Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
CP2323
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:25 pm

Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

Postby CP2323 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:20 pm

I wrote a personal narrative about my low income background. I am not exactly sure what is the best way to present my personal statement. I am a non-traditional applicant (32 father of 3) with military and teaching experience. I am also a disabled veteran.



Personal Statement
I have always worked to help support my mom. As a young child I would often ask my relatives for money for Christmas and birthdays, so that I could give it to my mom to help her. As I got older the financial help I provided my mom led me to work full time hours in high school to better support our family.
I learned at an early age just how difficult life can be. My parents separated and later divorced before I was two years old. By the time I was seven I was the man of the house. My mother and I moved from Long Island to upstate New York. This move was especially difficult because we now lived by ourselves. My mom worked long hours as a medical transcriptionist which meant I was home alone after school. I would complete my chores and homework, made myself dinner, and put myself to bed. In my free time I would read. I became a voracious reader at a very early age. I had a thirst for learning that seemed to only be quenched by a good book. During our time in upstate New York my mom had health issues which resulted in her losing her job and us ending up on welfare. Times were tough but I always kept a positive attitude and focused on doing well in school to help me get by.
My mom and I decided to move to Florida while I was in high school. We moved to Clearwater,
Florida and my life continued much as it had in upstate New York. My mom found a new job but it was working nights so I was still left home alone. In high school my love of reading enabled me to take a vigorous schedule. By my junior year I was entirely in honors, dual-enrolled, and advanced placement classes. I was also swimming, wrestling, and working 30 to 40 hours per week. All of my activities combined with working full time to help support my mother and I created a very stressful home life. Even after all of my support my mother was unhappy with me, she would often threaten to send me to live with my grandparents. My home life caused me to become depressed and due to that depression I quit playing sports, dropped out of high school, and quit working.
I continued to attend junior college and it was there that I met my wife. After dating for two years we married and started a family. I had reached the highest level I could at my current employer and knew I needed to go back to college. With the economy doing so poorly in the beginning of the 2000s I knew I needed to find a way to go back to school, so my family and I decided I would enter the Navy. Naval service was both arduous and rewarding. While in the Navy I developed a great appreciation for other countries and their cultures. The experience of living overseas provided me with a diverse outlook on life and a great respect for the differing laws of the world. While living in Iceland I was able to visit the site of the Athling and in England I visited parliament. Through experiences such as these I strengthened my quest for knowledge and helped to focus that quest towards an education in law.
While in the Navy I worked long hours. I worked 40 plus hours while completing my primary duties and would work an additional 15 to 20 hours completing my secondary work. As an extra duty I worked as my command’s community service project manager. My work resulted in the command being selected for two Navy wide awards for excellence in community service and my personal earning of the Navy Achievement Medal from my last command. Unfortunately, my naval career would come to an end due to disabilities I sustained in the course of my duty.
As a 50% disabled veteran I had to decide what I was going to do now. While I was in the military I was able to find time to complete my associate’s degree in electronics and my bachelor’s degree in psychology. I have always wanted to attend law school but never had the opportunity because of my earlier life choices. I decided that I was still interested in going to law school but I also wanted to work in education. I felt that at the time my package for law school would not be sufficient so I applied for the University of Tampa to get a master’s degree in social studies education. I focused and worked hard on my master’s degree in education. I was able to complete my degree with a 3.85 GPA and several of my papers received perfect or near perfect scores. In fact, one of my professors’s asked me to keep my paper for his work. I felt that working in education and earning a master’s degree would make me a more well rounded and competitive applicant for law school.
I know that my competitive drive, perseverance in times of trial, and diverse background have provided me with the necessary skills to be successful in law school. I know that I would make an excellent lawyer and hope for the chance to attain this goal.

Addendum
I am submitting an addendum to explain my lower undergraduate GPA. As calculated by LSAC my overall undergraduate GPA is a 2.33. As I spoke about in my personal statement I had a rough childhood that caused me to drop out of high school do to my stressful home life. I attempted to go straight into junior college as that was what my friends were doing but that was a horrible decision. The stress of my home life did not change and I had not matured enough to deal with that stress in a more productive and beneficial manner. I ended up dropping out of most of my classes. The only classes I did attend regularly while in junior college were the classes that my girlfriend at the time also attended. Due to this stressful situation and my resulting attempts to “run away” from and ignore the problem I ended up with a cumulative 1.52 in junior college. Six to ten years later in my life after joining the Navy and moving out with my own family, my school grades improved. I completed courses while stationed in Iceland at University of Maryland University College with a 3.25 GPA and later at Thomas Edison State College while stationed in Pensacola FL with a 3.25 GPA. Unfortunately my overall GPA for my undergraduate degree was pulled down by the mistakes I made as a young man. I think I showed through my continuous improvement in my undergraduate GPA and my 3.85 GPA I earned in my master’s degree that I can be a successful student. I hope that the committee will take into account my difficult background when considering my candidacy for law school.

LSATclincher
Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

Postby LSATclincher » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:20 pm

I believe as you get older, your credentials depend more upon recent achievements/events. As an older applicant, I think you need to focus strictly on your life after college. You have some great experience that you can use to your advantage. Forget the childhood and college stuff. You're much wiser now, and the adcomms know that. You just need to show how you stand out above the rest of the (mostly) younger applicants.

I'm not a supporter of GPA addendums. This one sounds like a bad excuse, really. You would need to get some more opinions on whether or not you should write it. I feel your Masters transcripts combined with your life experience is enough for adcomms to turn their attention away from your low UG GPA (assuming you have a decent LSAT score).

CP2323
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:25 pm

Re: Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

Postby CP2323 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:26 am

Should I write a PS highlighting my community service work in the Navy, my varied experiences, or my disability? Maybe a combination of all three? I am having trouble with my theme.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:31 am

Your theme is "maturity" or "maturity & the life experiences that developed my outlook on life". It is a solid theme with a poor delivery due to excess wordiness. Try to write in a more concise manner consisting of crisp, clear sentences. Once you have a clear theme in mind, it should be easier to be more succinct in your writing style.

CP2323
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:25 pm

Re: Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

Postby CP2323 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 2:57 pm

New Statement:

Personal Statement

They say you always remember where you are when something important happens. My grandparents and their generation would often talk about where they were when Pearl Harbor was attacked. For my Mom’s generation it was the assassination of Kennedy. For me it was September 11th, 2001. It was a date that changed my life’s path forever.
As a young man I often struggled with my sense of purpose. The events of 9/11 significantly changed what I felt was important. The attacks changed the rules of who was safe. If anyone on a plane could be a potential victim then anyone in our country could be at risk. Working near MacDill Air Force base, home to Central Command, heightened my awareness of that risk since it was thought to be a prime target for a terrorist attack. I felt that I needed to do something, but what could I do? I was a salesman working to support my new family. How could I help defend this great country? My wife and I decided that I should join the military. My family had a history of service and my wife’s father was a retired Warrant Officer in the United States Navy. It felt like the right decision.
While in the Navy I worked long hours. I worked 40 plus hours while completing my primary duties and would work an additional 15 to 20 hours completing my secondary work. I would often work from 0700 until 1500 but then have watch from 1500 until 0700 the following day. I remember having to attend rescue climbing certification classes while still completing my watch standing and maintenance duties. This was just the way life in the military worked. As an extra duty I worked as my command’s community service project manager. In this position I was in charge of coordinating volunteer events between the local community and my command. I was also in charge of recruiting volunteers, transporting them to the event, and making sure the projects were completed. Over the course of the 3 years that I worked as the community service project manager I supervised 14 events with 177 volunteers and a total of 1133 man hours. My work resulted in the command being selected for three Navy wide awards for excellence in community service and I earned the Navy Achievement Medal.
Naval service was both arduous and rewarding. While in the Navy I developed a great appreciation for other countries and their cultures. The experience of living overseas provided me with a diverse outlook on life and a great respect for the differing laws of the world. While living in Iceland I was able to visit the site of the Athling and in England I visited parliament. Through experiences such as these I strengthened my quest for knowledge and helped to focus that quest towards an education in law. Unfortunately, my naval career would come to an end due to disabilities I sustained in the course of my duty.
As a 50% disabled veteran I had to decide what I was going to do. While I was in the military I was able to complete my associate’s degree in electronics and my bachelor’s degree in psychology in my off time. I have always wanted to attend law school but never had the opportunity because of my earlier life choices. I decided that I was still interested in going to law school but I also wanted to work in education. I felt that at the time my application for law school would be insufficient so I applied for the University of Tampa to get a master’s degree in social studies education. I focused, worked hard, and was able to complete my degree with a 3.85 GPA. Several of my papers received perfect or near perfect scores and in fact, one of my professors’s asked me to keep my paper for his work. I felt that working in education and earning a master’s degree would make me a more well rounded and competitive applicant for law school.
Upon completion of my graduate degree I decided to work at a Title 1 inner city middle school. It was considered one of the toughest middle schools in my district. This rough population was much more likely to have a criminal record then able to complete their school work. I threw myself into my work. Most of my students, who happened to live in single parent households, craved a positive male role model in their lives. They also didn’t know they had the power to determine the course in which their lives could take. I made sure they knew that school was not only viable but the most realistic and reachable goal in order to escape the poverty they were living in. I was not naïve about what I could consider success. I was working to help these kids make it to 8th grade.
My varied life experiences allow me to have a unique outlook on life. I know that my perseverance, willingness to work hard, and flexibility will make me an excellent lawyer. I hope that you will see my experience as a great addition and accept me to your law school.

kublaikahn
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:47 am

Re: Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

Postby kublaikahn » Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:51 pm

[quote="CP2323"]New Statement:

Personal Statement

They say y You always remember where you are when something important tragic happens. My grandparents and their generation would often talk about where they were whenThe day Pearl Harbor was attacked will live in infamy. For my Mom’s the next generation it wasthe assassination of Kennedy rocked the nation. For me it wasSeptember 11th, 2001. It was a date thatchallenged my assumptions and changed my life’s trajectory path forever.
As a young man I often struggled with my sense of purpose. The events of 9/11 significantly changed what I felt was important. The attacks on 9/11changed the rulesaltered our perception of who was safe. If anyone on a plane could be a potential victim then anyone in our country and who could be at risk. Working near MacDill Air Force base, home to Central Command, heightened my awareness of that risk since it was thought to be a prime target for a terrorist attack. I felt that I needed to do something,As a young man I often struggled to find my sense of purpose. but what could I do? I was a salesman working to support my new family. How could I help defend this great country? My nation was calling me, and My wife and I decided that I should answer the call and join the military. My family had a history of service and my wife’s father was a retired Warrant Officer in the United States Navy.It felt like the right decision.
While fighting in the armed services would provide me the opportunity to defend my country and my countrymen, I was unaware that I would be provided an equally important role in helping others and building bridges with diverse communities. While in the Navy I worked long hours. I worked 40 plus hours while completing my primary duties and would work an additional 15 to 20 hours completing my secondary work. I would often work from 0700 until 1500 but then have watch from 1500 until 0700 the following day. I remember having to attend rescue climbing certification classes while still completing my watch standing and maintenance duties. This was just the way life in the military worked. As an extra duty I worked as my command’s community service project manager. [s]In this position I was in charged me with of coordinating and managing volunteer events between the local community and my command. I was also in charge of recruiting volunteers, transporting them to the event, and making sure the projects were completed. Over the course of the 3 years that I worked as the community service project manager I supervised 14 events with 177 volunteers and a total of 1133 man hours.While My work resulted in thecommand being selected for won three Navy wide awards for excellence in community service and I earned the Navy Achievement Medal, the real reward was the self awareness and personal growth that comes from helping others. I discovered a growing sense of community and connectedness with the world and those around me...

Paragraph: Short paragraph (a story from Iceland, not a list of places you visited) about international and becoming disabled. Focus: Your mature reaction to tough circumstances

Paragraph: Your response was to go to school so you could teach struggling kids. Then a story about teaching. (you don't need to discuss your resume or GPA in the PS) focus: Natural progression of career keeping in line with your values of service and responsibility

Paragraph: Transition from teaching to Law school. Close strong with a paragraph that shows you have a real plan for attending law school.

CP2323
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:25 pm

Re: Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

Postby CP2323 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:37 pm

Thank you for the feedback. Anyone else have any ideas on how to make it better?

I need to make sure I have the best PS and letters of recommendation to make up for my extremely low GPA.

User avatar
ach24
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:24 pm

Re: Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

Postby ach24 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:01 am

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Last edited by ach24 on Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

CP2323
Posts: 67
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:25 pm

Re: Thinking about rewriting my PS and Addendum for grades.

Postby CP2323 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:28 pm

My addendum definitely doesn't work absent my original personal statement. I will definitely have to reconsider using it at all.

All of my sub 3.0 grades from college are 12+ years old. So I think that shows they are not representative of my current ability.




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