Advice on PS About 'Overcoming Obstacles'

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xxkaleidoscopic
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:46 pm

Advice on PS About 'Overcoming Obstacles'

Postby xxkaleidoscopic » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:13 pm

I'm already beginning to mull over my personal statement, though it's still quite early (a year early, haha). But I'm wondering how I should go about this, as it's something I've thought about for awhile.

My GPA is less than stellar, especially during one specific semester. I mean, I have over a 3.0, so it's not abysmal, but that's also not wonderful for such a competitive process. The reasons for this are that I have chronic pain (without a diagnosis of any kind, except for that one specific semester, which included a herniated disc in my back), and I also had an emotionally abusive relationship with my parents, ultimately leading to me being kicked out of the house. I'm now in counseling for that relationship and the results of it - the ED, the urges for substance abuse, etc. I also have an infraction for possession of a certain herb on my school records, but I was let off with a 'warning probation', and no actual authorities were involved. I attribute this to a poor attempt at dealing with the pressure in my life.

So as you can see, there have been plenty of complications in my academic career, both physical and emotional. I was thinking of writing an essay in which I address these, and how they made me a better person, and how overcoming this adversity (I also grew up in a lower-middle-class background) will make me a great student.

I'm wondering if this is the kind of thing I can do without sounding whiny in a PS, or if I should save it for an 'extenuating circumstances' sort of addendum. I'm a good writer, so I think I can spin it well, and it may be, I think, my best chance to show that I'm a strong candidate BECAUSE of these things, even if my grades don't always reflect my competitive level. Advice?

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sasuke
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:53 am

Re: Advice on PS About 'Overcoming Obstacles'

Postby sasuke » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:46 pm

An overcoming obstacles essay can be a powerful PS, if it is well written and you can show actual growth from your poor circumstances.

fanellex
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:38 pm

Re: Advice on PS About 'Overcoming Obstacles'

Postby fanellex » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:04 pm

Chances are you will draft multiple personal statements in your quest for the perfect one, so give this a shot and see what you think.

Overcoming adversity can be a powerful genre, but comparative suffering suggests that a herniated disc isn't like being crippled, being thrown out of the house isn't the same as being homeless, and that being lower-middle-class isn't remotely the kind of poverty that exists elsewhere.

Although that sounds a bit harsh I only mention it to reiterate the delicacy with which you will need to write. It could easily become self-insistent, whiny, and irrelevant.

If you're mostly just concerned with your GPA then you can just as easily write an addendum and save your PS for a powerful anecdote or experience that highlights your strong traits and doesn't dwell on a less than glamorous life.

TL/DR: Just start writing and be careful!

xxkaleidoscopic
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: Advice on PS About 'Overcoming Obstacles'

Postby xxkaleidoscopic » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:53 pm

I appreciate both of your pieces of advice. The good news is, I'm pretty aware of how this may turn out. I can see it being a really well-written explanation of what I'm capable of... or it could be total whiny garbage.

My other idea was to write about my veganism, and write a PS about how compassion will make me a good student of the law, etcetera. I dunno. I could combine both in some way (I actually have an idea for doing so), but I feel like that would leave me mistreating both subjects, or making it extremely wordy, which I do not want.

How long should a PS be, on average? Minimum and maximum lengths?

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cutecarmel
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Re: Advice on PS About 'Overcoming Obstacles'

Postby cutecarmel » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:39 pm

I think it is a good idea to write about that.

However, I do suggest that you do not make it your entire PS (I think it would make it sound whiny). I I think it would be best to write about these difficulties, and then emphasize how you have overcome them and how the qualities that you have gained from overcoming them will make you a good law student.

xxkaleidoscopic wrote:I'm already beginning to mull over my personal statement, though it's still quite early (a year early, haha). But I'm wondering how I should go about this, as it's something I've thought about for awhile.

My GPA is less than stellar, especially during one specific semester. I mean, I have over a 3.0, so it's not abysmal, but that's also not wonderful for such a competitive process. The reasons for this are that I have chronic pain (without a diagnosis of any kind, except for that one specific semester, which included a herniated disc in my back), and I also had an emotionally abusive relationship with my parents, ultimately leading to me being kicked out of the house. I'm now in counseling for that relationship and the results of it - the ED, the urges for substance abuse, etc. I also have an infraction for possession of a certain herb on my school records, but I was let off with a 'warning probation', and no actual authorities were involved. I attribute this to a poor attempt at dealing with the pressure in my life.

So as you can see, there have been plenty of complications in my academic career, both physical and emotional. I was thinking of writing an essay in which I address these, and how they made me a better person, and how overcoming this adversity (I also grew up in a lower-middle-class background) will make me a great student.

I'm wondering if this is the kind of thing I can do without sounding whiny in a PS, or if I should save it for an 'extenuating circumstances' sort of addendum. I'm a good writer, so I think I can spin it well, and it may be, I think, my best chance to show that I'm a strong candidate BECAUSE of these things, even if my grades don't always reflect my competitive level. Advice?

fanellex
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:38 pm

Re: Advice on PS About 'Overcoming Obstacles'

Postby fanellex » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:58 pm

compassion will make me a good student of the law


I mentioned earlier how delicately you will need to write your narrative, but if you focus on the quote above as your theme you could create a very, very powerful statement.

You're too concerned with specifics right now I think. Veganism, lower-middle-class, herniated disc, etc. are all pieces of your life that significantly contribute to who you are, but they are still pieces. You need to focus your paper on who you are. That is, you need to make it more personal. Find a theme (like the one above) and figure out what elements of your life will support it convincingly. Don't forget that you are making an argument here, and the conclusion is that you should be admitted to law school.

fanellex
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:38 pm

Re: Advice on PS About 'Overcoming Obstacles'

Postby fanellex » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:02 pm

compassion will make me a good student of the law


I mentioned earlier how delicately you will need to write your narrative, but if you focus on the quote above as your theme you could create a very, very powerful statement.

You're too concerned with specifics right now I think. Veganism, lower-middle-class, herniated disc, etc. are all pieces of your life that significantly contribute to who you are, but they are still pieces. You need to focus your paper on a significant characteristic and form a cogent, seamless presentation. Find a theme (like the one above) and figure out what elements of your life will support it convincingly. Don't forget that you are making an argument here, and the conclusion is that you should be admitted to law school.




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