Feedback needed on PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Ohiobumpkin
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Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:31 pm

Here is my PS. It is kind of serious subject matter, but hopefully it doesn't come off too self-righteous or something. Please comment on any grammatical, spelling, or flow errors. Thank you for any feedback all.

GPA: 3.4
LSAT: 157 (Oct, 2011), ? (Dec, 2011)

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“The Unlikely Outlier”
The dim overhead light started to cause my eyes to be strained, as I lay in my bed reading “my file”. Surrounded by medical files, LSAT preperation materials, and current events periodarticles, I read through page after page of my medical and pychoeducational files, the same files I had for so long avoided reading out of mix of shame and fear. Memories of past meetings with doctors, school officials, and tutors started bubbling up to the surface as I read on. I had no choice but to read on, due to the fact that the next day I would have to bring my files to a cognitive evaluation. I needed the evaluation in order to provide LSAC with evidence that I still suffered from a learning disability, so that I might receive testing accommodations on the LSAT. Looking at the eight pounds of relevant medical and educational files, I wondered what good could a new evaluation do. I obviously had a problem, and I knew that I had gone through hell and back in order to overcome it. In the course of overcoming my learning disability, I cultivated certain character traits that enabled me to become literate by age 16, graduate high school just shy of age 19, and graduate college five years later. It is these character traits, such as discipline, patience, determination, and organizational competence, that make me a successful student, and an attractive candidate for law school.

The history of my learning disability began when I was two years old. During one ordinary night, my parents woke up to a strange sound coming from my room. When they came in to check on me, they found me in the middle of a seizure. I was later diagnosed with epilepsy, and soon after I was put on a regimen of anti-convulsive medication. The various medications used in my treatment negatively impacted my cognitive ability. This resulted in me being virtually illiterate (when normalized for age and years of education) until roughly the age of 16. In addition, my treatment also impacted by abilities in writing and mathematics. I ended up repeating a grade, and spending most of my first eight years of education in special education classes. By age 14, I had become consumed by hopelessness, anger, and a feeling that I would never be able to be independent in my life time. Then something changed.

Due to my continuing struggles in school, and growing concern regarding my problems with depression and social anxiety, my parents decided to hire a tutor to home school me. The first time that (Name removed) and I first met, I didn't show much enthusiasm for her trying to educate me, given every other tutor and special education teacher had failed before. Despite this history of failed educational interventions, (Name removed) was able to set up a study schedule that grabbed my attention. I started reading short capter books in my first year of home schooling, and by my second year I started reading full length books meant for students only a few grades lower. By the 12th grade, I had finally reached parity with my peers in reading, and near parity in mathematics. The ultimate test of my abilities lay just around the corner, in the form of higher education.

After doing reasonably well on the ACT, I attended a local community college for my first year. I chose to take courses related to areas I knew I had my greatest weaknesses in, which were foreign languages, mathematics, and English. I took college composition, mathematics, Spanish, and economics courses both semesters of my first year. I received solid grades in all my courses, and felt that it was enough evidence that I could handle college level material. My next step took me to Nameless University, a small Mid-Western liberal arts college. After four years of studying harder than I ever had before, establishing lasting relationships with my peers and professors, and honing the character traits that had served me well thus far, I graduated with a B.A. in the spring of 2011. The summer following my graduation, I had to start studying for the LSAT, and organize a cognitive evaluation so that I could satisfy LSAC's draconian testing accommodations standards. (insert half decent transition?)

A week after undergoing the grueling and lengthy cognitive evaluation, I was able to finally receive my results. As Dr. Mad Scientist, PhD, described the results, I had a hard time believing what he was saying. The doctor described how many of my ability scores far exceeded what is the norm for somebody with my pyschoeducational history. The disparity between my ability and achievement scores supported my claim of a disability, but the growth in my ability scores over time was very remarkable. At the end of the meeting, the doctor requested permission to write a case study on me, given the potential implications it could have for others with severe learning impairments caused by epilepsy. He thanked me for my time and we shook hands. While walking out of the hospital, and through the dingy parking garage where my car was parked, I started thinking about how this process allowed me to come to a better understanding of myself, what I have accomplished, and what I have yet to accomplish. I realized that my cultivation of those four character traits, and the thousands of hours spent playing educational catch-up over the last ten years, had finally bore fruit.

Given the character traits that are evident from my personal history, my history of academic achievement, and the uniqueness of my background, it is my belief that I would add to the academic richness, and to the diversity of the student body at (insert law school name). I believe that I am better prepared than ever to assume the risks and responsibilities associated with pursuing an education in the law, and a future successful legal career.

geauxsaints
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby geauxsaints » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:51 am

I like the topic but I would like to offer a few personal suggestions.

I do not like the first paragraph at all. The rest of your PS illustrates that you went to "heck and back" (that line should definitely be omitted if you keep the first paragraph), so there is no point in telling that committee that you struggled and worked hard. Also, if you keep the first paragraph, you need to correct the word "periodarticles"... I think you meant "periodicals". I personally would recommend you begin your PS with your second paragraph. However, I would start the paragraph something like "At two years old, I was too young to remember the seizure that caused my disability", then go into the rest of the PS.

A major question I have when I read this PS is why law? It is clear that you have a drive to succeed and that you have positive traits that may translate into law school success, but why law? I see that you mention that you can contribute to the "academic richness", which is a good point, but you never tell the adcomm what motivated you toward pursuing law outside of a perceived probability for success.

Pertaining to grammar/vocabulary, first off, ensure that you do not include your title or any title in any part of your personal statement or law school app. A title is definitely not suggested. If you keep the first paragraph, delete the part about being "an attractive candidate for law school". You shouldn't tell the adcomm that you are an attractive candidate, they should learn that about you. In the first sentence of the second paragraph, the quote "the history of my learning disability began...." sounds weird. I think you should re-start that second paragraph and make it your introduction, as previously noted. In the second paragraph I would remove "in my life time" because it is unnecessary. Also remove "then something changed". You can find a better way to segue into the next paragraph. I would remove "after doing reasonably well on the ACT". I would take out "I received solid grades" and say something like "after experiencing success,..." I would take out "after four years of studying harder than I ever had" and replace with "after four years of hard work" or "after four years of academic determination". I would replace things like "I had to start studying" with "I started studying". In your second to last paragraph delete the adverb "finally" before "receive my grades"...its redundant, and whenever you can avoid using adverbs you should (in my opinion). Change "the norm" to sound less casual, like "scores far exceeded the expectations" or something but avoid slang type words like "the norm". Delete the word "dingy" before parking garage.

Overall, I think you have a solid personal statement concept and come across as someone ready to attend law school. However, I would remove some of the commas by restructuring the sentences and I would remove the informal words like I mentioned above. Focus a little more on WHY you want to goto law school, avoid the informal words, and elaborate more on the "potential implications it could have for others with severe learning impairments", because that is a really interesting statement. It left me wondering if you did allow the doctor to study your case and if so, what did he discover?

Anyway, good stuff and good luck. You have accomplished a lot and I do not think you sound "self-righteous" at all. That being said, you need to go through this statement a few more times and really tighten it up.

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icecold3000
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby icecold3000 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:32 pm

Your subject of overcoming an obstacle is solid, but your form is off

1. Do not title your PS
2. Tighten up your language (The dim overhead light started to cause caused my eyes to be strained)

This is an okay start, but would be better if you could concentrate on one thing. Maybe just your experience overcoming epilepsy in college.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:48 pm

geauxsaints wrote:I like the topic but I would like to offer a few personal suggestions.

I do not like the first paragraph at all. The rest of your PS illustrates that you went to "heck and back" (that line should definitely be omitted if you keep the first paragraph), so there is no point in telling that committee that you struggled and worked hard. Also, if you keep the first paragraph, you need to correct the word "periodarticles"... I think you meant "periodicals". I personally would recommend you begin your PS with your second paragraph. However, I would start the paragraph something like "At two years old, I was too young to remember the seizure that caused my disability", then go into the rest of the PS.

A major question I have when I read this PS is why law? It is clear that you have a drive to succeed and that you have positive traits that may translate into law school success, but why law? I see that you mention that you can contribute to the "academic richness", which is a good point, but you never tell the adcomm what motivated you toward pursuing law outside of a perceived probability for success.

Pertaining to grammar/vocabulary, first off, ensure that you do not include your title or any title in any part of your personal statement or law school app. A title is definitely not suggested. If you keep the first paragraph, delete the part about being "an attractive candidate for law school". You shouldn't tell the adcomm that you are an attractive candidate, they should learn that about you. In the first sentence of the second paragraph, the quote "the history of my learning disability began...." sounds weird. I think you should re-start that second paragraph and make it your introduction, as previously noted. In the second paragraph I would remove "in my life time" because it is unnecessary. Also remove "then something changed". You can find a better way to segue into the next paragraph. I would remove "after doing reasonably well on the ACT". I would take out "I received solid grades" and say something like "after experiencing success,..." I would take out "after four years of studying harder than I ever had" and replace with "after four years of hard work" or "after four years of academic determination". I would replace things like "I had to start studying" with "I started studying". In your second to last paragraph delete the adverb "finally" before "receive my grades"...its redundant, and whenever you can avoid using adverbs you should (in my opinion). Change "the norm" to sound less casual, like "scores far exceeded the expectations" or something but avoid slang type words like "the norm". Delete the word "dingy" before parking garage.

Overall, I think you have a solid personal statement concept and come across as someone ready to attend law school. However, I would remove some of the commas by restructuring the sentences and I would remove the informal words like I mentioned above. Focus a little more on WHY you want to goto law school, avoid the informal words, and elaborate more on the "potential implications it could have for others with severe learning impairments", because that is a really interesting statement. It left me wondering if you did allow the doctor to study your case and if so, what did he discover?

Anyway, good stuff and good luck. You have accomplished a lot and I do not think you sound "self-righteous" at all. That being said, you need to go through this statement a few more times and really tighten it up.


Thanks for your input. I should have put a disclaimer that I really suck at introductions and transition sentences, lol. I knew that not mentioning why law school might be a mistake, but I read somewhere that "why law school", unless the main topic of the PS, should not be focused on. I could add a paragraph that described my motivations for going to law school, but I feel that might distract the reader from the topic discussed throughout the rest of the PS.

On the issue of the case study, the doctor is working on the case study, but it will take until spring or summer next year due to the large volume of documentation he has to sift through. Also, the implications I mentioned are relatively technical, and are really only of interest to neurologists. It involves whether or not individuals with learning disabilities should receive intensive educational interventions past childhood or not. One camp of neurologists believes past childhood there is nothing that should be done, because by adolescence the brain has almost fully matured (in terms of learning), and thus you hit a brick wall of sorts. The other camp are those who believe that post-childhood intensive educational interventions can be beneficial and hold promise. If you think I should include this, how should that be done?

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:58 pm

icecold3000 wrote:Your subject of overcoming an obstacle is solid, but your form is off

1. Do not title your PS
2. Tighten up your language (The dim overhead light started to cause caused my eyes to be strained)

This is an okay start, but would be better if you could concentrate on one thing. Maybe just your experience overcoming epilepsy in college.


Should I perhaps try and either eliminate or condense the childhood and adolescence sections together?

geauxsaints
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby geauxsaints » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:23 pm

Ohiobumpkin wrote:Thanks for your input. I should have put a disclaimer that I really suck at introductions and transition sentences, lol. I knew that not mentioning why law school might be a mistake, but I read somewhere that "why law school", unless the main topic of the PS, should not be focused on. I could add a paragraph that described my motivations for going to law school, but I feel that might distract the reader from the topic discussed throughout the rest of the PS.

On the issue of the case study, the doctor is working on the case study, but it will take until spring or summer next year due to the large volume of documentation he has to sift through. Also, the implications I mentioned are relatively technical, and are really only of interest to neurologists. It involves whether or not individuals with learning disabilities should receive intensive educational interventions past childhood or not. One camp of neurologists believes past childhood there is nothing that should be done, because by adolescence the brain has almost fully matured (in terms of learning), and thus you hit a brick wall of sorts. The other camp are those who believe that post-childhood intensive educational interventions can be beneficial and hold promise. If you think I should include this, how should that be done?


I don't think you suck at anything, as the above poster says, you just need to tighten it up. As far as mentioning "why law school", I feel if it can be accomplished naturally then it is a good thing but if it is forced or contrived than it is disadvantageous. If you can find a way to mention what motivates toward the study of law, it may be a positive as long as you do not attribute your interest to wanting "a challenge". You may want to dig deep and ask yourself what your motivations for law school are, and if possible, try to incorporate them into the statement. But that is only a suggestion and a matter of personal opinion.

I really find the case study portion of your story very interesting. If you are an educational anomaly due to your condition, I feel that should be highlighted. It may be beneficial to mention that popular thought among neurologists is that the type of development you have experienced is abnormal and that your particular case may provide promising evidence to the contrary...which is pretty cool in my opinion. However, if you can't naturally work this in than don't force it.

Like I said before, this is a solid topic but the more I read it, the more I am against the first paragraph. I think it is much more powerful to begin with the seizure and the negative effects, then end with the success and the potential for a medical case study due to your abnormal success.

hamsamitchguy03
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby hamsamitchguy03 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:48 pm

ed ited
Last edited by hamsamitchguy03 on Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

kublaikahn
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby kublaikahn » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:09 pm

If you overcame the problem, why do you need special accommodation? I think you need to remove the first paragraph.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:34 pm

geauxsaints wrote:
Ohiobumpkin wrote:Thanks for your input. I should have put a disclaimer that I really suck at introductions and transition sentences, lol. I knew that not mentioning why law school might be a mistake, but I read somewhere that "why law school", unless the main topic of the PS, should not be focused on. I could add a paragraph that described my motivations for going to law school, but I feel that might distract the reader from the topic discussed throughout the rest of the PS.

On the issue of the case study, the doctor is working on the case study, but it will take until spring or summer next year due to the large volume of documentation he has to sift through. Also, the implications I mentioned are relatively technical, and are really only of interest to neurologists. It involves whether or not individuals with learning disabilities should receive intensive educational interventions past childhood or not. One camp of neurologists believes past childhood there is nothing that should be done, because by adolescence the brain has almost fully matured (in terms of learning), and thus you hit a brick wall of sorts. The other camp are those who believe that post-childhood intensive educational interventions can be beneficial and hold promise. If you think I should include this, how should that be done?


I don't think you suck at anything, as the above poster says, you just need to tighten it up. As far as mentioning "why law school", I feel if it can be accomplished naturally then it is a good thing but if it is forced or contrived than it is disadvantageous. If you can find a way to mention what motivates toward the study of law, it may be a positive as long as you do not attribute your interest to wanting "a challenge". You may want to dig deep and ask yourself what your motivations for law school are, and if possible, try to incorporate them into the statement. But that is only a suggestion and a matter of personal opinion.

I really find the case study portion of your story very interesting. If you are an educational anomaly due to your condition, I feel that should be highlighted. It may be beneficial to mention that popular thought among neurologists is that the type of development you have experienced is abnormal and that your particular case may provide promising evidence to the contrary...which is pretty cool in my opinion. However, if you can't naturally work this in than don't force it.

Like I said before, this is a solid topic but the more I read it, the more I am against the first paragraph. I think it is much more powerful to begin with the seizure and the negative effects, then end with the success and the potential for a medical case study due to your abnormal success.


Thanks. I'll try to will myself to edit it and post an updated version tomorrow.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:35 pm

hamsamitchguy03 wrote:periodicals not periodarticles


Thanks. Got it from earlier poster, lol!

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:40 pm

kublaikahn wrote:If you overcame the problem, why do you need special accommodation? I think you need to remove the first paragraph.


Because I have a processing speed problem. The analogy I like to use is that I am a computer with sub-par hardware, and awesome software. What I meant to refer to as "overcoming" my problem was that my level of understanding (reading and math) was far below where it should have been, compared with people of the same age and years of education. That being said, I still have lingering issues such as processing speed, and fine-motor function (writing) problems. Thanks for the first paragraph suggestion.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:23 pm

Here is the revised version. I ditched the first paragraph, and reworked the second for the purpose of a introduction. Hope you all enjoy. Please post any comments relating to this revised edition's grammar, spelling, and flow.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At two years old, I was too young to remember my first seizure. During one ordinary night, my parents woke up to a strange sound coming from my room. When they came in to check on me, they found me in the middle of an epileptic fit. I was later diagnosed with epilepsy, and soon after put on a regimen of anti-convulsive medication. The various medications used in my treatment negatively impacted my cognitive ability. This resulted in me being virtually illiterate (when normalized for age and years of education) until roughly the age of 16. In addition, my treatment also impacted by abilities in writing and mathematics. I ended up repeating a grade, and spending most of my first eight years of education in special education classes. By age 14, I had become consumed by hopelessness, anger, and a feeling that I would never be able to live on my own. Despite these negative feelings I had for myself and my situation, I decided to commit myself to making a concerted effort toward overcoming my disability. The six years that followed this commitment, I cultivated character traits that would allow me to succeed in my endeavor, such as discipline, patience, determination, and organizational competence. I believe that my experience overcoming my disability has made me someone who is prepared for the demands of both an education in the law, and a successful legal career.

By the eighth grade my parents and I realized drastic action had to be taken in order for me to ever have a chance at a normal life. My continuing struggles in school, and my problems with depression and social anxiety, led my parents to hire a tutor in order to home school me beginning in the ninth grade. The first time that (Name Removed) and I met, I was uncertain whether she would be able to succeed where so many other tutors and special education teachers had failed. Despite this history of failed educational interventions, (Name Removed) was able to set up a study schedule that grabbed my attention. I started reading short chapter books in my first year of home schooling, and by my second year I started reading full length books meant for students only a few grades lower. By the 12th grade, I had finally reached parity with my peers in reading, and near parity in mathematics. The ultimate test of my abilities lay just around the corner, in the form of higher education.

In order to ease myself into college level work, I attended a local community college for my first year. I chose to take courses related to areas I knew I had my greatest weaknesses in, which were foreign languages, mathematics, and English. I took college composition, college algebra, Spanish, and economics courses both semesters of my first year. After experiencing success in all my courses, I felt that it was enough evidence that I was prepared to handle college level material. My next step took me to Nameless University, a small Mid-Western liberal arts college. After four years of studying hard, establishing lasting relationships with my peers and professors, and honing the character traits that had served me well thus far, I graduated with a B.A. in the spring of 2011. The summer following my graduation I started studying for the LSAT, and organized a cognitive evaluation so that I could satisfy LSAC's draconian testing accommodations standards. Despite early difficulties with finding a specialist, I scheduled the evaluation for the middle of August at a local university hospital.

I received my results a week after undergoing the grueling and lengthy cognitive evaluation. As Dr. Mad Scientist, PhD, described the results, I had a hard time believing what he was saying. The doctor described how many of my ability scores far exceeded expectations for somebody with my pyschoeducational history. The disparity between my ability and achievement scores supported my claim of a disability, but the growth in my ability scores over time were very remarkable. My verbal intelligence metrics ranged between superior intelligence, and beyond superior. He described how he had not seen a case with as successful of an outcome as mine, and how my case could lend support for post-childhood intensive educational interventions for learning disabled persons. At the end of the meeting the doctor requested permission to write a case study on me, given the potential implications it could have for others with severe learning impairments caused by epilepsy. I gave him permission to write the case study, and then he thanked me for my time and we shook hands.

While walking out of the hospital and through the parking garage where my car was parked, I started thinking about how this process allowed me to come to a better understanding of myself, what I have accomplished, and what I have yet to accomplish. I realized that my cultivation of those four character traits, and the thousands of hours spent playing educational catch-up over the last ten years, had finally bore fruit.

My decision to pursue a legal education stems from my desire to study administrative law, with the hope of one day having a career as either a civil servant, or as a private attorney advising clients on regulatory legal matters. Given the character traits that are evident from my personal history, my record of academic achievement, and the uniqueness of my background, it is my belief that I would add to the academic richness, and to the diversity of the student body at (insert law school name). I believe that I am better prepared than ever to assume the risks and responsibilities associated with pursuing an education in the law, and a future successful legal career.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:00 pm

BumpyMcBumpBump

imjustjoking22
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby imjustjoking22 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:22 pm

"borne fruit"

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:46 pm

imjustjoking22 wrote:"borne fruit"


Thank you.

JasonR
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby JasonR » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:54 pm

You have an inspiring personal story, but I don't think it adds up to being a complete personal statement. By the time I'm finished with paragraph 1, I don't want to be reading a great deal more of the early history of your disability. Take the essential parts of para 2 (successful tutor, reaching parity -- two sentences), incorporate them into the narrative of para 1, and toss the rest. And don't let para 1 get any longer than it already is; ideally, you would shorten it further. Too much of this essay is focused on your pre-college life.

Don't describe the LSAC's standards as "draconian." Nice word, and it may be apt, but it sounds a bit like a whine. You don't need to say anything about when you started studying for the LSAT, either.

I want to read more about your post-secondary experience. Special accomplishments, skills, passions, interests, relevant experiences, etc. Your story of overcoming serious obstacles is compelling, but you should dwell a little more upon the actual success. The reader is trying to get a sense of what makes you tick, but that's not entirely evident here. Three of the four longest paragraphs, at present, are devoted entirely to the history of your disability.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:50 pm

JasonR wrote:You have an inspiring personal story, but I don't think it adds up to being a complete personal statement. By the time I'm finished with paragraph 1, I don't want to be reading a great deal more of the early history of your disability. Take the essential parts of para 2 (successful tutor, reaching parity -- two sentences), incorporate them into the narrative of para 1, and toss the rest. And don't let para 1 get any longer than it already is; ideally, you would shorten it further. Too much of this essay is focused on your pre-college life.

Don't describe the LSAC's standards as "draconian." Nice word, and it may be apt, but it sounds a bit like a whine. You don't need to say anything about when you started studying for the LSAT, either.

I want to read more about your post-secondary experience. Special accomplishments, skills, passions, interests, relevant experiences, etc. Your story of overcoming serious obstacles is compelling, but you should dwell a little more upon the actual success. The reader is trying to get a sense of what makes you tick, but that's not entirely evident here. Three of the four longest paragraphs, at present, are devoted entirely to the history of your disability.


I understand where your coming from, but I don't know how that might be done. I could probably condense paragraphs one and two, so that the PS doesn't feel like it is dwelling too much on the more distant past. I guess what I wanted was to show the scope of the problem, and how I overall overcame the situation. It might be confusing to jump from diagnosis of epilepsy, and then skip to college. It was a long and complex evolution that I am trying to describe, and I'm afraid that if I jump around too much it could confuse the reader. Without combining the first two paragraphs (given they both serve different functions), should I instead condense the first two, and expand on my achievements while in college? Thank you very much for your help.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: Feedback needed on PS

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:28 pm

Bump.




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