Hey guys, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:57 pm

Hey guys, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Postby iceiceman » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:23 pm

Hey, I really would appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks a lot in advance!

Last week, I was sitting on the porch with my father. As the stars came out, I began to reflect on how my family’s lives have changed since my parents first came to this great country. I looked down at my novel and smiled. The fact that I no longer needed my handy dictionary just to get through the opening paragraph was quite satisfying. My thoughts were interrupted as I glanced over at my father who was having a spirited argument with my neighbor. Not long ago, this scene would have never occurred.

Twenty five years ago, my parents emigrated from the former Soviet Union with very little money and barely any English-speaking skills. We only spoke Russian at home. I hardly saw my father because he began his job at the local grocery store at 5 a.m. every morning and sometimes would not get home until midnight. Though times were tough, my mother assured me that life would get better once I entered school.

When I entered elementary school, I did not speak any English. To make matters worse, the other boys in my class mocked me. It was very difficult for anyone in this situation, especially as a young boy. When I went to my parents for guidance, my father told me that if I want to end their mocking, I must outwork all of them and rise to the top of my class. I was perplexed. How was I supposed to rise to the head of the class if I did not even speak the language? My father allayed my fears. He explained that the first time he read the Wall Street Journal, he understood only a single word. The next day, he understood two words. He told me how the longer he read, the more he learned, until he could read through the entire newspaper. “You may not know how to speak English now,” he said, “but if you keep reading, you will learn to speak the language.” I took his message to heart. Every day after school, I would sit with my mother and practice my English skills. Though we had little money, my father spared no expense in purchasing reading materials for me. It was truly a testament to how far I had come when one of the bullies asked me for help on a reading assignment. At that moment, I knew that I had succeeded.

It is incredible how what seemed to be a curse, was in fact, a blessing in disguise. I faced a tremendous language barrier. Forget the classroom assignments; it is difficult to even have friends if they can not understand you. Yet, I persisted and pushed myself, until I was able to break down the obstacle which stood before me. I have used this mentality throughout my life: if something isn’t working at first, then that is just a sign that I must redouble my efforts. I have learned not to fear adversity; it is much more productive to embrace and overcome it.

I first encountered the difficulties faced by the Russian community when my father introduced me to Mr. Alexander Trochkalmik. Mr. Trochkalmik had some legal issues which he was trying to resolve with the help of his lawyer. Unfortunately for Alexander, his lawyer could hardly understand him. After several futile meetings with his lawyer, Mr. Trochkalmik decided to give up on his pursuit of justice. I will never forget what he told my father, “If I can’t get my lawyer to understand me, how can I expect anyone else to?”

There are thousands of Russian immigrants living in my community. Many do not speak English and few have any relatives who can help them. Because I speak both Russian and English I can assist them by reading and writing letters for them, faxing documents, or even driving them to the supermarket. I understand the feeling of being helpless and misunderstood in a new country. I know that by studying law, I will have the capacity to help even more people. I feel that it is my duty to assist these people who face the very same issues that I once did.

Having seen my parents deal with communication issues, I can truly appreciate the struggle that many immigrants go through. They have served as tremendous role models. Whenever I am faced with a challenge, I reflect on the fact that my father had to sometimes wash floors for 20 hours a day, in order to provide for my family. “Whatever you do, just make sure to give your 110% effort into it,” he always tells me. Though times may get tough, I know that if I put in all my determination, I will succeed.

My past experiences, along with my perseverance and deep desire to learn, have led me to the decision that the next stop on my journey is a law school. I can not think of a better place to go, if I want to continue to help the members of the Russian community. By going to law school, I will be given the tools to assist them in even more ways. I understand that at times, it will be daunting. There will be long days and even longer nights. Nevertheless, I am undeterred. There is always room for growth, and I will never settle for anything short of my potential.

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Re: Hey guys, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Postby lastsamurai » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:16 pm

I think it's a fine statement but that it really doesn't do much to help your case. It's great and admirable that you learned English, but a lot of people also did that. I'm just thinking that the adcomms will want something more unique and compelling. Below are some more specific thoughts:

-"Last week" I don't think I'd start off this way since you don't know when they'll be reading your PS.
-"I began reflecting" why? is there something that instigated it?
-"I looked down at my novel and smiled. The fact that I no longer needed my handy dictionary" Handy comes across as out of place. Also, I don't know anything about your need for a dictionary at this point, so it's a bit confusing.
-"a blessing in disguise" this is a bit cliche
-By the time I got to the 4th paragraph and you say "I faced a tremendous language barrier." I already get it. Seems like you're rehashing the same point. Give it a new perspective or a new anecdote. Also, this paragraph is using way too many semi colons and colons. Change up the sentence structure a bit
-I lost focus in the last 3 paragraphs. Make sure you're compelling the reader all the way to the end.

I think there's a strong story in there, but it just needs some editing to make it more clear.

Good luck!


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Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:32 am

Re: Hey guys, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Postby xiaochu0825 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:44 am

I'm a Chinese students who also wishes to apply for an LLM in the US.
As far as I'm concerned,I think there should be more details and specific examples to show your personality and ability in your personal statement.For instance,your academic performance and your extra-curriculum activities.

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