Personal Statement First Draft. Input Appreciated!

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Personal Statement First Draft. Input Appreciated!

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:18 pm

This is my first draft. Rip it up please!

Three weeks after changing my major from political science to French, I received an alarming email: due to budget cuts, the French program at my university was to be discontinued. Students currently in the program had to finish their degree within two years and their French courses within one. If not willing or able, they would have to switch majors. While at first relieved that I had changed my major in time, I soon realized that I had to make a difficult decision.

I have loved languages for as long as I can remember. I have treasured childhood memories of my grandmother teaching me snippets of her native Italian. In middle school, I self-studied Spanish in anticipation of taking it in high school. However, when it came time to enroll, a good friend, wanting to explore his Cajun heritage, urged me to take French with him. Our small rural school did not offer French, so we had to take distance education courses via postal mail with Louisiana State University, <<redacted>> miles away. It was difficult learning a language through such an unconventional process. For French II, my school was able to let my friend and I enroll in an online course. While still not ideal, having access to audio files and submitting coursework through email was much less cumbersome than listening to cassette tapes and mailing my assignments.

I soon fell in love with the French language. One may then wonder why I did not consider it as a major more heavily earlier in my college career. This is largely because I could not see myself making a career out of the language; I saw it more as a hobby. I had decided early in college that I wanted to make a career in the legal field. My political science courses exposed me to the intriguing intricacies of the court system. I also learned that critical thinking and research skills are vital; given my skill-set and interests, it seemed like a great fit.

During my research into the law school application process, I learned that most schools urge prospective applicants to pursue whatever course of study they desire. Thus, I began entertaining the idea of majoring in French. I finally took the plunge at the end of my sophomore year. Yet, as mentioned previously, I was soon faced with quite an obstacle. My junior year would be full of upper-level French courses. I had had only one upper-level French course previously: a film class taught entirely in English. The notion of this French-intensive junior year was daunting. Ultimately, though, I decided to meet the challenge.

The first few weeks of class were intimidating. While there were a handful of students in the same predicament, most of the students in my classes were not, having had prior upper-level courses in the language. I found myself struggling to keep up. But I was determined to succeed. I put in long hours studying French grammar and phonetics, vocabulary and literature. It paid off; I ended the semester with all As, a feat I had not thought possible in the first few weeks of class.

My spring semester also went well. I was honored when I was asked to be a judge in the university’s annual Foreign Language Festival; I judged high schools students singing and performing plays in French. My spring courses, while tough, were not impossibly so, and I again earned all As. My senior year, I finished my general education requirements and earned minors in Creole studies and political science. I found my constitutional law course, in particular, very interesting, which renewed my enthusiasm for law school. As graduation drew near, I was pleasantly surprised when I was informed that I had won the Outstanding Graduating Senior award for French.

From distance education courses in high school to a grueling year-long journey in college, my experience with French was nothing if not unconventional. However, I did not let any setbacks stay my progress and in the end it proved very much worth it all. I am confident that I would bring the same enthusiasm and dedication to the study of law as I did to the study of French. I hope that I am granted the opportunity to embark on this new journey at <<law school>>.

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft. Input Appreciated!

Postby thelawschoolproject » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:57 am

OP, here are some thoughts:

1). I feel like your PS is far too bland. Essentially, your statement is entirely about your coursework. It's literally a list of all the classes you took and how well you did in them. This is information the adcomm can most definitely learn from your transcript.

2). I don't get a good sense of who you are. This is a significant problem. Your PS is the only time in your application that you can show who you are. Right now, you're not doing that. All I know is that you like French and you ended up pursuing French and yeah. So what? Isn't that pretty much what every student does? What is it about you that's interesting? If this is something you want to write about, consider focusing on the challenges that came with it as opposed to the listing of courses. Maybe there was one specific incident that was incredibly difficult for you? Focus on something small, but really try to exploit it so that the adcomm can get a better sense of who you are and how you handle difficult situations.

3). Adcomms enjoy seeing some type of evolution of an applicant. They want to see how you changed. This can be from a challenge/difficulty or some other situation. If this French thing is really what you want to stick with, show us how something about you was changed or altered for the better.

4). So, I'm not sure you want to make your PS about the French stuff. There has to be something that is more interesting about you. I mean if this French thing is actually interesting, then you need to show us why because right now it's difficult to see.

5). On a much lesser note, within the first few sentences you use the derivative of "to have" repeatedly. This slows down your writing and is super distracting. Just something to make note of.

Best of luck on you next draft!

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft. Input Appreciated!

Postby Cicero76 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:24 am

While interesting in the sense that your being good at French is a positive trait, this PS has essentially nothing to do with law school until its last sentence. Having to rush through your French degree is not a reason to enter law school, and as the poster above noted, I don't get a sense of you growing or changing in a significant way from this.

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft. Input Appreciated!

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:06 pm

Thanks for the critiques! I'll work on another draft.

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft. Input Appreciated!

Postby dproduct » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:30 am

I'm gonna go ahead and agree with thelawschoolproject on basically everything.

I will say, however, I really like that you kept the language very simple and succinct. Generally, it reads fast, easy, and clear.

But dig deeper. If you want to brainstorm topics, feel free to PM me and we can hash stuff out.

I think that this topic is best served in an essay about something more general about overcoming adversity. Or perhaps this little mishap changed you? Did your GPA change dramatically after this? Did this inspire you to involve yourself in a lot of things (if so, what)? Did it come at a time in your life when you were dealing with something personally daunting?

Try and connect this moment with other important moments that define you.

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