Too Short or Just Right?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
karmaman
Posts: 106
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:21 am

Too Short or Just Right?

Postby karmaman » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:01 pm

Ends up being about 1 and 3/4 pages double spaced...Long enough or too short?

The tension in the air is thick, ready to erupt at any time. Crowds are sprawled out in tents and sleeping bags on the sidewalks, others are chanting slogans and waving flags. Some shoot off fireworks while others graffiti their anti-government sentiments on any piece of exposed wall or building. This is Tahrir Square; this is the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
Working close to the Tahrir Square, I spent many evenings after work mingling with protestors, speaking with foreign journalists, and helping distribute hot tea to the masses. I was drawn to the square, the energy emitted from the thousands of people who fought for justice acted as a magnetic field and pulled me in. Race, color, age, gender or socio-economic background did not matter in Tahrir; the only criteria necessary was a sense of humanity.
One evening, I saw a British journalist approach a young woman and ask her, ”Why are you out here every night, what does this all mean to you?” With tears trickling down her cheek, she replied in her broken English,” So that my children and grandchildren can have the opportunity to live a life of dignity and respect, this is a new beginning for Egypt”. Tahrir symbolizes hope, change, justice, and democracy. Here, people feel their voices can be heard, that they are in control of their own destiny. They see themselves as catalysts for a change that they have for so long yearned for, but could never attain.
Tahrir has become a beacon of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation for the Egyptian people. Protected by the newly forged authority of the Square, they make their demands for a fully democratic government known. Similarly, the law affords those who have been marginalized, disenfranchised and with no place to turn, protection from the cruel realities of life. The law in all its grandeur, and mystique is still at its essence a beacon of hope. It provides a sense of security, a belief that when all else fails we have somewhere to turn to. In addition, the law is a voice for those who have been too afraid to speak out about the injustices they have suffered, thus inviting them back into a society that has for so long forgot they were there.
Growing up in America, I have often taken for granted the law and the vital function it serves in our society. It was not until I moved to Egypt, that I fully recognized what a critical role the law played in protecting and working towards the improvement of citizens’ rights. This realization sparked a serious drive within me to pursue an education in the legal field. As a student of the law, I will amass the knowledge and skillset to be a loud and clear voice for the downtrodden and forgotten citizens of our planet. In addition, as a lawyer, I will utilize the principles laid out by my study of jurisprudence to combat injustice and promote liberty for the underprivileged members of society.
There are millions of people around the globe who suffer just as the Egyptian people are suffer, however this can be changed. If we, as humans, and lawyers, stand up for what is right and just then we can have a very real, tangible impact on this world that can effect future generations for years to come.

wifeofsamseaborn
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:51 pm

Re: Too Short or Just Right?

Postby wifeofsamseaborn » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:29 am

Hi OP,

In an attempt to be helpful through honesty, I would recommend revisiting the content, not just the length of your PS. As it stands, it seems more like an ode to Tahrir Square and the abstract potential of law than to you as a law school applicant. After reading it, I feel like I know more about the protesters and I have a deeper respect for their cause and determination. But let's look at the verbs that you use to describe yourself: "mingling," "speaking," and "distributing tea." At the end, you begin to discuss yourself as an applicant, but in contrast with the detail you gave about the woman interviewed by the British journalist, your description of your own goals and desires seems vague and ultimately, unconvincing. How will you use the law to give a loud and clear voice to downtrodden people and combat injustice for the underprivileged? And in this goal, how are you different than others who also profess to want to "make the world a better place"? Remember that the focus of the essay is you, and you are selling the unique qualities that you bring to the table, not making the adcomms want to visit Tahrir Square.

Hope this helps!

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AreJay711
Posts: 3406
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:51 pm

Re: Too Short or Just Right?

Postby AreJay711 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:00 am

More about your role and how you would use a law degree might improve your PS but I'm not sure it is necessary. This seems well suited to explain why you want to attend law school and while it doesn't really give the reader much about the kind of person you are, it does make me want to admit you because of the perspective you'd bring. I wouldn't change it substantively.

Two things I did notice:

1) Race, color, age, gender or socio-economic background did not matter in Tahrir; -- I think "and" is more appropriate here since none of them mattered. You could also go with "neither ... nor ... mattered."

2) The present tense in the first paragraph seems off to me because the present tense in the second paragraph is talking about a subsequent time. This isn't clear to the reader on the first go and makes the entire thing a bit disjointed. As something that an admissions officer is going to read after hundreds of previous personal statements, it is confusing.

3) It gets a little grandiose at the end. To me at least, this takes away from the sincerity that comes through in the rest of the statement. I just went full on editor on this. I'm not expert at grammar so if it seems wrong, just ignore.

"As a student of the law, I will amass the knowledge and skillset [just say you will "study" or "work"] to be a loud and clear voice for the downtrodden and forgotten citizensof our planet. In addition, as a lawyer, I will utilize the principles laid out by my study of jurisprudence [just say "I learn" or something] to combat injustice and promote liberty for the underprivileged members of society.
There are millions of people around the globe who suffer just as the Egyptian people are suffer; however, [I think] this can be changed. If we, as humans, and lawyers, stand up for what is right and just then we can have a very real, tangible impact on this world that can effect future generations the world for years to come. [Finish with a "That is why I want to attend law school" or some such sentiment]
.

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LexLeon
Posts: 400
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:03 pm

Re: Too Short or Just Right?

Postby LexLeon » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:26 pm

If you need to write a 250, use this as your topic.

I would strongly suggest that you rewrite or seriously rework your statement. What you say about yourself is brief, disingenuous-sounding, and far too general.

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stuckinthemiddle
Posts: 312
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:24 am

Re: Too Short or Just Right?

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:59 pm

I have to agree with the above poster. While I don't doubt that your experiences have changed you, I don't feel convinced by your PS for three reasons:

1) You have described yourself as only an observer, not a do-er.
2) Not enough of the statement is about you, personally.
3) You have used every single cliche in the law school PS book. I'm sure adcomms have seen thousands of these same cliches and will be skeptical about your realistic understanding of the legal profession, and your own goals.

That being said, you have a very distinct experience and I'd like to know more about the Egypt trip. Why not talk about your purpose for being there? That's something I didn't even get from your PS. You have great material and you need to just bring everything back down to earth.




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