Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
username99
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Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby username99 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:41 pm

Sorry folks, but don't all of these personal statements sound exactly the same? "As I did something having to do with some wonderful experience, I knew law school was for me." I have some pretty great experience and I'm hoping to write a kick-ass essay, but is it even possible to write something unique when tens of thousands of intelligent people are applying and writing very similar things? I'm sorry if this sounds snarky at all. I'm completely serious with this question. What do you all think?

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Knock
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby Knock » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:47 pm

username99 wrote:Sorry folks, but don't all of these personal statements sound exactly the same? "As I did something having to do with some wonderful experience, I knew law school was for me." I have some pretty great experience and I'm hoping to write a kick-ass essay, but is it even possible to write something unique when tens of thousands of intelligent people are applying and writing very similar things? I'm sorry if this sounds snarky at all. I'm completely serious with this question. What do you all think?


Pretty much.

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OrdinarilySkilled
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby OrdinarilySkilled » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:49 pm

I think you'd be suprised how many people can't string together cohesive sentences.

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Knock
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby Knock » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:50 pm

OrdinarilySkilled wrote:I think you'd be suprised how many people can't string together cohesive sentences.


I'm pretty much counting on it :mrgreen:.

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clevinger33
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby clevinger33 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:52 pm

I agree, and I think the problem that most people have is that they try to make their essay stand out by using lots of way-too-complicated vocabulary or trying to make it into a page-turning novel. Just write clearly, concisely, and effectively about something that makes sense to you, and you should be fine. Besides, law school is purely a numbers game. Your essay (barring diversity considerations) isn't going to get you in anywhere, but it might prevent you from getting in if you aim too high and fail miserably.

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Columbia Law
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby Columbia Law » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:58 pm

They don't give a crap. I bragged about how I was a sports superstar in HS and to a lesser extent in college and still got into every school I was supposed to.

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Knock
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby Knock » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:59 pm

Columbia Law wrote:They don't give a crap. I bragged about how I was a sports superstar in HS and to a lesser extent in college and still got into every school I was supposed to.


4.1 174? and you didn't get H? I'm kind of surprised. Did you choose Columbia over H? or not get accepted.

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Columbia Law
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby Columbia Law » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:05 pm

Got dinged. Not even WL. Didn't apply to YS. Applied with a December LSAT.

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Knock
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby Knock » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:06 pm

Columbia Law wrote:Got dinged. Not even WL. Didn't apply to YS. Applied with a December LSAT.


Hmm wow that's truly truly strange. Maybe your essay did hurt you there, although it could just as easily be the December LSAT.

DreamShake
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby DreamShake » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:45 pm

username99 wrote:Sorry folks, but don't all of these personal statements sound exactly the same? "As I did something having to do with some wonderful experience, I knew law school was for me." I have some pretty great experience and I'm hoping to write a kick-ass essay, but is it even possible to write something unique when tens of thousands of intelligent people are applying and writing very similar things? I'm sorry if this sounds snarky at all. I'm completely serious with this question. What do you all think?



Virtually all have the same intent, but the gameplans and execution vary. Kinda like football...you can go with a limited number of formations (4-3/3-4/nickel/dime vs. adversity/experience/diversity), but the goal is pretty much the same (stop the offense/don't hurt yourself w a bad PS, or, in desperate situations, try to create a turnover/break a big one to counterbalance weak stats). Of course, some people execute like the Jets' D, and others execute like the Lions'. Everything in life is analogous to football...

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Knock
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby Knock » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:46 pm

DreamShake wrote:
username99 wrote:Sorry folks, but don't all of these personal statements sound exactly the same? "As I did something having to do with some wonderful experience, I knew law school was for me." I have some pretty great experience and I'm hoping to write a kick-ass essay, but is it even possible to write something unique when tens of thousands of intelligent people are applying and writing very similar things? I'm sorry if this sounds snarky at all. I'm completely serious with this question. What do you all think?



Virtually all have the same intent, but the gameplans and execution vary. Kinda like football...you can go with a limited number of formations (4-3/3-4/nickel/dime vs. adversity/experience/diversity), but the goal is pretty much the same (stop the offense/don't hurt yourself w a bad PS, or, in desperate situations, try to create a turnover/break a big one to counterbalance weak stats). Of course, some people execute like the Jets' D, and others execute like the Lions'. Everything in life is analogous to football...


Credited, but i'd widen the comparisons to sports in general :).

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dextermorgan
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby dextermorgan » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:48 pm

Now you know why law school admission hinges on LSAT/GPA.

d34d9823
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby d34d9823 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:49 pm

No, your experience is not likely to be unique in any way.

Yes, this is a great opportunity to demonstrate the quality and creativity of your writing and subtly gloss over any weaknesses in your application.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:08 pm

username99 wrote:Sorry folks, but don't all of these personal statements sound exactly the same? "As I did something having to do with some wonderful experience, I knew law school was for me." I have some pretty great experience and I'm hoping to write a kick-ass essay, but is it even possible to write something unique when tens of thousands of intelligent people are applying and writing very similar things? I'm sorry if this sounds snarky at all. I'm completely serious with this question. What do you all think?


Yes, I completely get where you're coming from. Kids these days are super-ambitious to the point that if you've volunteered as part of an organization, you can guarantee that someone has founded a non-profit at the age of twelve. Or if you're Molecular Biology major with a 3.9, there's someone out there that has developed their own Biochemistry theory, and maintained a 4.2. "Accomplished" has become sup-par, and "exemplary" has become the standard.

However, I think the point of the PS is to turn the mundane to the profound. To make what's ordinary seem not-so-ordinary. It might be helpful to read the Personal Statements by "Haribo" and "Kretzy" in the PS Sample thread. When you actually think about the events they've chosen to write on, you realize they aren't all that spectacular. But it's the story, the way the tell it, that makes the events seem incredible.

Bumi
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby Bumi » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:10 pm

username99 wrote:Sorry folks, but don't all of these personal statements sound exactly the same? "As I did something having to do with some wonderful experience, I knew law school was for me." I have some pretty great experience and I'm hoping to write a kick-ass essay, but is it even possible to write something unique when tens of thousands of intelligent people are applying and writing very similar things? I'm sorry if this sounds snarky at all. I'm completely serious with this question. What do you all think?

All good essays are the same, especially for people just out of undergrad. But remember: all terrible essays are terrible in their own way. And there are a LOT of terrible essays.

The LSAT and GPA are your chances to shine. Unless your PS topic is spectacular because of your unbelievable personal experiences, your PS statement is your chance to not screw up. This goes for LOR too.

Bumi
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby Bumi » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:57 pm

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:However, I think the point of the PS is to turn the mundane to the profound. To make what's ordinary seem not-so-ordinary. It might be helpful to read the Personal Statements by "Haribo" and "Kretzy" in the PS Sample thread. When you actually think about the events they've chosen to write on, you realize they aren't all that spectacular. But it's the story, the way the tell it, that makes the events seem incredible.


Thank you for pointing these both out to me - I found them very interesting and learned a lot from both. I'd say that Haribo's personal experiences really are pretty exceptional, but there's a lot to take away from how she portrayed herself that could be helpful to even the most boring-seeming applicant.

Tonight I'm going to go read some more of the ones in that thread.

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bedefan
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Re: Aren't all of these the same damn essay?

Postby bedefan » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:15 pm

username99 wrote:Sorry folks, but don't all of these personal statements sound exactly the same? "As I did something having to do with some wonderful experience, I knew law school was for me." I have some pretty great experience and I'm hoping to write a kick-ass essay, but is it even possible to write something unique when tens of thousands of intelligent people are applying and writing very similar things? I'm sorry if this sounds snarky at all. I'm completely serious with this question. What do you all think?


I've noticed this too. A lot of them do sound the same. That's because (I'm going out on a limb here) a lot of the people applying to law school are good, but not very good, writers. The statements by very good writers have a significantly different feel to them, even if the structure you point is exactly the same as the structure in any other essay.

An essay by a very good writer practically screams of prudence, either a great wit or a sober mind, and eloquence: exactly what you want in a lawyer and a law student. Thus you can see why PS's make all the difference for YS, and why an unextraordinary PS will box you out of very top schools your numbers "should" get you into (Harvard, e.g.).

This "PS doesn't matter" sentiment seems very curious to me. If you're shooting for Yale or SLS, from everything I've seen, the PS usually seems to matter a great deal. The one thing I've seen in common among Yale and SLS admits (aside from stellar numbers) is a very good PS.

My takeaway from this: write the best damn essay I can.




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