PS A or PS B -- Or neither?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

Statement A or B?

Statement A
1
33%
Statement B
1
33%
Could depend on the school
1
33%
 
Total votes: 3

DukeHopeful
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:14 pm

PS A or PS B -- Or neither?

Postby DukeHopeful » Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:21 pm

Ok, I've been working on my PS and I ended up writing two, fairly distinct versions. A describes my personal ambitions and desire to enter law, while B describes my background and the skills that would make me a good law student/lawyer. Any help/advice is greatly appreciated and I'd be happy to swap with anyone interested. Just PM me.

Also, if it puts anything in context, my top three choices are Duke, UVA, and UCLA. Would one statement better for a certain school or vice versa? I have a 3.81 GPA, a 169 LSAT, and I'm part Native American.

PS A

Referring to a time before government existed, Thomas Hobbes said that life of man in the state of nature was “nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes suggested that it was an all out war of every man against every man until eventually the idea of giving up one's rights to an all-powerful sovereign in exchange for protection arose. Thus, a social contract developed empowering a government to rule above the masses. Since the beginning of government, the world has seen many forms, from local tribal leadership such as my Native American ancestors to centralized totalitarian dictatorships like those horrors seen in the twentieth century. One thing that each and every government has had in common is putting forth a code to live by, a set of rules. Law, therefore, is essential to the very existence of a civilized way of life.
I strongly desire a career where I may have the opportunity to make great contributions to society, and the field of politics is one that intrigues me the most. Politics is perhaps the most important field to work in, though many seem to think of politicians in a less-than-revered light. As a politician, I will have the opportunity to help shape American politics and guide the future of American life. I will also have the ability to help shape the world, through the profound impact that American politics has on the global scale.
Though one can certainly enter politics from any field, I feel that a solid background in law is vital to understanding the behind-the-scenes of how government works. After all, we would not allow a dentist to perform his work without a proper education in oral care, should those in charge of crafting, interpreting, and enforcing our laws not also be educated in the respective field as well? There are many aspects to law, each of which can be quite challenging, and this is why I hope to receive a cogent education from a law school that excels in [INSERT SECTION DISCUSSING PARTICULAR LAW SCHOOL, WITH EXAMPLES IN FIELDS THAT FACULTY AND STUDENTS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN, I.E. GUANTANAMO BAY LEGAL ISSUES AT DUKE UNIVERSITY].
I also feel that a business background is key to being a successful politician, as it affords one the ability to understand proper and effective coordination of a work force, a skill that is absolutely necessary in politics, as well as a basis for understanding the motivations that individuals may have, whether they are positive or not. I hope to pursue an educational path in law school that allows me to understand how the fields of law and business intersect, and to use that education to help understand and solve the current problems with the American financial system. As a politician, I will be able to use my knowledge to hopefully prevent economic disasters from occurring in the future. Future generations should be able to benefit from the lessons learned in the mistakes of my generation, and I know that an education from [LAW SCHOOL] will empower me with the knowledge to help make those benefits a reality.

PS B


It seems that successful marriages are becoming ever more rare in today's American society, with about half of all first marriages ending in divorce, and an increasing rate as the number of marriages goes up. Those who have reached their third marriage face a divorce rate of three in four. For this reason, I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have grown up in a household where my parents' marriage has been an exception to the rule perhaps, highly successful. I am grateful not only to have been able to grow up and share my life experiences with both my mother and father all along the way, but I have been able to gather a great deal of valuable lessons from being raised under the conditions which foster a strong and healthy marriage.
My parents will celebrate their silver wedding anniversary next year, twenty-five years together. I have learned that what makes this possible is a tremendous ability to be able to work together, a great deal of patience, and all of the understanding in the world. Two people will never agree completely on everything, and I have been able to better comprehend the differences in my mother and father as I have grown older and more intellectually mature myself. Being able to cooperate and work together requires being able to truly listen to what others have to say, in a manner that does not automatically discount contradictory opinions. Furthermore, it requires an ability to succinctly expound one's own feelings in a way that does not offend those who might not be in agreement while maintaining the persuasiveness necessary to push towards resolution. These skills, vital for a successful marriage, are also truly helpful in the worlds of law and politics, two areas which I intend to be successful in upon graduation from law school. Being able to persuasively describe my position so that even those who thought they disagreed can at least feel that they better understand my feelings is a skill that I have learned in my home and honed throughout my educational career.
I have been competing with the brightest minds of my peers since I was in elementary school, where I participated in a program for gifted students called Excel. The Excel Program took gifted students in second through fifth grades from all of the area school districts and gave them increased opportunities for learning outside of the classroom, including supplemental classroom learning as well as competition among students in the program from other schools in the form of science and math olympiads and semester-long stock market competitions.
In seventh grade, I underwent a rigorous admissions process to gain entry to a program called Academic Challenge, which allowed students to take classes beginning in eighth grade at the community college in English and math that counted towards their normal school credit requirements. The program culminated in eleventh and twelfth grades with enrollment in actual University of Delaware classes that allowed students to concurrently earn high school and college credits. This program, like the Excel program, has allowed me to develop intellectually under conditions that foster a love of learning and instill a strong desire for success. They no doubt have groomed me for the competitive nature of college and the rigors of the study of law at the nation's top institutions.
The lessons I have learned from my parents combined with the demanding intellectual programs I have participated in have fostered strong leadership tendencies within me as well. As quarterback and captain of both my middle school and high school football teams, I led my team to back-to-back undefeated seasons. I was instrumental in developing a lacrosse program at my high school, where I started every game in each of my four years playing attack. I was elected Captain from sophomore to senior year, and voted MVP in my junior and senior seasons by my teammates and coaches. I continue to return to my high school as much as possible in the spring to help grow and develop the team, comprised mainly of players who have never before touched a lacrosse stick. My leadership skills do not just apply to sports, as I was also the team leader for my high school's Business Professionals of America chapter, and I successfully led our team to a performance at the state championship that earned an invitation to the national championship. I am also often the group leader on academic projects at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, most recently leading my group to a grade of 98% where we were tasked with devising an anthropocentric reformist approach to solving the problems inherent in the agricultural industrial complex.
[INSERT SECTION ABOUT WHY XXXX LAW SCHOOL IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR ME]

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rw2264
Posts: 314
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:59 am

Re: PS A or PS B -- Or neither?

Postby rw2264 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:11 pm

neither--being honest.

upon further review, my comments:
both are vague. where you think you are not being vague, you're still being vague, i promise. pick a new topic that has actually had some effect on your life, not just something you've spent a lot of time thinking about. also, don't open with the mention of a philosopher--at best it sounds pretentious and at worst it sounds like you just got out of PHIL 1001 and it changed your life.

DukeHopeful
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:14 pm

Re: PS A or PS B -- Or neither?

Postby DukeHopeful » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:30 pm

Thanks. I sort of felt the same way about A after I wrote it, which is why I wrote B. For a little clarification, what exactly is vague about B? I think it's pretty specific relating to exact events in my life, I'm not sure how I might clarify that.

As for picking a topic that has impacted my life, I fortunately (and unfortunately from a writing perspective I guess) have not had an even like a parent or close friend dying, or losing everything, or a massive car wreck, or a great disease, or any other big event that seems to make the best personal statements. I've been fairly blessed in avoiding most tragedy. The few topics that have probably had the most influence on my life are hunting, the ocean, and a strong entrepreneurial sense (I've started numerous businesses since I was fifteen or so, some successful, some not so much). I can't really see how I can make any of those into a strong personal statement for law school, with the possible exception of the last one, but I'm not really sure how to present that as beneficial to studying law.

DukeHopeful
Posts: 175
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 3:14 pm

Re: PS A or PS B -- Or neither?

Postby DukeHopeful » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:49 pm

One thing that I have always been passionate about is gun control, or anti gun control more precisely, and this is something that I would love to pursue once I am a lawyer. My strong hunting background and the fact that I've used gun control as a topic for school work since I was in high school gives me a great background on the issue, but I'm worried that it's somewhat controversial and falls on the conservative side of a predominantly liberal audience (from what I've heard). Is this something that I should worry about, or would this topic be a good possibility to expand upon?

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rw2264
Posts: 314
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Re: PS A or PS B -- Or neither?

Postby rw2264 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:55 pm

i really don't think you should write about an issue. you're not going to tell an admissions council something they don't already know and you will risk sounding bad if you are not as informed on the topic as you think you are.

i think you should write about starting your first business. that's a unique experience--being entrepreneurial, confident, and having the insight at a young age to effectively create a business model are all excellent qualities for a lawyer to have. if you can make it read more like a narrative than a summary of your resume it could be a really strong PS. at least that's what i think.

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iShotFirst
Posts: 460
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:13 am

Re: PS A or PS B -- Or neither?

Postby iShotFirst » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:54 pm

Well its not like you have to have some terrible tragedy to write a good PS, just has to be personal to you. The above poster is far more knowledgeable and experienced than I so I would follow their advice, but I think your sports/competition leadership background in high school is pretty interesting too, way more interesting than wanting to be a politician --- yawn.




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