Personal Statement First Draft

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Personal Statement First Draft

Postby rgar07 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:53 am

Hi everyone, I'm a long time reader of the TLS forums and finally created an account tonight to join the fun. I took the LSAT last Sat and now have turned to working on my PS, hoping to get everything in by the end of the year. Started searching around for an online PS editing company but it seems that the consensus is to post it here first. With that, here is my first draft, kind of boring, as is my life, but it'll more than likely have to do. Any advice/criticism is greatly appreciated:

The first time I decided to be a lawyer and the first time I wanted to be a lawyer are two very distinct moments in my life, although they didn’t occur at the same time. After serving a two-year service mission for my church in Africa I found myself at age 21 and starting my freshmen year of college. I had taken a few accounting classes during high school to see what they were like and I had enjoyed them then. Having no better alternative, I decided I was going to be an accounting major. As I prepared to leave my family yet again, after being home from Africa for only a month, I sat down to register for classes and learn more about the accounting program. My dad sat next to me as I pulled up the course catalog. The first sentence I read was: “The following possible combinations illustrate the flexibility of the integrated Accounting major. If after graduation you are planning to…” And while I read through the options I had my dad read the fourth option aloud: “get a law degree, consider minoring in English or Political Science. That seems like a great idea,” he proclaimed. And it was settled. I suddenly went from being an accounting major to a pre law student, and I hadn’t even set foot within 1,000 miles of the university! Eventually I made it to Idaho and sat down in my first college class ever, Business Law. I sat at the back of the class and looked around in amazement at how many people there were. The professor stepped into the room and walked to the podium. “If you want to get an A in Business Law, drop my class and take it from somebody else. I don’t give A’s in this class.” I was bewildered. I sat there in shock for the next hour, scribbling some notes down when others did, and when class ended I abruptly got up, went to the library and dropped the class. And then it hit me. For the past month I had been wandering around doing what I was told to do. But that’s not who I was, or who I had learned to be. I had spent the last two years of my life serving and building and teaching and leading, only to come back to this wonderful country and sit back and follow. I had been pushed to my limits, overcome insurmountable challenges, been robbed multiple times at gunpoint, carried water miles to villages, been rejected at door after door after door and made it back in one piece and a better person. And for what? To be told by some grumpy old professor that I couldn’t earn an A in his class? I went straight back to his office, explained that I had dropped the class by mistake when I wasn’t thinking clearly and added it right back to my schedule, insisting that I would get an A. He told me not to be sorry with a B+ and I was back in the class. The second class period rolled around and at least half of the class had dropped. Again, the teacher encouraged those seeking high grades to find another section. After that I worked harder for that class than any other I can remember. I read the chapters in the textbook forwards and backwards. I put up a whiteboard in my apartment next to the TV, and much to the dismay of my roommates, constantly filled it with legal terms and definitions and then asked whoever was watching TV to quiz me on them. The first test rolled around and I was ready. I sat down, pencil in hand and begin to slowly fill in the bubble sheet. The only problem was that the questions on the test were not anything like what was in the book or even what we had gone over in class. I walked out of the testing center feeling pretty down and in a state of shock. The next class period rolled around and the professor passed back our exams. 79% was written in big red ink at the top of my test. I felt defeated. What had I gotten into? Did the professor really make it impossible to earn an A? I took my test home and studied even harder. I looked for the types of questions he asked, where he pulled the information from and how he worded his questions. A few weeks later the second exam rolled around. I felt even more prepared for this one, if that was possible. This time though, as I went through the exam I understood the questions and saw where he was pulling from. When class time rolled around I was the one who was asked to stand and had the high score on the test with a 96%. Throughout the semester I got to stand up for the high score in the class two more times. After the final exam, grades were posted and I had an A. I was back on my feet, in control again and I was going to be an accountant and a lawyer, even though I still had no idea what I would do or where that would get me. As the next semester rolled around I began to actively seek out information about law school, accounting degrees and what options would eventually come available to me. I scheduled a campus tour of a nearby law school, just to see what it was like. Five months after deciding to become a lawyer I set foot on a law school campus for the first time. The tour went well and I enjoyed the school and the people I met. At the end of the tour I was invited to sit in on a contract law class. I hurried in just as the class was beginning and found a seat in the back of the room. It was huge and there seemed to be hundreds of students. I was brought back to my business law class in an instant. As the professor began lecturing, asking questions, calling on student I had a slow realization: I understood what they were talking about. I didn’t know all the answers, but I could keep up with the discussion. Not only did the discussion make sense to me, it was interesting! I wanted to know more. I wanted to participate. I wanted to go to law school and I wanted to be a lawyer! Those two experiences shaped the rest of my undergraduate years. I decided to be a lawyer one day when my dad told me he liked the idea of following up an accounting degree with law school, but it wasn’t until I had put in my time, worked to scrape the knowledge out of the textbook and lectures, earned my A and realized that I could succeed and enjoy it that I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer.

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby bluepenguin » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:36 am

Dear God, are there no paragraphs at all?

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby NavyOfficer23 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:37 pm

Your two-year mission trip is far more intriguing than one class in college. Talk more about what you did there, the experiences you had, and how that changed you. Something like "dedicated to public service" would go over so well there. I think the mission trip probably changed you FAR more than that class.

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby rgar07 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:58 pm

NavyOfficer23 wrote:Your two-year mission trip is far more intriguing than one class in college. Talk more about what you did there, the experiences you had, and how that changed you. Something like "dedicated to public service" would go over so well there. I think the mission trip probably changed you FAR more than that class.

My only concern with a PS about my mission is that it may be overused. Many Mormon applicants have served 2 year missions and I'm assuming that the majority of the schools I am applying to will have a good chunk of Mormon applicant (BYU, Gonzaga, University of Utah, etc.).

Does anyone have any thoughts on using an LDS mission as the basis of a PS?

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Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:31 pm

After reading your law school PS, my strongest impression is that you must be younger than the typical law school applicant.

Try to better organize your thoughts into paragraphs & into more concise thoughts expressed in crisp, clear sentences. As written, this is not the work product of a college graduate, in my opinion.

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