Possible topic for personal statement?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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dlbuhr
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Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby dlbuhr » Tue May 18, 2010 9:08 pm

I've never written a personal statement before and I am at a lost trying to figure out what to write about. Running is a major part of who I am and I'm considering writing about applying the principles of running to justice (much like Socrates discussed in the Republic) and life in general. Good idea, bad idea, too cliche? Any feedback is much appreciated.

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richardfitzwell
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby richardfitzwell » Tue May 18, 2010 9:15 pm

Internet Porn.

/thread.

03121202698008
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue May 18, 2010 9:53 pm

dlbuhr wrote:I've never written a personal statement before and I am at a lost trying to figure out what to write about. Running is a major part of who I am and I'm considering writing about applying the principles of running to justice (much like Socrates discussed in the Republic) and life in general. Good idea, bad idea, too cliche? Any feedback is much appreciated.


Eh, running maybe but I'm not a big fan of what you are describing. The PS basically takes the place of the interview. From it, they need to get a good idea of who you are...the stuff that doesn't come across in a resume or your app.

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romothesavior
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 18, 2010 9:56 pm

dlbuhr wrote:I've never written a personal statement before and I am at a lost trying to figure out what to write about. Running is a major part of who I am and I'm considering writing about applying the principles of running to justice (much like Socrates discussed in the Republic) and life in general. Good idea, bad idea, too cliche? Any feedback is much appreciated.


If you can incorporate yourself into the PS somehow, then yes. Great idea. One of my good friends wrote a PS for med school comparing dance (her minor and one of her passions) to operations and surgeries. The topic of her PS came up in a number of her interviews and a lot of the interviewers said they loved her PS. The topic was a memorable one, and I think that is usually a good thing when it comes to personal statements.

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dlbuhr
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby dlbuhr » Tue May 18, 2010 10:37 pm

I was planning on specifically writing about what I learned from running: pace, perseverance, mental toughness, preparation, and most importantly how to enjoy everything along the way. There are few things that I get as much joy from then running during a sunrise. Then, using examples, I wanted to show how I've taken the principles of running and applied it to my life.

For example finding the right pace to compete a long run is comparable to finding the way of balancing work and school-I work 25-30 hours during the semester-putting too much time into one leads to a failure in the other much like starting a race too fast is going to have you walking, painfully, across the finish line.

Or the perseverance to fight through the aches and pangs of a steep incline compared to battling through the news of my mother being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis my sophomore year.

That's a little bit more of description of what I plan on writing about. Sound good or should I go in a different direction?

memaha
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby memaha » Wed May 19, 2010 5:02 pm

If you can make it interesting and engaging enough, it seems like it has potential. Just make sure it doesn't start sounding like "Running involves/is..., just like law/life/lawschool is..."
I would hestitate on the MS (my sympathies though, and I hope your mother is doing alright), it might be too much of a digression.. thought I wouldn't really be able to say unless I saw the actual writing.

*sidenote: I'm all about summer runs in the rain, obsessed. Wrote a college PS on it (though a UG PS is nothing like a law school PS).

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dlbuhr
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby dlbuhr » Thu May 20, 2010 10:59 pm

I'm thinking of going in a different direction but sticking to the running theme. I'm interested in environmental law, and I was thinking of writing about experiencing nature during my runs and the effect it has on me in wanting to preserve the sights, sounds and smells associated with the environment. I could also put in rock climbing too: sitting at the top of a rock and looking across the landscape is quite moving. I guess really what I would be writing about is my love of the outdoors. Feedback? Thanks again.

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clintonius
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby clintonius » Thu May 20, 2010 11:10 pm

I bet it would be do-able to incorporate running, the lessons it has taught you, and your love for the environment and tie it together at the end by stating an interest in enviro law.

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batgirl
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby batgirl » Fri May 21, 2010 3:36 pm

Oooh! I can be a devil's advocate!

A lot of LS applicants are runners. There is quite a lot of overlap in the skills and drive required to get to a certain point with either of them, as you've noted. Other people have too.

Just based on helping my buddies with their personal statements last cycle...this has been done. I'm sick of reading these, and I'm a snotty little undergrad who does not read these essays for a living. I get the impression that this is a cliched topic, and you're going to have a tougher row to hoe just because the adcoms will have read a few personal statements like this before.

You're more unique than your love of running/the outdoors is. You can use it as a framework, sure, but you'll want to take it far beyond the stereotypical, "the outdoors is nifty. Therefore, I should be an environmental lawyer," essay. Make it more about you than about how great the view is from the top of the mountain. If you've got a unique reaction to it (and "Wow! Save this!" isn't really all that special, thank goodness), use it. If not, let it percolate a little more and you'll come up with something that really shows off who you are.

(My sympathies about your mom, by the way. My dad's been seriously ill through most of my undergrad career, and I know how much harder it makes everything.)

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stintez
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby stintez » Fri May 21, 2010 3:47 pm

running really. I mean I run a lot to but somehow I think writing a PS about it would come up a bit short in describing who you are. Just my 2 cents.

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trialjunky
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby trialjunky » Sun May 23, 2010 9:47 am

These possible topic threads are really hard to gage. You're better off writing and then getting it critiqued if it's a good enough topic. Someone can write an amazing PS about running that's inspirational, unique and saids a lot about the person who wrote it. Is this person you? I dont know, but I wouldnt be able to determine that from this thread.

Write it up

halfwaygone
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby halfwaygone » Sun May 23, 2010 10:01 am

dlbuhr wrote:I've never written a personal statement before and I am at a lost trying to figure out what to write about. Running is a major part of who I am and I'm considering writing about applying the principles of running to justice (much like Socrates discussed in the Republic) and life in general. Good idea, bad idea, too cliche? Any feedback is much appreciated.


Write it and see if its cliche. If it seems cliche, well, at least you got something out. Maybe it'll inspire you to write something else. You CAN change topics after writing it. I think the topic is neither good, nor bad, which will likely be true of most topics, except for those blessed to have truly original, amazing, fantastic experiences. Most of us will just have to show ourselves through the mundane in a new, authentic way.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun May 23, 2010 10:26 am

The trick about the personal statement is that it's most valuable for two aspects: 1) Sharing details about yourself and 2) demonstrating that you have strong writing skills. You can write about the same subject everyone else does, as long as you do it better than they do. However, that can be really hard to pull off.

I do recommend the "write it and see if it seems cliche" thing. Of course, if that's who you are, then you write it that way anyway and submit it. Running doesn't mean the exact same thing to everyone, so even if a lot of people write about it, it might sound slightly different to you.

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dlbuhr
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby dlbuhr » Tue May 25, 2010 3:27 pm

I appreciate all of the feedback. I'm going to work on it throughout the week, and when I have the first draft done I'll post a link up to the topic with it if anyone wants to go over it. Thanks again.

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rdcws000
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Re: Possible topic for personal statement?

Postby rdcws000 » Wed May 26, 2010 6:17 pm

I started my statement out with running marathons. It horrified me to hear in this thread that this is apparently cliche. Too late for me now, my cycle is over, I got rejected from my 1st choice, and accepted at my second and only other options.

I didn't really make it the central theme, but used it as an example of one of several ways I practice self discipline.

I would heed the advice on here though. Everyone agrees that high on the list of the "Purpose" of a PS is to set yourself apart. Avoid cliche at all costs, even though I relate to you since I know being a hard core runner is a huge part of anyone who does it. It's a sign of a positive lifestyle. If you go there, tread lightly.




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