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Opening Sentence

Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 2:14 am
by Anonymous User
I just listened to a lecture from a pre-law advisor who stressed that the opening sentence of the personal statement should really grab the reader. Okay... but how much is too much? Is the goal to shock them? Surprise them? Make them laugh?

How's this approach:

"At 38 years of age, I have been married for more years than I have been single."

I'm thinking of going with the life story approach.

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 8:28 am
by rad lulz
Not attention grabbing because

1) I had to do mental math to figure out you've been married at least 19 years and

2) I'm not sure why getting married at 18 or 19 is so shocking

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 2:46 pm
by jselson
I don't like it because I don't know where the rest of the statement is going. If I'm an adcomm member, I don't want to have to hunt for your main ideas.

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:04 pm
by SPerez
It's not bad, really. Like jselson said, though, for me it depends on where it goes from there. I would be interested enough to WANT to read the next sentence.

What I don't like is the "years of age". Who talks like that? "I'm 38 years old, and I've been married more than half my life," is more natural-sounding.

When going for the life story PS, be very careful it doesn't become a recitation of your resume. It may be better to focus on one particular life event or string of experiences you can tie together with a common theme.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech University School of Law

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:48 pm
by eyfl
SPerez wrote:It's not bad, really. Like jselson said, though, for me it depends on where it goes from there. I would be interested enough to WANT to read the next sentence.

What I don't like is the "years of age". Who talks like that? "I'm 38 years old, and I've been married more than half my life," is more natural-sounding.

When going for the life story PS, be very careful it doesn't become a recitation of your resume. It may be better to focus on one particular life event or string of experiences you can tie together with a common theme.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech University School of Law


I wish Dean Perez read my PS.. I promise it's very insightful & interesting! :oops:

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 3:57 pm
by t-14orbust
What do you guys think about starting with a question? Too cliche?

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 4:02 pm
by westphillybandr
t-14orbust wrote:What do you guys think about starting with a question? Too cliche?

Is that your opening sentence? I think that it is a little too cute.

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 4:05 pm
by t-14orbust
hahaha no, I was thinking of starting with a question related to what I'll be writing about. Not sure if it's too corny to begin with a question though.

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 4:13 pm
by rinkrat19
t-14orbust wrote:hahaha no, I was thinking of starting with a question related to what I'll be writing about. Not sure if it's too corny to begin with a question though.

I lean towards no, but it's hard to say without actually seeing it.

Also be careful that you don't spend your first 300 words discussing what you are or are not going to be writing about. It wastes space and is boring at best, pretentious douchebaggery at worst. Just dive in and write your topic, whatever it is.

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 5:03 pm
by Anonymous User
Thank you all for your replies. I appreciate your candor. I didn't know that the PS should be written in a conversational voice. That was extremely helpful. Thanks SPerez! :D

Re: Opening Sentence

Posted: Tue May 21, 2013 5:19 pm
by westphillybandr
Candor? I was lying through my teeth. Anyway Good Luck!