PS or Why XYZ Statement?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

What would this work best as?

Personal Statement
3
50%
Why XYZ Statement
2
33%
Trash!
1
17%
 
Total votes: 6

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whirledpeas86
Posts: 1393
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:07 pm

PS or Why XYZ Statement?

Postby whirledpeas86 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:24 pm

So, I've written two essays so far, one initially a diversity statement and the other initially a personal statement. However, I really love the way the DS turned out and I've been advised by several people that, both in length and tone, it works better as a PS. The only issue I have with that is that there are other things I want to say about how my past experiences contribute to me wanting to attend a certain school. So, I cut down my PS statement quite a bit and added a paragraph on the end where I specify why I want to attend a particular school (to be swapped out for several other tailored paragraphs for additional schools). I would really appreciate folks looking over this Why XYZ statement and letting me know if: 1. If it works in tone, content, and length; 2. If it would make a better personal statement and/or what I should cut out to make it better suited to a Why essay; and 3. Any other critique you've got! Thanks so much for your time!


After working in psychology research labs for my first two years of college, I decided that it was imperative that I get some experience in clinical service to reaffirm my passion for the field. I applied to and was awarded an internship at Broughton Psychiatric Hospital in a sleepy town in North Carolina for the summer before my junior year of college. My friends and family questioned my decision to essentially give up my summer in exchange for three months of living in the balmy summer heat of North Carolina, working in exchange for…well, that remained to be seen. Yet, I valued the opportunity to have hands-on-experience with people and illnesses that I had only read about in textbooks. Of course, I was nervous, but, somehow, I knew that this experience would help guide me and clarify the goals and ambitions I was set on pursuing.

Due to my participation in the advocates for children scholars program, I volunteered to work in the adolescent unit, housing girls from the ages of twelve to seventeen. By reading through their case files, interviewing them one-on-one, observing their group therapy sessions, and participating in their recreation activities, I got to know many of them very well. The one thing that struck me, however, was that every single one of these girls had some sort of legal issues, from strings of arrests to problems in foster care. I had the privilege of watching many of the girls grow and flourish, despite their rough backgrounds, both during their stay at the hospital and beyond. The most striking revelation, however, was that none of this would have been possible without the passionate and tireless lawyers who advocated for them and kept them out of jail and in a therapeutic environment.

My time at Broughton illuminated the world of law and how it can be wielded to help chronically disenfranchised individuals. I met so many selfless men and women who advocated for these individuals that were unable to advocate for themselves. I saw lawyers with overflowing briefcases, short on time and energy, putting their best effort into lobbying so that these patients could have some sort of voice, as well as the conditions most therapeutic and beneficial to them. Many of the hospital’s residents were there because a lawyer, often working pro bono, was able to persuade the court that, rather than languishing in jail, they might have a better chance at rehabilitation in a psychiatric hospital.

I was able to see mental health law in practice, and it quickly disabused me of many of the wrongheaded beliefs I had about both lawyers and the law. Far from being manipulative or argumentative, so many of the lawyers I met were gifted at helping people meet their goals; they were given the often Herculean task of mediating between what patients wanted and what was in their best interest, finding a healthy balance between these two competing interests. Much like the human mind, the law is very rarely about black and white; instead, it is about acknowledging the nuance inherent in every situation.

I believe that the [XYZ University]'s Mental Health Project tackles these very issues, exploring how the law can be used to better the quality of life of mentally ill individuals. By exploring how the law can be used to insure the human treatment of the mentally ill, the Mental Health Project plays a vital role in evening the playing field. My passion lies in assisting people navigate through a legal system that is too frequently stacked against them. If admitted to the [XYZ University], I hope to, with the combination of my experiences in mental health, as well as the training and guidance of the Mental Health Project, pursue a career working for a public interest nonprofit providing legal representation to the economically disadvantaged and mentally ill.

bdubs
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Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: PS or Why XYZ Statement?

Postby bdubs » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:02 pm

I think your draft DS works a bit better as a PS than this. This is too focused on your experiences to be a good Why X essay though. You could write a Why X essay and make this experience a paragraph or so, but not the entire reason for attending the school.

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whirledpeas86
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Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 2:07 pm

Re: PS or Why XYZ Statement?

Postby whirledpeas86 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:54 am

So, have the first paragraph be about this experience and then the second paragraph be focused on the particular school it's directed towards?

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS or Why XYZ Statement?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:06 pm

This is not good enough to be submitted to law schools. Do you have a pre-law advisor at your college or university that can help you ? Is there a university writing clinic available to you ? If so, then consider using those resources as your current work isn't even a strong rough draft.
P.S. Also, you may misunderstand the legal system's use of psychological care in lieu of confinement as it may hold one for a longer period than prison/jail in many jurisdictions.

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whirledpeas86
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Re: PS or Why XYZ Statement?

Postby whirledpeas86 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:23 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:This is not good enough to be submitted to law schools. Do you have a pre-law advisor at your college or university that can help you ? Is there a university writing clinic available to you ? If so, then consider using those resources as your current work isn't even a strong rough draft.
P.S. Also, you may misunderstand the legal system's use of psychological care in lieu of confinement as it may hold one for a longer period than prison/jail in many jurisdictions.


I've been out of school for a couple years, so I don't really have access to a pre-law adviser or writing clinic, but thanks for the advice. Is there anything in particular that you think I should work on to make it a stronger draft? And in regards to the legal system's use of psych care, from my experience I would argue that a hospital is a more therapeutic environment than most, if not all, prisons. Even if the actual length of confinement is longer, people have a better shot at making improvements and leading a productive life post-institutionalization.

bdubs
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Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: PS or Why XYZ Statement?

Postby bdubs » Mon Oct 18, 2010 6:09 pm

whirledpeas86 wrote:So, have the first paragraph be about this experience and then the second paragraph be focused on the particular school it's directed towards?


Not necessarily the first, just one of several reasons why you want to attend that school. I have been writing my Why X essays in a traditional format where I write a proper introduction, arguments/evidence, and then a conclusion. This would be an argument/evidence for your desire to attend that school.

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whirledpeas86
Posts: 1393
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Re: PS or Why XYZ Statement?

Postby whirledpeas86 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:56 pm

So far, there are 2 votes for Personal Statement, 2 votes for Why XYZ, and one (emphatic) vote for trash. Does anyone else have any insight to help me decide where to go from here? Revise? Rewrite? Start over completely? Any help is very much appreciated!

Also, if you want to swap statements for some more in depth critique/editing, just PM me!




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