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(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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aesis
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Postby aesis » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:37 pm

Grazie.
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Last edited by aesis on Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:57 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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aesis
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions? PM for swap!

Postby aesis » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:44 pm

I promise it's an easy read!
General comments are welcome too... :(

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eliekedourie
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby eliekedourie » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:03 pm

I may be biased as I've read previous incarnations of your PS. I think it was a good idea to drop the Batman hook.

I have a problem with the blog topic and your effort to link it to the law. What I've gleaned from this site is that it's not a great idea to take it upon yourself to tell an adcomm what the law is. By saying a blog is like the law you are doing just that. You only vaguely tie your interest in blogging into being a voice for the voiceless by practicing law. I sure hope you have volunteer/summer work, or relevant coursework to back your claim of interest up. You need to take this beyond a "I journaled and am better for it" type of essay. This doesn't make you sound particularly unique or engaged.

You're a talented writer, but I think that the subject is a poor choice.

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aesis
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby aesis » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:30 pm

eliekedourie wrote:I may be biased as I've read previous incarnations of your PS. I think it was a good idea to drop the Batman hook.

I have a problem with the blog topic and your effort to link it to the law. What I've gleaned from this site is that it's not a great idea to take it upon yourself to tell an adcomm what the law is. By saying a blog is like the law you are doing just that. You only vaguely tie your interest in blogging into being a voice for the voiceless by practicing law. I sure hope you have volunteer/summer work, or relevant coursework to back your claim of interest up. You need to take this beyond a "I journaled and am better for it" type of essay. This doesn't make you sound particularly unique or engaged.

You're a talented writer, but I think that the subject is a poor choice.


Haha thanks for dropping in again. It seems we will never see eye to eye on this. I'm not trying to be unique. A lot of people blog. A lot of people teach. A lot of people travel abroad. A lot of people struggle with adversity.

It's the delivery that I'm counting on.

The emphasis here is not on the law -- I could for all intents and purposes cut out the law and instead twist it to reflect my awareness that I cannot rely solely on my own voice for growth. I found my voice and it helped establish a foundation for my future, and realizing this, I'm ready to use that voice for others. It is not necessary for me to back this up with law-related activities or public service.

If the PS would be strengthened without the blog/law parallel then I would be happy to cut it out and reorient it toward emphasizing the blog as an important aspect of my life using more concrete details. If that's a better direction, please let me know.

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eliekedourie
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby eliekedourie » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:36 pm

aesis wrote:
eliekedourie wrote:I may be biased as I've read previous incarnations of your PS. I think it was a good idea to drop the Batman hook.

I have a problem with the blog topic and your effort to link it to the law. What I've gleaned from this site is that it's not a great idea to take it upon yourself to tell an adcomm what the law is. By saying a blog is like the law you are doing just that. You only vaguely tie your interest in blogging into being a voice for the voiceless by practicing law. I sure hope you have volunteer/summer work, or relevant coursework to back your claim of interest up. You need to take this beyond a "I journaled and am better for it" type of essay. This doesn't make you sound particularly unique or engaged.

You're a talented writer, but I think that the subject is a poor choice.


Haha thanks for dropping in again. It seems we will never see eye to eye on this. I'm not trying to be unique. A lot of people blog. A lot of people teach. A lot of people travel abroad. A lot of people struggle with adversity.

It's the delivery that I'm counting on.

The emphasis here is not on the law -- I could for all intents and purposes cut out the law and instead twist it to reflect my awareness that I cannot rely solely on my own voice for growth. I found my voice and it helped establish a foundation for my future, and realizing this, I'm ready to use that voice for others. It is not necessary for me to back this up with law-related activities or public service.

If the PS would be strengthened without the blog/law parallel then I would be happy to cut it out and reorient it toward emphasizing the blog as an important aspect of my life using more concrete details. If that's a better direction, please let me know.


That's why those topics aren't so hot...

What I would suggest is to show more of your voice (which you mention at length but I get no sense of). Try out using more concrete examples and toning down the tie-in to the law. The trouble then will be to show how this blogging experience is in any way relevant to your desire to practice law or why you believe you would be a worthwhile addition to X law school.

Good luck.

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Flips88
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby Flips88 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:58 am

Since this is for Berkeley, I think you should flesh it out some more. They explicitly give you 4 pages to work with and it seems implied that you should use it. I took my regular two page PS and made one specifically for Berkeley that was about 3.75 pages.

And side note: I agree with your sentiments that there is no such thing as a non-cliche, unique PS. They're all the same theme: maturation, self-discovery, struggle, experiencing new things/cultures, coming of age. It's how you spin it as a writer that makes your PS good or bad.

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aesis
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby aesis » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:19 am

Bumped with a new, fresher, more vibrant version.
Thoughts?

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3|ink
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby 3|ink » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:37 pm

Damn. Just when I had time to read it. Repost!

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aesis
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby aesis » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:55 pm

3|ink wrote:Damn. Just when I had time to read it. Repost!


Ah, one more try then :) thanks.

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3|ink
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby 3|ink » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:12 pm

Paragraph one:
 Were the barriers of the classroom really that restrictive? Did they prevent you from using your own voice in your writing?
- Perhaps you could say ‘classroom and my peers’. I think it has to be clear that all other outlets are closed off.
 I like the two sentences about ‘shout’ and ‘whisper’, but I think you could combine them.

Paragraph two: Wouldn’t change a thing

Paragraph three:
 I would replace ‘hits’ with ‘how many people saw my writings’

Paragraph four: Wouldn’t change a thing

Paragraph five: Wouldn’t change a thing

CanadianWolf
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:23 pm

Comes across as a bit naive. Do you really believe that laws are written by "the people" ?

Blogging is poor preparation for law school & the practice of law because it is not refined by restrictions, debate or an actual controversey.

Unfortunately, you failed to find your "writer's voice" which leaves your personal statement lacking personality & almost totally lacking any shared insights which creates an impression of shallowness.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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aesis
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby aesis » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:25 pm

3|ink wrote:Paragraph one:
 Were the barriers of the classroom really that restrictive? Did they prevent you from using your own voice in your writing?
- Perhaps you could say ‘classroom and my peers’. I think it has to be clear that all other outlets are closed off.
 I like the two sentences about ‘shout’ and ‘whisper’, but I think you could combine them.

Paragraph two: Wouldn’t change a thing

Paragraph three:
 I would replace ‘hits’ with ‘how many people saw my writings’

Paragraph four: Wouldn’t change a thing

Paragraph five: Wouldn’t change a thing


Duly noted. Thanks, blink. Contributing to the community still in spite of that debacle? Props.

CanadianWolf wrote:Comes across as a bit naive. Do you really believe that laws are written by "the people" ?

Blogging is poor preparation for law school & the practice of law because it is not refined by restrictions, debate or an actual controversey.

Unfortunately, you failed to find your "writer's voice" which leaves your personal statement lacking personality & almost totally lacking any shared insights.


lol thanks for stopping by.

CanadianWolf
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Re: FINAL DRAFT - Last minute adds/subtractions?

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:26 pm

Sorry, didn't realize that you are set on submitting this as your personal statement. Good luck !

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3|ink
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Re: .

Postby 3|ink » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:40 pm

I wasn't going to say this because you've already submitted, but it is a little hard to get into your personal statement. I can tell you have a lot of enthusiasm for blogging, but it is difficult (if not impossible) to convey that in a way that makes the reader enthusiastic as well. The same is true of any personal statement centered on a topic of interest. The reader can tell that the writer enjoys the hobby, but that's about it.

If you intend to submit elsewhere, I think you would profit from exploring other angles. Perhaps you could tell a story about yourself. Whatever you do, post it here and we'll provide helpful criticism.

I went through three drafts myself (different topics/angles in all three). Thankfully, Canadian explained that my first two personal statements were basically regurgitated resumes. After my second failure, I decided to take the time to read the sample personal statements thread to get a better feel for what I should be writing. There was one personal statement in there that gave me a fantastic idea. It reminded me of an episode of my life that would make for a great statement. My third draft wasn't perfect, but it was good enough that I'm glad I did away with the first two.

aesis wrote:Duly noted. Thanks, blink. Contributing to the community still in spite of that debacle? Props.


Hehe. Thanks. I'm safe as long as the spreadsheet link with my RL name in it is down. Now no one else can facebook-fuck me.

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aesis
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Re: .

Postby aesis » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:29 pm

Just curious -- have you read Anna Ivey's admissions guide?

There's a "passion" statement included in the "Good Personal Essays" section, called "Pretty Horses." I was surprised that she considered it a "good" PS because it was so different from the many samples I've seen here on TLS. It basically was just a story about a girl reading books in Brazil. That's it.

And that's the thing -- if every essay turns out to be something like or sound similar to a sample they find, then everyone has conceptions of what a PS should be and thus mold their own statement accordingly. There's an interview with a former dean of Berkeley here that mentioned how one cycle had a recurring theme of overcoming adversity. I can't imagine how tired I would be of reading that kind of story hundreds of times.

I've read a number of samples. Some resonated with me, some utterly failed. Some PSes I've read here have been praised by Canadian and others, but I thought they were lacking and missing a lot of things. It's just so subjective. There was one poster here who was gay-HIV+-Hindu-former-drug-addict, etc. It was sad to see that a lot of people tore his statement up when I thought it was beautifully written and cohesive. It was more sad to see that he eagerly accepted those criticisms.

Don't get me wrong. I thoroughly appreciate the service TLS members like you and Canadian and do on the forum. It takes time to read someone's shitty statement, even more time to provide thoughtful and constructive criticism.

That said, the theme of my application "package" revolves around the blog and the intersection of law and technology. The voice here is self-evident in my writing -- that's the point. My DS adds the personal background and history (I'm a minority), and the Why X's would expand on the cyberlaw when applicable. Add in my resume/transcript and that takes care of my "preparation" for law school. A PS is who you are and what you're like, not necessarily what you've done. So I'm not too concerned given that 1) I love my PS and 2) many others have lauded it as interesting and very personal.

Anyway. We can go ahead and file this under "Cool story, bro."

TL;DR - Take things here with a grain of salt. Thanks for the help and congrats/goodluck!




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