Formatting Question

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

Postby cmckid » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:49 pm

I wrote what I think is a fairly compelling statement, but I used a non-traditional format; the first half of the essay starts out with a quote which I use to establish the intellectual reason I want to go to law school, and then in the second half I use past events from life to explain why I personally want to go to law school.

IS this format, in general, valid? And if someone wants to swap personal statements, that would be great!

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Re: Formatting Question

Postby Magnolia » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:23 pm

Beyond margins and font size, there aren't really any "rules" when it comes to a PS. There is nothing that says you can't spend half of your essay writing a quote and the other half talking about your life history. However, that doesn't make it a good idea.

This sounds like a PS that I would dread reading. Using quotes to open a PS is overplayed. Using a quote to explain why you want to go to law school means that you are repeating someone else's words to articulate your personal goals instead of writing your own words to articulate those personal goals in a personal statement. That is incredibly lazy and would probably put you at a disadvantage compared to applicants who use the entire length of their personal statement to discuss themselves in their own words.

Regardless, if you PM it to me, I will tell you how bad it is (or isn't).

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Re: Formatting Question

Postby ITEDreamer » Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:45 pm

post it.

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Re: Formatting Question

Postby shoeshine » Sun Jun 12, 2011 12:08 am

ITEDreamer wrote:post it.


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Re: Formatting Question

Postby cmckid » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:23 am

Deleted Post-
I've got a lot of work to do...
Last edited by cmckid on Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Formatting Question

Postby williams55 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:00 am

“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone”

In my life, three intellectual idols stand above the rest: John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Theodore Roosevelt. Studying the life and work of each has drawn me into different directions; Teddy made me believe in the power of one man to shape the world, Keynes addicted me to the study of economics, and Galbraith convinced me that no economic or political system can survive without a functioning and efficient legal system.

I don't think this quote works in your favor. This whole intro and the next paragraph feel a lot like an excerpt from a fifth grade history report. With the average PS 2 page limit, you want to maximize the utility of each word you use, and I think you could probably come up with a hook that is both more relevant to your pursuit of a legal education, and more personal (even if you stick to the quote format, although FWIW I've heard many adcoms say to avoid it, it's overdone). Also, the use of "addicted" is awkward.

The adcoms don't want to be educated on totalitarian regimes or told how important the law is. They're interested in who you are, and your PS is the tool with which you convey your interests or passions, but also that you're prepared to actually go to law school.

My advice is to just in general BE MORE SPECIFIC. You started a business in undergrad? Awesome, focus on that, or something else that's interesting and can convey your work ethic and ability to juggle a lot so you don't need to tell us. Emphasize what makes you unique, and don't line list you accomplishments. Most of what you described could be repeated on a resume (and would be better suited there anyway). I think it's great you're already starting your PS, and I think your dedication to the law will come across naturally without it being so obviously stated.

One last thing, I would not mention 0l prep or the LSAT. The former comes across as immature as it is highly unrecommended, and the latter is unnecessary. Prove to them you studied a lot with your excellent score.

Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Good luck!

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