(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:39 am

Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PS critique, pls help!

Postby encore1101 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:57 pm

Very nice!

The positives:
Good, compelling story. There were a few times I thought "where is this going" or "what does this have to do with law..?" but you went right into my concern.
Powerful, descriptive opening.
Very strong language throughout the PS.

Some critiques:
I think you can emphasize the effect your mother's addiction had on you a little more, just to show the impact of the turn-around with your experiences with Erik. You don't even really need to include more details, but structure it differently--

"Feeling lost and alone, I dwelled on my mother’s addiction. My energy invested into worrying about her, I placed the blame inward on myself, and believed that her addiction was a result of me coming out as a lesbian. Given that my focus was else where, my concentration waned and my high school grades did not reflect my potential. My mother was checked out and my dad was too consumed with the foreclosure of our home to even notice. "

First, I would include the facts about you coming out as a lesbian and your dad preoccupied with the foreclosure in a different part of the statement, like right before. That allows you to phrase the quoted passage in a more staccato fashion:

"I blamed myself for my mother's addiction. I felt lost and alone. I focused all my energy dwelling on her addiction. My grades dropped and I could not realize my potential."

By using a lot of simple (versus compound) sentences with a lot of first-person pronouns, I think it really shows the impact more.

As a separate issue, I would write one sentence or so why you got interested in immigration law in the first place. Was it because of Erik? Because of one of your internships? Something brief like "The result of all these experiences was the desire to practice immigration law."

Take out the word "evermore." Try "increasingly" or "even more," but "evermore" sounds odd. Its unnecessary in what is otherwise a very strong personal statement.

Last, I would cut down on some of the places you've interned at and just sum up your responsibilities at those internships. They have your resumes, so they know where and what you've done. This is personal opinion, and I'm sure others will disagree.


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Re: PS critique, pls help!

Postby nagelbett » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:37 pm

This is a very well-written PS, good work!

It took me a while to find a single error. I think there is a mistake in this sentence, though--"Erik altered my perspective, and gave way to me understanding the countless possibilities I could have by ‘letting go’ of situations and people I could not change." There is no comma after "perspective" because the second part of the sentence is a dependent clause.

Also, "work day" is one word ("workday") according to merriam-webster. (It's in this sentence: "Now working as a paralegal with an immigration law firm, I wake up every day excited for the work day ahead.) By the way, I would also remove "every day" in that sentence. So, "I wake up excited for the workday ahead."

This sentence needs to be improved as well: "Families being united for the first time in years, children fleeing gangs in El Salvador seeking asylum and individuals living in the United States for over 20 years being granted prosecutorial discretion, are just a few of the reasons why I adore what I do." Right now it reads that you are happy that children are fleeing gangs in El Salvador, but I assume that you are happy that you get to help them or work with them, so you should say that. The sentence is also too long and could be cut into simpler sentences.

Here's another sentence that is just a bit too long: "Moreover, the very best part of the job is when the Immigration Judge grants asylum to a young boy, markedly similar to Erik, with a huge bright smile who now can rest easy, away from the constant gunfire of his ‘barrio’ or neighborhood and study hard to become the doctor, lawyer, police officer he has always dreamed of." The sentence is fine right now, but it would be easier to read if it was split in two (just put a period after "Erik" and add something like "Another kid with a huge...").

I like the last paragraph, but I would remove the last sentence--"After all, a dream is only a dream if you make it so." I think it is kind of cheesy.

The only larger criticism that I had (and maybe it's just me) about the topic was that you come across a little harsh towards your mother. In the PS, it seems that your mom was struggling with something and I felt bad for her, especially since the opening paragraph makes her seem cool. The asshole seemed to be the father when he angrily replied to you. You take pride for "letting go" of the memory of your mother and for the realization that she was beyond your control. However, based on the PS it seems like you did not take many steps to help her. Therefore, even though I am cheering on for you in all your success and your helping of the kids and everyone else throughout the PS, I am also feeling bad for your mother. There is a lingering sense that you could have done more to help her out. If you added a few sentences about you doing your best for your mom and nothing worked, etc... I think it would help.

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Re: PS critique, pls help!

Postby scoobysnax » Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:06 am

Overall pretty good!

Minor things:

Like a previous poster said, elaborate more on how your mom impacted you. I'm not quite sure how worrying about your mom impacted you. Did you have to do her chores for her? Did you have to take care of her? Was it a volatile household? I would either elaborate on this or take out "Given that my focus was else where, my concentration waned and my high school grades did not reflect my potential," as this is the only time you mention your grades being affected by your mom.

"It was not until I tutored “Erik,” a ten-year-old, boisterous Hispanic immigrant, that I discovered the untapped reserve of potential in me."
Potential for what?

"My passions, which I should have been honing and fostering to achieve my long-held dreams"
What passions? This comes out of nowhere. Your passion isn't mentioned again until the next paragraph, and when you discover your passion for immigration law is ambiguous.

Your second to last paragraph is good. I think you can make it stronger by acknowledging that the system isn't perfect and families won't always be reunited, because law isn't one-dimensional.


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Postby JVrva » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:28 pm


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