Environmental Law SP (Don't be afraid to be harsh!)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Rats
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:40 pm

Environmental Law SP (Don't be afraid to be harsh!)

Postby Rats » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:48 pm

Edit: apparently I'm dyslexic, sorry about the title :oops:

New user here, I will be applying next year. I applied this year, female 3.1 162(with no studying) and was relatively successful, but I am retaking the LSAT in hopes of shooting higher :D plus I received little $$ offers. I applied very late and my old PS was pretty terrible looking back on it (hadn't yet found TLS!) Anyways, feel free to be harsh, I'd rather have hurt feelings and a good PS than feel all warm and fuzzy and have a terrible PS. Here we go....


I sat staring in anticipation at the shabby manilla envelope my father held in his hands. Months of hard work and perseverance all hinged on the contents of this simple, unassuming object that had arrived by mail earlier that day. As I surveyed the room, I saw my own hopeful emotions mirrored in the faces of the small group of students assembled around me. This tiny gathering represented the entirety of the ______ School Earth Club, a student organization that I, along with the help of my father and my music teacher, had formed early in the spring of my third grade year. The Earth Club was an environmentally centered group that performed various tasks around the community, from banding birds to planting native prairie gardens. For the past few months, however, we had been exclusively focused on an extra special task. We were petitioning the International Crane Foundation on behalf of our local marsh, the ________ Wildlife Refuge, in order to receive a very unique species of crane, the critically endangered Whooping Crane. As the largest freshwater marsh in the country, the _________ Wildlife Refuge was considered one of the top contenders to become the new home to a pair of these majestic birds. As my father tore open the envelope and began reading, I felt the tears of disappointment welling up in my eyes. We had lost.

Although many years have passed since I felt the sting of defeat at the loss of the Whooping Cranes, the memory of the disappointment to my third-grade self still haunts me to this day. The reason that our marsh was not chosen was made very clear to us: the _______ Wildlife Refuge was too polluted to house such an important and rare species. Growing up in _______, Wisconsin, one of two “gateway” towns to the marsh, this refuge had become a central part of my life. In school we learned the history of the ______ Marsh, in science class we took field trips there more times than I can count and I spent my summers canoeing and hiking the many fabulous trails with my family. I had grown to view the _______ Wildlife Refuge with a sense of pride and responsibility, and finding out that it was so damaged hurt something deep inside of me. I will never forget the anger I felt as a child knowing that human ignorance and carelessness had damaged an ecosystem that was so unique and important to me. Although this was the first time that I fully realized the extent of human indifference to environmental issues, it was far from the last time I would encounter this attitude. In our world today, the environment has taken a backseat to other issues that society has deemed more important, with humans as a whole failing to comprehend the irreparable damage that is being done to our Earth’s ecosystems at an alarming rate.

My childhood in a small, rural, Wisconsin town was far more abnormal than I realized at the time. In a town that was centered on agriculture and factory industries, I was born into a family of environmentalists. My father works as a water quality specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. My older sister works for the Fish and Wildlife Service doing forest restoration and more recently my cousin entered into the environmental field with a job in soil sciences. Having such a radical, environmentally focused view point was not always easy in a tiny town that was populated by mostly farmers and laborers. The Department of Natural Resources has a less then favorable opinion among most citizens in rural Wisconsin, and I remember as a child hearing many vicious and hurtful remarks about my father’s career and work around the community. I was raised to love and respect the the natural world, however, and it was generally assumed that I, too, would choose a career in the environmental field. So it was no surprise that in the summer of my senior year in high school I accepted a position working with the Youth Conservation Corps on the ____ Wildlife Refuge. What was a surprise, however, is how much I despised the work. This job gave me valuable insight into the career path that I was expected to follow, and also a new found respect for environmental workers who spend long days in the field. The work was back breakingly hard, and while it was very gratifying to feel like I was making a difference in restoring the quality of the marsh, I knew this was not the job for me. It was at this time that I began to seriously consider environmental law as a career in which I could express my passion for conservation while also taking advantage of my skills in writing and public speaking.

I went into college with my dream of becoming an environmental lawyer fresh in my mind. I enthusiastically signed up for many environmentally focused classes and began to look forward to life in a large, college city rather than my small hometown. Reality soon shattered my naive outlook on life. College life in such a large school, ten times as large as the entire city of ______, was not what I had expected. My grades began to slide as I experiences a sense of homesickness that I would never have expected amidst my excitement of moving to a big city. The grades I received in high school never prepared me for what college was really like, and my freshman year at university crushed all hope I had of becoming an environmental lawyer. My sophomore year, however, things started to look up for me. I started to make friends, and the new city I had moved to started to feel like home. My grades started to rise and steadily increased as I learned how to experience life and learning as a college. I began to fully appreciate the advantages I had as a student at a large, world class public university. I was still drawn to the environmental classes I was able to take and I learned even more about our Earth’s precious ecosystems and how important it is to protect them. As my grades improved, I rekindled my dream of becoming and environmental lawyer.

In the fall of 2010, I returned home to _______ for a visit to my family. As I was driving by the _____ Marsh, I noticed four huge, white birds among the cattails. They were the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen in my life. My dad informed me that these were actually two mated pairs of wild Whooping Cranes that had been spotted recently on the marsh. Seeing those birds was a poignant reminder that there is still hope to protect the fragile, natural environment that is vital to all human life. My dream is to do whatever I can to be a part of the continued efforts to conserve our natural resources, and I hope that you will consider me as a viable applicant for law school so I can pursue this dream. I believe that I have many personal attributes that will make me a skilled environmental lawyer, but most importantly I have a continued passion to protect the environment through law.

Rats
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:40 pm

Re: Environmental Law SP (Don't be afraid to be harsh!)

Postby Rats » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:19 pm

bump.

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

Re: Environmental Law SP (Don't be afraid to be harsh!)

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:51 am

IMO, this PS is alright. Not great, but also not terrible. My macro complaints would be

1) It takes too long to say what you say in this piece.

2) It lacks drama or conflict. The only major crossroads seems to be when you decided you were not going to be an outdoorsy environmentalist, rather you would hang out in glass buildings with marble bathrooms because the work is a little less physical.

3) Some of your points actually reflect poorly on you. For example, when you say ". My grades began to slide as I experiences a sense of homesickness that I would never have expected amidst my excitement of moving to a big city." or "The work was back breakingly hard, and while it was very gratifying to feel like I was making a difference in restoring the quality of the marsh, I knew this was not the job for me." You know, the legal field and law school can be back breakingly hard as well.

4) Some of your political views are simplistic and cliche. Besides, this is not a position paper, but a PS.

5) Your writing could be stronger and more vibrant. Write in the active voice. Eliminate unnecessary tangents. Reduce the use of overly general modifiers (e.g. world class university).

Rats wrote:Here are some edits, I don't have time right now to explain the point of all of them. I had to turn this over in about 15 minutes. I think the most critical thing for you to do is improve the development of how you came to choose law versus other enviromental careers. Just saying you do not like hard physical work will not be sufficient.


I sat staring in anticipation at the shabby manilla envelope my father held in his hands. Months of hard work and perseverance all hinged on the contents of this simple, unassuming object that had arrived by mail earlier that day. As I surveyed the room, I saw my own hopeful emotions mirrored in the faces of the small group of students assembled around me. This The tiny gathering represented the entirety of the ______ Elementary School Earth Club, a student organization that I, along with the help of my father and my music teacher, had formed early in the spring of my third grade year sat motionless with our eyes glued to the otherwise ordinary manilla envelop that my father, the head of the club, was opening. The Earth Club was an environmentally centered group that performed various environmentally helpful tasks around in the community, from banding birds to planting native prairie gardens. For the past few months, however, we had been exclusively focused exclusively on an extra special especially important task. We were petitioning the International Crane Foundation on behalf to relocate a mating pair of critically endangered whooping cranes to of our local marsh, the ________ Wildlife Refuge, inorder to receive a very unique species of crane, the critically endangered Whooping Crane. As the largest freshwater marsh in the country, the _________ Wildlife Refuge was considered one of the top contenders to become the new home to a pair of these majestic birds. As my father tore open the envelope and began reading, I felt the tears of disappointment welling up in clouded the view through my eight-year-old eyes. We had lost.

Although many years have passed since I felt the sting of defeat at the loss of the Whooping Cranes, the memory of the disappointment to my third-grade self disappointment, it still haunts me to this day. The reason that our marsh was not chosen was made very clear to us: the Crane Foundation passed over our Wildlife Refuge because it was too polluted to house such an important and rare species. Growing up in _______, Wisconsin, one of two “gateway” towns to the marsh, my life and memories centered around this refuge had become a central part of my life. In school we learned the studied its history of the ______ Marsh, in science class we and took field trips there more times than I can count. and I spent my In the summers, my family and I canoeing d the expansive waters and hiking ed its the many fabulous trails with my family. I had grown to view the _______ Wildlife Refuge with a sense of pride and responsibility, and finding out that it was so damaged hurt something deep inside of me. Because the marsh had become an important part of me, I will never forget the anger despair and hurt I felt as a child knowing that human ignorance and carelessness recklessness had damaged an ecosystem that I felt personally responsible for and connected to. that was so unique and important to me. Although this was the first time that I fully realized the extent of human indifference to environmental issues, it was far from the last time I would encounter this attitude. In our world today, the environment has taken a backseat to other issues that society has deemed more important, with humans as a whole failing to comprehend the irreparable damage that is being done to our Earth’s ecosystems at an alarming rate. I became aware for the first time of a problem that would reappear as I developed and matured: human apathy leads to irrparable damage to our ecosystems.

My childhood in a small, rural, Wisconsin town was far more abnormal much less typical than I realized at the time. In a town with an economy that wascentered on agriculture and factory industries manufacturing, I was born into a family of environmentalists. My father works as a water quality specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. My oldersister works for the Fish and Wildlife Service doing forest restoration and more recently and my cousin entered into the environmental field with a job in soil sciences all work in the environmental field. Having such a radical, environmentally focused view point was not always easy sensitive perspective in a tiny town that was populated by of mostly farmers and laborers can challenge ones diplomatic abilities and relationship skills. The Department of Natural Resources has a less then favorable opinion among most citizens in rural Wisconsin hold The Department of Natural Resources, where my father earned his paycheck, in expectedly low esteem. , andI remember as a child hearing many vicious and hurtful remarks in my community about my father’s career and work around the community.

I was raised to love and respect the the natural world, however, and it was generally assumed that I, too, would choose a career in the environmental field. So it was no surprise that in the summer of my senior year in high school I accepted a position working with began working at the Youth Conservation Corps on at the ____ Wildlife Refuge. What was a surprise, however, is how much I despised the work. This job gave me valuable insight into the career path that I was expected to follow, and also a new found respect for environmental workers who spend long days in the field. However, The work was back breakingly hard, and while it was very gratifying to feel like I was making a difference in restoring to help resore and improve the quality of the marsh, I knew this was not the job for me. It was at this time that I began to seriously consider environmental law as a career in which I could express my passion for conservation while also taking advantage of my skills in writing and public speaking [This needs to be rewritten. We know nothing of your writing and speaking skills. To just throw that in now without any support will hurt the credibility of the piece.].

I went into college with my dream of becoming an environmental lawyer fresh in my mind. I enthusiastically signed up for many environmentally focused classes and began to look forward to life in a large, college city rather than my small hometown. Reality soon shattered my naive outlook on life. College life in such a large school, ten times as large as the entire city of ______, was not what I had expected. My grades began to slide as I experiences a sense of homesickness that I would never have expected amidst my excitement of moving to a big city. The grades I received in high school never prepared me for what college was really like, and my freshman year at university crushed all hope I had of becoming an environmental lawyer. My sophomore year, however, things started to look up for me. I started to make friends, and the new city I had moved to started to feel like home. My grades started to rise and steadily increased as I learned how to experience life and learning as a college. I began to fully appreciate the advantages I had as a student at a large, world class public university. I was still drawn to the environmental classes I was able to take and I learned even more about our Earth’s precious ecosystems and how important it is to protect them. As my grades improved, I rekindled my dream of becoming and environmental lawyer. [this doesnt belong here, or in your application as a whole for that matter. If you want to write a GPA addendum, you will need to do better than this bright lights big city story. That is no different than saying a messed up because I was too immature and got in over my head. HOWEVER, you do need to use this real estate to better tie in your transition to law from a more traditional environmental career (you can use college experiences to do that)]

In the fall of 2010, as I returned home to _______ for a visit to my family. As I was driving by the _____ Marsh, I noticed four huge, white birds among the cattails in the Marsh. They were the most so beautiful creatures I had ever seen in my life my eyes, for a second time in the Marsh, welled with tears. My dad informed me confirmed that these were actually two mated pairs of wild Whooping Cranes that had been spotted recently on migrated to the now healthier marsh. Seeing those birds was a poignant reminder that there is still hope to protect the fragile, natural environment that is vital to all human life. My dream is to practice law and to do whatever I can to be a my part of in the continued efforts to conserve our natural resources. , and I hope that you will consider me as a viable applicant for law school so I can pursue this dream. I believe that I have many personal attributes that will make me a skilled environmental lawyer, but most importantly I have a continued passion to protect the environment through law. It is my dream; it is my legacy; it is my soul. [this business of asking for admission adds no value, and is off putting to some adcoms as I am told. If you have a hard time closing, you need to restate your thesis and tie back to your beginning.]

83947368
Posts: 323
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:16 pm

Re: Environmental Law SP (Don't be afraid to be harsh!)

Postby 83947368 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:09 am

.
Last edited by 83947368 on Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rats
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2011 4:40 pm

Re: Environmental Law SP (Don't be afraid to be harsh!)

Postby Rats » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:12 am

Thanks for the response! Very, very helpful feedback. Glad to hear it isn't all terrible, plus I still have a few months for revision. I think I have the same problem that a lot of applicants have, I've had a comfortable life with no major conflicts to write about. Sometimes I feel like the most boring person in the world.

One question remaining is about my whole issue with grades. I understand that I should cut it out of my PS, and that it probably doesn't warrant an addendum, but do you think they will notice my very sharp positive grade trend without me pointing it out? It probably sounds stupid, but coming from a very tiny rural school with no college prep really did screw me over in some ways. Ugh, if only I could go back and redo freshman year.

Rereading through it, I can't believe that I came off as this "The only major crossroads seems to be when you decided you were not going to be an outdoorsy environmentalist, rather you would hang out in glass buildings with marble bathrooms because the work is a little less physical." >.< It wasn't the physical part that I hated but rather how futile it felt to work so hard out in the field to preserve something, only to have some changes in policy destroy all of that work. Gotta clarify this.

Also, would you mind expanding on number four? I'm not sure what parts you are talking about but I definitely don't want to sound cliche.

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

Re: Environmental Law SP (Don't be afraid to be harsh!)

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:02 pm

.




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