Please give me opinions on my PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
User avatar
cofc2008
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:29 am

Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby cofc2008 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:31 am

This is a first draft and I am not sure if I need to do something different. It seems awfully long for an addendum but the information needs to be conveyed. I think it answers the questions of why I have gaps in my education and why my GPA is not a good indicator of my ability. However, I would like to know if I need to write something focused on why, specifically, I would be a good fit for law school etc. Please let me know your thoughts and be honest--I can take it.

Also, if I were to use this as a PS, would I still need to include a separate addendum explaining the gaps in education and low GPA?

*******************************************************

I have lost 10 family members or friends in the last 12 years. I don’t want sympathy, but my cumulative GPA is, consequently, not indicative of my true abilities. Depression drained me of my motivation and ambition, and I spent a long time overcoming this illness. This struggle has enabled me to grow as a person and I am now determined to achieve my goals. My transcripts show the improvement I made from my freshman year until graduation. There were a few more hurdles along the way, but, after every stumble, I bounced back to perform even better. I have seen some of the worst life has to offer, and I have learned how to overcome these difficult circumstances. I am resolved in my desire to practice law and my struggles have prepared me for the challenge that lies ahead.

The first incident happened on May 26, 1998, which was the last day of my school year. My sister was in a car accident and died at the age of 16. I remember feeling numb afterwards. I didn’t know why I wasn’t sad but I knew that people usually feel something when a family member dies. I wouldn’t know why I was different for more than 7 years. Nonetheless, the effects of depression would impact my life for a long time after that summer. I moved to Destin, FL to live with my father during the next summer and continued to struggle with depression. Before my junior year of high school, my father decided that it would be best if I attended a private boarding school. During my time there, I lost two grandparents. Like my previous experience with death, I felt numb and it didn’t seem to affect me. The same pattern that permeated my previous education was present here: I was not motivated and did just enough work to get by. I believe that I earned mostly B’s because of the motivation provided by the consequences of bad grades—from both my parents and the school. In short, I worked only to please them because I found no satisfaction in good grades. My credentials were good enough to be accepted at the College of Charleston, and I soon found that the motivation my parents and teachers provided was the only thing keeping me from total failure.

I entered CofC in August, 2004. Before college, my life was structured so that I could not fail completely. If I overslept, the dean would come and wake me. If I didn’t attend class, my parents were notified and I was disciplined. In college, this structure disappeared completely. Consequently, I quickly saw the full effect of depression. I wouldn’t leave my room for weeks and would neglect to return phone calls or e-mails. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone, and I failed three of four courses in my first semester. I went to see a psychiatrist in Florida and he told me that I was exhibiting classic signs of severe depression. I was hesitant to accept this diagnosis. I don’t like making excuses and that’s exactly what depression seemed to be: a convenient excuse. As far as I was concerned, the blame resided with me. Even though it felt impossible to motivate myself, I thought it was due to mistakes on my part. Only when experiencing life after depression did I realize how much of an impact it had on me. Although I was hesitant, I was willing to try anything at this point. I subsequently withdrew from CofC and began the healing process.

The psychiatrist prescribed some antidepressants and I moved back to Destin. I began working and saving money for my eventual return to college. The following summer, one of my friends died in a car wreck. I still felt numb in this situation but I had shown improvements in other areas. I was going to work and enrolled in classes at the local community college. I was setting my schedule and was solely responsible for staying motivated. With the help of the medication, I did much better. During this time, I realized that my biggest strength was in composition and that I would be well-suited to a degree that focused on writing. Eventually, I moved to south Florida to live with my mom, who had relocated there. I continued to work but decided to forego my education until I had a plan for college and beyond. I eventually decided on journalism because it would be suited to my strengths and I enjoy writing. During the Spring of 2007, I decided that it was time to start looking at colleges again. I quit my job and enrolled in five summer classes at Broward Community College. This was another good step toward overcoming my depression—I achieved academic honors. After earning a 3.8 GPA in those five classes, I was accepted into The University of Kansas and decided to enroll.

Entering KU, I had no idea that my susceptibility to depression would be tested more than ever before. I made it through my first semester with two B’s, an A and a C. While I believed that I was still not fully meeting my expectations, it was a step in the right direction. I was completely on my own with no one else providing the motivation for me and I had managed to earn a 3.0 GPA. However, I was having a hard time in coming out of depression completely. My next two semesters illustrate a similar trend of average grades. I had clearly come a long way, but still needed to improve in order to meet my potential. When I came back for the spring semester in 2009, everything was set for me to really break out of my slump and excel. I was finally starting to find my groove in college. Life, however, had different plans for me. I got a call during my first week that my grandfather had passed away. I was shaken by the loss of a grandparent that I was very close to, but the fact that I felt anything was a definitive sign that I was beating my depression. Unfortunately, the test of my resolve was far from over. I proceeded to lose another grandparent and three friends in the span of a few months. My grandmother died of complications brought about by old age. My friend, Danny, died in a car wreck back in Florida. That was followed by another close friend, Jade, jumping off the tenth story of building in Destin. As if it wasn’t hard enough to deal with the things happening far away from KU, another friend of mine died in his sleep in my fraternity house. There was no escape from any of this for me and it proved to be the most challenging thing I have ever had to overcome. My grades suffered during this semester and I was placed on academic probation. Depression had resurfaced in a big way and I was having a difficult time dealing with it. I decided to see another psychiatrist to help me deal with my losses. During the following summer, I earned 3.2 GPA. This was enough to end my academic probation. My final three semesters all show a GPA above 3.0, while I was taking the most strenuous classes of my career. My grades have improved as I have overcome my depression. As a result, my GPA is not an accurate portrayal of my academic prowess. I have finally beaten depression and I am ready for whatever challenges await me in law school.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:18 am

If this essay was submitted as your personal statement, then additional addendums should not be necessary, although you may want to note in brief fashion that your GPA & school changes are addressed in your PS.

Your writing posted above is a complete & thorough disclosure. Whether or not it is too much resulting in harming your law school applications by scaring schools away from taking a chance on you is not clear. As a cathartic experience, your written piece should be effective toward healing your emotional wounds; however, now that it has been put down in writing, you may want to consider offering a condensed version to law schools. The shortened version could consist of just one or two or three short paragraphs noting that you suffer from depression brought on by the deaths of 10 friends & relatives and a chemical imbalance that is now controlled by medication.

User avatar
cofc2008
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:29 am

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby cofc2008 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:52 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:If this essay was submitted as your personal statement, then additional addendums should not be necessary, although you may want to note in brief fashion that your GPA & school changes are addressed in your PS.

Your writing posted above is a complete & thorough disclosure. Whether or not it is too much resulting in harming your law school applications by scaring schools away from taking a chance on you is not clear. As a cathartic experience, your written piece should be effective toward healing your emotional wounds; however, now that it has been put down in writing, you may want to consider offering a condensed version to law schools. The shortened version could consist of just one or two or three short paragraphs noting that you suffer from depression brought on by the deaths of 10 friends & relatives and a chemical imbalance that is now controlled by medication.



So, in your opinion, does this hurt or help my chances?

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:17 pm

In my opinion, your proposed personal statement is too long.

User avatar
cofc2008
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:29 am

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby cofc2008 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:28 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:In my opinion, your proposed personal statement is too long.



Really? I condensed it down to three pages exactly. I thought that three was the upper limit, but still within the range.

User avatar
sayruss11
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:47 pm

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby sayruss11 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:13 pm

I really don't think you should use this as your PS. You need to highlight your accomplishments, not the faults in your application and I know you are trying to explain that throughout all these awful things that have happened to you, you have brought up your gpa, but I just don't think its right for a PS. You have obviously had some really intense things happen to you, you need to use one or some of those situations and write a statement that really reflects yourself and why whatever particular law schools you are applying to would want you.

User avatar
cofc2008
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:29 am

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby cofc2008 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:10 pm

sayruss11 wrote:I really don't think you should use this as your PS. You need to highlight your accomplishments, not the faults in your application and I know you are trying to explain that throughout all these awful things that have happened to you, you have brought up your gpa, but I just don't think its right for a PS. You have obviously had some really intense things happen to you, you need to use one or some of those situations and write a statement that really reflects yourself and why whatever particular law schools you are applying to would want you.


Thanks for the advice. I will work on it some more.

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

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby andedom » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Sorry you went through all that stuff. IMO, you should scrap half this essay. Fill that half with positive info about yourself that will make law schools want you.

No law school will let you in simply because they feel bad for you

volcom_sig
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:49 am

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby volcom_sig » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:14 pm

I really don't think you should use this as your PS. You need to highlight your accomplishments, not the faults in your application and I know you are trying to explain that throughout all these awful things that have happened to you, you have brought up your gpa, but I just don't think its right for a PS. You have obviously had some really intense things happen to you, you need to use one or some of those situations and write a statement that really reflects yourself and why whatever particular law schools you are applying to would want you.


I had a meeting with an admin officer just last week who said this is one of the things that kills applications and basically is a waste of 500 words. Addenda are for explaining your faults. The PS should show you in your best light and highlight something that isn't obvious in the rest of your application.

User avatar
cofc2008
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:29 am

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby cofc2008 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:21 pm

andedom wrote:Sorry you went through all that stuff. IMO, you should scrap half this essay. Fill that half with positive info about yourself that will make law schools want you.

No law school will let you in simply because they feel bad for you


I agree. I don't want them to feel bad for me. Instead, I want to present a reason for my low GPA. I am going to delete most if not all of this draft and replace it with a different personal statement. I need to condense this down to an addendum.

Couple of questions for anyone:
1.) How long should my addendum be?
2.) Does my writing go too far? I don't want to come off as someone who is making excuses or trying to gain sympathy. I would like to present a plausible explanation for my low GPA.

mrwarre85
Posts: 685
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:40 pm

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby mrwarre85 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:56 pm

write a two page personal statement over why you want to go to law school, what you could contribute, or just something interesting about you that may set you apart from the other applicants. I think law schools want to see an applicant who is eager to learn, and generally positive.

you should certainly write an adendum about your GPA, but it should be one page or less. Also, depression is a serious thing and I think you should focus on that, not everyone dying or other reasons that influenced the disorder. be sure to offer up proof of the disorder should they request it. I think if you can move it towards a brief discussion on the disorder, something few people know about, away from a discussion on death, something we all experience and many of us (including myself) have experienced throughout high school and college, you will make a more compelling argument.

User avatar
cofc2008
Posts: 63
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:29 am

Re: Please give me opinions on my PS

Postby cofc2008 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:22 pm

mrwarre85 wrote:write a two page personal statement over why you want to go to law school, what you could contribute, or just something interesting about you that may set you apart from the other applicants. I think law schools want to see an applicant who is eager to learn, and generally positive.

you should certainly write an adendum about your GPA, but it should be one page or less. Also, depression is a serious thing and I think you should focus on that, not everyone dying or other reasons that influenced the disorder. be sure to offer up proof of the disorder should they request it. I think if you can move it towards a brief discussion on the disorder, something few people know about, away from a discussion on death, something we all experience and many of us (including myself) have experienced throughout high school and college, you will make a more compelling argument.



Interesting....

Good point. I think you're right.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.