try this again- rough draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
hos9903
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try this again- rough draft

Postby hos9903 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:45 pm

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Last edited by hos9903 on Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jselson
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Re: try this again- rough draft

Postby jselson » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:15 pm

Are sports PS's this common? I'd hate to be an adcomm.

e: More constructively, this is what I gleaned from your PS:

1) Rowing is a fun, strenuous workout.
2) Boston is colder than New Orleans.
3) Harvard's full of wimps.
4) You think you will be kidnapped multiple times during law school.

hos9903
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Re: try this again- rough draft

Postby hos9903 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:58 pm

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Last edited by hos9903 on Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jselson
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Re: try this again- rough draft

Postby jselson » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:05 pm

hos9903 wrote:
jselson wrote:Are sports PS's this common? I'd hate to be an adcomm.

e: More constructively, this is what I gleaned from your PS:

1) Rowing is a fun, strenuous workout.
2) Boston is colder than New Orleans.
3) Harvard's full of wimps.
4) You think you will be kidnapped multiple times during law school.


alright, that's fair. thanks for the feedback

So are you saying that it's not focused enough on law school/my desire for law school, that it is not focused enough on me, or both? My assumption was that writing about the sport that is a big part of my life would be enough of a reflection on myself to be considered "personal" but I can see where you may be coming from.

As for the law school part, you're right. I threw that part in there right before posting. I am planning on eventually shifting weight from the first three paragraphs onto the last (if I stick with this topic).


The problem in general is that you come across in the PS as viewing law school as a means to an end. What else would "The good days are worth the bad days, but I really want to an attorney" mean? People who run law schools certainly don't like this view, not just because they think they're doing more than just vocational training, but because they probably think you're less likely to do well in class. In general, who's likely to do better at a job, someone who's doing it just for the paycheck, or someone who genuinely cares about and likes the work? As Boalt Dean Edward Tom says, "You've got to like school." Last, I think many people, myself included, are annoyed at reading PS's where the big reveal is that you now believe in some bland cliché, like "The good days are worth the bad days."

The other general problem is that there's nothing particularly special or interesting here. You joined a rowing team. Great! But so what? There's a lot of description here that seems to be covering for the fact that, beyond getting good at rowing, there's not a whole lotta relevance to law school, and there's nothing particularly revealing about your character or personality.

Here's some more great Dean Tom advice:

Dean Tom: “The personal statement is the first thing I look at when I open a folder, even before viewing the GPA or LSAT score. I think applicants should be aware that our personal statement option is twice as long as most other law schools, it’s 4 pages, and students should take advantage of that. There’s no particular assignment for our personal statement; it’s very open-ended. The personal statements is the applicant’s opportunity to distinguish himself from hundreds of other applicants who have the same numbers, and the same major, and come from a similar school. The personal statement is an applicant’s opportunity to describe the distance they’ve come in their lives.

Most everyone is a very different person now than they were in high school and along that journey they develop a voice that they will be bringing into the classroom. I want to learn about the journey that developed that voice, and to the decision to apply to law school. We are looking for intellectually curious people, and we are looking for people with a diverse array of experiences. So, the ideal personal statement would bring all of that out.

The personal statement is also a sample of your writing, and we are looking for precision of writing skills. It is not up to Boalt to teach you how to write a sentence. There should be no typos, no spelling errors, and no punctuation errors. Please change the name of the school; we don’t want to know how happy you are to apply to some other school. Also, don’t submit anything too far out there: no movies, no scripts, and no law transcripts.

TLS: Excellent. Is the personal statement topic to avoid something like, ‘I have wanted to be a lawyer since age 8’ or not?

Dean Tom: “Well, that theme has been used a lot, of course. And it’s one thing to say it, and it’s another thing to have the experience in your background to back it up. We’re not as interested in applicants who wish to attend law school because they watch “Law and Order”, or because they want to drive a fancy car, or because they like the cut of the suits. You know the law has a connection to politics, it has a connection to economics, it has a connection to the arts, to technology; you name it. And that’s the kind of applicant we’re out there to find. We are more interested in people who have a blazing kind of curiosity about this thing that’s holding civilization together, and to contributing scholarly research to that end.

hos9903
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Re: try this again- rough draft

Postby hos9903 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:17 pm

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Last edited by hos9903 on Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jselson
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Re: try this again- rough draft

Postby jselson » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:27 pm

hos9903 wrote:
jselson wrote:
The problem in general is that you come across in the PS as viewing law school as a means to an end. What else would "The good days are worth the bad days, but I really want to an attorney" mean? People who run law schools certainly don't like this view, not just because they think they're doing more than just vocational training, but because they probably think you're less likely to do well in class. In general, who's likely to do better at a job, someone who's doing it just for the paycheck, or someone who genuinely cares about and likes the work? As Boalt Dean Edward Tom says, "You've got to like school." Last, I think many people, myself included, are annoyed at reading PS's where the big reveal is that you now believe in some bland cliché, like "The good days are worth the bad days."


makes sense, although some may argue that law school should be approached like a vocational school, but that's besides the point. My goal here is pretty transparent: I picked a quality adcomms like, work ethic, and put all my eggs in that basket. I will expand on the last part to make it more related to success in law school, especially if it came across like I was "doing it just for the paycheck"


Work ethic's fine, but I don't think it can stand alone. Consider this: Fictional me (not real me) is a big fan of Battlestar Gallactica. I've spent countless days watching the tv series and films, reading the books that go along with it, visiting all the conventions, starting a community forum, contacting the entire cast and getting all their signatures, giving lectures at conventions on the spacecraft, weapons, and alien races in the show, etc. It's basically a full-time job! Anyone would say I have a good work ethic. But to what end? What if I wrote about that in my PS? Look at my dedication! My work ethic! But again, so what? Law school isn't about dedicating your time to be a fan, so the topic of my PS would be irrelevant here. Similarly, law school isn't about dedicating your time to physical endurance, so why is that relevant? What it IS about is dedicating your time to intellectual pursuits, to helping others, to making an organization run more efficiently, to finding out ways to make the world (more) just, to understanding different points of view, to making reasonable judgment calls, to formulating convincing arguments, to developing teamwork, etc. If you can show the relevance of rowing to some of those things, then great, stick with the topic. If you can't, or if the connection comes off as forced, then choose something else.

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alexb240
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Re: try this again- rough draft

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:36 pm

I wouldn't make it sound like you think law school will be a miserable experience. People who work in law school admissions offices tend not to think that of their schools, and aren't looking for someone whose philosophy appears to be that they'll grin and bear it. They're looking for people who are genuinely interested and curious and will add to the intellectual environment of the school. This reads like you're saying law school is some type of punishment but that you'll bear it for the occasional peeks of light through the dark cloud. Perseverance through hard times is a great trait, and law school is a slog, but that's not how admins view it. Also, the first paragraph is overwritten. Two more cents. Keep at it! :-)

hos9903
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:28 am

Re: try this again- rough draft

Postby hos9903 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:36 pm

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Last edited by hos9903 on Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

hos9903
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:28 am

Re: try this again- rough draft

Postby hos9903 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:38 pm

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