How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 273117
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:30 pm

So, I have spent years doing immigrant rights work on the US Mexico Border (advocating for the rights of people without legal status and providing direct humanitarian aid to needy people crossing the border) and have also spent a lot of time working on Palestine Solidarity stuff including a bunch of the time in the area. I could write a pretty compelling PS about either of these things (or both) which include themes like leadership skills, commitment, self-starting, setting and accomplishing goals, and so forth. Also I am interesting in law school primarily to obtain specific skills to continue doing this work and similar work so it would make sense to talk about this.

HOWEVER, I realize that both of these issues are pretty controversial, and I certainly don't want to come off as dogmatic or crazed...

I am thinking that I should write a more generic and weak and safe PS about playing the trumpet or something to send to the safety schools, and then a stronger but potentially alienating PS about one of the above topics to send to the reach schools (top 6 and boalt) on the idea that my admission there is going to be a crapshoot anyway and maybe the stronger but more dangerous topic helps...

Does this seem like a reasonable plan? Overthinking it? Stay away from these topics entirely? Does anyone have specific ideas about which schools are most likely to hate these topics and which might kind of like them?

User avatar
ArtistOfManliness
Posts: 518
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:56 pm

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:37 pm

I see no danger in these topics, don't waste your time trying to write two. Just write one kickass one about the topics that clearly really matter to you

User avatar
rinkrat19
Posts: 13912
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:41 pm

I think either topic could be great. I'm sure they could be written in a way that offends or alienates, but it'd take some pretty extreme language. I think the border one sounds particularly interesting.

delusional
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:57 pm

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby delusional » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:22 pm

I think that adcomms have to be open-minded enough to understand that there are two sides to these issues. Also, the majority of schools are liberal-leaning, so it's likely to be more positive than negative. Definitely better to write about a more compelling topic and risk ticking someone off than to write about something boring.

User avatar
szb5058
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:33 pm

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby szb5058 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:53 am

these topics sounds promising. stay away from specific religious/political views and you'll be fine. the topic is important but it's what you do with it that really matters

User avatar
Ramius
Posts: 2005
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby Ramius » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:03 am

These topics aren't automatic non-starters, but the devil is in the details. Regardless of the ADCOM's (and your own, for that matter) political leanings, you need to present this story in a way that shows your ability to approach the topic from a dispassionate, apolitical position. Obviously these topics are highly charged in some political circles, but if you take the opportunity to present YOURSELF within the realm of the topic, you could have a really strong PS on your hands.

Certainly don't preach to the ADCOM about the topic and don't leave yourself out of the PS in lieu of talking about the issue and you should be able to craft a strong PS on either topic. Try to pick only one though IMO.

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:10 am

The first topic is less likely to offend someone than the second. Both could be done, but the second one would need to be handled carefully.

User avatar
guano
Posts: 2268
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:49 am

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby guano » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:17 am

It also depends on where you're applying. Taking the illegal immigrant topic as an example, I'm sure that Berkeley and UT would look at it completely differently

User avatar
Mad Hatter
Posts: 654
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:38 pm

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby Mad Hatter » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:23 am

Given the very limited upside of a PS, I would be hesitant to wade into topics that even slightly risk alienating an adcomm,

NYstate
Posts: 1566
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:44 am

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby NYstate » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:37 am

Do you really think ad comms would discount the experiences of an applicant who is going out and firsthand providing humanitarian aid? I don't. I think if either of these experiences reflects who you are as a person, then you should be able to write a powerful and convincing statement. I think ad comms would rather hear about this than sports or other cliched subjects.

Like others have said, this is to give insight into who you are as a person. Leave politics out of it.

Write a draft and post it.

blsingindisguise
Posts: 1296
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:08 am

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:41 am

NYstate wrote:Do you really think ad comms would discount the experiences of an applicant who is going out and firsthand providing humanitarian aid? I don't. I think if either of these experiences reflects who you are as a person, then you should be able to write a powerful and convincing statement. I think ad comms would rather hear about this than sports or other cliched subjects.

Like others have said, this is to give insight into who you are as a person. Leave politics out of it.

Write a draft and post it.


No, I don't think they would either, but the Palestinian conflict is a very touchy subject, and "avoiding politics" would be like tiptoeing through a minefield. I think the immigration stuff is less likely to be something that would offend an adcom.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22788
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: How Toxic are These Potential PS Topics?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:43 am

Mad Hatter wrote:Given the very limited upside of a PS, I would be hesitant to wade into topics that even slightly risk alienating an adcomm,

I can't imagine how either of those topics would alienate adcomms. I'm sure there are specific ways to write bad PSes about those topics (as there are about any topic), but adcomms aren't looking to judge an applicant's politics - they just want to see how you talk about those politics (or whatever you write your PS about). Adcomms are alienated by badly done PSes, not specific topics.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.