Need help condensing personal statement!

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

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Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:01 pm

Need help condensing personal statement!

Postby lrsmit10 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:09 am

I need to cut my PS in half. I need any and all honest feedback on this initial draft. Any pointers on how to make the statement stronger (and shorter) will be very useful and greatly appreciated. Please, no useless feedback. Only constructive criticism please!

Growing up in XXXXX, I learned to defy the realities of life to survive. Survival meant becoming immune to the crime-obsessed mentality that contaminated my neighborhood. Surpassing addicts, drug dealers, alcoholics, and other woes of life in the inner city, kept me from giving into what some would consider to be my destiny. My pursuit of the positive was aided by my mother and her determination to give me a better life than she had. She taught me to never give up, to help others, and expected me to excel in everything I sought. These words echoed everything she believed in, and in turn became my foundation. She arranged for me to be bused to schools in neighborhoods I often dreamed to be my own. Most of my friendships were made at school, being that the ridicule I experienced in my own neighborhood made me feel like an outsider. I never discussed my life in as much detail as my friends discussed theirs. I didn’t reveal the part of town I lived in, or that I had never seen my dad. I was too embarrassed to disclose that I was being raised in poverty, by a single mother, who never graduated from college. She was a blue-collar bus driver, an occupation that was often mocked by my peers. I wasn’t embarrassed of my mother, in fact, I admired her for her strength and desire to make my life as fulfilling as possible. Despite our humble upbringing, she continually emphasized how important it was to be well cultured, and encouraged me to stay involved in activities that would help enrich my life.

Growing up, I was involved in virtually everything. I dedicated myself to a variety of extra curricular activities, adopting an integrated approach to develop socially. I sang in a number of choirs and choruses; took jazz, ballet, and liturgical dance classes; ran track, learned Tae Kwon Do and fencing; I even taught myself to play acoustic guitar and piano. I also loved still photography, water painting, and sculpting ceramics. Perhaps, the activities that molded me the most were quick recall, mock trial, and debate team in high school. These activities taught me to value objectivity and the ability to examine issues from varied perspectives. I graduated sixth in a class of 400, received an award for twelve years of perfect attendance, and earned a full paid scholarship to attend college at the University of XXXXX. I pride myself in being one of the few people in my family that graduated from high school, the only from college, and I will be the first to go to law school. Throughout my endeavors, I never neglected the responsibility I felt for my community. Despite never feeling accepted, I still wanted to give back. The isolation groomed my maturity and compassion, so instead of becoming someone who despised my community, I yearned to help it it. With this conflict in mind, I focused my energy toward helping others and setting an example for others to follow.

As an undergraduate, I explored opportunities to provide others with the care and support I lacked in my own neighborhood. Numerous opportunities to be involved arose on campus and throughout the city, and I didn’t hesitate to commit to those causes. Participating in service organizations helped me realize my capacity for giving. Through my membership with the Society of XXXXX, I assisted with food drives and coat and cover collections for the poor. As a program assistant with the Girl Scouts, I mentored girls from war torn countries of East Africa. We discussed healing from the scars of seeing their villages and families destroyed. Building healthy minds, bodies, relationships, and spirits was the focus of our discussion. Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels allowed me to maintain contact with the disadvantaged through building homes for impoverished families and making regular contact with secluded elderly. One of my favorite activities involved spending time tutoring those struggling in the American public education system. I tutored children in elementary and middle school that had behavioral issues and showed little interest in their academics. One student that I tutored, a “D” student on the verge of failing the eighth grade, received an award during his graduation for showing the most progress over the year. Seeing a difference in the students’ confidence, interest in, and performance in his studies helped me realize how giving back truly creates change. I quickly learned that you may not change the issue, but you can change one life at a time.

I also found success in my academics in college and discovered coursework that provided me with new insight about the numerous factors that affect the welfare in urban communities, often occupied by lower income, minorities. As an undergraduate, I studied the political behavior and socialization of minority populations and how it relates to their life experiences. I realized the impact and influence the law has on general well-being, in conjunction with other social and political controls, and my dream to become an attorney soon surfaced. One issue that has affected minority social and political development is disenfranchisement, a legal voting barrier that revokes the voting rights of felons. Conducting research on this issue revealed an overwhelming amount of minorities that are represented in the disenfranchised population. Analyzing its obstruction to civil rights and its significant impact on election outcomes, I aspire to modify voting rights law upon the completion of the Juris Doctor degree. All citizens should have input on the laws and policies that govern their lives and extending the right to vote to felons will keep them involved in this process. I plan to petition judicial legislation to make the restoration process less cumbersome and toughen the criteria needed to revoke this right. The public interest courses offered at XXXXX, including civil rights litigation, election law, education law and policy, and utilizing the public service clinical offerings will all strengthen my foundation to balance the rights and social interests for those under served.

My personal connection with XXXXX Law School rests upon advancing public interest through the various public interest courses, clinics, and externships. XXXXX's pro bono program and emphasis on helping those in need supports my goal to alleviate the legal and social barriers that hinder progress among underrepresented groups. Pursuing a career in law will be the greatest means of social influence, realized after working as a legal secretary. This position helped me understand and appreciate the social implications of the profession. XXXXX Law will provide me with the challenges and training today that will help mold me into the lawyer I will be tomorrow. The J.D. degree paired with years of real world legal experience will give me the aptitude needed to provide leadership, accountability, and social justice in needy communities, including my own. My strong motivation, desire for success, and my efforts to help the less fortunate were all derived from my mother’s support and the lack thereof from my community. I look forward to attending law school for the intellectual stimulation and preparation to advocate for others. Many of my life experiences, both personal and professional have been a means of shaping me into the person I am today, and have prepared me to make an impactful contribution to both your law school and the legal profession. Being able to relate to people of all walks of life, and my desire to continue to research and investigate the factors that influence the welfare of those in communities like my own will give me the drive, motivation, and ability to excel in both law school and the field. The combination of these experiences has led me to conclude that I would be best utilized as an advocate for others. I look forward to attending XXXXX to take the next step in furthering my career in creating justice for those in need.


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Re: Need help condensing personal statement!

Postby asoli » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:24 pm

I would get rid of the first paragraph and look at turning the last paragraph into a "Why X law school" addendum. The first paragraph fits with everything but it seems like you can condense it and then add it somewhere else.


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Re: Need help condensing personal statement!

Postby JJDancer » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:39 pm

Yeah use the last paragraph for more of a Why X

Also, this PS talks about A LOT of things. I started off wanting to include a lot of experiences as well, so I understand
BUt this seems too biographical
Pick a few things and use them to highlight something about yourself rather than
"I did ABCDEF in HS, then in college i engaged w the community with JKLMNO and on and on.."

You do reflect on your experiences so its not a resume. But it also doesn't take me on a journey with a theme. It's more of a chronological journey only.


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