Hi everyone my name is Josh Jowitt and I’m part of the undergraduate admissions team here at Newcastle University Law School Every year people ask me at open days “Are personal statements important?” And the short answer is “Yes”. Because that’s the first thing that we actually see that you’ve written. As part of helping you out this I’m going to give you my 5 top tips on how to write the best personal statement that you possibly can. The first time I read “that Aristotle thought that law is reason divorced from passion”.
It’s fairly interesting. But the 100th time I read that it gets a little boring. So tell me why you’re using a particular quote. Did it inspire you?
Did it make you think in a certain way? Don’t just drop it in there because somebody thought it would be a good introduction to a bigger spiel. Law doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s constantly changing and developing in response to social pressures from the outside. Make sure you’re aware of this.
Read a good newspaper. Listen to the Today Programme on Radio 4. Just be aware of what’s going on in the world. If you can tell us that in your personal statement then that’s a good sign you’re going to be a good law student. What are you going to do with the law degree once you’ve got it? What’s your motivation?
Why do you actually want to be here to study law, instead of a very similar subject such as politics or history? Have you visited any courts in your local area? Have you done any work experience? Have you followed a barrister around?
But don’t just tell us you’ve done these things. Tell us what you actually got from them. Did it get you thinking about why certain procedures are in place?
Did you think maybe the law gave one answer but your idea of justice would have given something else? It’s insights like those experiences that you’ve got from your work and your travelling around visiting courts that will really set you head and shoulders above all the competition. Us lawyers are professional pedants. So if you give us a personal statement full of typos and spelling mistakes, that really doesn’t give a good first impression. So please, please, please make sure you proof read what you give us.
OK well they’re my top 5 tips on writing a good personal statement. So if you take those on board it shouldn’t go too far wrong for you. I’d like to end by wishing you all the best for this and for all your applications.
And I hope more importantly we see you in Newcastle in a couple of years time.