PLEASE review my shitty PS

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BSC
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:11 pm

PLEASE review my shitty PS

Postby BSC » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:43 pm

While many may consider a major in mathematics to be an unorthodox pre-law degree, studying math is exactly what led me to pursue law school and a legal career. By applying lessons I learned in my math classes to my life, I realized that not only is a legal career a good professional fit for me but also that law is fits right in with my intellectual interests. Had I not decided to study math, I may never have reached the decision to apply to law school.

I arrived at XXX College planning to major in physics. And while I did immensely enjoy learning about physics, I found myself quickly becoming more drawn toward math. I interpreted the relationship between physics and math to be that physics was true only because math was true. This led me to adopt a naïve view of academic subjects that went something like the following: If social science is really applied psychology, and psychology is only applied biology, which is applied chemistry, which is applied physics, which is applied mathematics, then the only subject worth studying must be mathematics. It took a while, but I eventually realized the flaw in this reasoning. I could know all there is to know about math and yet know nothing about relationships, art, sports, or anything else that makes life fun. I have a high respect for math researchers; their results lead to life-saving and life-enhancing knowledge and technology. But I cannot spend my life so isolated in a single topic like that. I had to solve this problem.

The countless hours spent working on math problems taught me that sometimes what keeps me from making progress is getting stuck in the details and losing the big picture of the problem at hand. I recognized that just like how focusing on one part of a math problem could leave me lost, focusing too much on math as the end-all answer to everything left me lost in the world. I decided I needed to look at the bigger picture and become involved in more than just my math books. This led me to begin volunteering and getting involved with my school’s service learning program.

Since sophomore year, I have been volunteering one to two hours a week at XXX, an after-school program for inner-city students in XXX. I am responsible for helping elementary and middle school kids with their school homework along with special math and writing assignments from the program. Within a month of starting there, I was hooked. I realized that although sometimes I am not the best or most patient teacher, I really enjoy helping people solve their problems. My enthusiasm and reliability as a volunteer allowed me to be chosen to be a liaison for the program. My responsibilities in this role are to recruit and organize volunteers, plan reflection activities for the volunteers, and act as a liaison between [program] and [school] and between [program] and the volunteers. Through this role I learned that along with helping people solve their problems, I also enjoy administrative and organizational jobs. This realization is what pushed me to begin considering law as a career, but it took another big realization to finalize my decision.

That realization is that the same traits that attracted me to math and later philosophy are also traits of law. I love math for two reasons: its logical structure and the fact that it underlies most scientific activity. The logical flow from one line of a well formed proof to the next seems so natural and elegant, and any physicist or chemist must have a solid foundation in math. Philosophy, my minor, shares both these traits; it too is grounded in logical arguments, and it underlies the humanities. For example John Rawls devises his economic structure using logical and analytic techniques, and many literary criticism theories have their foundations in certain philosophies.

Realizing that these two traits are the common thread among subjects that interest me intellectually was the final push toward my decision to pursue law. Legal disputes and decisions are based on logical arguments derived from a set of premises, the relevant laws involved; this mirrors the methods used by both math and philosophy. Also law underlies all social and economic transactions; if businesses wish to conduct a merger, or if individuals decide to sell property, they have to do so within the context of law. My hunch that law fits in perfectly with my other academic interests has recently been verified by my visits to law school classes. I have never found anything about the psychology of criminals the least bit interesting. However, I found myself taking notes on my calendar while I was sitting in on a criminal law class introducing the concept of mens rea. Similarly, I have never been excited by reading about civil rights history, but sitting in a constitutional law class discussing the underlying legal intricacies of the cases leading up to Brown vs. Board of Education was as exciting to me as working on my senior math thesis.

For these reasons, I am very glad I decided to take up math. I may never have to take a derivative or write a formal proof again for the rest of my life, but the lessons math has taught me will have a continuing effect on my life through their influence on my decision to take up law.
Last edited by BSC on Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BSC
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:11 pm

Re: PLEASE review my shitty PS

Postby BSC » Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:46 pm

Something I already see is that there are a bunch of verb-tense problems. I'll fix those.

BSC
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:11 pm

Re: PLEASE review my shitty PS

Postby BSC » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:21 pm

Please?? I need to get apps in soon

User avatar
fruitoftheloom
Posts: 395
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:38 pm

Re: PLEASE review my shitty PS

Postby fruitoftheloom » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:57 pm

BSC wrote:While many may consider a major in mathematics to be an unorthodox pre-law degree, studying math is exactly what led me to pursue law school and a legal career. By applying lessons I learned in my math classes to my life, I realized that not only is a legal career a good professional fit for me but also that law is fits right in with my intellectual interests. Had I not decided to study math, I may never have reached the decision to apply to law school.

I arrived at XXX College planning to major in physics. And while I did immensely enjoy learning about physics, I found myself quickly becoming more drawn toward math. I interpreted the relationship between physics and math to be that physics was true only because math was true. This led me to adopt a naïve view of academic subjects that went something like the following: If social science is really applied psychology, and psychology is only applied biology, which is applied chemistry, which is applied physics, which is applied mathematics, then the only subject worth studying must be mathematics. It took a while, but I eventually realized the flaw in this reasoning. I could know all there is to know about math and yet know nothing about relationships, art, sports, or anything else that makes life fun. Instead of talking about these things, I would link it back to the chemistry/biology "and yet know nothing about the interaction between.." I think otherwise it kind of makes you sound asperger-y (as in, he was studying math to the exclusion of sports and relationships? really?) I have a high respect for math researchers; their results lead to life-saving and life-enhancing knowledge and technology. But I cannot spend my life so isolated in a single topic like that. I had to solve this problem. I would omit "I had to solve this problem" it sounds cliche and I think you can just leave it at "I cannot spend my life so isolated in a single topic like that".

The countless hours spent working on math problems taught me that sometimes what keeps me from making progress is getting stuck in the details and losing the big picture of the problem at hand. I recognized that just like how focusing on one part of a math problem could leave me lost, focusing too much on math as the end-all answer to everything left me lost in the world. I decided I needed to look at the bigger picture and become involved in more than just my math books. This led me to begin volunteering and getting involved with my school’s service learning program.

Since sophomore year, I have been volunteering one to two hours a week at XXX, an after-school program for inner-city students in XXX. I am responsible for helping elementary and middle school kids with their school homework along with special math and writing assignments from the program. Within a month of starting there, I was hooked. I realized that although sometimes I am not the best or most patient teacher, I really enjoy helping people solve their problems. My enthusiasm and reliability as a volunteer allowed me to be chosen to be a liaison for the program. My responsibilities in this role are to recruit and organize volunteers, plan reflection activities for the volunteers, and act as a liaison between [program] and [school] and between [program] and the volunteers. Through this role I learned that along with helping people solve their problems, I also enjoy administrative and organizational jobs. This realization is what pushed me to begin considering law as a career, but it took another big realization to finalize my decision.
Before this paragraph, you're doing a nice job of linking studying math with your development as a person which leads you to want to go to law school. This paragraph reads like "hey! in case you forget my resume, here's some cool stuff I did!". I would omit this program and instead, at the end of your prior paragraph just say "To get involved, I began volunteering. In this position I realized I enjoy helping people solve their problems, and I enjoy administrative and organizational jobs. This led me to consider law as a career." something like that.

That realization is that the same traits that attracted me to math and later philosophy are also traits of law. I love math for two reasons: its logical structure and the fact that it underlies most scientific activity. The logical flow from one line of a well formed proof to the next seems so natural and elegant, and any physicist or chemist must have a solid foundation in math. Philosophy, my minor, shares both these traits; it too is grounded in logical arguments, and it underlies the humanities. For example John Rawls devises his economic structure using logical and analytic techniques, and many literary criticism theories have their foundations in certain philosophies.

Realizing that these two traits are the common thread among subjects that interest me intellectually was the final push toward my decision to pursue law. Legal disputes and decisions are based on logical arguments derived from a set of premises, the relevant laws involved; this mirrors the methods used by both math and philosophy. Also law underlies all social and economic transactions; if businesses wish to conduct a merger, or if individuals decide to sell property, they have to do so within the context of law. My hunch that law fits in perfectly with my other academic interests has recently been verified by my visits to law school classes. I have never found anything about the psychology of criminals the least bit interesting. However, I found myself taking notes on my calendar while I was sitting in on a criminal law class introducing the concept of mens rea. Similarly, I have never been excited by reading about civil rights history, but sitting in a constitutional law class discussing the underlying legal intricacies of the cases leading up to Brown vs. Board of Education was as exciting to me as working on my senior math thesis.

For these reasons, I am very glad I decided to take up math. I may never have to take a derivative or write a formal proof again for the rest of my life, but the lessons math has taught me will have a continuing effect on my life through their influence on my decision to take up law.


Overall, I think that you have a good statement. I think it really only needs some minor tweaking. I will say that I think that your statement is very "safe" and won't stand out much. I think that if you have the numbers to get accepted where you want to go, that's fine. If not, you might reconsider the statement. I feel like your statement will just blend in with the thousands of statements the ad coms will read. And FYI - my statement is fairly 'safe' and 'blend-in' too. I'm not taking much risk on it, and that's a calculated decision on my part.

Good luck!

BSC
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:11 pm

Re: PLEASE review my shitty PS

Postby BSC » Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:20 pm

thanks for the feedback! Yea I know it's pretty safe. i honestly have nothing interesting to write about though. And i have a 3.88/171, and I doubt any personal statement I could write could give me a boost for HYS, so that's fine with me.

Eva_Bates
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:41 pm

Re: PLEASE review my shitty PS

Postby Eva_Bates » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:58 am

3.88 /171 in math? Not sure that you need a boost for HYS*, great numbers considering the subject.
*Disclaimer: may be completely wrong on that.

And yes, your statement is safe. But again, 3.88 majoring in math, and the physics link. Good job!

mmbowling
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:22 pm

Re: PLEASE review my shitty PS

Postby mmbowling » Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:20 pm

You use the word realization a lot. Try coming up with a synonym. Looks like a good start though.




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