Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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JRDallas11
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Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:29 pm

Edit - TLS auto-corrects the word "fa&&ot", hence the symbols.

I rarely attended football or basketball games in high school. Primarily in order to avoid walking in front of the student section where I would inevitably endure being called names like “fa&&ot” or “homo”. Even the coaches would sometimes take part in the insults. Walking in a busy hallway between classes one of the football coaches loudly asked if I “put kerosene around my ankles to keep the ants off my candy ass.” I remember laughing as though I was in on the joke; trying to convince myself this was simply good-natured masculine ribbing. Sadly, I knew this wasn’t the case. But one of my most painful memories came during a baseball game my senior in high school. As I walked from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box the student section began chanting loudly, “Queeeee-yer”. My heart sank into the pit of my stomach. I could barely breathe. I stepped up to the plate fighting back tears.
* * *
Like most other normal teenagers, I wanted to be popular and I wanted people to like me. But many of the other students were afraid they would get teased just for being associated with me. This made making friends fairly difficult. So, I focused on acquiring as many athletic trophies and academic accolades as I could. Not coincidentally, these were areas in which I was in total control of the outcome; unlike social hierarchies, which are subjective and influenced solely by my peers. I felt that as long as I was a winner on the baseball field, tennis court, and in the classroom, eventually everyone would stop picking on me. Unfortunately, even though I graduated high school in the top 5% of my class and never lost a district tennis match in four straight years, I was still the same insecure kid struggling to make friends.

I transferred to XXXXXX College as a sophomore in the fall of 199X. I refer to the three years I spent here as my “social right-of-passage” because it had such a tremendous impact on my life. XXXXX College’s student body is comprised of approximately 3,200 students, so the social groups, including the Greek system, can’t exactly afford to be too exclusive. In fact, all Greek events are open to the entire student body, regardless of your affiliation. At the age of nineteen I had never been invited to a real party, so I eagerly took advantage of this open door policy and attended virtually every party I could. It didn’t happen immediately, but I eventually found a great group of people who genuinely liked me for who I was, personality quirks and all. The following semester I joined a fraternity, and two years later I was nominated to the Senior Homecoming Court. By graduation my self-confidence had drastically improved and I was becoming much more comfortable in my own skin.

As a graduate student at the University of XXXXXX, the other students would get together about once a week and meet after class to have a few drinks. Occasionally I would join them, but more often than not I would decline the invitation and head to the library to study. In high school I was excluded from parties. At XXXXX College I rarely missed a party. Now I was declining invitations to go drinking with my new graduate school friends so I could study. I let my social life get in the way of my GPA once, and I was determined I would not let that happen again. After two years at UofX I received my MS with a 4.0 GPA and I was able to maintain a healthy social life.

If I had not been teased and picked on when I was younger, I’m not sure I would be the self-confident person I am today. But I’m grateful this perspective allows me to appreciate the friends I have, and to accept those around me for who they truly are. I recently turned thirty-three years old. I have a successful career, wonderful friends, a loving family, and a supportive partner I’ve been with for almost ten years. I’m no longer the insecure teenager standing at home plate with tears in his eyes; but I still have a lot of growing left to do, personally and professionally. The easy thing for me to do is to settle and maintain what I have. But I’m capable of much more. Attending law school at XXX will allow me to continue working as a real estate broker, expand my social and business connections, and challenge myself mentally. Attending law school is not something I need to do at this point in my life; it’s something I want to do. And, if I’m given the opportunity, this distinction is why I’m confident I will succeed at the XXXX School of Law.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:38 pm

I wish I had read more non-trad PS's when I was researching for PS so I thought I'd share.

DarkPhantom
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:39 pm

Just a question, have you read this to yourself?

Alot of things look out of place.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:06 pm

I've probably read it too many times to myself. I don't mind criticism.

sparty99
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby sparty99 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:00 am

blah
Last edited by sparty99 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MangoCinnamon
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby MangoCinnamon » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:17 am

I am a non-trad myself and I kept waiting to hear what has happened in your recent years to make you want to go to law school. I think you need to change your focus, because it sounds like your theme is "The history of my social life and minor notes on my self-confidence".

Do you want to go to law school to put check next to a to do list? Surely there has to be a deeper reason. I think we older candidates are expected to bring more depth to the table.

Hope that helps

ETA: This narrative in an abridged form would make a better addendum to address a low GPA.

kublaikahn
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:49 pm

MangoCinnamon wrote:I am a non-trad myself and I kept waiting to hear what has happened in your recent years to make you want to go to law school. I think you need to change your focus, because it sounds like your theme is "The history of my social life and minor notes on my self-confidence".

Do you want to go to law school to put check next to a to do list? Surely there has to be a deeper reason. I think we older candidates are expected to bring more depth to the table.

Hope that helps

ETA: This narrative in an abridged form would make a better addendum to address a low GPA.


I think it works fine. But then, I am retarded and contrarian. It is an empathetic story. I was never a bully or cruel, but looking back, I can see where as a leader in high school, I could have stuck a hand out to some kids that I knew were struggling. But I didn't. So it resonates with me and I bet you will find that others feel that way too.

My advice (if you havent completed your cycle) would be to tie your own growth to the changing attitudes of the culture toward homosexuality and bullying. Parellel the two and you will get an instinctive feeling about you as a person and why you might find law interesting, even if unstated.

As a non-trad, myself, with many years of WE, I found it difficult to write "why law" into my PS. At this point the reasons become much more complex. It's not a single experience or desire to fix a world problem anymore. The reasons become manifold. I just hope the adcoms get that. My PS is about me. Not about law school or why law.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:30 pm

kublaikahn wrote:
MangoCinnamon wrote:I am a non-trad myself and I kept waiting to hear what has happened in your recent years to make you want to go to law school. I think you need to change your focus, because it sounds like your theme is "The history of my social life and minor notes on my self-confidence".

Do you want to go to law school to put check next to a to do list? Surely there has to be a deeper reason. I think we older candidates are expected to bring more depth to the table.

Hope that helps

ETA: This narrative in an abridged form would make a better addendum to address a low GPA.


I think it works fine. But then, I am retarded and contrarian. It is an empathetic story. I was never a bully or cruel, but looking back, I can see where as a leader in high school, I could have stuck a hand out to some kids that I knew were struggling. But I didn't. So it resonates with me and I bet you will find that others feel that way too.

My advice (if you havent completed your cycle) would be to tie your own growth to the changing attitudes of the culture toward homosexuality and bullying. Parellel the two and you will get an instinctive feeling about you as a person and why you might find law interesting, even if unstated.

As a non-trad, myself, with many years of WE, I found it difficult to write "why law" into my PS. At this point the reasons become much more complex. It's not a single experience or desire to fix a world problem anymore. The reasons become manifold. I just hope the adcoms get that. My PS is about me. Not about law school or why law.


Thanks. I'm pretty sure many people would consider me retarded and contrarian as well. Ha! Also, what a lot of people in this forum fail to understand is that many schools require multiple statements. The ONLY school I'm applying to requires a Why X/Why Part-Time Program and a Why Law School essay in addition to an "optional essay". This was my optional essay. The people looking at my application will know my reasons for wanting to go to law school. They also have my resume and can see my accomplishments, leadership positions, etc. This statement is meant to show a little bit of who I am and how I've grown emotionally, etc.

And it's also okay just to want to go to law school because you want to challenge yourself. You don't have to want to change the world or help underprivileged people.
Last edited by JRDallas11 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:40 pm

@kublaikahn - I forgot to mention that I've met with different adcom people over the past few months and they read my other statements and gave me feedback. Their feedback was "tell us more about you". They said my other statements address why I want to go to law school and what I plan to do with the degree, but they don't address who I am as a person. So keep trusting your gut and write about what you want to write about. Because that will stand out much more than any generic statement from a 21 year old who has no idea what the real world has in store for them.

Good luck.

sparty99
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby sparty99 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:14 am

blah
Last edited by sparty99 on Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:28 am

Thank you for your input. I understand what you're saying but you're beginning to come across as angry or condescending instead of constructive.

I guess I'll find out if the statement didn't work soon enough.

sparty99
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby sparty99 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:36 am

Don't send this essay.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:53 am

I appreciate how strongly you think you know what adcoms look for in a non-trad PS but it's been sent. We'll see if you know what you're talking about.

sparty99
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby sparty99 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:58 am

Let us know how it goes......good luck.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:01 am

Reads well. Although I understand the criticism, one's personal statement should focus on & develop a theme. Essentially your essay's theme centers on self-confidence & is well done, in my opinion.
Another legitimate goal of one's personal statement is to humanize the application which is accomplished here by showing vulnerability while making readers like you.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:24 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Reads well. Although I understand the criticism, one's personal statement should focus on & develop a theme. Essentially your essay's theme centers on self-confidence & is well done, in my opinion.


Thank you. If anything, hopefully other non-trads can learn something from reading my PS and these comments. As Kubla said earlier, the older a person gets, the more varied and complex their reasons for attending law school can become. This makes it extremely difficult to pick one theme. Sometimes it may be more beneficial to write about who they are as people.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:21 am

Hey Sparty, a quick review of your posting history just told me everything I need to know about you. Not sure where your expertise is coming from when telling me YOU would not admit me if you were an adcom. According to your previous posts, you scored a 134 on your LSAT diagnostic, have taken the LSAT 6 times and have yet to score above a 145. And your goal is to start your own law firm and create the next "Baker Botts"?

I also find it convenient you have deleted your old posts about your LSAT struggles and now you rail on other peoples's PS's. You should consider toning it down a bit. Repeatedly telling people their PS is "WEAK" and to "come correct" isn't too helpful, except perhaps for inflating your own ego.

sparty99
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby sparty99 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:26 am

People post their essays for criticism/advice. I am more than happy to provide feedback on how I think their essays can improve so they can get accepted. I provided a number of suggestions/comments with regard to your optional statement and I had a number of issues with your theme and how everything was presented. In addition, there were grammatical problems. For example, the period should go inside the quotes when you have quotations. You were not consistent with this grammatical rule. Everyone will have their own opinion, but if I and other people have problems with an essay, then imagine what the admissions committee might think when they read the same thing. Like I said, I don't think your essay worked to your advantage. However, it's your essay, not mine.

I'm not an AdCom, but I've read eight books on crafting a personal statement and many of the essays on this site. I'm not bragging, but since you did mention my test scores, you should know I was accepted into "tier one" law schools. Perhaps I had something compelling to say that motivated the AdCom to say, "yes" in spite of my scores. Perhaps I know what I'm talking about. Or you never know, I could be totally wrong and they love your essay.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:28 am

sparty99 wrote:People post their essays for criticism/advice. I am more than happy to provide feedback on how I think their essays can improve so they can get accepted. I provided a number of suggestions/comments with regard to your optional statement and I had a number of issues with your theme and how everything was presented. In addition, there were grammatical problems. For example, the period should go inside the quotes when you have quotations. You were not consistent with this grammatical rule. Everyone will have their own opinion, but if I and other people have problems with an essay, then imagine what the admissions committee might think when they read the same thing. Like I said, I don't think your essay worked to your advantage. However, it's your essay, not mine.

I'm not an AdCom, but I've read eight books on crafting a personal statement and many of the essays on this site. I'm not bragging, but since you did mention my test scores, you should know I was accepted into "tier one" law schools. Perhaps I had something compelling to say that motivated the AdCom to say, "yes" in spite of my scores. Perhaps I know what I'm talking about. Or you never know, I could be totally wrong and they love your essay.


If you had something valuable to say earlier then why did you delete your previous comments above? I'm sure by now you've also deleted almost all of your other previous posts that illuminate your shortcomings and you're bullying criticisms of other PS's. You're using this forum to feel better about your own personal failures by telling people how terrible their PS is and how wonderful and smart you are. No one cares how many books you've read on personal statements because you have nothing constructive to say. This forum makes you feel like you're part of the law school conversation. I can assure you you're not. You're out of your league and you know it. Which is exactly why you delete your older posts. I called you out for what you are and now you're scrambling to remove the evidence.

I'm not sure if you're bitter/insecure because you're gay, or because you can't even score in the 50th percentile on the LSAT in 6 attempts, or all of the above. But I feel sorry for you because you're 30 and you clearly still have a lot of maturing to do.

sparty99
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby sparty99 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:26 am

Whatever, man. You sent your essay, so why would I keep my feedback? Rather than attacking the source, I wish you would have had the same focus in making your essay stronger.

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:31 pm

You're right. You win. Keep up the good work. You're a valuable asset to the online community.

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upfish
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby upfish » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:47 pm

I'm only 24 and thus decidedly less non-trad. (if at all?), but I wrote a similar statement to this about growing up in fundamentalist Christian OK with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder while being queer, and I've gotten into almost every school I've applied to thus far. Still waiting to hear back from my reach, but nonetheless.

So it might not get you into Harvard or whatever, but my statement had three lines maximum about law and 4 paragraphs about me, and it's done me no harm thus far.

You might tighten up the language a little bit for flow (I Hemingway'd my statement to pieces like six times over), but I liked it. :)

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JRDallas11
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Re: Non-Trad PS For Your Perusal

Postby JRDallas11 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:42 pm

upfish wrote:I'm only 24 and thus decidedly less non-trad. (if at all?), but I wrote a similar statement to this about growing up in fundamentalist Christian OK with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder while being queer, and I've gotten into almost every school I've applied to thus far. Still waiting to hear back from my reach, but nonetheless.

So it might not get you into Harvard or whatever, but my statement had three lines maximum about law and 4 paragraphs about me, and it's done me no harm thus far.

You might tighten up the language a little bit for flow (I Hemingway'd my statement to pieces like six times over), but I liked it. :)



Congratulations on your acceptances and good luck with your reach. I think I wrote no less than 15 different statements. I'd borrow from some of them and mash them into one statement, only to scrap the entire thing and start again. What helped me the most was trying NOT to write eloquently at first. Tell your story as you would to a friend or an acquaintance. Then once you have the story and theme down, then you can go back and tweak the wording and sentence structure. But the story itself is the key.

Also, I think it's important for people to realize that these adcoms are reading very similar statements in terms of why people want to go to law school. First of all, you're applying to law school, so clearly you want to study law. Second, why you want to study law probably shouldn't take 4 paragraphs anyway. Third, everyone has story to tell about themselves. And that's where I think people can shine. Let the admissions folks know who you are. Make them root for you in one way or another.




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