Need help!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
FMK_18840
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:32 pm

Need help!!

Postby FMK_18840 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:40 pm

Hey everyone.

I am beginning to sketch out my personal statement, and realized the one and only thing that truly defines my passion for the law is "political." So I wanted to ask you fellow TLSers what you think.

I am an Iranian-American, and I was in Iran during the election "upheavel" in 2009. Being in that turmoil shaped my passion and appreciation for our legal system. It also shaped my passion for international law, specifically human rights...

Is this too "political?" I know we aren't supposed to discuss politics.

Any ideas/suggestions??????????????????????????

FMK_18840
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:32 pm

Re: Need help!!

Postby FMK_18840 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:41 pm

Or should I say, are advised not to discuss politics!

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rinkrat19
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Re: Need help!!

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:49 pm

I think that could be a very good topic, as long as you are careful to relate it to yourself as a person, and not just write a comparison of national legal systems and argue that the American system is 'better.' Describe what you saw there and how it affected you and the people you know. Put some personality and emotion into it.

What people are advising against is writing a position paper on a political issue that could alienate someone reading it if they don't like what you're arguing. But even a potentially divisive political topic (like working at a Planned Parenthood or campaigning for Rick Santorum) can be turned into successful personal statements. The key is to focus on the 'personal' aspect and not try to convert the reader to your politics.

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

Re: Need help!!

Postby kublaikahn » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:15 am

Iranian politics is a fascinating topic, IMO. It is contemporaneous and relevant. I suppose whether you should write about it depends on what you write. I would say the idea of Iranian oppression leading to a respect for American jurisprudence is at best an average approach to a PS. With respect to human rights, I think your indignation and a story about what you saw could tell us a fair amount about you.

I think you could explore other related topics as well. I read on the internet about the Iranian concour, the "high-stakes" testing process which defines the futures of Iranian kids (not too dissimiliar to LSAT but more so). Apparently this testing period occurred during the uprisings and kids had to risk their futures, literally, to be out on the streets, even if they weren't jailed or beaten. It shows a tremendous amount of passion and the fact that you witnessed this provides an abundant source of material for a great PS. Make it more about humanity and less about politics (hopefully your humanity).

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billyez
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Re: Need help!!

Postby billyez » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:02 am

rinkrat19 wrote:I think that could be a very good topic, as long as you are careful to relate it to yourself as a person, and not just write a comparison of national legal systems and argue that the American system is 'better.' Describe what you saw there and how it affected you and the people you know. Put some personality and emotion into it.

What people are advising against is writing a position paper on a political issue that could alienate someone reading it if they don't like what you're arguing. But even a potentially divisive political topic (like working at a Planned Parenthood or campaigning for Rick Santorum) can be turned into successful personal statements. The key is to focus on the 'personal' aspect and not try to convert the reader to your politics.


Sounds about right.

thederangedwang
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Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: Need help!!

Postby thederangedwang » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:08 am

I would advise you to be careful with it. If you werent iranian-am then I would have told you to not even think about doing it, however, since you are, I suppose there is a connection between you and the protests

the general rule of thumb is to not write about a major, popular, media event (like 9-11, or in this case, the iranian protests) because it is very cliche and sounds grandiose and naive.

another rule of thumb is to not write about politics or the law since they are overused, cliche, and potentially inflammatory..plus it makes you seem incredibly boring

another rule of thumb is to not write about a major cause (like saving the world from global warming or starvation in africa, etc) since it makes you sound naive and ignorant...and its cliche and overused


Your topic violates all 3 of those rules. However, I think an exception could be made in your case but ONLY if you connect it well with your background. Did your family flee persecution? Did your family have any socio-ecomomic or political hardships in iran? If yes, go for it. If no, it just seems like you are taking advantage of your heritage to write about something that really has nothing to do with yourself

In other words, if you DO NOT or CAN NOT connect this to your background, stay away from this topic because it will be another cliche, overused essay from a kid who THINKS he has connection to the topic


EDIT: I re-read your post and just realized that you were actually in Iran when the protests were going on. I failed to note this when I wrote all of the above. I agree with the rest of the posters now, if you can write about it well, it should be fine
Last edited by thederangedwang on Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

freestallion
Posts: 944
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:17 pm

Re: Need help!!

Postby freestallion » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:11 am

thederangedwang wrote:I would advise you to be careful with it. If you werent iranian-am then I would have told you to not even think about doing it, however, since you are, I suppose there is a connection between you and the protests

the general rule of thumb is to not write about a major, popular, media event (like 9-11, or in this case, the iranian protests) because it is very cliche and sounds grandiose and naive.

another rule of thumb is to not write about politics or the law since they are overused, cliche, and potentially inflammatory..plus it makes you seem incredibly boring

another rule of thumb is to not write about a major cause (like saving the world from global warming or starvation in africa, etc) since it makes you sound naive and ignorant...and its cliche and overused


Your topic violates all 3 of those rules. However, I think an exception could be made in your case but ONLY if you connect it well with your background. Did your family flee persecution? Did your family have any socio-ecomomic or political hardships in iran? If yes, go for it. If no, it just seems like you are taking advantage of your heritage to write about something that really has nothing to do with yourself

In other words, if you DO NOT or CAN NOT connect this to your background, stay away from this topic because it will be another cliche, overused essay from a kid who THINKS he has connection to the topic


Really? I don't fully agree with this. I think OP's topic isn't really a cliche - not many others will be writing about witnessing protests like that. If the OP can connect the protests or what he saw in Iran to his own background, it could be quite fascinating and meaningful.

OP, if you stay away from cliches it will probably be better. For example, discussing more your own personal experience in the protests, how it impacted YOU, how you grew/changed/learned would be more impactful than discussing the politics of the event or grandiose visions of human rights.

Oh, and you better just write it and then come back here. It all depends on the execution, not the topic!

Just my two cents...though I'm no expert!
Last edited by freestallion on Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Need help!!

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:18 am

Although this material is not "too political", a draft of your personal statement is needed to comment on whether or not this topic makes an effective personal statement.

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sach1282
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Re: Need help!!

Postby sach1282 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:40 am

I mostly agree with the above posters. If done well, this topic has a lot of potential. But absolutely, the PERSONAL side of it is what matters. The reader needs to come out knowing something about YOU, not something about Iran.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Need help!!

Postby JamMasterJ » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:58 am

I think if you personalize it well it could be doable.




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