Hey, so I need to brutal criticism of my personal statement. I applied last year, go into some schools, but decided to defer and retake the LSAT... so idk if I should re-write or revise my personal statement, especially for the schools I applied to last year. I haven't done anything outstanding in the year since I wrote it... just gone on a bunch of road trips and lived below the poverty line thanks to my state's awesome unemployment rate. So anyways here it is, PM or leave a comment... I would greatly appreciate any thoughts you have, and I'm willing to swap PS's as well thanks anyone who reads this:
I woke up from my Dramamine-induced sleep to the jostle of our van maneuvering through New York traffic. We drove through what felt like endless blocks of graffiti until we finally stopped at _____ Parish in Brooklyn. As I exited the van, I entered a world I had only heard of.
I had been in college for just a few weeks when I signed up for Campus Ministry’s fall break trip to Brooklyn. Growing up in a white, middle-class, quiet suburban town, I had little exposure to diversity. Despite my naïveté, I was selected, due in large part to my eagerness to do something completely different. I had no idea how different it was going to be.
I spent the week tutoring at the Parish school and in adult literacy classes, as well as serving meals in the mobile soup kitchen. I felt incredibly ambivalent; deeply moved by the work I was able to do, but also very dislocated. I was living with Franciscan Sisters, immersed in poverty, and learning to embrace my own discomfort and unfamiliarity. My week in Brooklyn changed the course of my life. I learned the difference between poverty statistics and the face of a starving man. I saw the power of compassion while helping the disadvantaged. By the end of the week, I felt like I was beginning to understand the choice between pursuing a self-aggrandizing future and utilizing my abilities for the benefit of others. I realized that growing up blessed with opportunity had given me a skewed view of success, with material and financial comfort being the measuring sticks for a life. My comfortable assumptions about the world were challenged for the first time.
If serving in Brooklyn was the wedge to my closed mind, studying in France was the hammer that broke it open. My conservative, [state]-based family had always encouraged me to pursue a field that would all but guarantee a job in [city], something like accounting or sales. They constantly dissuaded my long-term interest in International Business and French, and my sophomore-year semester in France was strongly opposed. But I had changed. My time in Brooklyn taught me that fulfillment and happiness live everywhere; you just have to look. I still hold on to that. In Perpignan, France, it was the most precious pearl of wisdom I had while struggling with culture shock. And it wasn't just French culture, there were Catalan, Muslim and Spanish in my neighborhood alone. Four continents were represented in my classes—my perspective and understanding of the world were transformed. The visceral realization that views totally alien to my own could be held by those I loved and respected opened my heart.
As I reflect on how I changed, I recall declaring “I’ve experienced enough” at the tender age of eighteen when I did not want to bother getting to know my strange, ideologically distinct room mate. A year and half later I was in France defending cultural differences to some rather ethnocentric visitors. I felt like I was arguing with my younger self. By the end of my semester in Perpignan, I was not only bringing back fluency in French, but also a new open and empathetic worldview.
I was thankful for my transformation the next year when I took over as a coordinator for
my school's Programming Board. My first task was to finish planning an event featuring a discussion of a contentious topic for a religious college. As word of the program spread off-campus both informally and under the local media spotlight, it developed into quite a controversy. The opposition from donors and parents overrode the support from the majority of students, staff, and faculty, and the administrators ultimately decided to cancel the event. This was the first time I was asked to publicly defend a consideration of thought I did not call my own—something I could not imagine being able to do had I been the same person I was at eighteen. Perhaps non-coincidentally, this was also the first time my peers and the school's staff and faculty recognized me as a leader, and the first time I felt I deserved the title. The following year, in my elected role as Student Senate Secretary, I would be asked again and again to speak up for minority voices.
But my journey is not over. I have grown a great deal, and I am proud of the strides I have
taken. At the same time, I have never been more passionate about ensuring everyone's right to equality, no matter their views or background. My perspective comes from discovering this as an adult; my commitment to it is mature and informed through personal experience. I have come to see that the law, made by people for people, is the only way to create an equitable society.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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