Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Slane, Stephen

Subject Headings

Law schools -- United States -- Admission, Impression formation (Psychology), Self-presentation, law school law school admission personal statement law school applicant diversity impression management


This study examined 200 personal statements of male, female, White, and African-American law school applicants to better understand how applicants use impression management to gain admission to law school. Data showed significant differences in how males compared to females and Whites compared to African-Americans use impression management in their law school personal statements. The research found African-Americans discussed personal motivation more often than did White applicants. White females and African-American males more frequently utilized conditions of motivation, gender or race, and personal story to demonstrate their capability to succeed in law school despite generally lower academic indicators. Females had more experience in the law than males. Males discussed red flags and used name dropping significantly more than females. In order to avoid missed opportunities for minority law school applicants to "sell themselves" to admission officers, law school admission offices, pre-law advisors, and the legal profession must clearly state what factors beyond the Law School Admission Test and undergraduate grade point average are necessary to be successful in law school

Included in

Psychology Commons