First Draft of Personal Statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
kayljsh
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby kayljsh » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:05 pm

Thanks for any and all help you guys!
I'm a 3.5, 175, applying to UVA ED as a Virginia resident.

So with no further ado...


How do you connect cauliflower and windmills? My father and I used to play the connection game every night before I went to bed. He would come up with two seemingly unrelated objects, ideas, or people, and it was my job to figure out a link between them. We thought of it as a more intellectual “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Sometimes I saw the relationship immediately, other times I needed a few days of research before I could report back.
I don’t remember how the game started, but I do know that it reflects my ever present desire to learn. The game my father created was an excuse to read up on obscure topics but the truth is: I would have done it anyway. I was fortunate enough to attend a Montessori school for most of my childhood, so during the school year my teachers encouraged me to explore whatever interested me. During the extended break from school that summer offered, I quenched my third for knowledge with weekly projects that I’d assign my brother and myself. The topics varied wildly: one week we’d be reading up on dolphins, visiting the Baltimore aquarium, and watching as much animal planet as we could. The very next week we’d be teaching ourselves HTML and disassembling an old Macintosh classic that my parents had hidden away in the attic.
It wasn’t until much later, my freshman year at [college] to be exact, that I really began to understand what the silly game my father and I had always played was really about. In a basic psychology class we explored the concept of memory, and the importance of forming a web of knowledge. Making these connections between seemingly disparate ideas is one of the best ways to learn.
Today my favorite classes are those which I can easily relate to one another. Nothing brings me more pleasure than to be in a class on the politics of North Korea and be able to discuss their trade imbalance (with background knowledge from my international trade class) or the devastation of flooding on their crops (with information from a semester of botany). This passion for learning has led me to take several extra classes during my time at [college]. When people ask why I’m taking five classes rather than the typical four, they’re usually shocked to learn I’m not a double major. For some reason the simple statement “because I want to learn,” elicits giggles.
I see law school as a natural extension of my desire to link various interests. As a biology major I realized early on that I was not interested in research or medical school like many of my peers. Rather than making discoveries myself, I’m interested in pursuing intellectual property law so that I can protect the advances that others make.
Incidentally cauliflower and windmills was a relatively easy connection for me to make. Francois Pierre de la Varenne introduced cauliflower to the French in his landmark cookbook “Le Cuisinier Francois.” De la Varenne was born in Burgundy, France where the Habsburgs rose to power. Later the Habsburg court would be moved to Brussels, where I saw my very first windmill.

Thanks so much, I'd definitely be willing to give other people my opinions on theirs, especially if you link.

User avatar
ShuckingNotJiving
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:24 am

Re: First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:38 pm

kayljsh wrote:Thanks for any and all help you guys!
I'm a 3.5, 175, applying to UVA ED as a Virginia resident.

So with no further ado...


How do you connect cauliflower and windmills? My father and I used to play the connection game every night before I went to bed. He would come up with two seemingly unrelated objects, ideas, or people, and it was my job to figure out a link between them. We thought of it as a more intellectual “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Sometimes I saw the relationship immediately, other times I needed a few days of research before I could report back.
I don’t remember how the game started, but I do know that it reflects my ever present desire to learn. The game my father created was an excuse to read up on obscure topics but the truth is: I would have done it anyway. I was fortunate enough to attend a Montessori school for most of my childhood, so during the school year my teachers encouraged me to explore whatever interested me. During the extended break from school that summer offered, I quenched my third for knowledge with weekly projects that I’d assign my brother and myself. The topics varied wildly: one week we’d be reading up on dolphins, visiting the Baltimore aquarium, and watching as much animal planet as we could. The very next week we’d be teaching ourselves HTML and disassembling an old Macintosh classic that my parents had hidden away in the attic.
It wasn’t until much later, my freshman year at [college] to be exact, that I really began to understand what the silly game my father and I had always played was really about. In a basic psychology class we explored the concept of memory, and the importance of forming a web of knowledge. Making these connections between seemingly disparate ideas is one of the best ways to learn.
Today my favorite classes are those which I can easily relate to one another. Nothing brings me more pleasure than to be in a class on the politics of North Korea and be able to discuss their trade imbalance (with background knowledge from my international trade class) or the devastation of flooding on their crops (with information from a semester of botany). This passion for learning has led me to take several extra classes during my time at [college]. When people ask why I’m taking five classes rather than the typical four, they’re usually shocked to learn I’m not a double major. For some reason the simple statement “because I want to learn,” elicits giggles.
I see law school as a natural extension of my desire to link various interests. As a biology major I realized early on that I was not interested in research or medical school like many of my peers. Rather than making discoveries myself, I’m interested in pursuing intellectual property law so that I can protect the advances that others make.
Incidentally cauliflower and windmills was a relatively easy connection for me to make. Francois Pierre de la Varenne introduced cauliflower to the French in his landmark cookbook “Le Cuisinier Francois.” De la Varenne was born in Burgundy, France where the Habsburgs rose to power. Later the Habsburg court would be moved to Brussels, where I saw my very first windmill.

Thanks so much, I'd definitely be willing to give other people my opinions on theirs, especially if you link.


It'd be nice to understand your thesis. this draft is all over the place, a bit thrown together. it seems to me like you need to spend more time with it. decide what you want to say, how you want to convey who you are to the reader.

User avatar
ERPM
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:32 pm

Re: First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby ERPM » Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:40 pm

"During the extended break from school that summer offered, I quenched my thirst for knowledge with weekly projects that I’d assign my brother and myself."

The impression I got from your PS was that "I am doing law because it is something else for me to do." The only line that seems to speak otherwise is your line about the patent law, so I think you should expand on this point. I agree with the previous poster that it is a little haphazard. I think by focusing on why you want to go into patent law, you may be able to flush out a thesis.

Hope this helps a little bit.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:09 pm

This essay won't help your law school applications, in my opinion. Your attempt at letting the reader understand you fails primarily because the connection between windmills & cauliflower is so convoluted that it makes the entire writing seem disjointed & suggests that you are trying too hard to be clever. As written, your personal statement is more appropriate for one wanting to become a librarian than for one seeking admission to law school. The overall impression is of a child seeking parental approval & praise for being inquisitive.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
plenipotentiary
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:13 pm

Re: First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby plenipotentiary » Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:15 pm

Overall, I think your PS is cute. The bit where people ask why you're taking five classes is kind of douchey, so I would take it out. I would probably also take out the bit about the Montessori school, because it doesn't add any value and makes you sound overprivileged. Most schools have summer breaks; there's no reason for you to specify which kind you attended. And I wouldn't end with the reference back to your opening. Instead, perhaps expand on your interest in patent law.

(And, with your numbers, don't you want to take a shot at CCN?)

User avatar
p_r
Posts: 49
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:35 pm

Re: First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby p_r » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:42 am

ERPM wrote:"During the extended break from school that summer offered, I quenched my thirst for knowledge with weekly projects that I’d assign my brother and myself."

Shouldn't there also be a "to" between "assign" and "my"?

kayljsh
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby kayljsh » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:48 pm

Thanks for your thoughts you guys. Basically what you said is kind of what I thought too, I'm just getting SO frustrated trying to write this. I TOTALLY reworked it, and go to my desire to practice patent law in a really different way. I think this set up is a little less confusing/cutesy than the previous way, do you agree? Having to take on the last paragraph about cauliflower/windmills was very awkward, and I didn't like it.

Is this PS any more effective?


I can’t smell skunks. For years I thought this was an extraordinary gift, after all my friend Mollie, owner of the self-titled “super sniffer,” frequently informed me that I wasn’t missing out on much. I figured I was kind of like Daredevil, the blind superhero who developed a radar sense. Although I had a terrible sense of smell, surely my other sense would be working hard to compensate. This illusion was shattered pretty quickly when I was informed that not only was I going to have to wear glasses for the rest of my life but I was also tone deaf. My hopes of becoming a superhero flew out the window- what can you do with a great sense of touch or taste?
Fortunately, as I grew up superhero slid further back on my career aspirations list. I got contacts, stayed away from musical instruments, and learned to wrinkle my nose with everyone else. My poor sense of smell simply became a funny tidbit of information that I trotted out during obligatory first day of class introductions. I so looked forward to that first day that frequently during the summer I’d imagine myself in school.
During the extended academic break that summer brings, I entertained myself, and my somewhat reluctant brother, with weekly projects. The topics varied wildly: one week we’d be reading up on dolphins, visiting the Baltimore aquarium, and watching as much animal planet as we could. The very next week we’d be teaching ourselves HTML and disassembling an old Macintosh classic that my parents had hidden away in the attic. Despite my inquisitive nature, it never occurred to me to look into the root of my smelling problem.
As it turns out, the bad odor that skunks release is due to the presence of mercaptans, or more formally thiols. I discovered the source of the scent during an introductory organic chemistry class. As I was preparing a titration Sookie, my lab partner, grew increasingly concerned about the smell emanating from our test tubes. Fortunately our professor soon reassured us that thiols were an important byproduct of the reaction. Upon confessing that I didn’t notice the smell, my professor seemed surprised, then suggested further research. A quick search later and I had my answer – specific anosmia, or more precisely a rare autosomal recessive anosmia to mercaptans.
Although the nature of my genetic abnormality is, in the grand scheme of things, trivial, I recognize that others are not nearly so fortunate. Throughout multiple genetic and molecular biology classes I’ve learned all about the multitude of ways our DNA can fail us. Sometimes the results are evident at birth and sometimes they don’t show up for decades. Critical advances made by geneticists have allowed exponential growth in the ability to both predict and treat such conditions. As a biology major I realized early on that my peers future goals, primarily research and medical school, did not align with mine. Rather than make discoveries, I hope to study intellectual property law to protect the work of others.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:58 pm

This is a much better essay, but the last line needs accompainment or a slight introduction. Just one more law related sentence should be enough. Great first line. (Also good that it wasn't referring to lawyers.)

kayljsh
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby kayljsh » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:06 pm

Okay thank you so much! I'm definitely aware that this needs polishing up, (and better transitions, i'm not a good transitioner) but I wanted kind of general thoughts on the topic so I didn't waste too much time trying to polish something that wasn't going to work at all.

(I also can't smell farts, and my friends all thought that was a hysterical first line, but perhaps too silly for a PS)

User avatar
samsonyte16
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:52 pm

Re: First Draft of Personal Statement

Postby samsonyte16 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:28 pm

I liked both, maybe the first one more than the second. It didn't strike me as scatterbrained. I thought it was well written and interesting.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.