PS first draft- help please!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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PS first draft- help please!!

Postby sackman » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:43 pm

I believe that my experiences as an undergraduate at the University of xxxx are what have most prepared me to become a successful law student.

My sophomore year at xxxState put my goal of being a professional basketball player in sight. I just earned a starting job and hit a career best five three pointers on pac-10 foe xxxx. However right around this time family problems back home in xxxx began to impact my career at xxx State and led to me transferring at the end of the year. My father passed away when I was five in a car accident which left me as the male leader in the household with my mother and two sisters. I always embraced this and never backed down from the challenge. When I heard about my younger sisters substance abuse problem and my older sister pregnant going through a divorce I was ready to sacrifice anything for their well-being.

Upon arriving in xxx I was constantly juggling school, athletics, and family. Although it was rewarding helping my family I was still looking for something more. Clarity to my life came when, in a University of xxxx "celebrity" tournament for our basketball team. I was paired with a Judge from the neighboring town of xxxx. He suggested Law School to me and, from that point on, I have been determined to go that direction. This time around, I was a "student-athlete", not an "athlete-student". I knew my grades from xxxx State and my first term at xxxxx were sub-par, so I did everything in my power to strive for this goal.
Although I was drawn back home to do what I see as my duty, I came away with so much more.

My senior year I was selected to represent the entire student athlete population on the University Athletic Committee. I also received the xxxx Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement. Lastly, was chose team captain by my fellow teammates at University of xxxxxx and we won our conference which gave us the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament. As my senior year came to an end I had the opportunity to intern on the US Senate xxxxx Committee. My application to the University of xxxx School of Law represents my current goal. The principles I have learned from these events in my life have given me a moral compass, a purpose and confidence that fuel my desire for success in life, school, and a legal career.

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Re: PS first draft- help please!!

Postby HugerThanSoup » Thu Feb 03, 2011 9:25 pm

Sackman, you have an intriguing story and an interesting angle to play. But this reads more like a narrative-version of your resume rather than as a personal statement. I would suggest starting over. Focus on one thing at a time. I know you have a lot that you want to get out; a lot that you want to share with admissions counselors. Keep it simple, though.

For example, in the first full paragraph alone, you jump from dreams of the NBA to PAC-10 basketball to your father's car accident to your younger sister's substance abuse to your older sister's pregnancy. Any one of these would be an interesting and compelling subject for a personal statement, but right now, they speckle your essay like throw-away lines.

I like your second paragraph the best. I would delete the rest of the PS and expand that paragraph. Start with something catchy about the Celebrity Basketball tournament. Set the stage with the ambiance. Let the details of who you are come in as you describe your conversations with the judge. The crowd, the sounds, the clock of your life ticking away with every dribble. Alternatively, focus on the problems of substance abuse or divorce and talk about how your experiences have shaped your world view and how the law should resolve complex issues.

Finally, find a way to tie in what you want to do with the law and how your time at XXX will allow you to reach those goals. And be specific. Don't just say that "Law School is my current goal." It makes you sound fickle and unsure of what it is you really want to do with your life. This is a $200,000 investment, after all - one that is extremely difficult to repay after graduation. Say something like, "The law is not passive. It is an active force that shapes the way we interact and deal with social problems. Having seen the devastating effects of substance-abuse first-hand, I know that a degree from XXX will allow me to help restructure the law in a way that assures victims of substance-abuse receive the assistance they need without compromising the dedication to safety and security that civil society demands." It's not perfect, but it gets across the point that you see problems in the law, that you want to help rectify them, and how XXX Law School fits into the picture.

Like I said, I know this is a lot to take in but don't be discouraged. I think you have a lot to work with and if you rewrite it, I can give it another look and help with the line-editing. HTH.

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Re: PS first draft- help please!!

Postby MCRemix » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:05 am

I'm going to agree with Huger on this one, you have the same problem I did starting out on PS, too many themes. In my head they were all cohesive, but others saw only what was written and were confused.

So these are some of the things you have to figure out:
What is your primary theme?
What is your most interesting attention getter to build off of? (Catch me and make me WANT to read it)
And what drives you to go to law? (A judge telling you to go isnt personal enough for an outsider, why do YOU want to go?)

But you have a really interesting story to tell and you've got some material to work with, just keep playing with it.

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Re: PS first draft- help please!!

Postby LSATclincher » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:12 pm

The first thing you need to do is qualify the fact that you're more than just an athlete. I'd probably open with an anecdote about your D-I playing career. Then, almost jokingly, transition into how your most memorable on-court moment was with that judge, who opened your eyes to law.

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Re: PS first draft- help please!!

Postby dddhhh » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:37 pm

I think you are on the right track but you really need to refine and shape your PS. Like other posters have said, you have a lot of great material to share but you need to organize it better and focus on one particular theme. As I read your PS there were things that caught my attention and I wanted more, at the end I had a lot of unanswered questions that left me wondering. Amongst these were: your family history and how this has shaped your worldview/character, what did that judge say to you that made you want to do law? why do you want to do law? how/when did that dream of being a pro ball player change?

Overall, you have a great story to tell and are doing yourself an injustice by condensing it so much.

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