PS-first draftish

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
QLKCwLrK
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Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:17 pm

PS-first draftish

Postby QLKCwLrK » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:23 pm

There was a time when I judged individuals and ideas before I fully understood them. For example, I once thought financial irresponsibility was the only way to end up in debt. In 2008, however, as the financial crisis was beginning to affect the majority of Americans, I was fortunate enough to have the experience of working as an intern at -----, a local bankruptcy law office, which gave me the opportunity to interact with those who were forced into debt.

Hearing their stories changed my preconceptions about bankruptcy. One middle aged couple left a particularly deep impression on me: they owned a small trucking company, which was their only source of income. When fuel prices underwent a rapid increase that year, and business slowed as a result of a stagnant economy, they faced the harsh reality of being unable to pay their bills. As I spoke with them, I came to see how starkly they contradicted the stereotype I had of someone who was in debt. They had done everything right: acted responsibly, planned reasonably, worked hard to make ends meet- but now the investments they had made with their personal savings were failing, due to circumstances that would have been impossible for them to foresee.

And now here they were, in need of help. I could hear the frustration in their voices- the difficulty they were having with the complexity of filing for bankruptcy, but also their embarrassment, their worry that others would assume, like I had, that their bankruptcy was proof of financial irresponsibility. I also came to see the vital role a lawyer has: by conscientiously providing his clients with representation, -----, the attorney whom I primarily worked with, acted as an intermediary between their interests and the legal system, helping them deal with complicated issues they would have been unable to handle on their own. This was a significant experience for me: I learned not only about reserving judgment of other people, but also saw firsthand how a skilled, conscientious attorney can assist their clients.

I then started college, majoring in political science. I was interested in studying law, but uncertain about what would be required of me in law school and if I would be able to succeed there. However, I was again fortunate enough to have professors who continued to challenge both my worldview and later, my opinions about myself. One such course was on political philosophy: initially, I had reservations about a professor who praised Marx, Trotsky, Bakunin and other thinkers markedly outside mainstream American thought. Yet as my professor explained the reasoning underpinning various political theories with a level of analytical depth I had not experienced, I learned to intellectually appreciate the value of these diverse ideas even if I disagreed with their conclusions. His courses and teaching had a substantial impact on my understanding of the world, something I never expected.

Through this class, and other courses in topics as diverse as statistics, federalism in America, or law and economics, I improved my ability to think critically, and thus began to view myself in a different light. Classes went from obstacles to opportunities to challenge myself and go beyond what was required of me. For example, because I enjoyed my class in law and economics so much, I added economics as a second major. As a result, my grades greatly improved, I became engaged in classes, and developed relationships with professors.

Like I should avoid judging other people and ideas before I understood them, I realized that I should avoid judging myself before I truly knew myself, before I knew what I was capable of. Law school, I realized, was something that was within my grasp; it was something that would not only challenge me and thus force me to continue to grow, but something that would give me new opportunities to interact with society and others in ways that I would otherwise be unable to, as I had seen ------ do. For this reason, I am applying to law school for admission in the fall of 2012.





Thoughts? I know its pretty generic.

QLKCwLrK
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: PS-first draftish

Postby QLKCwLrK » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:08 am

Bump...anyone?

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Ernert
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Re: PS-first draftish

Postby Ernert » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:29 am

I think you're a pretty skilled writer, but I don't really like the topic. You want the personal statement to reveal something unique and memorable about yourself, and basically the big revelation you have by the end is that you shouldn't prejudge others.

Your story about the bankruptcy law firm and the family you spoke to could certainly be used as a link to why you wish to practice law (this is where I expected it would go), because I think it was pretty poignant. I thought the entire section about your class was basically a rehash of the same theme and it wasn't particularly engaging. Lots of liberal arts students have taken a large variety of classes, so I would recommend avoiding talking about your course load unless you took something that specifically really resonated with you.

Overall, I think that you really need to look at all of your experiences and ask yourself what would make a law school want to single you out among other applicants. There are some good lines, and you can definitely write well, just the theme right now is pretty weak.

Hope this helps!

QLKCwLrK
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: PS-first draftish

Postby QLKCwLrK » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:00 am

Ernert wrote:I think you're a pretty skilled writer, but I don't really like the topic. You want the personal statement to reveal something unique and memorable about yourself, and basically the big revelation you have by the end is that you shouldn't prejudge others.

Your story about the bankruptcy law firm and the family you spoke to could certainly be used as a link to why you wish to practice law (this is where I expected it would go), because I think it was pretty poignant. I thought the entire section about your class was basically a rehash of the same theme and it wasn't particularly engaging. Lots of liberal arts students have taken a large variety of classes, so I would recommend avoiding talking about your course load unless you took something that specifically really resonated with you.

Overall, I think that you really need to look at all of your experiences and ask yourself what would make a law school want to single you out among other applicants. There are some good lines, and you can definitely write well, just the theme right now is pretty weak.

Hope this helps!


Thanks...I'm always uncertain about my writing skills haha. And that's a good point, I'm sure lots of other liberal arts students have had a similar experience, so I guess I will take that out. Also, I was trying to develop some overarching theme, though again you're right, not prejudging others is pretty generic/weak.

On the other hand, although it was a really memorable experience for me, I can't say I want to go to law school specifically to help others, as I'm hoping to work in Biglaw. I've also heard and read from admissions deans that "why I want to go to law school" is usually a pretty weak topic, although I see personal statements like that all the time, so maybe it can be effective.

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bernaldiaz
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Re: PS-first draftish

Postby bernaldiaz » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:03 am

I think the beginning could use work. I know that starting out en media res with an anecdote is done a lot, but I think it would make the beginning so much less boring.

QLKCwLrK
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: PS-first draftish

Postby QLKCwLrK » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:22 am

bernaldiaz wrote:I think the beginning could use work. I know that starting out en media res with an anecdote is done a lot, but I think it would make the beginning so much less boring.


TBH I hadn't thought of that, but it would be a big improvement...should I start out with my story about the couple with the trucking company?

QLKCwLrK
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: PS-first draftish

Postby QLKCwLrK » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:32 am

Edited first part of it- most of the content is the same but rearranged.


As I sat there, I could hear the frustration in their voices- the difficulty they were having with the complexity of filing for bankruptcy, but also their embarrassment, their worry that others would assume, like I had, that bankruptcy was proof of financial irresponsibility. They were a middle aged couple who owned a small trucking company, which was their only source of income. When fuel prices underwent a rapid increase in 2008, and business slowed as a result of a stagnant economy, they faced the harsh reality of being unable to pay their bills that year. As I spoke with them, I came to see how starkly they contradicted the stereotype I had of someone who was in debt. They had done everything right: acted responsibly, planned reasonably, worked hard to make ends meet- but now the investments they had made with their personal savings were failing, due to circumstances that would have been impossible for them to foresee.

As the financial crisis was beginning to affect small businesses and individuals, I was fortunate enough to I was fortunate enough to have the experience of working as an intern at --------, a local bankruptcy law office, which gave me the opportunity to interact with those who were forced into debt. Although some of those whom I met were filing for bankruptcy as a result of poor choices, many others had stories similar to the couple with the trucking business that changed my preconceived notions about bankruptcy. I also came to see the vital role a lawyer has: by conscientiously providing his clients with representation, ------, the attorney whom I primarily worked with, was an intermediary between their interests and the legal system, helping them deal with complicated issues they would have been unable to handle on their own. This was a significant experience for me: I learned not only about reserving judgment of other people, but also saw firsthand how a skilled, conscientious attorney can assist their clients.

Less boring?

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bernaldiaz
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Re: PS-first draftish

Postby bernaldiaz » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:35 am

QLKCwLrK wrote:Edited first part of it- most of the content is the same but rearranged.


As I sat there, I could hear the frustration in their voices- the difficulty they were having with the complexity of filing for bankruptcy, but also their embarrassment, their worry that others would assume, like I had, that bankruptcy was proof of financial irresponsibility. They were a middle aged couple who owned a small trucking company, which was their only source of income. When fuel prices underwent a rapid increase in 2008, and business slowed as a result of a stagnant economy, they faced the harsh reality of being unable to pay their bills that year. As I spoke with them, I came to see how starkly they contradicted the stereotype I had of someone who was in debt. They had done everything right: acted responsibly, planned reasonably, worked hard to make ends meet- but now the investments they had made with their personal savings were failing, due to circumstances that would have been impossible for them to foresee.

As the financial crisis was beginning to affect small businesses and individuals, I was fortunate enough to I was fortunate enough to have the experience of working as an intern at --------, a local bankruptcy law office, which gave me the opportunity to interact with those who were forced into debt. Although some of those whom I met were filing for bankruptcy as a result of poor choices, many others had stories similar to the couple with the trucking business that changed my preconceived notions about bankruptcy. I also came to see the vital role a lawyer has: by conscientiously providing his clients with representation, ------, the attorney whom I primarily worked with, was an intermediary between their interests and the legal system, helping them deal with complicated issues they would have been unable to handle on their own. This was a significant experience for me: I learned not only about reserving judgment of other people, but also saw firsthand how a skilled, conscientious attorney can assist their clients.

Less boring?


I personally like it 1000 times better.

QLKCwLrK
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: PS-first draftish

Postby QLKCwLrK » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:37 am

bernaldiaz wrote:
QLKCwLrK wrote:Edited first part of it- most of the content is the same but rearranged.


As I sat there, I could hear the frustration in their voices- the difficulty they were having with the complexity of filing for bankruptcy, but also their embarrassment, their worry that others would assume, like I had, that bankruptcy was proof of financial irresponsibility. They were a middle aged couple who owned a small trucking company, which was their only source of income. When fuel prices underwent a rapid increase in 2008, and business slowed as a result of a stagnant economy, they faced the harsh reality of being unable to pay their bills that year. As I spoke with them, I came to see how starkly they contradicted the stereotype I had of someone who was in debt. They had done everything right: acted responsibly, planned reasonably, worked hard to make ends meet- but now the investments they had made with their personal savings were failing, due to circumstances that would have been impossible for them to foresee.

As the financial crisis was beginning to affect small businesses and individuals, I was fortunate enough to I was fortunate enough to have the experience of working as an intern at --------, a local bankruptcy law office, which gave me the opportunity to interact with those who were forced into debt. Although some of those whom I met were filing for bankruptcy as a result of poor choices, many others had stories similar to the couple with the trucking business that changed my preconceived notions about bankruptcy. I also came to see the vital role a lawyer has: by conscientiously providing his clients with representation, ------, the attorney whom I primarily worked with, was an intermediary between their interests and the legal system, helping them deal with complicated issues they would have been unable to handle on their own. This was a significant experience for me: I learned not only about reserving judgment of other people, but also saw firsthand how a skilled, conscientious attorney can assist their clients.

Less boring?


I personally like it 1000 times better.


Yeah I think its a big improvement- thanks for the advice.

Edit: some of it I still need to change for clarity purposes but I'm working on that.

QLKCwLrK
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: PS-first draftish

Postby QLKCwLrK » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:30 pm

Bump again, sorry. Should I take out the part about college and just focus on the experience in the internship (and expand on it somewhat)? I'm considering doing this but hate to make it just another "Why law"? statement. I'm also pretty uncomfortable talking mostly about something from 2008.




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