Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Kenneth417
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:27 pm

Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby Kenneth417 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:08 pm

I am looking for some advice in regards to my personal statement! All help is going to be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!

Ninety-five percent of alcoholics on the path towards sobriety relapse during their first year and that number only increases as time goes on (Meninga, 2012). I am proud to say that I am the son of a man who belongs to the diminutive percentage of recovering alcoholics that have been sober for over an astonishing ten years. My father’s sobriety is directly related with how he utilized his inner-strength resulting in him realizing the value and the potential of his life before he swapped for another burning swallow. His everyday triumph over this twenty year war with alcoholism enables me to believe in my own inner-strength when life decides to test it.
Dating back to the earliest stages of my young existence, all I can recall is that my father was one of the world’s countless numbers of individuals who chose to enter an excruciating battle with the world’s most horrifying drug of alcohol. While being a child I remember witnessing him stumbling into the kitchen, latching his hand around the handle of Vodka, tilt his head back, and then proceed to consume as much alcohol as he possibly could in a single instance. Days turned into months and months turned into years and my father was still drinking excessive amounts of alcohol on an everyday basis. Every night I prayed to God in hopes for him to gain the necessary strength to overcome this horrifying addiction and in 2001 on Mother’s Day, my father’s life unexpectedly changed forever.
I was in the middle of a deep sleep, like every other little 10 year old boy across the country was experiencing, until my big sister swung open my door, launched herself onto my bed and hollered “Kenny get up!” I kicked my nickelodeon blankets onto the floor, shot out of my bed and then sprinted to the living room. The next thing I saw was my grandfather, who had his arms locked underneath my father’s motionless body, dragging my father out of my parent’s bedroom towards the front door of our home. During the course of this action my mother sadly glanced at me, with a tear running down her cheek and said “Poppy is taking Daddy to the hospital to get the help he needs Kenny.” After hearing those encouraging words come from my mother I had a supreme feeling of relief shoot through my body like a bolt of electricity. After an extended period of time at the hospital, my father was then admitted to a rehabilitation center where he went on to complete twenty-eight days of therapy. Following the completion of rehabilitation, my father returned home to his devoted wife, his two children and a countless number of other supportive relatives.
My father has been sober since his arrival home in the fall of 2001 and till this day he still fights his battle with alcoholism without any intentions of throwing in the towel. Witnessing the daily strain my father went through during the most strenuous time in his life brought something exceptionally significant to my attention. I noticed that no matter how difficult or complex something may seem, with hard work and truly holding the belief that you can succeed, anything is surmountable. I utilize this outlook on life during every daunting situation in which I find myself in and it has never resulted me falling short of my goals and aspirations.
One specific instance during my collegiate career in which I had to employ these skills was when I was rewarded with the opportunity to lecture my Substantive Criminal Law class regarding the differences between criminal and civil law, while my professor played the role of myself as a student. I was honored to be the sole student selected to take on this enormous task but I also knew this was a highly complex mission and falling short of providing the class with a strong performance was definitely not an option. During the days preceding my chance to deliver a memorable presentation, I utilized the powerful skills that I have previously learned from my father and then the moment that I had been waiting for finally came. Based on my dedication and devotedness to succeed, I knew for a fact that I was going to execute at a high level. Immediately following the conclusion of my presentation my professor enthusiastically applauded and then later offered me the position of being his teaching assistant for the remaining of the year. This single occasion was a prime example of how my inner-strength assists me with defeating some of life’s hardest difficulties.
Having the opportunity of being a child and witnessing this type of hard fought encounter my father experienced with alcohol has affected me on more levels than one. It has resulted in me becoming the strong, resilient, and committed human-being that I currently am today. The challenges of law school will be incredibly different from the obstacles my father faced while defeating his war with alcoholism, but the approach in which I will have to utilize will be overwhelmingly similar. My father has always told me that God has provided me with a gift and now I can finally say I know exactly what this gift he referred to is. It is to employ every ounce of strength in which I possess to overcome any obstacle that is thrown in my direction. The knowledge and information that I have gathered during the struggle my father had and will always have with alcoholism, has given me the focal essentials required to accomplish any assignment in which I have the desire to complete, especially the one that I am currently facing right now, which gaining admission to your highly respected institution.
Works Cited
Meninga, P. (2012). What is the Percentage of Alcoholics Who Stay Sober? Vancouver: Spiritual
River to Recovery.

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DocHawkeye
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Re: Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby DocHawkeye » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:24 pm

I don't feel like this is a very strong personal statement because it is not about you. It is about your father. Your father is not is applying to law school, you are. You need to write about you. Perhaps you can reframe this topic in a way that would show something about you. I have two other specific criticisms: (1) I would avoid language like "world’s most horrifying drug." It makes an absolute assertion with which many (including me) will disagree. It is also a clunky phrase and makes you sound like either a child or a non-native English speaker. Alcohol may be a terrible drug, maybe even a horrifying one (even though you use this word a lot). Find another way to express this thought. and (2) Footnotes and other citations are a bad idea. Use a full internal citation like "In his book Spiritual River to Recovery, Meninga notes that ninety-five percent of alcoholics relapse in their first year of sobriety." Legal writing often uses citations within the body text and the adcoms will be used to this sort of thing. Besides, you're not writing an academic paper, but an opinion piece.

I hope you take these comments in the spirit in which they're intended. Good luck!

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby holdencaulfield » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:09 pm

Rather than spend words on specific details about your father, expound on the following sentence and focus on it from the beginning:
It has resulted in me becoming the strong, resilient, and committed human-being that I currently am today.


Other than observing, list what you did and how it made you strong, resilient, etc. E.g. - did you have take care of yourself or your sister? Did your family struggle financially? Did you have to deal with judgment from other people?

Also, connect it all to why you want to go to lawschool. I wouldn't describe lawschool as an
obstacle that is thrown in [your] direction
. What about your father makes you want to be a lawyer?

Hope that helps... Good luck!

Kenneth417
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:27 pm

Re: Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby Kenneth417 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:01 pm

Thanks to both of you for taking the time to read my PS and providing me with some great advice. I see how I have to incorporate how this occasion has resulted in myself becoming who I currently am today as a person. Im going to critique this PS and then I will repost when my revision is complete. Thanks again for all your help!

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Jsa725
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Re: Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby Jsa725 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:27 pm

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Last edited by Jsa725 on Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jselson
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Re: Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby jselson » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:33 pm

DocHawkeye wrote:I don't feel like this is a very strong personal statement because it is not about you. It is about your father. Your father is not is applying to law school, you are. You need to write about you.


This is TCR.

blackwidow78
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:07 pm

Re: Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby blackwidow78 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:40 am

I think the your essay really begins with "Witnessing the daily strain my father went through during the most strenuous time in his life brought something exceptionally significant to my attention." Build your essay around this idea, focus on how it affected you and the role it plays in your desire to study law, tie in details from your original paragraph as necessary, and tailor it to the requirements of your various law schools. You have an incredibly moving story to tell; I just think that weaving the details throughout as opposed to laying them all out in the first paragraph might be more effective in overall structure, which should be about your arc, not your father's.

XLogic
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Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:22 am

Re: Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby XLogic » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:00 am

@Kenneth417, I tend to agree with DocHawkeye.

I think you did a good job telling the story about how your Dad successfully overcame a terrible disease. The section where you describe your Grand pa "who had his arms locked underneath [your] father's motionless body..." is great story telling -- I could actually visualize the scene like one of those Agatha Christie novels.

However, you do not write nearly enough about your self. Only in the 6th paragraph did you talk about your own personal experience/triumph. I wanted to know how your Dad's drinking made you feel? Did you try to help him? Did you grow from that experience, did it change you? If so how? Even if the main theme of your PS is your "Dad overcoming alcoholism", you still need to be the main character in the story.

Also, I don't think comparing your Dad "overcoming alcoholism" to you successfully "giving a lecture" has enough juice (impact). Unless you overcame a chronic case of public speaking anxiety or some other similar obstacle. In which case, giving a great lecture, in spite of this challenge, would be a really big deal! Hope that makes sense.

Lastly, I think your PS will work better if you start with a vivid description of one of "Dad's" episodes in paragraph 1, then provide some background info and how it affected you in paragraph 2 , and then use the rest of the paper to talk about YOU!

The "Meninga" quote doesn't really add value, I would consider removing it.

Kenneth417
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:27 pm

Re: Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby Kenneth417 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:48 pm

I know exactly where all of you are coming from. Im going to make significant changes and I will repost my revised PS tomorrow night! Im looking foward to hear what you guys think of my changed statement. Thanks again for all your help.

Kenneth417
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:27 pm

Re: Looking for some assistance with my PS. Thanks!

Postby Kenneth417 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:51 pm

Hey guys. I made some significant changes to my personal statement. Some of my facts were wrong about my father so I had to switch them to being correct. I hope you enjoy it! Would love more advice if you guys have anymore to offer. Thanks again for all your help!

My father had three days left to live when he checked-in to rehab. I was freshly 12-years-old and in the middle of a deep sleep when I woke to the scary tone of my sister’s voice: “Kenny get up!” I leapt out of my Nickelodeon sheets and skidded into the living room to find my tired grandfather, arms locked underneath the torso of a skinny, drunken man. I rubbed my eyes and felt my face drop in horror as I realized that the listless figure had tattoos on each forearm - tattoos I knew too well, as they belonged to my 6-foot, 140-pound father. It was then my mother saw me, and as tears began to cloud her eyes, she said, “Daddy is leaving to get the help he needs, Kenny.” Immediate relief flooded my senses, as I knew from then on, he could only get better. My father’s four-year war with alcoholism came to an end that morning, but exposed me to both tender and harsh situations that prompted me to illustrate great responsibility and perseverance. Throughout that four-year period, I developed these traits as my role transitioned from 6th-grade boy to man-of-the-house, and I believe these traits will greatly support my pursuit of earning a Juris Doctor degree as they did throughout my entire life thus far.

Before my father realized the severity of his state, I watched him slip farther away from my mother, sister, and I, which prompted greater responsibility to fall on my shoulders. No longer could I rely on my father to remember my mother on Valentine’s Day, my sister on her birthday, or his mother on Mother’s Day. As the new male figure of the house, I assumed all responsibilities he used to own, and fulfilled the majority to the best of my ability. When my father’s collection of liquor receipts grew larger, my mother’s wallet grew lighter, which then encouraged me to wash cars in the neighborhood for a little extra money. I did not realize, however, that the profits I gave my mom went beyond strengthening her stability, but strengthened her spirits as well. With the money my mom saved, she took my sister and I on a getaway to Disney World that put smiles on our faces and our minds at ease, which was worth a year’s worth of car-washes if necessary. This responsibility to my family and work transcended my desire to also succeed in my studies, which led me to receive Student of the Year during my senior year of high school, as well as graduate with honors from Florida Gulf Coast University in pursuit of my next goal: Attaining a Juris Doctor degree.

Because I welcomed responsibility at such a young age, I gained the ability to persevere not only at home, but in school and extracurricular activities as I grew older. When I was offered the opportunity to lecture in my Substantive Criminal Law class regarding the differences between criminal and civil law, I was allowed two weeks to prepare along with fulfilling other assignments, studying for two upcoming exams, and working a part-time job. I knew those weeks would pass very quickly, but because I grew-up attending to many responsibilities at once, I was able to believe in my ability to study, work, and also prepare a strong, enlightening lecture for my class. When the day arrived, I chose to present first, as I was ready to deliver the material I prepared. With 70 pairs of eyes looking back at me, one pair belonging to my professor, I cleared my throat and for a split-second, I was the little boy washing cars: Again in a position to prove my strength and perseverance when required. After I finished speaking, my professor and classmates enthusiastically applauded, which made me smile a proud smile, and relate again to the boy walking next to his mother and sister in Disney World. My professor later offered me the position of being his teaching assistant for the remaining of the year; I gladly accepted.

By representing and practicing our nation’s laws, lawyers aid and alleviate the issues that test our country’s citizens, which encompasses high-levels of responsibility and perseverance as they strive to fulfill their duty as attorneys. Before my father got help, I saw an opportunity to better the lives of my mother and sister, and make the best out of a struggling situation as I accepted this new responsibility. Looking back at how I made a poor situation result in a positive outcome has made me capable of embracing the magnitude of every opportunity when presented. If given the chance to study our nation’s laws, I will demonstrate high-levels of responsibility and perseverance because law school is my opportunity to better my life. I would be honored to represent your prestigious institution as a law school student as well as throughout my devoted career as a practicing attorney.




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