Please Critique! Swaps Welcome!

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

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Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:28 pm

Please Critique! Swaps Welcome!

Postby windowshade4910 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:35 pm

Ever since I sang a solo from Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro during a sixth grade choir concert, people told me that I was bound to be an opera singer. I was encouraged to audition for the American Opera Studio, and when I was accepted it seemed clear that I would pursue a career in opera. My official solo debut came during my third European tour with the Studio, when I sang the title role in Benjamin Britten’s opera Albert Herring in the timeless opera houses of Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. The applause was intoxicating; the ovations and accolades that I received convinced me that I was destined for an illustrious career on the stage. I enjoyed singing, and I thought it would be foolish of me not to take advantage of the talent that I had been given. When it came time to apply to college, I decided to major in vocal performance.
Throughout high school, I was also invigorated and enthused by American history. I was a member of my high school’s public forum debate team, and although rehearsals for Opera Studio productions prohibited me from debating as much as I would have liked, I felt an intellectual excitement while debating that I did not feel on the stage. Initially, I considered pursuing an additional major in political science, but fitting two wholly unrelated majors into a four-year college curriculum ultimately proved to be impractical. Thus, when I came to Carnegie Mellon, I veiled the enthusiasm that I felt for academia and threw myself into the vocal performance program.
During my first two years of college, I was wholly devoted to the development of my vocal craft; I studied solfeggio, vocal technique, and sang in opera productions. Aside from aria lyrics, I rarely read. Except for my music harmony homework, I scarcely wrote. My lone connection to the world beyond the theater came from my participation on the Carnegie Mellon Mock Trial team, but team practices often conflicted with evening opera rehearsals. I felt isolated from the academic world.
As I continued to immerse myself in the vocal performance program, my isolation transformed into restlessness, and from restlessness into frustration. I finally realized that a career on the stage was not for me; music is a powerful and inspirational art, but it did not provide me with the intellectual invigoration that I craved. I will always love opera, and I will always be a singer, but the most significant consequence of the two years that I spent as a voice major was that it allowed me to realize that I want to be a lawyer. Today, I possess a passionate enthusiasm and appreciation for the study of law that I could not have acquired without having spent two years in academic exile, immersed in the realm of opera.
When I returned to Carnegie Mellon for my junior year, I left the voice program and switched my major to Ethics, History and Public Policy. I felt revitalized, and I dove into my studies with an aching excitement and zeal that I had not felt since I began college. My interest in constitutional law was sparked when I read my first Supreme Court opinion, Justice Fortas’ majority opinion in Tinker v. Des Moines, for a class on the Bill of Rights. Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, I had always thought that the Constitution was a quasi-enlightened mandate, bestowed upon society by an all-knowing brotherhood of Founding Fathers. However, after reading Justice Fortas’ opinion, I saw that the law is largely composed of nothing more than the interpretations of men and women who rationally draw upon their own experiences, knowledge, and judgment. This newfound realization captivated me, and I eagerly endeavored to learn more about how individual analyses of the Constitution have shaped the course of American history. Accordingly, in addition to my classwork, I successfully petitioned my department for permission to undertake two supplementary independent studies: the first on the constitutionality of America’s policies at Guantanamo Bay, and the second on the contemporary history of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Following my junior year, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of two undergraduates in the nation to work as a Judicial Intern at the Supreme Court of the United States. My unforgettable experience at the Court solidified my interest in constitutional law, and today I feel emboldened to pursue a career in public service. With the courtroom as my stage, and the law as my music, I want to use my skills, passion, and legal education to help guide our Constitution and my generation into the 21st century. I came to Carnegie Mellon University as an aspiring opera singer, but only by following my inner-voice did I find the study of law to be my true inspiration; I knew that I found it when I realized that I do not even miss the applause.

Thanks everyone!!


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Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: Please Critique! Swaps Welcome!

Postby LSATclincher » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:50 pm

My main concern here was that 1/2 the PS discussed your music experience, and then mid-way through, you tell us music wasn't for you. It seems like a waste of space.

Your biggest accomplishment comes in the last para! This needs to be highlighted earlier and more extensively.

My recommendation: Still discuss your musical accomplishments, then tell us it wasn't for you, then tell us how your internship built you and your interest in law. Save the discussion of college course work for your transcript.

Good luck.

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