If you are planning on studying law at university, you will most certainly need to submit a personal statement with your application. In the personal statement, you need to convince the application committee that you are capable, suitable, and passionate about studying law. Universities receive a lot of applications from many high-achieving students. However, personal statements allow universities to assess not only the suitability of a candidate to study law but also the writing abilities, knowledge of the academic field, as well as personal motivations for a career in law.

Word Limit for Personal Statements

It is crucial to consider the word limit when writing a personal statement. This will allow you to be aware of how to structure it.

When applying through UCAS, you can write up to 47 lines and 4000 characters, which is around 500 words. For UCAS personal statements, it is essential to use the entire word limit that you are allowed.

When applying through the Central Applications Board, you can write up to 10000 characters, which is around 1200 words. However, a 1200 words personal statement is quite lengthy, and it is preferable to aim for around 700 words.

Personal Statement Structure

There are two approaches that you can take when structuring your personal statement. One way is to approach it as an essay with a clear signposting, thesis statement, and supporting arguments. The second way is to tell a chronological story of how you decided to study law.

Also, there are some key points that you should keep in mind when structuring your personal statement:

  • If you signpost your argument, then stick to that structure.
  • Paragraph when you can, no one wants to read huge blocks of text.
  • Stick to two or three points and discuss them in-depth rather than discussing many shallow points.
  • Use evidence to back up every statement that you make.

What You Should Include in Your Personal Statement

Of course, you can include anything you think will support your application in your personal statement. However, there are certain things that you should strongly consider including, if not, must include:

  • Explain in what ways you are capable of studying law and succeeding in it. What skills or experiences do you have that make you the right person for law school?
  • If you have some legal experience, definitely mention it. It does not matter how remote or obscure it is, you should still include it.
  • Be unique! Application committees go through many applications, and if you can make yourself stand out from the crowd, do it.
  • Do not forget to be personal! Did you have an experience that sparked your interest in law, or did you experience a tragedy that made you want to change the world? Being personal allows application committees to get to know you a lot more than just reading through your work experience.

What You Should NOT Include in Your Personal Statement

You can write a great personal statement, but if you include any of the following, you will likely leave a bad impression on the application committee:

  • Do not use slang.
  • Do not write too casually. This is a formal personal statement.
  • Do not use contractions. For example, instead of “don’t”, write “do not”.
  • Write in short sentences because no one likes to read never-ending run-on sentences.
  • Only include relevant information. It is excellent that you travelled Costa Rica on your gap year, but if that doesn’t support any of the points that you are making, do not include it.