Alan's PS (2nd draft): Critiques Welcome!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Alan's PS (2nd draft): Critiques Welcome!

Postby Alan » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:59 am

Hello TLS community. First, thank you for taking the time to read and critique my personal statement. I have been viewing these forums for several months and it has really helped guide me though this very importaint process.

Feel free to be blunt and critical. :twisted: I am aware many of y'all are very smart, and sometimes snarky. I am not professing to be any sort of genius or prophacy. I am but a humble and prospective 0L.

My GPA is 3.1
I took the LSAT in December and expect to get between a 160 and 165.
I live in TX and would like to attend SMU or U of H @ sticker, or Texas Tech or Marshall with a Scholarship.

I will also be retaking the LSAT in February because I got destroyed by RC (-10 possible), while I likely missed less than 10 total on the other 3 sections.

I really appriciate all of the feed back. I decided to basically rewrite my statement to not include drug abuse. I also used several suggestions from the kind folks who replied to my thread. I have been working on a computer that does not have a word processor so please pardon the spelling errors. I will of corsespell check everything before submitting a final draft. YES, I know my spelling is awful. Please keep the feed back coming :P


My story is most notable for a series of triumphs over extreme, often self-imposed, adversity. I was a shy child, always polite and thoughtful. I didn’t talk much and was bullied often. Even my friends bullied me. I was an easy target, the kid who was just "too nice". During my 8th grade year, I threw that person away. I stopped being polite, pierced my ears, got contacts, and adopted a carless and disruptive attitude. I was now the bad boy on the block. No one saw me as weak or too nice anymore.

By the age of 17, I was an aggressive animal. School came easy and I did just enough to get by. My main concern was winning the Varsity State Championship for amateur wrestling. To me, wrestling was a form of retribution aimed at anyone who ever beat me up, or made me feel inferior. I rose to the top with a relentless work ethic, entailing countless hours practice and sacrifice. No one could hurt me now, nor did they dare ridicule me. Wrestling was a hobby to some, but a lifestyle to me. I was all in.

As my success grew, so did my ego. I was an inconsiderate, self-righteous, jerk with a letter jacket. I became the kind of person who made me so sad as a child. My warpath came to an abrupt end when I was expelled for fighting. Suddenly my season and semester were over. Not only was I unable to compete in the state tournement, but more importaintly, it would take me an extra semester to graduate highschool. These devistating circumstances prompted me to take an unconventional roll of the dice.

In rebellious fashion, I dropped out, obliterated the GED, and enrolled in community college during what would have been the spring semster of my junior year. With a few caluculated moves I went from one semester down to three semsmters up. Still, my attitude problems were making me miserable. I began reflecting on my life only to realize I had not matured in years. I did not know what i stood for and I did not know who I was. I began to face the demons that had haunted me since youth; a life time of insecurity, an unhealthy desire to be accepted, and most recently, my own imposter.

My first step was to stop suppressing the kind nature that defined me as a child. It was more relieving than a difficult to finally end the internal struggle. Next, I made a promise to myself to stop worrying about the critics and be ok with my true nature. I accepted the fact people are not always going to like me, and some people will try take advantage of my characteristics that they percieve as weakness. My new attiude was to stay strong, trust myself and my principles, and to counter my critics with class and dignity.

I was accepted to Iowa State University in the spring of 2009. Over the next 14 months, I used academics to fill the void wrestling had left while employing the same relentless work ethic in acedemics that i used while pursing a state championship. I earned my last 70 credits at ISU, graduating two years early at the age of 20. I immediately moved back to Texas to begin earning an honest living for myself. Over the past year, I have worked as the manager of a very successful retail outlet. Even though the past two years since graduating have taught me to be self-sufficient and personal responsibility, I am hungry for the future acedemic and professional challanges that await me.

I want to practice law for several reasons. First, I want to contribute to social justice. I have wanted to have a career in public interest most of my life. This is because I want to contribute to making sure people who commit serious crimes are dealt justice. When someone commits a serious crime such as assault, rape, murder, or armed robbery, they deserve to be punished, and it is to the benefit of society that they spend some time away from the general population.
At the same time, I realize that the justice system isn’t perfect, and innocent people are often accused and sometimes convicted of crimes they did not commit. I want to do everything possible to not aid in the convicion of citizens who are not actually guilty. Incarcerating an innocent person is a terrible crime in itself. Also, I want to do something that is both rewarding and intellectually challenging. Nothing is more inspiring to me than having a career where I know what I do matters. Sure, some will say that law is boring and dreary, and not as glamorous as the TV dramas make it out to be. I am not concerned with glamour; I am concerned with using my critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills to make a difference in my society.

I hope to be a valuable addition to [LAW SCHOOL], and desire nothing more than to excell in my proffession in order to play a positive and active role in the surrounding community.
Last edited by Alan on Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Alan's PS: Critiques Welcome!

Postby in_to_win » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:14 am

good story, but you're too indulgent in your description of how you "fucked up". also, don't like that you used profanity in your personal statement. there's better ways to express your struggles.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Alan's PS: Critiques Welcome!

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:42 am

Story has potential but it's still a bit rough and needs to go through a few more edits. But to go a bit more off-topic: You should check with either people IRL or ask around on TLS (this thread would be a good place: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=155423 ) on how your past drug usage will affect your chances of being a prosecutor.

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Re: Alan's PS: Critiques Welcome!

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:59 am

This is the story of the three bears. The first was too nice, the second was a dick, the third was just right. I like the story, and I think the track record is important to show that the third little bear is here to stay. But you need to leave out the resume pieces about how many employees you supervise and your store revenue. Talk more about how you see yourself and how others see you now.

I would frame it like, "I looked in the mirror and did not like the person I saw." Something to that effect. On the third story, you do like who you have become and so do others.

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Re: Alan's PS: Critiques Welcome!

Postby Alan » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:54 am

All very helpful advice. Yeah, I thought the profanity was I bit risky. You're right, it's too over the top and not really professional.

Thank you for the link! I will look into it further. I just read the first few pages and there is a ton of useful information in that thread.

Great point about taking out the resume pieces. The three bear analogy made put a smile on my face! I didn't think of it like that at first but you are exactly right, and I need to highlight the final bear a little more in the ways you mentioned.

I will continue to edit tomorrow. Thank you all for taking the time to read my statement.

Does anyone have an opinion on whether it would better to edit my op or post the later drafts as additional comments? I wouldn't want people to read the comments and think they are irrelevant. Otoh, I wouldn't want a new poster to read my op only to find out there is an edited version a few comments down.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Alan's PS: Critiques Welcome!

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:10 pm

Probably the best thing to do is edit the original post with your updated version. You can also edit the subject line as well to indicate an updated version, but that's not really necessary.

pre-med person
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Re: Alan's PS: Critiques Welcome!

Postby pre-med person » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:42 pm

Unless your substance abuse has gotten you arrested, in which case you have to explain it on your law school app. STEER CLEAR! Do not disclose this, I cannot stress this enough.

Before enrolling into a law school, check the C&F questions in that state. Were you diagnosed with cocaine dependence after the hospital incident? If yes, then my presumption is you would have to disclose it to C&F committee in any state.

If you have been arrested or diagnosed, it is not as bad of an idea to disclose, but class it up a bit. Drop the profanity, and drop everything basically. Say you made a 180 after the hospital incident, period. And explain why you think you would make it past C&F if you have been arrested or diagnosed in relation to this.


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