Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
hawaii
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:15 pm

Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby hawaii » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:52 am

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Last edited by hawaii on Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Balliol2012
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby Balliol2012 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:08 am

Here is the advice on Boalt's website. I agree with it. My opinion is nobody should ever use the format you are using right now. It's tacky. My eyes glazed over when I saw what you wrote.

“I felt the cold, sharp edge of a knife at my neck.” “ ‘You rich Americans are all alike,’ she screamed.” “I’ve never been so scared in my life.” “The child’s belly was swollen and scabbed.” You get the picture. Starting the essay with a dramatic, unexplained sentence designed to grab the startled reader’s attention. (In fact, what it does to the reader is produce a dismayed feeling of, “Oh no, not another one of these.”). Continuing this dramatic episode for a short paragraph without tipping off its relevance to the application. Beginning the next paragraph by switching to expository style and informing us of what you were doing in this dire situation and how it was part of the background that makes you a special applicant to law school. Developing why you are so special in the rest of the statement. Then concluding with a touching statement returning to the opening gambit, about how now, after law school, you can really help that little girl in rags.

It is very clear that many applicants have been coached by someone that this is how to write a compelling personal statement...This format is transparently manipulative, formulaic, and coached. Except for the occasional novelist we admit, none of our students or graduates is going to write in this style again; none, thank goodness, is going to begin a brief with, “He stood frozen in fear as the gunman appeared out of the darkness.” So, this artifice is irrelevant to law and counter-productive: Once it ceases to surprise – and it did so more than 10 years ago – it just becomes a cliché which really ought to be held against the writer. Not only using clichés, but also having been coached ought to, in an ideal world, discount an application. Needless to say, however, I did not hold these statements against the writers. Often the bulk of the statement does report on impressive activities that are relevant to admission. But it is transparent when essay formulas have been coached, and we (should) strongly advise applicants to write in their own voice and style and without trying to dramatize what they have to say in order to attract our attention."

Balliol2012
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby Balliol2012 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:15 am

Oh, and by the way, I know my last comment was rude. Sorry. But you actually sound like you have a good story to tell. So why not just tell it without the stupid intro.

hawaii
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:15 pm

Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby hawaii » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:52 am

My PS is written in my own voice and I was not coached. However, I see your point. Surprisingly, most everyone else I've had read my PS likes the begining more than the rest of it :?

JJDancer
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Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby JJDancer » Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:58 pm

It looks great!
I liked the beginning as well. It was a little chaotic but you quickly explained the background and I thought it was catchy and effective. But maybe if I had read 50 other statements like that, I wouldn't? (The boalt thing..)

I think you can submit.

bigwillie
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:48 pm

Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby bigwillie » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:25 pm

I think it's good as it is. I can see why some people say the intro falls into that cliche a little bit, but you definitely don't over do it. The introductory paragraph tells the reader a little about you and your background and then you get down to business stating why you have an interest in law and why you would be a good candidate for admission. I don't think it sounds coached.

hawaii
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:15 pm

Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby hawaii » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:37 pm

Thanks JJDancer and bigwillie. Anyone else have any comments/suggestions? Does anyone else think I should change my intro?

DreamShake
Posts: 366
Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:03 pm

Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby DreamShake » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:19 am

I think it's close. The intro drew me in as a reader and provides context for the rest of the essay, so I recommend leaving it alone.

There are a few grammatical errors, though:
-"...white jeeps were parked under mango trees, and..." Need the comma after "trees."
-"Growing up, my mother..." As is, "growing up" is modifying "mother." Syntax needs to be revised so it's modifying you and not your mom.
-"I realized that a single court case had the ability to significantly change the course of my life." Actually, you seem to have realized that it did significantly change the course of your life and that it had the ability to do the same for others.
-"...the law holds infinite possibilities; possibilities that..." If you're going for strictly correct grammar, the semicolon should be either a comma or a dash. Stylistically, I think the semicolon is copacetic.

Also, the first couple sentences of the second paragraph are a bit confusing. I guess you mean the events faded in memory while you were in junior high/high school and then re-emerged during college, but it's completely unclear why "[c]ollege brought those memories flooding back." As a reader, it's a bit of a disappointing cliffhanger. I recommend either deleting the sentence or elucidating why it brought them back (although length constraints might prohibit the latter?).

Other than those issues, I think it's good to go. Good luck!

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lisavj
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:42 pm

Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby lisavj » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:43 pm

Ditto dreamshake - why things re-emerge in college would be good to know.

Other than that, I enjoyed your statement. I think you could put more of the lyricism of the first paragraph into the other three, but that's a stylistic preference of mine.

g'luck

hawaii
Posts: 74
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:15 pm

Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby hawaii » Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:32 pm

Thank you DreamShake and lisavj.

College brought back those memories because that is when I started to learn about the law and I realized its impact on my life. I guess I haven't made that clear. Would this be better?

My mother did her best to shield me from the fallout as I was growing up. As a result, the early events of my childhood faded into the background. College brought those memories flooding back. The more I learned about the world and the law, the more I began to understand the law’s enormous impact on my life. I joined the Law Forum at _________, a certificate program designed to explore modern law using law-related courses, guest speakers from the legal community, and hands-on legal research and writing.


Or maybe its better without that sentence...

My mother did her best to shield me from the fallout as I was growing up. As a result, the early events of my childhood faded into the background. The more I learned about the world and the law however, the more I began to understand the law’s enormous impact on my life. I joined the Law Forum at UC Irvine, a certificate program designed to explore modern law using law-related courses, guest speakers from the legal community, and hands-on legal research and writing.


Thoughts?

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lisavj
Posts: 275
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Re: Third Draft --- Can I submit this?

Postby lisavj » Fri Nov 12, 2010 11:50 pm

How about this?

My mother did her best to shield me from the fallout as I was growing up. As a result, the early events of my childhood faded into the background. The more I learned about the world and the law however, the more I began to understand the law’s enormous impact on my lifeas my early memories came rushing back . I joined the Law Forum at UC Irvine, a certificate program designed to explore modern law using law-related courses, guest speakers from the legal community, and hands-on legal research and writing.




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