PS Draft #3...MANY changes

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jared6180
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PS Draft #3...MANY changes

Postby jared6180 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:32 pm

In May 1998 I graduated from Topeka High School in Topeka, Kansas. I was raised in a strict religious home and church environment. I received repressive religious training that inculcated in me the belief that blind obedience based on limitless trust in church leadership, which had supreme knowledge of what was good for each individuals life within the congregation, was the principal way to live a good and holy life. My mother recently told me that she thought I was supposed to be a preacher, so college was never an important factor of how she raised me. To say that I lived in a black and white absolutist world would only begin to describe how I lived my life. This did not resonate in my mind though as the right way to live.

In an effort to break away from this environment I stopped attending church, and in May 2001 enlisted in the United States Army. Life without having my every move micromanaged was uncomfortable, so I thought I would find some solace in the structured environment of the US Military. This experience did not turn out as intended. I felt safe with the idea of being told what to do, and in the Army most places I could have gone would have provided this safety net for me. The Army however had other ideas and stationed me at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, a training post, and home of the Command and General Staff College, and Combined Arms and Services Staff School. At Fort Leavenworth officers out number the enlisted soldiers by about 5:1. It was now part of my job to correct officers that in any other environment would have been my commanding officer and beyond. With the exception of saluting the officers I treated Captains, Majors, Colonels, and Generals as though we were of equal rank, while also leading them through their short stay on post. It was a natural fit. I learned and grew into the system and into a leader quickly.

After my time in the Army I worked a few jobs to earn an income but never felt even slightly satisfied with where I was. The trajectory of my career looked as if it would be a long flat line as opposed to the upward trend I truly desired. In 2006 I took one or two classes and really did not apply myself, and my grades reflected it. The voices of the religious leaders in my childhood kept ringing in my head that college was just a waste of time and unimportant. I struggled with my desire to help others, making a comfortable income for my family and reconciling what my religious duty was.

A new pastor at a church I started attending in 2008 provided me with the resolution to my struggle. Using his life experiences as an example, he showed me it is possible to help others, make a good living and live a life that observes your personal and religious convictions. The three should not be exclusive to each other but rather inclusive with each other.

Life and the law are not just black and white. There are many shades of grey and room for growth within the law. In the long term I hope to effect the growth of the law and demonstrate it’s ability to be inclusive to all peoples of all statuses rather than to be rigid and exclusive of those of varying beliefs.

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nickb285
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Re: PS Draft #3...MANY changes

Postby nickb285 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:37 pm

Disclaimer: I'm starting the application process myself, just finished writing a first draft of my PS, so feel free to take everything I say with a sizeable grain of salt. With that out of the way...

You have a lot of interesting background experiences, but I don't see much of a connection to the law in any of them. You talk a lot about leadership, personal growth, etc. which is good, but there's nothing in there that builds to your desire to go to law school. Why are you picking law school as an avenue to effect change rather than, say, volunteerism or nonprofit work? Basically, your PS boils down to:

1. Harsh and rigid upbringing, black and white outlook, you weren't happy with it.
2. Joining the Army, gaining leadership skills, growing more comfortable with not taking direction.
3. You're not really sure what to do, work is unsatisfying, you've been told college isn't important. You want to help people, make a good living, and work out your personal faith.
4. Your pastor taught you that work, faith, personal life, and community service can all build from each other.
5. You want to go to law school and do something involving inclusiveness.

I don't see any real connection or segue between 1-4 and 5. Did you wind up going to college? I don't know. Is there something that really draws you to the law over other ways of serving the community? I don't know. What kinds of law-based activities do you feel could help achieve your goals? I don't know. Those are questions that need to be answered. You have a lot of good background, but this PS reads like you're not really sure what you want to do and you thought law school might be a good way to go, which is not the impression you want to give.

Again, just my two cents, as someone who has not yet finished applying himself.

collegebum1989
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Re: PS Draft #3...MANY changes

Postby collegebum1989 » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:24 pm

I agree with the above poster, your experiences are under-developed and your interest in law school doesn't show from your experiences.

I think you've got great material here, but you need to work on your overall idea. Think about the central theme you want to focus on in your PS, and then fit your experiences around this theme. Right now, it seems like you have 3-4 experiences which are connected well, but they don't relate back to a central theme. This, in effect, makes it tough to appreciate these experiences within your personal statement because you aren't building on the theme you introduce.

You can either build this theme around law school and fit your experiences around it, or you can create a theme and show how law school fits around it. Either way, if you are going to mention law school in your personal statement, make sure its substantial enough to be tied into your central theme.

Good luck!

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CorkBoard
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Re: PS Draft #3...MANY changes

Postby CorkBoard » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:32 pm

These experiences don't seem related to each other, and if they are, they aren't flowing well together. Find ONE topic and stick with it. You talk about there being shades of grey within the law, and while I'm assuming that is somehow supposed to relate to what you'd previously mentioned in your PS, it doesn't. At all.

If you want to use that topic, go ahead, but the connection has to be there or you can't use this for your PS.

This needs to be seriously rewritten.

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GirlStop
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Re: PS Draft #3...MANY changes

Postby GirlStop » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:00 pm

Your whole PS seems to be a description of the various things you tried, thinking it would be awesome, only to find that it wasn't a good fit. I don't think this is where you want to go with it because the first thing that comes to my mind is: what if law school turns out being another one of the things that won't work out for you? It may be helpful to think about WHAT you are trying to tell them because right now I don't feel like the reader would walk away knowing much about you.

What about religion ties into your interest in law?

jared6180
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:47 pm

Re: PS Draft #3...MANY changes

Postby jared6180 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:41 pm

i guess it is implicit, when it should be explicit. My old religion beat on me mentally and emotionally to the point I did not feel capable of being anything but a follower. It was only when I left that church that I started to feel like a human being, but even then I was not comfortable in my own skin. I am trying to bring this together with a feeling of overcoming a HUGE barrier keeping me from my potential in my younger years. BLAH! It is just not coming out correctly.

I have started a 4th version which discusses my introduction to the law and my feelings as a young child that EVERYONE should have a voice and an advocate, not just my fighting parents who both wanted to win custody of me. That really bothered me as a kid because my mom had an attorney, my dad had an attorney, and my paternal grandparents got an attorney for Grandparent's Rights, but nobody got an attorney for me, what about my opinion, I really felt someone should ask me my opinion.

anyhow, I just need to dig a little deeper. I have not always been comfortable talking about my past as it is just a complicated mess thanks to my family. I am not coming from a poverty stricken background, but I had a lot of other struggles growing up.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: PS Draft #3...MANY changes

Postby thelawschoolproject » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:56 pm

Some advice:

1). You seriously have a lot of material to work with, which is great. However, you need to pick just one of those situations. The strict upbringing is really interesting to me and I feel like I would use that information in a diversity statement. I would then use your experience in the military and becoming a leader as your personal statement.

2). Once you do figure out which singular topic you want to focus on, make sure that you center it on one moment or on one finite situation. Really exploit that situation, though. Make sure your audience understands all aspects of that particular situation. Right now your information is very surfacey and we don't get a lot of details about you. This will in large part be corrected once you narrow down your subject matter, but to keep yourself from falling into the same problem listen to the old adage of "show don't tell."

3). Make sure that your personal statement is actually personal. Right now it seems that your PS is a brief chronology of your life. You want to make sure that your personality and your struggle and your growth is captured as best you can in the personal statement. This is the only piece of your application where you can show the adcomm exactly who you are. You don't want to waste that time giving us general information that we could get by looking at the rest of your application.

Again, I think you have a lot of information to share and you potentially have really effective material to write with. Best of luck!

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GirlStop
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Re: PS Draft #3...MANY changes

Postby GirlStop » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:39 pm

Well OP, it looks like you have a lot to work with. In my opinion, the hardest part is getting words on paper and you are already there. Keep working at it, it'll come together ! :-) I'm currently working on my statements so I understand how frustrating knowing what you want to say, but not really knowing how to say it can be - it'll come together though!

bobbyh1919
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Re: PS Draft #3...MANY changes

Postby bobbyh1919 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:39 pm

Right now this just reads as a chronology of your life and then the statement that you want to go to law school. Strengthen that tie between your life experiences and desire to enroll in law school and the whole essay will suddenly become a lot stronger.

Also, try to open with a bigger bang. Right now it's just "I graduated from high school. My mother raised us in a strict religious home, etc." Try to hook the reader with something that jumps off the page a bit but doesn't go over the top.




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