Revised PS. Advice would be greatly appreciated!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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Revised PS. Advice would be greatly appreciated!

Postby Kenneth417 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:53 pm

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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Re: Revised PS. Advice would be greatly appreciated!

Postby BelugaWhale » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:05 am

I like it. But there are issues with it.

I like the initial setup and transition from your father's alcoholism to how that built up your character through increased responsibilities. But after that, I get the feeling it was rushed and the transitions break down. Meaning, for one paragraph you're talking about a time when you're 12 and the very next moment you start talking about a college presentation. I would have liked more transition into this phase.

More specifically, I would have liked to be wowed more. You go from a great set up of a precocious 12 yr old to a college student presenting in front of class? I feel the latter isnt a particular strong or notable achievement. If possible, you should choose a "better" accomplishment than just the mere presentation of something in front of class, even if it was a good presentation.

Overall though I like the PS.


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Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:32 pm

Re: Revised PS. Advice would be greatly appreciated!

Postby mls » Fri Feb 22, 2013 6:23 pm

Doing a quick read a few things stand out:

1. The first paragraph is too long. You kind of wax poetic when you could be more declarative. For example, instead of the whole "i saw two forearm tattoos which I recognized as the tattoos of my father and therefore realized i was, in fact, looking at my father" you could just say "My grandfather was supporting my father."

2. I would imagine the line about assuming the "man-of-the-house" role would be a little offensive to some women on the admissions committee. It doesn't really matter if that's how you felt or that's how things are in your culture, without putting it in context, it comes off as old-fashioned sexism. On the other hand, I was glad to see if wasn't a major theme in your essay. Just change this one line.

3. Do not start a sentence, and especially not a paragraph with "because." Whether or not it is grammatically acceptable, if it bothers even one person on the admissions committee, it's worth re-structuring the sentence.

4. Do more showing and less telling!! It is good that you do include a few stories, but there is a LOT of "after demonstrating responsibility" and "due to my perseverance" and "as a hard-worker" stuff. I get that it's hard to eliminate it completely, but you could reduce it A LOT.

Those are just a few quick thoughts. You have a decent start here. Keep working!

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