Personal Statement Idea

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bohemiandaisy
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Personal Statement Idea

Postby bohemiandaisy » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:12 am

Hi,

I've read several TLS articles about PS ideas. Although quotations are usually frowned upon, I really want to use one. I want to focus on my intellectual curiosity, my love for the unknown and ambiguity, and my idealism. I did two honors theses and multiple research projects; I was also Editor-in-Chief of the UCLA Undergrad Law Journal. Thus, I have a passion for research. I also have a love for the arts (which relates to my love for ambiguity and the unknown); I worked at my school's museum and founded an opera club at my uni and also worked at the LA Opera's Community and Education Department.

I will probably end up in legal academia (or eventually will after practicing). My interests are obviously IP law. I hope to be an Arts and Entertainment lawyer at a firm like Irell & Manella. I want to do research during law school on the challenges facing IP law.

Here's the quotation:
"I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of
shallow living." - Anaïs Nin

This quotation relates to my passion and insatiable quench for knowledge. My entire UG career evinces my intellectual curiosity and idealism. Would a PS focusing on my passions for the arts and my research experiences be okay in relation to the quotation? I will probably adopt a more whimsical tone.


Focusing on these TLS suggestions:
2. Write what is unique about you or what interests and excites you.
3. Write about coursework, experiences, or research related to your law career or legal interest, such as completing a thesis, working with a professor, or volunteering for a legal aid or clinic.
5. How has a mentor or experience, a particular book or quote, changed the direction of your life? Write about that life-changing event
7. Write several adjectives that characterize you, and then write a short paragraph explaining how these words describe you.

Ugh, there's just so much to write about! What should I focus on? I don't want my love for literature and the arts to overpower my goal to go to law school. I don't want an admission committee to say "Hey, go get your Comp Lit Phd"

arklaw13
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby arklaw13 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:02 am

1. Don't expect to go into academia. That requires excellent grades, which you don't have yet, and have an 90% chance of not getting. Unless you go to HYS, then maybe a 75% chance of not getting the grades for academia.

2. Don't begin your PS with a quote. It's stupid. It's a personal statement because its about YOU, not what someone else thought about something tangentially related to your interests.

3. Adcoms don't really care if you seem more interested in the arts than law. Hell, Yale seems to only admit people that already have a Phd. But they're weird. Anyway, they care about your numbers. Are your numbers above both of their medians? Great. You're probably admitted as long as your PS isn't a murder confession.

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bohemiandaisy
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby bohemiandaisy » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:11 pm

Since my main interest is Arts and Entertainment and I want to work in Socal, I am applying to USC and UCLA. They are my dream schools. I spoke to both deans about the quotation and they said it was okay? Also, some of the TLS samples feature a quotation. I also have seen Chicago essays with quotations.

The whole essay will be about following your passions. Mine was lit/arts for a while. Now I want to go into law.

arklaw13
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby arklaw13 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:54 pm

bohemiandaisy wrote:Since my main interest is Arts and Entertainment and I want to work in Socal, I am applying to USC and UCLA. They are my dream schools. I spoke to both deans about the quotation and they said it was okay? Also, some of the TLS samples feature a quotation. I also have seen Chicago essays with quotations.

The whole essay will be about following your passions. Mine was lit/arts for a while. Now I want to go into law.


Quotes can be acceptable if they're done very well. Normally they aren't. They usually end up looking like a boilerplate undergrad admissions essay.

Like I said, if you're above both medians you'll be admitted. If your numbers are well above medians, you'll get a substantial amount of money. Very rarely is your PS going to make much of a difference. If you're on the borderline, an exceptionally good PS can give you a bump, and an exceptionally bad one could give you a bump down. A PS beginning with a quotation is more likely to be bad than good, in my opinion. Also, "whimsical" is probably not a word I would want to use to describe the tone of a PS. More likely is that you'll come off as pretentious.

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lastsamurai
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby lastsamurai » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:26 pm

Just make sure it's about you! I know Rob Schwartz emphasizes the personal in personal statement. I'd also avoid whimsical

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bohemiandaisy
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby bohemiandaisy » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:15 pm

I'm new to this website. Where would I post an outline and bandy ideas? Would arklaw or you be willing to read an outline or ideas via PM?

I've seen posts for complete personal statements. Mine is a bare skeleton. I have an application consultant, but it's getting expensive.

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lastsamurai
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby lastsamurai » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:45 pm

I think people are generally more inclined to help you edit a solid draft of your PS than to help fill in a skeleton, but you're in the right place. Work through it a bit more on your own, and then post again. If you get to a point that you need specific responses, feel free to PM me

arklaw13
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby arklaw13 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 7:01 pm

bohemiandaisy wrote:I'm new to this website. Where would I post an outline and bandy ideas? Would arklaw or you be willing to read an outline or ideas via PM?

I've seen posts for complete personal statements. Mine is a bare skeleton. I have an application consultant, but it's getting expensive.


Yeah I'll read it of you post here or pm. A few preliminary suggestions:

Pick one experience and focus on that. Avoid making your PS a rehash of your resume. The idea is to show them that you are more than your transcript and resume. So try and make your topic something that might not be obvious when looking at your resume, or at least something that expounds on a single interesting part of your resume. Connect the experience somewhat to why you want to go to law school, but for god's sake don't talk about how you've always wanted to be a lawyer since your mom complained about your childhood penchant for arguing too much.

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bohemiandaisy
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby bohemiandaisy » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:55 pm

Hahaha! Definitely not doing that cliched argument about "arguing." In fact, I was actually quite the introspective, introverted child.

I was always loved this Yale essay about attending an opera and it changing your life :http://www.top-law-schools.com/appendixc.html

Obviously not going to copy it (but UGH the writer also went to the LA Opera which is where I go), but I have always loved theatre and the opera. I was thinking about writing about my first experience with the opera (La Boheme) or seeing The Glass Menagerie. Literature and theatre were a form of escapism for me. In fact, my life fell apart in college. I came in as a Poli Sci major. I switched to Comp Lit because apart from always being a hopeless romantic / dreamer (much like a typical Tennessee Williams character), it was a form of escape. I want to stress the importance of art in my life. I wrote and published many articles on art/literature (and an award winning thesis) and I was a docent at an LA museum. I even went abroad during a summer to study Renaissance theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

I want to end up connecting this to the legal field by showing that the legal industry can benefit from a dreamer like me. And unlike the tragic Southern heroines of Williams' plays, I am a realist at heart who makes my dreams a reality. I eventually triumphed over my hardships with a stellar GPA by combining this idealism with pragmatism. Hopefully as a lawyer, I can be a pioneer who realizes the impossible can be achieved. I take initiative and I'm a go-getter, so I'm not just a "dreamer." I was the first to do research and publish a piece on an unknown poet living during Wilde's time and I founded the LA Opera College Committee. When I am passionate about something, I work hard at it and I make the seemingly impossible a reality.

And that's where the quotation probably would come in. When I read it, it changed my life. I learned not to be afraid of new experiences and discovering myself and my world through art and literature. I am afraid of a superficial life that lacks depth and fails to challenge me. I want to go to law school because it will not only give me this intellectual challenge and vigor, but it is a vehicle to transform my dreams into reality.

***Just a note, The Glass Menagerie has a theme of being unique and introverted. The main character Laura feels odd and antiquated in a modern world. But she eventually overcomes that. I was hoping to create a parallel since I come from a very traditional family. "La Boheme" also has the theme of escapism through art. It is about poverty stricken artists living in Paris. In fact, my username here is a reference to it :wink:

arklaw13
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby arklaw13 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:32 pm

bohemiandaisy wrote:Hahaha! Definitely not doing that cliched argument about "arguing." In fact, I was actually quite the introspective, introverted child.

I was always loved this Yale essay about attending an opera and it changing your life :http://www.top-law-schools.com/appendixc.html

Obviously not going to copy it (but UGH the writer also went to the LA Opera which is where I go), but I have always loved theatre and the opera. I was thinking about writing about my first experience with the opera (La Boheme) or seeing The Glass Menagerie. Literature and theatre were a form of escapism for me. In fact, my life fell apart in college. I came in as a Poli Sci major. I switched to Comp Lit because apart from always being a hopeless romantic / dreamer (much like a typical Tennessee Williams character), it was a form of escape. I want to stress the importance of art in my life. I wrote and published many articles on art/literature (and an award winning thesis) and I was a docent at an LA museum. I even went abroad during a summer to study Renaissance theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

I want to end up connecting this to the legal field by showing that the legal industry can benefit from a dreamer like me. And unlike the tragic Southern heroines of Williams' plays, I am a realist at heart who makes my dreams a reality. I eventually triumphed over my hardships with a stellar GPA by combining this idealism with pragmatism. Hopefully as a lawyer, I can be a pioneer who realizes the impossible can be achieved. I take initiative and I'm a go-getter, so I'm not just a "dreamer." I was the first to do research and publish a piece on an unknown poet living during Wilde's time and I founded the LA Opera College Committee. When I am passionate about something, I work hard at it and I make the seemingly impossible a reality.

And that's where the quotation probably would come in. When I read it, it changed my life. I learned not to be afraid of new experiences and discovering myself and my world through art and literature. I am afraid of a superficial life that lacks depth and fails to challenge me. I want to go to law school because it will not only give me this intellectual challenge and vigor, but it is a vehicle to transform my dreams into reality.

***Just a note, The Glass Menagerie has a theme of being unique and introverted. The main character Laura feels odd and antiquated in a modern world. But she eventually overcomes that. I was hoping to create a parallel since I come from a very traditional family. "La Boheme" also has the theme of escapism through art. It is about poverty stricken artists living in Paris. In fact, my username here is a reference to it :wink:


Re: the Yale 250's, I would avoid using them as the basis for what your PS looks like, since those things are nothing but pretentious flames people write to separate themselves from the other 4.0/180 candidates trying to get into Yale.

You listed a lot of possible topics for your PS. As I mentioned earlier, pick just one. I know it seems weird to try and distill everything you want to say into one experience, but it's generally what gets the best response, at least according to TLS wisdom. The next step is just to pick a topic and write something and you can go from there. A few points:

Don't use your study abroad as the topic. Most people study abroad in undergrad. It doesn't set you apart, unless you had some legitimately life-altering experience there. Otherwise, it can be an instant turn-off.

Don't frame your PS around your struggle with being a natural idealist having to deal with life in the real world. You're a comp lit major who loves theater and opera; from that alone they can tell you're an idealist that will have trouble coping with the real world. A PS about this will either make you seem like a cliche or just one-dimensional.

I would also avoid the "tortured soul whose traditional/conservative family didn't understand him/her because he/she was so awkward and introverted growing up, but really blossomed in college" storyline.

Talking about your scholarly work could be good, depending on how you present it.

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bohemiandaisy
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby bohemiandaisy » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:16 pm

Thanks so much for all your input. I'll start writing an outline and PM you (if that's okay with you). Here is the experience I choose to focus on:

I wasn't planning on creating a very similar essay to that Yale 250 one. But I wanted to use it as a model. I want to focus on how an operatic experience can transport you from reality. For example, the writer opens the essay by describing how an opera opens. She talks about leaning in, the diversity of the crowds, and the lush music.

I am definitely not planning to write about the study abroad experience (it was just an example to exemplify my love for theatre to you and other TLS readers). To avoid the "tortured soul" cliche, I will stray away from Tennessee Williams and focus on an experience at the opera. You say writing about my scholarly work is a good idea..I was thinking about writing about my love for art and scholarly interpretation. In La Boheme, the main aria I want to discuss is about a woman who creates artificial flowers. She sort of lives in a world of artifice (she is an artist) and loves beauty; it is a form of escapism since she is poor and sick. Art keeps her happy and even alive longer. I am a lot like this character and I consider the many essays I've published and my two theses to be my "flowers." I truly enjoy exploring the unknown, the ambiguity involved in literary crit and interpretation, and I value beauty and the strange. I think this love for the unknown and ambiguity inherent in art speaks to my intellectual curiosity. I don't know how to connect that to the legal industry, but I think my intellectual curiosity speaks for itself. I will make a point that I eventually want to leave "the ivory tower" of academia and make my dreams a reality. Law school can benefit from dreamers. My success lies in a combination of realism and idealism.

I want to weave in the quotation somewhere. :( I know I'm being a brat about it, but I love the imagery of a daring mermaid exploring the unknown. My intellectual curiosity and multiple writing/research projects evinces a love for thinking and living deeply- a "fear" of a superficial life that has led me to law school. After all, law school is far from shallow waters. :wink:

P.S. I am a bit pretentious :wink: (Comp Lit major here after all), so I am hoping to not come off that way. I thought the Yale 250 I showed you was exceptionally well-written, but I'm biased because I love opera. Didn't read the other ones.
Last edited by bohemiandaisy on Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

arklaw13
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby arklaw13 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:32 pm

bohemiandaisy wrote:I think this love for the unknown and ambiguity inherent in art speaks to my intellectual curiosity. I don't know how to connect that to the legal industry, but I think my intellectual curiosity speaks for itself.


Law school is nothing but ambiguity. It consists of the professor teaching you rules that apply to different situations, then giving you an exam with a fact pattern that falls exactly in the middle of two different possible situations, then basically telling you to analyze your way out of the problem. You can use that as your connection. I would advise an 80/20 ratio of stuff about scholarly interpretation/art to stuff about why you think this will make you a good lawyer. But keep the two basically separate with a transition in between. Try it out and see if it works.

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bohemiandaisy
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Re: Personal Statement Idea

Postby bohemiandaisy » Tue Dec 10, 2013 11:58 pm

arklaw13 wrote:
bohemiandaisy wrote:I think this love for the unknown and ambiguity inherent in art speaks to my intellectual curiosity. I don't know how to connect that to the legal industry, but I think my intellectual curiosity speaks for itself.


Law school is nothing but ambiguity. It consists of the professor teaching you rules that apply to different situations, then giving you an exam with a fact pattern that falls exactly in the middle of two different possible situations, then basically telling you to analyze your way out of the problem. You can use that as your connection. I would advise an 80/20 ratio of stuff about scholarly interpretation/art to stuff about why you think this will make you a good lawyer. But keep the two basically separate with a transition in between. Try it out and see if it works.



That's what I thought. Good lit/art is ambiguous. I guess I found my connection. I will PM you in a few days..

And if I don't use the quotation, oh well. But I am attached. :mrgreen:




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