ANY input is appreciated, time is of the essence

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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ChattTNdt
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:02 pm

ANY input is appreciated, time is of the essence

Postby ChattTNdt » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:15 am

I don't expect to wow anybody with my PS... I procrastinated and didn't put much time into it because I didn't have an LSAT score that was anywhere near what I wanted until I took the December test... so now I'm behind on my apps. I'm caught up now, and I just want to finish up a PS that is decent, at worst, since my LSAT score makes me very likely to be admitted to at least 2 of my 4 schools based on numbers alone.

I'm applying to U of Florida, U of Georgia, U of Alabama, and Emory, with a 3.25 and a 165.

Here it goes...

In elementary and middle school I excelled in math and science, consistently scoring at or near the 99th percentile on standardized tests. As a child I always had numbers running through my head. I spent countless hours studying baseball statistics and calculating the slugging percentage of my favorite players. And then everything changed: I started high school. I began to read for pleasure, think outside the proverbial box, and generally view the world in a different light. Part of this change can be attributed to the brilliant U.S. History teacher I had in ninth grade, but the change in academic focus came from within me. As I matured further and began to think for myself more, it became clear to me that I wanted to focus my studies somewhere in the social sciences or humanities. However, there was no specific field of study that had truly caught my attention yet.

I began my undergraduate work focusing on English and Political Science, sharpening my writing skills while learning about judicial process, Constitutional law, and civil rights. I enjoyed my studies, and began to consider law school as a possibility after completing my undergraduate degree. But something was missing. My thoughts started to feel two-dimensional, as if I was only scraping at the surface and missing out on a whole different level buried deep below. I expanded my class selection the following semester in order to explore a few different areas of study, and I found my niche: Psychology. Instead of studying theory, I became fascinated with the study of the human mind. The study of cognition, motivation, and perception allows us to examine situations from the truest point of view- from within. Additionally, I studied the growing field of Psychology and Law, and had the opportunity to work on a research project with Dr. David Ross, the leading social psychologist in Tennessee. Working with an expert on the reliability of eyewitness testimony and the design of police lineups, I became more and more interested in continuing my studies in Psychology and Law.

Beyond the academic spectrum, my work experience has helped prepare me for a career in the legal profession- but not in the traditional sense. I do not have any legal internship experience, and I have not yet had the opportunity to work in any capacity with a law firm. I have had to support myself financially throughout college, and therefore have needed to keep a full-time job. For the past three years I have worked at Starbucks, and have been a Shift Supervisor for two of those years. I take great pride in the interpersonal, conversational, and managerial skills that my job has given me the opportunity to develop. When I am at work, I am in charge of the store's operations- taking every step to ensure that my co-workers are set up for success and given every opportunity to excel, while maintaining a pristine work environment and creating a unique atmosphere for customers.

My job has given me the opportunity to utilize my critical thinking and problem solving skills; for example, I was the local coordinator/trainer for the new “Lean” method of coffee brewing Starbucks adopted. Introduced in the summer of 2009, the Lean method of brewing coffee saved the company 175 million dollars in the first 3 months it was put into action. It also helped conserve millions of gallons of water nationwide, while ensuring that the customer always had access to the freshest cup of coffee with a minimal wait time. This new method carried a high learning curve, and the launch was rocky for the first few weeks in many parts of the country, partially due to the fact that the setup for this brewing method would have slight but significant variations based on location and region. My store was the launch store for Lean in the Mid-America region, and I was in charge of training over twenty store managers from all across Tennessee and Georgia. My region received recognition as one of the most successful in the nation for this launch, thanks in part to my work.

Law school is the perfect fusion of academia for me- a combination of the concrete and the abstract. An education about the rules that govern our nation, and which are constantly the topics of debate over how they should be interpreted and enforced. But beyond academics, a lawyer must have the ability to communicate exceptionally well with others, and connect with people on a deeper level. I have had the opportunity to develop this skill through my time with Starbucks. When combined with my analytical and critical thinking skills, I feel that I possess the skill set required to succeed in law school, and that it is the next natural step in continuing my education.



Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated, need to finish this thing up... I want to get all my apps submitted by the end of this week. Thanks guys!

Daniel

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jcunni5
Posts: 226
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:51 pm

Re: ANY input is appreciated, time is of the essence

Postby jcunni5 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:08 am

there's some good stuff but alot of it is just restating things that should be on your resume and law schools don't like that

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ChattTNdt
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:02 pm

Re: ANY input is appreciated, time is of the essence

Postby ChattTNdt » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:14 am

jcunni5 wrote:there's some good stuff but alot of it is just restating things that should be on your resume and law schools don't like that



Thanks for the feedback.... that definitely crossed my mind as I was writing, so I tried to use it as an opportunity to delve deeper into my experiences. My resume doesn't appear particularly strong without going into greater detail IMO.

Any other opinions?

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WhatSarahSaid
Posts: 293
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:01 pm

Re: ANY input is appreciated, time is of the essence

Postby WhatSarahSaid » Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:43 am

In elementary and middle school I excelled in math and science, consistently scoring at or near the 99th percentile on standardized tests. As a child I always had numbers running through my head. I spent countless hours studying baseball statistics and calculating the slugging percentage of my favorite players. And then everything changed: I started high school. I began to read for pleasure, think outside the proverbial box, and generally view the world in a different light. Part of this change can be attributed to the brilliant U.S. History teacher I had in ninth grade, but the change in academic focus came from within me. As I matured further and began to think for myself more, it became clear to me that I wanted to focus my studies somewhere in the social sciences or humanities. However, there was no specific field of study that had truly caught my attention yet.

I began my undergraduate work focusing on English and Political Science, sharpening my writing skills while learning about judicial process, Constitutional law, and civil rights. I enjoyed my studies, [no comma] and began to consider law school as a possibility after completing my undergraduate degree. [this is a bit vague. At first, I thought that you had completed your degree and were now considering law school, which is not the case] But something was missing. My thoughts started to feel two-dimensional, as if I was [subjunctive tense: "were," not "was"] only scraping at the surface and missing out on a whole different level buried deep below. I expanded my class selection the following semester in order to explore a few different areas of study, and I found my niche: Psychology [don't capitalize psychology]. Instead of studying theory, I became fascinated with the study of the human mind. The study of cognition, motivation, and perception allows us to examine situations from the truest point of view- [Dashes should be done like this: "from the truest point of view -- from within." That's acceptable, and so is the longer dash that Microsoft Word will change it into] from within. Additionally, I studied the growing field of Psychology and Law [unless this is a very specific field that has a proper name, write "psychology as it relates to the law" or something], [no comma] and had the opportunity to work on a research project with Dr. David Ross, the leading social psychologist in Tennessee. Working with an expert on the reliability of eyewitness testimony and the design of police lineups, I became more and more interested in continuing my studies in Psychology and Law.

Beyond the academic spectrum, my work experience has helped prepare me for a career in the legal profession- [a comma is fine here; no need for the dash] but not in the traditional sense. I do not have any legal internship experience, and I have not yet had the opportunity to work in any capacity with a law firm. [don't tell the adcomm what you don't have] I have had to support myself financially throughout college, and therefore have needed to keep a full-time job. For the past three years I have worked at Starbucks, [no comma] and [add "I"] have been a Shift Supervisor [probably don't capitalize this] for two of those years. I take great pride in the interpersonal, conversational, and managerial skills that my job has given me the opportunity to develop. When I am at work, I am in charge of the store's operations- [same note on the dash as the first one] taking every step to ensure that my co-workers are set up for success and given every opportunity to excel, [no comma] while maintaining a pristine work environment and creating a unique atmosphere for customers.

My job has given me the opportunity to utilize my critical thinking and problem solving skills; for example, I was the local coordinator/trainer for the new “Lean” method of coffee brewing Starbucks adopted. Introduced in the summer of 2009, the Lean method of brewing coffee saved the company 175 million dollars in the first 3 months it was put into action. It also helped conserve millions of gallons of water nationwide, while ensuring that the customer always had access to the freshest cup of coffee with a minimal wait time. This new method carried a high learning curve, and the launch was rocky for the first few weeks in many parts of the country, partially due to the fact that the setup for this brewing method would have slight but significant variations based on location and region. My store was the launch store for Lean in the Mid-America region, and I was in charge of training over twenty store managers from all across Tennessee and Georgia. My region received recognition as one of the most successful in the nation for this launch, thanks in part to my work.

Law school is the perfect fusion of academia for me- [you have way too many dashes. Reword this sentence] a combination of the concrete and the abstract. An education about the rules that govern our nation, and which are constantly the topics of debate over how they should be interpreted and enforced. [this sentence is a fragment] But beyond academics, a lawyer must have the ability to communicate exceptionally well with others, [no comma] and connect with people on a deeper level. I have had the opportunity to develop this skill through my time with Starbucks. When combined with my analytical and critical thinking skills, I feel that I possess the skill set required to succeed in law school, [no comma] and that it is the next natural step in continuing my education.

Your introduction doesn't really flow with the rest of the essay. The fact that you used to like math but now like liberal arts more doesn't really do anything for me or tie into anything else. Your switch into psychology also isn't used as a theme at all. These things are fine to include, but you should talk about them (and yourself) more, possibly tying them into either your interest in law or just who you are.

Your story about Starbucks is fine, but you would probably be better off including more details about yourself and fewer details about coffee. You spend two paragraphs telling us that you're competent and good at working with people, but maybe you can find a way to show this instead of telling it.

Unless all of your target schools are fine with personal statements longer than two pages, you'll need to cut this down as well.

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ChattTNdt
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:02 pm

Re: ANY input is appreciated, time is of the essence

Postby ChattTNdt » Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:39 am

Thanks so much, WSS. As far as length, I've got my heart set on U of Florida and they say "less than four double-spaced pages" for the PS. My other schools are 2pg or less I believe, and right now its just over 2.5pg double-spaced. I really appreciate your help. I was just so lost for an introduction and the one I wrote definitely felt forced. I guess I'm just trying to get by on the "natural academic progression" idea, showing that my interest have been all across the spectrum but I've finally found my desired focus.

Thanks again




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