How old is too old?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
jhspaybar
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How old is too old?

Postby jhspaybar » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:41 pm

I've read tips that you should write about something recent and not use events from a portion of your life too far beyond your current place. I.E. if you're in undergrad, write about college or maybe high school. If you're working, write about work experiences and maybe college, but definitely not anything earlier than that. I see these tips, but then I also see people writing about experiences from childhood and how they shaped them(and these even seem to be some of the most compelling personal statements).

I'm now in my mid 20's, married with a young child. I took an 8 year break from my first quarter in college until I returned to finish. During that time I didn't do anything I find "PS material" I was a car salesman and then a manager, but I don't find my accomplishments exceptional. However, while in high school I started an Internet company and ran it from the end of freshman year until the end of senior year when it went out of business. I was named as one of the top 3 young entrepreneurs in the country and have quite an experience to write about. Is this an acceptable topic(i.e. not too old to be relevant) if I tie it into the present and touch on how my interactions with the law, specially how I had to protect my copyright and trademark material, drove an interest in the law and finally was my inspiration to return to undergraduate for the purpose of attending a great law school?

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gbpackerbacker
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby gbpackerbacker » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:50 pm

PM'd

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The Gentleman
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby The Gentleman » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:54 pm

Working as a car salesman could be great PS material, and I mean that in all sincerity. It could be used to demonstrate drive, ambition, competitiveness etc.

That would really stand out from the typical "I had a semester abroad" or "I changed my major from business to philosophy" PS topics.

jhspaybar
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby jhspaybar » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:59 pm

The problem with my car sales experience is that while I moved up, I feel I would have moved up faster with a better attitude and more appreciation for having the job. By 4 or 5 years into it I was bitter, upset at having left college in the first place and disappointed that I now seemed "trapped" by the house, and the adult life without the ability to return to school to give myself other options. Obviously, I did make it back to school(or I wouldn't be asking this question), but I feel that I wasn't a "super star" so to speak. Is it okay to write something like this, or should I take an approach towards a car salesman PS that omits those shortcomings and instead focuses on the work ethics, the personal interactions, and the challenges of a sales position?

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The Gentleman
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby The Gentleman » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:09 pm

jhspaybar wrote:Is it okay to write something like this, or should I take an approach towards a car salesman PS that omits those shortcomings and instead focuses on the work ethics, the personal interactions, and the challenges of a sales position?


Write something that's true to who you are. If quitting your job and returning to school after 8 years was a turning point in your life (and I have to believe it was), then it can absolutely be molded into an effective PS.

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superflush
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby superflush » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:27 pm

The Gentleman wrote:Working as a car salesman could be great PS material, and I mean that in all sincerity. It could be used to demonstrate drive, ambition, competitiveness etc.

That would really stand out from the typical "I had a semester abroad" or "I changed my major from business to philosophy" PS topics.


Yea, I agree with this. A lot of law schools will try to get diverse classes (in many different ways).

rockspaperjesus
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby rockspaperjesus » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:57 pm

you're in your mid-20s? were you 9 when you started college?

jhspaybar
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby jhspaybar » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:11 pm

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Last edited by jhspaybar on Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

Danteshek
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby Danteshek » Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:56 pm

That PS is 3 times too long. Cut it down if you want anyone to read it.

jhspaybar
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby jhspaybar » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:27 pm

Comparing it to the PS samples in the stickied thread I found quite a few in the 1400-1600 word range just on page 1. Is this typically not acceptable? Also, I do plan to cut it down a bit, I have some stories in the body that probably don't need to be told, and I wander in my writing a little bit at some points. It's a very rough first draft and mostly what I'm wondering is if the theme is a good one, and if the language I use in the first paragraph is acceptable in a law school PS?

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MysticalWheel
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby MysticalWheel » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:14 pm

Most law schools limit your PS statement (or prefer it) to 2 pages, double-spaced, which translates into roughly 750 words. Berkeley accepts up to 4 pages, so maybe you can use your longer version for them.

MW

jhspaybar
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Re: How old is too old?

Postby jhspaybar » Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:31 pm

Thanks, I must have missed the whole double spaced thing! Now to the chopping block. Anyone want tp weigh in on whether or not paragraph 1 is acceptable?




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