PS Rough Draft - Please Take a Look

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 273044
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

PS Rough Draft - Please Take a Look

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:49 pm

Here is the first draft of my personal statement. Any comments are appreciated. If you think I should scrap the whole thing and start over please let me know. Names, dates, and locations have been changed to protect their anonymity as well as my own. Thanks!

On the Hawaiian island of XYZ there is a beach where the local inhabitants often go to swim and surf. Although I have never visited XYZ, my life will never be the same as a result of what occurred on this beach on September 29, 2008.
Perhaps as a result of strong parenting and a structured childhood, I have always considered myself to be a “good” person. Growing up in a household with an emphasis on morality and religion my ability to determine the correct moral and ethical choices in a given situation were finely honed by my early teenage years. In addition, I never experienced the typical rebellious stage associated with being a teenager. This is not to say that I never did anything in violation of my moral upbringing, but I always tried to abide by the principles instilled by my parents and by society.
In the fall of 2008, I began my senior year of college while also working part-time as a runner for the XYZ Attorney General's Office. I remember coming home in the evening from work and hearing the news. The normal chipper cadence in my mother's voice was replaced by something softer and lower. Her voice was somewhat hesitant trying to find the right words to say. “Carl”, I heard her call from the kitchen as I walked in the door, “do you remember Will Jefferson?” “Of course, I remember him”, I thought to myself, “we had dinner with him and his family just a couple of months ago in this very kitchen”. “Well”, my mother cautiously continued, “we don't know much yet, but apparently there was an accident.” It wasn't until several weeks later that I learned the full story of what had happened.
Will and Bethany Jefferson and their three year old son Kalen were missionaries with Humanitarian Relief Organization (HRO). My family had volunteered to take care of Kalen while Will and Bethany were receiving training at the HRO headquarters a few miles down the road. Through the course of the summer, our families had dinner together a number of times and had grown fairly close. Will was a pilot and had been assigned to XYZ to provide medical evacuation and emergency aid support to the remote villages on the island. On September 29, 2008 Will and another HRO volunteer had decided to take some boys from a local orphanage to the beach to swim. Two of the boys were caught in a riptide and, without a second's thought or hesitation, Will jumped into the water and swam out to save them. Will Jefferson gave his life that day to save those boys.
At first, I wondered how anyone could be so foolish. Didn't he know the risks? Didn't he know he could die? Didn't he care about his family? How could he be so reckless? But then, I began to realize that these questions were born out of my self-centeredness. Subconsciously, the question I had truly been asking but unwilling to answer was “Would I have done the same thing?”. At that moment, I made my decision. No longer would I be satisfied staying on the beach, I was going to jump in the ocean. My focus would be on how I could help others who were in need even if it was not convenient or easy.
Upon graduation, I immediately began working at the XYZ County Prosecutor's Office but I knew that I needed to do more to help those around me. I needed to jump in the ocean and if I was to truly help others, I needed to live up to my potential. As I began to learn more about how attorneys work and specifically the positive impact prosecuting attorneys can have on victims and defendants alike, I committed myself to attending law school and becoming an attorney. Becoming an attorney will allow me to succeed in a challenging profession while also fulfilling my commitment to positively affect those with whom I work. Will you help me accomplish my goal? Will you stay on the beach or will you jump in the ocean?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273044
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: PS Rough Draft - Please Take a Look

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:26 pm

If anybody has any comments, I would really appreciate it. Does it seem to pushy or cliche? Do you think the theme is alright or should I change it altogether? Thanks in advance for any advice the hive mind can give :)

mmbt123
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:47 am

Re: PS Rough Draft - Please Take a Look

Postby mmbt123 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:17 pm

Impression right off the bat, way too short

On the Hawaiian island of XYZ there is a beach where the local inhabitants often go to swim and surf. Although I have never visited XYZ, my life will never be the same as a result of what occurred on this beach on September 29, 2008. Try describing the beach and start off w/ descriptive imagery if you want to go this route. But, it takes too long to figure out why the beach matters so this paragraph is actually kind of confusing.

Perhaps as a result of strong parenting and a structured childhood, I have always considered myself to be a “good” person. Growing up in a household with an emphasis on morality and religion my ability to determine the correct moral and ethical choices in a given situation were finely honed by my early teenage years. In addition, I never experienced the typical rebellious stage associated with being a teenager. This is not to say that I never did anything in violation of my moral upbringing, but I always tried to abide by the principles instilled by my parents and by society. Way too vague. What are some of these morals and ethics? Give an example of how they were instilled.

In the fall of 2008, I began my senior year of college while also working part-time as a runner for the XYZ Attorney General's Office. I remember coming home in the evening from work and hearing the news. The normal chipper cadence in my mother's voice was replaced by something softer and lower. Her voice was somewhat hesitant trying to find the right words to say. “Carl”, I heard her call from the kitchen as I walked in the door, “do you remember Will Jefferson?” “Of course, I remember him”, I thought to myself, “we had dinner with him and his family just a couple of months ago in this very kitchen”. “Well”, my mother cautiously continued, “we don't know much yet, but apparently there was an accident.” It wasn't until several weeks later that I learned the full story of what had happened.

Will and Bethany Jefferson and their three year old son Kalen were missionaries with Humanitarian Relief Organization (HRO). My family had volunteered to take care of Kalen while Will and Bethany were receiving training at the HRO headquarters a few miles down the road. Through the course of the summer, our families had dinner together a number of times and had grown fairly close. Will was a pilot and had been assigned to XYZ to provide medical evacuation and emergency aid support to the remote villages on the island. On September 29, 2008 Will and another HRO volunteer had decided to take some boys from a local orphanage to the beach to swim. Two of the boys were caught in a riptide and, without a second's thought or hesitation, Will jumped into the water and swam out to save them. Will Jefferson gave his life that day to save those boys.
At first, I wondered how anyone could be so foolish. Didn't he know the risks? Didn't he know he could die? Didn't he care about his family? How could he be so reckless? But then, I began to realize that these questions were born out of my self-centeredness. Subconsciously, the question I had truly been asking but unwilling to answer was “Would I have done the same thing?”. At that moment, I made my decision. No longer would I be satisfied staying on the beach, I was going to jump in the ocean. My focus would be on how I could help others who were in need even if it was not convenient or easy.

Upon graduation, I immediately began working at the XYZ County Prosecutor's Office but I knew that I needed to do more to help those around me. I needed to jump in the ocean and if I was to truly help others, I needed to live up to my potential. As I began to learn more about how attorneys work and specifically the positive impact prosecuting attorneys can have on victims and defendants alike, I committed myself to attending law school and becoming an attorney. Becoming an attorney will allow me to succeed in a challenging profession while also fulfilling my commitment to positively affect those with whom I work. Will you help me accomplish my goal? Will you stay on the beach or will you jump in the ocean? Yeah I think the ending is too cliche/sugary

You need more detail, and you need to invest more time thinking about the lessons you learned and their implications. Otherwise, it sounds like a newspaper clipping combined with a personal statement. Was there a case you worked on at teh Prosecutor's Office that really impacted you? That could also be good material for a personal statement. This case seems too removed from you to be something you can discuss deeply and forcefully in a personal statement.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273044
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: PS Rough Draft - Please Take a Look

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:29 pm

Thanks for the feedback! It is actually almost exactly two pages double spaced...I was under the impression that this is about the right length but if I can go longer I would love to expound more on the journey that has lead me to law school. I know the paragraphs need to be connected better. The flow seems a bit off so I will try to work on that as well on my next revision.

mmbt123
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:47 am

Re: PS Rough Draft - Please Take a Look

Postby mmbt123 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:44 pm

oh really? i think 2 pages double spaced is the right length. this just doesn't feel like 2 pages...did you check font/margins? or maybe i'm going crazy.

also if this incident really was very formative, i would try a version where you devote a third of the essay to that then show how you actualized the lesson you learned in your job by discussing a particularly important case and the lessons your drew from that case.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273044
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: PS Rough Draft - Please Take a Look

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:58 pm

I have it set to 1" margins and 12 point font. I like your idea, but releasing information about cases I have worked on is frowned upon (especially if they are pending or can still be appealed). I will see if I can be generic enough and still make it compelling.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.