DRAFT 1... PLEASE BE MEAN

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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DRAFT 1... PLEASE BE MEAN

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:48 pm

We hit rock bottom. My mother and father had just lost the established family business due to an expired lease. We had gone from making ends meet to being burdened with bills that we couldn’t pay off. I knew something needed to be done. I was a 15 year old with 2 unemployed parents who couldn’t afford to feed us. I tried looking for a job so that I could at least take care of myself, but I had no luck finding one. I heard about a few people making money online, and that is when my curiosity struck.

I had always heard my cousins complain about how expensive their college textbooks were. I figured that there was money to be made in a business like this. I opened my own ebay and amazon accounts and bought old books that were going to be thrown out from the local community college book store. A few weeks later, I was stunned to see my business take off. I was profiting over a hundred dollars a day. I promised myself that I would give half of the money to my parents to help them pay the bills.

A few months into the start of the business, my sales took off to more than I was able to even handle. I was making trips to the bookstore buying all of their obsolete items and listing them online. I also started to post ads on craigslist asking people to sell me their used textbooks. I would buy the books and list them and make a profit. Even after these few months, neither of my parents could find jobs in the economic crisis. Their 15 year old son was making more money than they were.

About 6 months into the business, I decided to partner with my father. My father had a little bit of money saved up and we decided to make a registered corporation in Florida. I did research on some of the largest publishers in the nation and we opened up corporate accounts with many of them. We expanded the business into ordering textbooks in bulk and selling them on the ecommerce channels. To this day this company still exists and is run out of my garage at home and is managed by my father and I.

As a 15 year old with piles of books sitting in my garage, I was exposed to a vast array of information. In my free time, I would read about topics that interest me. Almost every weekend I would find myself with a book about law in my hand. What some high school sophomores found lackluster, I found stimulating and fascinating. Books about different law cases would never fail to grasp my attention. My interest was immediately sparked. I enrolled in a business law class at the community college as a dual enrolled high school student and my interest in law never went away since.

A few years later, I find myself here almost law school bound. I decided to give my father complete control of the business and its profits while I pursue a career in what interests me the most. I hope to one day combine my interests in law and business to open my own law firm and become my own boss.

tabithajohnson
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Re: DRAFT 1... PLEASE BE MEAN

Postby tabithajohnson » Thu Oct 17, 2013 11:55 pm

It's hard for me to be mean...but I think this is a great topic. It captured my interest and showed me that you had great initiative even at a young age. However, I think you could sell yourself more. Talk yourself up a bit more, make the statement a little longer. Just my two cents!

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AnonymousAlterEgoC
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Re: DRAFT 1... PLEASE BE MEAN

Postby AnonymousAlterEgoC » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:18 am

To this day this company still exists and is run out of my garage at home and is managed by my father and I.


:cry:

Anonymous User
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Re: DRAFT 1... PLEASE BE MEAN

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:59 am

Why the sad face?

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Ramius
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Re: DRAFT 1... PLEASE BE MEAN

Postby Ramius » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:07 am

Just a few things. I'd eliminate the passive voice you use to start the statement and use sporadically throughout. The point camelthing made above can also be shored up because you have some awkward phrasing throughout. Read it out loud and try to read it like you're telling a story and that will quickly root out these issues.

The last issue is one that doesn't necessarily need changing but it's definitely something to think about. I fully empathize that your family was in a hard way and you did something pretty incredible to help your family out of the financial basement, but the business you created doesn't really come off as that innovative and groundbreaking. People start up pseudo-businesses selling crap on eBay/online all the time. I'd call it akin to being the creeper on the block who takes everyone else's old junk and tries to turn a profit with it. Yours was much nobler (and more successful) than that, but at its base, this seems to be essentially what you were doing. It's not in any way bad that you did what you had to do to help out your family (at the tender age of 15 no less), but it seems like you're trying to sell this as a "look at how successful I can be when I set my mind to it" sort of statement, but the versions I've seen of that type of statement that were truly effective are where the person came up with an interesting and new idea on how to develop a business/idea and how they managed to make that succeed in becoming profitable. Becoming a Mcgraw-Hill picker just doesn't really say that to me. I can't (and shouldn't) ultimately tell you that this is the right/wrong topic for you, but I just wanted to give you a different insight into how the topic might read from a pessimistic reader's perspective. I think this will be mitigated by the fact that you did this when you were 15 years old, did it because your family needed the help, but still it's out there. I think if you focus more heavily on how you did what had to be done to help your family when they needed it most vice focusing on the success of the business, it'll eliminate any of these concerns. None of this is an absolutely necessary change, just more of a possible different approach you might want to consider.

Overall you have an interesting story to tell and you've created a pretty good narrative outlining it, but it still needs a little work before it's a shiny, finished product. Good luck!

cslouisck
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Re: DRAFT 1... PLEASE BE MEAN

Postby cslouisck » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:We hit rock bottom. My mother and father had just lost the established family business due to an expired lease. Irrelevant We had gone from making ends meet to being burdened with bills that we couldn’t pay off. I knew something needed to be done. I was a 15 year old with 2 unemployed parents who couldn’t afford to feed us.This doesn't square with the reference to the money your father saved up later I tried looking for a job so that I could at least take care of myself, but I had no luck finding one. This is nice to say from a full disclosure perspective, but why admit failure, particular when your reader will assume that a 15-year-old can't be employed anyway? I heard about a few people making money online, and that is when my curiosity struck.

I had always heard my cousins complain about how expensive their college textbooks were. I figured that there was money to be made in a business like this. I opened my own Ebay and Amazon accounts and bought old books that were going to be thrown out from the local community college book store. A few weeks later, I was stunned to see my business take off. Saying you were surprised disconnects your success from the work you did to create it. I was profiting over more than a hundred dollars a day. I promised myself that I would give half of the money to my parents to help them pay the bills. (1) Did you make good on your promise? (2)With the exception of the introductory clause in the fourth sentence, every sentence in this graph begins with the personal pronoun. Consider revising your sentence structure.

A few months into the start of the business, my sales took off to more than I was able to even handle. I was making trips to the bookstore buying all of their obsolete items and listing them online. I also started to post ads on craigslist asking people to sell me their used textbooks. I would buy the books and list them and make a profit. Even after these few months, neither of my parents could find jobs in the economic crisis. Their 15 year old son was making more money than they were. If you're going to include this fact, don't do it like this. Instead, consider saying that you and your business supported your parents as they continued to look for work. Makes you much more likable.

About 6 months into the business, I decided to partner with my father. Makes it sound like you let him in on your business. Was that the case? My father had a little bit of money saved up and we decided to make a registered corporation in Florida. I did research on some of the largest publishers in the nation and we opened up corporate accounts with many of them. We expanded the business into ordering textbooks in bulk and selling them on the ecommerce channels. To this day this company still exists and is run out of my garage at home and is managed by my father and I. Passive voice. Restructure. Conflicts with your later statement that your handed control over to your father.

As a 15 year old with piles of books sitting in my garage, I was exposed to a vast array of information. In my free time, I would read about topics that interested me. Almost every weekend I would find myself with a book about law in my hand. What some high school sophomores found lackluster, I found stimulating and fascinating. Books about different law cases would never fail to grasp my attention. My interest was immediately sparked. I enrolled in a business law class at the community college as a dual enrolled high school student and my interest in law never went away since.

A few years later, I find myself here almost law school bound. I decided to give my father complete control of the business and its profits while I pursue a career in what interests me the most. I hope to one day combine my interests in law and business to open my own law firm and become my own boss. Meh. These last two grafs strike me as something you added because...law school personal statement, not the summation or recapitulation of a theme you've developed throughout the piece.


You've created the nugget of a good PS here, but this needs to be reworked since in its current format it reads like this: here is a cool story about me; also, I am wantz teh lawz. That's not to say every PS has to answer the question "Why law?" in every paragraph, but if the conclusion is "therefore, law school," it can't just come out of left field.

A couple other items to note: first, your focus on high school left me wondering what's happened in the interim. How's the business faring now? Are your parents back on their feet? Did your attempt to support them ultimately succeed? Did you pay for your college education yourself? Anything that lets you show how far you've from the days when you wondered whether dinner was in the budget would help complete your narrative arc.

Second, unless your parents were truly impotent layabouts after their business failed, soften your language. You're no doubt proud that you supported your parents, but making a point to mention that you made more money than they did, and that you "decided to give [your] father complete control of the business" will likely make the reader think less of you. When deciding what to include, here's the governing principle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vdoo43sp3ZY.

Rt887
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Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:42 pm

Re: DRAFT 1... PLEASE BE MEAN

Postby Rt887 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:13 pm

For starters, I think that you have a great, powerful story here that is definitively worth using. I completely disagree with the previous post that made it seem as though any story where you didn't invent the wheel is not worth focusing on in greater detail. We're not all Mark Zuckenbergs here. You tried to help your family any way you could -at such a young age- and you pulled it off, that's more than you could ask from 99% of teenagers in the U.S. I also don't think you spend too much time talking about the business.

Having said all that, this essay need a lot more work. You make a very tenuous connection between your story and why it is you seek law school admission. My questions after reading is: great, he's been through hardships and did something to alleviate them. What does that have to do with his interest in law school? I don't even know what your goals are or what this experience has taught you going forward. To be honest, the connection you make between those books you had lying around and your sudden interest in law seems like a pretty large leap. In other words, it is way too descriptive and makes it seem as though all you're going for is sympathy points from admission officers. You truly have a great story here! If you just develop it one step further and extract what is you learned from this experience it can be an amazing statement.

Last issue I had was with the flow, which I think stems from the fact that all you're doing is describing. Right now it just sounds like a long list where one item leads to the next. Good prose usually comes when you share your ideas, not when you describe facts. Just another good reason to take this essay a step further.

Best of luck to you and I hope you found this helpful!




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