Topic - Too risky?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
amkid100
Posts: 254
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:02 pm

Topic - Too risky?

Postby amkid100 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:01 pm

Like others on here, I'm wondering if my topic about a transition is too risky or revealing of one of my flaws. This is just a basic sketch, I'm aware that the tone may be way off.

________
Last summer I interned at a non-profit in NYC that advocates on behalf of women with criminal records. accepted the offer because I support a fair criminal justice system, and a society that enabled individuals with criminal records to reenter, rehabilitate themselves, and find adequate housing and employment. Yet while I fundamentally believed in these values, I was surprised at how uncomfortable I initially felt interacting with the women who were currently serving their sentences or had been recently released. I sympathized with their predicaments on the one hand, but I also unexpectedly found myself making snap judgments about how they ended up there and defining them by their past actions. I avoided eye contact, and tried not to talk to them too much even though I routinely came in contact with them.

I gradually started engaging with them more through a variety of experiences -
- One day the Director asked me to supervise one of the women and walk her down the street to the post office to mail a letter. We walked by some of her old "stomping grounds" where she used to buy drugs etc. and just hearing about her experiences made it clear to me that her illegal drug use (what she was charged with) was not entirely within her control/she did not choose to become an addict - it was the only reality she knew.
- I worked on an advocacy campaign for more humane treatment of prisoners, heard many more women's stories, and at the end of the internship Gov. signed the bill we were lobbying for into law.

My internship helped affirm a conviction that I logically held from the beginning: that although these women were "criminals," they were also mothers, activists, and strong survivors of broken families and bad neighborhoods. I strongly questioned how these women ended up there, and whether the criminal justice system had operated effectively and fairly.

I graduated in June, and I decided to take a year off before law school to pursue these questions from a variety of angles. I have two part-time positions -- one at a DA's office and one at a law school-affiliated research center that studies prosecutorial practices and discretion -- that are helping me gain a broader understanding of how the criminal justice system operates from allegations to conviction.
____

Does this work as a personal statement topic? Any feedback would be very helpful.

Thanks.

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abarrios
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 7:47 pm

Re: Topic - Too risky?

Postby abarrios » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:09 pm

It sounds good to me. I wish I had an experience similar to this to talk about. Just know that the topic is second to delivery.

Good luck!
Last edited by abarrios on Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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WhatSarahSaid
Posts: 293
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:01 pm

Re: Topic - Too risky?

Postby WhatSarahSaid » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:31 pm

Topic isn't risky at all. You're fine.

Be careful not to come off as patronizing/presumptuous. Statements like "her illegal drug use was not entirely within her control/she did not choose to become an addict - it was the only reality she knew" are statements that demand a good defense, because it's difficult for me to believe either that this is true or that you have the necessary knowledge to make this call.

JOThompson
Posts: 1311
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:16 am

Re: Topic - Too risky?

Postby JOThompson » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:33 pm

It's a good topic and not particularly risky. I wrote a similar statement and did better than expected in my cycle.

amkid100
Posts: 254
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:02 pm

Re: Topic - Too risky?

Postby amkid100 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:51 pm

WhatSarahSaid wrote:Topic isn't risky at all. You're fine.

Be careful not to come off as patronizing/presumptuous. Statements like "her illegal drug use was not entirely within her control/she did not choose to become an addict - it was the only reality she knew" are statements that demand a good defense, because it's difficult for me to believe either that this is true or that you have the necessary knowledge to make this call.


yeah that's totally fair - when i write it i definitely need to make qualified statements.


thanks everyone for the input. i will probably solicit feedback once the rough draft is written!

amkid100
Posts: 254
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:02 pm

Re: Topic - Too risky?

Postby amkid100 » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:51 pm

JOThompson wrote:It's a good topic and not particularly risky. I wrote a similar statement and did better than expected in my cycle.


this is really all that matters in the end! awesome!

andedom
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:59 pm

Re: Topic - Too risky?

Postby andedom » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:57 pm

amkid100 wrote:Like others on here, I'm wondering if my topic about a transition is too risky or revealing of one of my flaws. This is just a basic sketch, I'm aware that the tone may be way off.

________
Last summer I interned at a non-profit in NYC that advocates on behalf of women with criminal records. accepted the offer because I support a fair criminal justice system, and a society that enabled individuals with criminal records to reenter, rehabilitate themselves, and find adequate housing and employment. Yet while I fundamentally believed in these values, I was surprised at how uncomfortable I initially felt interacting with the women who were currently serving their sentences or had been recently released. I sympathized with their predicaments on the one hand, but I also unexpectedly found myself making snap judgments about how they ended up there and defining them by their past actions. I avoided eye contact, and tried not to talk to them too much even though I routinely came in contact with them.

I gradually started engaging with them more through a variety of experiences -
- One day the Director asked me to supervise one of the women and walk her down the street to the post office to mail a letter. We walked by some of her old "stomping grounds" where she used to buy drugs etc. and just hearing about her experiences made it clear to me that her illegal drug use (what she was charged with) was not entirely within her control/she did not choose to become an addict - it was the only reality she knew.
- I worked on an advocacy campaign for more humane treatment of prisoners, heard many more women's stories, and at the end of the internship Gov. signed the bill we were lobbying for into law.

My internship helped affirm a conviction that I logically held from the beginning: that although these women were "criminals," they were also mothers, activists, and strong survivors of broken families and bad neighborhoods. I strongly questioned how these women ended up there, and whether the criminal justice system had operated effectively and fairly.

I graduated in June, and I decided to take a year off before law school to pursue these questions from a variety of angles. I have two part-time positions -- one at a DA's office and one at a law school-affiliated research center that studies prosecutorial practices and discretion -- that are helping me gain a broader understanding of how the criminal justice system operates from allegations to conviction.
____

Does this work as a personal statement topic? Any feedback would be very helpful.

Thanks.


In the fourth paragraph, drop the logically held part. If it's logical, you shouldn't have to explain it.

"accepted the offer because I support a fair criminal justice" . This seems too direct. If you are working in that field, obviously you care about those people. It is implied throughout the writing and you don't need to say it explicitly




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