Career in Academics

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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nids333
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Career in Academics

Postby nids333 » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:46 pm

I'm considering writing my personal statement about pursuing a career in academics. I was just wondering what TLS members thought about this topic?

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Knock
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Re: Career in Academics

Postby Knock » Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:04 am

nids333 wrote:I'm considering writing my personal statement about pursuing a career in academics. I was just wondering what TLS members thought about this topic?


I wouldn't unless you have absolutely nothing else you could discuss in a personal statement.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Career in Academics

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:36 pm

Don't do it unless you've already had some relevant experiences in your life that you can use to show how your desire to pursue academics came about. It's fine to mention a goal, but the essay should be about you, your life, your experiences and emotions, not a list of why you think Career [X] is a good idea.

Good: If your parents were teachers, you had a few excellent and inspirational teachers over the years and you grew up surrounded by academia, you could easily write about how these role models and experiences shaped your personality to be ideally-suited for an academic career.

Good: You (or someone close to you--IF you can write compellingly how their experiences affected you) was inspired to ascend from a crappy situation by a teacher/professor, Stand and Deliver-style.

Bad: "I want to work in academia because teachers provide an important service to society. Teachers shape the minds of students, preparing them to face the challenges of the real world." Etc. This is not a personal statement, this is a position paper on the importance of teachers.

raksha5
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Re: Career in Academics

Postby raksha5 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:38 am

.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Career in Academics

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:12 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:Don't do it unless you've already had some relevant experiences in your life that you can use to show how your desire to pursue academics came about. It's fine to mention a goal, but the essay should be about you, your life, your experiences and emotions, not a list of why you think Career [X] is a good idea.

Good: If your parents were teachers, you had a few excellent and inspirational teachers over the years and you grew up surrounded by academia, you could easily write about how these role models and experiences shaped your personality to be ideally-suited for an academic career.

Good: You (or someone close to you--IF you can write compellingly how their experiences affected you) was inspired to ascend from a crappy situation by a teacher/professor, Stand and Deliver-style.

Bad: "I want to work in academia because teachers provide an important service to society. Teachers shape the minds of students, preparing them to face the challenges of the real world." Etc. This is not a personal statement, this is a position paper on the importance of teachers.

This. This this this.

It's a good idea to write this if your PS is still about you. If it's about the career, or about how you view academia, then you will only hurt yourself by not doing what you're supposed to be doing, which is showing what about you is worth admitting. But if you write about your own personal experiences, why teaching matters to you, and why it's part of your personal goals, then you could possibly have a great PS.

(This also requires you to be attending a school that could realistically put you into academia, because you're effectively saying "I want to go to your school because it can make me an academic.")

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piccolittle
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Re: Career in Academics

Postby piccolittle » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:16 pm

This may be off-topic, but I don't really understand how anyone can decide they want to be a legal academic before they have studied law and seen if it's something they actually like studying... but in any case, I agree with all of the above posters.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Career in Academics

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:00 pm

piccolittle wrote:This may be off-topic, but I don't really understand how anyone can decide they want to be a legal academic before they have studied law and seen if it's something they actually like studying... but in any case, I agree with all of the above posters.

To be fair, people who enjoy studying and teaching tend to know about that interest regardless of the subject. They then have to go out in search of the subject they'd most enjoy teaching, and in the law there's a wide variety of possibilites.

Also, people discover new things about the law and change their minds once they get into law school. Adcomms know this. They're just looking for a picture of you and what qualities you have that make you likely to succeed at their law school. If you have prior academic experience, a particular dedication to a cause, or other such things that you'd be talking about, those are things that would make them think you'd do well as a graduate of their school, regardless of whether you ended up going into academia or not.




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