Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Duramax80
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Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Duramax80 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:51 pm

Im am about a day away from submitting my applications and I want to be sure that my PS is good enough. Thanks for everyone's help thus far, and I would appreciate any further judgement you would be willing to pass on the PS below.



The time I spent as an undergraduate at XXXXX was riddled with uncertainty, full of holes I was seemingly unable to fill. In my earlier years, I struggled with finding direction in my personal and academic life. I often felt that I had no place in the world, unable to find a field of study in which I truly felt my calling. The lack of direction morphed into a lack of motivation, fueled by hesitation and anxiety concerning what my future held. However, I was pulled out of my self induced vacillation and indecisiveness upon enrolling into a Criminal Law and Procedure course, leading me to finally realize my purpose and potential.

After the first week of class, I felt that I had finally found my place, something that I had previously thought to be nonexistent. The course and the concepts it included were demanding, yet I was able to understand and successfully apply them in their entirety. As the course concluded, I continued to seek a strong foundation in legal education, enrolling myself in as many law classes as possible. I had found my drive that I had been lacking, ignited by a sincere interest in all aspects of law, and I knew from that point on that this was the field I wanted to be a part of. I began to take pride in my studies, and as my undergraduate career progressed, I tuned my ferocity and drive that I had unlocked in my legal classes to other aspects of my personal, and especially, my academic life. As time went on, scholarly life became incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, reinforcing my confidence and further fueling my desire to enter into the legal profession. The transformation that ensued was so significant, that in my final year, I earned my place on the Dean’s List honor roll. I had found where I belong, conquered my uncertainty, and therefore, conquered myself.

After graduating from XXXXX ready to take on new challenges, I ventured out into the professional world in hopes of expanding my interest and foundation in law even further. I volunteered for an unpaid internship position at the XXXXX, a local law firm that specializes in several areas including business law, family law, divorce, bankruptcy, immigration and DUI. The wide range of specialties the firm worked within gave me the opportunity to develop and sharpen the skills necessary to successfully operate in vastly diverse and high stress environments. Taking hold of any opportunity that arose, I enhanced my ability to adapt to new situations, relate to people from different demographics, apply an objective approach to each situation, and view each case from beginning to end, including hypothesizing potential outcomes and rulings the case may generate in court.

Aside from the skills I developed behind the phones and desks, I realized the impact being an attorney had on people’s lives. Specifically, I can remember speaking with a prospective client who, in tears, had told me that her spouse was physically abusive and she quickly needed a divorce. As the conversation concluded, I encouraged her to meet with our legal team, reassuring her of the assistance she so desperately needed. As she was leaving the office, I distinctly remember XXXXX, the senior attorney and my chief mentor, looking her in the eyes and saying, “don’t worry, we can help you.” My heart swelled with pride in knowing that I had been a part of the instrument that would grant her freedom. It was on that day that I fully realized, with no doubt in my mind, the calling I felt in my undergraduate law classes was justified. Not only did I have a passion and understanding of law, I saw the importance of practicing law and the extent to which it could improve the wellbeing of others, reinforcing my goal of law school and the life I want to lead.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:27 pm

Duramax80 wrote:Im am about a day away from submitting my applications and I want to be sure that my PS is good enough. Thanks for everyone's help thus far, and I would appreciate any further judgement you would be willing to pass on the PS below.



The time I spent as an undergraduate at XXXXX was riddled with uncertainty, full of holes I was seemingly unable to fill. In my earlier years, I struggled with finding direction in my personal and academic life. I often felt that I had no place in the world, unable to find a field of study in which I truly felt my calling. The lack of direction morphed into a lack of motivation, fueled by hesitation and anxiety concerning what my future held. However, I was pulled out of my self induced vacillation and indecisiveness upon enrolling into a Criminal Law and Procedure course, leading me to finally realize my purpose and potential.

After the first week of class, I felt that I had finally found my place, something that I had previously thought to be nonexistent. The course and the concepts it included were demanding, yet I was able to successfully understand them in their entirety. As the course concluded, I continued to seek a strong foundation in legal education, enrolling myself in as many law classes as possible. I had found my drive that I had been lacking, ignited by a sincere interest in all aspects of law, and I knew from that point on that this was the field I wanted to be a part of. I began to take pride in my studies, and as my undergraduate career progressed, I tuned my ferocity and drive that I had unlocked in my legal classes to other aspects of my personal, and especially, my academic life. As time went on, scholarly life became incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, reinforcing my confidence and further fueling my desire to enter into the legal profession. The transformation that ensued was so significant, that in my final year, I earned my place on the Dean’s List honor roll. I had found where I belong, conquered my uncertainty, and therefore, conquered myself.

After graduating from XXXXX ready to take on new challenges, I ventured out into the professional world in hopes of expanding my interest and foundation in law even further. I volunteered for an unpaid internship position at the XXXXX, a local law firm that specializes in several areas including business law, family law, divorce, bankruptcy, immigration and DUI. The wide range of specialties the firm worked within gave me the opportunity to develop and sharpen the skills necessary to successfully operate in vastly diverse and high stress environments. Taking hold of any opportunity that arose, I enhanced my ability to adapt to new situations, relate to people from different demographics, apply an objective approach to each situation, and view each case from beginning to end, including hypothesizing potential outcomes and rulings the case may generate in court.

Aside from the skills I developed behind the phones and desks, I realized the impact being an attorney had on people’s lives. Specifically, I can remember speaking with a prospective client who, in tears, had told me that her spouse was physically abusive and she quickly needed a divorce. As the conversation concluded, I encouraged her to meet with our legal team, reassuring her of the assistance she so desperately needed. As she was leaving the office, I distinctly remember XXXXX, the senior attorney and my chief mentor, looking her in the eyes and saying, “don’t worry, we can help you.” My heart swelled with pride in knowing that I had been a part of the instrument that would grant her freedom. It was on that day that I fully realized, with no doubt in my mind, the calling I felt in my undergraduate law classes was justified. Not only did I have a passion and understanding of law, I saw the importance of practicing law and the extent to which it could improve the wellbeing of others, reinforcing my goal of law school and the life I want to lead.


I don't think it's too awful. ;)

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Duramax80
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Duramax80 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:44 pm

Does this make anyone think, "hey, this guy right here should go to law school."..?

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:50 am

58 people have read this thread and you haven't been verbally raped yet. I would think this means you may be on the right track

kublaikahn
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:56 pm

Duramax80 wrote:The academy is under fire these days, filled with young people with lots of talent but little direction, and thus, little motivation. Most schools try to give students a broad background in as many disciplines as possible so that we may find our calling. When I started school, I was drifting through it without a sense of who or what I wanted to be. Fortunately, my undergraduate university grabbed me and put me where I needed to be. I was pulled out of my self induced vacillation and indecisiveness upon enrolling in a required Criminal Law and Procedure course, leading me to finally realize my purpose and potential....


Start like this, and continue what you have done, but with stronger and more concise writing.

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hypothalamus
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby hypothalamus » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:57 pm

It will take some more editing, namely shortening, to make this statement even better.

I also personally don't like the vaguely sexual sound of "my heart swelled with pride"... but that's just me :D

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:59 pm

hypothalamus wrote:It will take some more editing, namely shortening, to make this statement even better.

I also personally don't like the vaguely sexual sound of "my heart swelled with pride"... but that's just me :D

you need to get laid brah.

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hypothalamus
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby hypothalamus » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:12 pm

Mr. Pancakes wrote:
hypothalamus wrote:It will take some more editing, namely shortening, to make this statement even better.

I also personally don't like the vaguely sexual sound of "my heart swelled with pride"... but that's just me :D

you need to get laid brah.


isn't that universally true? :D

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coobs
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby coobs » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:30 am

Duramax80 wrote:Im am about a day away from submitting my applications and I want to be sure that my PS is good enough. Thanks for everyone's help thus far, and I would appreciate any further judgement you would be willing to pass on the PS below.



The time I spent as an undergraduate at XXXXX was riddled with uncertainty, full of holes I was seemingly unable to fill. In my earlier years, I struggled with finding direction in my personal and academic life. I often felt that I had no place in the world, unable to find a field of study in which I truly felt my calling. The lack of direction morphed into a lack of motivation, fueled by hesitation and anxiety concerning what my future held. However, I was pulled out of my self induced vacillation and indecisiveness upon enrolling into a Criminal Law and Procedure course, leading me to finally realize my purpose and potential.
this may simply be my personal taste, but I don't like statements that start off pointing out flaws, deficiencies, etc. I just feel like if I was an adcom I would want to hear a statement that starts off with something positive.

After the first week of class, I felt that I had finally found my place, something that I had previously thought to be nonexistent. The course and the concepts it included were demanding, yet I was able to understand and successfully apply them in their entirety. As the course concluded, I continued to seek a strong foundation in legal education, enrolling myself in as many law classes as possible. I had found my drive that I had been lacking, ignited by a sincere interest in all aspects of law, and I knew from that point on that this was the field I wanted to be a part of. I began to take pride in my studies, and as my undergraduate career progressed, I tuned my ferocity and drive that I had unlocked in my legal classes to other aspects of my personal, and especially, my academic life. As time went on, scholarly life became incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, reinforcing my confidence and further fueling my desire to enter into the legal profession. The transformation that ensued was so significant, that in my final year, I earned my place on the Dean’s List honor roll. I had found where I belong, conquered my uncertainty, and therefore, conquered myself.

After graduating from XXXXX ready to take on new challenges, I ventured out into the professional world in hopes of expanding my interest and foundation in law even further. I volunteered for an unpaid internship position at the XXXXX, a local law firm that specializes in several areas including business law, family law, divorce, bankruptcy, immigration and DUI. The wide range of specialties the firm worked within gave me the opportunity to develop and sharpen the skills necessary to successfully operate in vastly diverse and high stress environments. Taking hold of any opportunity that arose, I enhanced my ability to adapt to new situations, relate to people from different demographics, apply an objective approach to each situation, and view each case from beginning to end, including hypothesizing potential outcomes and rulings the case may generate in court.

Aside from the skills I developed behind the phones and desks, I realized the impact being an attorney had on people’s lives. Specifically, I can remember speaking with a prospective client who, in tears, had told me that her spouse was physically abusive and she quickly needed a divorce. As the conversation concluded, I encouraged her to meet with our legal team, reassuring her of the assistance she so desperately needed. As she was leaving the office, I distinctly remember XXXXX, the senior attorney and my chief mentor, looking her in the eyes and saying, “don’t worry, we can help you.” My heart swelled with pride in knowing that I had been a part of the instrument that would grant her freedom. It was on that day that I fully realized, with no doubt in my mind, the calling I felt in my undergraduate law classes was justified. Not only did I have a passion and understanding of law, I saw the importance of practicing law and the extent to which it could improve the wellbeing of others, reinforcing my goal of law school and the life I want to lead.
I might actually start with something like this to catch the attention of the reader with a story like this...
my 2c

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fashiongirl
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby fashiongirl » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:36 am

Not bad, I actually read the whole thing and even sorta enjoyed it. I don't think I was interested enough to read most personal statements on here besides on the sample thread (first few pages of that). I do agree about the swelling heart part, that almost made me cringe. And the ferocity part, a little strong for my taste.

glacierfrost
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby glacierfrost » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:56 am

It was alright. I give it a B+

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:31 am

First personal statement that wasn't torn to shreads. what does this mean?

Image

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Duramax80
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Duramax80 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:28 pm

Draft 2:

Thank you everyone for your advice and humorous side-notes... I think this is the final draft I will be doing, unless you see some room for improvement. Please dont be shy in evaluating/criticizing my PS, every opinion is appreciated.

PERSONAL STATEMENT:

Many universities face a common obstacle these days, as they are filled with young people with lots of talent but little direction, and thus, little motivation. When I started school, I drifted through my classes without a sense of who or what I wanted to be. Fortunately for me, my undergraduate university allowed me the opportunity to find exactly where I belonged. I was pulled out of my vacillation and indecisiveness upon enrolling in a required Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure course, leading me to finally realize my purpose and potential.

After the first week of class, I felt that I had finally found my place, something that I had previously thought to be nonexistent. The course and the concepts it included were demanding, yet I was able to understand and successfully apply them in their entirety. As the course concluded, I continued to seek a strong foundation in legal education, enrolling myself in as many law classes as possible. I had found my drive that I had been lacking, ignited by a sincere interest in all aspects of law, and I knew from that point on that this was the field I wanted to be a part of. I began to take pride in my studies, and as my undergraduate career progressed, I tuned my passion and drive that I had unlocked in my legal classes to other aspects of my personal, and especially, my academic life. As time went on, scholarly life became incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, reinforcing my confidence and further fueling my desire to enter into the legal profession. The transformation that ensued was so significant, that in my final year, I earned my place on the Dean’s List honor roll. I had found where I belong, conquered my uncertainty, and therefore, conquered myself.

After graduating from (UNIVERSITY), ready to take on new challenges, I ventured out into the professional world in hopes of expanding my interest and foundation in law even further. I volunteered for an unpaid internship position at the (LAW FIRM), a local law firm that specializes in several areas including business law, family law, DUI, and immigration. The wide range of specialties the firm worked within gave me the opportunity to develop and sharpen the skills necessary to successfully operate in vastly diverse and high stress environments. Taking hold of any opportunity that arose, I enhanced my ability to adapt to new situations, relate to people from different demographics, apply an objective approach to each situation, and view each case from beginning to end, including hypothesizing potential outcomes and rulings the case may generate in court.

Aside from the skills I developed behind the phones and desks, I realized the impact being an attorney had on people’s lives. Specifically, I can remember speaking with a prospective client who, in tears, had told me that her spouse was physically abusive and she quickly needed a divorce. As the conversation concluded, I encouraged her to meet with our legal team, reassuring her of the assistance she so desperately needed. As she was leaving the office, I distinctly remember (NAME), the senior attorney and my chief mentor, looking her in the eyes and saying, “don’t worry, we can help you.” I felt proud in knowing that I had been a part of the instrument that would grant her freedom. It was on that day that I fully realized, with no doubt in my mind, the calling I felt in my undergraduate law classes was justified. Not only did I have a passion and understanding of law, I saw the importance of practicing law and the extent to which it could improve the wellbeing of others, reinforcing my goal of law school and the life I want to lead.

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paratactical
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby paratactical » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:01 pm

This is a rehashing of your resume. I don't know anything about you after reading this. You're not telling us anything that's specific to you or giving us any insight at all into your character. There are hundreds of people out there who could submit this with a few word changes and still be telling the truth. I think you're really missing the mark. If you're going to give us a narrative about college and working in a firm, at least write it well. Maybe start with something like:

"A prospective client tearfully told me that she needed a quick divorce to get away from her abusive spouse. Despite the fact that I spent most of my time behind desks and tied to phone lines, this job forced me to realize the impact an attorney could have on people's lives."

Then you can outline more instances where you saw the impact an attorney had - make sure to keep most of them non-dramatic (mostly because I get the sense that you weren't at some probono place where it was all tragedy, and it's important to be honest) but display the utility of a lawyer. As you tell us about these individuals at the impact having an attorney had, tell us how these things demonstrate you taking on new challenges and show us how these things show your intellectual curiosity.

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Duramax80
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Duramax80 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:22 pm

The overall formula for my PS is a chronological progression outlining a transformation from a disconnected and unmotivated student, into a passionate and driven student, and finally into further enhancing legal understanding through working in a diverse firm. I would definitely like to elaborate on the experiences I had working with clients and cases from several different areas, and show how working in these areas expanded my skill set, but I cant squeeze everything into 2 pages. So, I decided to break it down into four paragraphs, which are as follows:

1). Lack of direction, tying into an explanation of my low GPA
2). Finding direction in an interest in law while simultaneously attempting to resolve my low GPA
3). Taking interest in law further, with a focus on illustrating the skills I developed as an intern
4.) Showing a personal facet outside the material skill set of an intern, and tying the proceeding paragraphs together.


Overall, I hoped this type of progression would display intellectual curiosity (continuing interest in legal environment through working in a firm after undergrad) and taking on new challenges (working within several different legal niches), while showing I had an interest in law outside the strictly academic sectors as illustrated by the small story in paragraph 4. Would I be better off simply stating these things, or should I assume that the AdComms would recognize these as they read? Can you think of a more concise way to demonstrate the skills I developed as an intern while complying with the 2 page requirement?

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Duramax80
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Duramax80 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:17 pm

paratactical? anyone?

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paratactical
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby paratactical » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:57 am

If your GPA discrepancies aren't severe enough for an addendum, you certainly don't want to use the space in your personal statement to discuss them.

The real story is in 3&4. Show us what made you develop and why you value that. This should be formal, but not a five paragraph "tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em; tell 'em; tell 'em what you told 'em" essay. The problem is that there's too much in here that isn't you. I don't have any sense of who you are or what makes you an individual. You need to figure out what it was about working at that firm that mattered to you specifically. What about Con Law and Crim Pro made you like it? What made you think it was for you? What drew you to the internship and what kept you there? Don't tell us how significant it was; give us details that make us believe you and make us feel like we know who you are.

It also seems odd that this one particular woman touched you when all you seemed to do is greet her at reception and refer her elsewhere. Is there anyone you actually interacted with? It doesn't have to be a client. I read a particularly compelling PS on here that dealt with a coworker relationship. The crux of the issue is that this statement is supposed to be about you. The admissions board will already have your resume and, at this point, all your PS is doing is restating things from that resume. Try to think of some kernel about you that makes you and your decision different from the vast majority and write to that.

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Duramax80
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby Duramax80 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:08 pm

If your GPA discrepancies aren't severe enough for an addendum, you certainly don't want to use the space in your personal statement to discuss them.

I have a GPA addendum:
Starting college in 2006, I lacked direction in what field of study I wanted to partake in, causing me to essentially test out several different courses. Then, in 2008, I suffered from depression upon the death of two very close friends, which severely impacted my academic performance. The following semester, I was diagnosed with mononucleosis, and had to medically withdraw from all of my classes. Medical documentation can be provided upon request. However, after fully recuperating from both of these factors, I entered back into my undergraduate career to continue my education. In the spring of 2010, I enrolled into a law class, and found my drive and direction I had been lacking thus far. I transformed myself into a disciplined and motivated student, and committed myself to taking my studies seriously, which led to a significant improvement in my performance as a student, and which I believe, demonstrates my true academic capabilities.

What about Con Law and Crim Pro made you like it? What made you think it was for you?

Changes to Paragraph 2:
After the first week of class, I felt that I had finally found my place, something that I had previously thought to be nonexistent. The course and the concepts it included were demanding, yet I was able to understand and successfully apply them in their entirety. The format of the class included in-class debate, critical problem solving, case and fact pattern analysis, strength assessment of potential defenses and hypothetical judiciary decisions, all of which significantly fueled my intellectual curiosity. I especially enjoyed reviewing historical cases and determining why each involved party acted in the way they did, ranging from the opening statements to the eventual jury decisions and judicial rulings. As the class came to an end, I continued to seek a strong foundation in legal education, enrolling myself in as many law classes as possible. I had found my drive that I had been lacking, ignited by a sincere interest in all aspects of law, and I knew from that point on that this was the field I wanted to be a part of. I began to take pride in my studies, and as my undergraduate career progressed, I tuned my passion and drive that I had unlocked in my legal classes to other aspects of my personal, and especially, my academic life. As time went on, scholarly life became incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, further fueling my desire to enter into the legal profession. The transformation that ensued was so significant, that in my final year, I earned my place on the Dean’s List honor roll. I had found where I belong, conquered my uncertainty, and therefore, conquered myself.

What drew you to the internship and what kept you there? Don't tell us how significant it was; give us details that make us believe you and make us feel like we know who you are.

Changes to paragraph 4:
Aside from the skills I developed behind the phones and desks, I realized the impact being an attorney had on people’s lives. Specifically, I remember speaking with a client, who after a divorce, endured wildly unsubstantiated accusations of child abuse and was denied any chance of visitation with his daughter. After speaking with this man, a well-respected police officer, I could see just how exhausting this process had been for him, and the toll it took on his personal and professional life. Through negotiations with the opposing counsel, an agreement was reached, finally granting him visitation rights with his child in which he fully deserved. Even though I did not have a direct impact on the outcome of the case, I witnessed first hand the importance of practicing law. It was on that day that I fully realized, with no doubt in my mind, the calling I felt in my undergraduate law classes was justified. Not only did I have a passion and understanding of law, I saw the importance of practicing law and the extent to which it could improve the wellbeing of others, reinforcing my goal of law school and the life I want to lead.

Does this provide better insight into my character and desire to be a law student?

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hypothalamus
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Re: Final draft, about to submit apps, PLEASE critique

Postby hypothalamus » Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:25 pm

I know this thread is about the PS, but I don't like the addendum. Is this all you have? I don't mean it's short - in fact, it's a little long. But it sounds like you're rambling and finding excuses... I understand these things happened to you, but try to work on it to make it sound more convincing.




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