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Writing A Law School And LLM Personal Statement

LLM Personal StatementYour LLM personal statement is very important when it comes to applying for your Master of Laws program. It functions in a similar way as a cover letter in a job application, by pulling together the professional and personal aspects of your life that highlight why you are a good fit for the law school and LLM program.

A great LLM (Master of Laws) personal statement should be persuasive, concise and easy to read:

Persuasive – you want the admissions board to choose you over the competition.

Concise – you need to compress information about your past, present and future into a limited word count.

Easy to read – you don’t want the admissions board to give up on it halfway through.

Why is your LLM personal statement so important?

Your LLM personal statement is a vital part of the process of applying to an LLM course, and together with your academic record and relevant work experience, it is a key element to the success of your LLM application.

It is crucial that you allow yourself enough time to craft the perfect LLM personal statement, one that showcases all your skills, qualifications, experience and personality.

1. An LLM personal statement explains gaps

If you've got a few spaces in your work history or a job that ended poorly, then the LLM personal statement is your chance to explain what happened and what you have learnt from the experience. An unhappy or bad experience can be a significant learning experience and might have provided you with additional skills or motivations that will make you able to contribute to the course in a unique or significant way. Many law schools encourage students to explain any career gaps.

2. Provides insight into motivation

It's important that your motivations for applying for and doing the LLM course match with the law school's ethics and ethos. Your LLM personal statement is your chance to show that you are a good match for the law school and the LLM course. Explain your reasons for wanting to do this course and why you are passionate about the law or the particular part of the law you are planning on studying. You can show what you will bring to the course and why you will be an asset to the law school.

3. Make yourself stand out

A popular LLM course at a prestigious global law school will receive many more applications than spaces on the course. Everyone applying to that course will have an excellent academic record and a wealth of relevant work experience. Your LLM personal statement might make the difference between being accepted onto the course and not. Make yourself stand out with the language you use, but don't overdo it. Explain the finer details of your experience and why you've chosen to attend this course at this particular law school.

4. Important part of the law school’s decision making

Almost 90% of universities use the LLM personal statement to make their decision about applicants. This means the time you spend on your personal statement is crucial. Try and get some other people to read through your statement and offer their advice/opinion, especially if you know someone who has completed the LLM course recently. Make sure that your personal statement is your own work and that any revisions you make on the recommendation of others don't change your personal statement beyond recognition and lose the essence of you.

5. Proves you can follow instructions

There will be guidelines and advice provided by the law school or university to help you write your LLM personal statement. Use these instructions to prove that you can follow directions. It's also an opportunity to show off your written English skills, this could be particularly relevant if English is not your first language, and your English test scores are not what you would like them to be.

6. The first chance for potential professors to ‘meet’ you

Your LLM personal statement is your introduction to your future law school professors and the people who you might connect and reconnect with throughout your legal career. View your personal statement as the first introduction to this new part of your future network.


What information should you include?

LLM Personal StatementYou can use your LLM personal statement to outline the reasons why you want to study this particular course. Is it because your previous study and work experience have all lead you towards this LLM program? Or is it a complete change of career for you? How did you become interested in this field? Why are you suited to this institution? Is it because you thrive in the intimate atmosphere of a specialised college? Or do you enjoy the busy environment of a large institution?

Key things to bear in mind to achieve success when crafting the perfect LLM personal statement are:

1. Conciseness: whatever you do, you MUST remain within the institution’s word limit. Legal professionals are expected to be able to summarise masses of information without losing any essential facts, and your personal statement is an indicator of your ability to do this.

2. Language: don’t use complicated words in an attempt to impress. As a legal professional, you will be working with clients who may not understand technical terms so your ability to communicate in a formal yet simple style will not go unnoticed.

3. Format: keep your LLM personal statement uncluttered, with lots of spacing and white space, to make it easy to read. It's important for the document to look good as well as to read well.

4. Structure and flow: your intro could summarise the reasons why granting you a place is the right decision for the admissions board to make. The main body should be broken up into your past (academic, professional and personal info; relevant experience, your interests and motivations and what led you to the point of applying), your present (all the details about the LLM; why you chose it at that particular institution, which modules you’re really keen on) and your future (what you plan to do after you complete the LLM). Your conclusion is a summary of your main points and should end on a memorable note. After you’ve written your first draft, print it out and review it to see if it makes sense, making notes in the margins along the way as if you were an editor editing another writer’s work.

LLM personal statement top tips

Here are some tips and strategies to creating the perfect LLM personal statement.

Academic history

Discuss what you studied as an undergrad and whether the LLM is a natural progression or would represent a change in career path. Do you have a first degree in law and are you working your way towards a PhD in Law and a future in legal academia? If your first degree was not in Law, how would the LLM complement it; do you have a first degree in Economics and want to do an LLM in International Business Law for example?

Make it personal

Mention what interests and motivates you, and what has happened in your life that put you on the path to applying for an LLM at that institution. If you’ve chosen a small college, explain why you prefer institutions with a small population. If you’ve opted for a large law school, let the admissions board know why you thrive in a busy environment. It’s important to explain your preferences so the admissions board gets a sense of who you are and why you fit in with their law school. Include relevant information – like volunteer experience or extra-curricular activities – that have inspired you with your choice. The admissions team want to understand the personal reasons why you want to study their LLM course.

Don’t make claims you can’t support

Since you are applying for a postgrad legal program you should be familiar with making persuasive arguments. As legal arguments are evidence-based, be prepared to apply the same approach in your statement by avoiding unsubstantiated claims. If you state that certain modules are ‘relevant to your career’, state specifically how. Don’t leave it to the admissions board to try to work it out for themselves. If you claim that you are a top student, highlight your grades even though you will submit transcripts as part of your application. Use clichés like ‘leadership skills’ only if you can give examples of instances when you demonstrated these traits. And don't forget that if you are subsequently called in for an LLM interview, this personal statement will probably be used as the basis for the interview, so always tell the truth!

Don’t just write it, craft it

When it comes to the actual writing of your LLM personal statement be prepared to write, edit and rewrite your personal statement several times. Remember all those essays you wrote in your undergrad days? Well, the same rules of presentation, structure and flow apply to your personal statement; the only difference being that this time, the essay is about you. And once you think you’ve written the perfect LLM personal statement get a trusted friend or colleague to read it through to offer you constructive criticism and to pick up any typos or grammatical errors.

Relevant referees

Pick a referee who can provide you with a good academic reference, so choose a tutor and lecturer who will remember you from your undergraduate studies. Including your employer as a referee is a good idea if your current job is relevant to the course, or include someone you did relevant work experience for. You will need to ask potential referees before you submit your application.

10 things to avoid in your LLM personal statement

Here are the top 10 things that you should avoid doing when writing your LLM personal statement.

Including a mini dissertation – you are meant to explain your interest in the area that you wish to specialise in, which doesn’t mean writing an essay on your proposed dissertation topic! That can wait till you start your LLM program and are asked to submit a thesis proposal.

Underselling yourself – rather than blaming yourself later on for missing out on listing achievements from your work experience or undergraduate study, make it a point to highlight all the relevant information; ranging from past work experience on specific projects, skills acquired and applied, publications, moot courts, etc.

Being ambiguous – all your efforts will be futile if you didn’t make your personal statement read clearly with details relevant to the LLM course that you are applying for and clearly stating your interest for that course.

Writing too much or too little – usually universities provide the word count/A4 page limit for the LLM personal statement. Some students will have a tendency to write less hoping that the CV will cover all their academic and career highlights, whilst others may be tempted to write too much describing everything they have done in all possible detail. The sensible approach would be to mention enough to match the word count/page limit and to highlight only what is important to put your case forward.

Obsessing with templates – it might be a common trend to scour the internet for templates on personal statements but be warned that some may have been copied off the others and may all end up looking very similar. Your LLM personal statement should be unique and well drafted to make logical sense to the reader.

Making stupid mistakes – sometimes we tend to overlook minor mistakes that can have significant bearing on the outcome of our application. Things such as addressing the statement to the wrong university (or with a wrong date/address) can give a very bad first (and almost certainly final) impression!

Doing it last minute – our general advice when it comes to university applications is to never leave anything to the last minute. Some students tend to work hard on their personal statement redrafting it a 100+ times, while others only pick up this part of the application on the last day of its submission. Time must be given to this vital part of your application so that any mistakes including ones listed here can be corrected in good time.

Repeating information – although you may feel that you are trying to make a point by explaining a situation in different ways, university admissions staff may see this as a repetition of information that they don’t need to know. Once you make a point about a particular skill/achievement, move on to the next piece of information to show varied experience, knowledge and interest.

Name dropping – in professional services we tend to mention names of high-profile clients or popular legal representatives to get ahead of competition through our application. This may work in a casual networking setting, however when it comes to application processes for admissions, the focus is usually around your contribution to legal matters, your ambition to progress your career further through further studies, rather than just throwing some names in!

Making grammatical errors – although legal eagles tend to be careful on this one, it is best to proofread your LLM personal statement several times before handing it in. Ideally, you should share it with friends or colleagues to spot any noticeable errors.


Writing a personal statement – real-life examples

With all this key information on writing the perfect LLM personal statement – explore our law expert’s analysis of real applications to help you craft the ideal introduction and give yourself the best chance of getting onto your dream LLM program.

Introduction to our law admissions expert

LLM Personal Statement Robynn AliveriUniversity of San DiegoRobynn Allveri joined the University of San Diego School of Law in 2015 as Assistant Director of Graduate and International Programs. Her primary responsibilities include admissions, scholarships, marketing, recruitment, and general administration of the law school’s LLM and MSLS programs. She is a member of the Arizona State Bar and is admitted to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

To help you achieve the success you deserve with your LLM applications we have taken four genuine (and successful) LLM personal statements from four genuine LLM students and asked LLM admissions expert Robynn Allveri to fine-tune them to make them as good as they possibly can be. To put it simply, our admissions expert cast her (very) critical eye over all four law school personal statements – that had already proved successful – and offers advice on how they can be improved. She highlights where the LLM personal statements let the candidates down, and of course also shows where and why they enable the candidate’s qualities to really shine through.

Our genuine LLM personal statements have been written by both international students and home students, applying to law schools in the UK, the USA and Canada. This unique selection of real law school personal statements will give you real insight into how to make you own law school personal statement a success. Armed with our knowledge of the dos and don’ts of LLM personal statement writing and unique admissions tips, you should be just a hop, skip and a jump away from LLM admissions success!

So here is our real-life guide on how to write a law school personal statement to guarantee success with your LLM application.

Key to expert analysis

Unnecessary words/sentences = strike through

Grammatical corrections = in red

Positive information to include = highlighted in yellow

Negative points = highlighted in turquoise

Why the highlighted content is in fact highlighted = [blue writing in square brackets]


LLM Personal StatementAnna Petrov*, from Russia, applied to study her LLM program at an American law school

Dear Admissions Committee,

I am a highly qualified lawyer with substantial, more than seventeen years’ experience in Russian, International private law, and Czech migration and real estate law. I established that allowed me to set up my own international law firm in 2010. My on-going work as a practicing attorney, licensed both in Russia and the Czech Republic (EU), and my second graduate degree are related to international law, including cross-border problem solving. In addition, In recent years, many of my established customers clients have applied me for requested legal services concerned with American law. In light of this, I seek to obtain tend to enhance my prior legal training and professional experience by obtaining knowledge of US law so that I could can comply with my clients’ requests. regarding to legal challenges arising across Russian codified legal system and American common law.

Considering my clients being legal entities, in this digital age with revolutionized business, culture, communication and law, Many of my clients are legal entities. Therefore, I am keenly interested in taking Corporate, Intellectual Property and Information Law, and Dispute Resolution courses. areas of specialization your law school realizes.

As for my customers being individuals, To better assist my individual clients, I would also like to take courses on concerned with concentrating on Labour and Employment Law, as well as Criminal Law and Procedure. [naming courses of interest is good]  courses offered by your school, since Russian day-to-day realities are not in compliance with Russian and International Human Rights Law. and Even Russian courts are not able to satisfy people’s complaints because they do not understand actual human needs, rights and freedoms as a result of lacks in cultural, historical, social and legal educational development of my home state. Acquiring the relevant knowledge of law of the USA as one of the most developed countries in the World with high level of human rights protection could help me greatly with my own cases. within my home legal cases as I will be able to use more successfully legal instruments and backgrounds of US law besides.

Evolvement of my knowledge by Studying American law could also allow me to broaden a range of my law company’s services and meet my established customers’ growing demands connected with their international transactions, disputes and other challenges. Moreover, my prior experience in learning Czech Law shows that studying law of another country is a perfect transformative experience. because When you immerse yourself in a foreign law, you come away with a deeper understanding of your home country’s law, the pros and cons of the home country’s legal system and political, economic and social processes in the home region. as a whole. I believe that as a well qualified attorney specializing in Russian and International law I make a real difference in the lives of my customers on whose cases I work, efficiently helping them to solve their cross-border problems arising in family, labor, civil, administrative and even criminal area, including, besides others, legal assistance to single women with children with their families and financial challenges, and development of my knowledge of American common law will bring useful skills and experience to the table.

In this regard, analyzing different LLM programs offered by US law schools, I came to know that the LLM program at your law school is one of the most diverse programs and your Clinics and other real-practice programs (for instance, Mediation and Legislation Clinics, the Truancy Mediation Project, the Public Interest Externship Program) [it’s good that she mentioned specific classes/programs] allow students to work alongside school members and external specialists on real-life cases, and obtain an invaluable combination of theoretical knowledge of law and practical experience to be prepared to hit the ground running in their legal careers. Taking into account this opportunity, I feel hopeful that I will get a chance to study American law in your law school.

Furthermore, especially for a student of law who is very much interested in a career in Corporate, Information and Dispute Resolution Law, location of your law school in a major metropolitan area provides opportunities after completing your LLM degree program to explore my interests and strengths as an active team member of a law company or worldwide organization or set up the office of my own law firm. [this could be a red flag, as most LLM programs are not designed to help international attorneys practice law in the US]

While I know that there are many well qualified applicants for your reputable program, I feel that I am a notable strong candidate as I possess an exceptional passion for the law and I am determined to participate enthusiastically in the program and to excel within it. In addition, I firmly believe that my educational level (two graduate degrees), substantial life experience in absolutely different regions (Russia and the Eastern Europe), professional experience in the field of International law, ability to have a good grasp of related spheres, skills to deal with a wide range of issues both action-oriented and theoretical in a speed way and to compromise efficiently will enable me to add considerable value to a class studying American law within your LL.M. program and to which I am sure I can bring useful and interesting insights. [this sentence is way too long and should be broken into at least 2 sentences]

Moreover, I feel that my ability to lead and to work as a part of a team, outstanding research and writing skills as well as my absorption for legal services work, proficient (this sounds more like job application language) my knowledge of Russian and Czech and understanding of different European countries’ legal systems, political, economic and social processes could strongly contribute to the intellectual diversity and strength of your LLM program and enrich your community.

I hope my diverse background will provide assurance to my exceptional commitment, intelligence and diligence that allowed me to set up and successfully manage my own international law firm.

Thank you in advance from the bottom of my heart for considering my application.

Yours Sincerely,


Anna Petrov

What's hot about this LLM personal statement?what's hot LLM Personal Statement

  • It’s clear that the student wrote the statement herself. This is positive, as one of the worst things to come across when you’re on an admissions panel is a personal statement that has obviously been adapted from a template. In contrast to this big no-no, Anna’s personal statement has a natural voice and tone. 
  • Anna did an excellent job of highlighting the diversity that she would bring to the classroom, this is always a positive point that international students should include.
  • She did her homework on the school she was applying to by mentioning some courses/clinics that they offer – this always impresses the admissions panel.


... And what's not? 

  • The candidate should use shorter, more concise sentences. Admissions committees have lots of statements to read and will get frustrated trying to decipher some of the long sentences – I certainly did!
  • If you are aware of a professor who teaches a course you want to take at your chosen law school, mention that professor by name to show that you really have done your research. Although Anna did well to mention specific courses and module – she didn’t actually name any of the professors.
  • As an international student it is important try and get a native English speaker to read through your LLM personal statement before you submit it to fine-tune some of the language and grammar. 


LLM Personal StatementAparna Gupta*, from India, applied to study her LLM program in Canada

Dear Sir/Madam,

My fascination for financial and corporate laws began with the Great Recession of 2008 which left Western Governments disillusioned as to why their financial legal system which was falling like a set of dominoes. Conversely, while the Indian markets valiantly survived, leading to economists and jurists hailing the rigid yet flexible financial legal structure of India. Yet locally, the Indian market was looked down upon for its inability in curbing the existing corrupt practices. These made me wonder why analyse only failures and not success and what is the true nature of our financial legal system? [good opening with reference to a historical example]

Specialising in Business and Intellectual Property Laws in my final year of BA LLB (Hons) has enabled me to have a curriculum, which along with all the basic law subjects, has been which is heavily oriented towards corporate, financial and trade laws. This has kindled and furthered my interest in the commercial and financial world of today. Post-bachelors, I intend to do my masters of law in business and corporate laws from abroad.

In my five years of law school, I have put efforts in various activities with equal vigour, and have tried to achieve a holistic development in both academic and co-curricular interests. Academically speaking, I have always maintained a CGPA of over 8.0/10 overall. Within the ambit of academic performance, research has always been my stronghold. The focus of my research work has mostly been towards analysing the changing nature of corporate laws. This was the subject of had been my final research paper, which helped me achieve at college that did get me my final grades in a good position.

Apart from academics and research activities, I have also been involved closely associated with mooting and debating. I have been able to perform admirably in these activities and have earned accolades in multiple national events. I have always given one hundred percent in any competition academic or extracurricular because performing well in these competitions had provided me with an identity, [what identity? – student should explain further] which acted as an inspiration to grow and extend my knowledge in various laws. Performance and dedication itself have always acted as a catalyst in enabling me to grow better and consistently outdo myself.

My area of interest lies in corporate laws. University of XXXX guides and makes students excel at fields that they aspire to practice in. The LLM in this course structure gives equal importance in understanding these fields of law at national as well as international level. The guidance of Professor XXXX [good to mention a specific professor] will be invaluable to my journey as a corporate lawyer with his course on corporate laws. Every professor, librarian and other faculty at this university aims at focussing a student on achieving their goal. The University, I believe, will provide me the opportunity to extend my horizons of understanding the facets of corporate jurisprudence, which will help me to join the academic circle in the future. [? – too vague] Induction into this course will give me the opportunity to interact with students from various cultural and geographical backgrounds and work with diverse set of people.

As an individual, I am fairly well organised who manages their and manage my time very well – a lesson taught to me by my parents. [nice personal touch] They have inculcated in me the importance of being organised in daily activities. Everything in its place and a place for everything has become my mantra. Apart from academic and co-curricular, I have taken up teaching underprivileged children as a way to spend my evenings at college and have been greatly drawn towards it in the last few years.

I believe this particular LLM from this esteemed university will help me achieve my dreams [what are your dreams?] and the path that I have chosen will only be nurtured and grown by my steps at this university.  

Yours Sincerely,


Aparna Gupta


What's hot about LLM personal statement

What's hot about this LLM personal statement?

  • Aparna started her LLM personal statment with a historical example to “hook” the reader. This is a great way to get the admissions committee interested in your personal statement from the start. A personal story or example is another good option for the opening paragraph.
  • Mentioning a specific professor in your chosen law department is a great way to demonstrate that you've thoroughly researched the LLM program and that it is right the place for you.
  • The candidate uses clear, concise sentences, which makes her personal statement easy to read.


What's not hot about LLM personal statements... And what's not?

  • Aparna should use a tiny bit less formal language as this can sometimes come across as sounding arrogant. However, formal language also shows good English proficiency, which is of paramount importance for international LLM students.
  • She should give more specific information about her career and professional goals to help explain why she set her sights on this particular LLM program.


LLM Personal StatementJames Woods* is a UK student who applied to study at a UK law school

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you today to apply for postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Law of the University of XXXX for the following reasons: to further expand my knowledge in the area of criminal justice (particularly penology), to meet new people, to engaging with explore a topic in different surroundings and experiences, and finally, to increase my employability and stature in the field of criminal justice. To engage in this postgraduate study course will allow me to have a more in-depth understanding of the specific areas of criminal justice systems; this knowledge will allow me to further academic research and practically assist me in a future career in this area. [this sentence is somewhat redundant and probably unnecessary]

The University of XXXX is an outstanding institution in the field of law, being included in the top 100 in the world. This means ; this prestige is well known, meaning I will be receiving exemplary academic teaching and feedback. For this reason, I am aware that a place in one of the universities postgraduate courses is not something to be taken lightly, requiring hard work on my part; work I am more than willing and capable of doing.

The Criminal Justice LLM is particularly interesting to me for a number of reasons. Although the course centres on criminal justice systems, it has a focus around focuses on penology. This, therefore, makes the course to me and opens up incredibly interesting and diverse field of study available. [what do you mean here?] My work in HMP XXXX and the teachings I have received both at the University of XXXX and Universiteit XXXX in the areas of international, comparative criminal law and penal justice systems gives me not only an avid interest in this area but an existing knowledge base to build on. [good reference to his background] This course will allow me to acquire knowledge and skills to eventually develop a career in penal law or policy, which is a personal goal of mine. I am also looking forward to completing the dissertation attached to the masters. I have a few preliminary ideas as to the questions and topics my dissertation might pose and examine. [good inclusion – shows that he’s proactive and focused] The topic I am particularly interested in is that of the rights of prisoners while incarcerated, the extent of such rights that should be afforded, and how they affect rehabilitation, particularly regarding the right to vote.

There are two qualifying modules of this course that I feel will be particularly exciting to engage and participate in at the University of XXXX. Namely, the Criminal Justice module and the Penal Law & Human Rights module. [great to mention the specific course modules; shows that he’s done his homework on the law school] which I have taken great notice of. The reason for my interest is that they focus on the imprisonment of individuals and the systems in place around them, to protect inmates from harm while detained, either from themselves or from figures of authority. The imprisoned population is a forgotten population and makes for an interesting field of study theoretically and a rewarding profession practically. [good tie-in to a possible future career]

Since studying at the University of XXXXX in England and Universiteit XXXX in the Netherlands, I have engaged with a number of international human rights modules, criminal justice modules, criminology modules, and penology modules. Modules I particularly found interesting were my Prison and Imprisonment Module in my penultimate year at the University of XXXX, looking in depth at the UK prison system and attitudes towards the current prison system, both in and outside the institution. I also found my Children’s Rights and Juvenile Justice module to be particularly engaging while studying in the Netherlands. Examining the differing views and approaches to criminal justice in different jurisdictions was particularly appealing, and provokes curiosity as to why certain ineffective systems remain in place while other systems prosper. [new paragraph is needed here to discuss following practical experience] As before mentioned I have had practical experience with the penal system in England and Wales. Working for the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP XXXX has given me an invaluable insight into the field of criminal justice. Having engaged with members of the criminal justice system in my work, from judges to prisoners, it has really given me a rounded perception of the current climate in the English and Welsh penal system as it stands today.

I have developed a variety of skills throughout my undergraduate studies that will contribute to me achieving success at a postgraduate level. I have developed my paper writing skills greatly over the course of my undergraduate studies; while studying abroad I completed numerous lengthy comparative papers which attained high marks. I developed my ability to present to an audience as many of my modules required presentations to be conducted, taking the lead in seminars, and contributing to the debate. Finally, many modules both at XXXX and in XXXX required me to participate in a team, working as a unit to develop our understanding and improve each other’s knowledge of the module.

Thank you for considering my application, I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,


James Woods


What's hot about LLM personal statementWhat's hot about this LLM personal statement?

  • James effectively connects his interests and experiences to the offered Master of Laws program and to his potential future career plans.
  • He highlights specific course modules of interest, which shows that he's really done his homework on the LLM program he's applying for.
  • Mentioning his potential dissertation ideas shows him to be proactive and focussed, which are ideal qualities for a Master of Laws student. 
  • James's LLM personal statement demonstrates strong writing and good organisation. 


What's not hot about LLM personal statement...And what's not?

  • There's not too much I'd change about this LLM personal statement, but I do think James could maybe trim a few words here and there to make sentences shorter and more direct.
  • He should find alternative words for “engage/engaged/engaging” – it was used five times in his statement!

LLM Personal StatementEmma Williams* is a UK student applying to study an LLM at a UK law school.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Having recently returned from a 3-month placement in Freetown, Sierra Leone, I am unswervingly [odd word choice] determined to enhance my academic development in international social policy, human rights law, and security through the International Law and International Relations course. During my consultancy assignment, I felt privileged to produced the social justice strategy for an international NGO, and made recommendations that I believe are sustainable and innovative – all based upon personal first-hand research. It is my firm hope that I might receive the opportunity to advance my conceptual thinking and educational experience by continuing my study at the University of XXXX.

Throughout my time in West Africa, I had countless opportunities to implement ideas influenced in part by my undergraduate studies at the University of XXXX. I found further inspiration from global movements that intentionally invest in women and children - as found in reports reported by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, as well as through the development and cultural writings by Paul Collier. The former’s findings that most gripped me centered upon personal story as the most powerful tool for international change, and on the importance of moral responsibility as a global citizen. The latter intrigued me in terms of organisational culture – that successful NGOs possess a supreme ability to communicate with – and invest in – their workforce, who then have the capacity to impact through an internalisation of organisational aims and objectives. [awkward last sentence – maybe break it into 2 separate sentences]

Evolving from current academic concepts such as these, I witnessed and influenced the beginnings of positive, real-world impact upon communities of slum dwellers who are generationally living in absolute poverty. Studying Social Policy provided me with some theoretical framework and understanding that was helpful in the design of localised, empowerment practises in Freetown; extending my studies to the postgraduate level will enhance and solidify my curiosity and insight.

I am particularly enthused  enthusiastic [enthused is too casual – use “enthusiastic”] about the International Law and International Relations course due to its interdisciplinary approach that will enable me to explore the connectedness and congruence of people on local, regional, national and international scales. Of specific interest are the Human Rights, International Security, and Conflict, Security and Development modules, [good mention of specific modules] as each will further my knowledge and capacity to one day influence decisions in those spheres. It is my ambition to pursue a career as an international consultant – with focus on corporate social responsibility and development that aligns with social justice. In completion of my postgraduate study, I hope to broaden my experience of living in developing countries in order to consult the policy [what do you mean?] and best practise of local NGOs. My longterm goal is to work for a UK-based consultancy that is committed to delivering innovative solutions within professional, international, cross-cultured environments. [good clear summary of her chosen career path]

In the two years since completing my undergraduate degree, I have widened my skillset through multiple managerial roles in non-profit not for profit organisations. Positions in the UK, Canada and West Africa have increased my capacity to lead, think critically, and communicate publicly. Living abroad has allowed me to develop an understanding of culture and its impact upon varying worldviews and human rights policy. Working with marginalised groups in unfavourable living conditions has further increased my perseverance, as well as my passion for global social responsibility. Writing a 20,000-word report in 6 weeks has strengthened my ability to meet the demands of postgraduate study. Where my undergraduate dissertation mark may have hindered my overall degree classification [good to acknowledge a low mark – shows candour], I know that my ability to form research and reports has since matured greatly astronomically, and that this advancement is irreversible as I eagerly anticipate further study.

I am excitedly applying for this combined course because I believe that it provides much credibility, necessary learning and a challenging environment that intentionally calls for students to excel. I believe that it will aid my academic and personal development as I seek to consult professionally in the future. Moreover, I anticipate the rewarding progression of studying at postgraduate level after fieldwork experiences that I am confident will enhance my education. I love the city of XXXX, the University of XXXX, and my involvements in managing XXXX both during and after my Social Policy studies. With International Law and International Relations being of utmost importance to me, I anticipate your consideration and welcome the opportunity of an interview or further communication should you require an expansion of any of the above. I am incredibly hardworking, passionate and wholly committed to producing excellent work as your postgraduate student.

Yours Sincerely,


Emma Williams


What's hot about an LLM programWhat's hot about this LLM personal statement?

  • Emma has included interesting and relevant examples of past experiences, and her commitment to social justice shines through. These are both excellent for demonstrating her suitability to the LLM program.
  • Emma mentions specific modules of interest which shows that she's fully researched the LLM program that she's applying to.
  • It's good that she refers to her disappointing bachelors grade as this shows honesty and also the fact that she has learnt from her previous mistakes. 
  • This LLM personal statement demonstrates good overall writing and organisation.  


What's not hot about this LLM personal statement... And what's not?

  • Emma should use less intensifiers and tone down adjectives so it doesn’t sound like exaggeration. For example – use “greatly” instead of “astronomically.”
  • Watch for repeated word use (such as “anticipate,” “influence,” and “enhance”). Find synonyms for these words.



*Names have been changed to protect the students' privacy.

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