Writing a personal statement is an essential part of the LLM admissions process, and it’s really important that you get it right to ensure you get into your law school of choice.
Here we outline some essential points to consider when writing your LLM personal statement.
When you write your LLM personal statement, there is a thin line between statement of purpose and personal statement. That line is the reason for choosing this particular course or university. A Statement of Purpose (SOP) just states what you wish to achieve with that degree, your goals and purpose for that degree. An LLM personal statement states the reason why this course or this university. It helps the reviewer know that you did not apply to a college at random, that you put thought and work into finding out what is best for you and worked towards it.
If you decide to apply to an overseas university, chances are that the admissions panel will only see your application, and won’t actually get to see or meet you. This means that everything you send in needs to present to them an accurate picture of you, the student they would want to admit into their fold. Many law schools, such as Princeton, have some great advice about what you should say.
A holistic impression is your best bet. An LLM personal statement is about presenting who you are to the reviewer. It does not mean you lie or make up things you have done (or wish you had done in college), it just means that you present a picture that properly represents you. However, it doesn’t mean you write your saga about the breakup you just went through or the trip you just took! To put it simply you should include a little bit of everything on your personal statement, a family perspective, college experiences perhaps that prompted the course/university or even both, reasons for the course/university choice. Remember there are 10,000+ universities worldwide and thousands of graduates every year, so there needs to be a mutual relationship. Put the reasons for your choice on your LLM personal statement and give them reasons to select you.
Make sure you include reasons why you like the course or this university in particular. There will be hundreds of students who apply every year for that course, so make your personal statement memorable by adding something that they can see the course helping you in. Do you have a passion for Criminal Law? Showcase the moots or papers you have done in that field. Do you like Intellectual Property Law as a potential career field? Tell them about your internships that you have done to amass knowledge.
Personal anecdotes help, but not ones that go on for pages! Just a couple of sentences or a paragraph at the most can really personalise your statement, but make sure you keep it relevant.
The length of your personal statement will usually be set by the university – do not exceed what they stipulate, it just gives the impression that you do not either read the rules or do not take them seriously. Keep your LLM personal statement short and simple, while getting your point across (just like a moot memorial). And make sure you check for grammatical errors. The University of Toronto has some LLM personal statement examples to help you write yours – as do we!
Showcase you! Yes, your resume will be attached, but how well can you summarise the essence of you? You made a mistake and that turned your life around to take up this field, state it. You saw something and that made you want to make it big in this field, explain this. You are unique and so is your reason for wanting to study this particular LLM program. Some further motivation for your writing can be found here from a director of admissions at New England Law, Boston.