For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

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mustached
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For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby mustached » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:05 pm

Hey guys! I've got my rough draft for my P.S. and I'm looking to send it to Y/H/S over the next few weeks. I've got unique life experiences as well as a specific purpose I'd like to get out of law school, but I don't have enough space to cover both. Given that, what level of importance would you place on them? I'm interested in the question generally, but if you have any insight for my specific situation that'd be great too.

Here's my stuff:

Experiences:
-Have spent most of my life in extreme poverty, including one year living in a house with no hot water/heat/roof/insulation in the California mountains. Our family of 4 lived in one room while my dad went through chemotherapy. It would rain/snow in every other room and we stayed alive through our fire place.
-I graduated H.S. and enrolled in college at 16. It was an unimpressive college because it was my denomination's ministerial college.
-Spent four years as a minister in a low-income and crime-ridden town (my hometown).
-Currently a college professor of religion and philosophy.

Purposes:
-Academically, I'm intrigued by conversations about the role of religion and religious arguments in public policy and in a liberal democracy. Think John Rawls and Nicholas Wolterstorff. I'd like to explore this more and I would love to pursue a career in legal academia.
-Professionally, I'm interested in representing religious organizations in matters of free speech, etc. I'd also enjoy PI and providing legal counsel to low-income/minority populations.

As my P.S. currently stands, I spend 3/4 of it talking about some of my experiences and I only have about a paragraph briefly mentioning my purposes. I have a nagging suspicion that this may leave the reader with questions about whether I really want law school or whether it's a fit. But I genuinely do want law school and I think I have a compelling, although idealistic and perhaps narrow, vision for what I want out of it. I just don't have the space to mention everything.

Thanks for any insight you guys could offer! And if anyone would like to critique my P.S., that'd be great too. :)
Last edited by mustached on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ph14
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Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby ph14 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:15 pm

mustached wrote:Hey guys! I've got my rough draft for my P.S. and I'm looking to send it to Y/H/S over the next few weeks. I've got unique life experiences as well as a specific purpose I'd like to get out of law school, but I don't have enough space to cover both. Given that, what level of importance would you place on them? I'm interested in the question generally, but if you have any insight for my specific situation that'd be great too.

Here's my stuff:

Experiences:
-Have spent most of my life in extreme poverty, including one year living in a house with no hot water/heat/roof/insulation in the California mountains. Our family of 4 lived in one room while my dad went through chemotherapy. It would rain/snow in every other room and we stayed alive through our fire place.
-I graduated H.S. and enrolled in college at 16. It was an unimpressive college because it was my denomination's ministerial college.
-Spent four years as a minister in a low-income and crime-ridden town (my hometown).
-Currently a college professor of religion and philosophy.

Purposes:
-Academically, I'm intrigued by conversations about the role of religion and religious arguments in public policy and in a liberal democracy. Think John Rawls and Nicholas Wolterstorff. I'd like to explore this more and I would love to pursue a career in legal academia.
-Professionally, I'm interested in representing religious organizations in matters of free speech, etc. I'd also enjoy PI and providing legal counsel to low-income/minority populations.

As my P.S. currently stands, I spend 3/4 of it talking about some of my experiences and I only have about a paragraph briefly mentioning my purposes. I have a nagging suspicion that this may leave the reader with questions about whether I really want law school or whether it's a fit. But I genuinely do want law school and I think I have a compelling, although idealistic and perhaps narrow, vision for what I want out of it. I just don't have the space to mention everything.

Thanks for any insight you guys could offer!


I think you're on the right track. Given the space limitations in a personal statement, I personally would focus on your past unique experiences and then try and conclude with a paragraph tieing your past experiences into law school and your future plans. Although you definitely have a narrow and idealistic focus on your future plans, unlike many people, you also seem to have the experiences to back it up. I think that is the only reason you have credibility. That's why I would focus on laying out, establish, and discussing your experiences. If you went the other way, you run the risk of it running hollow.

mustached
Posts: 35
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Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby mustached » Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:52 pm

ph14 wrote:I think you're on the right track. Given the space limitations in a personal statement, I personally would focus on your past unique experiences and then try and conclude with a paragraph tieing your past experiences into law school and your future plans. Although you definitely have a narrow and idealistic focus on your future plans, unlike many people, you also seem to have the experiences to back it up. I think that is the only reason you have credibility. That's why I would focus on laying out, establish, and discussing your experiences. If you went the other way, you run the risk of it running hollow.


Thank you; this is very helpful!

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dingbat
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Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby dingbat » Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:56 pm

I agree, except that Yale doesn't have a limit to how long the PS can or should be (just don't turn it into a book). Don't know about Stanford

B90
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Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby B90 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:50 am

I want to caution you to carefully choose the words you use to discribe your UG college. For example, don't actually use the phrase "unimpressive because it was my denomination's ministerial college". Not only do you not want to be negative about your credentials, you want to make sure you are not perceived as disparaging a religion.
I am sure you wouldn't actually state things that way, but I would be aware of that potential pitfall, nonetheless.

mustached
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:53 am

Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby mustached » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:15 am

B90 wrote:I want to caution you to carefully choose the words you use to discribe your UG college. For example, don't actually use the phrase "unimpressive because it was my denomination's ministerial college". Not only do you not want to be negative about your credentials, you want to make sure you are not perceived as disparaging a religion.
I am sure you wouldn't actually state things that way, but I would be aware of that potential pitfall, nonetheless.


Great advice! I actually really, really loved my UG and it was exceptionally academically rigorous; it was at least on par with my grad school. I just meant to show that it isn't like a HYPS or something that would give a boost. LSAC actually has no data on its grade curve/LSAT distribution.

B90
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Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby B90 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:22 am

mustached wrote:
B90 wrote:I want to caution you to carefully choose the words you use to discribe your UG college. For example, don't actually use the phrase "unimpressive because it was my denomination's ministerial college". Not only do you not want to be negative about your credentials, you want to make sure you are not perceived as disparaging a religion.
I am sure you wouldn't actually state things that way, but I would be aware of that potential pitfall, nonetheless.


Great advice! I actually really, really loved my UG and it was exceptionally academically rigorous; it was at least on par with my grad school. I just meant to show that it isn't like a HYPS or something that would give a boost. LSAC actually has no data on its grade curve/LSAT distribution.

I understood/assumed all of this. I am unconvinced that adcoms at any of those fine institutions are similarly enlightened, however.
Also, excellent usage of the word "rigorous."

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dingbat
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Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby dingbat » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:57 pm

B90 wrote:I want to caution you to carefully choose the words you use to discribe your UG college.

agreeed

B90
Posts: 263
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:08 pm

Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby B90 » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:24 pm

dingbat wrote:
B90 wrote:I want to caution you to carefully choose the words you use to discribe your UG college.

agreeed

:mrgreen:
I just can't win. I disabled autocorrect because it made me look stupid by changing my correct grammar, and now I make myself look stupid with typos :evil:

mustached
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:53 am

Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby mustached » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:05 pm

dingbat wrote:
B90 wrote:I want to caution you to carefully choose the words you use to discribe your UG college.

agreeed


How embrasing. ;)

fallingup
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Joined: Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:34 pm

Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby fallingup » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:43 pm

I think it's better that you focused more on your past experiences. Check out this post from Stanford law about what they look for in personal statements:

http://blogs.law.stanford.edu/admission ... about-you/

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dingbat
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Re: For Y/S: past unique experiences vs. future stated purposes.

Postby dingbat » Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:58 pm

mustached wrote:
dingbat wrote:
B90 wrote:I want to caution you to carefully choose the words you use to discribe your UG college.

agreeed


How embrasing. ;)

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