My first draft please critique

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

Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:03 pm

My first draft please critique

Postby kevhern » Tue May 18, 2010 8:48 pm

relevant info. I have 3 alcohol related offenses from april 2002 dui/ august 2002 mip/ october 2003 drunk in public
have a battery charge that got brought down to disturbing the peace/fighting in 2006. I attended a party school and am adressing the alcohol stuff in my criminal addendum. Also, bad grades at undergrad were due to dealing with the nasty divorce of my sister, family losing life savings, depression, undable to escape the tempations of a party school, and my first time on my own should I write a grade addendum. Lastly, anyone think I should go for the diversity statement? Thank you everyone for your help in advance.

I hurried toward the front door to greet our visitors. “Knock, knock, knock,” there it goes again, the sound I associated with the coming of family and friends. But as my father opened the door his cheek was not greeted with the warm embrace of a kiss as was the usual custom, but rather the flat end of a rifle. This was the day my father was dragged out of our home and taken to ABCD’s notorious DEFG Prison. I was only three and a half years old, but I remember the day vividly; feelings of anger, fear, and helplessness that I would never forget. This memory, along with subsequent wrongs I encountered in my life, and my desire to rectify them have become the driving force towards my desire to seek out justice. Nineteen months later my father, a military man, was released and our family hastily immigrated to the United States in order to avoid further persecution from the Opressive third world country government.

In America life was hard and different because we neither spoke the language nor did my father possess marketable skill to provide us with the comfortable lifestyle to which we had grown accustomed. Not only did my parents work long hours six days a week, but my sister and I also chipped in working up to 20 hours some weeks at the family Bakery. From a young age I found satisfaction in assisting my immigrant parents. My familial responsibilities did not end at financial contribution, as a child I could often be found writing letters, and translating bills or other pertinent documents for my parents, tasks a kid can find tiresome and grueling. These duties helped me develop my character, work ethic, and responsibility, but at the cost of a normal childhood. As I grew older the lack of this normal childhood coupled with the scars left on my psyche from my fathers imprisonment created a desire within me to seek out justice, or in children’s terms “make things fair”. But the older I got the more “unfairness” I encountered.

My senior year of high school my employment at wakeup coffee shop was terminated when I refused to continue to work as late as 2am on school nights. At the time I was unaware that my dismissal was a clear violation of California’s child labor laws and thus did not take corrective action. After 7 months of employment there the long hours had taken their toll. Although I maintained a 3.2 GPA in high school, I was in violation of my school’s truancy policy and thus was expelled. Once again I felt angry and helpless, but most of all ashamed. My parents grew up in rural third world country and never had the luxury of a college education. They always told me that all of the misfortunes they experienced in life would not matter as long as I would educate myself and succeed. I planned to use this education to fight for justice, to do everything I could to ensure that no child would have to witness a parent being beaten and taken away from them or worse. So, the news of my expulsion affected me greatly, which led me to quickly rectify the situation. I got my diploma from another high school by December of 2000, began junior college, and worked 35+ hours a week to continue to ease my parent’s financial burden. But most importantly I developed a passion for Juresprudence and chose political science as my major for study. This passion drove me to transfer out of junior college in two years to one of the best academic institutions in the state and became the first person in my family to attend a four year institution.

I had barely received my acceptance letter from UC12 when a series of misfortunes began to befall my family and I. The nature of my situation brought back all the negative feelings associated with my father’s imprisonment and my expulsion from high school. Feeling’s that I struggled to deal with, and at times my attempts to understand the nature of these feelings or make them go away would cause me to act with youthful indiscretion, such actions inevitably had a detrimental affect on my academic performance. In the Fall of 2004 I was 2 classes short of earning my bachelors when I was notified that my parent’s were broke, about to lose our family business, and facing eviction from their home. I was not proud of my performance at UC12 and knew that I still had a lot of growing up to do before I could pursue my dreams of practicing law. I decided to put my desire of becoming an attorney on hold and to fulfill what I believed was the most important obligation I had at the time, rescuing my parents from financial ruin.

I took whatever job would bring me an income at first but eventually landed a promising job as a senior mortgage banker at a reputable financial institution, makemoney Loans Inc. My income was substantial and within two years time I was able to assist my parents in paying off over $50,000 in credit card debt, avoid eviction, keep the business afloat until we could find a suitable offer to sell the bakery, and aid them in finding new places of employment so they could once again support themselves. My employment there also helped me grow as a person and address the inefficiencies that had caused me to perform so poorly at UC12. In the mortgage industry you are frequently dealing with external factors that are outside of your control. In order to succeed you must learn not to let these factors consume your time and energy and rather focus on what you can control. Seems simple enough, but it took long hours and many failed attempts to master this concept. Once mastered I found that this principle is equally effective outside the workplace, and now whenever I am blindsided by something that brings back those feelings of helplessness I experienced all too often in the past. I quickly assess the situation, figure out what must be done to rectify it, and no longer spend days, weeks, and months worrying about things that I are outside my realm of control. After learning this lesson, and assisting my parents in paying off there debt I still had enough money left over to move in to a nice apartment of my own, buy a nice car, nice clothes, and basically have the things that I never had growing up. I thought these superficial things would make me happy but I was wrong. Deep down inside was a yearning to go back to school and pursue my dream of becoming an attorney. Little did I know then, that the opportunity to once again set out on my desired path would come out of one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.

In 2007, I encountered another wrong when I was falsely accused of a crime I did not commit. With inadequate financial resources, I was unable to spend the money needed to defend myself properly. Rather than clearing my name, I found myself accepting a plea bargain. Again, those dark feelings of helplessness consumed me, but this time I had the experience and foresight to deal with them proactively. My former interest in justice was rekindled. I thought to myself if this could happen to me an educated white collar professional from boring county california it could happen to anyone. I wondered how unfair the legal process was to poor minorities that didn’t have a voice, or to those like me that were wrongfully accused. I saw no difference between injustices such as these, and those that my father experienced while incarcerated and tortured in oppressive third world regime. By definition, injustice is the violation of the rights of others. If I could work in a capacity to prevent such violations then in a way I would be defending my father. After reaching this conclusion I decided to become a public defender and am drawn to your school in particular with the hopes of participating in your CIP program. I left my job three weeks after I plead guilty in February 2008. As a part of my probation I was ordered to 15 days community service. I participated in food/clothing drives and other charities that put me in close contact with disenfranchised people who for the most part had experienced some sort of injustice in their lives. People whom I wanted to help, and thus this experience strengthened my resolve. I sold my car, and liquidated my 401-k in order to have the funds necessary to once again set out on my path of becoming an attorney. In the summer of 2008 I took the necessary courses at UC13 to complete my degree in Political Science and received a 4.0 for the session. During the same summer I interned for some lawyer in order to develop a greater appreciation and understanding of the legal system, and developed relationships with legal professionals that exist to this day. I am currently helping Mr. some lawyer in his campaign to become Superior Court Judge of Los Angeles. Exhausting my funds by September of 2008 I had to return to work. I acquired a position as a business analyst for a security systems company in some city CA. This job paid little but gave me the opportunity to be involved in the companies day to day legal proceedings and after a few months my superiors appointed me personal liason between them and their legal counsel. I took the LSAT in December of 2009 and got a 156, and was granted my Bachelor’s degree from UC12 in the winter of 2010.

The road to law school for me was not a conventional one in that I encountered many bumps and detours along the way. However every time I would lose direction or be pulled off track, I would never give up hope and thus I would not stay lost for long. I always accepted responsibility for my actions and learned to point the finger at my own inefficiencies rather then at external factors. It was not the extraneous circumstances that caused me to perform poorly at UC12 but rather my inability to deal with them in an appropriate matter. This habit of self-examination and self-improvement has made me who I am today, and will continue to make me the best I can be for tomorrow. But, most importantly I never forgot my initial motivation, my desire to seek out justice and to fight for what is right. To prevent injustice in any way shape or form that it is manifested. I am now willing and able to attend law school. I have grown as a person and have been able to change the things about me that made led to my poor performance in undergrad. And although those issues are still a part of who I am, I now have the foresight and the wisdom to deal with them appropriately. I believe my attendance at t4 law school is the next step in realizing my goals of becoming a Public Defender.


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Joined: Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:32 pm

Re: My first draft please critique

Postby yeff » Wed May 19, 2010 11:12 am

Don't consider what you've written here your first draft. Consider it a brainstorming exercise where you put down many many ideas from which you an consider writing a personal statement.

The creator of TLS has an entire free book "designed to teach you how to write a great personal statement" on the site.

Read this book. Seriously read the entire thing, it should give you a better idea of what you should be trying to do with your personal statement. The PS fulfills a particular role in your application; it is not the place for excuses about shortcomings in your application, not the place for your personal history, not the place for your resume items.

Right now, what you've got includes a variety of things that range from "could be something worth writing a personal statement" to "would be better to put in an addendum" to "not really relevant" to "do not write something of this nature in your application under any circumstances."

When you've gone through some of the exercises included and written a new draft and are ready for help editing it, repost a new thread. Good luck.

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