I, like everyone else on this board, am completely panicked over the prospect of writing my Personal Statement. I am now also completely confused as I just read Anna Ivey's book The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions. In it she refers to writing an "Essay" and does not refer to the "Personal Statement" My question is can someone please define the difference between an Essay and a Personal Statement?
The main point of confusion is this. The schools that I am applying to ask for a Personal Statement which describe your experiences with the following:
"persevering against substantial obstacles such as economic disadvantage, family or personal adversity or other social hardships, disability, prejudice or discrimination; having lived in a foreign country or spoken a language other than English at home; career goals (with particular attention paid to the applicant’s commitment to public service); employment history; educational background (including graduate study); evidence of and potential for leadership (perhaps demonstrated by extracurricular, school, civic or community service achievement); special talents or unique life experiences; or geographic diversity. Applicants are invited to describe these and other aspects of their backgrounds that would benefit the diversity of the law school community."
This sounds pretty cut and dry and if you address a number of these in your statement they will paint multifaceted picture of a person.
However, Ivey gives examples in her book of "good" personal statements that focus on a singular narrow event in someone's life which lead to a profound life changing experience. The samples are all written in very flowery narrative prose which always begin something like " The sun beat down on us as we crossed the desert....yadah yadah ya"
Bottom line to my question is that what the admissions officers are really looking for? flowery prose or should I stick with a more straight forward essay that really describes me as a person?