Help on topic/opening

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Help on topic/opening

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:00 am

Hello all,

I've spent quite a bit of time coming up with the following two paragraphs. I know they aren't well-written yet and I will be going back on working on that, but I just wanted to get my statement going first. I was wondering if anyone could say whether it is an interesting topic and opening and suitable for a personal statement.

I plan on talking some more about my relationship with my family, and then bringing it back to the environment and my plan to study environmental law.

One thing I worry about is the tone. I don't want it to come off as negative, especially with regards to my family, because that is not my intention at all.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

Once, when I was in 10th grade, I walked out of my high school biology class in the middle of a lecture on resource consumption. That was the first time I ever showed any sort of defiance in a classroom, and it shocked my teacher and classmates as much as it did me. I was always seen as a “good student” by the faculty, one they could rely on to participate in class discussions and perform well academically. But on that day, when Mr. Teacher was showing the correlation between population growth and resource consumption, he commented that it was unethical for a family to have more than three or four children. I started to squirm in my seat, feeling uncomfortable as some of my classmates started to turn and look at me. Overcome by teenage-driven feelings of anger, embarrassment, and shame, I got up and walked out of the room.
The truth is, I am the 7th of 12 children in my family. This is a great “fun fact” for me to use about myself as an icebreaker at any party, orientation, or training. People never fail to be amazed, they never fail to proclaim their amazement, and they never fail to ask more about it. I’ve gotten so used to the questions that I could answer them all before they are asked. No, my family is not Mormon. We also aren’t Catholic. We actually aren’t really religious at all. No, there aren’t any sets of twins or triplets. We are all single births. Yes, they are all biologically related to me. Yes, my mom gave birth twelve times. Following this is usually a comment on how my mom is either crazy or superwoman. Inevitably, at some point in the conversation I’ll be asked what it is like growing up with so many siblings.

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Re: Help on topic/opening

Postby Ramius » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:09 am

While it's never completely possible to take an intro and reject it outright, I have a hard time seeing how you'll tie this into an effective PS. Growing up as 1 of 12 kids is certainly a unique experience and probably fairly formative in your life, but how was it formative in a way that conveys some positive message about you as a future professional? One thing that is missed fairly often in people's initial approach to their PS is the endgoal, which is impressing a professional group of people and showing them how you're ready to join their professional field. You can and should use your personal experiences to convey something about you as an applicant that can't be found elsewhere in your application, but make sure it is the right message. Mentioning high school, teenage angst and anger doesn't exactly introduce you as a thoughtful, mature adult.

I'm not saying this is an automatic non-starter, but I'd be really interested to see how you turn this into a developed, mature piece and show the ADCOM how you're ready to go to law school and join the professional field of law.

Regardless of topic choice, I think you should get rid of the intro as it is written. Like stated earlier, the stuff about high school, teen angst and immaturity isn't a great stepping off point, and then going into how you talk about your family at parties fails (IMHO) to really present yourself as a serious, thoughtful applicant.

The topic could work for all I know, but until you have a finished product, I'd remain healthily skeptical.

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