Flawless personal statement.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
TLSCLB
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:16 pm

Flawless personal statement.

Postby TLSCLB » Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:55 am

Above statement is a complete lie designed to get you to click the link. Now that you're here tho...

Hey guys,

From the first moment I started thinking about what to write about for my PS, I knew that I wanted to write about how difficult it was to convince my parents to go to law school. It's easily been my biggest struggle in my time as a pre-law student, and also what keeps me motivated in a way. I wrote a first draft, but I felt it did not provide enough background to explain my struggles and didn't flow well as I spent far too much time talking about my parents not supporting my decision and not enough time on what I did to convince them.

This is my second draft, which I believe flows much better, but I wanted to see what you guys think in terms of things adcomms might not appreciate/relate to, might be annoyed by, etc. And of course I just wanted to get yall's opinion on it as a personal statement. Be as harsh/critical as you feel necessary, as long as you're trying to help I truly don't mind. And if you think it needs to be scrapped and I need to find something else to talk about, I can respect that too; I've already had one of my friends tell me that after my first draft, but again, this is the topic that I believe explains best the road I took to applying for law school.

--------------

As the son of two Egyptian immigrant parents, becoming a lawyer was never supposed of to be an option for me. Bringing their Egyptian social values and beliefs over with them to America, my parents had always viewed lawyers very negatively, since only the students with the lowest test scores at the end of high school went to law school afterwards in Egypt. In addition, lawyers in Egypt were typically associated with government corruption, regularly labeled thieves, and blamed for continuing the cycle of poverty among the lower classes in Egypt. Yet, I had grown increasingly interested in the law during my high school years. Four years of speech & debate had shown me that I could be a great orator and writer when I worked hard, and I especially excelled at coursework that (roughly) aligned with the legal profession (English & History, along with US Government). My goal in life up to college had simply been to meet or surpass my parents’ expectations, but as I entered college, I began to wonder if continuing to do so would place my own self-satisfaction and success at risk.
At first, I decided I would simply go along with my parents’ request that I entertain the idea of medical school first before pursuing other career choices. I figured I could get myself to like it if I did well in the classes I needed to take, and invested myself in medicine-related extra-curricular activities. And so I spent hours upon hours in the library studying for my classes, joined my school’s pre-med society and volunteered regularly with a couple of service organizations operating out of Vanderbilt’s medical school. I even co-founded Vanderbilt’s undergraduate American Medical Students Association (AMSA) with my roommate. But after two years of trying, I was burned out.
I had certainly had some good moments as a pre-med student, both academically and in my extra-curricular activities. But the hard truth was that, at the end of the day, I was an average pre-med student at best. I could study night and day, draw diagram after diagram and burn through hundreds of pages of notes, but the truth was that my lack of passion for the subject matter meant I absorbed far less information than I was capable of retaining. I knew that it was time to make a change, but I couldn’t convince my parents without making a case for myself first.
And so I set about doing that. I met with my pre-law advisor, Professor Alexander, who helped me plan out my courses for the next two years and understand more about what law school and the law is about. I added on a Political Science major, which allowed me to take (and generally, ace) classes like International Law, Constitutional Law (Parts I & II) and Intro to American Law. I regularly met with my undergraduate law professors to hear more about law school from them, and reached out to recent alumni from Vanderbilt’s Law School so they could give me a more recent perspective on law school. After about a year, I felt very confident in my decision, and prepared to discuss it with my parents.
My parents didn’t take the news very happily at first, and my mom would continue to make off-hand passive aggressive comments about my career choice a whole year after I told her about it. But they both accepted my decision eventually. After all, it was clear in my grades and achievements that my passion for the law enabled me to be immensely more successful at law-related coursework.
It’s hard to convey the immense stress and pressure that I felt during those first two years of college, when I was doing work I had no passion for and striving to become someone I had no desire to become. Every day, I dreaded going to class, or having to pick up a test, or having to do an activity in lab, and the confidence I carried with me every day in high school rarely ever surfaced. Now, I feel that all of that has been lifted, and my confidence and love for studying and being in school has returned. I know law school won’t be easy, but after all the obstacles I’ve had to overcome to get here, I'm ready for it.
Last edited by TLSCLB on Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TLSCLB
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:16 pm

Re: 2nd Draft Chronological Personal Statement, Please Help!

Postby TLSCLB » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:20 pm

bumping this, please help!

TLSCLB
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:16 pm

Re: 2nd Draft Chronological Personal Statement, Please Help!

Postby TLSCLB » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:34 pm

anyone?

TLSCLB
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:16 pm

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby TLSCLB » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:25 am

If this ever gets a reply, here's the most recent version:

As the son of two Egyptian immigrant parents, becoming a lawyer was never supposed to be an option for me. Bringing their Egyptian social values and beliefs over with them to America, my parents always viewed lawyers very negatively, since lawyers in Egypt were typically associated with government corruption, regularly labeled thieves, and blamed for continuing the cycle of poverty among the lower classes in Egypt. Yet, I had grown increasingly interested in the law during my high school years. Four years of speech & debate had shown me that I could be a great orator and writer when I worked hard, and I especially excelled at coursework that typically builds the foundation for successful attorneys (English & History, along with US Government). My goal in life up to college had simply been to meet or surpass my parents’ expectations, but as I entered college, I began to wonder if continuing to do so would place my own self-satisfaction and success at risk.
At first, I decided I would heed my parents’ request that I entertain the idea of medical school before pursuing other career choices. I thought I could learn to appreciate medicine if I did well in the classes I needed to take and invested myself in related extra-curricular activities. I spent countless hours in the library studying for my classes, joined my school’s pre-med society and volunteered regularly with a couple of service organizations created by Vanderbilt medical students. I even co-founded Vanderbilt’s undergraduate American Medical Students Association (AMSA) with my roommate. But after two years of trying, I was burned out.
I certainly had some good moments as a pre-med student, both academically and in my extra-curricular activities. But the hard truth was that, at the end of the day, I was an average pre-med student at best. I could study night and day, draw diagram after diagram, and burn through hundreds of pages of notes, but my lack of passion for the subject matter meant I absorbed far less information than I was capable of retaining. I knew that it was time to make a change, but I could not convince my parents without better understanding the law for myself first.
I was determined to discover if being a lawyer was truly the right career path for me. I met with my pre-law advisor, Professor Alexander, who helped me plan out my courses for the next two years and better understand law school and the law as a wide-ranging field. I added on a Political Science major, which allowed me to excel in courses such as International Law, Constitutional Law (Parts I & II) and Introduction to American Law. I regularly met with my undergraduate law professors to hear more about law school from them, and reached out to recent alumni from Vanderbilt’s Law School so they could give me a more recent perspective on law school and life as an attorney. After about a year, I felt confident in my decision and prepared to discuss it with my parents.
My parents didn’t take the news happily at first, but as I explained myself further, they grew more accepting. I told them that my experiences as Muslim Student Association president & Middle Eastern Student Association vice president had allowed me to plan several public outreach events to discuss issues such as the Arab Spring, the Syria crisis, the Palestinian-Israeli crisis and the Tennessee Sharia Law debates on campus, and having made significant strides in educating students about avenues to peace and justice, I wanted to make a difference with a bigger audience, which would be accessible with a law degree. I could use by background as an Arab born in the Middle East but raised in the US to help improve US – Middle Eastern relations, or I could work domestically to counteract the many different attacks that Muslims face collectively on their identity due to stereotypes, misinformation and general ignorance. Either way, I could use the law to help those in need of protection, instead of using it to cause widespread pain and misfortune, as is so often the case in Egypt.
I find it hard to convey the immense pressure that I felt during those first two years of college, when I was doing work I had no passion for and striving to become someone I had no desire to become. Even the simplest of assignments would fill me with dread, and the confidence I carried with me every day in high school rarely ever surfaced. Now, I feel as though that pressure has lifted, and I’ve been able to return to my former confidence and love for excelling in school. I know law school won’t be easy, but after the obstacles I’ve had to overcome to get here, I’m ready for it.

anubis1911
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 12:41 am

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby anubis1911 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:04 am

MoHendy wrote:If this ever gets a reply, here's the most recent version:

As the son of two Egyptian immigrant parents, becoming a lawyer was never supposed to be an option for me. Bringing their Egyptian social values and beliefs over with them to America, my parents always viewed lawyers very negatively, since lawyers in Egypt were typically associated with government corruption, regularly labeled thieves, and blamed for continuing the cycle of poverty among the lower classes in Egypt. Yet, I had grown increasingly interested in the law during my high school years. Four years of speech & debate had shown me that I could be a great orator and writer when I worked hard, and I especially excelled at coursework that typically builds the foundation for successful attorneys (English & History, along with US Government). My goal in life up to college had simply been to meet or surpass my parents’ expectations, but as I entered college, I began to wonder if continuing to do so would place my own self-satisfaction and success at risk.
At first, I decided I would heed my parents’ request that I entertain the idea of medical school before pursuing other career choices. I thought I could learn to appreciate medicine if I did well in the classes I needed to take and invested myself in related extra-curricular activities. I spent countless hours in the library studying for my classes, joined my school’s pre-med society and volunteered regularly with a couple of service organizations created by Vanderbilt medical students. I even co-founded Vanderbilt’s undergraduate American Medical Students Association (AMSA) with my roommate. But after two years of trying, I was burned out.
I certainly had some good moments as a pre-med student, both academically and in my extra-curricular activities. But the hard truth was that, at the end of the day, I was an average pre-med student at best. I could study night and day, draw diagram after diagram, and burn through hundreds of pages of notes, but my lack of passion for the subject matter meant I absorbed far less information than I was capable of retaining. I knew that it was time to make a change, but I could not convince my parents without better understanding the law for myself first.
I was determined to discover if being a lawyer was truly the right career path for me. I met with my pre-law advisor, Professor Alexander, who helped me plan out my courses for the next two years and better understand law school and the law as a wide-ranging field. I added on a Political Science major, which allowed me to excel in courses such as International Law, Constitutional Law (Parts I & II) and Introduction to American Law. I regularly met with my undergraduate law professors to hear more about law school from them, and reached out to recent alumni from Vanderbilt’s Law School so they could give me a more recent perspective on law school and life as an attorney. After about a year, I felt confident in my decision and prepared to discuss it with my parents.
My parents didn’t take the news happily at first, but as I explained myself further, they grew more accepting. I told them that my experiences as Muslim Student Association president & Middle Eastern Student Association vice president had allowed me to plan several public outreach events to discuss issues such as the Arab Spring, the Syria crisis, the Palestinian-Israeli crisis and the Tennessee Sharia Law debates on campus, and having made significant strides in educating students about avenues to peace and justice, I wanted to make a difference with a bigger audience, which would be accessible with a law degree. I could use by background as an Arab born in the Middle East but raised in the US to help improve US – Middle Eastern relations, or I could work domestically to counteract the many different attacks that Muslims face collectively on their identity due to stereotypes, misinformation and general ignorance. Either way, I could use the law to help those in need of protection, instead of using it to cause widespread pain and misfortune, as is so often the case in Egypt.
I find it hard to convey the immense pressure that I felt during those first two years of college, when I was doing work I had no passion for and striving to become someone I had no desire to become. Even the simplest of assignments would fill me with dread, and the confidence I carried with me every day in high school rarely ever surfaced. Now, I feel as though that pressure has lifted, and I’ve been able to return to my former confidence and love for excelling in school. I know law school won’t be easy, but after the obstacles I’ve had to overcome to get here, I’m ready for it.


I really like the topic honestly. I feel as if the cultural aspect of the "everybody hates lawyers" argument is bery interesting. A couple of things though:
1) Do not use contractions
2)The last sentence comes off as if you are too sure of yourself. Saying you are ready for it comes off a little cocky.

socraticmethod
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:09 pm

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby socraticmethod » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:50 pm

First up, your central theme needs an addition of prospective goals. While you do mention it in the last paragraph where you talk about how your background will facilitate your role as an intermediary in the US-Middle east relations, it is a very, very broad ambition. There are multiple levels at work there (lobbyist in trade embargoes, lawyer against extra-constitutional governmental actions against arabs in the Middle east, lawyer for domestic civil liberties in Egypt etc). I would suggest you veer off the course of deciding what it is you will do and stick to the more simplistic 'I am passionate about the Middle-east because I am an Egyptian and law school will help me pursue my passions'.
Secondly, you have highlighted your a conflict between your value systems and that of your parents. I don't think you need to extrapolate on your engagement as a pre-med student. Maybe you could use that paragraph to delve into how the current developments in the middle-east will reasonably extend into the next 10 years or so (from what little political theory I've interacted with, usually civil uprisings causing a shift in political structures take at least 25-30 years) and how it is an especially opportune moment for you to be able to better serve society as a lawyer than as a doctor.
Either way, I'd tie into how medicine fascinated me for it's capacity to help people and how I now wish to channel my energies with pen and paper in place of a surgeon's knife.
And most dangerously, I'd stay away from stating that I was at best an average pre-med student because of the apparent lack of passion. While passion is undoubtedly a fuel for greater ambitions, law schools will expect that you demonstrate a capacity to excel, regardless of your passion for the subject. That is one of the cornerstones of legal education because the subjects have a wide variety of themes and not all of them will interest you. Yet, you are expected to be proficient in all of them.
And I'd stay away from claiming to know what subjects are good foundations for legal studies. You mentioned this somewhere in the passage. Surely by that token, all science undergrads ought to be facing a disadvantage in your judgment.
And remember, your job is not to convince them you're ready for it. By taking the LSAT and making the application, you're demonstrating that. Your job is to tell them why you're better than the 1000s of others. Given your middle-eastern background and the current political situations, I can't imagine it would be a particularly difficult story to spin. Good luck.

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francesfarmer
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:52 am

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby francesfarmer » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:26 pm

anubis1911 wrote:I really like the topic honestly. I feel as if the cultural aspect of the "everybody hates lawyers" argument is bery interesting. A couple of things though:
1) Do not use contractions
2)The last sentence comes off as if you are too sure of yourself. Saying you are ready for it comes off a little cocky.

Srsly? That's a little extreme.

Use contractions if that's how you write.

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hephaestus
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:21 pm

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby hephaestus » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:28 pm

francesfarmer wrote:
anubis1911 wrote:I really like the topic honestly. I feel as if the cultural aspect of the "everybody hates lawyers" argument is bery interesting. A couple of things though:
1) Do not use contractions
2)The last sentence comes off as if you are too sure of yourself. Saying you are ready for it comes off a little cocky.

Srsly? That's a little extreme.

Use contractions if that's how you write.

I think you should shy away from contractions in professional writing as a general rule.

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francesfarmer
Posts: 1409
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:52 am

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby francesfarmer » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:29 pm

ImNoScar wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:
anubis1911 wrote:I really like the topic honestly. I feel as if the cultural aspect of the "everybody hates lawyers" argument is bery interesting. A couple of things though:
1) Do not use contractions
2)The last sentence comes off as if you are too sure of yourself. Saying you are ready for it comes off a little cocky.

Srsly? That's a little extreme.

Use contractions if that's how you write.

I think you should shy away from contractions in professional writing as a general rule.

I agree, as a general rule. I don't think that applies to personal statements. They're a much more creative endeavor.

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Domke
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:47 pm

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby Domke » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:02 pm

francesfarmer wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:
anubis1911 wrote:I really like the topic honestly. I feel as if the cultural aspect of the "everybody hates lawyers" argument is bery interesting. A couple of things though:
1) Do not use contractions
2)The last sentence comes off as if you are too sure of yourself. Saying you are ready for it comes off a little cocky.

Srsly? That's a little extreme.

Use contractions if that's how you write.

I think you should shy away from contractions in professional writing as a general rule.

I agree, as a general rule. I don't think that applies to personal statements. They're a much more creative endeavor.


I doubt that the use, or disuse of contractures would be enough for someone to not admit you.


anubis1911
Posts: 150
Joined: Sat May 04, 2013 12:41 am

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby anubis1911 » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:16 pm

francesfarmer wrote:
ImNoScar wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:
anubis1911 wrote:I really like the topic honestly. I feel as if the cultural aspect of the "everybody hates lawyers" argument is bery interesting. A couple of things though:
1) Do not use contractions
2)The last sentence comes off as if you are too sure of yourself. Saying you are ready for it comes off a little cocky.

Srsly? That's a little extreme.

Use contractions if that's how you write.

I think you should shy away from contractions in professional writing as a general rule.

I agree, as a general rule. I don't think that applies to personal statements. They're a much more creative endeavor.


I think that anyone writing professionally should read The Elements of Style. Also you should read George Orwell's essay-"Politics and the English Language".

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francesfarmer
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:52 am

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby francesfarmer » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:20 pm

I just don't think a personal statement counts as writing professionally.

Like, have you ever read professional writing in a professional atmosphere? Most people use contractions. They're a natural function of speech.

TLSCLB
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:16 pm

Re: Flawless personal statement.

Postby TLSCLB » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:23 am

Thanks guys for all the feedback. I generally cut out most of my contractions, except maybe in the last sentence, which looks like it'll be changed anyway.

I also edited the Middle East section; I didn't take out everything because I didn't want it to see like I didn't know what I was talking about at all, but I did focus on making it a bit more general.

Lastly, while I do understand the questions that my story of being a pre-med student opens me up to, I feel like I cannot omit that section of my college experience, since it was a key step in me turning to law school. I may make an alternate PS that goes down that path of analyzing current developments in the Middle East and potential future implications, and compare the two, but in the current PS I don't think such an analysis would really fit without changing the entire style of the piece.

Also changed the point about subjects. Thank again socraticmethod, anubis, francesfarmer and others.




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