Hoping for some feedback on my personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
PSDCBC
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:43 pm

Hoping for some feedback on my personal statement

Postby PSDCBC » Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:46 pm

Any constructive criticism is welcomed. I reworked it recently.

At dusk, my mother gently ushered me towards my school's well-lit dining hall where groups of my classmates were walking inside with their fathers. I had anxiously anticipated my middle school's annual father and son dinner for weeks and had even checked with a favorite teacher to see if it my attendance was expected or appropriate. I remember the night with vivid clarity not because of an acute feeling of embarrassment or discomfort, but rather due to the fervent admiration I felt for my mother as she proudly accompanied me to the dinner. For the first time in my life, I was able to reflect on how infinitely fortunate I was to have a robust and unwavering family unit that steadfastly marched on after the death of my father. This event gave me a sense of fortitude and determination to take full advantage of the invaluable and immense gifts I have received. The tragedy of my father's untimely death has been mitigated as much as humanly possible both by the wonderful opportunities I have been provided and by the sound judgment that has been instilled in me to seize these rare gifts. As a result of deep determination and circumstance, my mother was able to provide me with positive mentoring, a strong familial backbone, and financial support. Along with the tools and resources I have been given to succeed in life, I have also been endowed with a keen awareness that many children who grew up in single parent households face adversity and obstacles that I have not had to face. The study of law has become increasingly exciting to me the more I discover and consider the wonderful opportunities it can provide to protect and empower others and promote social justice. I am certain my father would take pride in my commitment to go out into the world with an open heart, ready to help others whose burdens and challenges outweigh my own. My upbringing has molded me into a young adult who is attuned to the precious nature of life, the need to give back, and the rich possibilities that can come from hard work and follow through.

Education has always been a source of empowerment to my family and my time at school was presented to me as a gift which was not to be wasted. My passion for learning and academic achievement emerged from witnessing the power of education firsthand. As I entered middle school, I watched with admiration as my mother, who was in her mid-forties, went back to school to receive a master's in education. The significance of the added demands and duties that were placed upon my mother, who was already balancing work with single parenthood, was not lost on me. This decision allowed my mother to advance professionally and provide my brother and me with extraordinary educational, social, and athletic resources. This example allowed me to emulate my mother’s courage and resolve and apply these traits to my own academic pursuits. As a student, I benefitted from the crucial influence of positive male and female role models who helped me construct a firm sense of personal integrity, respect for others, and self-discipline. These seminal experiences fueled an enduring love for learning that has helped frame my perspective on life, work, and the pursuit of personal satisfaction.

During my time at university and afterwards, I have been exposed to challenging and eye-opening volunteer experiences which proved to be an indispensable supplement to my undergraduate education and a formative component of my life. One of these experiences was the XXX. This program was designed to provide children and young adults living in group homes with educational and social support. My participation with XXX allowed me to design and implement activities aimed at promoting literacy and socialization. The program was also a powerful reminder that many children and young adults growing up in single-family and lower-income households do not have access to the support and resources that were instrumental to my maturation and education. Most recently, I have been volunteering at the XXX, a community focused organization that offers social and nutritional resources. The act of assisting individuals with getting food and directing them to other social services has been a particularly meaningful experience, partially due to the ability to help single parent families. I believe a career in public interest legal work would be an unparalleled way to merge my passion for community service and social justice with my professional life.

For years, the idea of becoming a lawyer focused on public interest law has grown from an idealistic murmur in my mind to an impassioned call that I cannot ignore. While it is impossible to say where my studies and education will take me, I believe enrolling in law school will help expose me to a myriad of intellectually stimulating, personally fulfilling, and societal beneficial career paths. In law school and outside the classroom, I view legal studies and legal services as an opportunity to learn, grow, and exert myself intellectually on a daily basis, as well as the potential to become a vocal and ardent advocate for others.

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ph14
Posts: 3224
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Hoping for some feedback on my personal statement

Postby ph14 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:23 pm

This is a decent start. I thought you started off well, but it quickly petered off into generic personal statement. I would treat this as a rough outline with the major pieces in place, but needs a bit of fine-tuning within that rough and general structure/topic. A few quick thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Why the beginning engaging? Because it was showing and not telling. "Along with the tools and resources" -- what tools and resources, specifically? How was your family "unit" (this comes off as cold which cuts against the rest of your first paragraph) "robust and unwavering"? Did your mom work 12 hours a day despite raising you? Same point for the discussion about role models. Was it a teacher? If so, that would fit in great with your theme of education. If not, then who were your role models? How did they teach you personal integrity? Did they lead by example? What was the example?
2. I like your theme, which I read to be the importance of education. But I think you should play it up a bit more.
3. The public interest idea seems to come out of no where. You have no credibility on this point unless you discuss some experiences in your past that would suggest a commitment or interest in public interest. Perhaps you cut it out, but it certainly isn't there now.
4. "Social justice" is a bad phrase. It's just too vague. I have no idea what you want to do at this point in your personal statement. Same issue with "socialization." Are you Cesar Milan socializing dogs in your dog pack?
5. I would definitely tie your beginning about the important of family support and education that you appreciated as you grew up and helped you become the person you became today with this deep, overpowering "impassioned call." You kind of do it, but I would make it more explicit somewhere in your statement. Maybe replace the sentence about your dad being proud of you with something about you wanting others to get the opportunities that you had as a motivation.
6. More paragraph breaks in the first paragraph.
7. I don't think you are using the word "seminal" properly. In any event, it's used awkwardly. Omit.

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Gradvocates Editing
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:22 pm

Re: Hoping for some feedback on my personal statement

Postby Gradvocates Editing » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:40 pm

Your first paragraph is exactly one page double-spaced and in 12-point Times New Roman. This is not good for keeping the reader's attention. Break your long paragraphs into short, manageable paragraphs with appropriate transitions in between.

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ph14
Posts: 3224
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Hoping for some feedback on my personal statement

Postby ph14 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:43 pm

Gradvocates Editing wrote:Your first paragraph is exactly one page double-spaced and in 12-point Times New Roman. This is not good for keeping the reader's attention. Break your long paragraphs into short, manageable paragraphs with appropriate transitions in between.


Way to say exacrly what I said.

PSDCBC
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:43 pm

Re: Hoping for some feedback on my personal statement

Postby PSDCBC » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:46 pm

Hi all,
Thanks for feedback. I made some changes before reading these posts that actually address some of the points. I'm going to post updated version while I work in some of your helpful critiques.
Thanks!

At dusk, my mother gently ushered me towards my school's well-lit dining hall where groups of my classmates were walking inside with their fathers. I had anxiously anticipated my middle school's annual father and son dinner for weeks and had even checked with a favorite teacher to see if it my attendance was expected or appropriate. I remember the night with vivid clarity not because of an acute feeling of embarrassment or discomfort, but rather due to the fervent admiration I felt for my mother as she proudly accompanied me to the dinner. For the first time in my life, I was able to reflect on how fortunate I was to have an unwavering family unit that marched on after the death of my father. This event gave me a sense of fortitude and determination to take full advantage of the invaluable and immense gifts I have received.

Along with the tools and resources I have been given to succeed in life, I have also been endowed with a keen awareness that many children who grow up in single parent households face adversity and obstacles that I have not had to face. My upbringing has molded me into a young adult who is attuned to the precious nature of life, the need to give back, and the rich possibilities that can come from hard work and follow through. The study of law has become increasingly exciting to me the more I discover and consider the wonderful opportunities it can provide to protect and empower others and promote social justice.

During my time at university and afterwards, I have been exposed to challenging and eye-opening volunteer experiences which proved to be an indispensable supplement to my undergraduate education and a formative component of my life. One of these experiences was the Youth Outreach Program or YOP. This program was designed to provide children and young adults living in group homes with educational and social support. My participation with YOP allowed me to design and implement activities aimed at promoting literacy and socialization. The program was also a powerful reminder that many children and young adults growing up in single-family and lower-income households do not have access to the support and resources that were instrumental to my maturation and education. Acting as a group leader allowed me to offer some of the social and educational support and encouragement that helped keep me on the right track during my own maturation. Most recently, I have been volunteering at the Amherst Survival Center, a community focused organization that offers social and nutritional resources. The act of assisting individuals with getting food and directing them to other social services has been an enriching and meaningful experience, in part due to the frequent opportunity to directly help single parent families. I believe a career in public interest legal work would be an unparalleled way to merge my passion for community service and social justice with my professional life.

Education has always been a source of empowerment to my family and my time at school was presented to me as a gift which was not to be wasted. My passion for learning and academic achievement emerged from witnessing the power of education firsthand. As I entered middle school, I watched with admiration as my mother, who was in her mid-forties, went back to school to receive a master's in education. The significance of the added demands and duties that were placed upon my mother, who was already balancing work with single parenthood, was not lost on me. By emulating my mother’s courage and resolve, I have been able to succeed academically and construct a firm sense of personal integrity, respect for others, and self-discipline.

For years, the idea of becoming a lawyer focused on public interest law has grown from an idealistic murmur in my mind to an impassioned call that I cannot ignore. While it is impossible to say where my studies and education will take me, I believe enrolling in law school will help expose me to a myriad of intellectually stimulating, personally fulfilling, and societal beneficial career paths. [I AM PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN XXX’S ___ PROGRAM] I am certain my father would take pride in my commitment to go out into the world with an open heart, ready to help others whose burdens and challenges outweigh my own. In law school and outside the classroom, I view legal studies and legal services as an opportunity to learn, grow, and exert myself intellectually on a daily basis, as well as the potential to become a vocal and ardent advocate for others.

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ph14
Posts: 3224
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Re: Hoping for some feedback on my personal statement

Postby ph14 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:49 pm

I'm not reading it again. Keep your post updated. That's common courtesy if you expect people to spend their time critiquing and giving feedback.

PSDCBC
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:43 pm

Re: Hoping for some feedback on my personal statement

Postby PSDCBC » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:13 pm

I understand. Thanks for your initial feedback.




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