Rough draft Personal Statement...feedback much appreciated

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Yeshia90
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Rough draft Personal Statement...feedback much appreciated

Postby Yeshia90 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:29 am

Thanks for the help.
Last edited by Yeshia90 on Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Rough draft Personal Statement...feedback much appreciated

Postby memphisbelle » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:32 am

Devon,

This is beautiful. The only advice that I can offer is to make the intro clearer. I made it through the first two small paragraphs without quite knowing where you were going with this. Also, I know that your mom inspired you to go to law school but I would perhaps develop some of the last paragraph to include more of your goals.

You will surely make your mother proud. Good luck!

stuckinparadise
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Re: Rough draft Personal Statement...feedback much appreciated

Postby stuckinparadise » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:40 am

Things you ought to avoid.

#1. Contractions. "It's" considered unprofessional to use contractions.

#2. Your PS has a lot of flowery stuff that makes adcoms roll their eyes.

#3. Get rid of the positive change for the world. It's bullshit. Your career is going to positively change the world? C'mon. That one line might get you dinged or at least lose favor in the eyes of the adcomms.

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esq
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Re: Rough draft Personal Statement...feedback much appreciated

Postby esq » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:55 am

It seems like you are playing off of your dead mother way too much. I sense that you are pursuing a legal education for your own egocentric reasons, but then in a very cheesy way, you play it off on your mother and evade your responsibility to explain your real motives for going to law school. If you really are going to law school in memory of your mother, which is highly unlikely, then you aren't going for the right reasons. I'm sure you have some interests of your own that you could talk about. It would seem less shameless than playing off of your dead mother in an attempt to stir up a pity acceptance. There are plenty of other ways to 'honor' her - like getting into law school because you were able to highlight what a stellar person you are, which reflects highly on her, rather than lazily trying to ride her coattails into law school. Point: your dead mother, her career, and her wonderful parenting before death shouldn't be the focal point of your 'personal' statement. You should be. Do you really think that any law school is going to think "Well, this guy sure had a good mom. We need to help him 'make her proud' by enrolling him in our law school," which is honestly the only thing that you are offering in this statement?

"Mom always wanted this for me—she’d been grooming me into the profession since I was a child. When she didn’t have the time to drop me off at daycare, I’d sit in the back of the courtroom, playing on my Gameboy or reading a book while she argued cases."

How do silly things like "playing Gameboy" in a courtroom because she didn't take you to daycare qualify as so called "grooming?" What I see is a kid that had an attorney for a mother, and because of this, her work was obviously a part of his environment. "Grooming" you into the profession is a very large stretch, don't you think? Get rid of this crap.

Your intro, as stated by Memphis, is very unclear. Captain Jimmy who? I wasn't sure how this guy fit into the picture, or where he came from.

Also, your grammar needs some work. You commit a double whammy in passive writing with "I'd." First of all, dropping contractions the way you do is thought of as a definite no-no. Second, things like: "I’d left New York for Boston ten days earlier," and "I’d learn the news" should be: "I left New York" and "I learned the news."

Overall, I do think that your mother's death could be worked in, but only as a starting point for deep introspection into your own motives for going to law school, not as the main crux of your entire story. I think that if you looked into your motives you might be able to help the reader understand what beneficial things you plan on doing as a legal professional. It is at least apparent that you might want to do something good when you pay lip service to law as "an avenue to foster positive change in the world," but until you make a good argument that you understand what that means, it's nothing more than a superficial statement. Good luck.

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icecold3000
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Re: Rough draft Personal Statement...feedback much appreciated

Postby icecold3000 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:41 pm

While this was a heart wrenching PS, I agree with esq. You are essentially conveying the message that "my mom died so you should let me into your law school." This is fine, but you also need to compliment your emotional appeal to the adcomms with some firmer logos. I think you could accomplish this by expanding on paragraph 6 and shrinking other parts. Go into more detail about your motivations to study law.

Also question for debate. Is it never appropriate to use contractions in a personal statement? Contractions can make the reading more personal and realistic, but conventional wisdoms says they can come across as too informal for most adcomms. I think they can sometimes be good if used for written dialogue.

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memphisbelle
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Re: Rough draft Personal Statement...feedback much appreciated

Postby memphisbelle » Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:55 pm

OP gets a definite A+ for emotional writing. Upon re-read, ESQ nailed it.

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esq
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Re: Rough draft Personal Statement...feedback much appreciated

Postby esq » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:10 pm

To clear up my thoughts on it, and point out that I've seen it successfully done, I don't think that the PS has to comply with all the rules that apply to formal writing if you can pull it off well. I have seen contractions used in other PS', but they are used appropriately, and usually somewhat sparingly. I probably wouldn't fault someone in a statement like this for using, as the OP did for example, contractions like "I'll, can't, don't, she's." In some instances it seems to make the reading more smooth and less choppy. And so I think in writing like this that sort of thing is more of a personal preference, something you play by ear. But when you drop the less common contractions, that also happen to be a passive writing style, of "I'd, She'd," and you do it as often as the OP did, then you are making yourself look bad.




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