Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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gdane
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby gdane » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:50 pm

Thank You all for your advice. I have greatly revised my PS. I took out most of the crap about my family and added more stuff about what I would bring to the law school, per the advice from the great people on this forum.


Here is the final copy. Or at least what I hope is the final copy.



January, 11th, 2009
As a child I always asked my parents why we lived in the ugliest home on the block. I asked why I didn’t get the newest toys like my friends did. Their response was always “Do well in school so that you can have more than this”. Upon their arrival in the United States my parents had no formal education and spoke limited English. Due to this we often struggled financially. Nevertheless, my parents always tried to give me what I needed to succeed.
Throughout the years there were times when my father would walk miles in the snow or blistering heat to work instead of taking the bus so that I could have the money to go on a school field trip or to buy a book at the book fair. Seeing my family constantly struggle instilled in me a burning desire to succeed. Seeing the lost opportunities and closed doors which my parents found from a lack of a college education made me want to be the first person in my family to attend college.
Unfortunately, I found that being the first in my family to attend college was both a gift and a curse. My fathers’ modest income and financial resources meant that I was on my own throughout college. My parents could not afford to finance my education so during my four years of college I paid for my tuition, books and supplies with student loans and through a full time job. I worked upwards of thirty hours a week and took a full schedule of classes. Balancing these financial obligations while devoting time to my studies was difficult, but my family and I knew that completing my college education was a must. All the work, academic and physical, that I had done during my four years of college was worth it because when I received my Bachelors degree I knew that my parents’ sacrifices did not go to waste.
For a long time throughout college I felt like I was given the short end of the stick. The fact that I had to work so much and that I had no help left me with a feeling of injustice. I was thrust into the world without warning when I was seventeen years old. However, these experiences have enabled me to take on any challenge without fear. Many people in my age group are only now getting a taste of what it is like to search for a job, work full time and be on one’s own. I have been doing this for the past four years.
This is what I bring to the American University Washington College of Law. I bring someone that can handle the rigors of academia alongside the arduous demands of the working world. Throughout my undergraduate years I have been in overwhelming and hopeless situations, such as the one detailed in my addendum, but I have made it through them with an even greater desire to succeed. I have a stable mind and I am always enthusiastic about lending a helping hand. At my previous places of employment I always did my work with a good attitude and I was a source of inspiration and comfort for many of my coworkers. They believed that if I could go to school full time, work full time and help support my family, then they could make it through their hardships as well. As a law student I would do the same for my fellow law students and those that need it. I would share my experiences and advice with others in order to bring a positive effect to my law school community and fellow students.

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fl0w
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby fl0w » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:10 pm

it's a decent story, but the thing that still bothers me is that you spend a lot of time in your personal statement addressing economic hardship (a topic more commonly addressed in a diversity statement).

What I would like to see is a demonstration of skills necessary for law school (through concrete examples). If those skills are truly born out of your experiences in economic duress, then you need to emphasis that and make a clearer point.

Essentially what I get from the statement is you experienced economic hardship, you worked to finance your education, your family's sacrifice inspired you to do this.

If the question "what skills do you bring to the table that you can apply to your success in law school" is posed, I'm not sure that you've answered it in this essay.

Just my opinion.

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gdane
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby gdane » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:19 pm

Im having a tough time doing this because I have read so many conflicting pieces of advice regarding the PS. Some say NOT to talk about why you would be a good lawyer/ what would make you a good lawyer. Others say the opposite.

The truth is that like I said at the end of my statement, I feel that having to multitask so much by working FT and going to school FT has given me the ability to take on anything. As corny as that sounds. I definitely agree with you about my statement basically being about my economic hardships, but it is those hardships that have molded me into a person that can handle so many things. No offense to anyone, really no offense, but I didnt grow up as some rich kid whose parents paid for everything. I wasnt one of the kids that went to classes in the afternoon, partied at night and then slept until midday.

So i feel like I dont have much more to talk about than how my economic hardships have prepared me to handle the stresses of law school and the world.

But i do appreciate the advice. Honestly I agree with most of what you have said Mr. fl0w.

SandyC877
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby SandyC877 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:33 pm

gdane5 wrote:Hi all,

Please critique my personal statement. You can be as nasty as you want. Tear into it. Thank You all in advance. Here we go...



Personal Statement
Spic, wetback, bean picker, border jumper; these were the words I heard growing up in an overwhelmingly white neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. My parents arrived to the United States with hopes of a better future for their children, but they had no formal education and limited English. Due to this the only work that was available to them was low paying manual labor. My mother stayed at home, but my father went to work as a stock boy at a local paint and decoration store. He faced the same racial slurs that I did, but he was willing to take them all day long so that I could have the opportunities that he and my mother never had.
Growing up my family struggled financially, but they always tried to give me what I needed to succeed. They enrolled me in a Head Start program, bought me books to learn independently and even enrolled me in a private school for a year. Doing this caused even greater financial hardships for my family. There were times when my father would walk miles in the snow to work instead of taking the bus so that I could have the money to go on a school field trip or to buy a book at the book fair. Nevertheless my parents always told me “It’s ok. We want you to succeed”. Seeing my family constantly struggle instilled in me a burning desire to be something. Furthermore, seeing the lost opportunities and closed doors which my parents found from a lack of a college education made me want to be the first person in my family to attend college. Unfortunately, once I was accepted into college I found that being the first in my family to attend college was both a gift and a curse.
I realized that my fathers’ modest income and financial resources meant that I was on my own throughout college. My parents could not afford to finance my education so during my four years of college I paid for my tuition, books and supplies with a combination of loans issued in my name and through a full time job. I worked upwards of thirty hours a week and took a full schedule of classes. Balancing these financial obligations while devoting time to my studies was difficult, but both my family and I knew that completing my college education was a must. All the work, academic and physical, that I had to do in the past four years was worth it because when I received my Bachelors degree I knew that my parents’ sacrifices did not go to waste.
For a long time throughout college I felt like I was given the short end of the stick. The fact that I had to work so much and that I had no help left me with a bitter feeling. I was thrust into the real world without warning when I was eighteen years old. However, it is through these experiences that I know I can take on any challenge. Many people in my age group are only now getting a taste of what it is like to search for a job, work full time and be on one’s own. I have been doing this for the past four years. This is what I bring to your Law School. I bring someone that can handle the rigors of academia alongside the arduous demands of the real world. As a law student I would share my experiences and advice with others so that I may bring a positive effect to my law school community.


So financial difficulties led you to work a lot, therefore they made you a good future law student? What did you do other than working and paying for tuition? Your experience in paying through college with sweat and tears is not uncommon. What is your academic strength and what do you find to be unjust that made you want to choose law of all careers? What positive effect are you referring to in the last sentence?

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gdane
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby gdane » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:37 pm

Good Point sandy. Thanks. Will add/subtract some stuff accordingly.

SandyC877
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby SandyC877 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:37 pm

gdane5 wrote:Im having a tough time doing this because I have read so many conflicting pieces of advice regarding the PS. Some say NOT to talk about why you would be a good lawyer/ what would make you a good lawyer. Others say the opposite.

The truth is that like I said at the end of my statement, I feel that having to multitask so much by working FT and going to school FT has given me the ability to take on anything. As corny as that sounds. I definitely agree with you about my statement basically being about my economic hardships, but it is those hardships that have molded me into a person that can handle so many things. No offense to anyone, really no offense, but I didnt grow up as some rich kid whose parents paid for everything. I wasnt one of the kids that went to classes in the afternoon, partied at night and then slept until midday.

So i feel like I dont have much more to talk about than how my economic hardships have prepared me to handle the stresses of law school and the world.

But i do appreciate the advice. Honestly I agree with most of what you have said Mr. fl0w.


Think about it. Your audience is law adcoms. You are applying to an academic institution. More than anything, they are looking for first and foremost a candidate of academic prowess, someone that can actually make it through law school. Then follows the candidate's passion, reasons, commitment, etc. Don't talk about why you'd make a good lawyer. This isn't your job nor are adcoms looking for this answer. Simply tell them your academic curiosity, achievement, strength, and passion within the context of your hardship.

Your hardship is legitimate. But it isn't unique. I worked and paid through college and graduated without financial aid or loans. If you think this is a strong soft factor, think again, because countless PS will say the same thing. Going from "I am poor and had to work a lot through school says very little in connection with pursuing law."

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gdane
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby gdane » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:44 pm

Uhhh god. you know what! Everyone wants to be unique. Everyone wants to be different than everyone else, but the truth is that that is impossible. I know my statement is probably exactly the same as 50,000 other statements, but what the hell am I supposed to do?!!! Ahh!!!

I worked and went to school. I didnt have time to join a frat, school interest group, take an internship. I needed to make an income. No income no school. I wish I could say "I was the head of Save the Whales Miami. I led an effort to save 30 whales from the polluted waters of Miami Beach. These leadership skills will no doubt come in handy in law school". I wish i could say that, but I cant.

Point is that I appreciate everyone's suggestions. I change my statement with every suggestion. The problem is that I dont seem to be getting anywhere. hahahaha!

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JazzOne
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby JazzOne » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:46 pm

gdane5 wrote:Uhhh god. you know what! Everyone wants to be unique. Everyone wants to be different than everyone else, but the truth is that that is impossible. I know my statement is probably exactly the same as 50,000 other statements, but what the hell am I supposed to do?!!! Ahh!!!

I worked and went to school. I didnt have time to join a frat, school interest group, take an internship. I needed to make an income. No income no school. I wish I could say "I was the head of Save the Whales Miami. I led an effort to save 30 whales from the polluted waters of Miami Beach. These leadership skills will no doubt come in handy in law school". I wish i could say that, but I cant.

Point is that I appreciate everyone's suggestions. I change my statement with every suggestion. The problem is that I dont seem to be getting anywhere. hahahaha!

Are you applying this cycle or next? What are your numbers? The PS is important, but honestly, your numbers are the critical factor. Don't beat yourself up over the essay.

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gdane
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby gdane » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:49 pm

That's what Im saying. The problem is that Im applying to quite a few "reach" schools such as GULC and GWU. I can probably get into American, but even thats no guarantee. I just want to show that I can write well and that even though my experience is similar to a lot of peoples I have taken a lot out of everything.

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fl0w
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby fl0w » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:14 pm

Don't get discouraged. If this is really what you want your PS to be about, you can make it work. What I would focus on then is making sure that you can DEMONSTRATE how your financial hardships have molded you into a person that will succeed. Just saying "because I worked my way through school, I will be successful" isn't really enough. If you could just find something concrete like "while working to put myself through school, i learned about x,y,z became a stronger person, plan to apply these in my legal education in pursuance of my goal to be [insert lawyerly passion here]".

again, just my opinion. It's about tying it all together.

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gdane
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Re: Personal Statement crtique please!! Say whatever you want.

Postby gdane » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:16 pm

Thanks fl0w. I really do appreciate you taking the time to go over my statement and giving my your thoughts. I've taken a lot of what you and others have said and all i have to say is that YOUSE ARE THE BEST!!!!!


HAHAHAHAHAHA. After all this I almost sent out an App with the wrong law school name in the Personal Statement.

HAHAHAHA. im so retarded. If i didnt catch that then i dont deserve to go to law school. hahaha!!!




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