Is this too weird?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Is this too weird?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:46 pm

I used to be bothered by the look of confusion most respond with when I tell them my wife and I were both 20-years-old when we married. Sometimes they briefly pause, brow furrowed, and wait for me to tell them I am only kidding. Usually they follow by asking how old our child is or what their name is, attempting to subtly confirm that the wedding was a response to an unexpected pregnancy. They are even more bewildered to learn that the wedding wasn't a result of “doctor’s orders.” It was a choice, I tell them, and one I would make again without hesitation.

Being a 20-year-old husband meant I had to establish a plan for the future, which was suddenly a very real concept. Failure would vindicate the expectations of those who were dismissive of our decision, which I refused to let happen. Before I was married law school always seemed like an eventuality. The speech trophies and summers of debate workshops made it appear to be the obvious choice. But with new responsibility as a husband, the decision became murkier. Law school meant debt and an uncertain job market. The ambiguity that came with law school represented risk and the potential to fail. Conversely, a guaranteed job in accounting, my undergraduate field of study, would come at the expense of the career as an attorney I had prepared for and felt called to.

I had time to consider my choice while working for [company], where I quickly embraced the ethos of small business. [company] had grown rapidly from the founder’s garage to a publicly traded [dollar amount] million industry leader. Despite its growth the company’s culture was able to retain the mentality that it was “us against the world,” the same attitude I had developed toward those who loaded the dice against my young marriage’s success.

This outlook pushed me to work harder and smarter, as if the company’s battle with competition would be won or lost by my performance. The success of my output, I felt, did not just end in a paycheck, but was a way I could help build a company that put food on the table of [company]’s ever increasing number of employees. The potential that I saw to have an immediate impact on real people and families (like my own) was central to the decision that my career should be spent facilitating business growth in communities.

This new passion for small business provided context for my choice between law school and accounting. Accountancy teaches rules and how to apply them; an accountant creatively solving problems results in a visit from the SEC. A CPA has the narrow set of skills necessary to help maintain a business’s performance. However, maintaining a company’s status is not my goal—the creation of successful, sustainable growth is. Law school, on the other hand, gives students the expertise necessary to create this growth as it hones students' ability to reason and analyze in a broad sense. Law school teaches students how to make decisions for which there may not be codified rules or guidance. The opportunity to offer small businesses this ideal intersection of skills after studying accounting as an undergraduate and graduation from law school outweighs any risk law school presents, I decided.

As I am frequently reminded, the chances of a young marriage succeeding are less than favorable and the legal market is purportedly bleak for graduates. But neither outcome is determined by a roulette spin, governed solely by chance. While the acceptance of some risk is necessary, when combined with the proper drive, determination, and perspective, this minimal risk promises to pay tremendous dividends. I look forward to bringing a unique, multidisciplinary outlook to [law school] and bearing its standard after I graduate and work to enrich communities through small business growth.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby rinkrat19 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:04 pm

I'm not sure "I know the hiring market in your field sucks but I am a special snowflake who laughs in the face of statistics" is the best topic.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:23 pm

That's a concern I had. The risk of law school is related more to the ambiguity of passing on a guaranteed job than the shitty legal market. What can I do to characterize it that way?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:13 am

Ironically, this personal statement suggests that maturity & knowledge of accounting's role in business are not your strong suits. Additionally, your writing is weak in that you use too many words to express thoughts lacking in depth.

P.S. As hinted by another poster in this thread, your PS portrays law school as an irrational decision.

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red52
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby red52 » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:22 am

My problem is fairly easy to fix in that you don't use personal pronouns in the paragraph in which you simply define what skills and abilities law school gives you. I am almost positive law schools know what law school gives its students. Instead, I would focus on what you believe law school will give you, and instead of defining accounting, simply explain why accounting will not suffice as your sole form of education on a personal level.

IE, this paragraph seems very weak and hard to be personable with to me because to personalize it you only add "i decided" at the end. Focus more bringing your goals to light (personal pronouns and a narrative style help extremely with this kind of thing and will add to the depth in which schools will feel they know you)

Anonymous User
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:15 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Ironically, this personal statement suggests that maturity & knowledge of accounting's role in business are not your strong suits.


Would you mind explaining this more? I can assure you that I am very familiar with the day-to-day role of accounting. Would a better angle be that accepting a job offer with a Big 4 accounting firm would relegate me to working only with huge, multinational corporations rather than new startups?

CanadianWolf wrote:Additionally, your writing is weak in that you use too many words to express thoughts lacking in depth.


Are there any specific examples of this that jump out to you?

Anonymous User
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:16 pm

red52 wrote:My problem is fairly easy to fix in that you don't use personal pronouns in the paragraph in which you simply define what skills and abilities law school gives you. I am almost positive law schools know what law school gives its students. Instead, I would focus on what you believe law school will give you, and instead of defining accounting, simply explain why accounting will not suffice as your sole form of education on a personal level.

IE, this paragraph seems very weak and hard to be personable with to me because to personalize it you only add "i decided" at the end. Focus more bringing your goals to light (personal pronouns and a narrative style help extremely with this kind of thing and will add to the depth in which schools will feel they know you)


Thanks for the input. I'll retool and post again.

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AlanShore
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby AlanShore » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That's a concern I had. The risk of law school is related more to the ambiguity of passing on a guaranteed job than the shitty legal market. What can I do to characterize it that way?

I dealt with this issue too-- I have a very good job with good career opportunities but I'm going to law school. I ended up not addressing that in my PS. I think adcomms will look at your WE and realize that you're foregoing your current career for a new one. I asked around and most people thought it was tacky to point it out to adcomms.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:29 pm

CPAs often turn losing businesses into profitable ones by identifying areas in need if improvement & by focusing on & expanding high profit centers.

Regarding the second comment, my impression is that your overall message could be stated in half the number of words used because there just isn't much substance. Essentially, you know that getting married young carries a high risk of divorce & that law school carries a high risk of financial & career failure, but you're going to do it anyway. Accounting limits your job functions & lawyers make decisions without being limited by codified rules or guidance---both of which are not correct, in my opinion,--therefore a law degree will make you a better businessperson. This suggests that you really don't know what you're getting into & where you've been. Seems as if an MBA might be a better degree for you than a JD.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:12 pm

I appreciate your post, patronizing tone notwithstanding.

CanadianWolf wrote:Regarding the second comment, my impression is that your overall message could be stated in half the number of words used because there just isn't much substance.


Is there anything specifically you suggest cutting out and/or adding?

CanadianWolf wrote:CPAs often turn losing businesses into profitable ones by identifying areas in need if improvement & by focusing on & expanding high profit centers.


Making a business profitable is not the same as growing sustainable small business. But that is a distinction I need to clarify.

CanadianWolf wrote:Accounting limits your job functions & lawyers make decisions without being limited by codified rules or guidance---both of which are not correct, in my opinion,--therefore a law degree will make you a better businessperson.


I don't say either of those things ("A CPA has the narrow set of skills necessary to help maintain a business’s performance" vs. "Law school teaches students how to make decisions for which there may not be codified rules or guidance") but again, another distinction that needs clarification.

This suggests that you really don't know what you're getting into & where you've been. Seems as if an MBA might be a better degree for you than a JD.


Thanks, I guess.

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ashockofpink
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Re: Is this too weird?

Postby ashockofpink » Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:32 pm

I agree with the other users who suggested a "focus shift". Labeling yourself as a young husband is important but, as you said, it was a choice you'd make again so discussing the difficulties of it multiple times is somewhat redundant in my opinion. Then you shift to your working in another field - a risky move. I'd say stick with one: how getting married made you hold off on your dreams and what that experience has taught you OR how you came to the decision to transition in job fields. If I had to choose, I'd focus on the former. It lends itself to an interesting story and you can touch upon your business experience without making law school sound like a last-ditch effort - major major no-no.

Furthermore, don't remind the schools of how shit the market is. Don't talk about 'chance'. Sorry to be blunt but they know it, we know it, and apart from the fact that we don't want to be reminded of it, it doesn't mesh all that well with you having to choose accounting over law for the stability it offers. If that's the case, why bother applying? The determination bit is good, but - no offense meant - no matter how good your numbers are, there are plenty of other willing candidates who have been working years towards applying this cycle and saying you're willing to gamble away loads of money but that YOU can be a success story without backing it up... ehh. Talk about your passion, your dedication, what you can bring to the table.
How has your young marriage impacted you? How will it benefit your family? What branch of law are you hoping to go into (if you know) and why? Besides simply saying you can bring a multi-disciplinary perspective - nearly every law school has a diverse and interesting school body - what IS that perspective? If you're choosing to focus on business, what made you change your mind? What can your prior accomplishments contribute to an already diverse group of students? If you ARE a beautiful unique butterfly/snowflake/whatever, tell us how.


TL;DR - Focus on either your early marriage OR your career path (preferably the first) and form a more coherent and precise statement that focuses on what you can bring to the table.


If you have any other questions or if you want to see my PS (which is in some ways similar to your early marriage, except reversed - pregnant at 17, birthmom, etc.) please feel free. Best of luck with the editing!




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