Personal Statement Advice

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

Postby Jes » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:50 pm

This is the major component of my personal statement. The last paragraph is modified and tailored for each law school I'm applying to so that's not what the ending looks like lol

Feel free to give constructive advice. =)

The sound of a dish shattering into a thousand pieces breaks the silence of the night. I crouch down and peer through the crack of the door. Heart pounding, legs shaking I take an unsteady step forward as the scene unfolds before me. My dad is holding a knife to my mom's neck and threatening to kill her.

Instead of childhood memories filled with family dinners and trips to grandma’s house, mine are tainted with memories similar to one depicted above. This is a result of growing up with a real life version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Sadly, he is made real in the form of my father. Nighttime was when he would emerge as Mr. Hyde. As it grew darker outside, my stomach would begin to flip-flop as I began to mentally prepare myself for the upcoming battle. I dreaded the seemingly never-ending nights filled with hateful shouting, dishes being thrown, and blood chilling death threats. I would count the hours until dawn, grateful for the first rays of light, knowing my night was finally over as I looked over and saw my dad sprawled all over the kitchen floor. Then, and only then, would I allow myself to lay my head on the pillow and give in to a few hours of sleep. Before I knew it, the shrill ring of my alarm clock awakened me and I'd go through my morning routine. As I entered the kitchen I was greeted by Dr Jekyll, "Good morning sweetie," as he lifted his cup of coffee to his lips.

This is how it was every morning; no one seemed to acknowledge it as if the previous night had never occurred. The end of one performance meant the next one was just hours away -- déjà vu, the same drama all over again. Growing up, it was engraved in our minds that home matters similar to mine are never discussed with anyone outside of immediate family. This is the very foundation of Punjabi culture. Everything must be kept behind closed doors; a façade of perfection to hide the trouble within, regardless of the negative impact on the people involved.

During this time, I turned to books and they became my solace, loyal to the very end. I was drawn to books about legal matters such as Twelve Angry Men and A Civil Action. School was my escape and helped to quench my never-ending thirst for knowledge. I excelled academically and buried myself in my schoolwork. School was not only an escape for me, but I was convinced that if I made straight A’s and graduated as valedictorian, my father would take pride in my accomplishments and quit drinking. As the years went by, I realized my efforts were in vain as my father continued to drink. I knew it was not enough and I had to do more. So, as soon as I turned sixteen, I got my first job and began working. I was determined to become financially independent to lessen the burden on my father, in hopes that he would abandon drinking. This too came with a price to pay -- while in high school I was able to maintain flawless grades and juggle a full workload, however this proved too demanding in college and as a result my grades suffered. Halfway through my undergraduate education, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing I could do to change my father. However, I do have control over my life. I resigned from one of my jobs and refocused myself, making school my utmost priority. Consequently, my grades were reflective of my dedication and tenacity.

The legal system has always been a fascination of mine and majoring in political science allowed me to delve into this passion. Volunteering for the City of *** *****'s Attorney's Office and interning for _________, a small privately owned law practice, only reaffirmed my ambition to pursue law. Upon graduation, I found myself at crossroads. In the Punjabi culture once a young woman enters her early twenties, she is expected to marry and settle down and then to remain married regardless of any issues. Due to my past, I cannot follow these norms. I was robbed of my childhood and I am determined to help children who are in the same position I was. From my experiences, I have learned that there is more to life than just marriage and family for a woman. I believe the Punjabi culture has a lot to offer and I embrace the language and the religion with open arms. However, I have learned that I do not need to adhere to all practices such as the fixed role for women. Despite my struggles with my father's alcoholism, I have prevailed by being the first in my family to be a college graduate. I have learned to walk the fine line between holding on to my culture and my pursuit for knowledge. My unwavering passion to help others avoid the difficulties I had to overcome combined with my love for knowledge drives me to pursue education, in particular my interest in law. I am confident that *insert school name* will provide me with unparalleled education that will best aid me in accomplishing my goal of being an aspiring attorney and an independent Punjabi woman.


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Re: Personal Statement Advice

Postby LSATclincher » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:29 pm

In all honesty, this made me uncomfortable. The 1st para no doubt needs to be deleted. It's simply too harsh. And the 2nd para should also be deleted. Open the PS with a general statement or two about your father and bad family life, and it end it there. Then get into how you overcame your struggle.


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Re: Personal Statement Advice

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:36 pm

Great personal statement. Loved every sentence except the last one. Most admissions officers can recognize pandering by its insincerity and lack of substance.

P.S. As you may know, your experiences are not uncommon regardless of one's culture. You did an excellent job of conveying a serious issue in an unemotional, yet interesting, manner.

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