Mentioning Religion

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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BigBuckey
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Mentioning Religion

Postby BigBuckey » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:02 am

What do you think? It was my faith in Christ that led me to academia in the first place.

_____Begin personal statement_____

I was raised on a farm by my dad, grandparents, and uncle; none of them worked outside of the home except my dad, who was and is a barber. My time as a child was spent working the soil and tending to the animals. My uncle studied computers and taught me much of what he learned. At a young age I was programming in BASIC and mastering MS-DOS. He continued to tutor me even after they moved to the city in 1993, leaving my dad and me to manage the property.

I wasn’t raised in a religious home. Nonetheless, I became a Christian in 2003. My wife and I got married in 2004 and had our first child, Zeke, in 2005. When Zeke was a few months old, I realized that my career in foodservice was not going to support our family. I decided to enroll at Amarillo College to study biblical theology and to evaluate my career goals. I learned how to study and interpret the Bible, write exegetical research papers, and study the Greek New Testament. During my last semester, I realized that I wanted to study law and be an attorney.

After graduating from Amarillo College, I transferred to West Texas A&M University to study political science. I chose political science because I felt that the classes would familiarize me with political systems and behavior. I soon became fascinated with the things that make America great—the Constitution, its framers, and the hard working men and women who have shaped this nation into what it is today. I took as many research projects as I could, studying in detail the life and policies of Ronald Reagan and the republicanism of Jean Calvin. I am working through publishing the work on Calvin in Politics, Bureaucracy, & Justice, West Texas A&M University’s journal for the social sciences.

The values that were instilled into me from a young age, such as hard work and dedication to family, have stuck with me my entire life. Throughout my college and university career, I have maintained a job and worked at least twenty hours per week. I took no less than twelve hours per semester. I was an excellent student at both institutions, remaining at the top of my class by studying diligently and putting effort into writing. At this time, I have three children and another on the way. My wife and children are my motivation to succeed and cause me to work even harder.

I was hired by Enviro-Ag Engineering in 2007 to build their website. My job was supposed to be temporary. Instead, I have become a valuable asset to the company. I have built the company website, provided support for over twenty employees and two offices by solving countless technical problems, and created a custom web-based time and project management system using Visual Basic, the .NET Framework 3.5, and Microsoft ASP.NET technology. I have written tens of thousands of lines of code, mastered new technologies as they have arisen, and rebuilt a server after a crash in one day with no loss of data. Enviro-Ag provides engineering, compliance, and permitting services to dairies and feedlots around the Texas panhandle and in the Stephenville area. These facilities produce thousands of tons of manure and millions of gallons of wastewater that they apply to their crops as fertilizer. While this certainly aids the plants by supplying an organic fertilizer, there are strict federal and state regulations concerning the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that can be applied in order to prevent groundwater contamination. I am currently in the final stages of implementing a web based data management solution for these facilities that will allow them to know how much nitrogen and phosphorus they have applied to date and how much they are allowed to apply. This system will not only save the dairy and feedlot industry time and money, it will aid in the prevention of groundwater contamination.

Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. I have the intellect, experience, and determination that is necessary to excel in a rigorous law school program. More importantly, I seek to obey Christ’s command by increasing my knowledge of the Constitution and its application and by helping people with their legal situations.


_____End personal statement_____

I am applying to schools like UT, SMU, Baylor, OU, Texas Tech, and other schools in the area. I have a 3.8 and made a 156 on the LSAT.

Burger in a can
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby Burger in a can » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:06 am

I advise against it.

hijodehombre
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby hijodehombre » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:11 am

It doesn't really explain how faith leads you to law, with the exception of:

BigBuckey wrote:I seek to obey Christ’s command by increasing my knowledge of the Constitution and its application and by helping people with their legal situations.


A very bold statement to say the least.

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NU_Jet55
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby NU_Jet55 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:05 am

The best advice I can give you is to not waste your money on an app fee to UT with a 156 LSAT.

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Anastasia Dee Dualla
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby Anastasia Dee Dualla » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:18 am

First, to answer your question, religion can have a place in a personal statement when it is very well done.

Your personal statement is very weak. There are several grammar issues, sentence structure issues, elementary writing style, and finally some redundancy. For example "my dad and me?" These simple issues must be fixed first if you are going to have hope with a personal statement addressing a "controversial" issue like religion.

I hope my comments are helpful and don't come across as rude, but you need some serious grammar work on the essay. Maybe post in the "share my personal statement thread" and see if someone will help you edit.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:26 am

This reads like a resume with one of those funny baptists tracts stapled to the very end.

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esq
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby esq » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:47 am

I think that if this is authentically who you are, letting them know who they are going to get with a PS like this is at least honest. A school like Baylor, in fact, might actually like the fact that you are devoutly religious, as they are notoriously conservative and might like this aspect about you - you also have numbers that fit them a bit better, 156 is their 25%. I'm not religious, but I know that many Christians like you believe that wearing your religion on your sleeve is an act of faith that you will actually be rewarded for. Give it a shot. See how it works. And good luck with your application cycle.

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NU_Jet55
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby NU_Jet55 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:52 am

esq wrote:I'm not religious, but I know that many Christians like you believe that wearing your religion on your sleeve is an act of faith that you will actually be rewarded for. Give it a shot. See how it works. And good luck with your application cycle.


You don't say.

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bk1
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby bk1 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:21 am

Ignoring the elephant in the room, this is a pretty bad PS.

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romothesavior
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby romothesavior » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:37 am

bk1 wrote:Ignoring the elephant in the room, this is a pretty bad PS.


I agree.

OP, there doesn't seem to be a unifying theme here. After reading it, I really don't take anything away about you as a person. You're a conservative, Christian, Texan with kids who worked for a few years, but that really doesn't distinguish you from the millions of other people just like you. Who are you as a person? Why should they admit you?

There is nothing wrong with having a standard, relatively bland personal statement, so long as you have good enough numbers for the schools you're applying for. But if you are going to go the run-of-the-mill-PS route, you need to play it safe. This PS has uber-conservative Christian written all over it... aka not safe. To be honest, when I read this, I thought it was written by some Glenn Beck-loving Tea Party activist. If that's who you are, fine. But your goal here is to get admitted to law school, so if that requires you to tone down the religious/political message, then you need to do it.

As to your original question... A brief mention of religion is fine. Saying that Christ commands you to learn about the Constitution? Probably not so much.

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Deuce
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby Deuce » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:44 am

I'm not religious[/size][/b], but I know that many Christians like you believe that wearing your religion on your sleeve is an act of faith that you will actually be rewarded for. Give it a shot. See how it works. And good luck with your application cycle.

[/quote]

If I were an adcomm, I literally would begin laughing at the "christ commands me to do this" line and move on to another applicant. I know that comes off as offensive but I'm just trying to be honest with you. There is a difference between wearing your religion on your sleeve and awkwardly forcing on another person who probably doesn't care to hear about it.

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dooterdude11
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby dooterdude11 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:52 am

bk1 wrote:Ignoring the elephant in the room, this is a pretty bad PS.


This is unproductive, rude and has no place in a forum for constructive criticism.

Why, oh why, be a dick?

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bk1
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby bk1 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:04 am

dooterdude11 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Ignoring the elephant in the room, this is a pretty bad PS.


This is unproductive, rude and has no place in a forum for constructive criticism.

Why, oh why, be a dick?


Really? I was not being a dick at all. There were tons of nasty ways that I could have wanted to put it, but I didn't.

Horrible writing, all over the place, resume regurgitation, should I continue the reasons why this PS is bad outside of topic?

d34d9823
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby d34d9823 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:07 am

dooterdude11 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Ignoring the elephant in the room, this is a pretty bad PS.


This is unproductive, rude and has no place in a forum for constructive criticism.

Why, oh why, be a dick?

Seriously? It actually is a fairly poor PS even aside from the religious stuff. You would think the OP would rather hear that from us than apply with it.

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sophia.olive
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby sophia.olive » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:45 am

dooterdude11 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Ignoring the elephant in the room, this is a pretty bad PS.


This is unproductive, rude and has no place in a forum for constructive criticism.

Why, oh why, be a dick?

I thought it was the most helpful post........
Next to one that just stated, RETAKE........(maybe god will help you) lol jk ......hum .... sorry ......... :oops:

tgedamu
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby tgedamu » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:20 pm

Hi,
I think you had a pretty good personal statement going for about half the way in. You kinda loose interest half way through when you start talking about manure and stuff. Maybe you shouldn't be that technical.

DreamShake
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby DreamShake » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:12 pm

-The essay reads like a resume (big no-no). All your experience with computers and programming should constitute no more than 2 sentences.
-You provide no insight into your character other than the fact that you are a dedicated christian, which is presented in an annoying fashion. The last paragraph is a complete turn-off--nobody who will read your statement will care what jesus said (except, as another poster stated, perhaps a Baylor adcomm).
-The essay is generally boring.

Religion can successfully integrated into a PS, but it must be done delicately. As is, it's crudely and irrelevantly included.

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Knock
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby Knock » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:13 pm

Burger in a can wrote:I advise against it.

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dooterdude11
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby dooterdude11 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:14 pm

bk1 wrote:
dooterdude11 wrote:
bk1 wrote:Ignoring the elephant in the room, this is a pretty bad PS.


This is unproductive, rude and has no place in a forum for constructive criticism.

Why, oh why, be a dick?


Really? I was not being a dick at all. There were tons of nasty ways that I could have wanted to put it, but I didn't.

Horrible writing, all over the place, resume regurgitation, should I continue the reasons why this PS is bad outside of topic?


It's not helpful just to say: "it's bad." What's bad? Examples? He needs to know what kind of changes to make in re-writing it.

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merichard87
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby merichard87 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:33 pm

I agree with the other posters. This is a very weak personal statement.

I usually advise against writing a personal statement like this (taking treks down memory lane to talk about why you want to study law) but even if you wanted to this PS is not written well. The religious aspects in it really don't have a reason for being there. It would probably flow better just talking about your work ethic from growing up on a farm than to talk about religious beliefs. Also, this PS doesn't have a cohesive flow. It just reads very badly.

Also, I wouldn't apply to OU unless you were ok with moving to Oklahoma but I do think Tech and Baylor are worth the app. Don't waste your time or money with UT and probably not SMu

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oshberg28
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby oshberg28 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:42 pm

Knockglock wrote:
Burger in a can wrote:I advise against it.


Not if you're applying to BC, Georgetown, SLU, ND - think about it.

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Knock
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby Knock » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:43 pm

oshberg28 wrote:
Knockglock wrote:
Burger in a can wrote:I advise against it.


Not if you're applying to BC, Georgetown, SLU, ND - think about it.


Well for religious-affiliated schools I suppose it wouldn't be a horrible idea. Although exactly how religious is Georgetown? I didn't think it was on the same level as say ND.

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Hannibal
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby Hannibal » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:46 pm

I think it would be useful if you were, say, a Zoroastrian or a Jainist cause that could double as a diversity statement. But yeah...I would definitely advise against this.

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oshberg28
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby oshberg28 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:47 pm

Knockglock wrote:
oshberg28 wrote:
Knockglock wrote:
Burger in a can wrote:I advise against it.


Not if you're applying to BC, Georgetown, SLU, ND - think about it.


Well for religious-affiliated schools I suppose it wouldn't be a horrible idea. Although exactly how religious is Georgetown? I didn't think it was on the same level as say ND.


Georgetown is Jesuit - probably not as religious as ND, but definitely religious.
Last edited by oshberg28 on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Mentioning Religion

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:48 pm

Anastasia Dee Dualla wrote:First, to answer your question, religion can have a place in a personal statement when it is very well done.

Your personal statement is very weak. There are several grammar issues, sentence structure issues, elementary writing style, and finally some redundancy. For example "my dad and me?" These simple issues must be fixed first if you are going to have hope with a personal statement addressing a "controversial" issue like religion.

I hope my comments are helpful and don't come across as rude, but you need some serious grammar work on the essay. Maybe post in the "share my personal statement thread" and see if someone will help you edit.

This. There are a lot of comments about this PS being weak, and not because it mentions religion, it's just a weak PS.

Maybe you should focus a lot more on your life on the farm? Even in Texas that's going to be a relatively rare thing from an applicant, and if you can talk about how your experience working soil and tending to animals as a child has shaped your worldview today, or something, that would be a lot more interesting.




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