Want to send off apps. Good to go?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
User avatar
dlbuhr
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:57 pm

Want to send off apps. Good to go?

Postby dlbuhr » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:47 pm

So here's the third draft. Good to go (aside from grammatical errors that I still have to fix)?

------------------------------------------------

There is a moment, perhaps a series of moments, that have the capacity to define and shape who we are and who we are capable of becoming. These moments often pass by inconspicuously, largely unnoticed or unrealized. It is not until we stop and take an instant to reflect, that we grasp and understand what has brought us to where we are today.

One such moment came four years ago: on a sweltering afternoon in July, typical of a Missouri summer, when I decided to go for my first run.

By nature I have always been a competitive and aggressive individual, playing soccer as a youth and later football. Despite my athletic pursuits though I was always a reluctant runner.

A large part of my reluctancy was rooted in a lack of self confidence. My lack of assertiveness would, as time passed, snowball into a fear of failure which, at times, was near debilitating.

Growing up, I was withdrawn and kept to myself, fearing that if I did as little as introduce myself to someone, I would undoubtedly be rejected. In school, I never participated in class discussions or answered questions, fearing what others may think if I answered incorrectly. Running scared me because of it’s difficulty. What if I had to stop mid-run, and people driving past saw me: what would they think?

For whatever reasons, I talked myself into walking out the door that day and attempt a two-mile run. That first run went how one could imagine it going. As a former defensive end, I did not possess the typical body of a long distance runner nor the aerobic capacity to carry me through to the finish. By the time I had ran a mile, I was bent at the waist, gasping for air in a futile attempt to quell the burning in my chest.

I didn’t finish the two miles: I failed, turned around, and walked home. Unlike past shortcomings however, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to let my failing dominate me into thinking that the two miles was beyond myself. I made it my goal to continue running until I could finish the distance without stopping. The day when I managed the two miles, satisfaction washed over me.

Any of feeling of accomplishment was short-lived; quickly replaced with wide-eyed ambition. I had proven to myself that running two miles was not outside my capabilities. Who was to say that I couldn’t run three miles? Three turned into four, four into seven, seven into ten, and so on.

I have been running ever since. Waking up before the sun to head out for eight miles or so has become a near daily routine for me. No longer fearing the difficult, I relish in the demanding and punishing nature of my runs. Scorching heat, blustering wind, and icy snow storms are not powerful deterrents, but mere obstacles that make the finish all the better and more gratifying.

Entering and competing in races has naturally evolved from my running. I have raced in numerous five kilometer races, several ten kilometer races, one half marathon, and I have a marathon scheduled for the near future. The thought of entering a race with hundreds or thousands of complete strangers at one time would have been enough to scare me away earlier in my life, but now, the prospect of a race elicits anticipation and excitement.

Running has played a large part in who I am today. It has shown me that failure doesn’t have to be accepted: it does not have to be the end. That If I keep my feet moving, my head up, and my eyes looking onward, I can accomplish and overcome the most daunting of tasks. Running has taught me that I am capable of much more than I ever imagined: fashioning a self-confidence that I never had before.

Despite the lessons learned, running has not safeguarded me from failure. But because I am a runner I know how to move forward after each misstep thanks to the reinforcement of past successes. I cannot say Running has played a central role in my desire to attend law school. But what it has given me, an unrelenting determination coupled with a stubbornness to never quit, has afforded me the confidence that I am prepared for any challenge that lies ahead.

User avatar
3|ink
Posts: 7331
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:23 pm

Re: Want to send off apps. Good to go?

Postby 3|ink » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:57 pm

Paragraph one:
• I know you said you’re submitting this today but I honestly think it should be deleted. It almost sounds like you’re trying to impart wisdom on to your reader.
Paragraph two:
• Your first run? Of the day/month/year/ever?
Paragraph seven:
• You took the time to tell your past, but this is how you treat the event that changed you? One sentence? Maybe the story should be about that day instead of the first day you failed to run two miles.
The rest:
• I kept looking for a link to law school. It didn’t come in until the very end. You even admit that running had little to do with your decision. Based on what I have read, I have no reason to believe that you have a strong desire to attend law school.

Edit: Don't rush your personal statement just to get your applications in.

User avatar
verklempt
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:59 pm

Re: Want to send off apps. Good to go?

Postby verklempt » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:10 pm

Eliminate the first five paragraphs (they're back story) and bulk up the law school/legal career tie-in. Help the reader understand how your running experience demonstrates your aptitude for law.

User avatar
dlbuhr
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: Want to send off apps. Good to go?

Postby dlbuhr » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:47 pm

I understand how the personal statement can be used as a vehicle for communicating your desire to attend law school, but does that necessarily always have to be the case? I was under the impression that instead the PS can be used to describe what makes you who you are. In that regard, I wanted to be honest and not try to force a metaphor of some revelatory event it doesn't belong. Is this not okay to do? I hope this doesn't come across as just brushing you critiques off because that's not what I'm intending to do and I whole-heartedly appreciate your time and your willingness to help.

User avatar
dlbuhr
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: Want to send off apps. Good to go?

Postby dlbuhr » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:51 pm

Also if I am in the wrong, would a switch to my experience with marathon training be a better idea? I feel that connections could be easier to draw that way.

User avatar
Richie Tenenbaum
Posts: 2162
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 6:17 am

Re: Want to send off apps. Good to go?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:52 pm

dlbuhr wrote:I understand how the personal statement can be used as a vehicle for communicating your desire to attend law school, but does that necessarily always have to be the case? I was under the impression that instead the PS can be used to describe what makes you who you are. In that regard, I wanted to be honest and not try to force a metaphor of some revelatory event it doesn't belong. Is this not okay to do? I hope this doesn't come across as just brushing you critiques off because that's not what I'm intending to do and I whole-heartedly appreciate your time and your willingness to help.


I don't think so. I would listen to some of the above critiques, but I don't think you need to change the focus of your personal statement to "why law school." Those essays work for some people, but for some people they come across as incredibly forced and fake.

User avatar
verklempt
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:59 pm

Re: Want to send off apps. Good to go?

Postby verklempt » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:03 pm

I don't think it must be a vehicle for "why law school" and agree that it can sound forced. However, I do think that a reader should finish the essay and have a clear picture of the attributes that make you a good candidate for the school.

Essays about running are extremely common, most often used to show that the writer pushes him/herself and does not give up easily. Those are necessary but not sufficient qualities! I suggest you might want to expand on "running has played a large part in who I am today" to make yours stand out.

User avatar
dlbuhr
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:57 pm

Re: Want to send off apps. Good to go?

Postby dlbuhr » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:27 pm

So this isn't as close to being ready as thought it was then?




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.