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

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Postby ohyouknow » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:53 am

Last edited by ohyouknow on Fri Aug 26, 2011 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Desperate attempt to save my PS

Postby MumofCad » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:16 am

I only read the first paragraph. As is, that alone will hurt you. I would place it in the ding pile before even finishing it.

The PS is not the place to reveal your insecurities and weaknesses. Many people will have lived and worked abroad, and be able to highlight positive experiences. Instead you are starting right off with telling me it seems insurmountable to you at times.


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Re: Desperate attempt to save my PS

Postby thederangedwang » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:37 am

This is not a good ps at all. To be honest, if I were to give you my full critique my entire morning would be gone. So, I'm just gonna leave it really really need to take a step back and look at the message you are conveying.

That message is....I was not ready for any of these things but you know what, you should still accept me! This is a BAD BAD BAD message. That said, message is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of problems with your ps

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Re: Desperate attempt to save my PS

Postby thelawschoolproject » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:50 am

I don't find your ps to be as dreadful as some other people might, but it does need some work. The positive is that you're trying to show your ability to overcome difficult situations, which is a good characteristic.

The weakness in your ps is, however, that by stating that you can overcome a difficult situation, you are forced to declare your weaknesses which made the situation difficult in the first place. This is a really tough thing to do, especially when you're trying to sell yourself. My advice is to stay away from this, if at all possible.

But, here are the big three things you need to do for your ps:

1. You need to focus it. Focus on ONE moment or experience in your life. Don't tie it all together. The more tightly you put together an experience the better other people can understand it. Telling us everything that's happened since your senior year of college isn't productive. You have a limited window, use it as effectively as you can. Right now, you're not.

2. Law schools want to know what is unique about you. They want to know what you offer. Honestly, that you can overcome difficult situations is good, but it's not unique. Everyone has their own problems and most people handle them. Perhaps think about the expertise you brought to your job. What did you contribute to your workplace in China? Why are YOU a commodity?

3. Read, re-read, and re-read other people's personal statements. This will help you.

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Re: Desperate attempt to save my PS

Postby shredderrrrrr » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:53 am

I don't mean to be harsh, but I couldn't get myself to read it all. It is way too boring. You have interesting experiences, but present them in a generic way. You just list things that happened. It reads like a resume.

Make it personal and memorable. Who are you as a person? This tells me things you have done, not who you are. Law Schools want interesting applicants.


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Re: Desperate attempt to save my PS

Postby MumofCad » Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:14 pm

Read this: ... art-i.aspx

And then determine if you really want to go into the law school application process with this theme. I highly recommend against it.

Think of it this way: law schools are looking for leaders, confident people who are able to work well in many environments. Most specifically mention diversity in their incoming classes (ie. people who have engaged in different experiences successfully and can bring interesting things to the table).

In this essay, you are telling them 1) I find it very difficult to adjust to situations where I am out of my element, and 2) I find it very difficult when I am positions of public-speaking and leadership to excel, I can, but I have to really commit to it and struggle.

You really are telling them, "I am not what you are looking for, sorry. But if I try really hard, I can sort of approximate it."

That is not a good message. Not everyone in law school is going to be a leader, but then don't focus on that. Sit down and think seriously about your best qualities. Then write a PS and choose anecdotes that can highlight that to admissions. You want them to walk away thinking you would be an interesting addition to the incoming class.

Some people can make overcoming difficulties work for them as a topic, because they have overcome truly remarkable things that 99% of people couldn't have done. You are giving examples that 99% of people successfully overcome. We all have varying levels of culture shock when living abroad, most get over it and eventually acclimate. This is not an accomplishment. It is expected.

If this wasn't your PS and you came at it, would you want this person representing you in court? In an important, high-stakes board meeting? You are making yourself look immature and unprepared for a high-stress, competitive environment IMO. I would walk away now having read the whole thing, questioning whether law was the right course of action for you.

Sorry to be harsh, but I don't think its a good idea for you to walk away thinking this should just be revised as suggested. I don't want to leave you with that advice since you seem reluctant to abandon it. You need to scrap it and go in a totally different direction. This is not the style of PS that will work best for you. Think seriously about what would and you'll come up with something! This is your chance to put your best foot forward. Everyone else will be, so don't shuffle backward in yours. Good luck!

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