PS topic

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
sarahlawg
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Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm

PS topic

Postby sarahlawg » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:55 am

Hi, let me start of with my stats:
GPA: 3.8 (undergrad in psychology)
LSAT: 163 (retaking in 2 weeks - average on PTs 169)
I will be applying to Boston U, Georgetown, George Washington, Boston C, and some other schools.
softs: I am in Teach for America teaching preschool; I work for TfA as a learning team leader leading fellow teachers in their professional development; I have been working 2 and 3 jobs at a time since I was 15, but had some psychology relevant work experience in college; some club memberships.. nothing amazing.

I feel like I have a lot of experiences I could write about, but just not sure which one is appropriate. Here are some ideas:

1) the death of my father last year. He had a short-lived battle with cirrhosis of the liver, and died at 56. I was the power of attorney in his life who ordered him to be taken off life support. I would talk about why my dad chose me for this, and how despite this tragedy, I have persevered with my students/in life for the last year.
2) my study abroad experience to Italy and traveling by myself, being far from home, and without the ability to speak Italian. Also about how I raised money in order to go.
3) my experience in Teach for America and how I have grown working with impoverish, mostly Hispanic families, as well as the strides I made with my students last year.
4) my childhood. I grew up lower-middle class, my parents got divorced and my mom lost her job (who I was living with) for a couple years (food stamps, Catholic Charities, the whole bit), my sister was in and out of mental hospitals, and I was in a bad car accident when I was 15, resulting in some physical and a lot mental (attitude) changes.
5) My relationship with my mother and how it has evolved over time. She has mental issues herself, is an alcoholic and was a heavy drug users most of my life.

I need some focus here... I really don't want to write a PS that says wah wah my life has been so hard. I also don't want to ignore the challenges I have overcome. Any suggestions? If I go bleeding heart, I will need advice later on how to keep it positive and focused on my strengths ;)

Thanks for any help!

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kazu
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Re: PS topic

Postby kazu » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:10 pm

Personally, I would choose 1 for the PS, and 4/5 could work for a separate DS.

However, I really think that going through some mental purging is useful when writing your PS. Don't think about structure or whatnot and just write exactly what comes to mind, and see what comes out regarding each topic. This helped me a lot when coming up with my own PS.

sarahlawg
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Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: PS topic

Postby sarahlawg » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:22 pm

Thanks for the advice. #1 is obviously very emotional for me, and a bit hard to write, but I think it could come out as very real and honest. I'm a little worried about the sensitivity of the topic - taking someone off of life-support... not sure if that's very controversial or not... Also, there's a lot of story that goes along with it, but I'm not sure what I'll have to cut out. I'll get cracking on it and then swap it/ask for advice on it when it's in its rough stage.

blsingindisguise
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Re: PS topic

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:32 pm

Choose the one that you can most convincingly tie into wanting to practice law. A law school statement is a little different than a college statement, in that adcoms don't just want an "interesting person" but a committed law student.

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kazu
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Re: PS topic

Postby kazu » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:36 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:Choose the one that you can most convincingly tie into wanting to practice law. A law school statement is a little different than a college statement, in that adcoms don't just want an "interesting person" but a committed law student.


I don't necessarily agree with the above, in that I don't think "Why law" is essential for an effective PS. However, TLS-ers vary on this, so in the end it's your call.

blsingindisguise
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Re: PS topic

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:41 pm

I don't mean the topic has to be "why law", I just don't think it should be something unconnected to your reasons for attending law school. If you write about all the great mountain hiking experience you've had, for example, you may have written a nice essay on your love of nature but you've done nothing to convince an ad com why they should admit you, why you'll make a good law student and a good lawyer. Such information might be of more interest to a college, which is more interested in creating a diverse and interesting student body.

sarahlawg
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Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:59 pm

Re: PS topic

Postby sarahlawg » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:42 pm

kazu wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:Choose the one that you can most convincingly tie into wanting to practice law. A law school statement is a little different than a college statement, in that adcoms don't just want an "interesting person" but a committed law student.


I don't necessarily agree with the above, in that I don't think "Why law" is essential for an effective PS. However, TLS-ers vary on this, so in the end it's your call.



I've read the varying opinions on it, and I've read some outstanding PSs without mention of the law or the prospective law school. I do want to mention strengths that adcomms are looking for and highlight them throughout my PS and hope they make the leap from one situation where I had x qualities to me being in law school exhibiting the same qualities.
Some of the schools I want to apply to - BU, in fact, I believe - do require mentioning why law, so I will make appropriate changes per application requirements.

blsingindisguise
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Re: PS topic

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:44 pm

Right, I mean you can highlight qualities that a law school is looking for without explicitly doing that topic. But you should go for mature, serious, disciplined, able to deal with difficulty, etc.

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kazu
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Re: PS topic

Postby kazu » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:53 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:Right, I mean you can highlight qualities that a law school is looking for without explicitly doing that topic. But you should go for mature, serious, disciplined, able to deal with difficulty, etc.

Of course - I guess I misread your original statement. However I think all of the topics OP mentioned will highlight those aspects so I don't think that'll be much of an issue. In the end we're probably saying the same thing though :wink:




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