Revised Personal Statement

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goodmank
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Revised Personal Statement

Postby goodmank » Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:47 pm

Based on feedback I have rewritten. Please provide comments. Thanks in advance.


I was 24 years old when I became a garbage man. I was a high school dropout and was barely able to muster the desire to obtain a GED. Looking back though, I do not believe that it was true desire; instead it was the encouragement from my parents that motivated me to obtain my GED. After all, no one in my family had a high school diploma and few had a GED. Needless to say, my parents were proud of that accomplishment and even more so after I obtained a job with my City’s trash department.

Working on the back of a garbage truck was the most physically demanding job that I ever had in my life. My daily route consisted of collecting about 20 tons of garbage every day. I always looked forward to the cooler months because that was the only time that the job seemed to be tolerable. However, when the summer months came, things would quickly change. The heat from the sun’s illuminating rays always seemed to be seeking me out. The heat would get so intense that my standard issue red uniform shirt would turn white because of the salt leaving my perspiring body. There was also the trash itself that I had to deal with. There were large heavy trash bags, couches, chairs, fence panels, concrete, and many other items that I had to load into the trash truck by hand. There were many days that I could not eat lunch because the rancid odor from the trash would get on my clothes and cause me to lose my appetite. With all that I had to deal with, I also had plenty of time throughout my days of riding on the back of that garbage truck to let my mind wonder. I would wonder about things that you or anyone else at the age of 24 might wonder about. But mostly, I would wonder about what I did or failed to do in my life that caused me to end up on the back of that garbage truck.

My step dad (my real dad died of pneumonia when I was 7) always told me that there was nothing shameful about being a garbage man; however, I knew that I wanted something more out of life. I do not know what caused me to have this new found motivation. It could have been simply the overall physical demand of being a garbage man, or it may have been a specific occurrence like the time that my leg had to be stitched up because one of my customers put a broken pane of glass into his plastic trash bag. Whatever the reason, I was determined to get off of the back of that garbage truck. I focused on thoroughness, customer satisfaction, and any specialized training that my supervisor would offer to me. It was not long before I began to consistently outperform my coworkers and was promoted into a supervisory position. My new responsibilities included supervising about 30 employees and managing a fleet of about 20 solid waste collection vehicles. Yet, I still found myself with time to wonder; only now I was in my own private office instead of on the rear of a garbage truck. Many times I would stare out of my office window and think of what I could have accomplished had I gone to college. After all, I would think to myself, look at what you have accomplished as a high school dropout. Suddenly I found myself with a desire to attend college.

I enrolled at the University of North Texas and began work on my bachelor degree in business. During my studies of business law I realized that I have a passion for law and I now know that my place in this world is not as a garbage man but as an attorney. I have researched the law schools in my area and have determined that [INSERT SCHOOL HERE] offers everything I will need to become a skillful and successful attorney. I am particularly interested in cases that involve people who have been falsely accused of a crime and I can further pursue that interest through the [INSERT PROGRAM HERE]. In addition, by being located close to my home and offering an evening program, [INSERT SCHOOL HERE] will enable me to obtain a law degree while I attend to both my family and work responsibilities. I have learned through my personal life experiences that one can achieve their goals if they truly put forth the effort and I believe that my background will aid in diversifying my class.

cyxdev17
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby cyxdev17 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:58 pm

Overall it has potential as a topic, but I think it needs some major work. Here are my suggestions:

Don't focus on the details of your job as a garbage collector. It's pretty easy to imagine what you do, and you spend an entire paragraph on it and it doesn't really add anything to your message.

Focus more on your transition to becoming a supervisor and how that shows who you are. This should be a key paragraph (or two) in your essay.

You just say that you switched from business to law without giving any more details. What made you interested in law? Based on the way you wrote it, you could use this PS for any type of professional school and just say you changed your mind from going into business to going into X profession.

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Marionberry
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby Marionberry » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:05 pm

I really like the first sentence, for whatever reason. It's so unpretentious that it really stands out from most PS introductions. If I were an adcomm, that alone would be enough to capture my interest.

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maroonzoon
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby maroonzoon » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:49 pm

I completely disagree with one of the above posters. There are very few people who know what it's like being a garbage collection person. I would introduce yourself with those details first, then go into your history. I would also not point-blank say that you didn't want to get a GED. Talk about why you weren't motivated instead, but spin it into something where you overcome your challenges.

Going to college must have been a dream come true, and you worked toward it. Make it more obvious how big of a change or impact on your life that was. You have a very unique experience that has the makings of an amazing personal statement. Keep working at it, and tease out the details/perspective/feelings you had during those times.

Another thing - your transition into your interest in law is kind of forced. It'll have to be more organic...also it's obvious that you would be replacing the names of schools with other names.

cyxdev17
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby cyxdev17 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:52 am

maroonzoon wrote:I completely disagree with one of the above posters. There are very few people who know what it's like being a garbage collection person. I would introduce yourself with those details first, then go into your history. I would also not point-blank say that you didn't want to get a GED. Talk about why you weren't motivated instead, but spin it into something where you overcome your challenges.

Going to college must have been a dream come true, and you worked toward it. Make it more obvious how big of a change or impact on your life that was. You have a very unique experience that has the makings of an amazing personal statement. Keep working at it, and tease out the details/perspective/feelings you had during those times.

Another thing - your transition into your interest in law is kind of forced. It'll have to be more organic...also it's obvious that you would be replacing the names of schools with other names.


Ok, after rereading that paragraph more carefully, I take back what I wrote. What I should have emphasized was that I felt like you didn't elaborate on your experience after you decided to go to college enough. You give the bare facts, but it would be helpful to reflect more on the significance of turning your life around.

I didn't mean to sound presumptuous when I wrote that it would be easy to imagine what your job was life -- sorry about that.

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goodmank
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby goodmank » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:52 am

Thanks everyone. I will keep working on it.

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DavidYurman85
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby DavidYurman85 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:04 pm

best opening line in a ps i've ever read. cleaning up some of the ambiguous sentences/phrases will help it read better. ie: "i don't know what caused me to have this new found motivation.."

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tea_drinker
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby tea_drinker » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:47 pm

I think you can make a good PS out of your story.

Some of my thoughts:
-In the second paragraph, you need to get to the conclusion, which is "But mostly, I would wonder about what I did or failed to do in my life that caused me to end up on the back of that garbage truck," faster. People know your background from the opening statement, and they know you are applying to law school. It is certain that you have changed, so save some room to talk about how being a manager led you to the study of business law in undergrad, and subsequently, to you want to help people that have been falsely accused (which seem hard to link back to the business law that you were/are studying).

-By no mean omit the description of you being a garbage man. Keep it! That makes your statement strong. But gather them all in one paragraph and be concise. Throw in some more self-questioning moments, but less the descriptive language.

Hope this is helpful.

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goodmank
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby goodmank » Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:45 pm

Great feedback. Thanks everyone.

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Marionberry
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby Marionberry » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:39 pm

One more thought, at one point you say something about getting a job with your city's "Trash department". I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm willing to bet that it's not called the "City of X Department of Trash". I would replace it with waste management or whatever. :)

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bk1
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby bk1 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:41 pm

DavidYurman85 wrote:best opening line in a ps i've ever read.


Agreeing with David and Marionberry on this.

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Marionberry
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby Marionberry » Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:44 pm

bk1 wrote:
DavidYurman85 wrote:best opening line in a ps i've ever read.


Agreeing with David and Marionberry on this.


I still laugh every time I read it. Not that being a garbage man is funny necessarily, it's just so honest.

GettingReady2010
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Re: Revised Personal Statement

Postby GettingReady2010 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:51 pm

"My daily route consisted of collecting about 20 tons of garbage every day." I haven't read through the comments, so I don't know if anyone caught that yet.




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