Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:25 am

There are three main things that I want to talk about in my personal statement that I think set me apart. They are very different and I want to devote quite a lot of time to talking about how they have effected me and my desire to go to law school, but I'm not sure how to organize these three things in a coherent narrative.

The first is my family history. I'm the first member of my family to go to college and the first man in my family not to be a pig farmer. For at least 300 years my family had been subsistence pig farmers before they came to America and they continued to be pig farmers up to and including my own father. Growing up oftentimes below the poverty line obviously sets me apart from the vast majority of applicants.

The second is my major. I will be graduating in May with a bs in computational physics. I am looking at patent law but I'm not open to whatever. Obviously not being another Poli Sci major would bring a unique perspective to classes and I'd like to talk about why I chose physics and why im choosing law school in that context.

Finally I'd like to talk about debate. I've been competitively debating for the past 8 years and am the captain of my very successful team. Last year I placed in the top ten in the nation and could realistically win nationals this year. This probably doesn't set me apart as much as the previous two but it was probably the biggest factor in my decision to go to law school.

How should I organize all of these together for a really good personal statement.

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Balthy
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby Balthy » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:31 am

I'd make the first a DS, the second a PS, and the third just a resume point.

Maybe switch second and third if you want, but avoid trying to cram too much into a PS. Quality over quantity.

Anonymous User
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:20 am

I also coached the local high school debate team to two state titles during my undergrad. I am having my co-coach write me a LOR but would that be sufficient? I feel like a significant teaching position during my UG would somewhat make up for the fact that I'm K-JD.

lawschool2014hopeful
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:11 pm

Pig farmer story is quite interesting. But explaining your major, I dont see how that can be, unless you had very strong personal reasons in pursuing that major and very specific ideas to pursue.

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scoobysnax
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby scoobysnax » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:17 am

The pig farmer is the most interesting. I don't know what computational physics is, but I wouldn't talk too much about it. And be careful when you talk about debate- while I'm sure you're a great debater, it can easily come across as bragging and/or a rehash of your resume.

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guano
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby guano » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:20 am

scoobysnax wrote:The pig farmer is the most interesting. I don't know what computational physics is, but I wouldn't talk too much about it. And be careful when you talk about debate- while I'm sure you're a great debater, it can easily come across as bragging and/or a rehash of your resume.

This

Don't write about three separate issues. If you must, you can add a paragraph about pig farming -> computational physics -> law as the conclusion of your story
Skip the debate part, it's not interesting

Anonymous User
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:36 pm

So if poverty/pig farming are the most interesting then should I save them for a diversity statement, or just make that my PS? This still leaves me stumped as to what to do my PS on.

sidhesadie
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby sidhesadie » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:40 pm

I'd do your PS on poverty/pig farming as long as you can tie it to why you want to go to law school. Yes, it would make a good DS too, but your focus in the two is different, DS is why the above makes you different/makes getting to law school harder/means you make a contribution to the diversity of the school, PS is about how your experiences in that life led you to want to pursue law as a career.

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guano
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby guano » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So if poverty/pig farming are the most interesting then should I save them for a diversity statement, or just make that my PS? This still leaves me stumped as to what to do my PS on.

Option A: make it the main point of your PS; possibly include the trajectory through physics to law

Option B: Make it your DS, have your PS be about connecting computational physics to law

Anonymous User
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:24 pm

sidhesadie wrote:I'd do your PS on poverty/pig farming as long as you can tie it to why you want to go to law school. Yes, it would make a good DS too, but your focus in the two is different, DS is why the above makes you different/makes getting to law school harder/means you make a contribution to the diversity of the school, PS is about how your experiences in that life led you to want to pursue law as a career.


Does anybody else have any opinions about a PS and a DS on the same subject? Would adcomms have a problem with that?

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Nova
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby Nova » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anybody else have any opinions about a PS and a DS on the same subject? Would adcomms have a problem with that?

sounds repetitive AF

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guano
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby guano » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anybody else have any opinions about a PS and a DS on the same subject? Would adcomms have a problem with that?

Sounds like you don't know what you're doing

Anonymous User
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:38 pm

guano wrote:Sounds like you don't know what you're doing


Could you help me to understand then? The poster above suggested writing both a PS and a DS on how growing up poor made me want to be a lawyer and what diversity I could bring to a class because of that, respectively. Should I simply write about both of those things in the PS and not have a DS?

sidhesadie
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby sidhesadie » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
guano wrote:Sounds like you don't know what you're doing


Could you help me to understand then? The poster above suggested writing both a PS and a DS on how growing up poor made me want to be a lawyer and what diversity I could bring to a class because of that, respectively. Should I simply write about both of those things in the PS and not have a DS?



I wasn't clear. I don't mean to write them both on the same subject for the same school. That would be repetitive. I meant that you could use that subject for either, because your focus is different depending on which you're writing it for. Frankly, I'm not sure how valuable it is for a DS, because despite the talk, socioeconomic diversity doesn't seem to "count" the same way as racial/ethnic diversity and I don't think it counts for much. It may help you get more scholarship money, but my experience was it worked that way using it for my PS (poverty was my PS subject as well). I didn't write a separate DS on the subject, I just used it for my PS. But that's a personal decision, others may disagree.

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guano
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Re: Dealing with an embarrassment of riches.

Postby guano » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
guano wrote:Sounds like you don't know what you're doing


Could you help me to understand then? The poster above suggested writing both a PS and a DS on how growing up poor made me want to be a lawyer and what diversity I could bring to a class because of that, respectively. Should I simply write about both of those things in the PS and not have a DS?

I agree with everything sidhesadie said. To elaborate my point:

When you read a newspaper browse a news website, do you expect to read the same article twice? If you watch a TV series, and it turns out that this week's episode is the same as last week's? If you're playing a video game.... strike that, bad analogy

A PS is supposed to tell something about yourself, so the staff can get to know you. A diversity statement is to explain why you're diverse. If your PS explains why you're diverse, there's no need for a diversity statement. If your PS is about being the only black kid in an all-white neighborhood, do you really need to provide a diversity statement explaining that you were the only black kid in the neighborhood?

This isn't a box that needs to be checked, this is a page someone has to take the time and effort to read. If they see it's the same thing, do you think they're gonna read it? And, if they already decide to pay less attention to your application (because it's repetitive) what's to say they might miss something else that matters?




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