Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby thomas13watkins » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:19 pm

“Alright gentlemen, is everyone agreed on the terms?” The wager was simple. Four freshmen undergraduates, each with law school intentions, would take the LSAT during the senior year of their college tenure. The prelaw hopeful with the highest score would win a small cash prize of eighty dollars, but most valuable of all, the right to flaunt their victory for all time.

I remember standing on that porch, shaking hands with my companions in the early August of 2007, wondering what experiences awaited us in the years to come. How many of us would change our minds and get sidetracked? Ultimately how many us would stay the course and sit for the LSAT, staying true to our law school ambitions? Little did I know, the answer to that question was one.

In this regard, there has never been an “or” for me. Never an “I could be a lawyer… or a doctor, or an accountant, or even a professional athlete”. Since I can remember, I have always known I wanted to earn a law degree and practice law, and that desire has grown even stronger through my experiences at college.

Wanting to take advantage of all the new and exciting opportunities of university life, I participated in every extracurricular activity I could fit into my schedule. At one point or another, I have taken classes as a Political Science, Philosophy, Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Information Technology major. I truly have always had a passion for learning and experiencing new things, and every step of the way, my perception and vision of the world grew to match. I have learned about computer programming and hardware as well as the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. I have had a complete and incredibly satisfying college experience and cannot wait to continue learning, growing, and developing in the years to come. Throughout it all, a part of my brain, like the computers that I code in class, has been hardwired with only one acceptable end state. I have a very diverse and balanced resume and skill set, yet there is only one profession for me.

I wish I could write a narrative about some character-defining experience that shook the foundations of my beliefs and irrevocably steered me in the direction of legal service. For me; however, an experience like that would only serve as reinforcement. I am already resolved. I must confess that it is not yet clear to me what sort of law or application of the law I would like to practice. I believe this stems from my sheer love of learning - taking concepts, ideas, and theories, mulling them over in my head and mastering the material inside and out. I enjoy exploring a subject and discovering everything about it, all the angles and the secrets, the tricks and hidden facets. This is obviously impossible to achieve with a subject as immense and ever-changing as the Law. It is pursuing the impossible; however, that brings such value to a legal career. There is no profession nobler than one that attempts to bring order to a system of laws and regulations so vast and at times enigmatic.

As I sit here, I think on the same things that I mused about three years ago. Beginning the next stage of my life, what experiences await me in the years to come, and what changes will I face? I am excited to see what the future holds, knowing that some things still will not change. Whether I use my degree in the corporate world or in the courtroom, I am resolved, as I always have been to pursue my passion – law. There has never been an “or” for me.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby verklempt » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:01 pm

If this is close to your last draft, then you probably don't want to hear what I think. It's well written, just hopelessly generic. Adcomms assume you want to go to law school and become a lawyer or you wouldn't be applying.

If you must stay with this topic, please at least get rid of (or tone down) paragraph 5. My interpretation: "I know that this isn't as good as the essay I should be writing, but I have nothing better to offer." I'll bet you do, and even if you don't, it's never a good idea to hint at self-denigration in a PS. I don't want to read how impossible everything seems to be.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby gothamm » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:20 am

Agreed, that it is a bit generic.

The fact that you took the LSAT is a sufficient indicator of your interest in law school.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby Emma. » Sat Jan 08, 2011 11:24 am

I'd tend to agree with the above posters, but if this is what you are going to submit I'd at least suggest changing the "how many of us" in p2. Maybe "which"? "How many of us" when you are talking about 4 people seems a little off.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby LSATclincher » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:22 pm

This comes across as immature and even cocky. It's a nice creative writing piece, but this is the exact forum to NOT write that style.

Para 1 almost had an "American Pie" feel.

This needs a full re-write.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby thomas13watkins » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:41 pm

Thank you for the critiques. I will add/edit in more unique things pertaining to me and my choices and activities building towards law.

Anything else?

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby sparty99 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:52 am

(Yawn!) This is juvenile. I learned NOTHING about you. Wait, you did mention that you like to learn and grow (Yawn!)...So you are going to pay $100,000 for a degree! You sound really naive and from all the 6 books on writing a personal statement or law school, YOUR ESSAY touches on almost ALL the aspects that should not be written in a personal statement: "your love for learning", "I have always wanted to be a lawyer", "you talking about not knowing what to study",

You need to get rid of this essay. If you have a "nice and diverse" resume then I want to hear about those experiences....This is your time to shine, let's go!

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby esq » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:18 am

For me; it's just a pet peeve of mine, but nothing spells bad grammar to me more than someone who doesn't know how to use a semicolon. If you are not sure what I am talking about pick up a grammar book and "master the material" before you start dropping semicolons again .

Hint: Semicolons are used to join two closely related complete sentences.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby Flips88 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:39 am

Let's see what all we can check off of things to NOT do in a Personal Statement:

-Start in media res for no apparent reason
-Talk explicitly about the LSAT (the test every single law applicant takes)
-Talk about wanting to be a lawyer for your entire life
-Talk about what the AdComm can learn from your transcript without providing any greater depth.
-Misuse a semicolon (do you think it always must be used before "however?")
-Make your PS self-aware about you being too mediocre to write something compelling

Back to the drawing board.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby sparty99 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:41 am

I also thought of "American Pie" when I read the first paragraph! But that movie was a classic, so you do get high fives for that.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby imalongshot » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:56 am

This is an example of a personal statement that will do nothing to enhance your application. If anything, it will likely hurt it.

Like previous posters said, nothing was learned about you except things that are already known from other sections of your application. They already know you took the LSAT, and can see the courses you took during college by looking at your undergraduate transcript. You also committed the cardinal sin of referencing your resume, another part of your application that they will see.

Your current personal statement is a wash. Take the time to be more introspective. Try to find something unique about your decision to apply to law school that cannot be learned from reviewing other parts of your application.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby JoeShmoe11 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:41 pm

I have to agree with everyone else, this essay was a tough read and I learned very little about you and saw a few grammatical errors. This essay as is will not help you unfortunately. Also the first paragraph sounded like American Pie except replace "Get best LSAT score" with "Lose virginity first".

Look within yourself and figure out something that shows the type of person you are and also reflects your decision to go to law school. I know its hard, I'm struggling with it right now too. But a bad essay CAN hurt you. We're all unique and all have our own strengths and reasons for wanting to go to law school. This is your opportunity to show the adcomm why YOU are unique, capable, and motivated. This essay doesn't really do that.

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Re: Close to last draft, honest critiques appreciated

Postby mmy789 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:09 pm seem to have lot's of "what you should not do" advice so I'll try to give you something a little different. When I read your work what caught my attention was that you were into computer programming! That seems like an interesting talking point since a lot of applicants are from the humanities or "soft" sciences. A lot of schools want a diverse student body. EVERYONE here is interested in the law. Writing about that will not separate you from any one. Talk about what special view points (your tech-y background) you can bring to their university. Is there some thought process or problem solving skill in computer programming that would make you an awesome unique law student?. Highlight what makes you special and keep in mind the attributes you share with the rest of the applicant pool. Hope that helps!

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