Critique my personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Diarf22
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:37 am

Critique my personal statement

Postby Diarf22 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:41 am

I'm putting my second draft further down the page after all of these helpful comments. Please critique further as I would welcome any and all feedback but this is probably the last revision I'll post and just leave up for whoever it might help on what to do or not to do lol.

If anyone wants my advice on a PS don't hesitate to PM me as I'll try to "pay it forward" as best I can (though depending on how brutally my PS gets ripped apart, my advice may not be worth much!).

Thanks again everyone for all the help.
Last edited by Diarf22 on Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

JG7773
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:02 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby JG7773 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:47 am

I think I can see where you are trying to go with this, but you leave us short of telling us what that next "dream" is. You changed schools after the injury, had to take on loans, but now what? What is the driving force behind wanting to go to law school? Is it because the dream of playing basketball is no longer available? I am sure it is not, but we aren't left with knowing much about why you are at this stage wanting to enter law school.

Diarf22
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:37 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby Diarf22 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:56 am

JG7773 wrote:I think I can see where you are trying to go with this, but you leave us short of telling us what that next "dream" is. You changed schools after the injury, had to take on loans, but now what? What is the driving force behind wanting to go to law school? Is it because the dream of playing basketball is no longer available? I am sure it is not, but we aren't left with knowing much about why you are at this stage wanting to enter law school.

Hey thanks for the helpful reply. Yeah this is the first draft and I had run up to two pages double spaced and kind of ran out of room and wasn't sure what to cut to include that info. Could my draft feasibly be a bit longer without being annoying to admissions people?

JG7773
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:02 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby JG7773 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:15 am

Diarf22 wrote:
JG7773 wrote:I think I can see where you are trying to go with this, but you leave us short of telling us what that next "dream" is. You changed schools after the injury, had to take on loans, but now what? What is the driving force behind wanting to go to law school? Is it because the dream of playing basketball is no longer available? I am sure it is not, but we aren't left with knowing much about why you are at this stage wanting to enter law school.

Hey thanks for the helpful reply. Yeah this is the first draft and I had run up to two pages double spaced and kind of ran out of room and wasn't sure what to cut to include that info. Could my draft feasibly be a bit longer without being annoying to admissions people?


I am not sure how to answer that, but I know that quite a few of them put limits on the length of the PS. If a limit is provided, I would do my best to respect that limit.

I think you are having a bit of the same problem that I am having with my personal statement. We both have a little more "story" than what is probably needed, or useful. I think you could cut the length down quite a bit by cutting the "story" down and cutting to the chase. That will free up quite a bit of space for you to tell us why you want to attend law school.

I am certainly not an expert, but trying to pass along some of the things that I am battling as well.

Diarf22
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:37 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby Diarf22 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:25 am

Yeah it seems we're in the same boat. I'm thinking that I am going to switch over to 11 point font as I don't think that's exactly rule breaking, although I have heard some schools such as UCLA requires 12 point. Regardless, I don't think switching to 11 point will be looked down on by most law schools. I certainly hope that's not the case because I think I am going to need to go that route.

laurgirl
Posts: 30
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:53 pm

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby laurgirl » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:15 am

"My family and I were struggling financially, as my parents had helped my older brother to attend college and there was little money left over for me to attend college comfortably. My parents cautioned that if I attended XXX, I could not afford to live on campus or have a car and must take on significant student loans. This was daunting to be sure but I recalled the words of Thomas Edison. “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” I couldn’t give up on my vision, not yet. It was time to take the first step"

--IMO you should take this out. It puts you in a negative light: you are spoiled and expected them to pay for you/ life is so hard because you don't have a car and have to take loans. You're drawing attention to an ordinary event as if it's some major struggle. The majority of students take out loans/ don't have mommy and daddy to pay for their education. Others work 50 hours per week while attending school full time to put themselves through college.

Also, Scratch the quote. It's doubtful at that exact moment, Edison's words came to your mind. It sounds cliche and disingenuous. Use your own words.

User avatar
Davidbentley
Posts: 418
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:49 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby Davidbentley » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:40 am

laurgirl wrote:"My family and I were struggling financially, as my parents had helped my older brother to attend college and there was little money left over for me to attend college comfortably. My parents cautioned that if I attended XXX, I could not afford to live on campus or have a car and must take on significant student loans. This was daunting to be sure but I recalled the words of Thomas Edison. “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” I couldn’t give up on my vision, not yet. It was time to take the first step"

--IMO you should take this out. It puts you in a negative light: you are spoiled and expected them to pay for you/ life is so hard because you don't have a car and have to take loans. You're drawing attention to an ordinary event as if it's some major struggle. The majority of students take out loans/ don't have mommy and daddy to pay for their education. Others work 50 hours per week while attending school full time to put themselves through college.

Also, Scratch the quote. It's doubtful at that exact moment, Edison's words came to your mind. It sounds cliche and disingenuous. Use your own words.


+ 1. As someone who did the 50-hr work week thing, it just struck me as a bit precious.

Also, OP, while I get the walk/journey/life metaphor. It is a walk.... And it is three miles. Now, if the walk was made incredibly
difficult by some lingering effect of your injury, then that would be more interesting, and I would argue that the devastating psychological pain of your injury should be more central to your overall statement. Incidentally, both of your main stories in this statement, the HBC and the injury, are compelling, but I wonder if they could be even more compelling if you focused solely on one. Perhaps leave the HBC for a diversity statement? Your story did keep me interested though.

Diarf22
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:37 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby Diarf22 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:23 am

Davidbentley wrote:
laurgirl wrote:"My family and I were struggling financially, as my parents had helped my older brother to attend college and there was little money left over for me to attend college comfortably. My parents cautioned that if I attended XXX, I could not afford to live on campus or have a car and must take on significant student loans. This was daunting to be sure but I recalled the words of Thomas Edison. “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” I couldn’t give up on my vision, not yet. It was time to take the first step"

--IMO you should take this out. It puts you in a negative light: you are spoiled and expected them to pay for you/ life is so hard because you don't have a car and have to take loans. You're drawing attention to an ordinary event as if it's some major struggle. The majority of students take out loans/ don't have mommy and daddy to pay for their education. Others work 50 hours per week while attending school full time to put themselves through college.

Also, Scratch the quote. It's doubtful at that exact moment, Edison's words came to your mind. It sounds cliche and disingenuous. Use your own words.


+ 1. As someone who did the 50-hr work week thing, it just struck me as a bit precious.

Also, OP, while I get the walk/journey/life metaphor. It is a walk.... And it is three miles. Now, if the walk was made incredibly
difficult by some lingering effect of your injury, then that would be more interesting, and I would argue that the devastating psychological pain of your injury should be more central to your overall statement. Incidentally, both of your main stories in this statement, the HBC and the injury, are compelling, but I wonder if they could be even more compelling if you focused solely on one. Perhaps leave the HBC for a diversity statement? Your story did keep me interested though.

Thanks for the advice everyone this is helping quite a bit. And lol @ it sounding "precious" because you're totally right. I was more trying to explain the "why" aspect of my needing to walk but that definitely fails to come across so I'm going to cut that for sure. And, yes my knee was still recovering and painful so I should probably play that up a bit more.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:38 am

The structure of your essay is a bit confusing to me. Essentially, your essay seems to be trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. You're trying too hard & that makes your personal statement appear to be somewhat contrived & insincere. Young people shouldn't be exhausted and defeated simply due to the maturing process. A personal statement should exhibit curiosity, energy & optimism among other traits.

P.S. My overall impression is that this writing lacks substance. Words like "ethics", "philosophy" & "racial injustice" are without significant meaning in the context of your essay.

Diarf22
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:37 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby Diarf22 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:52 am

CanadianWolf wrote:The structure of your essay is a bit confusing to me. Essentially, your essay seems to be trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. You're trying too hard & that makes your personal statement appear to be somewhat contrived & insincere. Young people shouldn't be exhausted and defeated simply due to the maturing process. A personal statement should exhibit curiosity, energy & optimism among other traits.

P.S. My overall impression is that this writing lacks substance. Words like "ethics", "philosophy" & "racial injustice" are without significant meaning in the context of your essay.

Thanks... this gives me quite a bit to think about. Were there any parts of the statement that seemed significantly worse than others in your opinion?

Diarf22
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:37 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby Diarf22 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:45 am

...
Last edited by Diarf22 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kublaikahn
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:47 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby kublaikahn » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:12 pm

You are a white dude that went to an HBCU. Why are you talking about knee pain and walking to campus? I would think you have a more interesting story to tell.

Diarf22
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:37 am

Re: Critique my personal statement

Postby Diarf22 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:36 pm

kublaikahn wrote:You are a white dude that went to an HBCU. Why are you talking about knee pain and walking to campus? I would think you have a more interesting story to tell.

Yeah I understand what you are saying. My only issue is that I'm kind of supposed to tell adcomms "why law school" in a personal statement right? If so, and I'm telling my story genuinely, then I kind of have to make it about my knee b/c that's when I questioned the values and goals I had for myself up until that point. Admittedly, though, it's not as compelling of a story in its own right I suppose but I need to emphasize that aspect of my life to explain why I think law school is the right path for me.

Also, I was planning on playing up the HBCU a bit more with a diversity statement. Would that be a good way to go about things?




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.