How did you come up with your PS idea?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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How did you come up with your PS idea?

Postby TommyK » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:15 pm

For those of you who have created your personal statements already, how did you come up with the topic and overarching theme and message you were trying to convey?

Did you come up with the traits that a law school would find desirable and come up with a story that demonstrated those?

Did you immediately know a life-defining story that you could tell to show the adcomms something about yourself?

I have been struggling on coming up with a topic for a very long time and it's getting to the critical point when I need to just put pen to paper and get cracking.

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Re: How did you come up with your PS idea?

Postby lalalawya » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:22 pm

Really, put your pen to the paper and just get cracking. I wrote five preliminary drafts before I was even able to settle on a topic that I wanted to seriously explore. I wrote about my experiences teaching in undergrad (through my education major) intertwined with my internship this past summer, ultimately teaching me the same lesson. In there I discussed various obstacles I have had to overcome and the ways in which I overcame them.

As I am sure you have read everywhere on this forum, make sure you are showing and not telling. Adcomms are (obviously) very intelligent and they will be able to tell right away from your story discussing how you went overseas to study, struggled with the different cultural aspects, etc. that you are a person who is not only willing to take risks, but excels in those challenging situations. (or whatever you story may be), yet the words "I was challenged" or "I overcame obstacles" never have to be included in your PS.


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Re: How did you come up with your PS idea?

Postby escapefrom » Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:26 pm

I've been out of school for years, so the obvious choice for me was to explain how I've outgrown my current career and how my experiences with the law helped me realize that.

If I had applied straight out of undergrad, I probably would have written about some experiences I had in school.


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Re: How did you come up with your PS idea?

Postby OmbreGracieuse » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:54 am

I have a lot going on in my life. I was chronically abused as a child; I am a mother; I am way below the poverty limit; we live in one of the most unemployed metropolitan areas in the US; and I start chemo in just over a week. My issue is not necessarily having something to write about, but picking the right thing, or group of things, to discuss. Because of there being so much to pick and choose through (because all of these things are good or bad depending on what light you look at them in), I have written a different PS for each and every school to which I've applied.

For example, I applied to Duquesne and U Miami as safety schools. For Duquesne I wrote about my humanitarian goals and how that fit in with the free clinics they offer, and my employment through a homeless shelter for the last three years.

U Miami recently offered a Namibia project (where students went to Namibia for a summer to observe human rights trials in Africa). Because this is similar to what I want to do (I want to be an embassy attorney for the Central African Republic and/ or the Democratic Republic of the Congo) I mentioned how my crappy childhood ties in with an assimilation project I headed through my school for international students, and how it broadened my eyes to some of the social and legal problems in the world. I only briefly mentioned the Center, and am keeping my illness (which impacted my last semester of grades) aside in a DS.

NYU is one of my reach schools, so I talked more about goal-oriented things like academics and my drive to succeed (that's the brief version) and wrote about how being under the poverty limit has made me want to help others in similar situations.

All of these things are true, but each statement isn't a good fit for each school. I think it is important to talk about programs for those schools you are interested in, so even if it isn't a straight 'why XYZ school' they know the statement was for their school alone, you know? I kinda feel like if they have to read my writing, it shouldn't necessarily be the same generic thing I sent to all the other schools.

Then again, I also have some word documents that talk about specific things (like one about poverty, one about working at a homeless shelter, ect) that way if I want I can pull bits and pieces from them, or recycle some of my main concepts.

I don't know if that helps at all, but that is how I did it. lol

As an aside, though, the addcomms know NOTHING about you other than the LSAC info and what you choose to tell them. They have no idea what makes you YOU, and so while it might seem strange to talk about something common (for me, it feels strange talking about being a mother, or being poor), it is something they wouldn't otherwise know.

Good luck!!!!

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