Is this a really weak intro?

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zabava
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Is this a really weak intro?

Postby zabava » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:58 pm

Hey guys, I think the whole application process has made me really unsure and doubtful of myself.
On the one hand, this is kinda what I want to say. On the other hand, I feel like this is a ridiculously weak intro. What do you think?

The vague notion that I want to be a lawyer first entered my mind in the polished office of the  smiling woman in a suit who was handling my family's immigration paperwork. I began seriously thinking about my future career path freshman year when I calculated that  I could finish my undergraduate studies a year faster. I was extremely interested in jurisprudence and believed that my critical and detail-oriented personality innately prepared me for the profession. What made up my mind about attending law school was a visit to X Law early sophomore year. After conducting more research, I realized that not only is the profession that I want to pursue, but that X law school, with its excellent program, opportunities and location is the place for me to acquire my education. 

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PinkCow
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby PinkCow » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:11 pm

My general advice would be to stop sweating the PS. People on this site freak out way too much about this topic. Unless you really want to go to Boalt or something, it really doesn't matter as long as it's not written in purple crayon.

Specific to your writing - it's all over the place. Each sentence sounds like it belongs in a different paragraph. Your 1st sentence is also so crammed with adjectives that it's hard to read. Figure out how to tie it together. It reads like an abstract more than anything.

endless_sekai
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby endless_sekai » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:25 pm

Definitely a weak intro. To be quite honest though, the intro is the hardest thing to write. What you have there really isn't an intro paragraph, but more of a general out line to how your PS should be. That is, I would use some attention grabbing story about that experience in the office. From there I think the rest of your sentences can be used as sort of themes to expand on. However, I wouldn't use the second sentence in its current form. Rather, I would piggyback it with the third and fourth sentence to create some sort of theme. ie after visiting law school blah, my commitment to law was only strengthened that much more. I had planned to spend 4 years in UG, but after that visit, I knew that the experience waiting for me in law school would be greater than any experience I could get in UG. I convinced my self to finish UG in 3 years and yatta yatta. Making sure to discuss why you were interested in law before visiting the school and what not.

Using a topic like that might be a little run of the mill, but you can still create a solid PS out of it. Its important to remember that since you a little doubtful of yourself, you don't need some PS that will knock the socks off every adcomm that sees it. You just need something that is solid, the easiest way to do that is to write something sincere, don't try and force it to be this grand project of writing. Try to connect with the connect to the adcomms by letting them see who you are and where you are coming from. Write this like how you would tell a story to your friend about your desire to go to law school. Obviously, don't be too informal, but be conversational enough where you can convey depth and warmth just like you would to a close friend.

Ti Malice
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby Ti Malice » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:12 pm

PinkCow wrote:My general advice would be to stop sweating the PS. People on this site freak out way too much about this topic. Unless you really want to go to Boalt or something, it really doesn't matter as long as it's not written in purple crayon.


I'm seeing this kind of comment more and more on TLS, and it's really not good advice. Numbers are obviously far and away the most important factor, but the PS and other components are important for people near the margins.

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CorkBoard
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby CorkBoard » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:54 am

Yes, weak. This sounds more like a conclusion than an intro.

zabava
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby zabava » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:03 pm

Thank you everyone a lot for the feedback! :-)

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spicyyoda17
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby spicyyoda17 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:06 pm

Ti Malice wrote:
PinkCow wrote:My general advice would be to stop sweating the PS. People on this site freak out way too much about this topic. Unless you really want to go to Boalt or something, it really doesn't matter as long as it's not written in purple crayon.


I'm seeing this kind of comment more and more on TLS, and it's really not good advice. Numbers are obviously far and away the most important factor, but the PS and other components are important for people near the margins.


+1

If you are above BOTH medians at those schools you want to attend, then yes, your PS is not a "big" deal (in other words, you don't need to blow them away; an essay that is "fine" will be just that - fine).

However, if you are not a shoo-in, then your PS is a VERY big deal. Yes, your LSAT/GPA are still more important, but the PS is #3. It can help fill in some holes in your application. A weak PS will push you to the reject pile if you are on the fence due to your #s; a strong PS will push you into the admit pile.

senorhosh
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby senorhosh » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:19 pm

spicyyoda17 wrote:
Ti Malice wrote:
PinkCow wrote:My general advice would be to stop sweating the PS. People on this site freak out way too much about this topic. Unless you really want to go to Boalt or something, it really doesn't matter as long as it's not written in purple crayon.


I'm seeing this kind of comment more and more on TLS, and it's really not good advice. Numbers are obviously far and away the most important factor, but the PS and other components are important for people near the margins.


+1

If you are above BOTH medians at those schools you want to attend, then yes, your PS is not a "big" deal (in other words, you don't need to blow them away; an essay that is "fine" will be just that - fine).

However, if you are not a shoo-in, then your PS is a VERY big deal. Yes, your LSAT/GPA are still more important, but the PS is #3. It can help fill in some holes in your application. A weak PS will push you to the reject pile if you are on the fence due to your #s; a strong PS will push you into the admit pile.



+2...?
"Numbers matter unless you are a splitter or you are at the border, than softs like PS matter".
It seems like TLS doesn't understand the concept of reach schools.
Obviously you aren't going to be applying to ALL SAFETY/TARGET schools. There will be some schools where your PS WILL matter. Those reach schools where you're a borderline candidate? Yeah you don't want a sloppy application.

Also, you can't say 100% that numbers are the ONLY thing that matters. Sure it might in some TT or TTT schools but TLS is assuming that we aren't applying to higher ranked schools. A good personal statement seems to be necessary (though not sufficient). Look at LSN. You see those yellow WL marks on the graphs among the sea of green (or sometimes it's even few green marks in a sea of yellow)? We don't know whether it was from their PS or another factor but who wants to take the risk?

Also there are THOUSANDS of applicants for each school. There are only HUNDREDS of data in LSN. We don't know how representative the data really is. Maybe applicants who spend a lot of time on LSN and TLS are more likely to spend more time on their app? Maybe not? What we do know is that we can't rule that out completely, so telling people the PS doesn't matter is generally bad advice.


To OP: Intro is a bit weak IMO. To add to what other's said, try to SHOW not tell.
One thing I like to do is start with a weak/rough intro, finish the rest of the PS, then go back to the intro to polish it up. That way, it can tie into the rest of the PS well. If you change the intro, you have to change the rest of the PS, whereas if you do the intro last you can mold it to fit the PS>

zabava
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby zabava » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:23 pm

Thank you everyone!
I don't know, I'm spending a ridiculous amount of time and energy on my personal statements.
Even for my safety schools, what is they don't accept me because they'll think I'm applying to them as safeties? Whereas if I have a tailored PS for each, then, you know...

Also, I totally changed up the beginning, if anyone would care to take a look - PM! I'll be glad to critique yours in report to the best of my ability :-)

Ti Malice
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby Ti Malice » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:52 pm

zabava wrote:Thank you everyone!
I don't know, I'm spending a ridiculous amount of time and energy on my personal statements.
Even for my safety schools, what is they don't accept me because they'll think I'm applying to them as safeties? Whereas if I have a tailored PS for each, then, you know...


Honestly, tailoring your PS for a given school doesn't mean much, because schools know that this is not particularly difficult to do. More often than not, in my experience, the tailoring seems an obstacle to the overall development and flow of a PS. So proceed with some caution there.

On the other hand, it's good you're taking the PS seriously. I don't know why the ridiculous notion that the PS doesn't matter is so prevalent on TLS these days, but the idea needs to die a hasty death.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Is this a really weak intro?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:16 am

zabava wrote:Hey guys, I think the whole application process has made me really unsure and doubtful of myself.
On the one hand, this is kinda what I want to say. On the other hand, I feel like this is a ridiculously weak intro. What do you think?

The vague notion that I want to be a lawyer first entered my mind in the polished office of the  smiling woman in a suit who was handling my family's immigration paperwork. I began seriously thinking about my future career path freshman year when I calculated that  I could finish my undergraduate studies a year faster. I was extremely interested in jurisprudence and believed that my critical and detail-oriented personality innately prepared me for the profession. What made up my mind about attending law school was a visit to X Law early sophomore year. After conducting more research, I realized that not only is the profession that I want to pursue, but that X law school, with its excellent program, opportunities and location is the place for me to acquire my education. 


This is a bit of a mess. How you might change things up:


My first time meeting a lawyer was also where my interest in law begin. The lawyer was [an immigration attorney?], and with her help my family [became U.S. citizens?]. [Add backstory about where your family is from and how that has influenced you as a person. Also, if applicable, tie this into how you are possibly interested in a career in immigration law.]


Please do not include anything from below:
I began seriously thinking about my future career path freshman year when I calculated that I could finish my undergraduate studies a year faster. I was extremely interested in jurisprudence and believed that my critical and detail-oriented personality innately prepared me for the profession. What made up my mind about attending law school was a visit to X Law early sophomore year. After conducting more research, I realized that not only is the profession that I want to pursue, but that X law school, with its excellent program, opportunities and location is the place for me to acquire my education.


Why this isn't good for a PS:
1) The first sentence is useless. Why should an adcomm care that you were planning ahead as a freshman? Plenty of people do this and it doesn't create any sort of storyline or message about you.
2) The second sentence seems a bit odd. Jurisprudence is essentially legal philosophy. Most practicing attorneys have very little interest in reading stuff written by Hart or Dworkin. Maybe you just used the wrong word? Even if you replaced "jurisprudence" with "law," there is no storyline or message guiding this whatsoever. So what if you're critical and detail-oriented? Saying that means very little. If you have a story (or stories) that show this, then by all means focus your personal statement around that. But just claiming to be certain things is not helpful whatsoever. I'm brilliant, charming, and loveable. Did me saying that convince you of any of those things? It shouldn't because I haven't done a good job of painting a story that shows how I am those things, rather than just claiming that I am.
3) The last two sentences are unhelpful. What was "more research?" What programs about X law school? What about the location? You also portray yourself as a bit too confident as a sophomore to only be decided that law is the right career for you, but X school is perfect for you--especially since it appears you made this decision based on one law school visit (which doesn't really tell you anything about what being a lawyer is like) and some vague research. You're better off just leaving this out if that is really the extent of why you thought law was a good career fit. You don't have too answer "Why Law?" in your personal statement.




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