Mcgill Law Personal Statement Examples
Applicants MUSTUPLOAD supporting documents via Minerva after having completed the online application (after receiving the acknowledgment notice via email). Not all documents may be uploaded via Minerva. See the "Uploading supporting documents" section below.
Supporting documents required for all categories of applicants (unless otherwise indicated):
- Personal Statement
- Letters of Reference (Not required for Exchange students)
- Letter of Permission (Exchange and Visiting students only)
- Final decision from the Comité des équivalences of the Barreau du Québec (Comité des équivalences applicants only)
- Final decision from the Chambre des notaires (Chambre des notaires applicants only)
- Photocopy of Passport (Exchange students only)
The Law Admission Office will obtain LSAT test results directly from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for those candidates who have taken, or plan to take, the LSAT.
After completing the online application, candidates must ensure that required supporting documents are uploaded via Minerva (or, if necessary, mailed directly to the Admissions Office at the Faculty of Law) by the deadline for supporting documents. Except for reference letters, all supporting documents may be uploaded via Minerva within 1 to 2 days after having completed the online application (the supporting document checklist will be available at the time that the ackowledgement email is sent). Documents sent by mail must be postmarked or delivered on or before the dates listed in Deadlines and categories. Documents sent by email or fax will not be accepted, unless specifically indicated in the instructions for document submission.
During peak periods (i.e., close to deadlines), the volume of document intake is extremely high (over 1,300 applications yearly) and there may be a delay of up to 48 hours between the receipt of a document and the date on which it is recorded in our information system. Taking this delay into consideration, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office only if your file remains incomplete 48 hours past the deadline for supporting documents.
Documents submitted to McGill University in support of an application to be admitted, including, but not limited to transcripts, diplomas, letters of reference, and test scores (in paper or electronic format), become the property of McGill University and will not be returned to the applicant or forwarded to another institution.
After receipt of the application acknowledgement email (which is sent automatically within 48 hours of successful application submission), applicants will be able to log on to Minerva and upload their supporting documents. Please check the status of your application checklist regularly as this is where the Admissions staff will update your file if more information is needed.
Please pay particular attention to uploaded files being “refused”. When an uploaded file is “refused” it means that there is a problem with the document you uploaded – for example, it is an illegible scan or an incomplete document – and the Admissions office is asking you to upload a new version. In such cases, your checklist will be annotated with a comment such as, “Poor quality scan was uploaded”, or “Incomplete document was uploaded”. It is recommended that you review the refused document and re-upload a new version as requested. Please note that such options are available only for Unofficial Transcripts, and Résumés.
New items may also be added to your checklist when necessary to complete the admissions file. It is important that applicants respond to such requests for documentation by uploading the appropriate document in a timely manner.
Uploading supporting documents
You must upload your supporting documents via Minerva rather than mailing or emailing them to the Admissions Office.
Documents to be uploaded via Minerva
Number of uploads allowed
|Unofficial transcripts||Updated version accepted|
|Résumé||Updated version accepted|
|Letter of extenuating circumstances (if applicable)||One|
Reference letters are not to be uploaded via Minerva. See Letters of reference section, below.
Please see the instructions for uploadingsupporting documents. (This link will open a new window to the Future Students, Applying to McGill website).
Documents that have been successfully uploaded to an application should not be sent by mail.
Mailing supporting documents
Documents that have been successfully uploaded to an application should not be sent by mail.
Below is the address for supporting documents, if submitting in person, by mail, or courier (for documents that cannot be uploaded):
Law Undergraduate Admissions Office
Faculty of Law, McGill University
New Chancellor Day Hall
3644 Peel Street, Room 418
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W9
Submit your documents as early as possible: the Admissions Committee only reviews files once complete. Only required supporting documents will be added to your file. Please refrain from sending other items, as these will not be considered as part of your admission file.
Inquiries about supporting documents should be directed to:
Email: admissions.law [at] mcgill.ca
Applicants must submit a complete academic record from all previous post-secondary studies, as well as subsequent transcripts until the applicant has received the Admissions Committee's final decision.
Applicants have three different ways to submit their transcripts:
- Transcripts for studies performed in Quebec universities may be submitted electronically via the BCI system (formerly known as CREPUQ). Applicants must contact the Registrar of their home university and ask for this arrangement.
- All other transcripts must be uploaded via Minerva. Transcripts received in this manner are considered unofficial. Applicants will only be asked for official transcripts (sent to us by mail in an envelope sealed by the Registrar of the issuing institution) if and when offered admission to the program. Our offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. If you have uploaded unofficial transcripts, you are not required to submit official transcripts until we request them from you.
- If submitting official transcripts, to be considered official, these must be submitted in an envelope sealed by the Office of the Registrar of the issuing institution.
Scanning your transcript – Make sure that the page orientation of the scanned document matches the original. For example, transcripts that are printed vertically (portrait) should be scanned so that they appear in the portrait format. Transcripts printed horizontally (landscape) should appear in landscape format.
NOTE:McGill University reserves the right to require official academic credentials at any time during the admissions process, and rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between unofficial and official transcript(s) are found.
It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all required transcripts are submitted as early as possible.
- BCI transcripts: Applicants need not submit paper-based official transcripts of studies performed in Quebec universities to the Admissions Office, if these transcripts are submitted electronically via the BCI system.
- McGill Transcripts: Applicants need not submit official transcripts of studies at McGill University to the Admissions Office. The Admissions Office obtains these results directly from McGill's Enrolment Services. However, applicants who had participated in an exchange during their program at McGill must submit a transcript.
- Exchange studies transcripts: Applicants must submit transcripts for studies carried out while on exchange, unless the marks as well as the credits obtained are already included on transcripts issued by their home university. Exchange programs should be indicated in the University History portion of the online application.
- Transcripts not in French or English: Transcripts in a language other than English or French must be accompanied by an English or French translation provided either by the school issuing the transcript or by a certified translator.
- Cegep transcripts (permanent code): Applicants who are currently, or have been, enrolled at a Cegep must provide their Permanent Code. Starting mid-October, McGill will obtain official Cegep transcripts electronically from the Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche. The processing of applications for applicants who are currently, or have been, enrolled at a Cegep will not take place until a valid Permanent Code is provided.
- Quebec French baccalaureate: Applicants in Quebec French baccalaureate programmes must submit official transcripts.
- Official Electronic Transcripts: More and more institutions offer the option to send official e-transcripts. The email address to use when requesting e-transcripts be sent to McGill is: officialschooldocs [at] mcgill.ca. This email address is for the reception of official transcripts and/or proof of graduation only and must be sent to us directly from the institution or 3rd party service provider (e.g. Parchment, NSC, Digitary).
- Winter term transcripts for Transfer students: Transfer students (application for admission from another Canadian law faculty) should forward the transcript of their winter term results as soon as they become available. Transfer applications cannot be evaluated without these results.
- Transcripts will not be returned: Transcripts sent to McGill become the property of the University and will not be returned or forwarded to other institutions.
- Law School Data Assembly Service & Ontario Law Scool Application Service (OLSAS): The Faculty of Law at McGill does not receive transcripts through the Law School Data Assembly Service or through OLSAS.
- French or English Language courses: Applicants must report in the University History form (or the Quebec Collegial Studies form) of the online application any courses taken, outside a degree program, which would contribute to their language competency.
Applicants must submit a brief essay referred to as a Personal Statement. The following is intended to assist applicants in preparing this document.
What is the purpose of the Personal Statement?
Your Personal Statement allows the Admissions Committee to understand the factors that motivate you to pursue a legal education, the particular meaning that the study of law holds for you, and the reasons for your interest in our program. In addition, your Personal Statement shows the Admissions Committee your writing style, your ability to present your ideas in English and/or French, and your maturity and judgment as shown through your writing.
What is the Admissions Committee looking for in reading your Personal Statement?
Members of the Admissions Committee are interested in what you will bring to the study of law and to our learning community, and how you will benefit from the study of law. They look for indicators of intellectual curiosity, community engagement, political/social insight, leadership skills, ability to work with others, openness to diversity (cultural, linguistic and otherwise), maturity, judgment, and potential for development through opportunity or adversity. Particularly if you are a Mature category applicant, you should discuss the relevance of your past experiences to your current motivation(s) for the study of law, and the reasons for doing so at this point in your life. Ultimately, and whatever your applicant category, the Personal Statement must be a product of your own reflection. We truly value a wide range of backgrounds, identities, and future aspirations. Whether you wish to become a practicing lawyer or you have other ideas about your career path following a legal education, your application, and specifically your Personal Statement, should show thoughtful consideration of your reasons for studying law (at our Faculty in particular).
Before writing, reflect critically on your motivations, your interests, and your convictions, and their connection to our program. The Personal Statement should not be used as a vehicle for narrating or repeating your résumé. Bear in mind that you have a limited amount of writing space; make it count. Be authentic. Be yourself. Don't be afraid to be original, but don't overlook the importance of the substance. Finally, ensure that your Personal Statement follows our formatting guidelines and that it has grammatical integrity. It is important to submit the Personal Statement in its final version of both format and substance, as only one submission of the Personal Statement is accepted. Subsequent submission by mail or email will not be accepted.
Candidates who have applied to the Faculty in the past must submit a new Personal Statement with any new application. A Personal Statement submitted in respect of a previous application will not be a substitute.
The format of the Personal Statement must adhere to the following basic characteristics:
- Two pages in length (maximum);
- Arial or Times New Roman theme font;
- 12 point font;
- Margins of 1.25 inches;
- Indicate your name and McGill ID (if available) at the top right corner of both pages.
Applicants are required to submit a résumé highlighting their:
- Academic background and achievements;
- Work experience;
- Volunteer and community work;
- Extra-curricular activities, sports, hobbies, and other significant interests.
Note:It is useful to the Admissions Committee if you indicate the number of hours worked during your studies, as well as the time commitment involved in your volunteer and community activities. It is in the interest of the candidate to share with the Committee his or her academic and non-academic contributions and distinctions.
The résumé assists the Admissions Committee in its assessment of a candidate's academic strength, depth of involvement in extra-curricular activities, leadership, and time management skills.
Candidates who have applied to the Faculty of Law in previous years are required to submit an updated résumé.
The resumé is required to be a maximum of two (2) pages (letter size). Applicants should not expect that the Admissions Committee will read beyond two pages. Please indicate your name and McGill ID (indicated in the acknowledgment notice) in the top right corner of each page.
Letters of reference
Two (2) letters of reference are required. The Admissions Committee does not accept additional letters of reference.
Applicants who are students, or who have recently completed programs of study, are expected to provide academic references from current or recent professors or teachers who are familiar with their work. Applicants in the CEGEP and Quebec French Baccalaureate (Collèges international Marie de France and Stanislas) category are expected to submit two letters of reference from CEGEP or college professors.
Applicants who are unable to obtain academic references because they are no longer students should submit letters from individuals who are well placed to evaluate the applicant's academic abilities such as critical reading, research, and writing; these may be professional references, but ought to be from a person who is in a supervisory position vis-à-vis the applicant.
Personal references are not helpful.
It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure that letters of reference are received on time. The candidate must send a copy of thereference_letter_instructions.pdf to the referees to ensure that the letters of reference meet the formatting requirements set out by the Faculty's Admissions Office. The Admissions Office does not contact referees to invite them to submit letters.
It is strongly recommended that reference letters be sent by the referee via admissions.law [at] mcgill.ca (e-mail). This helps the Admissions office process your file more efficiently.
- Letters sent by University Career Centres will also be accepted if stated that the letters are confidential.
If submitted on paper, the sealed letter of reference may be given to the applicant directly or be mailed to the Law Admissions Office.
- The Admissions Office does not accept letters of reference by fax or by telephone.
- Given our strict requirement of two letters of reference:
- A candidate should indicate the two chosen referees in the first and second fields of the Referee Information section of the online application.
- Only letters from those two referees will be inserted in the candidate's file.
- A candidate who wishes to make a referee substitution may do so until the deadline to submit Supporting Documents. In this case, please advise the Faculty of admissions.law [at] mcgill.ca (Law Admissions Office) in writing.
- The Admissions Office does not confirm receipt of reference letters with the referee via e-mail. Instead, applicants are encouraged to verify the status of their documents via their Supporting Documents Checklist in Minerva.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
For specific information about the Law School Admission Test, please refer to our LSAT page or check the LSAT section of our FAQ.
Serious medical or personal difficulties may have had an impact on an applicant's academic performance. If this is the case, the applicant should submit a separate letter to explain their particular extenuating circumstance(s). If appropriate, applicants may include suppporting documentation such as a medical certificate.
Indicate your name, McGill ID (indicated in the acknowledgement notice), and the subject of your letter "Extenuating circumstances" in the top right corner of each page. Note that the extenuating circumstances file should include both the letter and supporting documentation (where applicable) and must respect the maximum file size (3MB). Only one version is accepted. Additional documents sent by mail will not be included.
Letters of Permission/Nomination
For candidates applying as exchange or visiting students only. The permission/nomination letter should be written on university letterhead and include the student’s name, the faculty where the student wishes to study and the semester(s) of the exchange.
Photocopy of Passport
For candidates applying as exchange students only. Please upload a scanned copy of your passport.
Whether you are writing a Personal Statement, Letter of Intent, Biographical Sketch, or other type of application for a graduate program, professional school, fellowship/scholarship/award, or employment opportunity, CaPS can assist you.
Before taking advantage of the resources below, we strongly recommend you write the first draft on your own, according to the specifications provided by the institution or organization. Your style of writing in the letter is a reflection of your character and personality, and you would not want that tainted by following a textbook format.
Once you have given your letter a first attempt (and there will be many to follow), take advantage of the following resources to ensure it is at its best upon submission.
To have your personal statements reviewed, please make an appointment: 514-398-3304.
Sample Personal Statements / Graduate School Essays
Personal Statement Books (Available in the McGill Library):
Personal Statement Books (Available at CaPS):
- How to write the perfect personal statement (4th ed.)
- Graduate admission essays: Write your way into the graduate school of your choice (3rd ed.)
- Grad's guide to graduate admissions essays: Examples from real students who got into top schools
- Real essays for college and grad school
Sample Personal Statements (Websites):
Graduate School Research Statement (Websites):
Graduate School Interviews
Consult the following websites for pre-selection interview questions and answers.
- Professional and Graduate School Interview Questions (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay)
A list of sample questions including, personal characteristics, academic experiences, extracurricular activities, weaknesses, goals, leadership skills, field specific questions as well as questions applicants might ask an interviewer.
- Graduate School Interviews for All Programs (Salisbury University)
What graduate schools look for, tips for interview, and links to health professional graduate school interviewing information.
- Graduate School Interview (Wartburg College)
Pre-interview suggestions and typical interview questions.