Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
dmwelch29
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:58 pm

Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby dmwelch29 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:05 pm

Since I haven't always wanted to be a lawyer, I am trying to focus on my underlying career goals and how my life has prepared me to be successful in law school.

_____________________________________________


I haven't always wanted to be a lawyer. When I was young I wanted to be Batman, posing menacingly over Gotham city as a symbol for ne'er-do-wells to fear. In high school I was certain I wanted to go to West Point and have an illustrious career in the Army. During the first half of my undergraduate career at UNC-Chapel Hill I wanted to be a pediatrician looking after the wellbeing of children. Now I am set on a career in law. The common threads amongst these professions are a commitment to serving others and enduring challenging, yet rewarding, demands on a day to day basis. My experiences growing up, which shaped me into who I am today, have prepared me to meet the many challenges awaiting me in law school and in the legal field down the road.
My mother and her family arrived in the United States as part of the Cuban exile resulting from Castro's revolution. Originally political refugees, they eventually became US citizens and worked hard to build a life here. Consequently, as a child I was taught the value of hard work and perseverance on a daily basis; school was the top priority and anything but academic success was not an option. What was, at first, a parentally reinforced ideal for school became an ingrained desire to work hard and be successful in whatever my endeavor. My Cuban family's pursuit of the American Dream has become my inspiration and is a huge part of my drive for success today.
Growing up, my family moved quite frequently. It is an icebreaker I have used quite often meeting new people and asked where I am from; "I was born in San Diego, then we moved to a suburb of Chicago, then we moved overseas to Warsaw, Poland, then we moved to London, then back to the States to Miami, then Atlanta, then Winston-Salem, and now Chapel-Hill". While living in a variety of locations was an amazing experience that helped me appreciate a wide variety of cultures, it was not ideal to a growing boy who only craved stability and friends. However, it forced me to be able to adapt to change and handle new experiences more comfortably. My ability to acclimate to new environments and situations is something I was thankful for as a freshman in college. That ability will continue to aide me during the rigors of law school and work as a lawyer.
I want to be a lawyer because I want to serve others. Becoming a lawyer would not only allow me to do this, but also engage in work that will challenge me while enabling me to grow personally. I know there are countless obstacles awaiting me, but I welcome them. My ideals and my past experiences have prepared me for confronting them. While some falter and show weakness when faced with challenges, I find strength and determination. I have the fortitude and perseverance to excel in law school and to become a lawyer who will strive to serve his community and country.

User avatar
ManOfTheMinute
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:54 am

Re: Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:46 pm

I think a common phrase on these boards is "show, don't tell." In this, I see a whole bunch of telling without a lot of showing/examples to back it up... AKA, no real examples of why you want to help people/what you have done to help people. Have you confronted any obstacles and overcame them, or do you just envision that you'll be good to go when they do come?

Also, you might want to make sure that you answer the question that will inevitably pop into the readers mind: "if he's changed his mind this many times, are we sure that law school is not just another stepping stone?"

To be honest, I see how a lot of this can go into your DS (save for the batman part), and then free you up to write more in-depth about how certain life events have shaped you into wanted to become a lawyer in your PS.

dmwelch29
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:58 pm

Re: Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby dmwelch29 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:57 pm

Thanks so much for the quick feedback!! I'll be sure to include why law school isnt just another stepping stone for me and include some examples of obstacles I've overcome in my next revision. On other thing: I have already listed all my volunteer experiences in my law school applications, would it not seem redundant to the admissions board to read it in my PS too?

rebexness
Posts: 4163
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:24 am

Re: Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby rebexness » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:21 pm

Last edited by rebexness on Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dmwelch29
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:58 pm

Re: Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby dmwelch29 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:06 pm

I reworked it quite a bit to make it "show" more than "tell". I also completely scrapped the beginning.

Growing up in an LDS family, I have always been taught to put others before yourself and that it's better to give than receive. Indeed, these tenets have become central maxims in my life today and they are why I want to become a lawyer. I have always wanted to devote my career to helping others and I believe the legal field would allow me a wide range of methods to accomplish this goal.
Community service started early for me, from filling shoe boxes with Christmas goodies for the children in Bosnia while I was in elementary school in England to volunteering to help play baseball with children with disabilities when I was in high school. While each experience was rewarding, the most meaningful to me was my time involved with my fraternity's philanthropy, Push America, which promotes a greater understanding of people with disabilities through awareness, fundraising, and volunteerism. I had vast opportunities to get involved, from helping organize a 5k run, to collaborating with The Arc to put on Friday night events for people with disabilities, to aiding in the organization of Empathy Dinners which promoted awareness of disabilities, and just spending time with these inspirational people. My involvement in Push is a microcosm of my desire to help others and further inspired me in my career goals.
In addition to helping others, I want a challenging career that will push me to grow into a better person as well as a successful one. Attending law school and becoming a lawyer would, I believe, enable me to achieve this. My past experiences, and what they have shaped me into, have prepared me to take on the rigors of law school as well as the challenges I would face as a lawyer.
My mother and her family arrived in the United States as part of the Cuban exile resulting from Castro's revolution. Originally political refugees, they eventually became US citizens and worked hard to build a life here. Consequently, as a child I was taught the value of hard work and perseverance on a daily basis; school was the top priority and anything but academic success was not an option. What was, at first, a parentally reinforced ideal for school became an ingrained desire to work hard and be successful in whatever my endeavor. My Cuban family's pursuit of the American Dream has become my inspiration and is a huge part of my drive for success today.
Growing up, my family moved quite frequently. We have lived in five different states and spent 7 years residing overseas in Poland and England, rarely living in one place for more than a few years. While living in a variety of locations was an amazing experience that helped me appreciate a wide variety of cultures, it was not ideal to a growing boy who only craved stability and friends. However, it forced me to be able to adapt to change and handle new experiences more comfortably. This adaptability was a boon to me my first year of college, which was my greatest challenge in acclimating to a new environment. Entering into college, the world was opened up to me and I was overwhelmed by this new found agency as well as the accelerated pace of the academic course load. I found myself trying to do too much, I joined the rowing team, several service clubs and multiple academic based organizations, all while trying to make friends. Like I did each time we moved, I slowed down a pace, adapted and refined my focus. Similarly, these experiences will continue to aide me during the rigors of law school and work as a lawyer.
I know there are countless obstacles awaiting me, but I welcome them. My ideals and my past experiences have prepared me for confronting them. While some falter and show weakness when faced with challenges, I adapt and find determination. I have the fortitude and perseverance to excel in law school and to become a lawyer who will strive to serve his community while growing as an individual
Last edited by dmwelch29 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22885
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:13 pm

TENETS. Not tenants. (Sorry, I stopped reading there. Mostly because I'm a terrible critic of these things.)

dmwelch29
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:58 pm

Re: Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby dmwelch29 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:28 pm

Haha good catch. I don't know how I missed that :shock:

cgw
Posts: 134
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:06 pm

Re: Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby cgw » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:13 pm

dmwelch29 wrote:I reworked it quite a bit to make it "show" more than "tell". I also completely scrapped the beginning.

Growing up in an LDS family, I have always been taught to put others before yourself and that it's better to give than receive. Indeed, these tenets have become central maxims in my life today and they are why I want to become a lawyer. I have always wanted to devote my career to helping others and I believe the legal field would allow me a wide range of methods to accomplish this goal.
Community service started early for me, from filling shoe boxes with Christmas goodies for the children in Bosnia while I was in elementary school in England to volunteering to help play baseball with children with disabilities when I was in high school. While each experience was rewarding, the most meaningful to me was my time involved with my fraternity's philanthropy, Push America, which promotes a greater understanding of people with disabilities through awareness, fundraising, and volunteerism. I had vast opportunities to get involved, from helping organize a 5k run, to collaborating with The Arc to put on Friday night events for people with disabilities, to aiding in the organization of Empathy Dinners which promoted awareness of disabilities, and just spending time with these inspirational people. My involvement in Push is a microcosm of my desire to help others and further inspired me in my career goals.
In addition to helping others, I want a challenging career that will push me to grow into a better person as well as a successful one. Attending law school and becoming a lawyer would, I believe, enable me to achieve this. My past experiences, and what they have shaped me into, have prepared me to take on the rigors of law school as well as the challenges I would face as a lawyer.
My mother and her family arrived in the United States as part of the Cuban exile resulting from Castro's revolution. Originally political refugees, they eventually became US citizens and worked hard to build a life here. Consequently, as a child I was taught the value of hard work and perseverance on a daily basis; school was the top priority and anything but academic success was not an option. What was, at first, a parentally reinforced ideal for school became an ingrained desire to work hard and be successful in whatever my endeavor. My Cuban family's pursuit of the American Dream has become my inspiration and is a huge part of my drive for success today.
Growing up, my family moved quite frequently. We have lived in five different states and spent 7 years residing overseas in Poland and England, rarely living in one place for more than a few years. While living in a variety of locations was an amazing experience that helped me appreciate a wide variety of cultures, it was not ideal to a growing boy who only craved stability and friends. However, it forced me to be able to adapt to change and handle new experiences more comfortably. This adaptability was a boon to me my first year of college, which was my greatest challenge in acclimating to a new environment. Entering into college, the world was opened up to me and I was overwhelmed by this new found agency as well as the accelerated pace of the academic course load. I found myself trying to do too much, I joined the rowing team, several service clubs and multiple academic based organizations, all while trying to make friends. Like I did each time we moved, I slowed down a pace, adapted and refined my focus. Similarly, these experiences will continue to aide me during the rigors of law school and work as a lawyer.
I know there are countless obstacles awaiting me, but I welcome them. My ideals and my past experiences have prepared me for confronting them. While some falter and show weakness when faced with challenges, I adapt and find determination. I have the fortitude and perseverance to excel in law school and to become a lawyer who will strive to serve his community while growing as an individual


This feels disjointed, almost like two different statements. The first half describes your values and dedication to service and the second half moves to your childhood and adaptability with little connecting the two ideas. Maybe pick one of these topics and develop it in more detail.

It would be redundant to read a second list of your volunteer work in your PS, but the idea is to pick one (or maybe two, at most) very significant experience where you excelled, overcame a challenge, left a lasting impact on something/someone, or underwent an important change. The PS is an opportunity to explore that experience in greater detail outside the constraints of the resume format.

ramsdancer1
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:56 am

Re: Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby ramsdancer1 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:31 pm

If I were you I would use some of the ideas that you have, but start over. I would pick one experience and go into detail and have 3 paragraphs explaining traits/skills you learned from your experience. At the end tie it together by saying these skills will help you in law school.

For example, my personal statement was about a camp/community service experience. I wrote it like a story. I started mine clinging to a pole from a leadership challenge then backed up to explain how I got there. First paragraph talked about the first leadership challenge and I learned x and then the 2nd activity I learned y and 3rd course I learned z. Ended it by saying I grabed the flag off the pole and won the challenge now I am ready for the overcome the challenge of law school and reach the flag of law school graduation. You get my point. That's the best way to write it in my opinon and I got in everywhere I applied.

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

Re: Let me know what you think. Please be honest. Rough draft :)

Postby LexLeon » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:18 pm

Your statement would be really strong without the outright affirmations of your philanthropic spirit; instead, you should provide concrete examples of service in the past, or provide compelling reasons, in the absence of such examples, as to why you will serve in the future.

I commend you, however. Typically, opening paragraphs are far too dramatic, or cliche, or disingenuous-sounding, or irrelevant. Though your opening approaches several of these pitfalls, it is certainly on the stronger side. I wished to continue reading your statement after reading your opening; and that is a good thing.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.