To write about sketchy past or not?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
echoi83
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To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby echoi83 » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:27 pm

I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I have no criminal convictions or arrests, but a key factor in my decision to go to law school was a part of my history that was heavily involved with criminal activity.
Let me clarify, I myself was not directly involved most of the time, the people I was associating with were involved with underground activity like running illegal gambling clubs, marijuana grow-ops, etc. I ended up in this little community for a variety of different reasons, mostly because it offered me an out when I was down on my luck. Long story short, I got to see both sides of the story-- these people may have been "criminals" but they were also people backed into a corner and doing the best they could to make a living. Do I take the risk and write the fact that "seeing the other side" inspired me to pursue law, and that I overcame some pretty significant obstacles? Or do I keep my mouth shut and risk writing a generic, uninspired personal statement? Any advice on how to explain myself without hurting my application?

JasonR
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby JasonR » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:53 pm

No way in hell do you write about something like that if you aren't required to disclose it. I know it's hard for this generation of the Facebook confessional to believe it, but not everyone is going to appreciate the darker elements of your history or your redemption stories.
Last edited by JasonR on Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gaud
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby gaud » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:54 pm

I'm going to have to agree with the other poster on this. If you were required to disclose criminal offenses then there may have been a chance that you could have spun the story the way you'd like... but without being required to disclose that sort of information you'd be taking a huge risk associating yourself with that sort of activity

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Monte.Cristo
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby Monte.Cristo » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:33 pm

Law schools have admitted plenty of applicants who've turned their life around.

Yale has admitted an ex-convict (but he attended an Ivy for undergrad. I think he dealt drugs or something, can't remember, try googling).

The OP mentioned that he doesn't need to disclose anything because he was never convicted.

I would think that you could write a compelling essay if it goes well with the rest of your application (resume, LORs). If you have nothing else, then I wouldn't think it's a good idea. But if you, say, have done research and have published articles regarding the criminal world or you worked at community centers that help ex-cons turn their lives around, etc, then I think your essay would be quite compelling.

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sunynp
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby sunynp » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:44 pm

I'm sure you can write a compelling story about turning your life around without discussing your "sketchy past." Please stay away from describing your relation to any criminal activities. If you want, post a draft PS and people will review it for you. You can get some good feedback that way.

grovevilleroad
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby grovevilleroad » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:50 pm

You can always mention it, but make sure it is a small part of the story to capture the lager (positive) concept of you PS. Try to form the story to show how you were around that type of environment but overcame that hardship and put you life on a positive track. But talk about how you overcame and turned your life around a lot more than the "sketchy" story.

nsbane
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby nsbane » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:03 pm

Write the essay. It's just 800 words. Put it on here for feedback. If they tell you to scrap it, you will surely have gotten some good ideas to really focus your essay on.

The worst thing to do is to stare at your belly button and wonder what to write about. It is silly to ask for feedback on an essay you haven't written.

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DoctorLaw
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby DoctorLaw » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:53 pm

PS #3 in progress
Last edited by DoctorLaw on Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PARTY
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby PARTY » Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:59 pm

a lot of those sentences are not right. also, the beginning comes across as somewhat repetitive.

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DoctorLaw
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby DoctorLaw » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:01 pm

PARTY wrote:a lot of those sentences are not right. also, the beginning comes across as somewhat repetitive.


Forgot to give u a disclaimer, im not a native english speaker

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PARTY
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby PARTY » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:07 pm

I'd have a native english speaker read through it. I tried, but there's a lot.

A lot of incomplete sentences, repeated phrases, and awkward moments tend to obfuscate the subject matter.

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DoctorLaw
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby DoctorLaw » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:02 pm

but only reason i posted this was to ask if i should talk about my past even tho i was never arrested or gotten in any legal troubles?

in2win
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R

Postby in2win » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:22 pm

=
Last edited by in2win on Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DoctorLaw
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Re: To write about sketchy past or not?

Postby DoctorLaw » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:38 pm

in2win wrote:i know your not a lawyer yet, but please use your lawyer intuition here about giving information out about yourself which could negatively effect you in the long run. if you were never arrested or involved with police for any reason, then why talk about your prior involvement with people who participated in illegal activities


understood, thanks




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