First Draft - Advice Please

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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First Draft - Advice Please

Postby starbucksjunkie » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:30 pm

I would be eternally grateful for any critiques for my personal statement. I've struggled with it. I've been out of school for 3 years and am not that interesting really. I studied in the U.S. as an international student but now have a greencard. I didn't play up the international student thing because I'm from Canada and most American's think of Canada as an extension on the U.S. not a foreign country. My American English is rough and I've tried to avoid passive voice, which is more accepted in Canada. Let me know any thoughts....

Ambition to Lead

There is no grade to earn nor is there an extracurricular requirement to fulfill. Yet, on a frigid Saturday at 6:00 a.m., I am unpacking training materials in an empty campus building on my day off. My university had accepted my proposal to conduct a two-day seminar Workplace Violence: Identifying & Minimizing Organizational Risk. After the arrival of the volunteers and the course leader I had secured, I reiterate the course objective: to provide the professionals in attendance with the tools to combat the prevalence of violence in workplaces and schools. Everything is set. I smile, prepared to greet the participants and translate a vision into a reality.

I wasn’t predestined to be a leader or an educator, much less an attorney. My education was fraught with interruptions and obstacles due to poverty, several re-locations, and abuse. My father’s struggles with addiction, anger, and chronic unemployment created a dysfunctional upbringing. As an adolescent, I embraced the victim mentality of my peers by acting out, engaging in risky behaviors, and underperforming in school. Within the last month of ninth grade, I lost two of my closest friends, one to drunk driving and the other to suicide. Suddenly, the inevitability of my death by continuing a course of self-destructive behaviors became undeniable. That summer, after what would be our final re-location, I seized the opportunity for a fresh start, though I was dubious and unsure of how to transition from the part I had played for years. By staying out of trouble and applying myself in school, I gained acceptance to a university as an international student where I chose to end that self-imposed cycle of destruction.

My college experience was the catalyst for my metamorphosis from an aimless underachiever to a professional willing to take risks and be noticed. After my successful first semester, I realized my unprecedented opportunity to take charge of my life and become the first in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. Striving to exceed an entirely new tier of academic and professional expectations motivated me to setting a higher bar for personal goals. I became financially savvy, worked my way through school, and graduated without any debt. The capability to influence and educate others with my story prompted me to assume leadership roles, particularly with Project Upward Bound and the Admissions department. Compelled to guide young men and women through the profound transition from high school to college, I learned about faith and persistence. I encountered many that were skeptical of their potential but consistently advocated an education’s capacity to break barriers and refute superficial labels. I even persuaded my mother to go back to school to finish her degree. My undergraduate work and success as the program chair of the Workplace Violence Prevention program four years prior prepared me for an uncertain economic climate by channeling my inherent creativity into entrepreneurship.

My passion to create safer, more efficient workplaces that reflect America’s diversity inspired me to found a professional development company that serves the Greater Cleveland Area. My decision to go into business for myself while working full-time and later expand it into my fill-time occupation was met with some unconstructive negativity. I wasn’t deterred because I’ve found that most naysayers are the same individuals who have never tried for fear of failure or that they’ll be forced to introspectively consider their own lack of achievements. How does one know his or her true capabilities without learning from mistakes? Life’s obstacles exist to build character and I’m no longer constrained by labels or perceived notions of who I should be and what I should strive for.

My education has taken me down paths I never imagined. A legal education offers a expansion of my potential and strengths. My drive and desire to play a part in the social advancement of my community is what brings me to approach XXXXXX College of Law School for admission. A legal education would offer a greater ability to act upon the issues I care about and provide a new level of guidance and support to my community. I would be an asset to any legal education program with my demonstrated work ethic, penchant for participation, and ingenuity to see beyond a single accepted interpretation of a problem and instead see a limitless universe of solutions and possibilities.


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Re: First Draft - Advice Please

Postby keithkeating » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:49 pm

Quick response - don't use "I'm" or "haven't", always spell it out. (the next part is something I was told, I'm merely repeating it) but don't add the part in the last paragraph about specifying the school unless you are going to talk about why specifically you are applying to that school. Otherwise, they already know where it's going and do not need it added (again, unless you are going to elaborate on why you are applying to them specifically).

Otherwise, I think it is good. The grammar and tenses were good and I think it describes an overall range of character while discussing issues that you have overcome. Sorry I don't have more critiques.


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Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: First Draft - Advice Please

Postby LSATclincher » Mon Jan 03, 2011 2:49 pm

As someone who is also not coming directly out of Undergrad, I'd swap out all your undegrad accomplishments. Let your resume list that. I like your life story coming from a family w/ little education and overcoming some tragedy.

I would get rid of the title. And I would also get rid para 1. Tell a story from tragedy to redemption (starting your own business). Then prove that even w/ your own business, you are still not satisfied. And then answer why law?

You need to prove you can compete w/ the rest (and you can do this by highlighting some unique experience from college til now.

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