Personal Statement HELP!!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Diana3
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:03 pm

Personal Statement HELP!!!

Postby Diana3 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:18 pm

I am in need of some help!!! I have written two personal statements that are in need of some help.

They are both first "drafts" in which i just wanted to get everything out, they still need a lot of work.
PLEASE any comments and suggestions are appreciated!!
:? :? :? :? :?

1. My mother and father divorced when I was seven years old. My father kept busy as usual, working hard to grow the family business, a food distribution company. My mother moved out into a small two bedroom apartment and got full time minimum wage job. For short while after the divorce, my siblings and I lived with my mother. The four of us shared one bedroom. The idea at first wasn’t so bad; we would all get to celebrate birthdays and other holidays twice. I never thought that this would open my eye to the importance of my education.
My mother worked over forty hours a week for no benefits, barley making ends meet. There were nights when dinner would be a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, mostly just bread. There were nights that I would not eat at all because I was too worried about my younger sister not getting enough food. The most puzzling part of this all was the contrast of when we went to visit Dad on the weekends, when Mom would let us.
At dad’s house we each had our own rooms and we never had to worry about saving food. Best of all, there were no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ever. I always thought it was strange that my parents lived drastically different lives. I also wondered why our Dad was able to live like this while at Mom’s we were barely getting by.
The truth was, my father knew that he had to make his business successful. He had no other choice, he had to diploma to fall back on. From the age of sixteen he worked as hard as he could to create a stable, well-performing company. He made it. My mother on the other hand, never had to work. She never wanted to work. Whatever little money she was making were not going to the rent, they were feeding her addiction. She cared more about getting her fix than her responsibilities as a mother.
After some work with a lawyer, my siblings and I moved back in with Dad. It was a complete change from the life we were living. He still spent a lot of time working but he always made sure to check that our homework was done each night. He would spend time telling us how important it was for us to have goals and dreams, and that education would help us to achieve those dreams. I buried myself in my school work; I wanted to be the best. I wanted to be the first my family to graduate from college. None of my siblings had finished or chosen to go to college. I was accepted to all ten schools I had applied to with scholarship offers from over half of the schools.
I have always set high goals for myself. After taking a course in Labor and Employment Law, I had decided my next goal was to graduate from law school. It was that course that sparked my interest in the law, and for once I was not just doing the course work for a grade, I was doing it because I wanted to learn. I wanted to learn as much as I could about this area of law, and even took an internship at a firm that had a large amount of its practice focused in this field.


2.Cultural identity used to be difficult to grasp. I spent a good part of my childhood denying my mixture of ethnicities because I was embarrassed. Everyone I grew up around was or claimed to be “100% Italian” or Irish, or any other ethnicity. I was not like my peers. I was a mixture and could not identify with any of the groups. I began to identify myself as Italian, and ignored the fact that I was not “pure Italian”.
I remember growing up that in a suburb of mostly Italians; kids from other cultures were not readily accepted. Just like every other child, I wanted to fit it, to be accepted by my peers. I will never forget the Family Heritage Project assigned in third grade. Every student had to give a report to the class about their heritage and where their family came from. In addition, we were responsible for bringing in a cultural dish and dressing a paper doll in the chosen culture’s traditional form of dress. My small group of friends began to chatter and discuss what kind of pasta they would bring in. I chimed in saying that my grandmother’s lasagna is the best.
That afternoon, I ran off the bus excited to begin the project. When I went into my kitchen to tell my stepmother about the project, I notice my grandparents from my father’s side of the family at the kitchen table. Without thinking, I began to excitedly ramble about the Heritage project. Just as I was about to say I was going to do my project about Italian culture, my grandfather suggested I do my report of Puerto Rican culture. I immediately stopped talking and turned to my grandfather. After about a minute or two I blurted out that no one want to hear about Puerto Rico, especially since I’m Italian. I will never forget the look in my grandfather’s eyes as he shook his head and turned away. I just ran up to my room and began to plan out my Italian project.
I week later I did my presentation on Italian culture, just like all of my friends. I never thought about the project again until I had to do a similar, more in-depth version in high school. This time around I had a new group of friends, from all different ethnic backgrounds. They all excited talked about what they could share about Greece, Germany, China, etc. They were excited to talk about the culture they identified with. They knew what “group” they belonged to. This time around I didn’t have a group of friends all doing Italy, I had a group of friends that had a stronger cultural identity than I ever had.
I went home that day, still unsure of what to do. The truth was that I was Puerto Rican, Irish, English, French and Italian. The problem was I never truly placed myself into any of the cultures or embraced them fully. I talked to my dad about what I should do; he suggested I do Puerto Rico, just as my grandfather did six years earlier. Then I remembered back to the look in my grandfather’s eyes. I decided it would be a good way to explore the culture more, and maybe get a better sense of cultural identity.
I completed the project, and received an A. it was a great learning experience for me. I was able to learn about a topic that strengthened the connection between my grandfather and me. It was the beginning of a long journey of self-exploration I have made multiple trips to Puerto Rico, to learn and experience more. I have also made trips to France and England. I can now proudly say that I am Latina, but I am also proud to be a mixture of cultures. As my grandfather says, I get the best of everything.

User avatar
kaftka juice
Posts: 97
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:49 pm

Re: Personal Statement HELP!!!

Postby kaftka juice » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:28 pm

First impressions:

1. Most of this topic seems to do with your parents, and not really about you. You seem to be telling the story of your environment, rather than the person that environment created. However, I think you can use some parts of this idea to create a really good statement. Instead of focusing on how hardworking your mother was, for instance, talk briefly about your upbringing and how it made you a hard-worker (with examples, of course). Your background story is compelling--but you need to turn it from compelling to not only inspiring, but to a way that makes law schools want you over someone else with equal or better numbers. Why are you, as a unique person rather than an experience, special.

2. I'm not sure this topic as it stands has potential. I am always weary of personal statements detailing early childhood short of major life events (i.e. I was a child soldier in the Congo, the Encyclopedia Brown series was based on my life as a witty child detective, etc.), as they really exist as a telling of who you were rather then who you are now. Additionally, I'm not quite sure what positive quality you are trying to show here. The personal statement is your one shot at conveying how awesome you are. Even if the story ends with you making the right decision, for much of the story you were just trying to fit in.

In summation, I think if you rework the focus of the first idea you will have a really awesome topic.

Diana3
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:03 pm

Re: Personal Statement HELP!!!

Postby Diana3 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:26 pm

Thank you for your comments. I will scrap the second one and rework the first personal statement.

User avatar
Chucky21
Posts: 294
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:36 pm

Re: Personal Statement HELP!!!

Postby Chucky21 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:27 pm

kaftka juice wrote:First impressions:

1. Most of this topic seems to do with your parents, and not really about you. You seem to be telling the story of your environment, rather than the person that environment created. However, I think you can use some parts of this idea to create a really good statement. Instead of focusing on how hardworking your mother was, for instance, talk briefly about your upbringing and how it made you a hard-worker (with examples, of course). Your background story is compelling--but you need to turn it from compelling to not only inspiring, but to a way that makes law schools want you over someone else with equal or better numbers. Why are you, as a unique person rather than an experience, special.

2. I'm not sure this topic as it stands has potential. I am always weary of personal statements detailing early childhood short of major life events (i.e. I was a child soldier in the Congo, the Encyclopedia Brown series was based on my life as a witty child detective, etc.), as they really exist as a telling of who you were rather then who you are now. Additionally, I'm not quite sure what positive quality you are trying to show here. The personal statement is your one shot at conveying how awesome you are. Even if the story ends with you making the right decision, for much of the story you were just trying to fit in.

In summation, I think if you rework the focus of the first idea you will have a really awesome topic.


Concur

doing_it_in_a_car
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:43 pm

Re: Personal Statement HELP!!!

Postby doing_it_in_a_car » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:57 pm

First, I have to say I love your writing style. It's straightforward and free of meaningless fluff words. I hope you don't lose that style with future revisions. Also, you have a good variety of short and long sentences, as well as pretty good focus on your current ideas.

That being said, I agree with the previous critique - focus more on you. It sounds like you have an interesting story to tell, but first identify some better core themes (e.g. developing your own hard work ethic, developing a passion for law) and flesh them out with detail.

Also, watch for grammatical and spelling errors.

For a short while after the divorce, my siblings and I lived with my mother.
My mother worked over forty hours a week for no benefits, barely making ends meet.

Good luck!

bmore
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Personal Statement HELP!!!

Postby bmore » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:01 pm

I am going to disagree. Neither tells the school why you would be a good law school candidate.

Diana3
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:03 pm

Re: Personal Statement HELP!!!

Postby Diana3 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:07 pm

Thank you for all your comments. Please keep in mind these drafts were just me trying to get everything down on paper. I will post my revisions soon.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.