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

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Postby Dripworx » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:13 am

There were 30 minutes left until the New Years Eve count down and I was still on the bus from San Jose Del Cabo International airport with a 50 piece band that flew in from Guadalajara, Mexico. I went through the checklist of instruments for a fifth and final time, and finally began to change into my tuxedo in the back of the bus. Standing in the cramped bathroom, I was looking at myself in the mirror, mumbling “Murphy’s law”, chuckling as I walked out and shouted: “It’s show time people!”. We pulled into The One & Only: Palmillas, a small, exclusive hotel on the southern point of the Baja California Peninsula. I was met with the public relations agent of the hotel who bombarded me with names from a star studded roster of attendees; I could feel the nerves rising up the back of my spine as we walked from the kitchen entrance of the hotel to begin the setup. I was finally ready to be part my father’s team for his most important event: New Year’s Eve. His company had branched out from South Florida to Mexico, and similarly the talent base had expanded. We had flown to Canada, Argentina, and to cities all across Mexico to find the perfect arrangement of musicians for New Year’s. We were not prepared for what would happen this year.

As I walked through the kitchen doors I was stopped by the General Manager of the Hotel, who said “this is as far as you need to go”; the musicians continued to shuffle through the kitchen and out to the stage as I was paralyzed in horror. “What do you mean?!” I shouted, “we have someone that will be taking over from here” he said. A local talent management company had cut us out at the last minute. My father’s attorney in Mexico failed to inform him about signing a contract with the hotel beforehand and now our hard work in searching for a perfect arrangement of musicians had been stolen right from under our feet. Ultimately our company had no leverage to fight against this betrayal, our musicians had become someone else’s.

My blood boiled as I watched our musicians walk towards the stage, and security escorted me out from the kitchen. The question at this point was not “if” working without adequate legal counsel would hurt us, but rather “when”. It was evident from my experience that the music industry is one based closely on politics, friendships, and quid pro quo relationships, which could not be held to a standard on its own face. I realized that in order to have any kind of stability and substance in the business we needed the weight of law on our side.

My father has been in the music industry since he was eleven in his birthplace of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He had begun as a musician and ultimately started his own entertainment management company primarily for hospitality chains. Music has been an integral part of my life since early childhood, with a musical instrument in almost every room of our house and my father always instilling the virtue that music could be anything you wanted it to be, a hobby, a friend, an escape, a provider and most of all a passion; it was no mystery as to how I came to have music become such a large facet of my life. Working alongside my father as a child, I was given small yet important responsibilities for several events until I was finally old enough work for him as an adult. While these tasks were not as demanding as my fathers at the time, I knew he had confided in me to do each job properly and thus there was a strong sense of responsibility that never left me, which led me to find my true passion aside from music: Law.

After my experience in Cabo San Lucas, the fervor for law I had felt was unlike that I had ever known for music. I viewed law as the sword needed to excel in the music industry, which has been a life long dream for me. Following in the footsteps of my father, my dream to work in the music industry finally seemed to have a more concise direction. During my Undergraduate studies, I realized that my passion for law, coupled with my experiences thus far, would give me the knowledge and the resources I would need to succeed in the industry as an entertainment attorney. XXXX University School of Law has a strong focus on labor and employment law, which I firmly believe is exactly what I need to make my dream of becoming an attorney more than just a dream, but reality. There is not a single doubt in my mind when deliberating which school would fit me best, XXXX is a clear choice. I would be honored in having the opportunity to attain my degree in law from XXXX University School of Law.

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Postby DoubleChecks » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:25 am

starts off strong, but then begins to fade out

i like how it is an engaging story -- halfway through it you had me curious about what was going to happen -- thats good, it means the adcomms will at least read that far. but then you start to meander a bit, or rather you lose the central focus of your PS...(the personal part).

i dont really get a sense of who you are (aside from a man who feels wronged by a corruptible music industry) or why i (as a law school adcomm lets say) should admit you. you spend too much time sounding bitter, or rather resolute in your belief that the music industry is all just about politics, and you need law to "make it." i dont know if you should do that -- not saying that you're wrong or should not have those beliefs, just i dont feel like it belongs in a PS, at least not in its current form. water it down and make it sound a bit more positive without getting too idealistic. what if someone on the adcomm works closely with the entertainment industry and DISAGREES with you? you come off as someone who is set in his beliefs that the music industry is x (which, once again, you may not be wrong in, but dont come off as obstinate in a PS).

finally, scrap your last paragraph -- you spend way too much valuable time and space on your ugrad studies (why mention it in closing when you never mentioned it before? -- better to stick with your passion for music. do i sense an overarching theme or metaphor? lol) and how there is no doubt in your mind XXXXX is the clear choice and how you would be honored. no need to put that in the PS, it seems disingenuous unless your whole PS was about how you fit specifically at that school and how much you've researched THAT particular school. in other words, it sounds like feigned honor and interest when it is not backed up. tbh, they wont really even care, so cut those last 2 lines -- they can assume you want to go there based off of your numbers and you applying, and if it is a safety, the last few comments will seem even more disingenuous.

there are also a few grammatical errors, but thats something you can easily clean up.

best of luck!


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Postby kublaikahn » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:50 pm

Weak. This will not help your cause. First and foremost, the writing is poor. Secondly it tell us very little about you. And finally, getting hosed is not a good reason to go to law school. Your dad didnt need a good lawyer, he need some practical business sense.

Also, the last paragraph about the specific program adds no value. You do not show that you understand anything about why that program is distinctive or a good fit for you.


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Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:08 pm

I really enjoyed reading your personal statement. Although a touch wordy in spots, it offers insight into who you are, where you have been & why you are pursuing the study of law. Overall this is a very sincere & convincing essay.

P.S. Please proofread your writing as there are a couple of awkward phrases/ run-on sentences in the last two paragraphs in need of revision (especially the first sentence of the fourth paragraph). The first three paragraphs appear to be well written & flow well.

Also, entertainment law is primarily contract law, although labor & employment law is/are also important.

First paragraph: "I was met by" (not "with"). Also, "father's", not "fathers".


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Postby 83947368 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:11 pm

Last edited by 83947368 on Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby bp shinners » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:58 am

Any qualms about topic (and the writing - you say 'final draft', but there are a number of typos) aside, I think that you should cut down the room dedicated to telling the story of what happened (and your father's story) and focus more on you. Like some others have said, I get very little sense of 'you' in here; I like the glimmer I see, but it's far from complete. You want to develop that (which comes across at the very end of the story slightly, and a little bit more in the subsequent paragraph) a lot more; it's a personal statement, after all.


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Postby kublaikahn » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:17 am

I reread this and may have been a bit harsh. My comments lacked actionable detail. Please excuse.

My first problem was the first sentence. It starts the whole thing off wrong with a gerund (There were), the passive voice (I was), a spelling error (countdown is one word) and a grammatical error (30/50 vs. thirty/fifty). Actually that is not an error but when a number is a single word and/or a rounded-off estimate, it is more formal to spell it out. These patterns are indicative of some of the sloppiness in your writing style, although it is much better than most.

Try: "The New Years Eve countdown commenced in just thirty minutes and I was still on the bus from the San Jose Del Cabo airport recounting and arranging the fifty-piece band that our company flew in from Guadalajara, Mexico. Finishing the checklist for the fifth and final time, I grabbed me tuxedo and scurried into the lavatory to get dressed....

You should be able to cut the story about "being cheated" in half and still say it more descriptively.

Some of your phrases and structures are confusing. For example, you say "Murphy's Law" but at that point in the story, eventhough things are stressful, they seem to be going fine.

The final paragraph seems like a meek attempt to tie into the law school. It reminds me of someone who is writing a great creative writing piece then gets bored and ends the story lamely. If you are able, you should tie back to the beginning. The problem is your beginning is just a narrated piece like in a movie that really only sets the scene.


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Postby melanne89 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:39 am

Definitely not bad at all, love the story, but I do agree it could use improvement.

*You use "final/ finally" a lot. Repetitive words are never good, I also think those words sound a bit informal.

*You should have it proof-read by someone who is a professional in writing/grammar to correct some awkward sentences and word choice (a career center maybe?)

* You've heard this enough from everyone else, but this personal statement is not "personal" enough.

* The phrase "I viewed law as the sword needed to excel in the music industry" sounds like you care more about music than obtaining the law degree. If music and law are what interest you, you should make them sound at least equally important and complimentary. Here, it sounds a little but like your law degree is second to your music interests.

*Again, not to be redundant, but that last paragraph needs to go. In your last paragraph you want to sound sincere and passionate about Law.

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