Telling Your Story: Too Clean to be Real?


Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog - Telling Your Story: Too Clean to be Real? by jdMission

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, “Telling Your Story,” a jdMission Senior Consultant will discuss how elements of storytelling can—and should—be applied to your personal statement.

Once, when I was a kid, I (secretly) ate an entire bag of peppermint candies (not an individual bag—a party-size bag) then ran outside to swing on my swing set, where I proceeded to throw up the entire bag. I know, gross. But I have a point.

I did not want my mom to know what had happened, so I ran inside, changed clothes, and washed my hands and face. I was spotlessly clean. When I walked into the living room—this child who had been playing outside all day but miraculously did not have a spot on her—my mom immediately knew something was up, of course.

There is a lesson here for personal statements. Naturally, you want to appear your best in your application; that is the whole point. But you are also human, and humans are not perfect. We all know that, theoretically, but it is amazing how the pressure to appear perfect can sneak up on you in certain circumstances—like when you are trying to sell yourself, whether it is to a potential employer, a date, or a graduate school.

This pressure can backfire. If you think you are supposed to appear perfect, that is what you strive for, and in doing so, you risk coming off as inauthentic. You do not need to have learned the greatest moral lesson of all time, or have reached a Mother Theresa level of humility or have discovered the purpose of life to have a powerful personal statement. A subtle realization or discovery—a seemingly minor one, even—that genuinely meant something to you is more powerful than one you make up (or scrub clean and inject with steroids!) for the purpose of the essay.

This may sound radical, but selling yourself does not require faking yourself. You really are enough—you just need to capture that. 📝

For even more insight on your law school personal statements, check out our freePersonal 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! 

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