Is my ps too short?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
brittanynicole_4
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Is my ps too short?

Postby brittanynicole_4 » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:19 am

After much revision, I think I am getting close to a final product! However, I am worried it may be too short. Double spaced it is about a page and a half. What do you think? Also, are there other things I should include that may need elaboration? Is there something I mention that needs clarifying? Also, please pick out any grammatical mistakes. Thanks

We are molded by the many experiences in our lives, the decisions we make, and the moments from which we learn. Consequently, we are the eventual products of this elaborate progression. My childhood was riddled with a number of these life experiences, from alcoholism, and molestation, to a fatherless, impoverished upbringing, they have been the foundation for many of my decisions. By slowly crafting and sculpting me, these experiences have made me who I am today.

At the age of fourteen I held my first job. My mom, a single mother of three, was not the model parent I wished for, but she was all I had. She abused alcohol frequently, has not had a driver’s license in years, nor could she provide us with a stable home. We lived with my grandmother most of my life, and a few family members here and there. To say the least, money was a luxury absent in our home. Thus, I quickly learned the importance of the sacred dollar. This lesson carried me far. It showed me that I could achieve anything I strived for.

At sixteen, I single-handedly obtained automobile insurance and purchased my first car. I also supported myself through college, graduating loan-free. Financial autonomy gave me my first taste of independence. A taste that only made me crave more.
This craving subsequently manifested into a thirst for knowledge and the cultivation of self-improvement. I dove head first and submerged myself into recreation and event planning. Focused on being the first in my family to complete a bachelor’s degree, my overshadowing ambition allowed me to lose sight of one essential element: fulfillment.

As I neared the completion of my degree I realized a hollow future stood before me. I began to analyze my available options, not knowing which path to choose, I looked to my past for inspiration. Flashing through the memories, good and bad, there was one that resonated with me. I remembered being passionate and driven about law, how it enlightened and perplexed me all in the same. When I was ten years of age I became a victim of molestation, and it was from this experience and the resulting trial that I became cognizant of the law and the system that is meant to protect us. I learned that though you may speak the truth and seek fairness, it may not always be delivered. While the verdict was not as I hoped, at such a young age I still realized the importance of each role within the court. I developed an appreciation and respect for the laws that govern us.

Collectively these life experiences have inspired my growth. Each has uniquely molded intimate blocks of my personality, values, and morals. Much like a whittler carving into aged red oak, these experiences have whittled away at my surface exposing ripened character and zeal; a zealousness that fuels me through my educational pursuits, and a brawn-strapped character that has proved never to waver.

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francesfarmer
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby francesfarmer » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:45 am

As someone who has a similarly depressing topic for my PS that I have tried to turn into something uplifting, I'm not going to tell you not to go this route. But I think your essay needs to be more focused and you should cut out all the (unrealistic) references to fulfillment. If you want to discuss how being a victim of molestation made you interested in the law, start with that. You can make oblique references to the other negative aspects of your upbringing (fatherless, poor, alcoholic mother) when you discuss the circumstances that facilitated you being victimized. Trust me, it will be enough for adcomms to feel for you. Be cautious of ending by saying you want to save all victims of molestation/poor children/etc. You don't want to seem immature.

Good luck OP, you've got material to work with here if you can shape it correctly.

brittanynicole_4
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby brittanynicole_4 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:22 am

Anyone?

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stuckinthemiddle
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:36 am

We are molded by the many experiences in our lives, the decisions we make, and the moments from which we learn.
Consequently, we are the eventual products of this elaborate progression.
By slowly crafting and sculpting me, these experiences have made me who I am today.
Collectively, these life experiences have inspired my growth
Much like a whittler carving into aged red oak, these experiences have whittled away at my surface, exposing ripened character

You are aware you just said the exact same thing in five long, unnecessary statements, right?
Last edited by stuckinthemiddle on Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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stuckinthemiddle
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:45 am

brittanynicole_4 wrote:We are molded by the many experiences in our lives, the decisions we make, and the moments from which we learn. Consequently, we are the eventual products of this elaborate progression.My childhood was riddled with a number of challenging life experiences, from alcoholism, and molestation, to a fatherless, impoverished upbringing,These experiences have helped make me the person I am today. the foundation of many of my decisions. By slowly crafting and sculpting me, these experiences have made me who I am today.

At the age of fourteen I held my first job. (what does this have to do with your mother? Make a clear link. It just seems like a misfit sentence in this paragraph) My mom, a single mother of three, was not the model parent I wished for, but she was all I had. She abused alcohol frequently, has not had a driver’s license in years, nor could she and could not provide us with a stable home. We lived with my grandmother most of my life, and a few family members here and there.To say the least, money was a luxury absent in our home. Thus,I quickly learned the importance of the sacred dollar. This lesson carried me far. It showed me that I could achieve anything I strove for. (how did learning the value of money teach you that you could achieve anything you strove for? There is no direct connection.)

At sixteen, I single-handedly obtained automobile insurance and purchased my first car. I also supported myself through college, graduating loan-free. Financial autonomy gave me my first taste of independence - a taste that only made me crave more.
This craving subsequently transformed into a thirst for knowledge and the cultivation ofself-improvement. I dove head first and immersed myself into recreation and event planning (what does this even mean? What is recreation? Did you have a job? Did you go traveling? I don't even understand the point of this sentence. It's so random.). Focused on being the first in my family to complete a bachelor’s degree, my overshadowing ambition allowed me to lose sight of one essential element: fulfillment. (Grammar issue: Your overshadowing ambition was focused on being the first in your family to complete a bachelor's degree??? :|)

As I neared the completion of my degree I realized a hollow future stood before me (why in the world would you say that?). I began to analyze my available options, not knowing which path to choose. I looked to my past for inspiration. Flashing through the memories, good and bad, there was one that resonated with me. I remembered being passionate and driven about law and how it enlightened and perplexed me all in the same. When I was ten years of age, I became a victim of molestation (I'd really like to learn more about how this experience has changed you and made you a better person. You completely ignored it and just mentioned it in passing. If you're not going to explain how you grew from it, there is no reason to even mention it) , and It was from this experience and the resulting trial that I became cognizant of the law and the system that is meant to protect us. I learned that though you may speak the truth and seek fairness, it may not always be delivered. While the verdict was not as I hoped, at such a young age, I still realized the importance of each role within the court. I developed an appreciation and respect for the laws that govern us. (How? It is unclear to me how losing your case inspired you to take on the law, especially since you were so young at the time. Have you done anything related to molestation lately? Community service? Volunteering? This assertion seems a bit far fetched to me.)

Collectively, these life experiences have inspired my growth. Each has uniquely molded intimate blocks of my personality, values, and morals. Much like a whittler carving into aged red oak, these experiences have whittled away at my surface, exposing ripened character and unwavering zeal; a zealousness that fuels me through my educational pursuits, and a brawn-strapped character that has proved never to waver.


You need major editing. Your problem isn't even that the PS is too short. The problem is that the PS has stylistic, grammatical, and coherence issues. Also, you use so many unnecessary words that are really a repetition of the same idea. I acknowledge that I've literally crossed out half of your statement, but that is honestly how much useless stuff you've put in this essay.

I'd try to start over or at least do some reflection before submitting this. Your main problem, in my opinion, is that you are stating a lot of experiences you've had but you are not taking the time to explore how each one has SPECIFICALLY helped you grow in a way that will make you a good law student, and a good lawyer. All your points lack depth, and they aren't linked together in a way that gives me a cohesive picture of who you are. What is the theme of your statement?

You are in a position many people would envy. You still have A LOT of space to talk about your strengths and goals and go into detail about how your experiences have shaped you. You have such an interesting story that can be made into an incredibly successful statement of triumph, but you are not doing yourself any justice with this. Use this opportunity wisely. Get help. Reflect. EDIT EDIT EDIT because the writing, as is, is not even something I'd consider to be of university-level standard.

brittanynicole_4
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby brittanynicole_4 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:15 pm

You need major editing. Your problem isn't even that the PS is too short. The problem is that the PS has stylistic, grammatical, and coherence issues. Also, you use so many unnecessary words that are really a repetition of the same idea. I acknowledge that I've literally crossed out half of your statement, but that is honestly how much useless stuff you've put in this essay.

I'd try to start over or at least do some reflection before submitting this. Your main problem, in my opinion, is that you are stating a lot of experiences you've had but you are not taking the time to explore how each one has SPECIFICALLY helped you grow in a way that will make you a good law student, and a good lawyer. All your points lack depth, and they aren't linked together in a way that gives me a cohesive picture of who you are. What is the theme of your statement?

You are in a position many people would envy. You still have A LOT of space to talk about your strengths and goals and go into detail about how your experiences have shaped you. You have such an interesting story that can be made into an incredibly successful statement of triumph, but you are not doing yourself any justice with this. Use this opportunity wisely. Get help. Reflect. EDIT EDIT EDIT because the writing, as is, is not even something I'd consider to be of university-level standard.


I am sorry I have to disagree with many of the points above. You have to remember you are only seeing one portion of my entire application. To address the recreation/event planning statement—that was my undergraduate major, which is made clear by my transcripts and resume.

We are molded by the many experiences in our lives, the decisions we make, and the moments from which we learn.
Consequently, we are the eventual products of this elaborate progression.
By slowly crafting and sculpting me, these experiences have made me who I am today.
Collectively, these life experiences have inspired my growth
Much like a whittler carving into aged red oak, these experiences have whittled away at my surface, exposing ripened character

We are molded by the many experiences in our lives, the decisions we make, and the moments from which we learn.
Consequently, we are the eventual products of this elaborate progression.
By slowly crafting and sculpting me, these experiences have made me who I am today.

This is introducing what I am going to tell you about. The first sentence is general—hence WE….molded. The second sentence is explaining that b/c we are molded by our decisions, etc we become products of these things. That is completely two different meanings.
Collectively, these life experiences have inspired my growth
Much like a whittler carving into aged red oak, these experiences have whittled away at my surface, exposing ripened character

These sentences are concluding what I have just talked to you about…my experiences. Hence---they have made me grow, exposing character and zeal. The zeal of which is evident in my transcripts and resume.

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stuckinthemiddle
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:30 pm

You only need one opening sentence and one closing sentence. Both the introduction and conclusion of your PS are verbose, redundant, and unclear. Try for one strong, succinct statement.

And I acknowledge that I'm only seeing one part of your application, but it is looking very weak. Every single criticism I gave you would still stand, despite the rest of your package. Please don't disregard the comments I'm giving you. They are genuinely meant to help you. Instead of denying the points I brought up, why don't you actually reflect on why someone would have those opinions of your writing? I can never understand why people put their statement up for criticism and then get defensive. It makes the exercise fruitless.
Last edited by stuckinthemiddle on Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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stuckinthemiddle
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:40 pm

This is introducing what I am going to tell you about. The first sentence is general—hence WE….molded. The second sentence is explaining that b/c we are molded by our decisions, etc we become products of these things. That is completely two different meanings.

I'm sorry but the difference between "being molded by something" and "being a product of something" is so small that the two statements become functionally redundant. If you are absolutely insistent on keeping both, why not shorten it to:

We are products of the daily experiences that mold our lives.

Stop being wordy.

These sentences are concluding what I have just talked to you about…my experiences. Hence---they have made me grow, exposing character and zeal. The zeal of which is evident in my transcripts and resume.

Then say "My experiences have contributed to my character and zeal" and remove that silly metaphor in the end that will have adcomms rolling their eyes.

Work on being concise. It's a sign of maturity and intelligence in a writer.

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francesfarmer
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby francesfarmer » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:51 pm

brittanynicole_4 wrote:
You need major editing. Your problem isn't even that the PS is too short. The problem is that the PS has stylistic, grammatical, and coherence issues. Also, you use so many unnecessary words that are really a repetition of the same idea. I acknowledge that I've literally crossed out half of your statement, but that is honestly how much useless stuff you've put in this essay.

I'd try to start over or at least do some reflection before submitting this. Your main problem, in my opinion, is that you are stating a lot of experiences you've had but you are not taking the time to explore how each one has SPECIFICALLY helped you grow in a way that will make you a good law student, and a good lawyer. All your points lack depth, and they aren't linked together in a way that gives me a cohesive picture of who you are. What is the theme of your statement?

You are in a position many people would envy. You still have A LOT of space to talk about your strengths and goals and go into detail about how your experiences have shaped you. You have such an interesting story that can be made into an incredibly successful statement of triumph, but you are not doing yourself any justice with this. Use this opportunity wisely. Get help. Reflect. EDIT EDIT EDIT because the writing, as is, is not even something I'd consider to be of university-level standard.


I am sorry I have to disagree with many of the points above. You have to remember you are only seeing one portion of my entire application. To address the recreation/event planning statement—that was my undergraduate major, which is made clear by my transcripts and resume.

We are molded by the many experiences in our lives, the decisions we make, and the moments from which we learn.
Consequently, we are the eventual products of this elaborate progression.
By slowly crafting and sculpting me, these experiences have made me who I am today.
Collectively, these life experiences have inspired my growth
Much like a whittler carving into aged red oak, these experiences have whittled away at my surface, exposing ripened character

We are molded by the many experiences in our lives, the decisions we make, and the moments from which we learn.
Consequently, we are the eventual products of this elaborate progression.
By slowly crafting and sculpting me, these experiences have made me who I am today.

This is introducing what I am going to tell you about. The first sentence is general—hence WE….molded. The second sentence is explaining that b/c we are molded by our decisions, etc we become products of these things. That is completely two different meanings.
Collectively, these life experiences have inspired my growth
Much like a whittler carving into aged red oak, these experiences have whittled away at my surface, exposing ripened character

These sentences are concluding what I have just talked to you about…my experiences. Hence---they have made me grow, exposing character and zeal. The zeal of which is evident in my transcripts and resume.

Stuckinthemiddle is right. Don't get defensive when people are trying to help you. This essay has serious stylistic issues and is indeed redundant and at points the sentences mean nothing.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:55 pm

Also agree with stuckinthemiddle. S/he was nice enough to you some pretty in-depth--and spot-on--critiques instead of just saying "scrap it and start over." Take advantage of that.

Those first 5 sentences about molding/producing are ABSOLUTELY redundant. I know it's hard to let go of a phrase you're proud of, but good writers get that way by being honest with themselves and accepting criticism.

B90
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Re: Is my ps too short?

Postby B90 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:14 pm

I will answer your original question as a future attorney, "it depends".
I submitted a 1.5 page PS to one particular school, and was accepted six weeks later. However, this is a local school that I have visited several times, to the point where I am on a first name basis with at least two of the adcoms. They made it abundantly clear that they value brevity and believe less is more. So, you need to know your audience.
You asked me in another thread to take a look at your post, so here I am...First, you seem to have an obsession with the comma. In high school, I had a similar obsession with the semicolon, and I am happy to report it can be overcome. :wink:
I am still in the middle of my cycle, so I can't post openly. PM me; I will share some things with you that I think will help content-wise. I am home for the next two weeks, and I am feeling charitable. I am also willing to critique others, so people can feel free to take me up on that offer.
Good luck!




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