Guest post: The importance of a compelling personal statement

Rachel Morandi graduated from UMass in May 2010 with a B.A. in Journalism.  She is now a first year student at Suffolk University Law School.

I began the law school process during the middle of my junior year. Like many, I decided to take a prep course that was offered locally for 4 months of introduction and practice. I spent the summer immediately following my junior year studying any chance I got. Unfortunately, once the semester hit, I was bogged down with my academics and extracurriculars and had little time to study. I decided that because I had been studying for nearly 8 months, I would take the September LSAT, and to my disappointment, after having been scoring on averages 155-157, I received a 150. Disappointed yet not completely discouraged, I went back to the books to prepare for the December LSAT with more studying this time both on my own and with a tutor.


I went into the December LSAT feeling really strong, and leaving, felt confident I had scored at least a few points higher. Unfortunately, like many things, it didn’t quite work out that way. Ultimately, I landed a score far lower than my original score and thought I was completely doomed, I thought “any hope I have to get into law school is now squashed.” But after doing some research, checking out local schools I decided to apply anyway and give it a shot, knowing many schools consider only the higher score.


One night, after reading two friends’ personal statements that got them into law school, and any personal statement example I could find, I drafted up my own using both a personal story and experience for why I wanted to go to law school. I spent roughly 2 months re-editing it, sending it to no fewer than 5 people that I knew were qualified to re-edit it and get me the result I wanted.


After a very long application process, and sitting on my hands waiting for any decision, I came home to a mailbox with an acceptance package to one school, and then another, and then another and still, even another. Some of these acceptances even came with scholarship money, some upwards to $12,000. Aside from the letters I received, I also got three personal phone calls from New England schools. In all three situations, I spoke with the Dean of Admissions who personally congratulated me on my acceptance. But one thing stood out, they all took the time to tell me how moved and impressed they were with my personal statement and how they “take these things very seriously”.


I had met with two Deans of local schools, both stressed the importance of the LSAT, but didn’t really spend equal time talking about the personal statement¬† portion of the application. I can’t say this for all schools, but in my experience, given those who I had spoken with, I firmly believe that your personal statement can make or break you. I ended up being accepted at every school I applied to and am now happy to be attending my first choice school.