need direction - please help

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
HB2011
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:29 pm

need direction - please help

Postby HB2011 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:55 pm

Hello TLSers

I have lurked the site for almost a year and have been trying to write my personal statement. I understand those who generally converse here are targeting top schools, but I hope to get some direction and advice. The list below touches on the highlights/lowlights of my past, and the direction I am heading. In the end, I just want to get accepted into a T3/T4 law school within 4-5 hours of my home. I have a job if/when I get out. In order of preference, the schools include: wvu, akron, dayton, ohio northern, cleveland st, capital, appalachian, widener, toledo, det. mercy.

- non-traditional student (46 yrs old)
- 1982 went to USF seeking golf career
- no interest in academics
- golf never materialized
- poor decisions - DUI's 1983,84
- academically dismissed 1.7 gpa after 3 semesters
- began taking classes PT in early 2000-2007 (4.0)
- work experience...
- odd jobs: caddy, bar mgr, golf course foreman, asst golf pro.
* 1990-2005 - 15 years Director/VP merchandising and operations retail chain
* while working - opened businesses - phased out of job, focused on personal businesses
* 7 years - owned preschool with wife
* 3 years- owned 2 restaurants
- 2007 eye cancer - treated with radiation, but left damage/vision loss to eye
- 2009 sold/closed businesses
- moved back home - job in law firm
- specific plan to complete UG, attend law school, work in firm
- 2009 enrolled FT in reputable university - History major
- 3.3, 3.8, 3.9 gpa last 3 semesters, graduating in May 2011.
- undergrad gpa 3.7 (overall LSAC gpa 3.1)
- poor October LSAT - 146
- did I mention I have 4 kids!

I know the LSAT is terrible, but can't take it again. The overall gpa is borderline...I am hoping to distance myself from my past and go with the "overcoming adversity, lessons learned, work experience, trending academic history" strategy. I am struggling to just get started and not sure what to include in PS...and more importantly, what to avoid. There is a lot going on here and I was hoping for some feedback from the wealth of knowledge on the site.

thanks in advance

tarakit
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 12:24 am

Re: need direction - please help

Postby tarakit » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:01 pm

Maybe talk about what made you decide to go back to school, etc. after being in the work force so long? It seems like it would be an interesting story. Maybe pick a vignette to open the personal statement and then sort of go on to talk about your past jobs, etc. and why you decided to become a lawyer.

Also, have you considered going to school part time? I don't know what school like this would be available in your area. But in the city I live in, there is a law school that is entirely part-time. You go to class 6:30-8:30 and normally take 3 classes at a time. There is no required LSAT for admission, and most of the students are non-traditional. For example, my mom just graduated, and she is 51. The law school is not accredited so is not recognized outside the state, but for older students, that is normally not an issue. In addition, they have a higher bar passage rate than several of the T3/T4 schools in the area and probably better job prospects because you can work at the same time. Tuition is also significantly cheaper.

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Plato's Thoughts
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby Plato's Thoughts » Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:12 pm

HB2011 wrote:Hello TLSers

I have lurked the site for almost a year and have been trying to write my personal statement. I understand those who generally converse here are targeting top schools, but I hope to get some direction and advice. The list below touches on the highlights/lowlights of my past, and the direction I am heading. In the end, I just want to get accepted into a T3/T4 law school within 4-5 hours of my home. I have a job if/when I get out. In order of preference, the schools include: wvu, akron, dayton, ohio northern, cleveland st, capital, appalachian, widener, toledo, det. mercy.

- non-traditional student (46 yrs old)
- 1982 went to USF seeking golf career
- no interest in academics
- golf never materialized
- poor decisions - DUI's 1983,84
- academically dismissed 1.7 gpa after 3 semesters
- began taking classes PT in early 2000-2007 (4.0)
- work experience...
- odd jobs: caddy, bar mgr, golf course foreman, asst golf pro.
* 1990-2005 - 15 years Director/VP merchandising and operations retail chain
* while working - opened businesses - phased out of job, focused on personal businesses
* 7 years - owned preschool with wife
* 3 years- owned 2 restaurants
- 2007 eye cancer - treated with radiation, but left damage/vision loss to eye
- 2009 sold/closed businesses
- moved back home - job in law firm
- specific plan to complete UG, attend law school, work in firm
- 2009 enrolled FT in reputable university - History major
- 3.3, 3.8, 3.9 gpa last 3 semesters, graduating in May 2011.
- undergrad gpa 3.7 (overall LSAC gpa 3.1)
- poor October LSAT - 146
- did I mention I have 4 kids!

I know the LSAT is terrible, but can't take it again. The overall gpa is borderline...I am hoping to distance myself from my past and go with the "overcoming adversity, lessons learned, work experience, trending academic history" strategy. I am struggling to just get started and not sure what to include in PS...and more importantly, what to avoid. There is a lot going on here and I was hoping for some feedback from the wealth of knowledge on the site.

thanks in advance


I think if you apply to those schools you mentioned and submit a strong app, you should get in somewhere. I don't know how stuck you are on the school you want to go to, but I think you could easily get into Cooley.

Also, I think if you studied, retake, and got a 150, your chances would significantly increase. Maybe to a solid T-3. MSU, Syracuse, etc...

HB2011
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:29 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby HB2011 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:33 pm

I appreciate the feedback. At my age, I'd rather not pursue PT. I won't have to work while in school, so I hope to get in an get out. My main concern is to stay within 4-5 hours of home and not have to relocate the family. Yes Plato, Cooley (a TLS punching bag) is an option, but probably pushing 6 hours drive time. I know the LSAT is dragging me down but I don't really have an opportunity to re-take. I'll be taking 21 hours next spring and have no time to dedicate to preparing. I believe I need a strong PS, combined with several very strong LOR's (which I have), to close the deal.

thanks

User avatar
BriaTharen
Posts: 750
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:17 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby BriaTharen » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:40 pm

While this reeks of flame, just in case it isn't:

You're an older, nontraditional student who has been in the workforce for quite some time. Most schools will want to know why now, at 46 years old, you want to come to law school. So that should be mentioned in your PS. Just don't make it cheesy with lines like "And then I knew I wanted to be a lawyer..." No one has those kinds of revelations outside of poorly written fan fiction.

weejonbu
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:48 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby weejonbu » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:53 pm

Image

Retake.

J/k... lol

HB2011
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:29 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby HB2011 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:22 pm

I submitted a reply, but it somehow vanished. I'll try again.

I've often wondered how people get tagged a flame. Is my situation that unbelievable? Stepping back, maybe it is. Anyway Bria, I'm not a flame. In 07' I was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer and the subsequent radiation treatment damaged my eye (also making the LSAT timed readings very difficult). I need to do everything to protect my good eye and working in kitchens with 1000 degree ovens and deep fryers was not a good idea. Our businesses were hanging on and we had an opportunity to sell out/close down, and start over. I was given opportunity to work in a firm 18 months ago, and I will have employment when I graduate. Went back to UG and pounded out some excellent grades in a rigorous history program.....just missing a 4.0 last semester. Big change from my worthless, sorry performance, 27 years ago. But I'm thankful to be alive and have another chance. I'm "all in" this deal. And no, I didn't "always want to be a lawyer" but I sure do want to be one now. I enjoy the field, have a relentless work ethic, and it works with my eye situation. I will get through law school...I just need to get in. I am looking for advice regarding my PS. Hopefully I will be able to return the favor one day. That's it.

On the retake, can't do it. I wish I could. Having read thousands of posts on this site, I understand the drill. Although, if I don't get accepted into a school, I'll be forced to study for LSAT during the summer, and take it in October. But time is an issue (remember I am 46 and have a family) and I can't afford to burn another year. I really need to get in next fall. If I get skunked on all apps, there's a couple conditional/trial programs I could shoot for and attend during the summer.

Any advice on the PS would be appreciated...if not, I'll move on.

thanks

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smears
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:09 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby smears » Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:35 pm

Dude I am by no means a law school expert, but I can tell you that along the way on a road trip I took about a year ago, I stopped by Appalachian just to see what it looked like. You DO NOT want to live there. It was the most frightening place I've ever been in my life. There is literally nothing in the town except a hot dog stand, an Italian restaurant, (not run by Italians), a courthouse, 2 law offices, a jail and a huge scary masonic lodge.

I shit you not, I am certain that Grundy Virginia is the place that inspires Steven King novels.

I was planning on taking a little walk around the place just to see what it looked like, and I was only out of the car for about 15 minutes.

The parking lot is in front of the abandoned grocery store. The public library in the town is out of business and practically condemned. I saw a burned out police car which looked as though it had been there for years.

My girlfriend, who is a bit younger than me, look at me innocently and asked, "Does the president know about this place?".

You know a student shot the dean and a professor on the front lawn a few years back? Everyone in the town looks at you like they want to bury your body someplace in the woods.

I mean scary dude.

I'm not a big poster on this site, nor do I claim any knowledge of the quality of education or what have you relating to the school itself, but it was in fact the most frightened I have ever been. Half the residences in the community are either burned down, or have a wall that's missing and has been replaced w/ plywood or a tarp.

No GPS, no cell reception, only one way in or out of that place and you're hundreds of miles, (at least it seemed that way), from the nearest interstate.

I was a naive undergrad with thoughts of going to a lower ranked school in exchange for free tuition, which isn't altogether a bad idea in principle for certain circumstances, but there is a floor, and that place is well, well beneath it.

Best of luck. I promise if you ever go there you will remember my post. I didn't even stay long enough to take pics.

HB2011
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:29 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby HB2011 » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:01 am

Wow smears...what kind of road "trip" were you on. I actually know a guy who goes there (L1), he thoroughly enjoys it (talk to him on his CELL PHONE).

Anyway....feedback on the PS?

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NZA
Posts: 1285
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby NZA » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:06 am

HB2011 wrote:Wow smears...what kind of road "trip" were you on. I actually know a guy who goes there (L1), he thoroughly enjoys it (talk to him on his CELL PHONE).

Anyway....feedback on the PS?


...what PS?

User avatar
smears
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:09 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby smears » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:10 am

It was a while back. I was driving for a few weeks to visit friends in several states as a sort of extended vacation.

When I went they were in the middle of a "town relocation project" because apparently, the whole damn place was flooding and they just decided to move the town up onto a higher part of a hill or something.

It was the most desolate place I'd ever been. I'd say my trip was 3-4 years ago.

I just had never seen such drastic poverty in such high concentrations before on the way in and out of the place. There were no hotels, no fast food, no grocery store that I could see. I dunno man are we talking about the same place?

http://www.asl.edu/

I'm not like some spoiled prick from the inner city who thinks I need every convenience in life 100 times over, but I literally don't understand where those people in that town get groceries, or go to the doctor, or anything. Maybe there's some road someplace that I somehow totally missed which has more things, but pretty much, when you're pulling out of the school, there's a sign that says, "downtown", you turn in the direction of the arrow and you drive down the street containing the aforementioned businesses etc, then you come right back out in front of the school and that's it.

I think the next town over is like a 30-40 minute drive through some curvy mountain roads, and everyone I saw in the place was very, very poor. Most of them had coal dust all over their faces. I'm not trying to insult the people, but I'm saying that everything there was well outside the norm of everything else I've ever seen.
Last edited by smears on Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

justadude55
Posts: 963
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:23 am

Re: need direction - please help

Postby justadude55 » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:12 am

dude 3.1 146 isn't going to work. you need to retake in feb.

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NZA
Posts: 1285
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: need direction - please help

Postby NZA » Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:12 am

Grundy (population: 1,105) is not exactly a social hub. While the mountain town offers proximity to gorgeous parks, mountain trails and stables for horseback riding, the town proper boasts little more than a three-screen movie theater, an active YMCA, and a locally-renowned flood control program. Students complain primarily about poor housing and water quality in Grundy as well as the homogeneity of the population, elements of which may not be friendly to outsiders and minorities.


http://www.top-law-schools.com/appalach ... f-law.html




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