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How to Write a Law School Transfer Personal Statement + Tips

March 18, 2024
9 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 09/19/23

If you’re considering switching law schools and have begun your application, you may be wondering how to write a law school transfer personal statement. Read on to learn more about this essential application component. 

A person writing

Whether you were unable to get into your dream school on the first try, realized your current school wasn’t the right fit for you, or you simply want more opportunities for growth, you may want to transfer law schools

Regardless of the reason, a strong transfer application can ensure you join the perfect learning environment to pursue your personal and professional goals. Part of creating a stellar application is writing a compelling law school transfer personal statement.

Like the personal statement you wrote for your initial applications, this essay will give the admissions committee more insight into your personality and character to help them make an informed decision on your candidacy. 

This guide will give you tips and tricks on how to write a successful transfer statement!

What Matters Most to Admissions Officers in Transfer Applications

The admissions committee places significant weight on your academic performance and your rationale for transferring. 

They seek evidence of your excellence at your current law school and your potential to contribute meaningfully to their institution. They’ll also want to know your personal motivations for making the switch, which is where your transfer statement for law school comes into play! 

How to Write a Law School Transfer Personal Statement

An applicant writing

An effective law school transfer personal statement may seem complicated but it can be broken down into three main components: reflection, evaluation, and motivation. Here’s how these components should be incorporated into your personal statement:

Step One: Reflection

You want to start your transfer statement with a memorable opening. The majority of students begin by introducing an experience that influenced them to either join law school or pursue a particular program.

This reflection should then move into your thought process behind choosing your current school. Even though you ultimately were unsatisfied, there were certainly some redeeming qualities that drew you to your law school.

Some questions to consider as you brainstorm ideas for this component are:

  • What drew you to the legal field to begin with?
  • What influenced your decision to join your current law school?
  • What did you enjoy about your current law school? 
  • Do you have any hesitations about leaving your current law school?

Focus on these positives and ensure you do not bad mouth your law school. Telling the admissions committee you joined your current law school because it was your only option will make you appear less attractive. 

Step Two: Evaluation

Once you’ve explained your interests in law and reasons for joining your current school, you’ll want to share your reasons for leaving. Provide constructive evaluation of your school. Prove that, while it is an excellent law school, it is not the perfect law school for you.

Again, choose your reasons wisely. If you simply didn’t get along with your roommate, had professors that bored you to death in lectures, or you missed being at home with your childhood cat Mr. Whiskers, think of more legitimate reasons for your decision. 

Here are some guiding questions to consider:

  • What aspects, if added to your current school, would make you stay?
  • What aspects of your desired school appeal to you?
  • How have your career plans changed? 
  • What resources do you need to reach your goals?
  • How significant are these setbacks? How do they impact your goals?

As you explain the negative aspects of your current school, it’s important you discuss how you attempted to overcome these setbacks. Law schools want to know you gave your current school a fair shot and didn’t just throw in the towel. As a lawyer, you have to be adaptable and an excellent problem-solver. 

Step Three: Motivation

The final step is to share your motivation to join your desired law school. Explain the faculty, courses, experiences, or other aspects that draw you to your transfer school. 

Simply claiming your transfer school has the resources for you to succeed won’t impress the admissions committee. These committees take transfer applications seriously! After already joining another law school, they want to know you’re dedicated to theirs and won’t want to switch again. 

Keep your conclusion brief. Try to circle back to the ideas you presented in your introduction so your essay has good flow and circularity. Leave no questions unanswered and reiterate your strong desire to join your transfer law school.

Law School Transfer Personal Statement Sample

A person writing

Still feeling stumped? Take a look at this law school transfer personal statement that worked well.

If someone hits you, you get up and hit them right back—is what my mother would always tell me when I came home with teary defeated eyes and scraped knees. The combination of being the smallest kid in class and my large aviator glasses made me an easy target for the kids who made it their mission to find and ridicule any differences. 
My mother’s words always stuck with me. With each scrape and bruise my cautious mother reminded me that no else would fight for me; I had to be my strongest advocate. Those words rang through my mind as I sat in my civil rights lecture at New England Law and thumbed over my scarred knees. As I listened to my professor share more about his proudest cases as a civil rights lawyer the realization struck me. 
As someone who was always the outcasted underdog, I was now taking the steps to fight for the little guys. The ones that are overlooked, discriminated against, and denied equality. I knew civil rights law was the perfect specialty for me but New England Law offered a limited range of courses in the subject. 
After speaking to my academic counselor, I was advised the closest I would get to concentrating in civil rights was pursuing a public interest concentration, in which I would gain some experience in civil rights, but it would not be the focus. 
With my mother’s words etched into my brain, I knew I couldn’t settle for adequate or almost good enough. While New England Law has an excellent public interest program, it cannot equip me with the skills and experience I need to become an excellent civil rights lawyer.
In an attempt to advocate for myself and receive the very best education possible, I’m applying to transfer to The University of California Davis to join its renowned human rights and social justice law concentration.
By joining this program, I hope to continue its mission of using the power of law to achieve a more just society and can guarantee I will keep fighting until I succeed.

How Can I Enhance My Chances of Transferring to a Different Institution During My 1L Year?

A person sitting outside with their laptop

Follow these tips to enhance your chances of transferring to a different institution:

Aim for the Best Grades in Your First Year

Your 1L year will be challenging, but you’ll have to do your best to maintain a high GPA straight off the bat to be considered a competitive applicant at other law schools since they tend to hold transfer students to stricter standards!

Write a Remarkable Personal Statement for Your Transfer

Provide a comprehensive explanation of your motivations for changing law schools and the reasons your preferred institution should accept you. Emphasize your notable attributes, memorable experiences, and your compatibility with the new school environment in your transfer statement for law school .

Explore Law-Related Extracurriculars

Although your grades should be your utmost priority, try to get involved in at least one extracurricular that can give your application an extra boost. You may want to join an internship, school club, or advocacy activity.

Investigate Potential Transfer Law Schools

While you may be set on transferring to only one school, have some backup options that you’d be happy with. Law schools are notoriously challenging to transfer into, so don’t put all of your eggs in one basket! Choose schools that best align with your goals and applicant profile, as this will be your last chance to get into the perfect school!

Make Connections

Don’t burn any bridges just because you know you won’t be at your current law school for long. You’ll need at least one academic letter of recommendation for your application, so form close connections with your professors. Act enthusiastic to be there—even if you aren’t! 

Prove Your Commitment: 

Do thorough research on your school and apply early to prove you’ve carefully considered your options and are committed to your transfer school.

Ensure you also tailor your application materials to each school to present the most compelling case for why you should be admitted!

Ask the Experts

In case you’re still unsure of how to maximize your chances of acceptance as a transfer student, our admissions counselors have got you covered! They'll ensure every part of your application is polished and ready for evaluation.

FAQs: Law School Transfer Personal Statement

In this guide we’ve broken down how to write an effective law school personal statement. For any remaining questions on this application material, read on to find your answers.

1. Do Transfer Applications Have to Write a Personal Statement?

Yes, transfer applicants have to write personal statements as part of the admissions process. This part of the application is intended to give the committee insight into their reason for transferring.

2. How Long Should a Personal Statement Be for Transfer Students?

The length of these statements depends entirely on the schools you’re applying to. However, they typically have a 2-page limit. 

3. How Do You Write a Good Personal Statement for a Transfer?

A good law school transfer personal statement will reflect on your choices to join the legal field and your current school, provide an evaluation of your school to determine the reasons for your transfer and describe your motivations to join the transfer school.

You should also take care to revise your personal statement multiple times to ensure there are no spelling, grammar, or structural errors that could reduce the efficacy of your writing. Your personal statement is also used to assess your writing skills, which are crucial to thrive in any law school.

4. What Should You Not Write in Your Personal Statement

Avoid the following in your personal statement:

  • Sharing highly personal information 
  • Non-academic or career-related reasons for your transfer
  • Badmouthing your current school
  • Trying to evoke pity from the committee to convince them to accept you
  • Making promises to the committee about the extraordinary and unrealistic contributions you’ll make to their school if you’re granted admission
  • Vague reasons for joining your transfer school

Don’t forget to also include explanations of how you tried to make your current school work despite your disappointments!

5. Can I Reuse my Common App Essay for Transfer?

No, your common app essay will not be sufficient to use for your transfer essay. Your college personal statement will have a broader purpose and will likely make no mention of your specific reasons for pursuing law. Your transfer statement must clearly explain why you want to transfer schools and what your future legal goals are. 

6. How Important Are Transfer Personal Statements?

While the committee will weigh your first-year GPA the heaviest in the selection process, your personal statement is the only application material that offers reasoning for your decision to switch schools. Determining whether or not your explanations are legitimate will help the committee come to a decision quicker.

Final Thoughts

Fortunately, law schools understand what a difficult task it is to choose the perfect law school! While they understand not everyone gets it right on their first try, they want to assure the second time's the charm! 

To do this, they will take your law school transfer personal statement into consideration and use it to learn more about you! Follow the suggestions in this guide to ensure your personal statement works in your favor and maximizes your chances of getting into your dream law school!

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