Personal Statement Comments?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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SJU2010
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Personal Statement Comments?

Postby SJU2010 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:28 am

Any comments?

Sunday, December 12, 1998, was a cold day. After school, my brother with a distressed countenance informed me that we would be staying with our aunt for the next several weeks. "But why?" I exclaimed with the intonation of helplessness. Although we were current on the rent; although we had a bona fide lease, the landlord, nonetheless, had seized our apartment to secure housing for his daughter— with absolutely no prior or legal notice. That day changed my life forever.

I was born in the small country Turkmenistan, which borders both Iran and Afghanistan. We, a Jewish family living in a country comprising 99 percent Muslim, were not afforded religious freedom. We did not have a synagogue, as the only synagogue was seized during the Stalin era. Our religion was not a secret. However, we were very discreet about our beliefs and gatherings. In September 1994, following the direction of other family members, who like us, were seeking freedom from religious oppression, we immigrated to the United States.

I started in the fourth grade. With no grasp of the English language, the first month of school was no facile endeavor. Yes it was difficult, but I was determined to learn. I spent every weekend in the library, reading and studying the language until I was completed imbued with linguistic and grammatical authority. My illiteracy was transient, superseded by my congenital desire to transcend all inadequacies. Such congenital desire, although robust, nevertheless did little to solve our senseless, unlawful eviction that one cold day. My family was displaced for many weeks. We retrieved only a small portion of our belongings; the rest, we never saw again. Engendered by the prevalent feelings of uncertainty, fear, and helplessness, which attempted to submerge as a stronghold in my being, I made a decision. Not just any decision; but a steadfast declaration: As long as I exist, I will become an attorney, specifically to ensure that no other families are unlawfully displaced by unscrupulous landlords and banks.

Today, I work as the supervising paralegal for the law offices of ___________. I began as an intern; however, within two months, I was promoted to the paralegal position entrusted with the challenging duty of establishing the foreclosure division of the firm. My passion for helping families remain in their homes has been described as herculean, working countless late nights as to assiduously research statutory and case law relevant to our clients' cases. Under the attorney’s oversight, I established the office foreclosure documents and templates consisting of answers, affidavits, affirmations, and motions. Although my conviction is in real estate law, I never abandoned my education. In May 2011, I graduated with Honors in the Legal Studies Bachelor of Science Degree Program through ________ University’s ABA approved Legal Studies program. Throughout my academic career I participated in the Honor society’s academic activities, maintained full time employment, an internship, and a GPA above 3.5.

Today, as I witness bank attorneys ignore requests for mediation to enable viable loss-mitigation solutions; as I witness banks violate myriad statutory laws to unlawfully foreclose on homes for financial gain, I think back to my past, to that one cold day, and realize that my displacement of home was in fact not negative. As now, I am the voice for the voiceless, the help for the helpless, the certainty for the disheartened. Simply because of that one cold day, I realize that with the will to transcend debilitating circumstance, ostensibly negative events can elicit herculean passion.

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Ave
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:00 pm

Re: Personal Statement Comments?

Postby Ave » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:32 am

SJU2010 wrote:Sunday, December 12, 1998, was a cold day. After school, my brother with a distressed countenance informed me that we would be staying with our aunt for the next several weeks. "But why?" I exclaimed with the intonation of helplessness. Although we were current on the rent; although we had a bona fide lease, the landlord, nonetheless, had seized our apartment to secure housing for his daughter— with absolutely no prior or legal notice. That day changed my life forever.

I haven't finished reading the rest but the bolded are all very off-putting. You need to be more careful with your word choices and tone.

ETA:
SJU2010 wrote:I started in the fourth grade. With no grasp of the English language, the first month of school was no facile endeavor. Yes it was difficult, but I was determined to learn. I spent every weekend in the library, reading and studying the language until I was completed imbued with linguistic and grammatical authority. My illiteracy was transient, superseded by my congenital desire to transcend all inadequacies. Such congenital desire, although robust, nevertheless did little to solve our senseless, unlawful eviction that one cold day. My family was displaced for many weeks. We retrieved only a small portion of our belongings; the rest, we never saw again. Engendered by the prevalent feelings of uncertainty, fear, and helplessness, which attempted to submerge as a stronghold in my being, I made a decision. Not just any decision; but a steadfast declaration: As long as I exist, I will become an attorney, specifically to ensure that no other families are unlawfully displaced by unscrupulous landlords and banks.

:| Personally, I would rewrite the whole PS. The phrases I bolded should give you a good indication of what type of phrasings you need to stop using. Note: I did not do this for the rest of your PS because there would be more bolded than not. It is all quite too much and in some places like "Engendered by the prevalent feelings of uncertainty, fear, and helplessness, I made a decision" absolutely do not make sense.

Lastly, this (because it bothered me more than "imbued with grammatical authority"):
SJU2010 wrote:As now, I am the voice for the voiceless, the help for the helpless, the certainty for the disheartened

1) You are lacking parallelism
2) It is a terribly clichéd statement

ETA2: Just read the rest of your PS, and I definitely think you should rewrite this. Don't try to fluff every aspect of your life into some heroic "voice for the voiceless" and just be honest, even if you don't come off as some "herculean paralegal" ready to tackle the oppressive world with legal might...at least, the PS will be fresh and much more enjoyable to read.

doing_it_in_a_car
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:43 pm

Re: Personal Statement Comments?

Postby doing_it_in_a_car » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:51 pm

Agree with the poster above, especially about being overly sentimental and using obscure, lofty words. Climb down from your pedestal and write in plain English.

Also, consider the following. No one gets to call themselves a hero. Heroes do great things and other people recognize them as heroes. If Hercules described his accomplishments, saying, "I slayed the Hydra and tamed Cerberus" - you would get the impression that he's a mighty hero and you would be very impressed. But if Hercules went around calling himself "herculean" - that wouldn't come off as impressive. See the difference?

In short - don't call yourself "great" in any way. Instead, describe the great things you have done in great detail.

Good luck.

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CyanIdes Of March
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:57 pm

Re: Personal Statement Comments?

Postby CyanIdes Of March » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:29 pm

Along with what the other posters have said (the language you use is bizarre and you self aggrandize way, way too much). My 2 cents:
- Don't include what other people call you as a way to brag about your dedication. Just show what you've done. You don't want the adcomms to start rolling their eyes at your paper.
- Don't use the word passion. Again, just show that you have a passion.
- The premise is... very off putting. You present it like it's the worst thing that could possibly happen, like someone just got diagnosed with cancer, but you weren't even homeless. Something kind of crappy happened, but you didn't end up on the streets and life went on. You should address it that way. Address it as "One day this happened and, while I was able to bounce back it made me realize that I'd like to become more involved in keeping things like this from happening in the future". Obviously not in those words, but in that tone.
- Finally, be careful when talking about what you've done in the legal world. Adcomms hate to see people talking about their legal exploits who don't know what their doing or who are clearly just doing grunt work but presenting it as if they were already an attorney. Not that this is your case, I wouldn't know because I'm not an attorney, but I'd caution any 0L from writing about legal work from the perspective that they are already doing legal work in any sense.

y2zipper
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:45 pm

Re: Personal Statement Comments?

Postby y2zipper » Fri Mar 29, 2013 6:43 pm

The language needs to be toned down here, as everyone else said. Trying to use big words to make an impression is exactly what you don't want. You need to write this as though you were speaking to the adcomm people verbally. The elementary school part is the perfect example. I'm sure that getting an education even though you couldn't speak English was very tough, but all you need to do is tell the story and they'll understand the attributes.

The other issue for me is that you're all over the place. Centralize a bit more. You start with your own, go back into something about your immigration and religion, then come back to today suddenly. Using the paralegal work as a basis for becoming a lawyer is something that can work, but would be much more effective if you talked about that and could give some very specific examples of helping families keep their homes and then talked about what you learned and how becoming a lawyer will further advance whatever goal you have in that area.




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