Personal Statement First Draft, please critique

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Personal Statement First Draft, please critique

Postby technomedic » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:43 pm

I wrote this PS to be used generally for all of my applications, changing it only enough to meet length requirements of different schools. Please give this first draft of about 1300 words a thorough and constructive critiquing! Thank you for your time.

This will not be an average law school personal statement because I have made more mistakes than most applicants; mistakes that drive me to be the best version of myself by graduating from law school. I will utilize my skills as a Computer Scientist, IT consultant and as a self-taught small business owner to become an attorney of the highest caliber. In the journey since my freshman mistakes I have worked to become a healthy, honest and dutiful man with passion and a purpose; I will work to defend small businesses as an Intellectual Property and Patent attorney. Through my setbacks I have learned that easy victories do not make a man, the true measure of a man is in his readiness to mend his less proud moments into a large stack of well-earned and meaningful successes from which to draw strength.
After high school I was lucky to be accepted in mid July, 2006 by Northern Illinois University (NIU) after being denied admittance into my first and only choice, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Humility should have been my first reaction at being rejected from UIC, but unwavering hubris held me fast to the high opinion of myself that I had become so accustomed to. After only applying to UIC, I was forced to make a last minute application to NIU. I rationalized that the success of my late application to NIU resulting in admittance was a point of pride; I had once again gotten away with my recklessness and poor judgment. I was not being honest with myself about my foolish pride or the person I was turning in to, inside and out. At this point in my life, I was 285 pounds and smoking close to a pack of cigarettes a day.
The end of first semester brought a 1.6 GPA and academic probation. I rationalized to maintain my self-image; I scraped a C in a class having only taken four out of the five exams and thought this to be an accomplishment. This somehow proved to myself that I was going to do fine. After all, I had always scored in the 99th percentile in the Illinois Standardized Aptitude Test in the past. Next semester was going to be easier and I would skate through doing as little work as possible.
On a night nearing the end of the second semester, I was arrested for a Class C misdemeanor possession of cannabis. I plead guilty and received supervision on the condition that I attend Braden Counseling’s SOAR program for first time offenders. Even this did not dent my false confidence, and I soon found myself in a much worse position.
A few weeks later I was arrested again. This time it was possession of under an ounce of cannabis, I was charged with a Class A misdemeanor and placed in general population of DeKalb County Jail. That place gave me clarity of self unlike I had ever known; it was cathartic and terrible all at once. I had to come to terms with the person I had become.
I would not realize that my attorney had made an impact on the choice of my future career until a few years later. He was a man who saw the world so clearly; I needed to see the world from his eyes if I was to succeed in fixing my life. I had decided in jail on what sort of person I would strive to become and rejected the idea of continuing to self medicate with marijuana and self-deception.
I plead no contest to a Class 4 Felony with two hundred of community service and two years of non-reporting probation. This was a harsher sentence but a Class A misdemeanor would not be expugnable. I gladly took the opportunity for a clean record and a second chance. This was the most important decision I have made, before or since. It was the first time I could remember that I did not run away from something difficult. The next few years were permeated with a desire to become a man I could respect, I quit smoking, lost over ninety pounds, enrolled at College of Dupage (COD) and started a business to pay for school.
I currently run TechnoMedic, a small business medical and dental information-technology (IT) consulting firm. We provide services ranging from basic website design to deployment of complex IT infrastructures capable of supporting, monitoring and storing information from cryogenic freezers and medical testing machinery. Fertility and Cryogenics Center, LLC, of Downers Grove is currently providing the Chicago-land area with a full service medical testing lab using the aforementioned IT system.
The proper functioning of all the equipment in the lab, as well as the safe storage of medical data, has been evaluated to the strict standards required by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). This medical facility received these accreditations using servers, workstations and a network, all of which I designed and built. We have provided IT system design and support for many private practices, a few of which include Dental Vue in Des Plaines, Fox Glen Gastroenterology Clinic in Fox River Grove, United Family Health Centers of Gurnee and KidsPlace of Willowbrook.
It was with the revenue from these clients that I have been able to pay off the entirety of my tuition from the Associates of Arts I earned, graduating with honors from COD. I held a 3.7 GPA and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honors society. During my time attending COD I focused on Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, Philosophy and Anthropology; subjects which will all be useful to a career in law.
Upon graduation from COD, I was accepted to the Engineering College of UIC as a student of Computer Science. In my first semester at there I was invited to join Tau Beta Pi (TBP) Engineering Honors Society, the second oldest honors society in the nation. I have continued TechnoMedic while attending UIC, quit smoking for three years now and kept my weight off.
While studying Computer Science I was learning tools highly relevant to my work as an IT, and the business skills I learned from running my own business made technical presentations and speeches much more effective in class. These two facets of my new life have coalesced into budding skills that I know only the pursuit of a law career can manifest fully. I learned this with out a doubt while working with another small business.
A very small software design company I worked with suffered terrible luck. After months of development on a piece of software, they applied for a patent. They were denied due to a conflict with a patent owned by a larger company having only a design concept. They had no intention of developing the software; they intended to sell licenses for the idea. However, the license costs were exorbitant and the small company went under without the profits from their launch ready product.
My business skills coupled with my knowledge of IT systems and my formal training in computer science make me feel that I was born and bred to represent small companies in patent and IP disputes. I have never known injustice such as I watched them endure. The thought of losing my company owing to a larger company applying for patents that will never be used gave me a sense of duty that I cannot cast aside. I will pursue the path to IP/Patent Law relentlessly until I am defending a company too small to defend itself; my purpose is to pay back the large debt I owe for my second chance, my passion is defending small business.
I am very grateful having been able to cast my life in a direction that I feel good heading toward. I will continue to work as hard as I have these last 5 years, I can only hope that my next five years will be just as fortunate and rewarding.

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft, please critique

Postby fruitoftheloom » Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:56 pm

Okay so - some general comments. The personal statement is not the place to talk about weaknesses in your application. Completely remove the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs. They make you seem like an awful person. Don't tell the ad com people in your statement that you had a 1.6 and were an arrogant prick when you graduated from HS, or that you were 99th percentile in your Illinios whatever tests.

Tighten up the statement a lot. This is all over the place. If I were you, I would outline the statement something like this:

-Made a mistake ended up in jail
-Interacted w/ attny who influenced me in XX way
-moved on and opened IT business (keep this super short!! this info should be in your resume)
-Watched in horror as small company was crushed by large company
-Want to go rep small company.

I still think that outline is a pretty bland PS, but I think it is better than what you have.

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft, please critique

Postby jmsae » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:08 am

Don't tell the ad com people in your statement that you had a 1.6 and were an arrogant prick when you graduated from HS, or that you were 99th percentile in your Illinios whatever tests.

Now that you mention it, I definitely get the vibe of an arrogant prick.

Does anyone have constructive ideas to make this paper less bland? Maybe he could start by talking about how stank the grass was that the cops confiscated to get the adcomms interested? Realistically though, possibly a descriptive narrative of the "change" he underwent while in prison might bring enough pizazz if it details the appropriate points in a positive light..

Good luck Technomedic!

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft, please critique

Postby thelawschoolproject » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:23 am

OP, you need to carefully organize your PS and write another draft. The prose is hard to read, and it was a struggle to get through. I found myself stopping and forcing myself to re-start several times. The tone of your piece is in need of a lot of work, but more than that sometimes the sentences are completely incoherent. I'm sure you're trying to convey a positive message, but really sit down and think about how you want to present yourself to an adcomm. I doubt it's what you're doing right now.

I really suggest that you take some time and read some of the TLS PS advice:

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft, please critique

Postby technomedic » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:42 am

Thanks to all who posted replies.

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