What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
WanderingPondering
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What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby WanderingPondering » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:52 am

If the realization that college isn’t going to last forever hasn’t hit by spring semester senior year, the last few months in college can be particularly stressful. Like most of my friends, I enjoyed school but had no idea what I should do after it was over. I took to my university’s job posting website and began sending resumes and cover letters all over the place. I applied to over 100 jobs, from places such as the Puget Sound, Miami, Texas, New York City and the Eastern European war torn country of Georgia. Luckily one of those applications turned into a job, and the unattractive potential of having to live at home was erased. My parents were happy, some of my unemployed friends were jealous, and I was mostly relieved. In the interview my future boss explained the company’s philosophy and objective, and I enthusiastically ensured him that we would be a perfect fit. It wasn’t until a friend asked me exactly what I was going to be doing at work that I started to have some doubt. I had no idea. Even worse, I never took the time to consider what I actually wanted to with my time after college.

I started work in good spirits, and I was thrilled to be living in my own Manhattan apartment. My responsibilities were reasonable enough; I put together presentations and dove deep in the world of Excel spreadsheets. I felt that I was contributing something valuable to the company, but was uncertain of its actual merit. If we increased our clients’ portfolio value rose by even 2% over the S&P 500, we had a tremendously successful year. The idea that our entire goal was making a handful of very wealthy clients just a tiny bit wealthier bothered me greatly.

I spent a great deal of time thinking about what I actually wanted to spend my time doing. Instead of making a difference of a couple percentage points on a spreadsheet, I wanted to make a real impact. At this point, I made three important decisions. The first and second are obvious, to quit my job and to apply to law school. The third decision is to travel in the time between taking the LSAT and starting school. I’ll be leaving the country with a one-way ticket to an island in the pacific, where I don’t know a single person. I intend to spend the roughly six months living cheaply, working on organic farms, and picking up odd jobs wherever I can. I have no illusions about what to expect, but instead am going to take whatever comes in stride. While my parents are pessimistically expecting the worst, I am thrilled about the opportunity. I admit it is a mostly selfish pursuit. I probably won’t make a lasting impact on anyone’s life or change anything in a meaningful way, but before I can help others I need to learn to help myself. For the first time since my second semester in college, I am moving confidently in the direction I want. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Last edited by WanderingPondering on Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CorkBoard
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby CorkBoard » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:57 am

Too boring.

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padawanphil
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby padawanphil » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:57 am

Didn't read the whole thing, but there was a typo in your first sentence *hit

WanderingPondering
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby WanderingPondering » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:58 am

Any suggestions? See any potential leads?

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inthebeginning
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby inthebeginning » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:06 am

I think it's fine. Not a unique story but written pretty well. I would think about if you really want to mention that you quit your job to study for the lsat. That's a pretty weak justification. You may want to avoid it altogether.

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inthebeginning
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby inthebeginning » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:08 am

inthebeginning wrote:I think it's fine. Not a unique story but written pretty well. I would think about if you really want to mention that you quit your job to study for the lsat. That's a pretty weak justification. You may want to avoid it altogether.


Sorry, I think I misread the last paragraph. You INTEND to quit your job right? Your job can be a strength for you so do why not just leave it open as to what you're going to do. They're going to know you will eventually quit.

CanadianWolf
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:09 am

Unfortunately, as written, your law school personal statement raises the question of whether or not you'll become demotivated while in law school or during a summer SA & seek another path. Your PS also raises the question of "Why law school for you ?" while suggesting that the answer is because your idealistic image of the legal profession has not yet been tarnished. In short, your PS does the opposite of selling yourself.

P.S. You write well.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

MarvinsRoom
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby MarvinsRoom » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:14 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Unfortunately, as written, your law school personal statement raises the question of whether or not you'll become demotivated while in law school or during a summer SA & seek another path. Your PS also raises the question of "Why law school for you ?" while suggesting that the answer is because your idealistic image of the legal profession has not yet been tarnished. In short, your PS does the opposite of selling yourself.


+1

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CorkBoard
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby CorkBoard » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:16 am

WanderingPondering wrote:Any suggestions?

You should pick a new topic.

WanderingPondering
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby WanderingPondering » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:24 am

Crap. Thanks for the insight.

I've been having problems finding a topic and am sort of resigned to a "safe" PS that flows well. Obviously one that works against me isn't what I have in mind. I'll to go back and see if I can close some of the problems you all mentioned.

Do all of you think its necessary to completely trash it?

CanadianWolf
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:26 am

No, but you need to rethink & redo the final paragraph. A major concern is that most law firms are concerned about helping their clients improve their situation whether measured in percentage points or not in order to improve the law firm's profits. The concluding paragraph makes clear that you are not yet ready for the real world of business--and law is a business.

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CorkBoard
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby CorkBoard » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:30 am

WanderingPondering wrote:Crap. Thanks for the insight.

I've been having problems finding a topic and am sort of resigned to a "safe" PS that flows well. Obviously one that works against me isn't what I have in mind. I'll to go back and see if I can close some of the problems you all mentioned.

Do all of you think its necessary to completely trash it?

I say yes, mostly because it is not developed and it also doesn't say much about you. I think you'd be wise to play with a few topics and see which one works best.

tigershark
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby tigershark » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:46 am

CorkBoard wrote:
WanderingPondering wrote:Crap. Thanks for the insight.

I've been having problems finding a topic and am sort of resigned to a "safe" PS that flows well. Obviously one that works against me isn't what I have in mind. I'll to go back and see if I can close some of the problems you all mentioned.

Do all of you think its necessary to completely trash it?

I say yes, mostly because it is not developed and it also doesn't say much about you. I think you'd be wise to play with a few topics and see which one works best.


Cork, it seems that I'm pretty much always in agreement with you.

OP, I didn't find your PS to be compelling at all. I thought it was on the boring side, didn't get my attention in the beginning (seemed kind of cliche, like something a student speaker says at graduation), and as Cork mentions, it doesn't say a whole lot about you.

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Br3v
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby Br3v » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:53 am

Am I the only one that sees the problem with this being that the school is going to think you area attending LS on a whim?

CanadianWolf
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:55 am

No, as that was noted above in a more subtle fashion.

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Br3v
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby Br3v » Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:57 am

Invested too much time in OP to dig deeply into comments I suppose

WanderingPondering
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby WanderingPondering » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:01 pm

Thank you all for the advice. I'm going to address what you guys are seeing and try to see if I can salvage the PS. If I can't, then it's on to the next one.

Clearly don't want schools to think I'm making a decision on a whim or that I wouldn't be motivated to see it through.

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Shooter
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby Shooter » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:12 pm

Definitely pick a new topic. This topic says nothing positive about you. I know picking topics can be absurdly difficult (especially if you haven't overcome some sort of unbelievable life-hurdle), but you really need to find something else.

WanderingPondering
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby WanderingPondering » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:23 pm

Shooter wrote:Definitely pick a new topic.


Can you guys give this a quick read through? Much of it is the same (first paragraph is the same until the last sentence), but I tried to address that I'm not going to school on a whim. I think it is stronger overall.

If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, and I really appreciate everyone's time and effort. If you want me to read through any of your PS please let me know. It's like my 3rd or 4th different first draft and I just am completely stuck.

Thanks TLS


If the realization that college isn’t going to last forever hasn’t it by spring semester senior year, the last few months in college can be unnecessarily stressful. Like most of my friends, I enjoyed classes but had no idea what I should do after it was over. I took to my university’s job posting website and began sending resumes and cover letters all over. I applied to over 100 jobs, from places such as the Puget Sound, Miami, Texas, New York City and the Eastern European war torn country of Georgia. Luckily one of those applications turned into a job, and the unattractive possibility of having to live at home was nullified. My parents were happy, some of my unemployed friends were jealous, and I was mostly relieved. In the interview my future boss explained the company’s philosophy and objective, and I enthusiastically ensured him that we would be a perfect fit. It wasn’t until a friend asked me exactly what I was going to be doing at work that I started to have some doubt. I had no idea. Instead of actively pursuing what I wanted to do, I passively accepted the first opportunity that came my way.

I started work in good spirits, and I was thrilled to be living in my own Manhattan apartment. My responsibilities were reasonable enough; I put together presentations and dove deep in the world of Excel spreadsheets. I knew that I was contributing something valuable to the company, but was uncertain of its actual merit. If we increased our clients’ portfolio value rose by even 2% over the S&P 500, we had a tremendously successful year. The idea that our entire goal was making a handful of very wealthy clients just a tiny bit wealthier bothered me. Even worse was how little our efforts could affect the results. There was no pretense of knowledge, and we were resigned to accepting fluctuations well out of our hands.

I spent a great deal of time thinking about how I actually wanted to spend my time. Instead of making a difference of a couple percentage points in a portfolio that most clients never notice and we couldn’t guarantee or control, I wanted to make a real impact. At this point, I made two important decisions. The first is obvious, to apply to law school. While daunting, the intellectual challenge of law school and the chance to put myself in a position to help a person instead of a spreadsheet provides motivation even if my idealistic image of the law fades in time. While law is a business, it is also the living soil on which this country stands. The second decision is to travel in the time between applying and starting school. I’ll be leaving the country with a one-way ticket to an island in the Pacific, where I don’t know a single person. I intend to spend the roughly six months living cheaply, working on organic farms, and picking up odd jobs wherever I can. I have no illusions about what to expect, but instead am going to take whatever comes in stride. While my parents are pessimistically expecting the worst, I am thrilled about the opportunity. I admit it is a mostly selfish pursuit. I probably won’t make a lasting impact on anyone’s life or change anything in a meaningful way, but before I can help others I need to learn to help myself. For the first time since my second semester in college, I am moving confidently in the direction I want. And that makes all the difference in the world.

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Shooter
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby Shooter » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:52 pm

Answer this question honestly, "What does my PS say about who I am as a person?"

Right now, it seems like you are a little naive, a little entitled, and very idealistic.

Here's my best advice: Go to the pacific island. Write about your experiences there.

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06102016
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby 06102016 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:54 pm

..

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CorkBoard
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby CorkBoard » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:00 pm

Come back when you have a new topic. This needs to be scrapped.

WanderingPondering
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby WanderingPondering » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:19 pm

Shooter wrote:Answer this question honestly, "What does my PS say about who I am as a person?"

Right now, it seems like you are a little naive, a little entitled, and very idealistic.


Thanks. Going to ditch the topic. I agree with you on idealistic and naive. But hey, that's better than jaded. I'm not sure what gave off the tone of being entitled. If it's working hard for a while and saving some money to travel cheaply, I disagree.

But thanks everyone.

slack_academic wrote:
I think you should probably choose a different topic, one you can really write passionately about. The entire thing is flat at this point.


I'm not sure how to "write something I'm passionate about" I guess. For example, I love hiking and exploring and have been to some pretty neat places but not sure how that turns into a PS.

Do any of these topics sound promising? They don't to me.
- Experience as a college athlete
- Work experience (seemingly failed here)
- Academic experience (But what? I was an English major and didn't publish anything extraordinary in school)

I just have no clue where to go. I'm a white straight healthy male who hasn't had tons of adversity. I didn't have a sibling die when I was young, and my parents are both normal working people. I've never had to overcome a drug problem or a drinking problem. I guess I could develop a problem in the next couple weeks and then kick it, but that'd screw up with my LSAT drilling. It seems that everyone has a perfect crazy story about fighting a drug lord in Uganda while helping their new President write legislation for the formation of a new democratic nation. Dammit. /rant

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Samara
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby Samara » Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:20 pm

Why do you want to go to law school?

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meshugaat
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Re: What do you think?? Too cliche? Too boring?

Postby meshugaat » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:01 pm

WanderingPondering wrote:I'm not sure how to "write something I'm passionate about" I guess. For example, I love hiking and exploring and have been to some pretty neat places but not sure how that turns into a PS.

Do any of these topics sound promising? They don't to me.
- Experience as a college athlete
- Work experience (seemingly failed here)
- Academic experience (But what? I was an English major and didn't publish anything extraordinary in school)

I just have no clue where to go. I'm a white straight healthy male who hasn't had tons of adversity. I didn't have a sibling die when I was young, and my parents are both normal working people. I've never had to overcome a drug problem or a drinking problem. I guess I could develop a problem in the next couple weeks and then kick it, but that'd screw up with my LSAT drilling. It seems that everyone has a perfect crazy story about fighting a drug lord in Uganda while helping their new President write legislation for the formation of a new democratic nation. Dammit. /rant


Have you read through the thread with all the personal statement examples from those who have already applied? Not every one of them is about some tragedy or crazy story. You just have to figure out something unique to you, something that expresses who YOU are to people who are not familiar with you. None of us can tell you what specifically to write about because we don't know you. What interesting, fun, unusual, terrible, sad (etc. etc.) things have you dealt with?

Unless you can really make one of the above topics you listed interesting for the reader, stay away from them and figure something else out. Also remember that "interesting" is subjective, but if the majority of TLS goes against what you've written, chances are you should heed their advice and go in a different direction.

And this is coming from a white, straight, healthy female who hasn't had tons of adversity, a sibling death, abnormal parents, or a drug or drinking problem. Nor, to my recollection, have I ever fought a drug lord in Uganda (but there's still time for that). :wink:

What would you tell a stranger over drinks? If someone interviewed your family and friends about you, what would they say? And really, as Samara asked, why do you want to go to law school? How did you make the decision to apply?




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