Personal Statement topic - too out there?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
wwhooper
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Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby wwhooper » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:14 pm

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Last edited by wwhooper on Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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kwais
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby kwais » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:18 pm

I think the key with a topic like this is to minimize the jargon and maximize its effect on you. So the story of how you process these concepts and what they mean to you is more important than any protracted explanation of the concepts themselves. You seem to already know this but don't come off as "look at my fancy knowledge". Good luck

CanadianWolf
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:19 pm

Your proposal explanation is not quite clear enough to enable one to offer meaningful advice. Write a draft first & post it for critiques.

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Shooter
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby Shooter » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:28 pm

I'm yawning.

I'm yawning some more.

And...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfTrLcXE5sw

(Sorry, lol. I had to. Still, I think you should pick a less academic topic.)

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cinephile
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby cinephile » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:41 pm

You might also want to consider the prompt. I created my personal statement before looking at the prompts on the applications and now have to create a second PS to satisfy some of those apps.

krad
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby krad » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:45 pm

Shooter wrote:I'm yawning.


Ditto. The personal statement is supposed to be about YOU- personal. I don't know how personal you would be able to make this topic... It also sounds like it could turn out quite yawn-able. Sorry dude(tte).

Edit: I think you may be able to work some of these ideas into a different statement, but I wouldn't make it your whole PS.

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Shooter
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby Shooter » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:50 pm

Totally unrelated to OP's question, but Krad you have the most thorough LSN I've ever seen. It's very nice.

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DukeCornell
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby DukeCornell » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:54 pm

Shooter wrote:I'm yawning.

I'm yawning some more.

And...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfTrLcXE5sw

(Sorry, lol. I had to. Still, I think you should pick a less academic topic.)


Hahahahahahahahaha!

krad
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby krad » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:56 pm

Shooter wrote:Totally unrelated to OP's question, but Krad you have the most thorough LSN I've ever seen. It's very nice.


Haha thanks shooter <3

I use it to keep track of all my apps, so I keep it pretttty organized :) I applied to a million schools because I'd saved up the $ and wanted to get some reaches, possible $, and certain geographic areas... So, its a lot to track (tracking emails is a pain) and LSN is perfect!

wwhooper
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby wwhooper » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:17 pm

Are academic topics realistically that detrimental? From reading the PS's here, it seems they are all pretty similar - "I was abused" or "I lived in poverty" or "I circumcised 115 impoverished South American children". Sure, I could try to over-dramatically draw from my experiences of being spanked for being a brat when I was a child, but I do not think that could accurately express who I am, where I want to go, or why I want to go there. IF what has been posted here is the norm, I would think that a somewhat academic discussion that pulls on the "brain strings" and not the "heart strings" would set me apart from the pack a little more, especially if I can pull it off in a way that repeatedly relates back to who I am as an individual. Then again, I've never done this before, and I certainly cannot predict an adcomm's reaction.

Completely off base? Also keep in mind I'm a 21 year old white, middle class male who hasn't had too many especially profound experiences. I could draw from experiences from my involvement in student organizations or from my semester abroad, but both of those seem far over-played.

I appreciate the input so far, including the concern about the bore factor, which is definitely something that I would have to mitigate in this topic.

krad
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby krad » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:31 pm

wwhooper wrote:Are academic topics realistically that detrimental? From reading the PS's here, it seems they are all pretty similar - "I was abused" or "I lived in poverty" or "I circumcised 115 impoverished South American children". Sure, I could try to over-dramatically draw from my experiences of being spanked for being a brat when I was a child, but I do not think that could accurately express who I am, where I want to go, or why I want to go there. IF what has been posted here is the norm, I would think that a somewhat academic discussion that pulls on the "brain strings" and not the "heart strings" would set me apart from the pack a little more, especially if I can pull it off in a way that repeatedly relates back to who I am as an individual. Then again, I've never done this before, and I certainly cannot predict an adcomm's reaction.

Completely off base? Also keep in mind I'm a 21 year old white, middle class male who hasn't had too many especially profound experiences. I could draw from experiences from my involvement in student organizations or from my semester abroad, but both of those seem far over-played.

I appreciate the input so far, including the concern about the bore factor, which is definitely something that I would have to mitigate in this topic.


I think that adcoms get sick of reading the over-dramatized stories- see Berkeley's discussion of the PS: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/5188.htm. But, at the same time, I don't think they want to sit down to a very academic PS when reading through 1000's of PS's... that's just my opinion though. There are a lot of ideas on this site that you may consider 'overdone' because there are only so many ways to discuss certain topics (ex: why do you want to go to law school), and people seem to go for the shock value/sob stories quite often. Also, I'd say the majority of applicants haven't been abused, lived in poverty, or eradicated disease in a 3rd world country; those are just the stories that stick out for better or for worse...

I think the biggest issue is how you are going to showcase yourself with an academic-type PS, as people have mentioned ITT... If you think you can tie your ideas back to who you are/show us/adcoms something about yourself with them, then I'd say try a draft, post it here, and see how it is received :)

CanadianWolf
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:36 pm

A good personal statement should show maturity & the ability to write well regardless of the topic.

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verklempt
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby verklempt » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:48 pm

As an MBA adcomm I occasionally ran across an academic PS. They did stand out, but not in a good way. Unless the school is asking for something along these lines, I would avoid.

Write about something you care about, whether it's baking chocolate chip cookies or beating your brother at Call of Duty. Not everyone has an "I escaped from poverty" story and that's a good thing. Most adcomms get really sick of reading the "make a difference" statements (I would just scrawl MAD on the evaluation form. They all begin to sound the same after a while.) Think of it as speed dating. The person reading your file has maybe a stack of 30 files to get through that day. What can you say, in the 30 seconds you have before she decides you're not worth additional attention, to show what a fascinating, introspective, intriguing person you are? Are you going to be an asset to a classroom? Will you make a contribution to discussions? If you come across as impossibly bland and politically correct, your file will quickly go somewhere you don't want it to go. (Unless you have a 180, 4.0, and/or parents who just donated $10 million to the school, in which case ignore everything I said.)

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SentinelsOfEvil
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby SentinelsOfEvil » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:53 am

wwhooper wrote:Would a discussion on my interest in the relationship between the prisoners' dilemma, cooperation, and the social contract be too "out there" for a personal statement topic? My approach would be to explain how the topics of cooperation and the social contract changed my perspective on society and the law, tying it into why I wish to become a lawyer. I am fairly confident I could write a good statement on this topic, however I'm afraid that it might be a little too academic instead of personal, and I have no idea whether or not it is reasonable to assume that that the Adcomms would be familiar enough with game theory for a discussion without me having to waste words/length explaining it. Any input would be greatly appreciated.


I tend to disagree with the other replies here. Expecting that the Adcomms are familiar with game theory is a bit of a stretch. However, I believe that if you can show your intellectual fascination with cooperation, cost of contracts, credible threats etc., it can only come off as sincere. Try to avoid technical terms but be sincere about how your interest in economics led to your wish to become a lawyer.

P.S. I am in an extremely similar position (trying to explain how my interest in economics led to an interest in law)

bmore
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby bmore » Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:26 am

I think they would rather read a well written essay about YOU and what you can bring to the school than why you want to be a lawyer. It is called a personal statement. I agree with a prior poster. Doesn't have to be dramatic or a sob story. Just tell something about yourself and write it well.

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DocHawkeye
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Re: Personal Statement topic - too out there?

Postby DocHawkeye » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:16 am

I think that length is another important componnent to consider. Personal Statements are very small documents - mine is just under 800 words. Some schools allow up to 1200 (2-3 double spaced typwritten pages). This is not enough room to discuss something that is particularly complex. Mine deals with how a childhood interest in music theory turned into an interest in intellectual property and entertainment law. How much music theory is there in my PS? Zero.




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