Just starting personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
thekingiv
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:15 am

Just starting personal statement

Postby thekingiv » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:53 pm

Can anyone give me some guidance as to what this is supposed to encompass and how long it's supposed to be? I've read a few examples and it seems like it can be so many different things.

Any advice will help!

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vanwinkle
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Re: Just starting personal statement

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:54 pm

I hope you're applying for next cycle, because if you're just getting started now for this cycle and you have no clue what you're writing about, you're screwed.

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Sauer Grapes
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Re: Just starting personal statement

Postby Sauer Grapes » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:56 pm

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Last edited by Sauer Grapes on Sun Aug 22, 2010 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thekingiv
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:15 am

Re: Just starting personal statement

Postby thekingiv » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:04 pm

vanwinkle wrote:I hope you're applying for next cycle, because if you're just getting started now for this cycle and you have no clue what you're writing about, you're screwed.


No, I'm applying for Fall, 2010. I'm sure I can put something together pretty quickly once I get a better idea of what is needed.

nycparalegal
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Re: Just starting personal statement

Postby nycparalegal » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:11 pm

Well, OP it depends on the school, but usually it is a general tell-me-about-yourself essay. The important point to remember is that the schools don't want you to rehash your resume. They want to know who you are, and what makes you tick. You can talk about what made you decide to go to law school or an event that changed your life.

Treat it as if it's a written interview for a job. Usually about two pages. But, it depends on the school.

You may be a great writer, but it takes time to write one. I started in October and didn't finish until beginning of December.

thekingiv
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:15 am

Re: Just starting personal statement

Postby thekingiv » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:22 pm

nycparalegal wrote:Well, OP it depends on the school, but usually it is a general tell-me-about-yourself essay. The important point to remember is that the schools don't want you to rehash your resume. They want to know who you are, and what makes you tick. You can talk about what made you decide to go to law school or an event that changed your life.

Treat it as if it's a written interview for a job. Usually about two pages. But, it depends on the school.

You may be a great writer, but it takes time to write one. I started in October and didn't finish until beginning of December.


That is great advice, thank you, nyc.

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vanwinkle
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Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 3:02 am

Re: Just starting personal statement

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:31 pm

thekingiv wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:I hope you're applying for next cycle, because if you're just getting started now for this cycle and you have no clue what you're writing about, you're screwed.


No, I'm applying for Fall, 2010. I'm sure I can put something together pretty quickly once I get a better idea of what is needed.


Okay, good.

The best advice I can give you is to try to have a single overall theme your PS is addressing. This is best thought of as the answer to a question, such as "Why do I want to go to law school?" or "Why will this thing I'm talking about make me a better lawyer?" If you can find a way to discuss experiences you've learned from or aspects of yourself or your background that show you have some desired qualities like responsibility, determination, ethics, etc., then you're on the right track.

This doesn't mean you have to say "I want to be a lawyer because..." That's usually a bad thing to do. Tell a story about you that makes it apparent you'd do well as a lawyer. It should be something you show them well enough that they can see it on their own, WITHOUT you having to say "I want to be a lawyer because..." and spelling it out for them. In my PS I never mentioned law school or wanting to be a lawyer or anything like that. Instead I wrote a two-page story about myself and experiences I overcame in my life, all revolving around the theme that I ended with, saying "Now that I've gotten this far, I'm eager to take it further and prove what I'm really capable of." Everything in the PS was geared around showing how far I had come, written to show I had determination and a strong work ethic.

This also worked to counteract my weakness (a low GPA) by convincing them I'd worked hard despite the low GPA, worked hard in the real world after graduating, and would continue to work hard in law school.

Basically that's what you're doing. You pick things to talk about yourself that show your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Tell them who you are, about what will make you a good law student and a good lawyer. You don't have to say "I'll make a good lawyer" because if you've written it well enough they'll figure that out on their own. They know why they're reading it, you don't have to tell them.

What you do need to tell them is about you, and why they should like you and want to trust you with a coveted seat in their incoming class.




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