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(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Sourrudedude
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Postby Sourrudedude » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:38 pm

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Last edited by Sourrudedude on Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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t-14orbust
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Re: Goal of PS?

Postby t-14orbust » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:45 pm

Both but more of the former than the latter imo

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BelugaWhale
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Re: Goal of PS?

Postby BelugaWhale » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:03 pm

it could also be a third thing...."who the hell am I"

The PS can be used as a why law, or a why I am good for law, but it can also just be used for a "personal statement" in its most basic sense...a statement that shows who you are as a person...a chance for the admissions committee to try to put a personality and person behind the numbers.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Goal of PS?

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:17 pm

A List of Things Your PS Should Tell Adcomms

1. This is who I am as a person.
2. This is why I want to go to law school. (optional)
3. This is why I'd be good at law school. (not as optional, but can be implicit)
4. I write really well.
5. I am capable of following instructions.

nugnoy
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Re: Goal of PS?

Postby nugnoy » Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:32 am

rinkrat19 wrote:A List of Things Your PS Should Tell Adcomms

1. This is who I am as a person.
2. This is why I want to go to law school. (optional)
3. This is why I'd be good at law school. (not as optional, but can be implicit)
4. I write really well.
5. I am capable of following instructions.


I think rinkrat19 is spot on. You explicitly address 1, 2(optional). Bonus points if your content implicitly addresses (3). Content + the way you write should address 4&5.

Ivey says there are two different types of personal statement prompts: the personal and the professional. For the personal, 2 is optional/unnecessary. For the professional, 2 is necessary. Maybe in this case 1 doesn't have to be explicitly addressed (your "why law" may implicitly address "who you are"). To know which kind the prompt you're dealing with is, closely read the prompt. For example, this is the prompt for Harvard this past cycle.

The personal statement is intended as an opportunity to give the Admissions Committee a better sense of who you are as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Harvard Law School. In many instances, applicants have used the personal statement to provide more context on how their experiences and strengths could make them valuable contributors to the Harvard and legal communities, to illuminate their intellectual background and interests, or to clarify or elaborate on other information in their application. Because applicants and their experiences differ, you are the best person to determine the content of your statement.

To put it in simple terms:
1. Tell us about who you are, what you would be as a student/graduate of Harvard
2. Here are some examples: A, B, C etc.
3. You decide

In this case, I'd say it's the personal essay. The examples are just there to illustrate - they don't instruct. So the actual prompt/instruction is just 1+3:

Tell us about who you are. You decide what to talk about.

So here, I'd say you don't need to talk about why law at all. A personal, interesting essay that says something good about you and leaves an impression on the reader is probably the way to go.

I think the most important guiding principle in writing your personal statement, whether personal or professional, is that your personal statement is your commercial (except we can't be humorous like TV commercials can...). You want to attract the admissions dean. I would much rather write a powerful personal essay that the reader remembers rather than a flawless argument concluding that I would make a great law student. This is coming from a splitter though, so take it with a grain of salt. If you're 4.0 180 (or just over the 75% median for both) the latter probably works or is probably better - your numbers have done all the advertising already.

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Sourrudedude
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Postby Sourrudedude » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:06 pm

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Last edited by Sourrudedude on Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nugnoy
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Re: Goal of PS?

Postby nugnoy » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:27 pm

Sourrudedude wrote:Thanks for the answers, guys. Great advice.

This is the situation I'm in, but I would still rather have a good PS. My issue, if I'm trying to address all these different concerns, is that I have a good story to tell about my personality and how I'm mature enough for law and all that and I have a good reason for why I want to go to law school, but I don't know how to bridge the gap. Is the better strategy to try to merge the two, or to come up with a new story that covers everything?


Wow, congratulations on your good situation!

I can't answer it for you unfortunately - somehow my personal essay turned into a personal-professional essay. I was in the same spot as you and was feeling crazy road-blocked. I decided to just forget everything and just start by writing whatever comes natural to me. I figured, if I write trash, I'll just write again! So I started a personal essay. At some point, though, it just organically tied into a professional essay. My personal didn't tie into professional in a high and lofty way (save everyone, legally cure cancer lol), and I don't think anyone would read it and say, "wow this guy is a noble applicant!" But it specifically ties into law school, and more importantly, it's concretely true - I didn't make any connections in writing this essay because I had made them before in my life.

So I can't give you a systematic advice on how to solve your situation. What I can suggest is, if it's hard for you to do it coherently with what you have already (after giving it a go for like a week you're not satisfied), maybe just try writing something personal that comes to you naturally. Don't be afraid to write about anything - thankfully you're thinking about this right now which allows you enough time to experiment. YMMV

I'll prob post my PS sometime soon and then maybe you can read it and see what I mean haha.

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guano
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Re: Goal of PS?

Postby guano » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:19 pm

At most schools the PS's job is to prove you're not a psychopath. No points for a good PS, but you might get dinged for a bad one

At YS, it helps cut the wheat from the chaff

At TTTs it proves you are literate (and therefore capable of completing financial aid forms)

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rinkrat19
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Re: Goal of PS?

Postby rinkrat19 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:26 pm

People worry too much about explicitly explaining "Why I want to go to law school" in their PS. My theory is that, barring an essay prompt that specifically asks for it, you don't really need to address it. Just don't leave the reader wondering "Why on EARTH is this person going to law school instead of [X]??"

Don't worry about having your essay totally mapped out before you write it. Just bang something out. See if there's anything good in it. Keep those bits. Write more words attached to those bits. See if any sort of coherent theme is forming. If not, bang out some more words and see if they connect to the good bits you already had. Are there more good bits that you want to keep? Any theme yet? Maybe if you wrote about [this event], it would connect [this bit] with [that bit], and you could describe [this thing] in your intro to draw the reader in.




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