Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
nickbentley
Posts: 123
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Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:03 am

Hey All,

I have an idea for a personal statement that I want to run by you for input...

I want to structure my essay by establishing how I got to where I am, events in my life that have allowed me to make the decision to go to law school. This isn't a "why law?" statement...

I want to begin by shortly establishing that I have always been expected to grow up, get through school and work in the insurance industry.. See, my family owns a pretty legit insurance company and I've had the path set up for me to go right into it. During the introduction, I want to establish that my family grew up very religious and it seemed everything was perfect. Mom and Dad, two brothers and three sisters. Church every Sunday. Spent a lot of time together. From before I could even speak I had ingrained in my head a perfect moral code that "everyone" should live by...This code included a strong marriage. Morally clean relationships. Avoiding drugs/alcohol. etc... We were taught nearly every day to live these very strict Christian standards. Through my young age and inexperience, I developed somewhat of an internal prejudice against people who did not adhere to this code of this code of ethics that I had been taught.

Through high school and the beginning of undergrad, I began working in the insurance industry. I was particularly interested in the legal aspects of the insurance industry and would read through lengthy policy forms and contracts for fun.. haha

It felt as if life could not be any more perfect. I was going to be able to get an easy degree and move on with my life to become quite well off. Every once in a while I had a desire to go to law school and my wife would prod me to go. However, I pushed it aside because I did not want the unneeded stress of additional school when I was already set up for success.

While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, had decided that he is going to identify himself as homosexual. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his lifestyle decision. For years, my parents struggled with this situation and were never able to see eye to eye. Over the next many years, my parents were not able to reconcile their differences and are now in the process of finalizing their divorce. Through my brothers decision and the falling apart of my parents, I was able to take a step back to reevaluate my life. During this time, I was able to clearly recognize my prejudices; not just toward homosexuality and broken families, but toward the entire population of people who do not share my religious viewpoints.

During a semester of undergraduate school, I was in a very large religion course that consisted almost entirely of people who have been taught the same code of ethics that I had been taught while I was being raised. One day, California's Proposition 8 (gay civil rights) came up as a point of discussion. This discussion became mainly political with hints of religion. I do not seek out pointless confrontation. However, the discussion made it to a point that intervention needed to be had. It was clear that the people who were surrounding me viewed homosexuals (or other minority groups) as lesser individuals. As a way to justify bigotry, they began discussing out-of-context California laws and other thoughts. At this point I stepped into the middle of the stage in full opposition. For about 45 minutes, the class began challenging me through holy writ, philosophy, and legal points. For every second of those 45 minutes, I was able to defend the homosexual population from unjustified bias and tactfully resolve a large amount of misconceptions. In this event and others, I realized my passion for defending those who would not be able to do so for themselves. In the broad scope of my life, it has become clear that I want to represent individuals or entities that need an unbiased representative who will stand by them in their defense.




Sorry this has gotten so long, but do you think this is a good route to take for my personal statement?

This is not a rough draft of anything.. I'm just thinking something along these lines for structure and idea..

Thanks!

username99
Posts: 445
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby username99 » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:18 am

I'd wonder how you can fit all that and talk about your strengths and goals all in 500 or however many words..seems like a lot to cram in there, no?

nickbentley
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:27 am

username99 wrote:I'd wonder how you can fit all that and talk about your strengths and goals all in 500 or however many words..seems like a lot to cram in there, no?


Ya its a ton of stuff... What, if anything, should I focus on? What should be cut?

Thanks!

CanadianWolf
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:52 am

The irony & discovery of self are interesting, but the final four or five sentences need to be deleted & rewritten in a more mature & insightful fashion.
P.S. An insurance "company" or "agency" ?
DELETE: "...haha."
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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tartugas
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby tartugas » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:59 am

It does not seem to be a bad idea, but you will need to find a way to distill everything you just wrote into about 3 paragraphs. Don't let too much anger about the hypocrisy you discovered in the value system you were raised seep into your tone. The point is not that your parents were wrong, but that you learned to see the world a different way.

oh, and ditch the insurance company stuff... it does nothing except fill valuable space

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afcanoe
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby afcanoe » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:16 am

I might also consider spending some time focusing on your own attitude shift towards your brother. It could show some emotional/intellectual maturity on your part, especially considering your religious background. For instance, do you still view your brother being gay as a "lifestyle decision," or do you now view his being gay as something that wasn't a choice?

I agree with what other posters have said about nixing the part about the insurance company. If it's an essay about your own personal growth/your passion about defending those without a voice, then that should be your focus.

nickbentley
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Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:21 pm

Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:58 am

Thanks for the ideas...

The purpose of mentioning the insurance plan is to establish the foundation of how I viewed the "perfect" life while growing up... It also shows why my law school plan came later into my undergrad career..

While I build up the setting describing my family and educational background, should I add something like, "My father had established a business that I would be able to take over once I received a bachelor's degree." I figure that may be enough...

(Another reason for adding the insurance part is that I want to apply to UCONN's insurance law program.. but I can just add a short Why UCONN paragraph from what I understand)

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applepiecrust
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby applepiecrust » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:05 pm

nickbentley wrote:
While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, had decided that he is going to identify himself as homosexual. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his lifestyle decision.


I think this topic holds promise but you're going to have to watch out for using language like the bolded because it can ring as offensive/insensitive, and might somewhat undermine some of the claims you make.

Try to go for more neutral language that does not bring up the nature vs. nurture (choice or something you just ARE) debate.

nickbentley
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:21 pm

Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:13 pm

applepiecrust wrote:
nickbentley wrote:
While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, had decided that he is going to identify himself as homosexual. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his lifestyle decision.


I think this topic holds promise but you're going to have to watch out for using language like the bolded because it can ring as offensive/insensitive, and might somewhat undermine some of the claims you make.

Try to go for more neutral language that does not bring up the nature vs. nurture (choice or something you just ARE) debate.



Thank you for pointing that out. The fact is, I don't believe it to be a choice. I'm surprised I wrote it that way...

However, I'm going to be applying to some schools that have conservative Christian religious affiliation (Pepperdine for example). How should I word it in a neutral way?

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afcanoe
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby afcanoe » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:19 pm

nickbentley wrote:
applepiecrust wrote:
nickbentley wrote:
While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, had decided that he is going to identify himself as homosexual. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his lifestyle decision.


I think this topic holds promise but you're going to have to watch out for using language like the bolded because it can ring as offensive/insensitive, and might somewhat undermine some of the claims you make.

Try to go for more neutral language that does not bring up the nature vs. nurture (choice or something you just ARE) debate.



Thank you for pointing that out. The fact is, I don't believe it to be a choice. I'm surprised I wrote it that way...

However, I'm going to be applying to some schools that have conservative Christian religious affiliation (Pepperdine for example). How should I word it in a neutral way?


I would try something like this:

While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, came out to my parents and me. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because he was gay.

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evilgenius
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby evilgenius » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:27 pm

nickbentley wrote:
applepiecrust wrote:
nickbentley wrote:
While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, had decided that he is going to identify himself as homosexual. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his lifestyle decision.


I think this topic holds promise but you're going to have to watch out for using language like the bolded because it can ring as offensive/insensitive, and might somewhat undermine some of the claims you make.

Try to go for more neutral language that does not bring up the nature vs. nurture (choice or something you just ARE) debate.



Thank you for pointing that out. The fact is, I don't believe it to be a choice. I'm surprised I wrote it that way...

However, I'm going to be applying to some schools that have conservative Christian religious affiliation (Pepperdine for example). How should I word it in a neutral way?


You can say "my brother disclosed that he was homosexual" or (for more liberal schools) "my brother came out of the closet".

Also, I agree with the poster above. You shouldn't emphasize the insurance agency - it makes you sound too privileged. Your "hook" is your brother's homosexuality, the emotional and spiritual struggle that resulted, how you overcame this struggle, and how it led you to pursue a legal career. You can probably discuss your strengths in the beginning. Maybe when discussing the perfect life you can talk about the qualities (discipline, compassion, etc.) that your religious up-bringing taught you.

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afcanoe
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby afcanoe » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:42 pm

Also, is it just me, or does using the word "homosexual" instead of "gay" come across as jarring? Just saying "gay" seems more neutral, IMHO.

nickbentley
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:56 pm

afcanoe wrote:Also, is it just me, or does using the word "homosexual" instead of "gay" come across as jarring? Just saying "gay" seems more neutral, IMHO.


Perfect. I didn't know which way to go with that...

Does everyone agree?

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evilgenius
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby evilgenius » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:30 pm

nickbentley wrote:
afcanoe wrote:Also, is it just me, or does using the word "homosexual" instead of "gay" come across as jarring? Just saying "gay" seems more neutral, IMHO.


Perfect. I didn't know which way to go with that...

Does everyone agree?


I agree.

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SullaFelix
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby SullaFelix » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:10 pm

nickbentley wrote:Hey All,

I have an idea for a personal statement that I want to run by you for input...

I want to structure my essay by establishing how I got to where I am, events in my life that have allowed me to make the decision to go to law school. This isn't a "why law?" statement...

I want to begin by shortly establishing that I have always been expected to grow up, get through school and work in the insurance industry.. See, my family owns a pretty legit insurance company and I've had the path set up for me to go right into it. During the introduction, I want to establish that my family grew up very religious and it seemed everything was perfect. Mom and Dad, two brothers and three sisters. Church every Sunday. Spent a lot of time together. From before I could even speak I had ingrained in my head a perfect moral code that "everyone" should live by...This code included a strong marriage. Morally clean relationships. Avoiding drugs/alcohol. etc... We were taught nearly every day to live these very strict Christian standards. Through my young age and inexperience, I developed somewhat of an internal prejudice against people who did not adhere to this code of this code of ethics that I had been taught.

Through high school and the beginning of undergrad, I began working in the insurance industry. I was particularly interested in the legal aspects of the insurance industry and would read through lengthy policy forms and contracts for fun.. haha

It felt as if life could not be any more perfect. I was going to be able to get an easy degree and move on with my life to become quite well off. Every once in a while I had a desire to go to law school and my wife would prod me to go. However, I pushed it aside because I did not want the unneeded stress of additional school when I was already set up for success.

While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, had decided that he is going to identify himself as homosexual. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his lifestyle decision. For years, my parents struggled with this situation and were never able to see eye to eye. Over the next many years, my parents were not able to reconcile their differences and are now in the process of finalizing their divorce. Through my brothers decision and the falling apart of my parents, I was able to take a step back to reevaluate my life. During this time, I was able to clearly recognize my prejudices; not just toward homosexuality and broken families, but toward the entire population of people who do not share my religious viewpoints.

During a semester of undergraduate school, I was in a very large religion course that consisted almost entirely of people who have been taught the same code of ethics that I had been taught while I was being raised. One day, California's Proposition 8 (gay civil rights) came up as a point of discussion. This discussion became mainly political with hints of religion. I do not seek out pointless confrontation. However, the discussion made it to a point that intervention needed to be had. It was clear that the people who were surrounding me viewed homosexuals (or other minority groups) as lesser individuals. As a way to justify bigotry, they began discussing out-of-context California laws and other thoughts. At this point I stepped into the middle of the stage in full opposition. For about 45 minutes, the class began challenging me through holy writ, philosophy, and legal points. For every second of those 45 minutes, I was able to defend the homosexual population from unjustified bias and tactfully resolve a large amount of misconceptions. In this event and others, I realized my passion for defending those who would not be able to do so for themselves. In the broad scope of my life, it has become clear that I want to represent individuals or entities that need an unbiased representative who will stand by them in their defense.




Sorry this has gotten so long, but do you think this is a good route to take for my personal statement?

This is not a rough draft of anything.. I'm just thinking something along these lines for structure and idea..

Thanks!


Copy-editing and linguistic choices aside:

I question whether having the grand finale of your PS be a classroom discussion is wise — especially given the grandiose terms used. Did you actually "protect the homosexual population from unjustified bias"? Or did you just do a good job framing an argument?

I might recommend a different focus for the concluding paragraph — if you're absolutely wedded to that anecdote, it can probably be handled with one or two lines.

nickbentley
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:20 pm

Nope.. I'm not married to any part of this statement...

As far as protecting against homosexual bias... is that really all that grandiose?

I like the idea of cutting it down to just a couple of sentences instead of half of the statement.

What portions of the statement would you elaborate on?


*Just to reiterate: What I have typed on this thread was not a rough draft. It was me telling board members my thoughts for structuring my statement for this topic.*

nickbentley
Posts: 123
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Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:53 am

Morality, soberness, strong families and other standards have been developed in my life from as early as I can remember. I was raised in a very religious family in what I believe to be an ideal situation with a supportive parents and close siblings. In the early years of my life, I was immersed with a strict moral code that I was expected to live by. This moral code primarily included strong marriages, chaste relationships, and the avoidance of drugs and alcohol. My siblings and I were trained daily to live strict Christian standards that would help us to be happier individuals. Through my young age and inexperience, this moral code had developed into an internal prejudice against people who did not adhere to the code of ethics that I had been taught.

As I grew older, my future was established in a way that I would be able to complete an easy undergraduate degree with average grades and assume a position in the family business. I had been taught to work hard and had always been given great opportunities to be successful. I had believed I was living the perfect life.
While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, had revealed that he is gay. This situation sent my socially conservative family into a whirlwind. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his lifestyle. For years, my parents struggled with this situation and were never able to reconcile their differing opinions on the matter. Over the next many years, numerous disagreements regarding other subjects were had and my parents are in the process of finalizing their divorce. With the lifestyle of my brother and the falling apart of my parents, I was able to take a step back to reevaluate my life. During this time, I was able to clearly recognize my prejudices; not just toward homosexuality and broken families, but toward the entire population of people who do not share my religious viewpoints.

During a semester of undergraduate school, I was in a large religion course that consisted almost entirely of people who have been taught the same code of ethics that I had been taught while I was being raised. California's Proposition 8 (gay civil rights) came up as a point of discussion. Recognizing the amount of misinformation and hatred being spoken by my peers, it was clear that intervention needed to be had. As a way to justify bigotry, they began discussing out-of-context California laws and personal views of homosexuality. In the heat of the debate, I was forced to step into a position of full opposition. I felt that it was important that I defend the homosexual population from unjustified partiality. After tactfully defusing the argument and clearing up misconceptions, I had decided that this was not the end. From that point forward, I have invested my time representing those without a voice in numerous social and civil venues.

*Im working on a conclusion*

how is this so far?

nickbentley
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:21 pm

Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:04 am

afcanoe wrote:I might also consider spending some time focusing on your own attitude shift towards your brother. It could show some emotional/intellectual maturity on your part, especially considering your religious background. For instance, do you still view your brother being gay as a "lifestyle decision," or do you now view his being gay as something that wasn't a choice?

I agree with what other posters have said about nixing the part about the insurance company. If it's an essay about your own personal growth/your passion about defending those without a voice, then that should be your focus.



Thank you for your thoughts... I have typed out my PS... If you have a few minutes, I would really appreciate it if you would look over my PS and provide me with some input...

Here is what I have:


Morality, soberness, strong families and other standards have been developed in my life from as far back as I can remember. I was raised in a very religious family in what I believe to be an ideal situation with a supportive parents and close siblings. In the early years of my life, I was immersed with a strict moral code that I was expected to live by. This moral code primarily included strong marriages, chaste relationships, and the avoidance of drugs and alcohol. My siblings and I were trained daily to live strict Christian standards that would help us to be happier individuals. Through my young age and inexperience, this moral code had developed into an internal prejudice against people who did not adhere to the code of ethics that I had been taught. As I grew older, my future seemed to be established in a way that I would be able to complete my undergraduate degree with average grades and assume a position in the family business. I had been taught to work hard and had always been given great opportunities to be successful. In my mind, I was living the perfect life.

While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change dramatically. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, revealed that he is gay. This situation sent my socially conservative family into a whirlwind of immense confusion. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother was forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his sexual-orientation. For years, my parents struggled with this situation and were never able to reconcile their differing opinions on the matter. Over the next many years, numerous disagreements regarding other subjects were had and my parents are now in the process of finalizing their divorce.

Through the lifestyle of my brother and the divorce of my parents, I have been given an opportunity to take a step back to evaluate my life. During this time, I was able to clearly recognize my prejudices; not just toward homosexuality and single-parent families, but toward the entire population of people who do not share my religious viewpoints.

During a semester of undergraduate school, I was in a large religion course that consisted almost entirely of people who had been taught the same code of ethics that I had been taught while I was being raised. California's Proposition 8 was brought up in class and the discussion instantly became heated. Recognizing the amount of misinformation and hatred being spoken by my peers, it was clear that intervention needed to be had. As a way to justify bigotry, the students began discussing out-of-context California laws and personal views of homosexuality. In the heat of the debate, I naturally stepped into a position of full opposition. I felt that it was important that I defend the homosexual population from unjustified partiality. After tactfully defusing the argument and clearing up misconceptions, I had decided that the discussion would not end in that room. From that point forward, I have invested my time representing those without a voice in numerous social and civil venues. In my experience working closely with under-represented groups of people, I found that my views on life had changed permanently.

While my representation of others has been limited to the scope of social matters, my resolve to attend law school stems from a desire to protect the liberty of any person who, for any reason, cannot be effectively represented alone. In a broader sense; I aspire to become an attorney so that I will be enabled to protect the rights and liberties of individuals or corporate entities.



I'm trying to figure out the last paragraph... what do you think?

Thank you!!

nickbentley
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:21 pm

Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:04 am

afcanoe wrote:
nickbentley wrote:
applepiecrust wrote:
nickbentley wrote:
While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, had decided that he is going to identify himself as homosexual. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his lifestyle decision.


I think this topic holds promise but you're going to have to watch out for using language like the bolded because it can ring as offensive/insensitive, and might somewhat undermine some of the claims you make.

Try to go for more neutral language that does not bring up the nature vs. nurture (choice or something you just ARE) debate.



Thank you for pointing that out. The fact is, I don't believe it to be a choice. I'm surprised I wrote it that way...

However, I'm going to be applying to some schools that have conservative Christian religious affiliation (Pepperdine for example). How should I word it in a neutral way?


I would try something like this:

While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, came out to my parents and me. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because he was gay.



Thank you for your thoughts... I have typed out my PS... If you have a few minutes, I would really appreciate it if you would look over my PS and provide me with some input...

Here is what I have:


Morality, soberness, strong families and other standards have been developed in my life from as far back as I can remember. I was raised in a very religious family in what I believe to be an ideal situation with a supportive parents and close siblings. In the early years of my life, I was immersed with a strict moral code that I was expected to live by. This moral code primarily included strong marriages, chaste relationships, and the avoidance of drugs and alcohol. My siblings and I were trained daily to live strict Christian standards that would help us to be happier individuals. Through my young age and inexperience, this moral code had developed into an internal prejudice against people who did not adhere to the code of ethics that I had been taught. As I grew older, my future seemed to be established in a way that I would be able to complete my undergraduate degree with average grades and assume a position in the family business. I had been taught to work hard and had always been given great opportunities to be successful. In my mind, I was living the perfect life.

While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change dramatically. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, revealed that he is gay. This situation sent my socially conservative family into a whirlwind of immense confusion. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother was forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his sexual-orientation. For years, my parents struggled with this situation and were never able to reconcile their differing opinions on the matter. Over the next many years, numerous disagreements regarding other subjects were had and my parents are now in the process of finalizing their divorce.

Through the lifestyle of my brother and the divorce of my parents, I have been given an opportunity to take a step back to evaluate my life. During this time, I was able to clearly recognize my prejudices; not just toward homosexuality and single-parent families, but toward the entire population of people who do not share my religious viewpoints.

During a semester of undergraduate school, I was in a large religion course that consisted almost entirely of people who had been taught the same code of ethics that I had been taught while I was being raised. California's Proposition 8 was brought up in class and the discussion instantly became heated. Recognizing the amount of misinformation and hatred being spoken by my peers, it was clear that intervention needed to be had. As a way to justify bigotry, the students began discussing out-of-context California laws and personal views of homosexuality. In the heat of the debate, I naturally stepped into a position of full opposition. I felt that it was important that I defend the homosexual population from unjustified partiality. After tactfully defusing the argument and clearing up misconceptions, I had decided that the discussion would not end in that room. From that point forward, I have invested my time representing those without a voice in numerous social and civil venues. In my experience working closely with under-represented groups of people, I found that my views on life had changed permanently.

While my representation of others has been limited to the scope of social matters, my resolve to attend law school stems from a desire to protect the liberty of any person who, for any reason, cannot be effectively represented alone. In a broader sense; I aspire to become an attorney so that I will be enabled to protect the rights and liberties of individuals or corporate entities.



I'm trying to figure out the last paragraph... what do you think?

Thank you!!

nickbentley
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:21 pm

Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:05 am

evilgenius wrote:
nickbentley wrote:
applepiecrust wrote:
nickbentley wrote:
While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, had decided that he is going to identify himself as homosexual. This situation sent my family for a loop. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother ended up being forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his lifestyle decision.


I think this topic holds promise but you're going to have to watch out for using language like the bolded because it can ring as offensive/insensitive, and might somewhat undermine some of the claims you make.

Try to go for more neutral language that does not bring up the nature vs. nurture (choice or something you just ARE) debate.



Thank you for pointing that out. The fact is, I don't believe it to be a choice. I'm surprised I wrote it that way...

However, I'm going to be applying to some schools that have conservative Christian religious affiliation (Pepperdine for example). How should I word it in a neutral way?


You can say "my brother disclosed that he was homosexual" or (for more liberal schools) "my brother came out of the closet".

Also, I agree with the poster above. You shouldn't emphasize the insurance agency - it makes you sound too privileged. Your "hook" is your brother's homosexuality, the emotional and spiritual struggle that resulted, how you overcame this struggle, and how it led you to pursue a legal career. You can probably discuss your strengths in the beginning. Maybe when discussing the perfect life you can talk about the qualities (discipline, compassion, etc.) that your religious up-bringing taught you.



Thank you for your thoughts... I have typed out my PS... If you have a few minutes, I would really appreciate it if you would look over my PS and provide me with some input...

Here is what I have:


Morality, soberness, strong families and other standards have been developed in my life from as far back as I can remember. I was raised in a very religious family in what I believe to be an ideal situation with a supportive parents and close siblings. In the early years of my life, I was immersed with a strict moral code that I was expected to live by. This moral code primarily included strong marriages, chaste relationships, and the avoidance of drugs and alcohol. My siblings and I were trained daily to live strict Christian standards that would help us to be happier individuals. Through my young age and inexperience, this moral code had developed into an internal prejudice against people who did not adhere to the code of ethics that I had been taught. As I grew older, my future seemed to be established in a way that I would be able to complete my undergraduate degree with average grades and assume a position in the family business. I had been taught to work hard and had always been given great opportunities to be successful. In my mind, I was living the perfect life.

While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change dramatically. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, revealed that he is gay. This situation sent my socially conservative family into a whirlwind of immense confusion. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother was forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his sexual-orientation. For years, my parents struggled with this situation and were never able to reconcile their differing opinions on the matter. Over the next many years, numerous disagreements regarding other subjects were had and my parents are now in the process of finalizing their divorce.

Through the lifestyle of my brother and the divorce of my parents, I have been given an opportunity to take a step back to evaluate my life. During this time, I was able to clearly recognize my prejudices; not just toward homosexuality and single-parent families, but toward the entire population of people who do not share my religious viewpoints.

During a semester of undergraduate school, I was in a large religion course that consisted almost entirely of people who had been taught the same code of ethics that I had been taught while I was being raised. California's Proposition 8 was brought up in class and the discussion instantly became heated. Recognizing the amount of misinformation and hatred being spoken by my peers, it was clear that intervention needed to be had. As a way to justify bigotry, the students began discussing out-of-context California laws and personal views of homosexuality. In the heat of the debate, I naturally stepped into a position of full opposition. I felt that it was important that I defend the homosexual population from unjustified partiality. After tactfully defusing the argument and clearing up misconceptions, I had decided that the discussion would not end in that room. From that point forward, I have invested my time representing those without a voice in numerous social and civil venues. In my experience working closely with under-represented groups of people, I found that my views on life had changed permanently.

While my representation of others has been limited to the scope of social matters, my resolve to attend law school stems from a desire to protect the liberty of any person who, for any reason, cannot be effectively represented alone. In a broader sense; I aspire to become an attorney so that I will be enabled to protect the rights and liberties of individuals or corporate entities.



I'm trying to figure out the last paragraph... what do you think?

Thank you!!

nickbentley
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:21 pm

Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:05 am

SullaFelix wrote:
Copy-editing and linguistic choices aside:

I question whether having the grand finale of your PS be a classroom discussion is wise — especially given the grandiose terms used. Did you actually "protect the homosexual population from unjustified bias"? Or did you just do a good job framing an argument?

I might recommend a different focus for the concluding paragraph — if you're absolutely wedded to that anecdote, it can probably be handled with one or two lines.



Thank you for your thoughts... I have typed out my PS... If you have a few minutes, I would really appreciate it if you would look over my PS and provide me with some input...

Here is what I have:


Morality, soberness, strong families and other standards have been developed in my life from as far back as I can remember. I was raised in a very religious family in what I believe to be an ideal situation with a supportive parents and close siblings. In the early years of my life, I was immersed with a strict moral code that I was expected to live by. This moral code primarily included strong marriages, chaste relationships, and the avoidance of drugs and alcohol. My siblings and I were trained daily to live strict Christian standards that would help us to be happier individuals. Through my young age and inexperience, this moral code had developed into an internal prejudice against people who did not adhere to the code of ethics that I had been taught. As I grew older, my future seemed to be established in a way that I would be able to complete my undergraduate degree with average grades and assume a position in the family business. I had been taught to work hard and had always been given great opportunities to be successful. In my mind, I was living the perfect life.

While I was in high school, my "perfect" life began to change dramatically. It began when my best friend, my oldest brother, revealed that he is gay. This situation sent my socially conservative family into a whirlwind of immense confusion. My parents disagreed about how to handle the situation. My brother was forced to move out of the house at the age of 18 because of his sexual-orientation. For years, my parents struggled with this situation and were never able to reconcile their differing opinions on the matter. Over the next many years, numerous disagreements regarding other subjects were had and my parents are now in the process of finalizing their divorce.

Through the lifestyle of my brother and the divorce of my parents, I have been given an opportunity to take a step back to evaluate my life. During this time, I was able to clearly recognize my prejudices; not just toward homosexuality and single-parent families, but toward the entire population of people who do not share my religious viewpoints.

During a semester of undergraduate school, I was in a large religion course that consisted almost entirely of people who had been taught the same code of ethics that I had been taught while I was being raised. California's Proposition 8 was brought up in class and the discussion instantly became heated. Recognizing the amount of misinformation and hatred being spoken by my peers, it was clear that intervention needed to be had. As a way to justify bigotry, the students began discussing out-of-context California laws and personal views of homosexuality. In the heat of the debate, I naturally stepped into a position of full opposition. I felt that it was important that I defend the homosexual population from unjustified partiality. After tactfully defusing the argument and clearing up misconceptions, I had decided that the discussion would not end in that room. From that point forward, I have invested my time representing those without a voice in numerous social and civil venues. In my experience working closely with under-represented groups of people, I found that my views on life had changed permanently.

While my representation of others has been limited to the scope of social matters, my resolve to attend law school stems from a desire to protect the liberty of any person who, for any reason, cannot be effectively represented alone. In a broader sense; I aspire to become an attorney so that I will be enabled to protect the rights and liberties of individuals or corporate entities.



I'm trying to figure out the last paragraph... what do you think?

Thank you!!

nickbentley
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:21 pm

Re: Personal Statement Idea - Good or Bad idea?

Postby nickbentley » Wed Aug 11, 2010 2:43 am

Man. It's tough to get a response. :P

If you are working on a PS, I'll review yours if you help me with mine...

Thanks!!




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