First draft of PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
therandom9
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Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:38 am

First draft of PS

Postby therandom9 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:21 pm

Hey, this is my current personal statement. If you look it over and have a PS of your own you want feedback on, post a link or PM me and I'll check it out.

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At all times in life, I have a label for myself in my head.  If I’m doing well in school, I’m analytical.  When my life was devoted to track, I was an athlete.  Working in education, I’m a teacher.  But it was only when I gave up trying to find the right label that I was finally free to pursue law, the path that lets me combine all my interests.

 My love of analysis goes back to my childhood.   I loved taking systems apart and learning as much as I could about them.  At the age of three, I wanted to know how books worked, so I asked my mom what the letters sounded like until I could read.  At the age of 14, I wanted to know how computers worked, so I taught myself to program.  And when I took a year off during college, I decided to teach myself Russian, then tested into fifth-semester Russian when I returned to school.  So I dismantled it, learned its ins and outs, and was speaking fluently a year later.  When I get interested in a topic, it takes over my life, and I don't stop until I understand it.

At the same time I was pursuing these projects, a totally different side of me was at work 3-5 hours each day.  I do not like losing.  When I discovered long-distance running in high school, this drive found an outlet.  I fell in love, both with the hard, monotonous grind, and the thrill of besting my competitors.  Beyond winning, I craved the feeling of running a faster time than I had ever run, of moving up the invisible pecking order of times that all runners are aware of.  For eight years, I cranked out as many miles as my body would allow.

The idea of law school entered my head at times, which is natural.  Law schools have never suffered from a dearth of analytical people with highly competitive streaks.  But even as I enjoyed my experiences working in law, primarily helping my father’s firm in a complex jury trial one summer, I laughed off the idea of law as a career.  The label just didn’t fit me; I didn’t want to call myself a lawyer.

And then I found a new interest.  Soon after graduation, I moved to the Ukraine, and became an English teacher.  I had always thought of teaching as an exercise in explanation.  But that only scratches the surface.  Education is a kind of pragmatic performance.   I will never forget the feeling of my first day in front of a class.  The rush of controlling a room of people was addictive.  But once the rush wears off, you have to use that energy, and find ways to make your students learn.  Teaching is about building relationships; it's a non-negotiable job requirement.  If your students don't connect with you they don't learn.  And it was this feeling of connection that really hooked me.  I was proud to be a teacher.

At the same time, I missed the challenge and stresses of my former pursuits.  It wasn’t until late 2009 that I saw a solution.  I was in New Orleans on a business meeting, talking with a plaintiff’s attorney there.  Over lunch, he described his legal approach to me.  I was struck by its similarity to my experience as a teacher.  Each of us was telling a story to an audience.  We had a set of facts and an analysis of those facts that we needed our audience to grasp.  I already knew that law would allow me the opportunity to analyze and compete, but was teaching there as well?

This encounter was not my road to Damascus.  And I did not develop a sudden desire to become a plaintiff’s attorney.  Rather, I began to think back on previous experiences.  The times when my interests had felt most unified always involved law in some way, whether working on litigation, justifying a business proposal to legal counsel, or helping a friend work through a contractual situation with the business he had founded.  I realized that an entire field I had dismissed as “law” actually synthesized my main interests, and I had unfairly written it off. 

CanadianWolf
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Re: First draft of PS

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:32 pm

With a 179 LSAT score & a 3.4 GPA, your personal statement may receive close scrutiny. As your essay is not well written & offers scant meaningful insight, it is unlikely to help your cause of getting admitted to top law schools.

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Excellence = a Habit
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Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:15 pm

Re: First draft of PS

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:21 pm

^^ Agreed. The different paragraphs feel very disconnected and I don't feel like I'm learning much about you. However, it seems likely that you can salvage useful stuff from this draft. Elaborating on your teaching experience is the most obvious. The comparison between teaching and practicing law is worthwhile, if you can build it out a little more. How about a story about learning to connect with students as a teacher by telling a story, and then meeting this plaintiff attorney dude and realizing the parallels between the two?

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2807
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Re: First draft of PS

Postby 2807 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:38 pm

If you have taught in the Ukraine, been in New Orleans for a buisness trip, interned in a fathers law firm, and analyzed your experiences the way you convey--- I think you can write a much more powerful PS.

Drop the focus on the negatives of a law focus in your past. Just talk about the draw and the desire you have, it is good! The contrast you are trying to show is not helping. Drop it.

Take that Ukraine experience, and pull from that to convey the main focus-- which is "Law school represents a perfect synergy of your passions, goals and abilities"

Yes, you can use that. You're welcome.

therandom9
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:38 am

Re: First draft of PS

Postby therandom9 » Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:03 pm

Excellence = a Habit wrote:^^ Agreed. The different paragraphs feel very disconnected and I don't feel like I'm learning much about you. However, it seems likely that you can salvage useful stuff from this draft. Elaborating on your teaching experience is the most obvious. The comparison between teaching and practicing law is worthwhile, if you can build it out a little more. How about a story about learning to connect with students as a teacher by telling a story, and then meeting this plaintiff attorney dude and realizing the parallels between the two?


Ok, I like that.

Is it necessary/useful at the end to state an explicit connection to wanting to go to law school?

Thanks for the help, personal statements are NOT my preferred form of communication.

EDIT: I know which stories to use now, thanks a lot on the feedback as to what would be interesting from this mess.

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: First draft of PS

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:32 am

therandom9 wrote:
Is it necessary/useful at the end to state an explicit connection to wanting to go to law school?.


Opinions vary on whether it's necessary. I think in your case, if your statement is already largely about discovering that you want to practice law, it will be pretty obvious that you want to go to law school, and why. However, you've got to end it somehow, and if nothing more creative comes to mind, it seems like a pretty solid fallback.




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