Personal Statement Draft - Please tear it to shreds

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Hoffgod
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:38 pm

Personal Statement Draft - Please tear it to shreds

Postby Hoffgod » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:25 pm

Here's the first draft of my personal statement. A bit of necessary background for the essay is that I graduated in 2009 with a 2.91 GPA. Any help is appreciated and please do not hold back.

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As hard as I try, I cannot remember his name. In a way, I don’t want to. Attaching a name to the face seems unnecessary, a distraction from his actions and how they impacted me. To me he is simply the lawyer who helped me in 8th grade and, by simply doing his job, changed my life.

It all started in mid-December 2000. A bully had attacked me in gym class, sparking a fight that got out of hand. In addition to the school disciplinary proceedings, the bully’s family decided to press criminal charges against me. It seemed that everything was falling apart. I was 14-years-old and I was convinced my life was already over. I had never been so terrified.

To completely grasp why this was so terrifying, you need to understand how my life had been up until that point. From a young age I had received nothing but praise and success. I was showered with words like ‘brilliant’ or ‘gifted’. Suddenly all that changed. I was removed from school, looked down upon, labeled with terms such as ‘dangerous’ and ‘threat’. Each new person I met as part of the process seemed bent on passing judgment on me. I have never felt more worthless in my life. Then I met with the lawyer my parents hired. Instead of judging or labeling me he listened as I recalled what had happened and then, in a clear and friendly manner, he explained what the law was and what I could expect to happen next. Just that simple act of kind professionalism made a world of difference to me.

Then there was the appearance in court. While I sat in front of the judge, stewing in my own anxiety, the lawyer stood and spoke, clearly, confidently, like I, who had yet to overcome a speech impediment, always wished I could. The settlement resulted in a suspended sentence contingent upon me completing bit of community service. I walked out of that courtroom thrilled. No more worrying about what would happen, no more fear over possibly going to juvenile hall. I felt liberated. The lawyer congratulated me and my parents and walked off. To him it was likely just another case. To me, it meant the world.

It was then that I realized I wanted to be a lawyer. I’m the type of person who places an emphasis on making a difference. It may be cliché, but I want to make the world a better place. To many aspiring lawyers that may mean convicting a notorious criminal or going after a corrupt corporation, but I know that you don’t have to be operating on that grand a scale to make a difference. If things had turned out differently for me back at age 14, I would be a completely different person. What that lawyer likely regarded as one simple case changed my life. I want a chance to make that kind of a difference.

Unfortunately, as time passed I wound up losing my way. Upon reaching college, I got lazy and complacent. My grades plummeted and I graduated realizing that I was not ready for law school. I knew at that point I didn’t have the dedication or the discipline to handle it. I job hunted and, after countless job applications and a string of temp or intern positions, landed a permanent job. I moved into a place of my own and got a crash course on cooking, cleaning, and home maintenance. These experiences, these rigors of real life, forced me to develop the discipline and dedication I needed and, in the sheltered world of school, had never developed.

I now know that I am ready face law school. I am eager to begin working towards a career in law, a career that will allow me to have the kind of positive impact on the world that I want to. I now have the discipline and dedication needed, and with hard work and perseverance I know that I will one day change someone’s life, like mine was, just by doing my job.

powerscore
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:14 am

Re: Personal Statement Draft - Please tear it to shreds

Postby powerscore » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:35 am

your opening sentence structure is sort of awkward, I think you might want to change that around to make it flow better, I get the idea it is just weird to read.

. It may be cliché, but I want to make the world a better place.


It is cliche, and I would suggest that you take this out, many books on personal statements urge you to not be cliche.

Unfortunately, as time passed I wound up losing my way. Upon reaching college, I got lazy and complacent. My grades plummeted and I graduated realizing that I was not ready for law school. I knew at that point I didn’t have the dedication or the discipline to handle it. I job hunted and, after countless job applications and a string of temp or intern positions, landed a permanent job. I moved into a place of my own and got a crash course on cooking, cleaning, and home maintenance. These experiences, these rigors of real life, forced me to develop the discipline and dedication I needed and, in the sheltered world of school, had never developed.


Honestly, I would take all of this out, it just points to the fact that you had a 2.9 gpa even more. I would make an addendum instead. The personal statement is not a place where you want to remind them of your faults, it is where you want to focus on your strengths and be positive. (or at least reflective on why you want to go to law school)

I think overall the message of your personal statement is very good, your reason for wanting to go to law school and become a lawyer is compelling and I think that it makes sense. However, I think it needs to be edited for quality of writing. Try and be more professional in your writing.

Good luck!

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

Re: Personal Statement Draft - Please tear it to shreds

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:41 am

Although your personal statement essay is enjoyable to read due to its clarity & honesty, it raises more issues than it answers. For example, how do you "know" that you are now ready for law school ? If the other person was the bully, then why were you prosecuted & convicted ? If others saw you as "brilliant" and "gifted", then why is your college GPA a meager 2.9 ?

The overall impression made by your essay is one of instability. Try to revise your writing to show growth & maturity. This will not require a major overhaul of your personal statement, but it will require refining your story.

You write well. This essay is composed of clear, concise sentences which share your story in a succinct fashion. You just need to create a more positive final impression that convinces the reader that you are ready for law school.

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laxbrah420
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Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:53 am

Re: Personal Statement Draft - Please tear it to shreds

Postby laxbrah420 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:44 pm

I agree with the responses and also you didnt say if you won the fight or not. It's not cool to talk about a fight and then just leave a cliff hanger




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