2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Snoring Meatball
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2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:41 pm

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Last edited by Snoring Meatball on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:02 pm

Started out strong then faded. Delete the last partial paragraph as your essay had a natural end at the end of the fourth paragraph.
The first two paragraphs are very good, but the next two feel a bit forced & suggest that you are not really committed to this cause as much as you thought initially.
Overall this is a good personal statement although the last two paragraphs disappoint. My opinion is that this writing, while very personal & revealing, will not help your law school applications.

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Snoring Meatball
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:24 pm

Thanks for the input. I'm a little confused though. You're saying I should scrap it because it's poorly written?

CanadianWolf
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:27 pm

No, it's not poorly written. The first two paragraphs are excellent. The third paragraph is a touch forced & finds you wavering, while the fourth paragraph repeats much of the esscence of the first two paragraphs.
If you are able to combine the third & fourth paragraphs--while deleting most of the repetitious fourth paragraph--it will read much more smoothly & logically. The fourth paragraph is not good when compared to the first two paragraphs.
Although a very significant part of your development, the subject matter is somewhat depressing & may, in a subtle manner, raise concerns. Your personal statement is about depression, alcoholism, suicide & withdrawal from an unpleasant situation into the world of dance. Most, if not all, state bars are very sensitive to mental health issues both with respect to attorneys' well-being & to the welfare of clients' affairs. Colleges & universities are also highly sensitive to depression, substance abuse & suicide.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Snoring Meatball
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:46 pm

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Last edited by Snoring Meatball on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:48 pm

The topic is not taboo, it just requires a great deal of skill & tact in crafting an essay on this topic that leaves the reader reassured & not depressed & questioning, in my opinion.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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emilybeth
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby emilybeth » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:00 pm

Um, I think that advice is way off base. You handle the subject matter well; it's clear from your statement that you are not struggling with the same issues your mother was; any adcomm who would extrapolate that you're a suicide risk works for a school that you don't want to attend.

I like your last paragraph, it shows that you've stayed connected to the human side of the policy work you've done. I think you can delete the "Though at the time..." and wrap it up with one more powerful, clean sentence. What that should be, I'm not so sure.

But I wouldn't change the subject matter, nor most of what you've written. And I think it's ridiculous to think you shouldn't write about your mother's struggle with depression, when it's clear it was formative in your own development, for fear of raising red flags anywhere.

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Snoring Meatball
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:01 pm

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Last edited by Snoring Meatball on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:07 pm

You are certainly going to get different takes from different readers. Regardless, the third & especially the fourth paragraphs of your essay need revision.

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Snoring Meatball
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:10 pm

Agreed.

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Snoring Meatball
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:27 pm

I'd love to hear additional thoughts/comments/suggestions from others. Please!

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Hannibal
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Hannibal » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:04 am

I feel like your focus should be on only one of your experiences. Having a suicide hotline PS with the theme of the shaping impact of your mother's depression while calling on other experiences would be strong IMO.

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Snoring Meatball
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:33 am

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Last edited by Snoring Meatball on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

meowmeow
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby meowmeow » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:02 am

I thought your PS was amazing. I am usually deathly bored but yours was really interesting and I believed that this was a real reason you want to pursue law. I think you could talk more about mental health policy which is a perfect segway from your experiences. I do have to say that I would have liked to read what happened to your mom.
IMO

jdhonest
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby jdhonest » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:18 am

Snoring Meatball wrote:I was 18 when I found my mother dying in a basement storage room closet surrounded by prescription medication, discount vodka, and deliberately scrawled notes that contained an equal number of final wishes and cheap parting shots.


consider:
When I was 18, I found my mother dying in a basement storage room closet surrounded by prescription medication, discount vodka, and deliberately scrawled notes that contained an equal number of final wishes and cheap parting shots.

Luckily, she awoke from her coma two weeks later. Unfortunately, she was furious that I had intervened and more determined than ever to succeed in her next attempt.
Combine the two with some contrasting language.
consider:
We awoke from a coma two weeks later, furious with me for my intervention and increasingly determined for herself to succeed in her next attempt.

Her struggle with depression up to that point had already forced me to grow up quickly;

Why? The growing up quickly because of struggle as a child is 1) a cliche that is found in way too many ps's and 2) not any sign of you being right for law school.
the ensuing years shaped my outlook on life and instilled a desire to reduce the stigma of depression and suicide.

The time I have spent as a volunteer at a suicide prevention organization has helped me determine that I would like to pursue a career in public interest law and dedicate more of my time to helping others.


Did the time spent make you want to go to law school? Or did you discover a passion for helping people and think law school is an efficient means to express that passion

I like the first line (a lot). Please ignore the random bolding, as it signifies nothing. Good luck.

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Snoring Meatball
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:40 pm

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Last edited by Snoring Meatball on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:47 pm

This is excellent except for the first & last sentences of your essay. Your original first sentence was much better in my opinion (the word "when" drains much of the impact from your original version, plus the words "discount vodka" made a strong impression). The concluding sentence needs to be redone. End with a more upbeat tone. Refer to "insights gained", not "knowledge gained".
It's clear that you want to help others & that you have insight, dedication, determination, internal fortitude all of which are traits that can be applied to the practice of law.

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esq
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby esq » Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:55 pm

You already know that I think its a great subject that will identify you in a uniquely strong way. I also think that shaping it more around your interest in mental health policy adds to your PS by showing more specifically how your experiences have shaped your motivations. I'm not totally familiar with what law school programs would get you involved in mental health policy - health law maybe - but you might try picking a specific school and framing your interests around their specific program and how it can help you. This might also solve your dilemma with how to end your PS. Ending your PS on a "why your law school" note seems appropriate enough.

For instance, take Virginia's health law program. You could say something like:

I am especially interested in the University of Virginia's Health Law Program. Not only does this program offer a way for me to further develop my interest in mental health policy through its Developments in Mental Health Law journal, but I also think that because of its collaboration with the University's School of Medicine, I would be able to benefit by working with professionals who are already involved in my field of interest. I would also like to take advantage of the schools clinical opportunities, and I think that through the Family Resource Clinic's advocate work for families who lack access to public health care, I would be able to gain experience in a meaningful way. Though at the time, it was impossible to see any benefit I might derive from my mother’s depression, that experience has helped me to understand how I can contribute by pursuing my interest in health law. I look forward to the opportunity that I will have to do this by gaining a legal education at the University of Virginia.

It's just an idea, but I think that this might be a good way to end it all. Oh, and this is a little off topic, don't take CanadianWolf's advice too seriously. He is known for purposefully giving bad advice on this forum in an attempt to mislead others. His advice is nonsense for the most part, and lacks any specific guidance.

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Snoring Meatball
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:55 pm

Thank you!

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txsunshine
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby txsunshine » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:07 pm

I think both your writing and the topic were excellent and don't think you should you scrap this PS in favor of something 'safer'. Esq's advice seems useful though. Good luck!

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masochist
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby masochist » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:57 pm

I might take out more of the details related to the suicide attempt. It is powerfully written as it is, but I worry that the risk of including such personal and emotional detail is greater than the potential reward. Your personal statement would be no less impressive if you stated that you found your mother in the midst of a nearly successful suicide attempt, and this way you do not run the risk of having a more conservative adcom member question the appropriateness of your boundaries.

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emilybeth
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby emilybeth » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:08 pm

jdhonest wrote:
Snoring Meatball wrote:I was 18 when I found my mother dying in a basement storage room closet surrounded by prescription medication, discount vodka, and deliberately scrawled notes that contained an equal number of final wishes and cheap parting shots.


consider:
When I was 18, I found my mother dying in a basement storage room closet surrounded by prescription medication, discount vodka, and deliberately scrawled notes that contained an equal number of final wishes and cheap parting shots.

Luckily, she awoke from her coma two weeks later. Unfortunately, she was furious that I had intervened and more determined than ever to succeed in her next attempt.
Combine the two with some contrasting language.
consider:
We awoke from a coma two weeks later, furious with me for my intervention and increasingly determined for herself to succeed in her next attempt.


If I were you, I would take neither of these suggestions. Starting with "I was 18 when" is muuuuuch more effective than a boring clause which instantly sets the reader up to tune out. The second suggestion muddies what you're trying to say, may be grammatically incorrect, and in fact removes the "contrasting language" that really illustrates your ability to write and showcases your own voice (the luckily/unfortunately was one of the things that really struck me on first read-through and kept me reading.)

No offense jdhonest but your advice was shitty. Masochist's advice is also shitty. Do not take out the details which give depth to your mother's (and your) struggle. Do not take out the elements of your essay which "show, not tell." Do NOT be afraid to write powerfully and passionately about something delicate for fear of offending some "conservative adcom" who might question your "boundaries" -- that doesn't even make sense.

Descriptive writing will set you apart and if you do it well, even on a sensitive topic, I am of the opinion that it will only help you. I mentioned being drunk in my PS, but wrote about mascara smeared under my eyes and the champagne we drank out of Solo cups instead of just blandly saying "I was drunk" and moving on for fear of offending sensibilities. My cycle was, across the board, more successful than I anticipated, and comments from adcoms indicated to me that it was because of my PS.

CanadianWolf
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:37 pm

emilybeth is offering great advice.
Don't let others write your essay for you as you will lose your writer's voice & may violate the honor code at the same time.

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Snoring Meatball
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby Snoring Meatball » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:45 pm

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Last edited by Snoring Meatball on Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: 2nd draft of a PS that is sure to brighten your day

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:03 pm

Although it may bring that to some readers' minds, it also suggests that this was a serious attempt & not merely a cry for help. "Discount vodka" made a strong impact on me and it makes the opening more memorable & more powerful.




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