PS Format

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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PS Format

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:48 am

What does it say about me if my PS is very literal and straightforward? By that I mean; it is a chronological biography of my life (almost a resume summary); with my "skills" weaved within paragraphs; and why I want to apply my skills (and gain new ones) to the field of law (school).

I am a splitter URM depending on a strong PS.

Would a straightforward/literal PS be boring/poorly viewed? Reading most other examples have left me feeling boring, bland, and trying too hard.

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rinkrat19
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Re: PS Format

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:57 am

Absolutely do not send them a resume dump. That's what your resume is for. There is a reason it's called a PERSONAL Statement; it's supposed to be personal.
My advice is to write about what makes you 'you.' If I asked your closest friends and family members about you, what is something they would all mention? It could be something as simple as 'he likes to tinker with his car' or 'he learned to cook vegetarian after he got married.' It might be hard to write an entire essay on vegetarian cooking (although it could totally be done), but I believe that including personal details like this can make an otherwise sterile essay a lot more personal. And it is a personal statement, after all. (Are you getting the fact that the word "personal" is key here?)

In my mind, the PS serves these functions, in this order:
1. Introduce yourself as a person to the adcoms
2. Show you can write well (and follow instructions)
3. Illustrate (via showing, not telling) some positive qualities or skills you have that--just coincidentally!--would be useful for a lawyer/law student
4. OPTIONAL: Explicity explain why you want to go to law school and/or why you would do well in law school

I belong to the 'bang out some words and see what happens' school of writing. Don't worry so much about structure or content, but squish out some paragraphs on whatever personal details you came up with. Tell a short story or two about specific people/places/incidents/situations. Don't worry about how they connect or how they illustrate useful qualities until you've written for a while. Then see if the bits you've come up with can connect in anyway.

A PS doesn't have to be super dramatic and "try-hard," but it should be sincere and there should be some emotion and personality in it. The essay prompt for these things is not "write a brief chronology of your life and career;" it is generally variations on "tell us about yourself."

Anonymous User
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Re: PS Format

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:11 am

Thanks for the truth!

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rinkrat19
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Re: PS Format

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the truth.

I don't mean to drag along my initial approach, but I want to explain why it feels so natural.

..My resume is my life. It is truly sad to say this. But I do things such as work, student groups/leadership, because its fun, enhancing, and challenging.

I'm the type that does not care what is for dinner or what is on TV...thus, I have sacrificed some personality these last few years in pursuit of professional success.

I was never the study abroad, or do creative funky stuff kind of person (rubix cube, 5 languages, hardship), who has many unique things going for them.

Though I am a URM/ESL/immigrant and first generation prospective law student, and though my family story as a whole is more impressive (sum of parts) ..I was raised very generically between the lines of your straight-forward-american-male upbringing. Cereal-->school-->sports team activity-->HW-->sleep. What'd I do for fun? Watch/play sports, talk sports, talk politics.

Meh.

Plenty of people write their PSes about otherwise mundane-seeming events or situations that happened at work or school or sports. It's the details and the personalities involved (and the WRITING) that turn a bullet point on a resume into a personal story that fulfills the functions of a PS that I outlined above.

Do not try to cover everything on your resume. 2-3 pages is enough space to discuss one (MAYBE two, if you can tie them together) items.

Anonymous User
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Re: PS Format

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:03 am

I suppose what more compels me to write a self-doctrine is the fact that LS is the next logical step in my "life narrative.".....is this appropriate? As long as I personalize it? Does it ring well to write my experiences chronologically as they have shaped my persona?

In doing so, obvious positives, such as structure and transition sentences come easier. But is this an acceptable approach to LS? I don't want to fit, but I don't want to be so left-field that I am left-out.

..Thanks for catching my initial post by the way. hahah. :x

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rinkrat19
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Re: PS Format

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:I suppose what more compels me to write a self-doctrine is the fact that LS is the next logical step in my "life narrative.".....is this appropriate? As long as I personalize it? Does it ring well to write my experiences chronologically as they have shaped my persona?

In doing so, obvious positives, such as structure and transition sentences come easier. But is this an acceptable approach to LS? I don't want to fit, but I don't want to be so left-field that I am left-out.

..Thanks for catching my initial post by the way. hahah. :x

You can try it, but I have a feeling that if you try to write any kind of chronology, you're not going to be able to fit enough detail in 2-3 pages. It's going to be a barebones timeline, just like your resume.

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Ramius
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Re: PS Format

Postby Ramius » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:26 am

I think this will end badly for you and you need to get more creative with your PS. I'm not saying it has to be some groundbreaking new approach to revealing something about you, but trying to tie in how it is "the next logical progression" for you will not only be boring, but it'll probably make most readers roll their eyes at you. A ton of people see law school as their next logical step in life, but you'd be better off leaving the "here's where I've been, and here is where I'm going" shtick out and focusing on the more important question of why you see law school as your next logical step in life. You need to figure out for yourself why law is for you and show that to the reader in an interesting way. If you ever find yourself saying things anywhere near "I've wanted to be a lawyer since I was five years old," or "I've always loved to argue and debate" or "everything I've studied in school to this point has led me toward a career in the law" will be lackluster attempts. You have to get deeper and show some genuine thought and caring about the decision you're about to make. Find something specific in your past that will both reveal positive qualities about you while giving some insight into who you are today and why you're wanting to take the next step in going to law school. Self-awareness can go a long way in writing a law school PS, so make sure you know your reasons for going, figure out how you got there, and push forward weaving an interesting tale for the reader so they believe in you just like you believe in you.

For clarity sake, I want to make clear that your PS doesn't have to cover why you want to go to law school at all, but with the way you're already driving, I decided to tailor my advice to that goal specifically. Good luck!




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