I'm only a junior, and I know my PS will change based on certain experiences, etc. But I had to write one for a course on the Legal Profession that I am taking, and I would love it if I could get some feedback. I'm a little worried I may not focus quite enough on myself...but I'm not sure. Keep in mind this is a very rough draft I wrote up in about an hour for this assignment...but you have to start somewhere!
Personal Statement Draft #1
Marco Maldonado didn’t deserve to go to prison. His innocence can be debated, sure. The fairness of his arrest, booking, trial, and conviction, however, cannot be argued so easily. His story changed my life, and shaped my goals for the future.
Splitting my time growing up between a condensed city outside Boston and a rural town in Southern New Hampshire, I thought I knew what it meant to be in poverty. I had seen poverty in my birth city, and with the contrasting experiences of the small town I moved to, I believed I was able to put that poverty into perspective. In just a few years at Villanova University, my ideas of poverty and service to those in need have come crashing down upon me over and over again.
I began Villanova by involving myself in several groups on campus which focused on service. I tutored children in inner Philadelphia weekly, and joined the nationwide service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Through these, and several other service-oriented organizations, I began to get involved in helping others around the community. I realized that service was not a one-way act of aid. I had as much to learn from those I was helping as they had to learn from me. It was at this point, late in my sophomore year, that I decided to apply for a break trip as soon as possible.
The first thing I did upon returning to school my junior year was to fill out the application for a Service Break Experience. I was lucky enough to be chosen, and I spent a week in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, building homes for Habitat for Humanity. We witnessed poverty first-hand in some of the worst areas of the city, and interacted with those who we were building homes for. This experience, in short, changed my life and my views on poverty. I had a greater understanding for those in poverty. They do not need our help because we are better, or because they are not capable of helping themselves. Those in poverty deserve help because everyone deserves a house. The Martinez family deserves a house because every family who is responsible and works hard deserves a house. Upon returning to Villanova, I began looking for a way I could apply my newfound attitude toward service and poverty to help people. I got involved with a Homeless Shelter run by students on campus, inspired by my experiences with Habitat. It was mid-semester, however, when I was given the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and help someone who truly needed it.
Marco Maldonado is a young man from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Like many young African Americans from his part of Philly, he got involved in drugs at a very young age. Then on March 18th, 1992, he was standing outside a corner store with a young woman, when they were rushed by two police officers. He was searched, and no drugs or weapons were found on his person. A nearby van, with no apparent connection to him was then searched, turning up a weapon which matched that used in a homicide miles away earlier that day. Marco’s fingerprints were not found on the gun, nor were his fingerprints or DNA found on any of the bullets, or anywhere on the van. Maldonado was arrested by these two officers, who later were fired for misconduct, and charged with murder. The charge was handed down by a detective now on trial for inappropriate conduct during a separate homicide investigation. His lawyer got Marco to plead guilty by convincing him he would be up for parole in 8 years, when in reality he was sentenced to life in prison. That is Marco Maldonado’s story.
My story begins with my assignment to this case. A professor of mine was kind enough to ask me to help Marco out in his long process of appeals. I attended court proceedings for his arresting officers, tracked down a witness who claimed to have seen someone not matching Marco’s description at the scene, obtained prison logs, and interacted with Marco. I provided technical and logistical support, but also moral support for Marco. I became invested in this man’s life, this man’s fight for justice. He assured me he was innocent, and though I may never know for sure, I do know he was unfairly convicted. And in my opinion, no guilty man could fight as hard as Marco has for his innocence. Throughout the course of my experience, I learned of the unfairness of poverty. The situation Marco was in, combined with the biases of many, resulted in his unfair arrest and conviction. I have gained a burning passion for the service to others who are unable to help themselves in the criminal justice system.
It is through this service to others, especially to Marco, that I discovered what I want to do in my life. I want to help others. I want to gain a thorough understanding of the law, inside and out, and use that to represent others who otherwise would not stand a fair chance.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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My first impressions are that you are young & idealistic, and that this essay is written poorly. Do you have a writing center on campus ? If so, you need to use that service. Several sentences are confusing & do not make sense. I assume that this was written quickly & without much thought due to several careless errors & illogical construction.
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