Please assist me with my personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Bvv5003
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Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby Bvv5003 » Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:51 pm

Dear fellow TLS members,

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions that would enable me to improve my personal statement.

I thank you all in advance for all of your assistance. I’m sure that it will prove invaluable as it has in the past.

Here is the first draft of my PS:

I still remember the nervousness, my breath heavy, my heart racing as I inched closer to the entrance door. It was a warm Texas day in a summer that seemed uncomfortably hot. I paused to wipe the sweat off my brow and placed my hand on the door’s handle. As I proceeded to make my way inside, the door jammed, leaving me to spend additional moments under the sun. Beyond the door awaited a class of thirty students: rash high-school teens, mostly immigrants, some without the ability to speak English, but all eager to change the circumstances that have plagued their adolescence; all with a story remarkably similar to mine.

I have spent my entire life as an immigrant. Along my journey, all passageways to opportunity have seemed at one point or another jammed, like this door with which I wrestled, blocked by circumstances that did not always appear as though they could be changed. I was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the only son of highly educated Jews who were kept away from success by the institutional anti-Semitism that characterized all aspect of life in the U.S.S.R. In Uzbekistan, my parents and I lived in poverty, confined and unable to escape the soviet republic, immobilized by soviet authorities from pursuing an exit. All doors in the U.S.S.R were shut for us, but we did not despair. Over time, we created a pathway, and, as the soviet republic began to collapse we made our way to Israel. It was at that time that as a young boy I emigrated from my home for the first, but not the last time.

In Israel I tasted freedom. For the first time my parents and I lived as equals amongst the population. Though the refugee quarters we slept in were small, and though we were still surrounded by poverty, we knew that this time our circumstances were temporary, that in Israel more could be attained for us. Unfortunately, while all Jews grow to know freedom in Israel, they also grow to know war. The memories of my childhood in Israel are filled with the memories of war. I have known friends who boarded buses that never reached their destination. I have been in markets that were set ablaze by bombs. I have seen good people, innocent people, young and old taken by a senseless war, and I have prayed daily for it to end.

But the war goes on, and it is because of war that my parents decided to leave Israel with the start of the new millennium. It was thus at fifteen that I became an immigrant again, arriving this time in America, where thousands have traveled before me, and where thousands continue to travel in order to better the circumstances that plague their lives. I remember realizing, as a cab dropped us off in the small one bedroom apartment that would serve as our home for the next two years, that to obtain long-term opportunity we had fallen into poverty again. While we sold our home in Israel to arrive in the United-States, we could barely afford the monthly rent in New-York. We had no car, no furniture, but we knew that this poverty, as in Israel, could be temporary. That with hard work we could prosper here.

On my first day of high-school I could barely speak ten words of English. An inner city school is a challenging experience for any student to persevere through, but particularly for a scrawny, Jewish boy with no language skills. I took my beatings as they came, and I stayed away from the plethora of negative influences that surrounded me. While the streets of New-York were no easy place to spend my early teenage years, the war torn streets of Israel during the first and second Intifadas had made me well prepared. Over time, I studied hard and learned the English language. Success follows hard work, and, after two years I was able to obtain a transfer to a better school. I persevered and survived, through Uzbekistan, Israel, and the streets of New-York city, paving the way to attend a well respected university. There, I continued moving forward, and graduated as the valedictorian of my department. A life-long immigrant who arrived to the U.S at fifteen without any knowledge of English, I had finally found my home, and there, through hard work I also found success. All doors were now ready to be opened.

This is why I pushed the jammed door open on that hot Texas day, clearing a path for myself to enter. I walked through, into the classroom where my students awaited, and proceeded to teach them that the story they have thus far known, their story, can be rewritten with an alternate ending; that all doors can be opened in America for those who work hard.

I hope that the next door I open and pass through will lead me to the school of law at ( ). It is there that I wish to acquire the knowledge to practice immigration law so that I may continue to help immigrants establish themselves in the U.S. I believe that my life experience as a first generation immigrant to the United-States, as well as my fluency in Hebrew, Russian, and extensive knowledge of Spanish will make me a competent and marketable immigration attorney upon graduation.

The school of law at ( ) is the place where I desire to acquire my legal education not only because ( ) is my home, but also because the school of law at ( ) offers the opportunity to participate in an award winning immigration clinic through which I will be able to experience the breadth of immigration practice while still studying for my Juris Doctor. Additionally, because I desire to remain in ( ) permanently, obtaining a Juris Doctor from ( ) will allow me unparallel access to the ( ) legal market. If I am blessed with the opportunity, I am eager to walk through the doorway to the school of law at ( ) and continue paving a path of success for myself and other immigrants.

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billyez
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby billyez » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:11 pm

There were moments when I thought the sentences went on for longer than they should....as if they should just be ended rather than extended with by using a comma or a semi-colon. The first time I read through it, I thought the imagery with the door in the first paragraph was a little odd, I pictured someone "proceeding" inside, but then I was snapped back to them being outside. The second time I read it, it didn't seem like an issue at all, so I'm going to say that you could probably disregard it.

There might be issues with sentence structure that people might bring up. But the story is used as an excellent medium to tell us something unique about you - that you're someone who isn't easily defeated, that perseveres, that's always looking for a pathway around difficulties. It's a humbling personal statement...and an exceptional one. You wrote this with an excellent approach and in a manner that makes it entirely readable and engaging. Well done.

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Barbie
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby Barbie » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:25 pm

its really long but ill read it soon and give you feedback. i know its imporant to have people critique. between now and then: *bump*

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billyez
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby billyez » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:47 pm

I forgot to mention that. It does appear to be rather long.

But, ah, it appears to be just the right length when put in MS Word. It clocks in at just below 2 full pages. Don't apply to George Mason and it's 500 word maximum and you'll be fine.

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maine08080
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby maine08080 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:28 am

In all, your PS was pretty good. I'm impressed by your mastery of the English language, considering you came to America in 2000, right? You still have some sentences to edit and shorten like Billyez said.

This is my biggest suggestion though: Your last two paragraphs should probably be left out of your PS and be used in "Why X" essays instead.

Best wishes and happy editing.

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12AngryMen
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby 12AngryMen » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:36 am

The first senetence confused and lost me. Youd be better off re-doing the intro IMO.

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txsunshine
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby txsunshine » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:32 pm

You have a very interesting story to tell, but I wasn't a fan of the first paragraph. I would make some changes as follows:

I was nervous, my breathing heavy, my heart racing as I inched closer to the door in the uncomfortable Texas heat. I paused to wipe the sweat off my brow and placed my hand on the door’s handle. As I tried to proceed inside, the door jammed, leaving me to bake for a few more moments under the [hot/blazing/unforgiving] sun. Beyond the door awaited a class of thirty students: rash high-school teens, mostly immigrants, some without the ability to speak English, but all eager to change the circumstances that have plagued their adolescence; all with a story remarkably similar to mine.

I didn't know what to do with that last sentence. It's kind of long, but it works. Anyway, just my $0.02. Thought the rest was great!

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dooterdude11
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby dooterdude11 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:41 pm

Though there might be a few awkward sentences I thought that in general they were good. The ability to construct a long, flowing sentence is actually a sign of maturity and control in a writer. Good essay.

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billyez
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby billyez » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:49 pm

I certainly don't agree with that last sentence. I'm one of those folks that loves semi-colons and dashes far more than I should...but what demonstrates maturity as a writer to me is discipline and an economical use of language. That's just my two cents.

txsunshine's recommended edit to the first paragraph appears quite well done to me. I'd just choose "hot" out of the words he gave out as options to use in the third sentence or so. "Bake" is certainly the right term to describe being under that Texas sun, I must say.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:01 am

I agree that the last two paragraphs do not belong in this essay.

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2807
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby 2807 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:36 am

Are you sure you do not mean "brash" when referring to the students? Rash is an odd word to use. You may want to review that.

Also, from a fast scan of this: Watch your comma use. Review comma rules. You cannot, just put them, where you want, for effect. Remember, as a rule: FANBOYS. (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) If you do not have one of these after the comma... you better have a good reason. Both sides of the comma should be able to stand alone as a sentence. (general rule).

(plenty of issues that can work around comma rules, I am just giving you the obvious)

And: watch your passive voice. Go change every sentence you can to a declarative sentence. With authority !
Don't talk about how you "then proceeded to...blahblah"-- instead say, "I opened the door, ... I did this, I did that..." That passive stuff jumps out badly to people who know to look for it. You will have a much more professional and engaging PS when you muscle it up and dump the passive voice. Try it, you will see !

I cannot give solid commentary on topic, but I do see some grammar issues that are helpful too!

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billyez
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby billyez » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:21 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:I agree that the last two paragraphs do not belong in this essay.


I've noticed that people have been recommending that the last two paragraphs not be included...but no one has said why. Since they emphasize the thematic imagery that's most prevalent in the PS as a whole, I thought they were weaved in rather nicely with the story at issue. They don't appear to be wholly disconnected paragraphs in the context of the rest of the PS. Anyone care to explain their feelings on the matter?
Last edited by billyez on Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bvv5003
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby Bvv5003 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:58 pm

Thank you all for your constructive replies!!!

I have implemented many of your suggestions for improvement.

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maroonzoon
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby maroonzoon » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:11 am

This is exceptional material.

I would not explicitly write why you want to be a lawyer, but rather imply it. It's tough but doable, and much more sophisticated.

Keep words and sentences short and simple. I would take out "plethora," for example.

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sophia.olive
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby sophia.olive » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:32 am

maroonzoon wrote:This is exceptional material.

I would not explicitly write why you want to be a lawyer, but rather imply it. It's tough but doable, and much more sophisticated.

Keep words and sentences short and simple. I would take out "plethora," for example.



When people say plethora it always seems like its the only word they remembered from the GRE. Something about it is ostentatious.

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sophia.olive
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Re: Please assist me with my personal statement

Postby sophia.olive » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:33 am

no, eshyo xarasho!!
mnye nravitsya




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