Avoid the One-Trick Pony Personal Statement

A word of caution from the Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School: “Do not write the “one-trick pony essay.

What exactly is this? The one-trick pony essay is a personal statement that reiterates ad infinitum certain stellar accomplishments that have already been more than adequately showcased in your resume and recommendations. Instead, the personal statement should be taken as an opportunity to include additional information about yourself that you have not been able to present in the other elements of your application.

For example, if you are a prize-winning equestrian, and this aspect of your profile has already been conveyed in one part of your application, the personal statement essay would be a good chance to let the admissions committee know that you are also an avid foodie who once auditioned for “The Next Food Network Star.”

You want to present yourself as being a very interesting, multidimensional candidate who can add a unique perspective, in light of your life experiences, to classroom discussions. You do not want to portray yourself as being defined by just one particular idea or activity. You have more than one interesting story to tell, so make sure to demonstrate that.