How's my intro paragraph?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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JoeShmoe11
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How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JoeShmoe11 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:36 am

Hello all, I'd like you to rape, pillage, burn, maim, and violate my opening paragraph to help me in my pursuit of the perfect essay. Well not literally but as long as you have a constructive contribution I'm down with however you do so. It's been fudged a bit because I still haven't come to trust forums full of total strangers. Sorry, TLS! D:

Laboring to pull myself away from the warmth of my cozy bed, I squinted at the iridescent light of my alarm clock: six-oh-two. The pitched shrills of a two-year old somehow penetrate the deepest recesses of the human mind; even the strongest cup of coffee pales in comparison. As her caretaker for the weekend I stumbled frantically to Sophia’s crib and cries were soon replaced by giggles; her toothy smile always lifted my spirits. Cradling her in my arms I made my way to the kitchen where the two of us momentarily enjoyed a quiet breakfast - toast and eggs for me and vomit-colored baby mush for Sophia. As we ate I felt the slightest tug and saw the sleepy blue eyes of my younger sister Giavonna looking up at me. Her small hand rubbed her face, “The babies are awake Michael.” To complete the cavalcade, the cries of Max and Sophia echoed through the empty house. I secretly wondered if my mother had only birthed me to have a built-in babysitters for her future children.


THANKS!

QandAphorism
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby QandAphorism » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:43 am

JoeShmoe11 wrote:Hello all, I'd like you to rape, pillage, burn, maim, and violate my opening paragraph to help me in my pursuit of the perfect essay. Well not literally but as long as you have a constructive contribution I'm down with however you do so. It's been fudged a bit because I still haven't come to trust forums full of total strangers. Sorry, TLS! D:

Laboring to pull myself away from the warmth of my cozy bed, I squinted at the iridescent light of my alarm clock: six-oh-two. The pitched shrills of a two-year old somehow penetrate the deepest recesses of the human mind; even the strongest cup of coffee pales in comparison. As her caretaker for the weekend I stumbled frantically to Sophia’s crib and cries were soon replaced by giggles; her toothy smile always lifted my spirits. Cradling her in my arms I made my way to the kitchen where the two of us momentarily enjoyed a quiet breakfast - toast and eggs for me and vomit-colored baby mush for Sophia. As we ate I felt the slightest tug and saw the sleepy blue eyes of my younger sister Giavonna looking up at me. Her small hand rubbed her face, “The babies are awake Michael.” To complete the cavalcade, the cries of Max and Sophia echoed through the empty house. Somehow I had never imagined spending the prime of my life taking care of four children.



THANKS!


I always felt that this sort of literary style, if used in a LS personal statment, works only in conjunction with pretty stellar numbers. (lsat/gpa) I mean, there's nothing wrong with being expressive, but it's just so wordy and stylized that I think (to an adcom) this wouldn't be too compelling unless you had the numbers to back it up. If you have an over 168 score, I wouldn't change a thing, but if it's less, I'd tone this down and be a bit more disciplined. Show that you're not just going to be about "creative expression" in LS, you know?

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jazz17
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby jazz17 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:47 am

I think it's great imagery but it's kind of hard to see where you're going with it. I would reconsider "stumbled frantically" because you describe how hard it is to wake up and makes that phrase sort of contradictory. Would love to see where you take this :)

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JoeShmoe11
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JoeShmoe11 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:12 am

QandAphorism wrote:
I always felt that this sort of literary style, if used in a LS personal statment, works only in conjunction with pretty stellar numbers. (lsat/gpa) I mean, there's nothing wrong with being expressive, but it's just so wordy and stylized that I think (to an adcom) this wouldn't be too compelling unless you had the numbers to back it up. If you have an over 168 score, I wouldn't change a thing, but if it's less, I'd tone this down and be a bit more disciplined. Show that you're not just going to be about "creative expression" in LS, you know?


Thank you for reading it over for me. I don't think my number and my essay are really something that should be associated. I mean the LSAT isn't really a test of writing ability in the least (except for the writing sample but that's kinda blah). I have a 170+ so I guess it doesn't really matter but I'm having a hard time understanding exactly what you mean.


jazz17 wrote:I think it's great imagery but it's kind of hard to see where you're going with it. I would reconsider "stumbled frantically" because you describe how hard it is to wake up and makes that phrase sort of contradictory. Would love to see where you take this :)


Thank you for the compliment :D As far as direction I'm going in "I have a lot of siblings and despite the fact that they are a handful I love them and they are inspiring" direction. Unfortunately I suspect that what I have written really goes downhill after the first paragraph.

sparty99
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby sparty99 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:33 am

I don't care for it. You talk about vomit and it seems that you are trying too hard with the imagery and the descriptions. You use words that you most likely have never used in every day language. That does not impress the committee. Keep it simple.

iridescent, recesses of the human mind; frantically, cavalcade, toothy --- Not a fan of these words

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JoeShmoe11
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JoeShmoe11 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:07 am

sparty99 wrote:I don't care for it. You talk about vomit and it seems that you are trying too hard with the imagery and the descriptions. You use words that you most likely have never used in every day language. That does not impress the committee. Keep it simple.

iridescent, recesses of the human mind; frantically, cavalcade, toothy --- Not a fan of these words


I agree that some of those seem a bit unnecessary - particularly "recesses of the human mind". The words frantic and toothy could easily fall within daily use for many people. Cavalcade and iridescent might make it into a conversation with someone I am trying to impress but I think the word iridescent in particular is a particularly appropriate word for describing the glow of an alarm clock. That's a matter of opinion though.

Can you give me an example of imagery that isn't trying too hard? Are you saying it is forced? If so what would seem more natural?

Also I mentioned "vomit-colored baby mush" but not actual vomit. I figured some light sarcasm and mildly witty remarks might be eye-catching. I know it makes an essay more readable and interesting for me. I'd like to know people's opinions on this.

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verklempt
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby verklempt » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:18 am

It's hard to say much about a paragraph that doesn't reveal a lot, but I urge you not to use words like "cavalcade" unless you know what they mean (i.e. "cavalcade" is not the word you want here).

You indicate that you are your niece's caregiver for the weekend, and then a sentence later refer to your sister, who I am assuming is your niece's mother. It's not a good idea to confuse the reader. I also reacted pretty negatively to the word "vomit," especially when used to describe your niece's breakfast. Ugh.

I suggest starting over. I am not sure what point you are trying to convey, but anyway, start at the beginning and pretend you are talking to a friend -- not your best friend but someone you like and reasonably trust -- and tell that person your story. Write it down like that. Then you can go back and clean it up. You're not going to trot out the SAT vocab with your friend, so don't do it for your PS.

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JoeShmoe11
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JoeShmoe11 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:30 am

verklempt wrote:It's hard to say much about a paragraph that doesn't reveal a lot, but I urge you not to use words like "cavalcade" unless you know what they mean (i.e. "cavalcade" is not the word you want here).

You indicate that you are your niece's caregiver for the weekend, and then a sentence later refer to your sister, who I am assuming is your niece's mother. It's not a good idea to confuse the reader. I also reacted pretty negatively to the word "vomit," especially when used to describe your niece's breakfast. Ugh.

I suggest starting over. I am not sure what point you are trying to convey, but anyway, start at the beginning and pretend you are talking to a friend -- not your best friend but someone you like and reasonably trust -- and tell that person your story. Write it down like that. Then you can go back and clean it up. You're not going to trot out the SAT vocab with your friend, so don't do it for your PS.


I appreciate your input. I'll pull any references to vomit. I don't exactly understand how you came to believe this essay was about anyone other than my siblings though especially considering that I mentioned babysitting for my mother and stepfather in one of the first sentences. I will definitely take your suggestion to write as if I was speaking to a friend. I realize now that "recesses of the human mind" is a bit over the top and frankly inappropriate for something like a child's cry. Maybe something more along the lines of "...pitched shrills pulled me out of bed" or something more appropriate.

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kitmitzi
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby kitmitzi » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:36 am

Also I mentioned "vomit-colored baby mush" but not actual vomit. I figured some light sarcasm and mildly witty remarks might be eye-catching. I know it makes an essay more readable and interesting for me. I'd like to know people's opinions on this.


I agree that the "vomit" comment is unnecessary and off-putting. I was getting a these-kids-are-a-handful-but-lovable vibe until the vomit part. Just....ew.

Cavalcade...I'll freely admit I have no idea what it means. Don't try to write big words to impress the adcomm. That's often a downfall.

if my mother had only birthed me to have a built-in babysitters for her future children.

It should be babysitter and not plural.

sparty99
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby sparty99 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:44 am

"Laboring to pull myself away from the warmth of my cozy bed" - This is fine

"The pitched shrills of a two-year old" - I can see the imagery

"vomit-colored" - I don't like this description. I'm going to accept you into a professional program, but you are using the phrase, "vomit-colored." This is not the phrase that I would expect from an adult.

"sleepy blue eyes" and "small hand rubbed her face" - the imagery is okay, but you use a lot of imagery. You are not writing a teenage fiction novel, so, if you want to incorporate such imagery, keep it simple. What are you trying to convey to the reader with this imagery?

"To complete the cavalcade" - I had to look up the word cavalcade. I figured it had to do with cavalry. But, again, ask yourself, are these words that I use in every day language?

All in all, I would probably take a different direction with your opening statement. I'm not sure where you are going with this and how it relates to how you were raised, why law school, yada, yada, yada. True, this is just an opening statement, but I wonder if you can get your message across in a different way.

You have a lot of siblings? How many is a lot? Did you RAISE them or did you just babysit? How did growing up in a large family effect you? Did you have to get a job at 14 to help pay the family bills? Did you miss the senior prom because your mom was going on her 3rd date in 5 months and so you had to stay home with the 2 year old?

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JCougar
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JCougar » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:53 am

It's just my opinion, but:

The literary style you use is good for fiction work, but legal writing is much different from that. It's much more factual and direct. Of course, lawyers many times go beyond such writing if they are in a position advocating for certain policies or creating a vision for the future -- but that kind of writing still doesn't come close to the rhetorical flourishes that good storytellers use.

If I were writing a personal statement today, I'd try to show off my persuasive writing skills showing how you want to change certain things and why, and intersperse it with your life story and how that has shaped your views on this world.

Maybe you're planning on doing that with the rest of your paragraphs...I don't know. It's impossible to predict what is going to impress each individual adcom, but I'd bet on persuasive/policy-centered writing rather than brilliant storytelling.

-- also, I agree with everyone else: take out the references to vomit. Emotionally-charged words and imagery has its place in storytelling, but it's definitely a turn-off in business or legal writing.

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JoeShmoe11
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JoeShmoe11 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:02 am

Thanks to everyone for the critiques. They have been EXTREMELY helpful - I get the sense that some light imagery is acceptable but full-on narration seems to be a bad idea. And yes, my final version will make absolutely no mention of vomit. The general consensus seems to be that this should be professional and personal. The last person to respond also mentions that it should be relatively persuasive, however. Having a persuasive tone in a personal statement seems cliche. Should it be subtly persuasive? As in the essay sets me up as one with lawyerly characteristics but never explicitly says "these things will make me a good lawyer" or should I be explicit?

This process has just about convinced me to shell out the ten bucks for a book of essays from accepted students.

Thank you again to everyone who responded. You have all been great. Any additional advice you have to offer as to the general form of personal statements would be greatly appreciated!

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JCougar
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JCougar » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:06 am

JoeShmoe11 wrote:Thanks to everyone for the critiques. They have been EXTREMELY helpful - I get the sense that some light imagery is acceptable but full-on narration seems to be a bad idea. And yes, my final version will make absolutely no mention of vomit. The general consensus seems to be that this should be professional and personal. The last person to respond also mentions that it should be relatively persuasive, however. Having a persuasive tone in a personal statement seems cliche. Should it be subtly persuasive? As in the essay sets me up as one with lawyerly characteristics but never explicitly says "these things will make me a good lawyer" or should I be explicit?

This process has just about convinced me to shell out the ten bucks for a book of essays from accepted students.

Thank you again to everyone who responded. You have all been great. Any additional advice you have to offer as to the general form of personal statements would be greatly appreciated!


Yeah...I didn't mean totally and literally persuasive, as in your LSAT writing sample. But just make a good case for why you as a person have the characteristics it takes to be an agent of change.

It's only one strategy that you could use...there are probably three dozen different ways to write a good personal statement. But from what I have picked up on in the last year, something like that would play very well across a broad spectrum of lawyers.

sandaltan
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby sandaltan » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:40 am

your point is to sound mature right? there are a lot of ways to convey maturity, and your subject is fine, but i dont like the presentation.

i just...i dunno. it probably doesnt matter with a 170, or whatever it is, but the two dont match up. you nailed the lsat so why not nail your ps too?

youre defensive with criticism - thats a good thing - sorta, it means the desire is there, but trust me, toothy never makes it into everyday conversation. not that your ps has to be an everyday conversation, but that would be better than forcing words that the adcomms just might come across and think 'huh....what?'

use your imagery more effectively. get someone who can REALLY write and have them look over it. they can provide more meaningful criticism - the kind you might be less likely to shrug off than the kind you get on an internet forum.

i was tired of your intro after a few sentences, seriously.

i get that you had a large plate handed to you, but it comes off as forced, dry, unfun (if only you could make it fun, how mature would that sound? lots. like damn, here i am at 6am, feeding these 2 ingrates, and shit, im still bubbly about it...its not even a chore, and i CERTAINLY hold no grudges about it, because grudges are immature - your mom didnt pop you out to take care of her future kids) and borderline lame.

i dunno why the hell im even telling you all this.

i struggled for a while writing about how i broke 12 bones snowboarding and how the patience and focus i learned from physical therapy was applied to my development as a professional in the work place, but i hold no grudges against that innocent tree that fucked me up.

the vomit comments are lame and weak. ive had critiques by people who dont like a particular word i used and those comments are useless.

if its vomit color then its vomit color. of course i havent seen vomit in a while (23rd bday?), and even if i had, the description is only partial. it may LOOK like vomit, but does it feel, smell, harden, nourish, burn or taste like vomit? no. its baby food. pick a better word.

anywho, good luck.

sparty99
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby sparty99 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:46 am

After reading your PS, the admissions person should be MOTIVATED to ADMIT you into their program. You will have to persuade them to reach that decision. This can be done in a subtle manner, but after reading your statement I should be like, "Oh, damn. I feel like I know this person. They will do well at our school."

I am writing my own PS and have had a tough time. I have read 100+ examples and am still struggling to figure out why someone should admit me after reading my statement.

I think after you read some examples, you might get a better picture as to how you should present yourself. Go to your local library, there are many books.

But take your time. This is not something that can be achieved in a day or even in a week.

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JCougar
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JCougar » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:58 am

sparty99 wrote:After reading your PS, the admissions person should be MOTIVATED to ADMIT you into their program. You will have to persuade them to reach that decision. This can be done in a subtle manner, but after reading your statement I should be like, "Oh, damn. I feel like I know this person. They will do well at our school."

I am writing my own PS and have had a tough time. I have read 100+ examples and am still struggling to figure out why someone should admit me after reading my statement.

I think after you read some examples, you might get a better picture as to how you should present yourself. Go to your local library, there are many books.

But take your time. This is not something that can be achieved in a day or even in a week.


Let's get real here: your personal statement isn't going to get you in anywhere. Law school admissions are 90% LSAT/GPA. And another 5% is how badly you want to go to a certain school (they'll admit borderline students if they know they're not a yield concern). A stellar PS isn't going to override that, but a very poor one might hurt you (as in not well-edited...they could care less about the subject).

Don't make it harder than it should be. It's not rocket science, and they're not looking for anything earth-shattering. It should be impeccably written and totally free of syntax and punctuation errors. But people aren't going to admit you/throw you out because you picked one subject or the other. Write about how you want to save animals or change labor laws or defend the environment or regulate the marketplace.

If you're reading through 100+ examples, you're trying too hard. Just think of five things that are important to you and put them in a hat, and write about whichever one you pull out of the hat while relating it to your personal life and how that makes you want to change something as a lawyer. You'd probably be fine writing about how you once loved your pet hamster and how that has made you want to fight for animal rights, as long as it was well-edited and free of errors.

sparty99
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby sparty99 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:14 am

Numbers are important, but if you are borderline, then the PS can put you over the top or get you the interview.

sandaltan
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby sandaltan » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:25 am

JCougar wrote:
sparty99 wrote:After reading your PS, the admissions person should be MOTIVATED to ADMIT you into their program. You will have to persuade them to reach that decision. This can be done in a subtle manner, but after reading your statement I should be like, "Oh, damn. I feel like I know this person. They will do well at our school."

I am writing my own PS and have had a tough time. I have read 100+ examples and am still struggling to figure out why someone should admit me after reading my statement.

I think after you read some examples, you might get a better picture as to how you should present yourself. Go to your local library, there are many books.

But take your time. This is not something that can be achieved in a day or even in a week.


Let's get real here: your personal statement isn't going to get you in anywhere. Law school admissions are 90% LSAT/GPA. And another 5% is how badly you want to go to a certain school (they'll admit borderline students if they know they're not a yield concern). A stellar PS isn't going to override that, but a very poor one might hurt you (as in not well-edited...they could care less about the subject).

Don't make it harder than it should be. It's not rocket science, and they're not looking for anything earth-shattering. It should be impeccably written and totally free of syntax and punctuation errors. But people aren't going to admit you/throw you out because you picked one subject or the other. Write about how you want to save animals or change labor laws or defend the environment or regulate the marketplace.

If you're reading through 100+ examples, you're trying too hard. Just think of five things that are important to you and put them in a hat, and write about whichever one you pull out of the hat while relating it to your personal life and how that makes you want to change something as a lawyer. You'd probably be fine writing about how you once loved your pet hamster and how that has made you want to fight for animal rights, as long as it was well-edited and free of errors.


this is just...this is awful advice. really, really bad shit goin on right up there ^.

lets be furreal here for a second: your personal statement could very well get you an admission or a rejection. to think otherwise is foolish - flat out lazy, unexplainable, unreasonable logic.

i dunno where the hell you got your 90% lsat/gpa and 5% desire (lolwtfisthisacat?) and the last 5% is just floating out there like a blimp.

youre basically saying fuck the ps, fix your gramer if youre really shootin for the stars, they dont care, neither should you, bye.

also, when you say "they could care less" - you realize youre saying they DO care, so much so in fact that theres room to care less about it.

anywho, i think you might be legally retarded.

i can see the headlines: "ADA kid hires aide, learns much."

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JCougar
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JCougar » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:39 am

sandaltan wrote:
JCougar wrote:
sparty99 wrote:After reading your PS, the admissions person should be MOTIVATED to ADMIT you into their program. You will have to persuade them to reach that decision. This can be done in a subtle manner, but after reading your statement I should be like, "Oh, damn. I feel like I know this person. They will do well at our school."

I am writing my own PS and have had a tough time. I have read 100+ examples and am still struggling to figure out why someone should admit me after reading my statement.

I think after you read some examples, you might get a better picture as to how you should present yourself. Go to your local library, there are many books.

But take your time. This is not something that can be achieved in a day or even in a week.


Let's get real here: your personal statement isn't going to get you in anywhere. Law school admissions are 90% LSAT/GPA. And another 5% is how badly you want to go to a certain school (they'll admit borderline students if they know they're not a yield concern). A stellar PS isn't going to override that, but a very poor one might hurt you (as in not well-edited...they could care less about the subject).

Don't make it harder than it should be. It's not rocket science, and they're not looking for anything earth-shattering. It should be impeccably written and totally free of syntax and punctuation errors. But people aren't going to admit you/throw you out because you picked one subject or the other. Write about how you want to save animals or change labor laws or defend the environment or regulate the marketplace.

If you're reading through 100+ examples, you're trying too hard. Just think of five things that are important to you and put them in a hat, and write about whichever one you pull out of the hat while relating it to your personal life and how that makes you want to change something as a lawyer. You'd probably be fine writing about how you once loved your pet hamster and how that has made you want to fight for animal rights, as long as it was well-edited and free of errors.


this is just...this is awful advice. really, really bad shit goin on right up there ^.

lets be furreal here for a second: your personal statement could very well get you an admission or a rejection. to think otherwise is foolish - flat out lazy, unexplainable, unreasonable logic.

i dunno where the hell you got your 90% lsat/gpa and 5% desire (lolwtfisthisacat?) and the last 5% is just floating out there like a blimp.

youre basically saying fuck the ps, fix your gramer if youre really shootin for the stars, they dont care, neither should you, bye.

also, when you say "they could care less" - you realize youre saying they DO care, so much so in fact that theres room to care less about it.

anywho, i think you might be legally retarded.

i can see the headlines: "ADA kid hires aide, learns much."


It doesn't seem like you know anything about the law school admissions process. If you don't believe me, go look at schools' admissions profiles on LSN. They admit you based on one of two strategies: 1) strictly based on bettering their GPA and LSAT medians, and 2) based on their admissions index which is a weighted formula considering GPA and LSAT.

The only schools where a personal statement is going to matter are the T5 -- where their medians are already so good that they can afford to look at other factors such as a personal statement.

95% of the people that have the numbers the school wants end up getting in unless the school does YP. 99% of the people that don't have the numbers the school wants end up getting rejected. The only time a personal statement will make a difference is 1) if you are literally exactly on the border, 2) if you have a bunch of proofreading mistakes they will reject you no matter what your numbers, and 3) if you come off as totally conceited or antisocial.

sandaltan
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby sandaltan » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:49 am

JCougar wrote:
sandaltan wrote:
JCougar wrote:
sparty99 wrote:After reading your PS, the admissions person should be MOTIVATED to ADMIT you into their program. You will have to persuade them to reach that decision. This can be done in a subtle manner, but after reading your statement I should be like, "Oh, damn. I feel like I know this person. They will do well at our school."

I am writing my own PS and have had a tough time. I have read 100+ examples and am still struggling to figure out why someone should admit me after reading my statement.

I think after you read some examples, you might get a better picture as to how you should present yourself. Go to your local library, there are many books.

But take your time. This is not something that can be achieved in a day or even in a week.


Let's get real here: your personal statement isn't going to get you in anywhere. Law school admissions are 90% LSAT/GPA. And another 5% is how badly you want to go to a certain school (they'll admit borderline students if they know they're not a yield concern). A stellar PS isn't going to override that, but a very poor one might hurt you (as in not well-edited...they could care less about the subject).

Don't make it harder than it should be. It's not rocket science, and they're not looking for anything earth-shattering. It should be impeccably written and totally free of syntax and punctuation errors. But people aren't going to admit you/throw you out because you picked one subject or the other. Write about how you want to save animals or change labor laws or defend the environment or regulate the marketplace.

If you're reading through 100+ examples, you're trying too hard. Just think of five things that are important to you and put them in a hat, and write about whichever one you pull out of the hat while relating it to your personal life and how that makes you want to change something as a lawyer. You'd probably be fine writing about how you once loved your pet hamster and how that has made you want to fight for animal rights, as long as it was well-edited and free of errors.


this is just...this is awful advice. really, really bad shit goin on right up there ^.

lets be furreal here for a second: your personal statement could very well get you an admission or a rejection. to think otherwise is foolish - flat out lazy, unexplainable, unreasonable logic.

i dunno where the hell you got your 90% lsat/gpa and 5% desire (lolwtfisthisacat?) and the last 5% is just floating out there like a blimp.

youre basically saying fuck the ps, fix your gramer if youre really shootin for the stars, they dont care, neither should you, bye.

also, when you say "they could care less" - you realize youre saying they DO care, so much so in fact that theres room to care less about it.

anywho, i think you might be legally retarded.

i can see the headlines: "ADA kid hires aide, learns much."


It doesn't seem like you know anything about the law school admissions process. If you don't believe me, go look at schools' admissions profiles on LSN. They admit you based on one of two strategies: 1) strictly based on bettering their GPA and LSAT medians, and 2) based on their admissions index which is a weighted formula considering GPA and LSAT.

The only schools where a personal statement is going to matter are the T5 -- where their medians are already so good that they can afford to look at other factors such as a personal statement.

95% of the people that have the numbers the school wants end up getting in unless the school does YP. 99% of the people that don't have the numbers the school wants end up getting rejected. The only time a personal statement will make a difference is 1) if you are literally exactly on the border, 2) if you have a bunch of proofreading mistakes they will reject you no matter what your numbers, and 3) if you come off as totally conceited or antisocial.


sorry jcoug, but literally exactly on the border doesnt...forget it.

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birdlaw117
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby birdlaw117 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:04 am

JCougar wrote:The only schools where a personal statement is going to matter are the T5 -- where their medians are already so good that they can afford to look at other factors such as a personal statement.

FWIW, OP is looking at the top schools, so maybe you should stop hijacking this thread and be constructive.

OP - I liked the intro. For your application you are in a position where you really want to differentiate yourself. There are many ways to do this, but one of those is by writing a unique personal statement.

I liked the vomit-colored reference. It stood out to me. The iridescent numbers on the clock, that's something most everyone can relate to and quickly picture. Those are good things when you want someone to remember your application and be able to quickly identify you. Don't make any drastic changes to this, regardless of what some people on here say.

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JCougar
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JCougar » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:57 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:
JCougar wrote:The only schools where a personal statement is going to matter are the T5 -- where their medians are already so good that they can afford to look at other factors such as a personal statement.

FWIW, OP is looking at the top schools, so maybe you should stop hijacking this thread and be constructive.

OP - I liked the intro. For your application you are in a position where you really want to differentiate yourself. There are many ways to do this, but one of those is by writing a unique personal statement.

I liked the vomit-colored reference. It stood out to me. The iridescent numbers on the clock, that's something most everyone can relate to and quickly picture. Those are good things when you want someone to remember your application and be able to quickly identify you. Don't make any drastic changes to this, regardless of what some people on here say.


I'm not trying to hijack the thread...I'm trying to make a point. And I'm not saying not to take the PS seriously. As long as you're genuine, you express yourself well, and you edit yourself perfectly, your PS will do you no harm. It's not worth spending weeks researching what to write.

You can probably count on only one hand the number of people in the entire cycle last year who didn't get into their target schools because their well-edited personal statement wasn't on the right topic.

But the strategy for PS should be "do no harm" rather than trying to come up with something absolutely brilliant. It would be irresponsible for schools to not admit you because you are motivated by something that they think is silly. They're mostly looking for how thorough and complete you are with editing, and looking for a decent grasp of use of the English language.

OP probably would still be fine if he/she wrote the entire PS in narrative style, but my advice is to take a safe and conservative path with the PS -- because it has far more potential to harm you than it does to save you. But in the end, it doesn't make very much difference either way, as long as you can reasonably command English and as long as you show you can submit a final document free of errors. OP has already shown a great command of the language, so as long as it involves reasonable subject matter and there's no proofreading errors, he will be good.

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birdlaw117
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby birdlaw117 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:11 pm

JCougar wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:
JCougar wrote:The only schools where a personal statement is going to matter are the T5 -- where their medians are already so good that they can afford to look at other factors such as a personal statement.

FWIW, OP is looking at the top schools, so maybe you should stop hijacking this thread and be constructive.

OP - I liked the intro. For your application you are in a position where you really want to differentiate yourself. There are many ways to do this, but one of those is by writing a unique personal statement.

I liked the vomit-colored reference. It stood out to me. The iridescent numbers on the clock, that's something most everyone can relate to and quickly picture. Those are good things when you want someone to remember your application and be able to quickly identify you. Don't make any drastic changes to this, regardless of what some people on here say.


You can probably count on only one hand the number of people in the entire cycle last year who didn't get into their target schools because their well-edited personal statement wasn't on the right topic.

They're mostly looking for how thorough and complete you are with editing, and looking for a decent grasp of use of the English language.


I really disagree with the above. For starters, you can look through LSN and see dozens of applicants with target numbers for each school that don't get in. Obviously there are many factors other than the PS that could keep them out, but a boring PS definitely does you some harm.

To say they are looking to see that you can edit and use the English language is a HUGE oversimplification. You can read something and automatically get a grasp on how intelligent someone is. THAT is what they use the PS for. They want another metric, albeit a more subjective one, to measure one's intelligence. Yes, it is not nearly as important as LSAT and GPA, we all know this. The reason is probably because of the subjectivity in being able to determine one's intelligence from it.

Read blogs from Admissions Deans. This is what they say the use the PS for. The information is out there. The evidence this is the case is out there. Don't get blinded by how important the LSAT and GPA are and assume something else can't be at least somehow important.

Also, you are coming from the WashU (per your profile) perspective. WashU is one of the most formulaic schools in their admissions, so I understand why you would have these opinions.

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rinkrat19
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:35 pm

JoeShmoe11 wrote:Hello all, I'd like you to rape, pillage, burn, maim, and violate my opening paragraph to help me in my pursuit of the perfect essay. Well not literally but as long as you have a constructive contribution I'm down with however you do so. It's been fudged a bit because I still haven't come to trust forums full of total strangers. Sorry, TLS! D:

Laboring to pull myself away from the warmth of my cozy bed, I squinted at the iridescent light of my alarm clock: six-oh-two. The pitched shrills of a two-year old somehow penetrate the deepest recesses of the human mind; even the strongest cup of coffee pales in comparison. As her caretaker for the weekend I stumbled frantically to Sophia’s crib and cries were soon replaced by giggles; her toothy smile always lifted my spirits. Cradling her in my arms I made my way to the kitchen where the two of us momentarily enjoyed a quiet breakfast - toast and eggs for me and vomit-colored baby mush for Sophia. As we ate I felt the slightest tug and saw the sleepy blue eyes of my younger sister Giavonna looking up at me. Her small hand rubbed her face, “The babies are awake Michael.” To complete the cavalcade, the cries of Max and Sophia echoed through the empty house. I secretly wondered if my mother had only birthed me to have a built-in babysitters for her future children.


THANKS!


I don't think you mean 'iridescent,' unless you have some really unusual alarm clock where the numbers reflect the light in rainbow colors. Try 'illuminated.'

Don't spell out a time. '6:02.'

'Shrill' is not a noun, it is a verb. My bad, I take that back.

You are missing a lot of commas.

You're trying too hard to make it poetic and vividly descriptive, and it frankly doesn't look (from this example, anyway) like you have the writing chops for it. Simple language is best.

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JCougar
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Re: How's my intro paragraph?

Postby JCougar » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:41 pm

birdlaw117 wrote:Also, you are coming from the WashU (per your profile) perspective. WashU is one of the most formulaic schools in their admissions, so I understand why you would have these opinions.


It's not just Wash U. NYU, Northwestern, Virginia, Georgetown, GW, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Emory are literally all about medians. You can look for yourself on LSN and you won't be able to find more than 5 people at each school with numbers above the medians that have been rejected...and in some cases, you will find none.

And Cornell, USC, UCLA, BU, BC, Vandy, Iowa, Texas, Duke, and Columbia are almost all about their admissions index, and you can see the same result.

You have to get to Michigan and Berkeley before there's any real amount of rejections of people with otherwise decent numbers. Even at Harvard, if your numbers are impeccable, you're unlikely to get rejected for any reason.

So maybe if you're applying to Berkeley, Michigan, Yale, Stanford or Chicago, make sure it's about a topic that's germane to a career as a successful lawyer. Otherwise, there's just no objective evidence that anything other than numbers substantially make the decision for you, unless you are right on the border, and I mean right on it. That's not a reason to slack off with the PS, as a bad one can still harm you. But you shouldn't dwell on what to write about for weeks upon weeks. It's not rocket science, and a good writer could literally turn any topic into a successful PS. At this point in the cycle, the delay caused by applying later is far more likely to be harmful to you than writing your PS on the wrong topic.




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