First Draft of a PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Barbie
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Barbie » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:07 pm

nullisecundus wrote:So any thought on how terrible it is?

I cannot change it much, cos I just was not:

- extremely poor
- the only one in my family to go college ever
- black (still am not)
- Mexican (no)
- cancer
- molested
- subject to any kind of serious tragedy of life-altering proportions.

So I have my job and how it relates to my desire to pursue a law career. This is what I could come up with. Any input will be greatly appreciated.



I had cancer and am not putting it in my PS at all. I don't really agree that PS should be about what you have overcome unless it specifically asks...

chymali
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby chymali » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:06 pm

You could not mention your job at all and it would still make a great PS. Trust me. That one sentence where you mention what you do sounds like you are announcing yourself to a guy who's interviewing you for a job, and a personal statement isn't that.

You don't need cancer or to be poor in order to introduce yourself to someone. The statement is about writing about yourself and why you chose to be a lawyer, not your resume or personal tragedies.

sandaltan
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby sandaltan » Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:50 am

You want the adcom to read your personal statement and like you.

I read your statements and hate you.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:31 am

nullisecundus wrote:So any thought on how terrible it is?

I cannot change it much, cos I just was not:

- extremely poor
- the only one in my family to go college ever
- black (still am not)
- Mexican (no)
- cancer
- molested
- subject to any kind of serious tragedy of life-altering proportions.

So I have my job and how it relates to my desire to pursue a law career. This is what I could come up with. Any input will be greatly appreciated.



The fact that you put together an arbitrary list of attributes that you seem to consider necessary for writing a genuine personal statement is laughable. It's called a personal statement, that means it's personal to YOU, not black mexicans who have cancer and were molested.

Just imagine for a moment that someone came to you and said -- "Look, bro, (I'd imagine you have friends that call you 'bro') you wouldn't be a good law student / lawyer because you're not black, you were never poor, you don't have cancer, you were never molested, and you've never had any tragedy of life-altering proportions" how would you prove that they're wrong? Hopefully, you wouldn't say -- I worked for the Turkish Courts and hand them your resume. HOPEFULLY, you'd draw from your own life experiences that, believe it or not, don't have to be catastrophic, but show that you've lived, matured, and have some type of insight on how the world works, and how that relates to your potential in law school.


Now, if you haven't lived, matured, or gained any insight on how the world works then maybe you shouldn't be applying to law school. Jus sayin...

In all honesty, I only skimmed your Personal Statement, because it was too technical (lay off on the acronyms) and I didn't feel like I was reading about a person, but a type. There is a much-used phrase in writing: "show don't tell," and you do a lot of telling in your PS, but not nearly enough showing. Show how you're capable, don't just state "I'm capable." You seem to imply that all that you have is "your job" and your desire to pursue a career in law. THATS ALL YOU HAVE? IN LIFE?????

Boring, bro.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:47 am

nullisecundus wrote:Thank you for your comments, though given the example PS includes things like calling breaking up fights between 12 year olds as on-site conflict resolution, how should I refer to my experiences as a person auditing billion dollar accounts?


I might be inclined to call you a douche for writing the above, but I don't think I'm allowed to do that. Instead I'll offer some more humble advice: you should all look at all of Billeyz responses, actually read them, print them up, and tape them to your desk as you COMPLETELY REWRITE this personal statement.

Also,

nullisecundus wrote:No one wants to flame this a bit, I dont want you to help me perfect it, I just want to have semi-decent version, then I ll decide whether to seek professional help.


Yes, I think you should seek the professional help. You seem to be a bit of a narcissist.

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blink
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby blink » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:51 am

boooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiingggggggggggggg

dude, the idea is to make you as an individual jump off the page. Leave the job shit to your resume.

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smartin
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby smartin » Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:58 pm

nullisecundus wrote:Just imagine for a moment that someone came to you and said -- "Look, bro, (I'd imagine you have friends that call you 'bro') you wouldn't be a good law student / lawyer because you're not black, you were never poor, you don't have cancer, you were never molested, and you've never had any tragedy of life-altering proportions" how would you prove that they're wrong? Hopefully, you wouldn't say -- I worked for the Turkish Courts and hand them your resume. HOPEFULLY, you'd draw from your own life experiences that, believe it or not, don't have to be catastrophic, but show that you've lived, matured, and have some type of insight on how the world works, and how that relates to your potential in law school.


+1

If you're not ready to take the step and trash this draft, why don't you set it aside, open a new word document and write a response to the question "Why would you be a good law student / lawyer since you're not black, you were never poor, you don't have cancer, you were never molested, and you've never had any tragedy of life-altering proportions?" Try to not use the word "audit" -- even once!

Then, read through both and figure out which makes you more approachable. Again, a personal statement is not a cover letter -- it is something for the adcomms to use to judge both your writing style (clarity/use of the English language) and your personality.

If you do get "professional" help, they are going to repeat most of what has been posted above.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Nulli Secundus » Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:31 am

This is another version I started, not yet finished but I am taking suggestions now so that I know whether this is worth working more on or not.

July 21st, 2010, Wednesday, 11:42 am. 48% of the work week is complete. While seeing a week as if it is something like an installation bar on the computer, complete with percentages, is nothing unusual for me; this time I actually stopped to consider what I was doing. I realized I started seeing weekends as mini-objectives to reach just shortly after getting this job and ceteris paribus, I had 1886 more weeks to do that until retirement. I realize my problem is not unique, a recent research shows that 65% of people think their jobs are below their capacity and hence, boring. I figured to be somewhat unique within that majority, I needed to actually address the problem of finding a job that will both keep me sufficiently interested, in line with my potential and preferably doing this as soon as possible; instead of letting the problem fester in my subconscious for another fifteen years, only to come bobbing back to surface during my mid-life crisis, in the form of “I could have accomplished so much more, I wasted my life...”.

In my case, making this resolution worth more than a new year’s resolution, a subclass of resolutions which are notorious for never being acted upon, seemed quite hard; since the alternatives were not exactly clear. Regardless of my thoughts about its relative challenge level compared to perceived potential, my job as an auditor at Turkish Court of Accounts, which is the theoretical equivalent of Government Accountability Office is considered as among the best as far as being a civil servant in Turkey goes. As for private sector in Turkey, since there is no concept of graduate school in Turkey, I would be expected to start from scratch for more working hours and considerably less compensation and considering when you decide to alter the trajectory of your life, that change is expected to be positive; it was not really an option.

Regardless of this initial setback, my options, if any, would have to be among those that rely heavily upon my current skill set, that I acquired working as an auditor and otherwise. Working as an auditor, the most important skill I gained and what constituted the only fun part of the job, was quickly analyzing facts of a case and deducing which of the myriad laws and regulations of Turkey applied to that particular case and how the interactions between various, usually conflicting, regulations affected my report regarding the case. Which is, hopefully except the conflicting regulations part, what is expected of one, on a very basic level, in a law school education and a law career later on.

I decided that having honed this skill compensates for approximately four years I would be losing compared to a normal student starting law school with some work experience. However, changing one’s country and incurring a (from where I am standing) humongous amount of educational debt at this age and in this economy are great risks, the risks I am willing to take only if I receive the JD degree from one of the best law schools; which is why I am applying only to X Law School.

I see graduate school, specifically law school as a very viable way of resetting my career and also if it lives up to the hype, for hopefully having the pleasure of sharing the classroom with genuinely competitive and similarly gifted individuals, a pleasure I have been denied thus far. And considering a 95th percentile LSAT score qualifies one for a MENSA membership, I believe I will find all the competition I will ever need and more at X Law School, which will only increase my focus and determination as has always been the case.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:00 am

Really, really serious question here:


Are you a robot? Like one of those intuitive ones that can apply to law school and stuff?



Okay, not serious. But, my point: there's STILL no feeling in this draft. There's no inside, no language that conveys the sentiments of a real person. It's all very insipid and technical, which makes it forgettable.

Some robotic phrases: "research shows," "skill set" "95th percentile LSAT score" And many others, to be sure, but hopefully you've gotten the point. You seem very detached from this essay, and that's not a good thing, saying as how you wrote it.

Who are you? Everyone wants to know. YOU need to know.

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Emma.
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Emma. » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:07 am

Man, I've been feeling like I need to pay back (or forward, whatever) some of the editing help I received on my PS last cycle. I'm glad billeyz and co. have this in hand though.

OP, what you need to do is find a topic that is not just expanding on your resume.

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Barbie
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:20 am

I don't think it is bad.. but I agree with an above poster that I kind of want a little passion in there. I walk away from this with a feeling that you think you're way too good for your current career/job, and judging from your 95percentile LSAT score and following placement, you will feel satisfied with the newfound competition. I don't think this is a bad point to make, and I am by NO means an adcomm, but if I were, it wouldn't satisfy me with a legitimate and passionate response as to why you really want to go to law school. It is bland. It's a good skeleton for a PS, but I think you could definitly make it stand out MUCH more. HTH :)

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Emma.
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Emma. » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:25 am

Barbie wrote:I don't think it is bad.. but I agree with an above poster that I kind of want a little passion in there. I walk away from this with a feeling that you think you're way too good for your current career/job, and judging from your 95percentile LSAT score and following placement, you will feel satisfied with the newfound competition. I don't think this is a bad point to make, and I am by NO means an adcomm, but if I were, it wouldn't satisfy me with a legitimate and passionate response as to why you really want to go to law school. It is bland. It's a good skeleton for a PS, but I think you could definitly make it stand out MUCH more. HTH:)


Seriously, the 95th percentile LSAT thing is the most egregious douchiness I have seen in a PS draft in a while. If this whole thread is a flame I applaud OP's dedication and effort.

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Nulli Secundus » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:30 am

Reading comprehension again wins the day. I never claim I have 95th percentile score (I in fact practice in the 99th, but not the point) but I just include that bit to explain how I gauge the level of competition. It is not me boasting, but me praising the potential competition. Hopefully you will be able to make heads and tails of it with this explanation in mind. Or maybe not.

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Emma.
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Emma. » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:33 am

nullisecundus wrote:Reading comprehension again wins the day. I never claim I have 95th percentile score (I in fact practice in the 99th, but not the point) but I just include that bit to explain how I gauge the level of competition. It is not me boasting, but me praising the potential competition. Hopefully you will be able to make heads and tails of it with this explanation in mind. Or maybe not.


This IS a flame, right?

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Nulli Secundus » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:35 am

You might always hope there is someone out there wasting 4 PS drafts worth of his time to construct an elaborate flame. But no. And frankly, if you do not intend to be constructive do not comment.

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Emma.
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Emma. » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:41 am

nullisecundus wrote:You might always hope there is someone out there wasting 4 PS drafts worth of his time to construct an elaborate flame. But no. And frankly, if you do not intend to be constructive do not comment.


OK, I'm prepared to go with genuinely awful for now.

You need to make your personal statement personal. Pretty much every piece of advice from adcomms, admissions consultants, etc, includes something about how writing an essay that essentially expands on your resume is one of the worst mistakes you can make. You need to go back to the drawing board. Seriously. Any of the drafts you have written will hurt you in your admissions cycle, this last draft much more than others with the obnoxious stuff about the LSAT and only going to a top school because those are the only ones worth the "humongous" debt.

edit for typo.

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Barbie
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:15 am

Emma. wrote:
Barbie wrote:I don't think it is bad.. but I agree with an above poster that I kind of want a little passion in there. I walk away from this with a feeling that you think you're way too good for your current career/job, and judging from your 95percentile LSAT score and following placement, you will feel satisfied with the newfound competition. I don't think this is a bad point to make, and I am by NO means an adcomm, but if I were, it wouldn't satisfy me with a legitimate and passionate response as to why you really want to go to law school. It is bland. It's a good skeleton for a PS, but I think you could definitly make it stand out MUCH more. HTH:)


Seriously, the 95th percentile LSAT thing is the most egregious douchiness I have seen in a PS draft in a while. If this whole thread is a flame I applaud OP's dedication and effort.



I agree that part should come out. I don't think a desire for a challenge is a bad thing, but making it sound like the OP essentially deserves this challenge, and basically using his "95th percentile LSAT" as a premise, is dumb. Being pompous in a PS is not a good idea. I don't even really know what this PS explains. What specific requirement does this answer? "Why you want to attend law school (or X law school)?" Like I said, you didn't really make a good point for reason...

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:19 am

nullisecundus wrote:Reading comprehension again wins the day. I never claim I have 95th percentile score (I in fact practice in the 99th, but not the point) but I just include that bit to explain how I gauge the level of competition. It is not me boasting, but me praising the potential competition. Hopefully you will be able to make heads and tails of it with this explanation in mind. Or maybe not.



Why are you mocking Barbie's lack of close reading when she was one of the only posters who has offered constructive criticism that is more positive than negative?

And, many times, if a person misreads what one has written the problem lies not in the reader, but the way in which the material was (poorly) constructed. The reader shouldn't be straining themselves to make sense of what you're saying. So maybe that's something you should fix.

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Barbie
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:22 am

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:
nullisecundus wrote:Reading comprehension again wins the day. I never claim I have 95th percentile score (I in fact practice in the 99th, but not the point) but I just include that bit to explain how I gauge the level of competition. It is not me boasting, but me praising the potential competition. Hopefully you will be able to make heads and tails of it with this explanation in mind. Or maybe not.



Why are you mocking Barbie's lack of close reading when she was one of the only posters who has offered constructive criticism that is more positive than negative?

And, many times, if a person misreads what one has written the problem lies not in the reader, but the way in which the material was (poorly) constructed. The reader shouldn't be straining themselves to make sense of what you're saying. So maybe that's something you should fix.


I still read it as you must have such a score, if you deem yourself qualified to be equalled to such competitors (and thus admitted into the same school/program you specify). It would be daft to include such numbers as competitive, when you don't even FALL INTO these numbers, and thus are not as competitive as your entire essay seems to make readers believe you think you are...

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Nulli Secundus
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Nulli Secundus » Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:37 pm

I was of course referring to that other one that keeps claiming I am a flame with that comment about reading comprehension. But whatever. And I really don't get why being bored with your job and seeking something new and exciting cannot be personal tbh.

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Emma.
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Emma. » Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:41 pm

nullisecundus wrote:I was of course referring to that other one that keeps claiming I am a flame with that comment about reading comprehension. But whatever. And I really don't get why being bored with your job and seeking something new and exciting cannot be personal tbh.


Where was my RC fail, exactly?

Sure, it could be "personal", but it is a god-awful topic for a PS for your law school applications.

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Barbie
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:48 pm

nullisecundus wrote:I was of course referring to that other one that keeps claiming I am a flame with that comment about reading comprehension. But whatever. And I really don't get why being bored with your job and seeking something new and exciting cannot be personal tbh.



I'm just trying to help, btw. But it seems like your just kind of bitter towards your current situation and looking for an out, and justifying law school being the out for this by the competitiveness you hope would come from it. It's very cut and dry, and it's very bland. Maybe you should talk about why you would want to be a lawyer, or what you would GAIN from LS, rather than the competitiveness. Filling a competitive void in your life with LS can't be the sole reason you really want to go to LS...

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billyez
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby billyez » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:11 pm

...This thread is devolving rather quickly. At this point, the OP knows what the consensus is - until there's another PS, there's nothing to critique.

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Emma.
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby Emma. » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:54 pm

billyez wrote:...This thread is devolving rather quickly. At this point, the OP knows what the consensus is - until there's another PS, there's nothing to critique.

I guess my fear is that the OP isn't really "on board" with any of the feedback and is still defending the last draft.

OP, I'm not trying to be a dick. I know it is hard to receive criticism of something you have worked hard on. I was lucky to get a lot of feedback when I was working on my PS, and I feel that strong criticism ultimately made for a stronger essay.

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esq
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Re: First Draft of a PS

Postby esq » Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:46 pm

OP, if this is really a personal glimpse into your motivation to go to law school, then I say send it. Sure, it doesn't add up to what motivates me to desire a legal education, and hence to some extent, my ideas of what should motivate others. I do think that it reads clearly enough though, and that it does give me a glimpse into your personality type - very technical and calculated from the looks of it. I also think that what you are telling us here is that it is genuinely your reason for wanting to attend. There is nothing wrong with your motivation in this respect. So while a person like me is motivated by different reasons, has lower prospects due to my LSAT, but still feels like the people I will compete against will be as gifted and competitive as you, I don't want my feelings towards your situation to cloud my judgment.

Maybe the adcomms that read your statement will, because they are similarly gifted, be flattered. Maybe they will also feel that your statement along with work experience and LSAT score shows that you are a gifted person too and therefore worthy of a legal education at their university. I don't know, but I do think that it is worth trying this PS to find out - after all, with different circumstances and viewpoints, I might not be the best person to gain perspective on whether those reading your statement will identify with it or reject it.




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