What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is a picture of you as a student and an illustration of your fit for a particular school or fellowship. It complements the resume, giving much more depth and character. It focuses on a few key themes related to the your biography, interests, and/or experiences. (Note: The personal statement is not to be confused with the statement of purpose, which is more future focused, explaining your plans for study and career).
Elements of a strong statement
A good statement responds directly to the prompt. It grabs the reader’s attention from the beginning, uses specific illustrations and examples, and shows rather than tells. The statement has a tight narrative structure and a logical flow. It builds the picture of an interesting, passionate person who is a perfect fit for the school or fellowship. The essay is honest, confronting any gaps, weaknesses, or deficiencies, but focusing on lessons learned and positive outcomes. Though the writer conveys intelligence, experience, aptitude, and passion, the tone remains humble and sincere. Through the essay the writer manages to stand out from his/her peers and appear unique.
Tips for brainstorming
It can be difficult to know where to begin, especially when writing about oneself. You can start a file or notebook, beginning to list awards you have won, important milestones, struggles, and accomplishments, illustrative anecdotes, and relevant experiences. If stuck, you can ask parents, teachers, mentors, peers, coworkers, or supervisors what should be included in an essay about your life, interests, and achievements. You can also read sample essays on the Purdue Owl website and consult the site’s section titled “Questions to ask yourself before you write.” In addition, you can consult the Colgate website which lists helpful pre-writing questions.
Personal statement structure
If the essay allows for flexibility, then the following structure is suggested: Use the opening paragraph to grab the reader’s attention with a “hook” (usually a story or experience). Then choose one or two related themes/narrative threads to weave throughout the body of the essay, going into depth and not simply restating the resume. Use the concluding paragraph to refer back to the opening hook but also to open outwards, both to demonstrate your knowledge of the institution/fellowship and to mention plans for the future.
If given a prompt, you must be sure to answer all questions asked of you. Keep in mind, though, that it is not enough to simply answer one question after the next. You must still weave your responses together into a cohesive whole.
You might struggle with using the first person, writing about yourself, and striking a humble and mature tone. It might also be difficult to avoid clichés and to think of specific examples and illustrative anecdotes for the essay. Be sure to focus on these elements as well as on how to make your statement less vague, more concise, and more engaging for the reader. Ask for feedback from your advisor, instructors, or the Writing Center and count on creating several drafts.
A weak statement relies on clichés, especially those related to helping others, saving the world, and demonstrating passion. Poorly written essays often remain vague or rehash everything listed in the resume. Sometimes they veer off topic or suffer from an overly apologetic or an arrogant tone. They can be badly structured, lacking specific examples and a particular focus. Writers therefore do not create a vivid picture of themselves or an illustration of their fit with the institution or fellowship. Often such statements blend in with other mediocre essays, failing to convince an admissions committee that the candidate stands out. Because writing personal statements can be so challenging you should plan to create several drafts of your statement. When editing, work on adding specific examples and anecdotes and ask your advisor and instructors for advice. Don't give up - keep on revising and editing and come in for a Writing Center consultation so we can help you too!
Kansas has adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), as have 20 other jurisdictions, including our neighboring states of Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado.
To obtain a license to practice law in Kansas, applicants must comply with the Petition for Admission (bar application), including:
- have a Juris Doctor from an accredited law school;
- pass the Bar of the State of Kansas;
- obtain a minimum score of 80 on the MPRE; and
- gain approval of their Character and Fitness application.
The Kansas Bar Examination is given on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July in Topeka, Kansas.
Bar Application deadlines (must be received by the Attorney Admission) and Fees
- Oct. 1: Bar application ($700 fee)
- Nov. 1: Late bar application (additional $200 late fee)
- March 1: Bar application ($700 fee)
- April 1: Late bar application (additional $200 late fee)
The Bar Application includes the Character and Fitness application.
Applicant is required to submit a Kansas fingerprint packet, either prior to sending the application or with the application. The application will not be sent for the Character and Fitness investigation if a completed fingerprint packet is not submitted by the time the application is received.
Do not submit materials more than six months prior to the deadline.
To use a laptop during examination, applicants must submit a separate application by the deadline. Approval will not be considered until the applicant's application and Character and Fitness have been approved.
To request testing accommodations, the applicant must submit the application by the deadline.
Fingerprinting deadlines and Fees
The fingerprinting card is part of the character and fitness investigation. It is due with your application packet and subject to the same deadlines.
With the change in the new application, applicants are now instructed to contact the Bar Admissions Office directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for the fingerprint packets so that they are assured they have the current packet. Law schools will no longer be stocked with packets. Cards may be completed and taken to any police station for fingerprinting. Fees may apply. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (preferred method) charges $10, while the KU Public Safety Office charges $5.
Transcript deadlines (must be received by the Attorney Admission) and Fees
- February exam: Jan. 15
- July exam: June 15
Applicant must request official undergraduate and law school transcripts to be mailed directly to the Attorney Admission by applicant's schools.
Requests for official academic transcripts from KU must be directed to the University Registrar. Please see the University Registrar's website for more information.
The Kansas Bar Examination can test the following areas of law:
Kansas Essay (16 questions)
Multistate Bar Exam (200 questions)
Missouri has adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), as have 20 other jurisdictions, including Kansas.
The Missouri Bar Examination is given on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of February and July in Jefferson City, Mo.
All applicants must first create a personal MBLE Registration account here.
Bar Application deadlines and Fees
(must be postmarked or received by the Clerk of the Supreme Court)
- Oct. 1: Bar application (fee varies based on timing and application status of C&F)
- Nov. 1: Late bar application (fee varies based on timing and application status of C&F)
- March 1: Bar application (fee varies based on timing and application status of C&F)
- May 31: Late bar application (fee varies based on timing and application status of C&F)
Applications are not accepted for the February exam before Sept. 1 or for the July exam before Feb. 1.
Character and Fitness Application
Application for Character and Fitness Report must be completed online. Applicants must PRINT, SIGN and MAIL all required application forms, together with the required fee as determined in the current fee schedule