Struggling with Personal Statement

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lgsb2014

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Struggling with Personal Statement

Postby lgsb2014 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:51 pm

Hello Everyone,
I am struggling writing my personal statement. I am not sure where to begin, what to say, or how to say it.
Can anyone offer a few pointers to get started? Or possibly even be kind enough to share their own Personal Statement?

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TripleM

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Re: Struggling with Personal Statement

Postby TripleM » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:07 pm

There are a lot of different approaches. I came from a newspaper background so I prefer a narrative approach... a story with a beginning middle and end. By the end, you should somehow be changed. It doesn't have to be earth shattering change, but you should look at the world differently. There will be a lot of ways you can tie that to law school, so don't get to fixated on the "... and that's why I want to attend law school" just yet.

Come up with a list of three or four big moments in your life. Ideally situations where you faced a challenging situation. I'll give you examples from my own life:
1) I'm a firefighter/paramedic who was called upon to save the life of another firefighter.
2) I was heartbroken when, at the age of 8, I heard my Dad say that he would never see a Black president because I realized it meant that he didn't believe that I could actually become president.
2) I was a reporter and had to chose whether to write a story about a police shooting from the perspective of the police, of the grieving mother. I'd grown up with pretty good experiences with cops and really struggled with the possibility of treating them unfairly.

Some of those examples are big, some are small. Any of them would be material that could be used for a personal statement. In fact, two of them were.

Why don't you throw out one or two sentence summaries of three stories from your life? I'll be you'll get some kick-ass feedback on them from this group (which you'll find is the best on TLS).

lgsb2014

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Re: Struggling with Personal Statement

Postby lgsb2014 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:42 pm

I don't think there is any one story in particular story that changed my life.
I do come from a humble background, immigrant parents with no education, first in my family to go to university (. Will be the first to go to graduate school. Have 3 years work experience in immigration law field, working closely on cases of minors who crossed over as well as women who are sexual assault survivors/domestic violence survivors. I did a lot of work around sexual assault prevention, was a sexual assault advocate during undergrad. It is reworking to help victims, particularly immigrants who resemble my parents, my neighbors, my community, gain some sort of immigration relief in this country. This is my passion. Those three gap years from undergrad to now were taken because my parents are retired seniors and my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I help them economically and wanted to make sure my mom was in better health.

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TripleM

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Re: Struggling with Personal Statement

Postby TripleM » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:37 pm

I think you may be looking for something too grand. This doesn't need to be a single moment where the universe was different. It needs to be a moment where an experience or decision changed your perspective. I refuse to believe that seeing your mother battle a terminal illness has had no influence on you. Likewise I'm skeptical that you were never moved by someone you met doing your immigration or sexual assault work.
Here's the thing... if you've never been swept up in any other these issues then it's actually not your passion. That said, I believe you when you say it's your passion. I believe that you've been touched by these stories. I believe that you've been involved in cases when the system worked wonderfully or really failed someone you were working with.
I put it back on you; list out a few important experiences. You've had them unless you're the most boring person in the world.

lgsb2014

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Re: Struggling with Personal Statement

Postby lgsb2014 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:37 pm

Haha I am definitely not a boring person!
I wanted my personal statement to resemble those that we see on MS9.com... where somehow playing the piano demonstrates how great you will be in law school. But in Ayra Stark's voice, that's not me. I have a few cases that come to mind, one in particular, that ties a lot of my experience together with what I want to do now. I struggle with how to write it. In any case, thank you. Simply responding to you gave me a few ideas to explore :)

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TripleM

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Re: Struggling with Personal Statement

Postby TripleM » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:45 pm

Great! If you want to get some feedback feel free to message me or post on here. An exercise that sometimes works is to write out the first one or two paragraphs of each idea. Doesn't take too much time but can really help you get a feel for where the meat lies.

lgsb2014 wrote:Haha I am definitely not a boring person!
I wanted my personal statement to resemble those that we see on MS9.com... where somehow playing the piano demonstrates how great you will be in law school. But in Ayra Stark's voice, that's not me. I have a few cases that come to mind, one in particular, that ties a lot of my experience together with what I want to do now. I struggle with how to write it. In any case, thank you. Simply responding to you gave me a few ideas to explore :)



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