DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Showboat
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:16 pm

DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.

Postby Showboat » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:09 am

Hi everyone, please have at it. This is only a second draft. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated and I am willing to reciprocate. I'm at 655 words, but have a 700 word limit to work with.

Nothing could have prepared me for the shock and range of emotions that I felt on that cold and overcast on the outskirts of Berlin. As I passed through the main gate of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and its hopeful, yet cruel slogan, Arbeit Macht Frei – work shall set you free, I was transported sixty-five years back in time. It was not hard to imagine thousands of emaciated faces staring back waiting for their horrific end or jubilant liberation. Entering the premises, several contradictory thoughts and emotions struck me. I was repulsed yet drawn in. Depressed but mentally stimulated. Beaten but defiant.

The experience was very significant for me. My studies of World War II and the Holocaust instantly became more than history lessons and words on paper. In a single moment, I felt an instant connection with Hitler’s victims and wished I could have done something to protect them, while being immensely proud of my grandfathers’ roles in freeing Europe from Nazi tyranny. While wishing I could have done something to help the past victims, I realized that there are countless victims at home today that need representation. The legal profession draws upon my interest in justice and offers me the chance to represent the victims, in either an investigative or a prosecutorial manner, and seek justice on their behalf. The theme of my trip to Sachsenhausen is summarized best by Edmund Burke’s observation that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I simply refuse to stand idly by as criminal elements terrorize the innocent at home.

In addition to having a strong moral compass and desire to protect others, I have always been very inquisitive and interested in the pursuit of knowledge, and am willing to step out of my comfort zone in that pursuit. As an undergraduate in California State University, Northridge's economics department, I chose to complete an independent study in econometrics because I wanted the unique challenge offered by an unstructured class in a difficult subject. As I thrive in complex and overwhelming situations, I believe that I have the character and cognitive capability to excel in such work. I chose to conduct my analysis on the relationship of different socioeconomic factors to reported crimes. After examining decades of data compiled by the FBI and the San Diego Police Department, and repeatedly checking my own calculations, I discovered that not one single factor had a higher correlation to reported crime than any other did. I privately concluded that if the roots of crime were not statistically identifiable for isolated prevention, then enforcement and prosecution would be my path to protecting the innocent.

I have gained exposure to the law through my work at XXXXX Federal Credit Union as a Fraud Investigator. In my role as an investigator, I am responsible for processing members' claims quickly and ensuring the credit union recovers its losses. This often involves legal research on my part due to the complex and ever-changing legal issues surrounding financial transactions. I have worked closely with our internal legal department regarding transaction, collection, and banking law. Additionally, I have had countless opportunities to work with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to further my cases, and their own. I have seen the law in action and its complexity and variety intrigues me.

My extensive world travel will continue to influence my study of the law, as it has already piqued my interest in applying it toward criminal justice. My travels have taken me from the horrors of Sachsenhausen to the open and pristine beaches of Australia and brought me into contact with a diverse group of people. My varied experiences will give me greater insight to the nature of my work, while improving my capability to relate with classmates, coworkers, and clients. As a law student, I look forward to sharing my experiences with my classmates and learning from theirs.

canarykb
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:56 am

Re: DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.

Postby canarykb » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:30 am

Nothing could have prepared me for [Cliched phrase. Definitely don't open with one.] the shock and range of emotions that I felt on that cold and overcast on the outskirts of Berlin. As I passed through the main gate of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and its hopeful [Hmmm I never considered this hopeful.], yet cruel slogan, Arbeit Macht Frei – work shall set you free, I was transported sixty-five years back in time. It was not hard to imagine thousands of emaciated faces staring back waiting for their horrific end or jubilant liberation. Entering the premises, several contradictory thoughts and emotions struck me. I was repulsed yet drawn in. Depressed but mentally stimulated. Beaten but defiant.

[I bolded repetitive language in this paragraph]The experience was very significant for me. My studies of World War II and the Holocaust instantly became more than history lessons and words on paper. In a single moment, I felt an instant connection with Hitler’s victims and wished I could have done something to protect them, while being immensely proud of my grandfathers’ roles in freeing Europe from Nazi tyranny. While wishing I could have done something to help the past victims, I realized that there are countless victims at home today that need representation. The legal profession draws upon my interest in justice and offers me the chance to represent the victims, in either an investigative or a prosecutorial manner, and seek justice on their behalf. The theme of my trip to Sachsenhausen is summarized best by Edmund Burke’s observation that “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I simply refuse to stand idly by as criminal elements terrorize the innocent at home. [You have to really back this statement up if you're going to say it. I don't think you've done that yet.]

In addition to having a strong moral compass [cliche] and desire to protect others, I have always been very inquisitive and interested in the pursuit of knowledge, and am willing to step out of my comfort zone in that pursuit. As an undergraduate in California State University, Northridge's economics department, I chose to complete an independent study in econometrics because I wanted the unique challenge offered by an unstructured class in a difficult subject. As I thrive in complex and overwhelming situations, I believe that I have the character and cognitive capability to excel in such work. I chose to conduct my analysis on the relationship of different socioeconomic factors to reported crimes. After examining decades of data compiled by the FBI and the San Diego Police Department, and repeatedly checking my own calculations, I discovered that not one single factor had a higher correlation to reported crime than any other did. I privately concluded that if the roots of crime were not statistically identifiable for isolated prevention, then enforcement and prosecution would be my path to protecting the innocent. [Hmmmm... I mean, there are a lot of studies that do identify points of crime prevention, it seems kind of odd to write them off. Especially because reported crime rates is can be very different than actual crime rates and there are many factors that impact what crimes are reported.]

I have gained exposure to the law through my work at XXXXX Federal Credit Union as a Fraud Investigator. In my role as an investigator, I am responsible for processing members' claims quickly and ensuring the credit union recovers its losses. This often involves legal research on my part due to the complex and ever-changing legal issues surrounding financial transactions. I have worked closely with our internal legal department regarding transaction, collection, and banking law. Additionally, I have had countless opportunities to work with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to further my cases, and their own. I have seen the law in action and its complexity and variety intrigues me.

My extensive world travel will continue to influence my study of the law [You've only talked about one trip so far, weird to bring up world travel in the conclusion.], as it has already piqued my interest in applying it toward criminal justice. My travels have taken me from the horrors of Sachsenhausen to the open and pristine beaches of Australia and brought me into contact with a diverse group of people. My varied experiences will give me greater insight to the nature of my work, while improving my capability to relate with classmates, coworkers, and clients. As a law student, I look forward to sharing my experiences with my classmates and learning from theirs. [This conclusion has so little to do with the rest of your statement!]

This statement is incredibly disjointed to me. There is no common thread here, so it feels more like a resume dump, with the addition of an anecdote about Sachsenhausen. You've made a lot of different claims about your character, but without a common thread I don't really see how they piece together, and despite all the info, I don't get a strong sense of who you are. Some of the cliched phrasing I pointed out also detract from hearing your personal voice. The anecdote about visiting a concentration camp is such a weighty start. Nothing you've followed up the statement lives up to the gravity of the first two paragraphs, if you know what I mean. Genocide to banking law, it's a little odd.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:30 am

Isn't "shock" an emotion ? If so, then your first sentence needs to be revised.

Showboat
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:16 pm

Re: DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.

Postby Showboat » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:02 am

Thank you! This is exactly what I needed. I knew I didn't like parts if it but I needed an objective party.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:20 am

Just read your PS. Overall, it is not well written & lacks an organized structure since there is no consistent theme.

P.S. I agree with the above reviewer on all points except regarding your use of "hopeful".
Try to avoid misusing the words "countless" & "unique".

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WhiteyCakes
Posts: 1390
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:38 pm

Re: DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.

Postby WhiteyCakes » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:22 am

On another note, how can you "constructively destroy" something?

WhiskeynCoke
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:12 am

Re: DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:37 pm

DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.


You asked for it.......

As I passed through the main gate of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp and its hopeful, yet cruel slogan, Arbeit Macht Frei – work shall set you free


This sentence highlights the main problem you have in including a reference to the Holocaust in your personal statement, especially when you fail to articulate any truly personal connection with it: It's in incredibly poor taste. Much like the Holocaust as a whole, this statement on the main gate was not "hopeful" but sadistic and HOPELESS. As a self-proclaimed student of the history of the Holocaust, what exactly do you think the Nazi's meant by "set you free?"

Essentially, your personal statement consists of an impersonal and seemingly arbitrary emotional appeal to the horrors of the Holocaust as a motivator for you to "save the world," followed by a summary of your resume. This is a very bad format that comes of as rambling because it doesn't work as a coherent whole and has no structure or direction.

DO NOT talk about the Holocaust without a REAL PERSONAL CONNECTION to it. For example, if your grandfather died in Auschwitz but your grandmother survived, thats a justifiable reason to include such a reference in your PS. The fact that you visited a camp once, thought the Holocaust was bad, and now you want to save the world seems very forced and tasteless. Come on dude, seriously.. its the HOLOCAUST.

Here's my advice:

- Scale back the whole "save the victims of the world" BS. It's overdone and cheesy. Get a better angle. You can express
your passion in Public Interest in a much better, less cliche way.
- No Holocaust references. Come on.
- Don't waste valuable space summarizing your resume.
- OUTLINE your PS. Make the structure COHERENT and make the paragraphs CONNECT and FLOW.

Honestly, you gotta start over. Figure out a theme a stick to it. You're all over the place here.

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worldtraveler
Posts: 7669
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: DESTROY IT! Constructively though...please.

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:36 am

This topic is honestly terrible. You also end up in a place entirely unconnected from where you started.

Just start over. Sorry, but it's true.




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