor, this might help:
1. Shut down the computer.
2. Get out your phone or a small recorder, or reopen your computer and find a program that will record your voice.
3. Just start talking about what you want to write. Answer these questions, as if you are talking to a friend. Do not worry at all about how you sound, just talk:
- What story am I telling? Tell it.
- Why am I telling this? Starting sentences and then starting them over without finishing is fine. “I think… It’s like… Once when I was… I’m trying to say that…” This is all fine.
- Record until you have thought through your essay aloud: why you are writing it, what you hope to get across, what story you are going to tell.
4. Transcribe the recording. Write down everything. Do not worry so much about spelling or typos—just get the gist of it down.
5. Voila! You have a draft! Er, well, a working document. You have something to shape and cut and mold, and that is more than you had before, so congratulations!
I call this the Chatty Cathy tactic. (Actually, I do not really, but it needs a name, so if you have an idea, please let me know. I will split the proceeds with you when it is made into a movie.) 📝
For even more insight on your law school personal statements, check out our free Personal Statement Guide.
jdMission is a leading law school admissions consulting firm with a team of dedicated consultants who have not only been through the law school application process themselves, but also possess elite communications skills and can help you navigate this crucial—and often perplexing—process. Your consultant will serve as your coach and partner every step of the way, advising you on school selection, helping you brainstorm personal statement topics, editing your essays and resume, helping you manage your recommenders, advising on any addenda, and more!