PS topics for the least interesting person ever

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
User avatar
filmoreslice
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:00 pm

PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby filmoreslice » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:35 am

I know its been said before, but I am middle class, white, normal, and very little has happened to me. That said, I'm told that overcoming adversity or something similar is the best topic for a PS. I've come up with a few weirdo topics, but none really seem like the right fit. Please tell me how stupid my ideas are. Little bit of background: I am 30, married (i.e. supposedly a real adult), 3.6 GPA and waiting on June LSAT score but its likely that I'll break 165 if not a little higher. I'm applying for PNW schools, some of which are in state (I went to undergrad in the state I was born and raised in and still live now). Numbers-wise, I'm well above the medians if not the 75% at most of these schools.

1. Long road to school, blah blah blah. I dropped out of high school, worked in retail forever, realized that I was peaking at 25, quit and started college at 26. I think it might be an interesting story arc, but most of it happened quite a while ago. Also, is "overcoming" the drop-out situation good, or does the whole situation reflect poorly on me and as such should not be brought up (it was 13+ years ago and probably my most significant "overcoming" of anything).

2. I worked full time to pay for my mortgage and shit during college, thus proving how awesome I am at time management/prioritizing/snorting coke, etc. This is also a result of going to college a little later in life because I already had some semblance of an adult life established. This explains my lack of softs (few clubs, no internships, was just surviving my way through), but I know that lots of people work FT in college and it doesn't make me special. BTW, it wasn't any kind of amazing/interesting job (managing a coffee shop).

3. I am looking for a long term volunteer opportunity that I could parlay into a PS. I am concerned that it will appear disingenuous if I only did it for the last few months before applying to law school. To be fair, I would have done it regardless because I am used to FT work and school and am finding that I have a lot of spare time now that I've graduated. Edit: yeah, this is a terrible idea. Fake fake fake.

Thoughts?

My numbers are looking to be extremely competitive for the schools I'm applying to because I'd like to minimize my debt so the PS needs to be serviceable, but I don't expect it to be the crux of any decisions. I'm a numbers candidate and I know it (frankly, it makes me happy), but I still have to attach one of these things to get my app in review.
Last edited by filmoreslice on Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ben4847
Posts: 789
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:38 pm

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby ben4847 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:42 am

I think door number 1 is good, but I don't think it should be structured as "overcoming adversity". I'd structure it to just be about the mental and emotional process that brought you back to school and then to law school.

User avatar
tmon
Posts: 1242
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:52 pm

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby tmon » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:53 am

Don't do 3. In admissions terms, you're a non-traditional applicant, and this isn't a bad thing by any means. In fact, I think you need to play up the experience you have over the vast majority of other applicants. I'm not saying that your topic should be "I'm more mature than everyone else and here's why," but something along the lines of "Here's some things that've happened in my life that show everything I've overcome and that makes me ____(mature/experienced/ready to start law school/whatever fits here)" makes a lot of sense I think. It'd be easy to have to wide a focus with this idea, but picking an example or two that shows what life has taught you and how that makes you a better person would really help make your app cohesive I bet.

User avatar
filmoreslice
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:00 pm

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby filmoreslice » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:14 am

Thanks! Y'all are leaning the same direction I am, I just was't sure if it was relevant because it was so long ago. I keep reading how the PS should address accomplishments obtained while in college and the situation that makes it a good story was a long time ago but is something that I carry with me always (especially since I still live in the same smallish town).

As I reread #3 now, I realize how awful it sounds (again, I'm doing it anyway for my own benefit, but know that something that happened in the last few months before applications go out has almost nothing to do with the app itself). Noted.

Or perhaps it should be about my learning to overcome my love of parenthesis and semicolons.

Thanks lots and keep it coming!

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby cinephile » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:29 am

I don't know where people get the idea that a PS should be about overcoming adversity. A PS should be about selling yourself, it's a substitute for an interview. Would you talk about adversity in an interview?

Write a narrative about something that you did really well. Like, pick a moment during all your work experience and write about it, like the experience of managing a coffee shop, your responsibilities, your successes with finances and employees, etc. make it relatable and show that you can juggle multiple things at once and excel at all of them.

User avatar
tmon
Posts: 1242
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:52 pm

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby tmon » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:01 am

cinephile wrote:I don't know where people get the idea that a PS should be about overcoming adversity. A PS should be about selling yourself, it's a substitute for an interview. Would you talk about adversity in an interview?

Write a narrative about something that you did really well. Like, pick a moment during all your work experience and write about it, like the experience of managing a coffee shop, your responsibilities, your successes with finances and employees, etc. make it relatable and show that you can juggle multiple things at once and excel at all of them.

Everyone wants the rare kind of PS that makes people drop their jaws because the story is so good it sells and writes itself. Obviously something that writes itself and is super effective is ideal. But of course, only so many people actually have a story like that.

User avatar
jkpolk
Posts: 887
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:44 am

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby jkpolk » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:17 am

id do 2, but make sure you highlight the blow and hookers- makes you seem more "hip" and less "least interesting person ever"

User avatar
dingbat
Posts: 4976
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:12 pm

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby dingbat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:20 am

filmoreslice wrote:1. Long road to school, blah blah blah. I dropped out of high school, worked in retail forever, realized that I was peaking at 25, quit and started college at 26. I think it might be an interesting story arc, but most of it happened quite a while ago. Also, is "overcoming" the drop-out situation good, or does the whole situation reflect poorly on me and as such should not be brought up (it was 13+ years ago and probably my most significant "overcoming" of anything).

This.
Realizing you're on a stagnant course is not "overcoming" or "adversity", but it is a sign of maturity. Play the maturity card. The fact that it happened a while ago doesn't matter. You realized you wanted more out out of life, so you went to college. Then (insert reasons here) made you long for a career in law (if you can be specific, good, if not, no worries)
The narrative is how you got from a dead-end job to wanting to go to law school (and, if possible, what you want to do thereafter)

filmoreslice wrote: I keep reading how the PS should address accomplishments obtained while in college
That's only for people who are in, or fresh out of, college, and who have nothing else to write about.

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby cinephile » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:35 am

tmon wrote:Everyone wants the rare kind of PS that makes people drop their jaws because the story is so good it sells and writes itself. Obviously something that writes itself and is super effective is ideal. But of course, only so many people actually have a story like that.


But a jaw-dropping story, to me at least, wouldn't have anything to do with adversity. It'd be like, I conquered 5 billion tigers single-handed while climbing Mount Everest at the age of 2. People complain all the time that they're white, male, and middle-class, as though being so means they're incapable of doing anything interesting with their lives. It's a cop out and it's putting the burden of their boringness on their socioeconomic/racial/gender status rather than accepting the fact each of us is responsible for making our lives meaningful.

User avatar
filmoreslice
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:00 pm

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby filmoreslice » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:43 am

OK, I'm going with the first one for sure after refining what it's meant to convey about me. Off to draft.

Also, I apologize if I came off too flippant and rubbed anyone the wrong way; I've spent way too much time in the LSAT wait thread and may be losing my mind at this point.

Thanks to all!

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13907
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: PS topics for the least interesting person ever

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:45 am

My advice is to write about what makes you 'you.' If I asked your closest friends and family members about you, what is something they would all mention? It could be something as simple as 'he likes to tinker with his car' or 'he learned to cook vegetarian after he got married.' It might be hard to write an entire essay on vegetarian cooking (although it could totally be done), but I believe that including personal details like this can make an otherwise sterile essay a lot more personal. And it is a personal statement, after all.

In my mind, the PS serves these functions, in this order:
1. Introduce yourself as a person to the adcoms
2. Show you can write well (and follow instructions)
3. Illustrate some positive qualities or skills you have that--just coincidentally--would be useful for a lawyer/law student
4. OPTIONAL Explicity explain why you want to go to law school and/or why you would do well in law school

I also belong to the 'bang out some words and see what happens' school. Don't worry so much about structure or content, but squish out some paragraphs on whatever personal details you came up with. Tell a short story or two about specific people/places/incidents/situations. Don't worry about how they connect or how they illustrate useful qualities until you've written for a while. Then see if the bits you've come up with can connect in anyway.

I am also an uninteresting person without adversity in her life. If you want to read what I eventually used as my PS, PM me. It was a solid, if not spectacular, essay.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.