Rough Draft PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
deannlmills
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:01 pm

Rough Draft PS

Postby deannlmills » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:19 pm

Hello, I am a nontraditional student, spent the last 5 years working in corrections and starting my own family. Now I am ready to head back to school, hoping to get into law school... Can I have some feedback, honest feedback, and constructive, as well as I am struggling with ending it, any ideas would be appreciated... More than happy to reciprocate if you want your PS read as well

It was January 2003; I had enrolled in college unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. But my world was going to change from care-free college student to full time family crisis manager. My dad had lost his job when the dot-com bubble burst. The sole supporter of our family of five had lost his job, and that was only the beginning. I immediately began looking for a job to help make ends meet, my siblings were still in high school and I would never dream of making them work as a sophomore and junior. My mother had withdrawn from the workforce several years earlier, due to depression and paranoia, which also lead to her withdrawal from her family. She buried herself in books, with an endless supply of coffee and cigarettes she rarely spoke to anyone and was usually hostile if you dared to engage her in conversation. I took the first job I could get making six dollars and thirty-five cents an hour. I worked as much as I could and continued to go to school. My dad did his best to find work but had no luck he would remain unemployed until early 2006.

In the mean time I worked full time, made good grades, paid bills, bought groceries, made sure my brother and sister did well in school and never went without. Despite my best efforts our home was placed on the foreclosure list. But life was just getting started, in February of 2004 my mother had a violent asthma attack that would lead to cardiac arrest, a brain injury and eventually her death after seven days in intensive care, and the decision made by me and my father to turn off the machines. It had only been a year, and the spiral downward only became worse. My father had lost everything; his job, his wife, and in a short time he would also lose his house. My brother was getting ready to graduate and I was going to do my best to make life as normal as possible for him and my sister. I had been paying for sports, proms, lunches, school supplies any and everything they needed I found a way. I worked three jobs, and went to school full time. After my mothers passing my sister; the youngest of us all definitely was the most openly affected by her passing. I spent as much time as I could to make sure she was okay. My brother graduated that May, and immediately went to work to help me pay bills and make ends meet. We finally were given notice to have our home vacated by August 1 2004.

In a matter of a year and a half I had become the sole supporter and provider for a family of four. Welcome to adulthood and the real world, I continued to push through school finding my passion and love in my introduction to Legal Studies class. It was amazing, arguing landmark Supreme Court cases. I was hooked, and Criminal Justice became my major after changing it several times. I took as many classes as I could and continued to do well working in bars, and clubs downtown at night, and retail stocking in the morning with school crammed in during the day. My sister graduated in 2005, and it was great. Both of my siblings had graduated, my brother was working and attending paramedic/EMT school, my sister wanted to be a nurse just my mother. My dad had slowly recovered and became employed at another technology company where he thrived. We were in a new four bedroom house that we had to rent, but it was ours. Life threw every hardball she had in my direction, and I swung for the fences.

As the time came around to graduate I contemplated what to do, I was graduating. I wanted to work with offenders and help with rehabilitation and reintegration into society. But for now I wanted to bask in what I had accomplished in the last three years. It was more than I was expecting but I came out with an invaluable experience. I rose to the occasion, and every challenge life could dish out, not only did I survive, I came out a well rounded and experienced.

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lonerider
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:14 pm

Re: Rough Draft PS

Postby lonerider » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:06 am

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Last edited by lonerider on Sat May 10, 2014 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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scoobysnax
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:51 pm

Re: Rough Draft PS

Postby scoobysnax » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:50 am

With your life experiences, there's a lot of potential for a great personal statement. But there needs to be some major adjustments.

Right now, a good half+ of the PS is about your hardships. While it's important to touch on these, it's easy to get lost in the details. The focus of your PS shouldn't be on your hardships, but rather how you overcame them, how these shaped you as a person, how these provided you with unique insight, etc. I would condense this into one paragraph and take out the details about your family that detract from you. For example, law schools don't really need to know about your siblings' aspirations. They care about yours.

Minor thing: the two semicolons don't really work. The first one should be a period. Not really sure what the second one is going for.

deannlmills
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:01 pm

Re:

Postby deannlmills » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:20 pm

Alright I have revised and redirected my personal statement based on feedback from you guys as well as professors and friends. Please let me know what you think... Thanks De

Like any great love affair, mine started with a chance encounter. It was followed by a whirlwind romance over the next two years. It all started when I sat in a college classroom watching a passionate attorney discuss landmark Supreme Court cases. She was mesmerizing, and the information was enthralling. She ignited a fire within me that would become inextinguishable. Over the next two years I would immerse myself with all the legal and criminal classes I could take, learning all I could from practicing lawyers and judges. I became inspired, and I fell in love with the law.

My life had been challenging. I have had to make many tough decisions, knowing someone else’s best interest was more important. At age seven I left home, and moved with my great grandmother, to avoid conflict with my mother, who suffered from bouts of depression, paranoia, and mental illness. While living with my great grandmother she suffered a host of health problems, biggest of all leukemia. But while living with her, four of my cousins came to live with us. They ranged in age from nine to a couple months. I did my best to help raise them as I raised myself. Eventually all my cousins all went to live with other family members upon her death, and I also moved back home with my parents.

Living at home with my mother was tumultuous and often led to many fights and arguments but that never deterred me from wanting to do well. My mother had since withdrawn from the working world, and wrapped herself in novels, cigarettes, and coffee while my father struggled to provide for a family of five. I contributed by getting a work permit and working weekends, all while maneuvering my way through high school. In 2003 I started college, but my dad was about to lose it all in the next year. He first lost his job when the dot-com bubble finally burst; this sent his finances into a tailspin. I went from care-free college student to sole supporter of a family of five. I made sure my family had what they needed. But despite my best efforts our home was added to the foreclosure list, but the last blow had yet to come. My mother would unexpectedly pass away in 2004, at the young age of forty-nine. This was devastating, despite our turbulent relationship she was still my mother, and I loved her. My dad was emotionally destroyed by the last year, and it would take until early 2006 for him to make a full recovery both financially, and emotionally.

It was during this frenzied time in my life that my love for the law saved me. When I was in the classroom nothing mattered, the law had this way of enveloping me, of taking me away from all the stress and negative situations in my life and allowed me to do something positive, something that was amazing. Law was my solace, law gave me a peace that I struggled to find anywhere else, and it was something that fulfilled me. I was always at my best when it came to law, it was satisfying.

As graduation came I knew I wanted to change the world and make an impact. I went to work in community corrections where I learned a lot about myself, the system, and how things did and did not work. Here it was where my love for the law smoldered. I worked for a few years and saw many things that were unfair, and unjust, I also so many things that were fair and just. This experience fueled that fire inside of me, my love for the law was real; it was not a result of my external circumstances. So many people and things have pointed me towards the law. I attended the high school that produced all three individuals on death row in the state of Colorado, most individuals I know have had interaction in the legal system at some point in their lives. The law is beckoning me, calling me to make our relationship complete. I am ready to commit to a life long relationship with the law, and pursuing the law in the interests of others.

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scoobysnax
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:51 pm

Re: Rough Draft PS

Postby scoobysnax » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:00 pm

Okay, I can definitely see how you incorporated feedback and focused more on you. But still needs work.

The biggest issue I see is declaring your love for the law. Reading this would be super helpful. http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/admissi ... e-law.aspx

Also, your family narrative could be condensed further. I would cut out the part about your grandma because it seems like you were pretty young when you lived there, and the more relevant parts of your life (to your PS & law school anyway) are the times with your family. Rather than focus on all the challenges you faced, touch more on how you overcame them. You say "I made sure my family had what they needed" but what does that even mean? That was the only sentence about how you helped out. I want to know more about what you did, what sacrifices you made, and how that made you into a stronger, more determined, compassionate, etc. person. If you want to mention your dad's feelings, be sure to mention how they affected you. Don't just leave at "he was emotionally destroyed."




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