Part Two: Sample Personal Statements
Please see a sample personal statement for an applicant who applied to a law course in UK below. Our comments and analysis are at the bottom of the page.
Note: The headers in square bracket have been inserted by us for reference. We have deleted certain references to protect the privacy of the applicant.
It was the movie, “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves” starring Kevin Costner that stirred my interest on the folk hero who robbed from the rich to help the poor. I began to read up on this popular figure and his adversaries, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John, who later became king. In the process I learned how concerns over unjust rule and concentration of power in the hands of the monarch, King John, led to the signing of the Magna Carta, a document that has shaped modern constitutional democracy. This embodies the idea that liberties and rights can be organized around a document and made to hold not by any individual but by the written word. I read the principles enshrined in the American Constitution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man conferring the basic rights to every citizen to liberty, equality, security, freedom of speech, and subjecting all to the rule of law. I began to realize that although law, unlike science, does not significantly change how we travel or work, it nevertheless is central to social and economic success, and indeed to sustaining civilization itself. This instilled in me a lifelong interest in the subject of law.
During my two years in college I had various opportunities to explore this interest. I was fortunate to be among a select group of twenty students picked to attend a Home Uniformed Services program organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs. This offered useful insights on national law enforcement and policy-making. Attachments to various departments allowed me to interact with staff in their working environment. I learnt about public service from my stint at the Kaki Bukit Prison School where I was impressed by the constructive programs set up to help inmates. These included counseling sessions, education, skill development courses, and job placement services that collaborate closely with industry to help inmates seek gainful employment upon release. A visit to the Law Society introduced me to its Criminal Legal Aid Scheme which offers help to those who have claimed trial on criminal charges and unable to afford lawyer fees.
My father, helped arrange my attachment to the United Overseas Bank where he had worked as a senior staff member before retiring. The time I spent with the bank’s in-house legal counsel enabled me to witness first-hand the important role that lawyers play in reviewing and drafting transaction documents. I talked to my cousin who is a practicing lawyer to learn more about private practice, even visiting her office to get a better feel for the job.
Environmental interest led to my membership with the _____ One Earth Club. I represented my college in the Youth Environmental Forum, taking the advantage to learn from leading specialists and network with fellow participants from the region. I also represented the World Wide Fund on its Coral Triangle Initiative at the Asia Dive Expo, an event attracting participation from seven South East Asian countries. I became aware of the vital role of legislation in facilitating international cooperation, evidenced by the written commitments endorsing the spirit of cooperation reached by attending delegates on the conservation of coral reefs.
These activities made me appreciate the broad scope of the legal profession, straddling public service, business, politics, and private practice. I decided to aim for a degree where I could learn about legal issues, to devise corporate structures to facilitate business acquisitions, assure the accused of their constitutional rights, protect the minority community, or draft new laws to save the environment.
Keen on intellectual challenges I participated in many Science Research programs and was exposed to the systematic approach in laboratory work. I find the strict scientific discipline particularly useful in cultivating a logical approach towards problem-solving. I also led teams to the finals of both the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair and the National Science Symposium. Along the way I was flattered to receive Merit awards for the passion and dedication displayed.
I have always wanted to study in the UK having long held a fascination for the land of Shakespeare and Isaac Newton, birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and modern football. Having toured the country many times I have developed fond memories of a gracious society, beautiful scenery and changing seasons. I look forward to studying in Britain, experiencing a different culture and making new friends.
Analysis and Evaluation
What we liked:
We loved the first paragraph, where the applicant discusses Robin Hood, Magna Carta, the American Constitution, and how it culminated in his decision to read law. A strong and impactful start that grabs the reader's attention.
We liked the clear structuring of the personal statement. Each paragraph has a clear purpose and the language is succinct.
There are almost no editorial, punctuation or spelling mistakes.
What we felt could have been improved:
The applicant focused more on his motivations to read law than on his skills and aptitude. However, having discussed with the applicant we understand this was intentional as the applicant had decent examination grades and academic awards to address the Aptitude issue).
Outcome: The applicant went on to receive offers from London School of Economics, University College London, Kings College London, Warwick and Durham to read law.
Whatever school you are applying to, do also submit your personal statement to us here and we will get an alumni from your dream school to review and provide tips to improve! As a social enterprise, we are not profit driven and our only goal is to get you into your dream school.