PS Draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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NiccoloA
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:46 pm

PS Draft

Postby NiccoloA » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:19 pm

This has been somewhat frustrating and I can't justify starting from scratch again. I have had to rewrite this PS to be lawyer relevant, not depressing, and somewhat of an accomplishment and not a "woe is me" rant.


At this point, I'm satisfied if I'm only able to write my PS so that it does not hurt my chances at schools that accept similarly numbered students. I would like to just let my numbers (whatever the damned LSAT may be) speak for themselves, so please critique with that in mind. I'm not trying to hit a home run, I just do not want to strikeout.

Will this PS pass that test? I ask that you do not quote it for purposes of later delete. Thanks.

(I'll repay the favor if you give it a look).




My life began, as many young lives do, feeling incredible terror about the world. Characterized by a deep sense of anxiety, the final end of my childhood angst coincided with the beginning of my road to a career in law. Witnessing my father’s arrest and trial for tax evasion and assault of a government official in 2001, I observed the terrifying power of the legal system. Yet through my innocent yearning to protect my family, for the first time in my young life I found myself ignoring my natural trepidation. Hungering to become his defender, I felt fear slip away begging the police to let my father go. Seeing the man I loved – his face and blood the same as mine – enter the court in handcuffs, I wished to only have had the background to help him, to defend him, and somehow save him from himself. Though I acknowledge his faults and his responsibilities to society, I stand by the belief that my father was more ignorant of law than evil. I believed if only I was older and more gifted, I could have solved his debts, and I could have rescued him from his path to self-destruction. At twelve years old, I blamed myself for being too young and helpless to aid him while he crumbled.

During my father’s incarceration, as a result of his growing hysteria, the mounting debt, and the public shame, my family disintegrated. While preparing myself for middle school, my mother registered for bankruptcy shortly after filing for divorce. Through these experiences, and the pain that my father’s mistakes inflicted upon us, I developed an ultimate respect for the law and the need for lawyers to guide people to understand it. Though I could not help as a boy, I want to work as a lawyer to prevent the struggles of families suffering the results of similar situations by advising men like my father on the law and the consequences of their actions for themselves and their children. I know that the collapse of my family cost my younger sister and myself a normal childhood; reeling from the trauma of seeing our father jailed and humiliated, the loneliness of knowing the public scrutiny overwhelmed the spirit of our early lives.

Despite the loneliness, however, though I can never forget that desperate anxiety, I now realize a great positive in the outcomes. Sitting with my sister at home in fear, our mother gone working three jobs to feed us, I remember turning to the trembling little girl next to me and realizing my duties to her. As the only person left to take care of my little sister, I committed to a stoic philosophy of keeping a stiff-upper lip, and only looking forward while putting away childhood angsts. Still a boy, I swallowed my anxieties, accepted my responsibilities, and strived to be the adult my family needed. Beginning with dinner attempts, I burnt pancakes, and read from my old books to keep my sister’s spirits high. Quaint at first, my successes as a nurturer developed as I became a better cook and a more animated reader. Growing from boy to man, I worked prolifically to help my mother keep our house from foreclosure. I became a babysitter, a maid, a student, and a part-time worker juggling standard minimum wage employment at video stores and cafeterias with odd jobs I found across the neighborhoods. Mowing lawns, hammering nails, painting walls, and shoveling the packed snow of harsh Midwestern winters, I contributed to keep our family afloat. As the debt shrunk, my body and mind grew stronger, and I watched our future brighten by the fruits of our labor. In the end, we earned enough to send both my sister and myself to college, my father reentered my life as a man of wisdom in experience, and the anxiety I suffered for over half of my life faded like memories of a child’s nightmares.

In persevering, I learned a valuable lesson about fear and anxiety. Fear is a waste of an emotion; it cannot reverse misfortune, save heartache, or even beat back the reasons for the original angst. Though it took a broken home to understand, I now know that I can become the lawyer I wanted to be at my father’s trial without an ounce of doubt. I was unable to save my family from our fall, but as a lawyer I can defend families like my own, I can give another boy his childhood, and ultimately protect him from the fear and pain that I once knew.

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paulshortys10
Posts: 619
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 7:03 pm

Re: PS Draft

Postby paulshortys10 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:34 pm

I think your motive for law school is pretty good. Besides your lsat/gpa though, I don't see anything in here that tells me why you would succeed in law school. Maybe you can condense your background story all the stuff about you working hard (it's important though so leave some). At the same time I want to hear about your accomplishments in school/other aspects of life besides working jobs

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NiccoloA
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:46 pm

Re: PS Draft

Postby NiccoloA » Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:52 pm

paulshortys10 wrote:I think your motive for law school is pretty good. Besides your lsat/gpa though, I don't see anything in here that tells me why you would succeed in law school. Maybe you can condense your background story all the stuff about you working hard (it's important though so leave some). At the same time I want to hear about your accomplishments in school/other aspects of life besides working jobs


Thanks. I hear you. The problem is though that on the topic of accomplishments. There aren't many.

School I feel will be represented in the GPA/Honors that are found elsewhere.

The only other thing that I have is boxing, which I failed at and really do not want to make a PS about because it tells them that

(a. I'm dumb enough to let people hit me over and over again
(b. I wasn't even all that great at it to justify the punishment
(c. If I had the physical abilities, I'd jump into that in a second and ditch everything else




PS's are really hard for exactly this reason. It is really hard for me to brag or claim that I'm special, because frankly I don't think that I am.

horrorbusiness
Posts: 669
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:49 pm

Re: PS Draft

Postby horrorbusiness » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:26 am

NiccoloA wrote:This has been somewhat frustrating and I can't justify starting from scratch again. I have had to rewrite this PS to be lawyer relevant, not depressing, and somewhat of an accomplishment and not a "woe is me" rant.


At this point, I'm satisfied if I'm only able to write my PS so that it does not hurt my chances at schools that accept similarly numbered students. I would like to just let my numbers (whatever the damned LSAT may be) speak for themselves, so please critique with that in mind. I'm not trying to hit a home run, I just do not want to strikeout.

Will this PS pass that test? I ask that you do not quote it for purposes of later delete. Thanks.

(I'll repay the favor if you give it a look).




My life began, as many young lives do, feeling incredible terror about the world. Characterized by a deep sense of anxiety, the final end of my childhood angst coincided with the beginning of my road to a career in law. Witnessing my father’s arrest and trial for tax evasion and assault of a government official in 2001, I observed the terrifying power of the legal system. Yet through my innocent yearning to protect my family, for the first time in my young life I found myself ignoring my natural trepidation. Hungering to become his defender, I felt fear slip away begging the police to let my father go. Seeing the man I loved – his face and blood the same as mine – enter the court in handcuffs, I wished to only have had the background to help him, to defend him, and somehow save him from himself. Though I acknowledge his faults and his responsibilities to society, I stand by the belief that my father was more ignorant of law than evil. I believed if only I was older and more gifted, I could have solved his debts, and I could have rescued him from his path to self-destruction. At twelve years old, I blamed myself for being too young and helpless to aid him while he crumbled.

During my father’s incarceration, as a result of his growing hysteria, the mounting debt, and the public shame, my family disintegrated. While preparing myself for middle school, my mother registered for bankruptcy shortly after filing for divorce. Through these experiences, and the pain that my father’s mistakes inflicted upon us, I developed an ultimate respect for the law and the need for lawyers to guide people to understand it. Though I could not help as a boy, I want to work as a lawyer to prevent the struggles of families suffering the results of similar situations by advising men like my father on the law and the consequences of their actions for themselves and their children. I know that the collapse of my family cost my younger sister and myself a normal childhood; reeling from the trauma of seeing our father jailed and humiliated, the loneliness of knowing the public scrutiny overwhelmed the spirit of our early lives.

Despite the loneliness, however, though I can never forget that desperate anxiety, I now realize a great positive in the outcomes. Sitting with my sister at home in fear, our mother gone working three jobs to feed us, I remember turning to the trembling little girl next to me and realizing my duties to her. As the only person left to take care of my little sister, I committed to a stoic philosophy of keeping a stiff-upper lip, and only looking forward while putting away childhood angsts. Still a boy, I swallowed my anxieties, accepted my responsibilities, and strived to be the adult my family needed. Beginning with dinner attempts, I burnt pancakes, and read from my old books to keep my sister’s spirits high. Quaint at first, my successes as a nurturer developed as I became a better cook and a more animated reader. Growing from boy to man, I worked prolifically to help my mother keep our house from foreclosure. I became a babysitter, a maid, a student, and a part-time worker juggling standard minimum wage employment at video stores and cafeterias with odd jobs I found across the neighborhoods. Mowing lawns, hammering nails, painting walls, and shoveling the packed snow of harsh Midwestern winters, I contributed to keep our family afloat. As the debt shrunk, my body and mind grew stronger, and I watched our future brighten by the fruits of our labor. In the end, we earned enough to send both my sister and myself to college, my father reentered my life as a man of wisdom in experience, and the anxiety I suffered for over half of my life faded like memories of a child’s nightmares.

In persevering, I learned a valuable lesson about fear and anxiety. Fear is a waste of an emotion; it cannot reverse misfortune, save heartache, or even beat back the reasons for the original angst. Though it took a broken home to understand, I now know that I can become the lawyer I wanted to be at my father’s trial without an ounce of doubt. I was unable to save my family from our fall, but as a lawyer I can defend families like my own, I can give another boy his childhood, and ultimately protect him from the fear and pain that I once knew.


Hey, to address your concerns, I personally got the "woe is me"/depressing vibe from this a bit. Not that much, but some.

I think the intro comes off a bit too strong. I think some adcomms might have an adverse reaction to the extremely dramatic picture you paint (even if it's completely truthful) - you don't want them to get the impression you're damaged goods and completely broken as a human.

I became a babysitter, a maid, a student, and a part-time worker juggling standard minimum wage employment at video stores and cafeterias with odd jobs I found across the neighborhoods. Mowing lawns, hammering nails, painting walls, and shoveling the packed snow of harsh Midwestern winters, I contributed to keep our family afloat.


Too many examples here.

I'd like to see a more triumphant ending than what you've got, personally. If you're trying to get the adcomm to get behind your story, give them a satisfying ending, no? There's some of that, but it could be better.




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