non trad PS - would love some hits

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

non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby HB2011 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:56 am

46 yr old applying to T4 schools. also submitting gpa addendum to explain 1.7 at USF and 3.8 in 2009-2010.

any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Growing up in New York, my primary reason for traveling two thousand miles south to attend college was the University of South Florida’s golf team. Like many childhood dreams, my quest to become a professional athlete failed to materialize. Subsequently, I found myself in Tampa, Florida, lacking clear direction and guidance. Following three brief semesters of academic passivity, I was out of school, and began my working career.

Over the next twenty-seven years I obtained a wealth of knowledge and experience while immersed in the business world. Throughout my past, numerous circumstances have afforded me the opportunity to lead, train, and motivate countless employees and co-workers. In every part of my career I have had the luxury of inspiring unity and developing teamwork within organizations. Years of experience allowed me to understand and grasp the meaning of commitment, dedication, and determination. Most recently, as a small business owner, I experienced hardships, failures, and successes that come with an entrepreneurial start-up. Each experience has provided tremendous insight and served as an opportunity for growth and reflection. Most of all, I have learned to persevere when confronted with adversity.

Misfortune struck January of 2007 when a rare cancerous tumor was found in my left eye. Although the subsequent treatment kept the tumor from spreading, consequences due to radiation therapy resulted in retinal damage and vision loss. My doctor insisted I protect my right eye at all costs. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the daily challenges that come with running a small business, the risks associated with various aspects of restaurant operations made it apparent that the food service industry was not conducive to my situation.

During the summer of 2009 a turn of events provided an opportunity to sell the restaurants, move to XXXXXX, and accept a position as a legal assistant. The decision to relocate included a specific two-year plan: enroll in a reputable university, complete 67 credit hours of undergraduate coursework, and enter law school in the fall of 2011. I was confident that my background and experience provided a solid foundation to take on the challenge.

I returned to undergraduate studies with newfound respect for institutionalized learning and relished the opportunity to learn from my professors. The knowledge obtained in each classroom setting has been invaluable and continues to build. I believe my age and experience contributed to each course taken, and I have had the opportunity to share many successes, failures, and lessons learned, with fellow classmates. The classroom diversity has contributed to meaningful dialogue and open discussions. I have pursued undergraduate studies with a relentless work ethic, an unwavering commitment to succeed, and I am eager to attend law school. I hope that my record at XXXXXXXX speaks to the seriousness I have taken in my studies.

SOMEHTING ABOUT THE PARTICULAR LAW SCHOOL HERE…..


My dedication and resiliency demonstrate that I am well equipped to embrace challenges and thrive in an intellectually stimulating and rigorous environment. I am firmly committed to the study of law, and look forward to the intellectual rigors it demands. As an older, non-traditional student, I can bring a unique and diverse perspective to the class. I am confident that the past experiences I have encountered, and my most recent academic achievements, combine to make me a successful law student, and compliment the class of 2011.

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arism87
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby arism87 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:05 am

I didn't read this very thoroughly, but I like it! It shows you have grown and matured and puts a LOT of distance between yourself and the old GPA- that said, I wonder if an addendum wouldn't be repetitive.

It does leave me wondering how you decided on the field of law. That isn't a question that necessarily has to be answered in a PS, but you do spend a lot of time explaining the choices you've made in your life, which seems to naturally lead to "why law".

Also, I don't know how long this is in word, but if you've got the room I think it would be great to give more details about the adversity you faced building your business. You mention this several times but never really show us, which I think would be more compelling.

Grammar concern: in the last sentence it should be "complement" not "compliment" (resists urge to make nerdy grammar joke)

Anyway, again, I like it, and good luck!!

HB2011
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby HB2011 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:16 am

thanks arism....I can probably squeeze a short paragraph in. I agree, it is more of a broad-brush overview of my past...there's obviously a lot I could expand on, but I was sure what to include. I will try to show rather that tell a specific event or two.

Plan2008
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby Plan2008 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:38 am

Why T4? Forget the old GPA. Not relevant. Hows your LSAT? Think bigger.

I would say the "went to college to play golf and the pro career didn't pan out" is a "no brainer" for adcomms. Basically you went to South Florida for a 18 month spring break and like most 17 year olds didn't think you'd be paying for the mistake 30 years later.

So if you have a problem hang a lantern on it. I made a youthful mistake. And here's how I paid for it. I put my head down and worked. I built a business. I created jobs. I never lost the fire to educate myself. Now, hastened by my eye situation, its my time, baby. I have always wanted to be an attorney, so now I will be. I've proven I add to the whole, and Ive proven I can compete.

Good luck. You gotta come out of your shoes on this swing.

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Lawquacious
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:49 am

HB2011 wrote:Growing up in New York, my primary reason for traveling two thousand miles south to attend college was the University of South Florida’s golf team. Like many childhood dreams, my quest to become a professional athlete failed to materialize. Subsequently, I found myself in Tampa, Florida, lacking clear direction and guidance. Following three brief semesters of academic passivity, I was out of school, and began my working career. (how did you transition from no direction to suddenly have such great business experiences and being on target?- see below in blue re: possible transition suggestion)

"Although I lacked a clear vision for my future when I came to Florida, I quickly gained maturity and experience by working in the ____________ industry... etc" Over the next twenty-seven years I obtained a wealth of knowledge and skills through my work experience while immersed in the business world. Throughout my past, numerous circumstances have afforded me the opportunity to lead, train, and motivate countless employees and co-workers.In every part of my career I have had the luxury of inspiring unity and developing teamwork within organizations. Years of experience have allowed me to understand and grasp the meaning of commitment, dedication, and determination. Most recently, as a small business owner, I experienced hardships, failures, and successes that come with an entrepreneurial start-up. Each experience has provided tremendous insight and served as an opportunity for growth and reflection. Most of all, I have learned to persevere when confronted with adversity.

(too sudden transition- add something like "It was through some of the strength I gained in my work experience that I was able to address an incredible hardship that I recently faced..")
Misfortune struck In January of 2007 when a rare cancerous tumor was found in my left eye. Although the subsequent treatment kept the tumor from spreading, consequences due to the radiation therapy resulted in retinal damage and vision loss. My doctor insisted I protect my right eye at all costs. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the daily challenges that come with running a small business, the risks associated with various aspects of restaurant operations made it apparent that the food service industry was no longer conducive to my situation a workable option for me. (or some similar replacement perhaps; 'conducive to my situation' may be o.k. but I think it may be a backwards statement of what you are trying to say. i.e. you could say 'my loss of vision was not conducive to my continuing work in the food service industry.' I believe that would be more correct but you may want to double check it).

During the summer of 2009, a turn of events provided an opportunity to sell the restaurants, move to XXXXXX, and accept a position as a legal assistant. The decision to relocate included a specific two-year plan: enroll in a reputable university, complete 67 credit hours of undergraduate coursework, and enter law school in the fall of 2011. I was confident that my background and experience provided a solid foundation to take on the challenge.

I returned to undergraduate studies with newfound respect for institutionalized learning and relished the opportunity to learn from my professors. The knowledge obtained in each classroom setting has been invaluable and continues to build. I believe my age and experience contributed to each course taken, and I have had the opportunity to share many successes, failures, and lessons learned in class., with fellow classmates. The classroom diversity has contributed to meaningful dialogue and open discussions. I have pursued undergraduate studies with a relentless work ethic, an unwavering commitment to succeed, and I am eager to attend law school. I hope that my record at XXXXXXXX speaks to the seriousness I have taken in my studies.

SOMEHTING ABOUT THE PARTICULAR LAW SCHOOL HERE…..

My dedication and resiliency demonstrate that I am well equipped to embrace challenges and thrive in an intellectually stimulating and rigorous environment. I am firmly committed to the study of law, and look forward to the intellectual rigors it demands. As an older, non-traditional student, I can bring a unique and diverse perspective to the class. I am confident that the past experiences I have encountered, and my most recent academic achievements, combine to make me a successful law student, and compliment the class of 2011.


Some of my general suggestions. Parenthesis contain my comments, blue text is additions, strikethrough means I would leave out.

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Lawquacious
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:55 am

Going into the second paragraph you may want to change it up if it wasn't really strength you gained by being a leader in a work environment that helped make you through. You could perhaps mention something else that helped you cope, or just leave that topic silent. But I do think you need a better transition into this paragraph.

You may have to play with the length for whatever schools you are applying to; perhaps you can do that in part by what you write at the end directed to the particular school(s) you are aiming for.

Keep in mind whatever suggestions you get are only suggestions; this is your personal statement, and thus I would make it a priority to submit something that you feel comfortable with and that says exactly what you want to say even if it isn't technically in line with what anyone suggests. However, I would make sure there are no basic or obvious grammar or spelling mistakes before you're ready to submit it.

Best of luck!

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verklempt
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby verklempt » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:28 am

I am also an older non-trad so was particularly interested to see how you approached the PS. The straight autobiography route seems like a no-brainer -- you do feel compelled to explain what you did with those years -- but I suggest that you need to dive in a little deeper if you want to come across as a real person.

For example: "Years of experience allowed me to understand and grasp the meaning of commitment, dedication, and determination." That's kind of a throwaway line. Sounds good, but I don't know what it means. "Each experience has provided tremendous insight and served as an opportunity for growth and reflection." I believe it, but tell us about those insights, and how you have grown. "Most of all, I have learned to persevere when confronted with adversity." A good quality for a student and a lawyer...but you're talking about it -- not making it real and tangible for the reader.

You don't need to tell your life story, as tempting an option as that may be. You can compress or even eliminate some of the history and spend more time focusing on the personal qualities and interests that have led you to law school.

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

Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby HB2011 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:06 am

Thanks so much for the feedback. Your input helps give me some clarity and direction...which I really needed.

LSATclincher
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby LSATclincher » Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:42 am

I liked the story. But I do agree w/ at least one other person here. I thought it read too professional, and not personal enough. With 20 more years of life experience than 98% of the applicants, I think the piece needs to highlight some of your most personal obstacles that have led to your decision to enter into law.

After swapping numerous PS's on here, I'm also convinced a para or two on "Why X Law School?" does not work unless it is required by the school. In your case, there is no doubt you need to tell the adcomms "why law?" The reason cannot come across as "because my other career was getting stale." But as far as "Why X Law School?," they should be the ones that want YOU and the interesting experiences you can bring to any school.

CanadianWolf
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:52 pm

This is a well done personal statement suitable for law or business school. Curious as to why you are pursuing law school over business school since MBA programs require teamwork, real world experience & encourage the sharing of prior business experiences ?

P.S. Consider editing the change from "compliment" to "complement".

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verklempt
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby verklempt » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:02 pm

Also, make sure that law appears as a positive choice, not as a fallback when you realized your first career wasn't compatible with your health. You also don't want your reader to think that you may not be up to the rigors of law school because of your health. Making a career change -- to something you've always dreamed of doing -- is perfectly legitimate.

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verklempt
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Re: non trad PS - would love some hits

Postby verklempt » Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:04 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:This is a well done personal statement suitable for law or business school. Curious as to why you are pursuing law school over business school since MBA programs require teamwork, real world experience & encourage the sharing of prior business experiences ?

P.S. Consider editing the change from "compliment" to "complement".

Top MBA programs will pretty much ignore your application if you're over 30. Compliment/complement is the most common typo on essays, and of course spellcheckers don't catch it. Affect/effect is a runner up.




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