Personal Statement help!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
UCFundergrad
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:32 pm

Personal Statement help!

Postby UCFundergrad » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:59 pm

I recently had someone read mine and they basically said it was crap but couldn't put it into words as to why. I'm looking for advice/suggestions on content, not grammar. I tried to focus on my losses because i haven't done a whole heap that is extremely impressive. Thanks!

As I was sitting at my computer toward the end of my junior year of college, I had a simple question for myself, “What do I want to do with my life after undergraduate school?” The economy did not seem to be doing well enough to give me the option of entering the job market straight out of college. As it turns out, that may have been the best blessing for me in terms of my future. From the realization that I needed to pursue higher education, I had an even greater realization: That law school was something I was going to strive for. Law was something I had had an interest in for almost six years to that point. Mr. Fuller’s first legal story in Law Studies class my freshman year of high school is what peaked my interest. As a wide-eyed freshman in high school, I put that interest on the backburner until I took another class about law, this time in college. From there, the interest was sparked once again, and a dream was born.
As my high school days wound down, I was a stranger to tragedy. Little did I know that four years later I would be a stranger no more, and that I would have grown to be twice the man I was four years prior. When I entered UCF, I was upbeat, ready to tackle college with enthusiasm, and ready to have the time of my life. Family and friends are an important part of my life, and I try to spend as much time as possible with the people I love. It is just the person I am. For so long, that had never been disturbed, and the people I loved were a constant presence in my life. For eighteen years, the only person I had lost was a grandfather, when I was less than one year old. That changed though when my grandmother passed away during my senior year of high school. It hurt and shook me, but I convinced myself it was an aberration, and it would be a long time until something happened again. A year later, though, I lost my other grandmother, and a short time later, my grandfather lost his battle with leukemia.
Just last year, my best friend succumbed to brain cancer after fighting for three years. It devastated me and eventually wore me down. So many people gone, people whom I had leaned on and spent so much quality time with. Through these losses, I have had to grow up quicker and become stronger than I would have imagined.
Despite the tragedies that have become, seemingly, an annual occurrence, always in spring, I believe that I have been able to keep tremendous focus given the circumstances. I come from an incredibly close family, which is why the losses I have had have affected me so deeply. Through all of that, though, I have become more motivated and ready to overcome the obstacles I encounter. Losing people close to us can change us long term, for better or worse. I have chosen to keep moving forward, engaging in internships, intramural activities, helping raise $1,000 for a local charity with four other classmates, and, most importantly, consistently trying to improve in school. It is that drive and desire to succeed that makes me believe that I would be a strong addition to XXX. Through my adversities I have been able to mature and grow, which in turn has allowed me to be able to set my sights solely on the goal of attending and successfully completing law school.
With acceptance to XXX, which is close to my friends and family, my goal of law school can officially begin. I have no doubt in my mind that I bring strong intangibles to your institution. My grade point average and LSAT scores do not measure that, but I hope that with the tiny glimpse into my life the past few years that I have provided that it is clear that I am ready to blossom and become the student I know I can be. I have made it through the worst challenges of all, great personal loss, and came out stronger because of it. Now I just need the opportunity to start my new challenge. My combination of extracurricular experiences have made me a more prepared and focused student and a stronger and better person. For that I am grateful and looking forward to what lies ahead of me as I leave UCF and begin my new journey into law school.

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glitched
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Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby glitched » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:34 pm

UCFundergrad wrote: The economy did not seem to be doing well enough to give me the option of entering the job market straight out of college.



I was immediately turned off when I read this.

UCFundergrad
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby UCFundergrad » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:41 pm

Ok, thank you! Any other input is greatly appreciated.

Saltqjibo
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Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby Saltqjibo » Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:35 am

Sorry dude, this is not good, and I will be honest with you.

It sounds too much like its written off the top of your head. Although these essays are personal; they also need to be extremely polished. That is really difficult for people (myself included) because the only way we are trained to write well in our undergraduate is academically.

The problem with your essay is essentially that it utilizes alot of admission essay cliches (the "moment" i knew I wanted to study law/"some bad stuff happened - it was hard - let me in" without a lot of nuance and it doesn;t really speak to your positives as an applicant

You need to scrap everything about how you knew you wanted to study law (maybe just mention the course you took and your interests in the last paragraph)

Your theme then is the value of family and friends and the difficulty of reconciling your ambitions/academics with the need to be close to your family at a difficult time. Not to sound callous, but I would also deemphasize the grandparent thing - most of us are getting to the age where we're starting to see some of our elder family members pass - while it could still be done with profundity - i don't think you are there. I would instead maybe talk about your best friend as that sound like a more surprising and tragic blow.

As weird as it sounds, try to leave self-analysis out. Make the story more about others and your accomplishments, and through that let your good qualities show. For instance if you simply say "I spent march and april sitting with my grandmother in the hospital" the adcomms will 1) realize that was during exams 2) be impressed with you for not continuing the sentence with "and that was why I received a 42% my SOC307 exam or whatever.

You need to make yourself come off more confident, perceptive and in control and yes, starting off with a cliche comment about the economy is not the way to do that.

Hope I wasn't too much of a dick

Best of Luck!

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sophia.olive
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Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby sophia.olive » Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:40 am

blah,

I would focus in more on a specific event and embellish/tell a story.

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Mike12188
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Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby Mike12188 » Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:59 am

sophia.olive wrote:blah,

I would focus in more on a specific event and embellish/tell a story.

+1

UCFundergrad
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Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby UCFundergrad » Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:34 am

Thank you so much guys. Exactly what I was looking for. And saltqjimbo you don't sound like a dick, you did exactly what I needed. I'll try to make it more towards the loss of my friend because I just don't have a major accomplishment in my life yet and haven't had a major event besides the loss of my friend. Any other ideas would still be greatly appreciated.

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SullaFelix
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Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby SullaFelix » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:36 pm

Mr. Fuller’s first legal story in Law Studies class my freshman year of high school is what peaked my interest.


The word is "piqued." Stuck out like a sore thumb.

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The Gentleman
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Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby The Gentleman » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:54 pm

Sorry buddy, but this is not worth keeping. Try and think of an event or a story that illustrates a positive quality about yourself. The charity event mentioned in the third paragraph would be a good example.

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alex_cryp
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Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby alex_cryp » Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:56 am

UCFundergrad wrote: I just don't have a major accomplishment in my life yet


I agree with what everyone is saying so far. . .

Raising $1000 for charity sounds pretty cool, might want to talk about that.

If you talk about your friend's death, there needs to be a take away from it. How has it shaped you as a person? It can't just be all these people died that I never could have expected. Admissions committees want to know who you are and what you will bring to their law school. They want diverse people with unique life experiences. You want to be self-aware and detailed in your essay without being cliche. You avoid being cliche by describing things in detail.

A lot of people have lost loved ones/close friends who are young--but what does this experience say about you as a person?

UCFundergrad
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Personal Statement help!

Postby UCFundergrad » Sun Nov 28, 2010 5:04 pm

Ok, thanks! I'm definitely going to change it up. This has helped a lot.




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