Please critique my personal statement!!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
*Ari*
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:20 am

Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby *Ari* » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:33 pm

It can only be a maximum of 500 words and currently sits at 490 or so. According to the admissions committee, it must answer the following questions:

1) What led you to make the decision to apply to law school?
2) What would you like to do with your law degree?
3) Why are you interested in the University of Calgary faculty of law in particular?
4) Why you have made previous academic or other choices and how they have affected your decision to apply to law school?

“Is anyone in this class Jewish?” I quickly raised my hand, completely unaware of what was shortly to follow, but a visceral reaction quickly overtook me, as I realized no other individual in my grade four class had raised their hand to this question. I vividly remember being unaware as to why I felt like I did and incapable of labelling these feelings, but they remained close to me for many years.

In hindsight, they were feelings of alienation and difference, marking a pivotal transition where I went from a private to public school. They arose because it was the first time that we started discussing other religions and specifically the Holocaust in my grade four class. It is a commonly held belief that young children do not want to be seen as different from their peers. In my private Jewish school, I was merely the norm, but quickly became ‘the other’ in my Christian-centric public school. As many children started to grow, ultimately embracing their personal differences and distinctiveness, I grasped onto any common ground that I possibly could. I buried those feelings of alienation and difference under the surface, carried them with me throughout high school despising any difference between others and myself. It evolved to the point that it was not just religion I was uncomfortable with, but also almost any difference.

It was not until my first year of university, where my parents advised me of an offer of a free trip to Israel that I would unknowingly come to face with these issues. On one of the days I spent in Israel, one of the planned activities was to go to this holocaust museum named Yad Vashem. It was there, as I sat glancing upon thousands of shoes once owned by those who lost their lives in the Holocaust that I came upon a realization. Many individuals were forced to be ashamed of whom they were and forced to hide those differences that made them unique. It is because of those who fought so hard for their differences that I should be proud of my differences and heritage.

Upon my arrival back home, I started to immerse myself within the Jewish community, whether it was attending group events such as Hillel, or helping with charity events intricately connected to the Jewish community, such as a cantorial concert. I no longer chose to hide my differences, but instead elected to embrace them.

It is because of these experiences that I would like to go to law school to pursue human rights law. I would like to help other individuals defend and be proud of their equality and differences. I further believe that the rigors of law school would be an excellent intellectual challenge. I am specifically interested in going to the University of Calgary because I have lived in Calgary my entire life. I believe it provides the best environment for me to succeed within law school.


All help is greatly appreciated! I am also willing to help critique and go over your personal statement if you do the same. Just send me a PM.

Thanks!!!

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:38 pm

The writing is excellent, but the reasoning is faulty. Immersing yourself into Jewish activities with other Jewish people is not an exercise in celebrating differences, but, rather, a retreat into the safety & security of a similiar community.
Also, the holocaust museum visit does not evidence a fight for beliefs as shown in your writing; it only shows that many died. How these victims "...fought so hard for their differences..." is not clear--even though tragic.

P.S. Your answer to question #3 is weak, and you failed to answer question #4.

*Ari*
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:20 am

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby *Ari* » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:48 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The writing is excellent, but the reasoning is faulty. Immersing yourself into Jewish activities with other Jewish people is not an exercise in celebrating differences, but, rather, a retreat into the safety & security of a similiar community.
Also, the holocaust museum visit does not evidence a fight for beliefs as shown in your writing; it only shows that many died. How these victims "...fought so hard for their differences..." is not clear--even though tragic.

P.S. Your answer to question #3 is weak, and you failed to answer question #4.

I'll look into revising those specific examples. In your opinion, what WOULD be a good reason for wanting to attend a specific law school? I honestly couldn't think of anything, so I went with blunt honesty as to why I wanted to attend Calgary. Their main expertise or speciality is on environmental and business law.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:53 pm

A solid reason for wanting to attend a specific law school is that you plan to live & practice in that geographic area or juridiction. Also, a desire to pursue a particular course of study offered by that law school, such as those that you noted, would constitute a good reason.

WAREAGLE31
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:38 pm

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby WAREAGLE31 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:01 pm

Edited out by Mods.

dani_burhop
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:14 pm

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby dani_burhop » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:31 pm

Writing about childhood in a JD PS is cute, and I generally advise against it. What have you done lately? Best, Dani

*Ari*
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:20 am

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby *Ari* » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:39 pm

dani_burhop wrote:Writing about childhood in a JD PS is cute, and I generally advise against it. What have you done lately? Best, Dani

It isn't what occurred in childhood that matters, it's the fact that it stuck with me well into adulthood and I refused to deal with it. It was the obstacle of deciding who I am and what I want to be that plagued me throughout childhood till the middle of university. This struggle has become apart of me. It isn't reminiscing about years gone. In regards to the specificity of the questions, it's a decision impacting my choice to go to law school.

dani_burhop
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:14 pm

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby dani_burhop » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:43 pm

Lots of applicants write cute stories about childhood - thus, it makes you both a less serious and a less memorable candidate. I can't think of a good reason to keep the anecdote. (Sorry!!) However: People do get into law school with childhood anecdotes. But it is a risk, is what I'm saying. Best, Dani

thederangedwang
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:11 pm

dani_burhop wrote:Lots of applicants write cute stories about childhood - thus, it makes you both a less serious and a less memorable candidate. I can't think of a good reason to keep the anecdote. (Sorry!!) However: People do get into law school with childhood anecdotes. But it is a risk, is what I'm saying. Best, Dani


its kinda hard to write a personal statement, when u take away 18yrs of a standard applicants 21 yrs of life.........

u seem to be quite active about giving ur opinions on people's ps.....please, since u appear to be doing quite well at northwestern and are an editor, why dont u post ur ps here so that everyone at tls will know how a ps can be done right?

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13917
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:17 pm

thederangedwang wrote:
dani_burhop wrote:Lots of applicants write cute stories about childhood - thus, it makes you both a less serious and a less memorable candidate. I can't think of a good reason to keep the anecdote. (Sorry!!) However: People do get into law school with childhood anecdotes. But it is a risk, is what I'm saying. Best, Dani


its kinda hard to write a personal statement, when u take away 18yrs of a standard applicants 21 yrs of life.........

u seem to be quite active about giving ur opinions on people's ps.....please, since u appear to be doing quite well at northwestern and are an editor, why dont u post ur ps here so that everyone at tls will know how a ps can be done right?
She's not a law student.

*Ari*
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:20 am

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby *Ari* » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:53 am

thederangedwang wrote:
dani_burhop wrote:Lots of applicants write cute stories about childhood - thus, it makes you both a less serious and a less memorable candidate. I can't think of a good reason to keep the anecdote. (Sorry!!) However: People do get into law school with childhood anecdotes. But it is a risk, is what I'm saying. Best, Dani


its kinda hard to write a personal statement, when u take away 18yrs of a standard applicants 21 yrs of life.........


I completely agree with this sentiment. Further, I have to say that that portion of your life is truly what makes you, you.

jcarsen
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:45 am

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby jcarsen » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:17 am

I think the "tale from childhood," if written well, can be the cornerstone of a very good personal statement, and I like the attention-grabbing nature of your opening paragraph.

However, I think the Calgary Law people are simply looking for a different type of personal statement, as they want you to address four very specific questions in a limited amount of space.

I would recommend really researching the school a bit more, and the faculty, and specifically addressing the four points they ask about, in order. There is absolutely no harm in being honest about your reasons for applying there, but you need to delve deeper and address what, specifically, they're asking about. This is not a school with open-ended personal statement guidelines--they're incredibly specific, so you need to work within those confines.

Best,
Jen Carsen
Law School Statement Editor
http://www.spam.com

User avatar
kwais
Posts: 1683
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby kwais » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:31 am

I think this statement is a little trite. No offense, but you yourself said something to the effect of "i wasn't sure what else to write about" and I think it shows. The best advice I ever got about PS writing is to remember that they will read 20 or 30 essays the day they read yours. Will they remember yours after that? I think that this whole statement could be a solid paragraph in your final statement. Also, you didn't really follow the directions at all. good luck

dani_burhop
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:14 pm

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby dani_burhop » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:55 am

The Diversity Statement is usually a more appropriate essay to discuss your childhood and development. The Personal Statement works best as a story that encapsulates your current character, so law schools know who they're getting. Including childhood anecdotes can be a calculated risk - just warning you! They almost always make you come across as young and inexperienced. There are some feisty people on this board :wink:

I do agree that for law schools with specific essay conventions, you also take a risk by not following them closely.

Best, Dani

*Ari*
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:20 am

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby *Ari* » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:15 pm

kwais wrote:I think this statement is a little trite. No offense, but you yourself said something to the effect of "i wasn't sure what else to write about" and I think it shows. The best advice I ever got about PS writing is to remember that they will read 20 or 30 essays the day they read yours. Will they remember yours after that? I think that this whole statement could be a solid paragraph in your final statement. Also, you didn't really follow the directions at all. good luck

I don't recall saying 'I wasn't sure what else to write about', nor could I find anything of the sort ITT.

I do disagree that I didn't follow the directions at all. Specifically, the whole paragraph states

"Among other things, the admissions committee is interested in finding out the following:

Insert Questions here

This is a place for you to show us who you are and what should make you of particular interest to the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. It is also an opportunity for you to demonstrate your personality, your maturity and that you understand the nature of the decision that you are making in choosing to come to the University of Calgary Faculty of Law.


I do think that what led me to apply to law school is succinct (at least now) and connected with what I would like to do with my law degree, as well as what led to my decision to apply.

Previously when I applied to this school in the last admission cycle, my personal statement was criticized "because your Statement incorporated a lot of very general ideas rather than specific things about you, your life, and why you might want to be a U of C law student and a lawyer." Albeit, I did answer all of the questions in a routine manner.

In writing this time, I stuck closely to the jdmission's guide suggested by ManhattanLSAT.

*Ari*
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:20 am

Re: Please critique my personal statement!!!

Postby *Ari* » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:23 pm

jcarsen wrote:I think the "tale from childhood," if written well, can be the cornerstone of a very good personal statement, and I like the attention-grabbing nature of your opening paragraph.

However, I think the Calgary Law people are simply looking for a different type of personal statement, as they want you to address four very specific questions in a limited amount of space.

I would recommend really researching the school a bit more, and the faculty, and specifically addressing the four points they ask about, in order. There is absolutely no harm in being honest about your reasons for applying there, but you need to delve deeper and address what, specifically, they're asking about. This is not a school with open-ended personal statement guidelines--they're incredibly specific, so you need to work within those confines.

Best,
Jen Carsen
Law School Statement Editor
http://www.lawschoolstatementeditor.com

Thank you.

My intention was to lead it as a narrative and at least force the reader to be engaged throughout the statement. I will try to go back to revamp my statement a little more in favour of directly answering the questions. However, I do want to keep the narrative leading up to my decision to apply, as I feel that it addresses previous critiques on my prior statement.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.