First paragraph, right direction?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
jpal13
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:53 pm

First paragraph, right direction?

Postby jpal13 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:49 pm

Brainstorming on a few themes, what do you guys think of this? A lot of people suggest writing about what compels you to law school and goals but I really don't know if I am on the right track so before I go further down the wrong path take a look...

There are many things that I want to accomplish in my life. I have achieved many of these things: I have a loving, supportive family, good friends, my health, well paid employment, material comforts and a fair amount of self-knowledge. However there are two essential elements missing from my life: (1) marriage and children and (2) a psychologically rewarding career. I am happy to say the first goal is well in site, I have a loving partner and we look forward to our shared vision of our future life. The second goal has compelled me to study law.
Go on about how my current job in financial field is not as rewarding and I feel law would be?

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13915
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:01 pm

The topic could be ok (mine was similar, actually), but that paragraph is pretty bad. It doesn't draw the reader in and there are a bunch of problems with the writing.


There are many things that I want to accomplish in my life. I have achieved many of these things: I have a loving, supportive family, good friends, my health, well [hyphen] paid employment, material comforts and a fair amount of self-knowledge.Whenever someone says they have [x personality trait], I pretty much assume the opposite. However [comma] there are two essential elements missing from my life: (1) marriage and children and (2) a psychologically rewarding career. Don't list things with numbers. I am happy to say the first goal is well in sitesight [semicolon] I have a loving partner and we look forward to our shared vision of our future life. Ugh, nobody cares. Really. The second goal has compelled me to study law.

Frankly, it kinda makes you sound like a self-satisfied dillweed. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this impression is inaccurate.

Draw the reader in with an anecdote, teach them something about you as a person, and talk about what makes you 'you'. Use emotion, be it pathos, humor, suspense or anything else you can think of. Don't list out eighteen logical but boring reasons you are going to law school like this is a position paper you're writing to convince your parents that law school is a good idea. It doesn't even HAVE to mention law school.

jpal13
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:53 pm

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby jpal13 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:06 pm

If your topic was similar then how did it start out? Was it just a why I want to study law because I think those are pretty bland. In fact I am really hating everyone, including my own, personal statements. I think everyone sounds annoying when you read a personal statement. Ugh! How can this be avoided.

I am engaged and 30 so maybe saying that makes the first paragraph less ewy?

jpal13
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:53 pm

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby jpal13 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:09 pm

any better?

There are many things that I want to accomplish in my life. I have achieved many of these things: I have a loving, supportive family, good friends, my health, well-paid employment, material comforts and a fair amount of self-knowledge. However there are two essential elements missing from my life: marriage and children and, secondly, a psychologically rewarding career. I am happy to say the first goal is well in sight; he second goal has compelled me to study law.
Go on about how my current job in financial field is not as rewarding and I feel law would be?

caminante
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby caminante » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:13 pm

Don't want to offend, but I really think you should start over.

This sounds like a brainstorming session you're having with yourself, or a therapy session with your psych. Nothing really of interest to an adcom.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13915
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:14 pm

jpal13 wrote:I am engaged and 30 so maybe saying that makes the first paragraph less ewy?
No, not really. It's just kind of cringe-worthy.

I'll PM you my PS. I'm not saying mine's anything amazing, but it got pretty decent reviews by TLS standards. It fell a little bit into the dangerous "I want become a lawyer to save the WORLD!" territory, but I think the idealism was tempered with enough humor and realism to not be annoying.

jpal13
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:53 pm

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby jpal13 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:17 pm

ok thanks, I am having a ton of trouble starting out, for me going to law school is just something I want to do, I think it is a good fit for me, but I have trouble explaining why that is so without looking like a total tool.

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13915
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:27 pm

jpal13 wrote:ok thanks, I am having a ton of trouble starting out, for me going to law school is just something I want to do, I think it is a good fit for me, but I have trouble explaining why that is so without looking like a total tool.
Don't worry so much about starting with the intro. Start writing with the interesting bits--something funny or startling or sad. Think of a specific instance, situation or event that you can speak engagingly about. If your closest friends were asked about you, what would they say first? What makes you 'you'? Pound out some paragraphs--don't worry about where it would go in an essay or how they fit together. Just get words on the page. From there, you may be able to take 'this', discard 'that', and add a little bit more about 'the other thing' to develop an overall theme or topic.

omega918
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:07 pm

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby omega918 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:35 pm

Rinkrat's advice would be a great place to start. I am always a fan of "show don't tell" in writing, especially for something like this. Start writing down different stories or experiences that themselves express what you've been able to acheive/are happy with, and what you are still working towards. Let the experiences speak and narrate the story. Even if it is something you don't end up using, it will get your brain working in the right direction, and it might help you remember some interesting details you can weave in somewhere.

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

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:28 pm

Try to think of a new theme & a different approach.

vkgarrett
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 2:35 pm

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby vkgarrett » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:49 pm

rinkrat19 wrote:
jpal13 wrote:ok thanks, I am having a ton of trouble starting out, for me going to law school is just something I want to do, I think it is a good fit for me, but I have trouble explaining why that is so without looking like a total tool.
Don't worry so much about starting with the intro. Start writing with the interesting bits--something funny or startling or sad. Think of a specific instance, situation or event that you can speak engagingly about. If your closest friends were asked about you, what would they say first? What makes you 'you'? Pound out some paragraphs--don't worry about where it would go in an essay or how they fit together. Just get words on the page. From there, you may be able to take 'this', discard 'that', and add a little bit more about 'the other thing' to develop an overall theme or topic.



I second this. I think you are having a similar issue to what I was dealing with. Before beginning your first paragraph, think of a general theme, something that is genuinely interesting to you. pick an event in your life or something that made you feel like you want more from your life, etc. Use that event to describe different characteristics about you. i can't really find an event that I want to write about, so I'm approaching it from a similar point. I think if you do want to stick with this, try and make it flow together a little bit more. Again think of one idea, outline first, and then have it all revolve around it.

best advice -- don't be afraid to write something crappy. Just get it out, sometimes you have to write the whole thing to figure out how the pieces fit together.

User avatar
Rawlberto
Posts: 413
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:43 pm

Re: First paragraph, right direction?

Postby Rawlberto » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:50 pm

I am sort of going for the same direction as you Rinkrat, is there any chance you could pm me your PS statement as well?




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.