Close or no bueno.... let me know what you think.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Close or no bueno.... let me know what you think.

Postby FishOil » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:50 pm

The restaurant was dim, lit by multi-colored bronzed lamps and table candles. It was slightly hazy from hookah smoke and there was a vibrant cultural music playing in the background. I was fourteen years old, standing in the doorway of my aunt Jenn’s Hong Kong based Egyptian restaurant Habibi. During the day the restaurant was simple and quiet, but now the place is alive, lined with extravagant couches partially veiled for privacy; the music is loud and an olive skinned woman belly-dances seductively. I am suddenly met by my aunt’s husband Hasni, undoubtedly the inspiration for Habibi, which means “beloved” in Egyptian. The stern look on his face tells me that I am not supposed to be there, but it melts into a broad smile and he claps me on the shoulder. After being overwhelmed with falafel, hummos, and a brief taste of the coarse hookah tobacco, he leads me back to the apartment that I had escaped from, promising a surprise in the morning.

The cool, crisp air hits my face and begins to stir me from my awkward dormant state, but it is the atmosphere that awakens me, the streets are breathing. Crates are being unloaded, fish is being prepared, merchants yell instructions and negotiate orders; the sun is just beginning to rise, Hasni and I spend it wading through Tai Po Market. I am fascinated by the market, the overspill of colors and blending of aromas envelops my senses. Hasni explains to me that the food comes from all over; green olives from Cameroon, goat cheese flown from Italy, eggplant grown on Chinese farms. He describes the interconnected network that is the international market and I am captivated that all these fresh ingredients travel so far for chef Jenn to turn into Halloumi and Mussaka.

Ten years later, as I look back on that morning, I still feel a great sense of inspiration. My month long family trip abroad had taken me through the intricate railway system and temples of Osaka, Japan, to the top of Mount Fuji, and along the streets of Hong Kong, all of which instilled in me an admiration and respect for different cultures. However, it was the buzz of the Tai Po Market that sparked an interest that would eventually lead me to pursue an undergraduate degree in economics and specialize in international relations. I learned about the history of the global economy, the power of the free market, comparative advantage in international commerce, and the importance of our financial system.

All of these subjects were fascinating, but they kept leading back to the same place, policy and trade laws. While the theory of the invisible hand is both simple and majestic, I found that business, political, and legal decisions control the playing field. Every law or policy enacted entails real world economic outcomes, both beneficial and consequential. It is the study and implementation of these laws, of commerce and trade unions, of treaties and subsidies, that I want to be a part of. By pursuing a legal degree and continuing my study in the field of economics, I hope to grow my understanding of their interconnectedness and relationship to the world. I see myself as a global citizen and am looking to one day use my knowledge in pursuit of furthering the goals of a worldwide community.

With this in mind I hope to revisit my riverhead; I have planned a trip back to Hong Kong for this summer. I look forward to my aunt's cooking and hope to have much more in depth talks about trade and globalization with my uncle. I welcome the changes that ten years must have made on the city, but a part of me secretly wants Tai Po market to remain untouched as the dynamic, untamed market it was that morning with Hasni.

Let me know what you think, all suggestions are welcome. Also I am willing to swap if you would like me to look at your PS.

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Re: Close or no bueno.... let me know what you think.

Postby SoPro » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:01 am

Before I get started, I want to point out that the phrase, "there was a vibrant cultural music," is stated oddly. Also, 'cultural music' jars me for some reason in a negative way.


Although the first two paragraphs are well written, I learn almost nothing about you. The paragraphs function to demonstrate that you have experienced a foreign culture, but you can convey this more succinctly. Keep in mind that you are writing a personal statement, not a narrative essay (though it's fine if your personal statement contains narrative elements).

Ultimately, it's not until the third paragraph that you actually begin writing a personal statement.


Once you reach the third paragraph, you do a great job of explaining why you are pursuing a legal education. Keep this part of your essay.


You have some substance under the extraneous descriptive narrative, but I would consider trimming most of the first two paragraphs. Also, though not necessarily a negative, you at no point suggest why you would be a good candidate for law school, though you do an excellent job of explaining why you want to pursue a legal education.

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