Any feedback?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Heat
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:18 pm

Any feedback?

Postby Heat » Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:38 pm

So I'm a pretty generic applicant. Nothing special I've done or overcome in my life to write a PS about. White/lower upper class family. I figured I needed a Personal Statement that would be average, wouldn't help or hurt. I decided to try out the topic of a class I took last year. Not sure what other info would be relevant - 3.57 GPA, 171 LSAT graduating at 20 because of a grade I skipped in grammar school. I talked to the pre-law advisor about this and he said it was actually not a bad topic because it pertains to law school work and its not something you see done all that often. Also the conclusion isn't done yet, wanted to leave room to figure out any changes, and its only been lightly edited.:

My father loves to say, “It's not where your going, it's how you get there.” A saying which has undoubtedly changed in meaning for him just as often as it has for me. Throughout my college experience I have set out to succeed at every endeavor. Yet success need not always be measured solely by outcome. One of the most influential and educational classes I took was one in which getting the A was not as important as how I got it.
In the spring semester of my junior year I decided to take a senior seminar called Voter's Choice. It was the first time my grade was ever based primarily off my ability to contribute to a discussion. Essentially it required a very large amount of reading per week, in addition to writing a concise half page response, and then a three hour a week open forum of discussion and deliberation. The readings were predominantly theories which were not grounded in current events but, if true, had implications on every belief system in the room. As the first day of discussion began, everyone surveyed the room as if it was a giant poker game, searching out one another's “tell”. Being one of the only juniors in the senior seminar I was initially timid to speak and share my opinion. I wondered just how much of an advantage the other students had based on their extra year of experience and classes.
After the first few adventurous students critiqued the author's conclusions, I was bursting at the seams to make a counterpoint. I could not shake the feeling that I understood the way in which the premises corresponded to the conclusion better than my classmates. I would soon find out that I was correct in this belief when the Professor was forced to spend ten minutes drawing spatial models with a heavy amount of my input. Attempting to facilitate open debate among students the Professor interjected very little of her own opinion. My ability to comprehend the reading made my interpretation valuable, with people directing questions directly at me. As I answered each question my confidence level increased and it became clear to me that experience does not dictate ability.
My weekly notes became the standard springboard of ideas for the class. It was never a problem to meet the weekly participation standards in order to achieve a top grade. Yet these were skills I had already used advantageously throughout my academic career. More important than any content that I learned in that class were the skills I honed. The class forced me to improve my communication skills in order to obtain my goal. As arguments about ideology, campaign tactics, and voter motivations became more intricate, due to relying on conflicting journal articles and books, differences of opinion became more common. The intricacies of the theories lent themselves to a multitude of conflicting analyses, of which I often chose to offer and defend my own. An unstructured debate is not the best means of procuring an agreement between two parties. As I quickly became aware, how I presented a statement was often more important than the content of what I was saying. These debates were not merely about being right, they were about making another person understand your premise and motivating them to draw a similar conclusion. Often I found myself contributing more to the side I favored by establishing one or two facts which forced others to think about the information in a similar way.
One of many things that I learned in the class is that getting someone to a desired conclusion is often as easy as changing the way they get there.

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philosoraptor
Posts: 708
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:49 am

Re: Any feedback?

Postby philosoraptor » Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:50 pm

This is boring and full of cliches and doesn't make you seem special or interesting. I'd say find a new prelaw adviser who doesn't think writing about a typical seminar is a swell idea.

Heat wrote:I figured I needed a Personal Statement that would be average, wouldn't help or hurt.
I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you should shoot for something that will help.

Heat
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:18 pm

Re: Any feedback?

Postby Heat » Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:57 pm

Haha. Well getting a new pre-law advisor is pretty much impossible.

My real problem is I just don't have any good topics. The only thing that really relates to Law School is an internship I did but I was mostly doing boring paperwork type stuff. I feel kinda SOL on the topic. Also I did a pre law forum thing back in high school but I was reading that it was a bad idea to go back prior to college based on the fact I'm a young applicant and it just makes me look younger.

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philosoraptor
Posts: 708
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:49 am

Re: Any feedback?

Postby philosoraptor » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:04 pm

Spend some time perusing Ken's book on the subject and see if you can't find some ideas: http://www.top-law-schools.com/guide-to ... ments.html

Heat
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:18 pm

Re: Any feedback?

Postby Heat » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:09 pm

Will do thanks.

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hypothalamus
Posts: 745
Joined: Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:11 pm

Re: Any feedback?

Postby hypothalamus » Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:57 am

Whatever you write, have someone proof-read it to eliminate common errors, such as using "their" instead of "there." These things undoubtedly leave the worst impressions coming from a college grad, irrespective of your topic of choice.

As for the topic... I'm a foreigner and I've been through a lot and spent time abroad (not home abroad :)), yet I still don't know what to write in my PS haha.

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legalease9
Posts: 623
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:41 pm

Re: Any feedback?

Postby legalease9 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 12:08 pm

I think this is a good PIECE of your PS. You need to make this just one of a few points centered around a common theme. Probably about how a series of experiences made you want to practice law. Your big weakness is that some schools will question your age (Fair or not, they get anxious about under 21ers maturity level). Focus on showing maturity and discipline.

Finally, your idea of an "average" personal statement is incorrect. You want your PS to shine and stand out. Don't write anything offensive (except maybe for your Harvard and Yale PS as you will need the boost), but start with something that stands out. You will be one of thousands and you need them to notice you.

Scott4LLM
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:51 pm

Re: Any feedback?

Postby Scott4LLM » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:45 pm

As a consolation, your writing style is lucid and interesting, which will come in handy with a new topic, because this one is indeed boring, and for me, too self-congratulatory.




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