Lsat Personal Statement Length

Sample Personal Statement Questions

Below are the personal statement writing instructions for seven top law schools. They should give you a good sense of the kinds of questions most law schools ask of applicants, as well as the instructions on the form for completing your personal statement.

Columbia Law School

“Candidates to Columbia Law School are required to submit a personal essay or statement supplementing required application materials. Such a statement may provide the Admissions Committee with information regarding such matters as: personal, family, or educational background; experiences and talents of special interest; reasons for applying to law school as they may relate to personal goals and professional expectations; or any other factors that you think should inform the Committee’s evaluation of your candidacy for admission. This statement should be printed on a supplementary sheet or two and should be returned to the Law School with other application materials.”

Georgetown University Law Center

“An applicant may write a double-spaced personal statement on any subject of importance that he or she feels will assist the Admissions Committee in its decision. There is no minimum/maximum length.”

Harvard Law School

“The Personal Statement provides an opportunity for you to present yourself, your background, your ideas, and your qualifications to the Admissions Committee. Please limit your statement to two pages using a minimum of 11-point font, 1-inch margins, and double spacing. Please refer to the Statement Form for more information. Attach your statement to the Statement Form when submitting on paper.”

University of Michigan Law School

“There is no formula for a successful personal statement, and different individuals will find different topics to be well-suited to them. Applicants have, for example, elaborated on their significant life experiences; meaningful intellectual interests and extracurricular activities; factors inspiring them to obtain a legal education or to pursue particular career goals; significant obstacles met and overcome; special talents or skills; issues of sexual or gender identity; particular political, philosophical, or religious beliefs; socioeconomic challenges; atypical backgrounds, educational paths, employment histories, or prior careers; or experiences and perspectives relating to disadvantage, disability, or discrimination. Any of these subjects, and many more, could be an appropriate basis for communicating important information about yourself that will aid us in reaching a thoughtful decision. The length of your personal statement is up to you.”

Northwestern University School of Law

“Include a typed, signed personal statement (recommended length: one to three pages, doublespaced). Please look upon this essay as an opportunity to introduce yourself to members of the Admissions Committee. In doing so, keep in mind that the committee evaluates applicants in many areas beyond test scores. We encourage you to discuss personal and professional goals that are important to you and to include information about your achievements. Feel free to comment further about your education, background, community involvement, and strengths and weaknesses in certain courses or activities. Please type your name and Social Security number on the top of each page.”

Stanford Law School

“Enclose a statement of about two pages describing important or unusual aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent in your application. The statement must be submitted electronically with your electronic application. While admission to Stanford Law School is based primarily upon superior academic achievement and potential to contribute to the legal profession, the Admissions Committee also regards the diversity of an entering class as important to the school’s educational mission. If you would like the committee to consider how factors such as your background, life and work experiences, advanced studies, extracurricular or community activities, culture, socioeconomic status, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation would contribute to the diversity of the entering class and hence to your classmates’ law school experience, please describe these factors and their relevance.”

University of Texas School of Law

“Your personal statement should give the Admissions Committee insight into your character and experiences. Please review the Admissions Bulletin for a list of factors that the Admissions Committee considers in the admissions process. Your personal statement may not exceed two (2) typewritten, double-spaced pages with a font size no smaller than 11 points.”

Application Components FAQ


How long should my personal statement/essay be?
How many letters of recommendation should I submit and from whom?
I have been out of school for awhile and am no longer in contact with any of my professors. Do I still need academic letters of recommendation?
Does Columbia require the submission of a dean’s certification?
Are there any instances in which I need to submit a dean’s certification with my initial application?
I completed a study abroad program while I was in college. Do I need to submit a dean’s appraisal/certification form from the institution abroad?
Can I submit an addendum or additional written materials along with my application?
How do I submit a request for a deferral?

Does the Admissions Committee conduct interviews as a part of the admissions process?


How long should my personal statement/essay be?

While there is no official page limit, a good guideline is two double-spaced pages, using readable fonts and margins. Your personal statement/essay should be a clear and concise example of your best writing. It should also be free from spelling and grammatical errors.


How many letters of recommendation should I submit and from whom?


Columbia requires two letters of recommendation to complete your application. We expect applicants currently in school or recently graduated (i.e., applying within less than approximately one year of receiving their degree) to submit two academic letters from faculty who can provide insight about their candidacy. Academic letters should come from individuals who have taught applicants in the classroom or have evaluated applicants in a significant academic capacity. Applicants with substantive work experience who are not recent graduates must submit one professional letter and at least one academic letter of recommendation. While the Committee will accept more than two letters of recommendation, we suggest that applicants use discretion when determining the appropriate number of letters to submit.

Please be advised that, unless we are otherwise notified in response to Question 9.2 of the application, we will complete your application upon receipt of two letters of recommendation.


I have been out of school for a while and am no longer in contact with any of my professors. Do I still need academic letters of recommendation?

You may submit letters of recommendation from professional references (e.g., former supervisors) if you are unable to locate former professors. However, the Committee does prefer academic letters of recommendation, so please make every attempt to obtain at least one.


Does Columbia require the submission of a dean’s certification?

Columbia will require admitted applicants to submit a dean’s appraisal/certification form, or an equivalent certification, from every educational institution at which he/she has been matriculated toward a degree (regardless of whether a degree was conferred) throughout his/her educational career. Matriculation at the Law School is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the dean’s appraisal/certification form(s), which will be made available once an applicant has been notified of acceptance into Columbia Law School.

Withholding information regarding disciplinary history from your initial application will be considered by the Admissions Committee as a violation of the Law School’s principles of academic integrity. If you answer yes to questions 8.1—8.2 on the application, then you will need to furnish a statement from the administration at your school regarding your disciplinary history.


Are there any instances in which I need to submit a dean’s certification with my initial application?

Yes. If you have been subject to disciplinary censure by any educational institution you attended or if there are any disciplinary charges pending against you, then you will need to submit a dean’s certification or letter that includes an explanation of the incident, as well as a statement of current standing at that academic institution at the time of your initial application. If you have ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor parking violation or if there are any criminal charges pending or expected to be brought against you, then you must provide a detailed, complete, and truthful written explanation with your initial application, irrespective of advice you may have received to the contrary.


I completed a study abroad program while I was in college. Do I need to submit a dean’s appraisal/certification Form from the institution abroad?

The dean’s appraisal/certification form is required only from institutions at which you were matriculated toward a degree. Since during most study abroad programs students continue to be matriculated at their home institutions, a dean’s appraisal/certification form is generally not required from the institution abroad. This rule of thumb also extends to summer classes, continuing education courses, evening courses, and/or any other classes taken for a reason other than the completion of a degree (e.g., personal interest, professional development).


Can I submit an addendum or additional written materials along with my application?

Yes. The Admissions Committee believes that candidates should be able to expand upon aspects of their candidacy that are otherwise not represented in the required materials. Some examples include diversity statements, statements of strong interest in Columbia Law School, explanations of undergraduate and/or LSAT performance, etc. We strongly suggest that applicants use their best judgment, in terms of content and length, when considering the submission of supplemental materials.


How do I submit a request for a deferral?

Columbia Law School maintains a liberal deferral policy—one to two years after admission. Admitted students who have submitted a seat deposit must notify the Office of Admissions of their wish to defer no later than June 1, 2018.

Admitted students who have been granted deferred admission are required to:

  1. Submit an additional, nonrefundable deposit that will be applied to tuition at the time of matriculation; and
  2. Sign an agreement that indicates the individual has withdrawn all prior applications to other law schools, does not currently hold deferred status at another law school, and will not submit new applications to other law schools.

Applicants admitted from our Reserve category cannot defer admission.


Does the Admissions Committee conduct interviews as a part of the admissions process?

While we are unable to interview all candidates that submit an application for admission, some candidates may be contacted for interviews during the admissions process. Please note that we are unable to consider requests for interviews. For more information, we encourage you to review the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Interview Program.


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