Appropriate Themes

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:35 pm

Appropriate Themes

Postby TomtheTankEngine » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:56 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm a Jr. and I'm just now really beginning to focus on my personal statement. I have my eyes on pretty much any of the T14, and of course T6 would be ideal... GPA is 3.8, and just took my first practice LSAT run and got a 163 (hopefully the LSAT Gods will spot me some points for improvement)... but anywho, I was wondering if someone would give me some feedback and advice on PS themes/content. I am somewhat of a non-traditional student: I'm a 25 year old Jr after 5 years in the military which were necessitated by an extremely unproductive 4 years as an abysmal and immature HS student. That being said, what really got me into the undergrad I'm at now was a well-articulated apology for a disgusting high school transcript and a narrative of my unique process of maturation.

Granted that anything high school is of little matter for law school admissions, and in my case perhaps this is a good thing, but I really feel disingenuous if I leave out of my personal statement what really happened in my case over the last 6 years or so. So, I guess my question is, would HLS admissions look at such a narrative as inappropriate and ineffective?

Now I don't plan on writing explicitly for sympathy (I don't think I'm that stupid), but I would like to integrate my humbling story into a thesis that ties my interest in public interest/education law with a picture me as an "excellent" student and mature citizen.

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Re: Appropriate Themes

Postby Pneumonia » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:51 pm

1) Ignore your PS for now and focus on the LSAT between now and June, which is when you should take it. Then get a draft together after the test, and have it finalized by September. No reason to work on it this early; the LSAT is way more important.

2) I understand the impulse to integrate some honesty and humility into your statement. I had the same intuition, and a similar circumstance (minus the military). I think humility in combination with sincerity can be an extremely powerful component of a great PS, but I also realized that I waaaaay overestimated how much of that was necessary in order for it to be noticed. I would suggest that you not structure your whole statement around that theme, because doing so is not necessary. Rather, emphasize the things that you learned and the things that the things that you are good at.

Definitely don't mention more than you need to about the things in your past that you think might be viewed negatively, especially if they are from high school. If you must, a short sentence similar to "after a few rough years in high school" should be sufficient.

This is of course said without a knowledge of your specifics, so take it as you will. In general though you seem sincere, and that is something that you should ensure carries over into your statement, but resist the urge to overdo it, even if you feel like you're "bragging." Even a bit of humility is more than most statements contain; don't sell yourself short. Also, see #1.

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