Very rough draft of personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
rnl1179
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Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby rnl1179 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:30 pm

Most little girls grow up playing with barbies or dollhouses. It was my idea of fun to pretend that I was a lawyer filling out paperwork at my desk. My niece Amanda, who is a year older than me, wasn’t so fond of that game. Rather than playing dress-up or pretending I was a princess, I preferred to have my nose stuck in a book. It didn’t matter if I was at the mall with my mom, in the shower or supposed to be in bed fast asleep. I was constantly reading. Amanda would beg my mom not to take me to the library for anymore books so that I would play with her instead. The highlight of my summers as a child was the summer reading program at the local library. They would award a prize to the child who read the most books, which seemed like a piece of cake because that is what I liked to do best anyways.

I started taking dance classes when I was two years old and continued until the age of 12 when I got to junior high school. Once in junior high I started doing colorguard, winterguard, soccer and lacrosse. I tried almost everything at least once including basketball, volleyball and cheerleading. I participated in colorguard and winterguard for over 6 years which was probably the most rewarding experience of my life. It teaches you discipline, dedication and motivation as well as commitment. All of the practices were mandatory and would last anywhere from 4-8 hours. Every weekend we had competitions where all of your hard work would come to fruition. We travelled all over the east coast to NYC, Philadelphia, Dayton Ohio, Washington DC and so many more places. That was where my love of traveling came from as well as my ability to work well with others.

When I started taking Italian in school I fell in love. I loved everything about the language and the ability to communicate in a way that I wasn’t used to. It came so naturally to me that I felt I had always known how to speak it. My mom and I had an italian exchange student stay with us for two weeks and I loved showing her around and learning what her life was like in Italy. I wanted to know all about how it differed from life in the states and what their culture was like. When I had the opportunity to go stay with her and her family in Italy at the age of 16, I was elated. I flew by myself with three different transferring flights, almost missed my connecting flight in France which I was unfamiliar with and my luggage was lost but as soon as I stepped foot in Rome, I knew that it was going to be the most amazing experience of my life to date. I stayed in a little town called Pescara. I was eager to learn everything that I could. I tried to speak in Italian more than I spoke in English and although I was obviously American because I didn’t have a fluid tongue I was able to communicate effectively. From this experience I learned that I wanted to continue to step outside of my comfort zone and continue to learn how to see things from a different perspective.

 When I transferred to St John’s University I was in pursuit of those very things. I had grown up in a small town where many people have never travelled, everyone went to school together and very few people are willing to look at things in a different way. St Johns is a very diverse school and I was able to meet people from all different walks of life. I worked at a cafe near Columbia University which also allowed me to encounter many fascinating people. My favorite customers were both professors at the University. When they travelled all around Europe I received a post card from them from Venice. At that point in my life I never thought I would be lucky enough to have an adventure such as theirs. I joined a sorority my first semester at school in order to become more involved in campus life and feel like I was a part of something. In the same semester I discovered that my father had stage 4 lung cancer which at first was hard to cope with. Once the initial shock was over the same thing that had caused me to question life was pushing me forward. I realized that I wanted to strive for greatness and pursue my dreams. I hand’t necessarily been raised to believe that you can do anything you set your mind to but that was the mindset I adopted.

I would always get emails from school about the different opportunities you could partake in and one day I received an email telling about a Habitat for Humanity trip that was being put together for a bunch of schools in the area. I immediately told my mother about the trip and somehow was able to convince her that rather than taking a vacation for fun I wanted to take a trip to help people. Granted working on a house when your not a skilled construction worker doesn’t allow you to help much but in the grander scheme of things your devoting your time whether how big or small the contribution. I enjoyed knowing that I was helping to provide a home for a family who at the time didn’t have one regardless of whether or not it was my hands that actually gave them that home.

When I graduated from St John’s it made the most sense that I move back home to Rochester. I spent my time working as a manager at a restaurant trying to make as much money as I could to pay off my bills and my debt. I made that my sole purpose in life so that I could be debt free as I moved on to the next step in my life. When I finally paid off my bills I planned a month long European adventure. Just before my trip I was laid off. I had enough money for my trip so I didn’t let it bother me or change my plans. I saw seven different countries and 11 different cities in the course of 35 days. It was one of my dreams finally come true. I spent about two weeks in Italy, visiting four different cities. I found that when I was there my love for communicating came right back to me. My travel mate had no knowledge of Italian and a lot of times the only way we would be able to figure out what train to take or where to do laundry or even how to check into a hotel was through my knowledge of the language. It gave me a great sense of accomplishment.

When I returned from Europe I decided to start my own business rather returning to the restaurant business where I had resided since I was fourteen years old when I got my first job at the local burger joint. While figuring out how to get my business off the ground I have been tutoring a deaf girl named Priscilla in english. She has taught me to realize how lucky I am to read, write and communicate. She has a very hard time with communication because although she has cochlear implants, reading and writing and even speaking do not come easy to her. She has a hard time getting her point across and often times can’t find the right words or the grammatically correct way to speak or write her thoughts. We have been working on building up her confidence and after taking time off from school she now thinks she is up for the challenge again.

There has not been one single life altering event that has brought me to where I am today, rather a culmination of things that have caused me to look at the world in a different way and allow me to see things from multiple perspectives. Through my life I have kept the joy of reading with me. I find great pleasure in helping others and want to continue to do so. I hope to take these qualities with me on my journey to becoming a lawyer.

tilly66
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Joined: Fri Dec 30, 2011 3:13 pm

Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby tilly66 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:03 pm

To me it seems there is way too much going on. I realize at the bottom you say that it is this way because there was not one defining event, but it seems that may just be a cop out. You have a ton of experience to draw from. I think you need to pick one.

bmore
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Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby bmore » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:06 pm

Agree with poster above. Also the grammar is weak.

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yngblkgifted
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby yngblkgifted » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:12 pm

With just a quick glance, this is way too long. Admissions appreciate concise statements. I think that even though your ending sentence talks about how there was not a single life-changing event that brought you to the decision to go to law school, you should probably use just one. Your current approach is too hard to follow and it will make it very hard to keep a central theme. I'd suggest talking about one experience (i.e. starting your own business) and developing an interesting story from that and tying it in to why you want to go to law school. Best of Luck!
Last edited by yngblkgifted on Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

rnl1179
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby rnl1179 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:37 pm

Thanks for the advice. I have been having a very hard time honing in on one topic because I don't think any one topic constitutes an entire statement. I definitely knew that it was way too long but I just wanted feedback to know whether or not to even spend any more time on this statement or just move forward to the next one. I've written a ton of them but the topics never seem to embody what I want to get across

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YankeeFan2
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby YankeeFan2 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:44 pm

OP -- there are many good ideas in this original PS. I would take one and expand on that. If you are not sure which one to pick -- then take each idea (separately) and expand it. Reading the entire PS seems confusing as there is just so much information.

I know this sounds like a lot of work -- but my original PS began like yours. I found I was much happier with the results when I narrowed the focus to one idea.

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Philosopher King
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby Philosopher King » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:01 pm

I agree with what others have said. You have a lot to draw from so pick one or two themes and stick with that. There is a lot I too want to tell the adcomms but the PS has to be focused and shorter. Cut about 30% of this out and that will be a good length. With concise prose you can pack a lot in there. Good luck.

JasonR
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby JasonR » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:04 pm

Cutting 30% is not enough fat trimming. This PS is 1400 words; 800 words would be a good target.

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Philosopher King
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby Philosopher King » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:13 pm

JasonR wrote:Cutting 30% is not enough fat trimming. This PS is 1400 words; 800 words would be a good target.


That's just splitting hairs. If she can get the statement below 1000 words then it should be okay as long as it is interesting and written effectively.

nsbane
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby nsbane » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:22 pm

This is a rambling incoherent statement. My suggestion: read 3 or 4 law school personal statements and try again. Better yet - buy the book of harvard law personal statements and read a few. I don't think you understand what the purpose of a personal statement is yet.

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Monte.Cristo
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby Monte.Cristo » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:26 pm

tilly66 wrote:To me it seems there is way too much going on. I realize at the bottom you say that it is this way because there was not one defining event, but it seems that may just be a cop out. You have a ton of experience to draw from. I think you need to pick one.


+1

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Monte.Cristo
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby Monte.Cristo » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:26 pm

Also,

OP, which schools are you applying to?

Nicolena
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby Nicolena » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:46 am

nsbane wrote:This is a rambling incoherent statement. My suggestion: read 3 or 4 law school personal statements and try again. Better yet - buy the book of harvard law personal statements and read a few. I don't think you understand what the purpose of a personal statement is yet.


What do you think is a PS's purpose?

nsbane
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby nsbane » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:07 am

Nicolena wrote:nsbane wrote:
This is a rambling incoherent statement. My suggestion: read 3 or 4 law school personal statements and try again. Better yet - buy the book of harvard law personal statements and read a few. I don't think you understand what the purpose of a personal statement is yet.


What do you think is a PS's purpose?


The personal statement's purpose is to communicate, beyond what is contained in your resume, that you will be a successful law school student. Some successful personal statement genres include:

- overcoming obstacles. This shows the reviewer that you can persevere in the face of challenges.
- Love of language / philosophy. The biggest questions in law are founded within questions of language and definitions. This shows the reviewer that you are passionate about the building blocks of the law.
- Travel resulting in a change of perspective. This shows the reviewer you have an open mind and are intellectually curious.
- Life experience / accomplishments. This shows the reviewer that you are seasoned and have already made significant achievements, and should be capable in law school.

This statement in question does none of these. The reviewer seems to start at the beginning of her life, and narrate every event that has happened, whether it relates to the law or not. What is the theme of her essay? I couldn't tell you. What idea is she trying to get across? I have no idea. How many life events does she mention? I lost count. A personal statement is not your opportunity to write an autobiography, which is what this author did. And it isn't a very interesting one.

This author should read a few personal statements to get an idea for how an effective one is written. I highly recommend 55 Successful Harvard Law School Application Essays. You can find it on Amazon.

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arkansawyer
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Re: Very rough draft of personal statement

Postby arkansawyer » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:11 am

This might be the insomnia speaking, but it seems like that was very boring. Close your eyes, randomly highlight some of your statement. Focus real hard on that part. Then delete everything. Write about whatever you highlighted.




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