Want it to go out this week, any comments?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
gregthomas77
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

Want it to go out this week, any comments?

Postby gregthomas77 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:02 am

Many people have told me I am crazy for looking to change my career path at this point. Most of the people with whom I have discussed my goal remind me that I already have a good job, and to tell the truth, they are not wrong. The fact is that I enjoy being a college professor and I find being a college debate coach very fulfilling. I believe that my college debate coach was one of the most influential and positive influences on my life and I would like to think that I have become that for others.

Several of my debaters have gone on to do great things, and I take great pleasure in their accomplishments. One specific incident that stands out is when two of my debaters and I were invited to participate in the 1st Annual Inaugural Debate Series, a series of debates on Presidential policies that took place at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History on the eve of the Inauguration of President Obama. We were one of six universities represented at the event and the other schools included national debate powerhouses like Wake Forest, Michigan State, and the University of Southern California. Being that we were a debate team in its first year of existence, from a historically black college and university (HBCU), this was a great opportunity for both our university and our debaters to demonstrate just how great of debaters we were.

Of course, the Inaugural Debate Series was a high stress event and it showed. My two debaters and I prepared for the debate by spending almost every waking hour together over a three day period crafting their arguments and honing their delivery. At times, the pressure of knowing that these debates were going to be performed in front of a large audience of VIP’s (including senators from our home state who were making the trip just to watch the debates) and television cameras seemed to get to my debaters, and it was at these times that I had to switch from a demanding coach to a more supportive role. Specifically, at the meal immediately preceding the debate, one of my debaters had a meltdown and I was not sure she would even be able to go on. However, after some counseling and consoling, she seemed to find her calm, and she went on to perform marvelously in the debate. In the end, the debate went off without a hitch and our debate was actually the favorite of the audience if their constant applause and standing ovation were any indication.

In addition to doing great things while with my debate team, several of my students have indicated they have plans to go on and do even greater things as a result of their experiences with myself and debate. This past semester I have had four current and former debaters contact me for help putting together their application materials for law school. Assuming they are all successful, this will bring my count of past debaters who have gone on to study the law to five (I have one former student who is current enrolled at the University of Arizona – the same debater who I had to console at the Inaugural Debate) and will prove in a way that none of my debate trophies ever could that my run as an educator and as a coach have been successful. As much as I enjoy the excitement of watching my students compete in a debate, one of my favorite accomplishments is that every single debater I have coached who has gone on to apply to law school has chosen to credit their experience with the debate team and with myself as one of the major reasons that they feel prepared and capable of being successful in law school. I believe that I have helped craft these students into the successes they by being a good listener and a facilitator. I get great personal satisfaction from helping people get where they need to be, and that is one of the reasons I have always wanted to get into the practice of law.

From an early age I have had an interest in the law. While I suspect that my interest in the law originally came from being part of a family that some troubles with alcohol and consequentially with the criminal justice system, I cannot say for certain exactly when I decided that the law was for me. However, I can say why I decided the law is for me. From whatever point it was that I discovered just exactly what the law is and what power it holds, I have wanted to be a part of that system. The law is the contract that holds our society together and that provides reason and order to situations that often have little of either. I have always wanted to be the guy who was able to stand beside someone who needs assistance and make the law work for them the way it is supposed to.

In my roles as a professor and debate coach, I have been able to assist a lot of people get to where they want to go and to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves. However, I still yearn to take that next step and help people who do not have many of the advantages that even my most disadvantaged students possess. I believe that through practicing law I can put the skills I possess to an even better use by advocating for those who are unable to effectively advocate for themselves.
Last edited by gregthomas77 on Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:46 pm, edited 4 times in total.

capn aa
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Re: Critique my personal statement? I need to get it done soon.

Postby capn aa » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:42 am

I recommend that you pinpoint a specific anecdote or two that demonstrate the impact you have made on these students or the effect they have had on you, as well as interests the reader. Get a little more creative with the structure as well.

It sounds like you have some quality content here - certainly more than the avg undergrad with little work experience heading straight into law school. So take advantage of that by writing an essay that captures the reader's attention and stands out.

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Flips88
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Re: Critique my personal statement? I need to get it done soon.

Postby Flips88 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:01 am

Ok, this will probably be a pretty harsh critique:

a) say what HBCU means before using it. I had to google it. Granted, an AdComm might not have to.
b) Don't talk about sitting down to write the PS. It's too self-aware and unnecessary.
c)You talk too much about your debaters and not enough about yourself.
d) "Of course, I’m not delusional enough to think that I made these students what they are." This sort of negates everything you just talked about. It's like saying, "I mean, I know I didn't make THAT much of a difference in their lives, but I'm going to devote half my PS to talking about it anyway."
e)"I don’t know if it came from years of watching The People’s Court with my grandma after school or whether it came from being part of a family that always seemed to have its share of legal problem..." Awkward, ambiguous, immature sounding
f)Oh, do not use contractions in formal writing.

You seem to have a lot of stuff from which to draw for the PS, but you are making it bland and one-dimensional. Relate a specific anecdote like the poster above me recommended. As hard as it is, the personal statement demands you to be self-centered. You must talk about yourself and talk yourself up in a way. Go back to the drawing board and find some specific story to talk about in which you helped a student or something. Specificity is what you need.

gregthomas77
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

Re: Critique my personal statement? I need to get it done soon.

Postby gregthomas77 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:03 am

Thanks for the comments so far. I seem to have a problem writing about myself, but I think these comments will help me straighten this out.

gregthomas77
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

Re: UPDATED: Critique my PS v3? I need to get it done soon.

Postby gregthomas77 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:50 am

new version posted.

gregthomas77
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

Re: UPDATED: Critique my PS v3? I need to get it done soon.

Postby gregthomas77 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:28 pm

Please, I need to get this in soon, any advice?

bdole2
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Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:58 pm

Re: Need to choose between this PS (A) or .......

Postby bdole2 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:23 pm

After reading both your essays, I would pick A over B, this one is much more unique.

gregthomas77
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

Re: Need to choose between this PS (A) or .......

Postby gregthomas77 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:58 pm

Thanks for the input, I think A is better than B too (for this purpose, although I enjoy reading B more).

CanadianWolf
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Re: Need to choose between this PS (A) or .......

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:05 pm

This is not an appropriate essay for one of your age & experience applying to law schools. You need to focus on why you want to make a career switch. This explanation should include mature insights about yourself & astute awareness of at least some aspect of the legal profession. In my past critiques to you I referenced three books/authors which deal with applying to law schools, it is quite obvious that you haven't even skimmed one of them. The good news, however, is that if you are applying to less competitive law schools, then your personal statement may not need to be crafted as carefully as one facing intense competition.

gregthomas77
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

Re: Need to choose between this PS (A) or .......

Postby gregthomas77 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:18 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:This is not an appropriate essay for one of your age & experience applying to law schools. You need to focus on why you want to make a career switch. This explanation should include mature insights about yourself & astute awareness of at least some aspect of the legal profession. In my past critiques to you I referenced three books/authors which deal with applying to law schools, it is quite obvious that you haven't even skimmed one of them. The good news, however, is that if you are applying to less competitive law schools, then your personal statement may not need to be crafted as carefully as one facing intense competition.


You are correct that I haven't looked at the books yet. This post is the most helpful that you've given me because it gives a direction for the essay, and I apprecaite that.

You are also correct I am not looking for a top school 100 school. I am looking for a school where I can not accumulate a ton of debt, and I don't think with my numbers I could get that kind of deal at a top 100 school even if I could manage to get in. However, that doesn't mean that I don't want to write a good statement.

I crafted this statement based off of advice given by others on this site. However, I have also contacted the pre-law advisor for my area (according to LSAC) for help. She is reviewing all three versions I have written and hopefully will be able to help me out.

gregthomas77
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

Re: OK, I chose this one. Now I need to fix it up. Comments?

Postby gregthomas77 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:24 pm

OK, I decided to go with this one, so I am putting it up for comments. I want to submit all of my applications sometime next week.

gregthomas77
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

Re: OK, I chose this one. Now I need to fix it up. Comments?

Postby gregthomas77 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:20 pm

Bump

gregthomas77
Posts: 124
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:49 am

Re: Want it to go out this week, any comments?

Postby gregthomas77 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:53 pm

bump




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