A meaningful personal statement...

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
uchi15hopeful
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:55 pm

A meaningful personal statement...

Postby uchi15hopeful » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:42 am

I look at other examples and I realize how dull my life is. I have not spent a significant time as an entrepreneur or as a volunteer, I am "just" a standard student who has worked hard in his studies.

However, while I was looking through the statements, I remembered a specific instance in my life. There was a time that I set my mind to a goal and worked for over a year to achieve it. The story culminates in a certain competition, so there is a bit of that it factor; I think it can be somewhat gripping.

Is this the direction I should go? Instead of writing a standard statement about why I want to practice law, should I demonstrate who I am through a meaningful personal experience and then relate it to my decision to pursue a legal education at that institution?

Thanks.

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glitched
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Re: A meaningful personal statement...

Postby glitched » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:47 am

uchi15hopeful wrote:I look at other examples and I realize how dull my life is. I have not spent a significant time as an entrepreneur or as a volunteer, I am "just" a standard student who has worked hard in his studies.

However, while I was looking through the statements, I remembered a specific instance in my life. There was a time that I set my mind to a goal and worked for over a year to achieve it. The story culminates in a certain competition, so there is a bit of that it factor; I think it can be somewhat gripping.

Is this the direction I should go? Instead of writing a standard statement about why I want to practice law, should I demonstrate who I am through a meaningful personal experience and then relate it to my decision to pursue a legal education at that institution?

Thanks.

I don't think the personal statement is a time to show why you want to practice law (they already know you want to practice law. you're applying to law school). It's more of a time to show why you would be a good candidate for their school. so to draw out a personal experience that shows your determination, passion, drive, motive, or whatever that gets you going and then tying it all together wouldn't be a bad idea - in fact, it may be a good idea. basically law schools are looking for three things in a student: 1) intelligence, 2) diligence, 3) diversity. Prove that you have those things and you will have a strong personal statement.

uchi15hopeful
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 8:55 pm

Re: A meaningful personal statement...

Postby uchi15hopeful » Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:09 am

Okay, my first draft seems to be a good representation of intelligence and diligence, I am just not sure about diversity. I think it speaks to that, I'm just not sure how strongly.

I'm going to really have to develop this, I have a feeling it could be important for them finding favor with me.

MumofCad
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Re: A meaningful personal statement...

Postby MumofCad » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:52 am

There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't relate to this why you want to go to law school. If its natural and leads in that direction, proceed accordingly.

Yes PP, they know he wants to go to law school based on his application. What they don't know is whether, 1) he has thought through it and how he wants to use the degree, and 2) his personal reasons for wanting to go. Not everyone will be pursuing law for the same reasons or from the same perspective. That alone can help draw out diversity if addressed.

OP- There is no single "right" way to do a PS. Sounds like you have the right track to me. Good luck.

veritas curat
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Re: A meaningful personal statement...

Postby veritas curat » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:13 am

MumofCad wrote:There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't relate to this why you want to go to law school. If its natural and leads in that direction, proceed accordingly.

Yes PP, they know he wants to go to law school based on his application. What they don't know is whether, 1) he has thought through it and how he wants to use the degree, and 2) his personal reasons for wanting to go. Not everyone will be pursuing law for the same reasons or from the same perspective. That alone can help draw out diversity if addressed.

OP- There is no single "right" way to do a PS. Sounds like you have the right track to me. Good luck.


See, Ive read/heard the opposite: that talking about reasons to go to law school is a bad idea for personal statements. Is there any consensus on this?

Wouldn't they ask what your plans were if they wanted to know them?

thederangedwang
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Re: A meaningful personal statement...

Postby thederangedwang » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:24 am

There is a general consensus in my opinion. The rule is to not talk about the same thing over and over again and look like a one trick pony. For instance:

If you are straight out of undergrad with an human/social sci major, your resume is filled with research/law related stuff, and your LOR talks about it, then you should not talk about law school in your personal statement. Doing so would be repetitive and a waste of valuable space. If I was an ad comm I would think to myself, ok, this guy is interested in law, what other things will he have to diversify the class?...the answer, Nothing.


If you have some, to a lot of, work experience in a field not directly related to law (finance, poetry, mathematician, etc) then it probably helps to say in the ps why you want to be a lawyer. Reason? Because you are essentially switching careers and most ad comms will wonder why. In addition, there is no obvious connection between you and law school.


There is no black and white answer about whether or not you should talk about law in your ps...it depends solely on individual background.


Mumofcad: I disagree. They don't want to know if you have "thought it through" or "what do you want to do with a law degree" in a personal statement. If they wanted to know, they would ask for a statement of purpose. That is what you are describing.

uchi15hopeful
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Re: A meaningful personal statement...

Postby uchi15hopeful » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:11 am

Hmmm, maybe this isn't the best direction then. I may have to provide an explanation for why I am applying to law school; I'm a bit older and most of my record reflects academic psychology, rather than the law.

MumofCad
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Re: A meaningful personal statement...

Postby MumofCad » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:38 pm

veritas curat wrote:
See, Ive read/heard the opposite: that talking about reasons to go to law school is a bad idea for personal statements. Is there any consensus on this?

Wouldn't they ask what your plans were if they wanted to know them?


There is def a general consensus on here. Is it the general consensus held by adcoms? I highly doubt it. I've now had 2 of my friends forward me their PS from Harvard that were successful last year. Not only did they talk about why law school, but why Harvard specifically. People on here sometimes act like that will automatically ding someone with so-so numbers (one of them had so-so numbers, the other had what people on here would insist was an automatic ding LSAT for a non-URM). It's simply not factually true.

Is it the best way to go? Not necessarily. As I said, it depends. I'm not sure what the guy is disagreeing with me over, he's saying the same thing. Do you have to address it? No. Does choosing to do so make your PS weak? No. Do they ask specifically for anything? No.

As I said, it depends on where your PS naturally leads - if you wrote about a certain moment, it may or may not relate well to your reasons to go to law school.
Last edited by MumofCad on Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

MumofCad
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: A meaningful personal statement...

Postby MumofCad » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:46 pm

uchi15hopeful wrote:Hmmm, maybe this isn't the best direction then. I may have to provide an explanation for why I am applying to law school; I'm a bit older and most of my record reflects academic psychology, rather than the law.


Just depends on what the rest of your PS says. Its not necessary if you want to talk about something else and its well-written, thoughtful.

I know in the cases I have seen, its often because the person has a strong PI focus. Not everyone will go into law school knowing what they want to do with the degree, and the adcoms know that. If you have a strong focus and reason though, it can be a great direction to go.

MumofCad
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: A meaningful personal statement...

Postby MumofCad » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:53 pm

thederangedwang wrote:
Mumofcad: I disagree. They don't want to know if you have "thought it through" or "what do you want to do with a law degree" in a personal statement. If they wanted to know, they would ask for a statement of purpose. That is what you are describing.


You are saying the same thing I am, but disagreeing. Whatever. If you would like to disagree, feel free. The fact is that they don't ask for anything specific in your PS, because they want to leave the door open for individual candidates to write what is pertinent and important to them. That could be showing that they have thought through law school and how they want to use a degree, it could be that they have no clue and choose not to address it. It doesn't really matter as long as its well-written, cohesive, and adds something to your application that is truthful and honest. Some applicants will have started non-profits to work on particular issues and have clear objectives. Some will be right out of undergrad and just feel it is the right course. That is why there is no one way to attack this thing. You go with what is going to make the most sense for you.

Stating that they would ask a specific question if they wanted to know it, when they have purposefully kept the prompts as vague as possible to encourage diversity in topics is off-base IMO.

My point is - diversity, personal experiences, etc. sometimes lead naturally to a desire to go to law school and can be a great PS. So you went to Africa to work for an NGO where you came to develop a passion for the way indigenous law is intersecting with the common law inheritance of the colonial era. And now you want to work on such issues. Great PS.




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