PS, reapplication because of severe family hardships

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Think_lax86
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:28 pm

PS, reapplication because of severe family hardships

Postby Think_lax86 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:53 pm

This is my first rough draft... I have not done any real cutting or condensing. After reading it over, however I am trying to see if this emphasizes why I want to go to law school and why I am ready to go to law school... I already applied last year but and didnt want to use the same essay that I applied with last year... I am assuming that the schools I applied to last year still have my old PS... the reason for me prolonging my enrollement pretty much the main topic of this PS.. It is not complete, I just want to see what people thought before I pursue this any further... any advise, criticism, etc. is welcome... thank you in advance...

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As I sat in my car watching my father wave goodbye before he took those final steps through the entrance of the Helen Hayes Memorial Hospital, like he’d done so many times before, I couldn’t help but choke back my tears of sadness. Here was the man that, for as long as I can remember, has been the bedrock of my family, now fighting to retain the very pieces of himself that made him the man I looked up to for guidance. He was the one who taught me to always take care of my responsibilities and to persevere through adversity, and ironically its only fitting that now was one of those times.

On January 10th 2009, my father suffered from a cerebral infarction, also known as a stroke, and since than my family has been fighting nothing but an uphill battle. Coupled with the economic downturn that began in late 2008, my fathers cognitive degeneration proved too much for his employers to take him back. My mother, a teacher’s assistant, did not have the financial means to keep my family afloat, and with budget cuts hitting my home town, she did not possess the same job security that the teachers at her school did. It was around this same time that I was finally hearing back from law schools, and what was supposed to be a time full of joy about starting a new chapter in my life, the pages of my life story would take an abrupt and unexpected turn. With my father, now 63 years old, out of work, and struggling to retain his pre-stroke cognitive abilities, I had a clear decision to make. Incurring the mountain of debt my enrollment in law school would place on me was a burden I knew I had to bear to achieve my goals, but abandoning the very people who helped me get to this point in my life was not something I could do.

Deciding to prolong my legal education in order to provide any kind of buffer I could between my parents and financial ruin was not something I had planned for, nor was it something I was ready to endure. Everything leading up till that moment had been geared toward preparing myself for law school. When my father became ill, however, it threw a huge wrench in my plans to enroll, one which I never thought I would be able to overcome.

My father, continuing to struggle everyday with tasks that used to come second nature for him, really took its toll on my mother and I. While my father, which was the bedrock that once laid the foundation for my family was deteriorating steadily, my mother was the glue that held it together. As hard as it was for me to postpone my legal education until I could figure out some kind of way to make it a more financially viable option, I never forgot what my mother told me, “Always make the best of a bad situation.” Sucking up my pride and realizing where my responsibilities lay, I took a management position working for Target. While this was not my ideal choice for employment, it was the best option at the time. As miserable as I was, I looked at every day as an opportunity to learn something new and sought after any way I could better myself. I also applied for an internship with the District Attorneys office which only furthered my dreams of becoming a lawyer. I was partnered up with the former head of the internship program, a man with whom had only graduated from law school a few years ago. His dedication to his job and his commitment to public service inspired me to continue on the pursuit to law school.

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Kiersten1985
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Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 3:36 pm

Re: PS, reapplication because of severe family hardships

Postby Kiersten1985 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:13 pm

First, I'm very sorry about your father. You've certaintly had to make some tough decisions. I think it's incredible that you've put your family before your own goals.

Regarding your essay- I think, if anything, this should be an addendum (though, honestly, not sure it's necessary). First, lots of people reapply and, while you're right to think that sending the same PS again is not going to win you points, your new PS shouldn't focus on why you decided not to matriculate last year. Rather, it should focus on why what you have done in the past year, coupled with all the great qualities you espoused in your initial PS, makes you a great candidate for that law school. This isn't to say that the difficulties you've faced in the past year haven't molded you into a better candidate, but you don't talk about it in your essay. Most of your essay, in fact, is about your parents, not YOU. What you essentially have here is an attempt to make the adcoms feel sympathy for you, which they will. That's ok (and even good) but not if it appears that that's all there is to you.

I'm curious to know what you wrote about in your first PS, also. I'm not completely sure about this, but I'd be highly surprised if adcoms went back through your old application to read it. Rather, you probably want to incorporate the highlights of the first PS into your second one. Barring anything spectacular in your first PS, this is my suggested theme for your second:

You as a manager at Target. What you have is a great twist on things: show that an unassuming job such as a manager at Target actually helped prepare you for the type of things you'll do at law school (perhaps you now want to go into employment law, etc.). You can still work in the issues with your father's illness and talk about how you sacrificed (because remember, you're telling them about YOU) for your family and still kept the dream of being a lawyer alive. This shows character, which is good. Really think about WHY you want to be a lawyer. You say this is a dream of yours and has been for a while - why is that? You'll be much more convincing if you have a reason.

I think you have some good points to make in your PS, so take another stab at it. I'd be happy to read it again for you later on. (PM me with it if you want.) I'm actually a 1L now so a bit busy, but I actually enjoy editing PS's still. :)

Think_lax86
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: PS, reapplication because of severe family hardships

Postby Think_lax86 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:06 pm

hey, thank you for the great advice... I do need to focus more on me and how I am a more suitable candidate for admissions (and hopefully for some financial/scholarship aid)...

I am very interested in political issues and one specifically, the failings of congress to pass or at least look at a comprehensive climate change bill... I wanted to talk about if I have learned anything from the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell controversial court decisions going on in California, its that if the Federal government wont act to make much needed reforms, state level court rulings can provide the precedents needed to make real changes...

I majored in environmental planning in college so environmental law is a major interest for me, and I was thinking of trying to incorporate this somehow in my essay... or should I not?

sarahh
Posts: 610
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: PS, reapplication because of severe family hardships

Postby sarahh » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:56 pm

I think an environmental-themed personal statement is fine, but you want to make sure to talk about things you have done. It should not consist of I studied this, I read about this in the paper and this is what I think about it.

Think_lax86
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:28 pm

Re: PS, reapplication because of severe family hardships

Postby Think_lax86 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:12 pm

This is my revised PS... After speaking with some of you and reading and re reading my PS I have tried to focus more on ME and why I feel that I would be a good candidate for law school... Please tell me what you think... criticism, etc... Thank you.



As I sat in my car watching my father wave goodbye before he took those final steps through the entrance of the Helen Hayes Memorial Hospital, like he’d done so many times before, I couldn’t help but choke back my tears of sadness. Here was the man that, for as long as I can remember, has been the bedrock of my family, now fighting to retain the very pieces of himself that made him the man I looked up to for guidance. He was the one who taught me to always take care of my responsibilities and to persevere through adversity, and ironically its only fitting that now was one of those times.
On January 10th 2009, my father suffered from a cerebral infarction, also known as a stroke, and since than my family has been fighting nothing but an uphill battle. Coupled with the economic downturn that began in late 2008, my fathers cognitive degeneration proved too much for his employers to take him back. My mother, a teacher’s assistant, did not have the financial means to keep my family afloat, and with budget cuts hitting my home town, she did not possess the same job security that the teachers at her school did. It was around this same time that I was finally hearing back from law schools, and what was supposed to be a time full of joy about starting a new chapter in my life, the pages of my life story would take an abrupt and unexpected turn. With my father, now 63 years old, out of work, and struggling to retain his pre-stroke cognitive abilities, I had a decision to make. Incurring the mountain of debt my enrollment in law school would place on me was a burden I knew I had to bear in order to achieve my goals, but abandoning the people who helped me get to this point in my life was not something I could do.
After sucking up my pride and realizing where my responsibilities lay, I took a management position working for Target. While this was not my ideal choice for employment, it was the best option at the time for my family and I. As miserable as I was, I looked at every day as an opportunity to learn something new and sought after any way I could better myself. This idea of continued self improvement was something I had developed during my last few semesters at Binghamton. I had finally realized how important my education was, and that ultimately I was investing time in making myself a more productive member of society. Not only that, but I loved integrating new and unfamiliar ideas with my former preconceived notions. The more I learnt the harder I worked, and after four semesters of diligently focusing on my studies, I averaged a near perfect GPA.
While Target is not exactly the nexus of academic achievement, it was by no means devoid of intellectual experiences. The skills I obtained through collaborating with other managers, training and developing team members, fine tuning my customer relationship skills, and learning the intricacies of running a business, I feel, are all things that have helped make me an even more well rounded individual. During this time I also applied for an internship with the Rockland County District Attorneys office which only furthered my dreams of becoming a lawyer. I was partnered up with the former head of the internship program, a man with whom I spoke with a lot and who had graduated from law school a few years ago. His dedication to his job and his commitment to public service inspired me to continue on the pursuit to law school.
My decision to prolong my legal education was by no means an easy one. My father continues to struggle with rehabilitation and, like millions of Americans, continues to remain unemployed. My mother and I are doing the best we can to make ends meet and while I am unsure when and if my father will be able to return to work, I have decided to pursue my dream of becoming an attorney. Issues like comprehensive environmental legislation and employee disability laws are two topics that continue to interest me and are areas that I want to pursue further. My family is a huge part of my life and I will continue to be there for them, which is why I have decided that now is the time to continue my journey on becoming a more productive member of society.

sarahh
Posts: 610
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: PS, reapplication because of severe family hardships

Postby sarahh » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:35 pm

This does not flow:
and what was supposed to be a time full of joy about starting a new chapter in my life, the pages of my life story would take an abrupt and unexpected turn.
Maybe:
and what was supposed to be a time full of joy about starting a new chapter in my life became a time of [hardship/sadness/fill in the blank].

The third and fourth paragraphs are a bit choppy. You talk about taking a position at Target, then your grades, then go back to Target. I get that the point is that you applied the lesson you learned in school to Target, but I think you could make the grade-part a bit shorter. I would then add the part about Target in the fourth paragraph and make the DA internership its own paragraph. If there is space, I would add a few more sentences about it.

There are a few places where I feel it may be too negative: "After sucking up my pride", "As miserable as I was", "Target is not exactly the nexus of academic achievement"

You said the reason for the initial delay was to keep the family afloat, but in the last paragraph you emphasize that the situation has not improved but you are still going to law school. I thought, Is s/he going to delay again? Are his/her parents going to struggle significantly? You may want to briefly address how your family is going to manage or take out the part about how the situation has not changed. I think the fact that you delayed law school in the first place and took a job at Target shows that you are a caring person, but you don't want to give the reader the impression you are abandoning your parents in their time of need. (You say you will continue to be there for them, but not how.)

I am on the fence about "Issues like comprehensive environmental legislation and employee disability laws are two topics that continue to interest me and are areas that I want to pursue further." They are two completely different fields. You would not do both as a lawyer. And while the environmental part makes sense based on your area of study, it is not addressed in the personal statement at all. I would maybe stick with employee disability law.




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