Did I screw myself over here?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

Did I screw myself over?

Yes
19
61%
No
12
39%
 
Total votes: 31

Anonymous User
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Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:15 pm

Not sure what the deal is... I submitted in late October, with a 170/3.8 and I'm repeatedly being passed up by schools, while people who applied later, with lower stats, are getting offers. I really don't know what I did. I have great work experience, almost exceptional. And my LoR's were solid. I had a killer LGBTQ diversity statement. So the only thing I can think of is that my PS sucks gigantic monkey balls. I swear, I am not a troll. Thoughts about this PS?


I clutched the dice in my sweating hand, reminding myself that I was in control now. This roll symbolized the hand of fate in an otherwise carefully planned adventure. Any of the twenty faces on this die could send the party off in a completely unanticipated direction. But as a Dungeon Master in Dungeons and Dragons, I am often confronted with the fact that not all of my plans will executed as expected.

I had spent months planning this game. Eighteen characters’ backgrounds and statistics, seven kingdoms and their histories, twenty two cities and their governments, and three deities and their tenets waited in clearly delineated folders on my desktop. These folders represented months of research into the history of seventh century Britain: its politics, religion, and people. Stitched with meticulous story development and a thorough knowledge of my group’s playing style, these facts were now the blanket rules of my fictional post-Camelot world. The carefully selected and memorized Pathfinder system of game rules provided the backing to my now-complete patchwork adventure.

Honestly, I was probably less nervous about the result of my next roll than were the rest of the people at the table. One bad result from the dice could produce a failed negotiation, botched espionage, or death for the characters of the three middle-aged men in my weekly gaming group.

Stereotypically, it may seem odd to have a young, socially active woman involved in a game of Dungeons and Dragons at all, but it was odder that it had taken me so long to get involved in role playing games in the first place. There are a few considerable barriers to entry into the Dungeons and Dragons world. First, the player has to have an active interest in fantastical worlds and their creation. This was no issue for me: I was raised on Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. I memorized the stringent methods of the Jedi, the indefatigable quips of the Tolkien cast, and the moralizing soliloquies of Starfleet captains. Second, players must study and have a working knowledge of the rules of the game system. There are hundreds of rule systems, each with thousands of pages dedicated to their execution. Luckily, I loved nothing more than to lose myself in piles of books, always checking out the maximum number of books allowed by my library card as a child, and never without a book as an adult. I relished the idea of studying the method of role playing game culture in exhaustive detail. Finally, anyone who wants to start a Dungeons and Dragons campaign needs to find the right group of people with which to play. This was my stumbling block. I had a large social network, with friends from many different circles, from opera to kayaking. My core group of nerdy friends enjoyed playing Settlers of Catan, or watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy repeatedly. But none of them had ever played a role playing game, and they did not share my secret enthusiasm for the considerable investment Dungeons and Dragons demanded.

When my fiancee told me that one of her coworkers had a Dungeons and Dragons group looking for new players, I jumped at the opportunity. Then, a year and a half, and seven characters later, I was leading a game. These men had a half-century of Dungeons and Dragons experience between the three of them. One player, Nate, had worked for a prominent Dungeons and Dragons book publisher, teaching people role playing games at one of their stores. I was utterly intimidated by the knowledge and savvy of my fellow players. Yet when my first campaign drew to a close, even Nate was eagerly awaiting my next turn as Dungeon Master.

Only through meticulously planning details, carefully judging the dynamic of my group, and constantly thinking on my feet was I able to successfully lead a role-playing game. I thrive in immersive, extensively scholarly realms. Only through months of preparation and in-depth study could I have known exactly how my carefully crafted world would interact with the characters, whether I was fighting as a giant water goddess or negotiating as a back-stabbing monk. My passion has always been finding and understanding the laws in a system, real-life or fantastical, that allow it to function. For this reason, and so many more, I cannot wait to start my legal career at XYZ LAW SCHOOL.

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PourMeTea
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby PourMeTea » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:21 pm

Interesting to submit a second diversity statement but my guess is socially active LGBTQ female Dungeon Masters with "many" other (nondescript) reasons to cop a legal education are a dime a dozen in the T14.

Perhaps a more effective angle would be to write an "overcoming obstacles" PS e.g. discrimination in a traditionally male-dominated role-playing institution, being targeted by the militant Christian fundies for Satan worship/overt & favorable acceptance of naked breasts obscenely depicted in drawings of female humanoids etc. While it is clear that you are immersed in the extensive scholarly realms of D&D, this can be effectively communicated by "showing & not telling" (via obstacle PS perhaps) while taking the space to instead convey that you are uniquely in possession of qualities of a top-law-student.

In short, I think you missed an opportunity here.

What you have is
    I am a Dungeon Master/this is why I like it/also this is why I want to be a lawyer


What you could have instead
    Anecdotal evidence of my drive/resilience/passion that is essential to success in law school


Method #2 encompasses the former as well if you decide to use D&D as an avenue instead of an endpoint & allows you to make the most of the space afforded you

rad lulz
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby rad lulz » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not sure what the deal is... I submitted in late October, with a 170/3.8 and I'm repeatedly being passed up by schools, while people who applied later, with lower stats, are getting offers. I really don't know what I did. I have great work experience, almost exceptional. And my LoR's were solid. I had a killer LGBTQ diversity statement. So the only thing I can think of is that my PS sucks gigantic monkey balls. I swear, I am not a troll. Thoughts about this PS?


I clutched the dice in my sweating hand, reminding myself that I was in control now. This roll symbolized the hand of fate in an otherwise carefully planned adventure. Any of the twenty faces on this die could send the party off in a completely unanticipated direction. But as a Dungeon Master in Dungeons and Dragons, I am often confronted with the fact that not all of my plans will executed as expected.

I had spent months planning this game. Eighteen characters’ backgrounds and statistics, seven kingdoms and their histories, twenty two cities and their governments, and three deities and their tenets waited in clearly delineated folders on my desktop. These folders represented months of research into the history of seventh century Britain: its politics, religion, and people. Stitched with meticulous story development and a thorough knowledge of my group’s playing style, these facts were now the blanket rules of my fictional post-Camelot world. The carefully selected and memorized Pathfinder system of game rules provided the backing to my now-complete patchwork adventure.

Honestly, I was probably less nervous about the result of my next roll than were the rest of the people at the table. One bad result from the dice could produce a failed negotiation, botched espionage, or death for the characters of the three middle-aged men in my weekly gaming group.

Stereotypically, it may seem odd to have a young, socially active woman involved in a game of Dungeons and Dragons at all, but it was odder that it had taken me so long to get involved in role playing games in the first place. There are a few considerable barriers to entry into the Dungeons and Dragons world. First, the player has to have an active interest in fantastical worlds and their creation. This was no issue for me: I was raised on Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. I memorized the stringent methods of the Jedi, the indefatigable quips of the Tolkien cast, and the moralizing soliloquies of Starfleet captains. Second, players must study and have a working knowledge of the rules of the game system. There are hundreds of rule systems, each with thousands of pages dedicated to their execution. Luckily, I loved nothing more than to lose myself in piles of books, always checking out the maximum number of books allowed by my library card as a child, and never without a book as an adult. I relished the idea of studying the method of role playing game culture in exhaustive detail. Finally, anyone who wants to start a Dungeons and Dragons campaign needs to find the right group of people with which to play. This was my stumbling block. I had a large social network, with friends from many different circles, from opera to kayaking. My core group of nerdy friends enjoyed playing Settlers of Catan, or watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy repeatedly. But none of them had ever played a role playing game, and they did not share my secret enthusiasm for the considerable investment Dungeons and Dragons demanded.

When my fiancee told me that one of her coworkers had a Dungeons and Dragons group looking for new players, I jumped at the opportunity. Then, a year and a half, and seven characters later, I was leading a game. These men had a half-century of Dungeons and Dragons experience between the three of them. One player, Nate, had worked for a prominent Dungeons and Dragons book publisher, teaching people role playing games at one of their stores. I was utterly intimidated by the knowledge and savvy of my fellow players. Yet when my first campaign drew to a close, even Nate was eagerly awaiting my next turn as Dungeon Master.

Only through meticulously planning details, carefully judging the dynamic of my group, and constantly thinking on my feet was I able to successfully lead a role-playing game. I thrive in immersive, extensively scholarly realms. Only through months of preparation and in-depth study could I have known exactly how my carefully crafted world would interact with the characters, whether I was fighting as a giant water goddess or negotiating as a back-stabbing monk. My passion has always been finding and understanding the laws in a system, real-life or fantastical, that allow it to function. For this reason, and so many more, I cannot wait to start my legal career at XYZ LAW SCHOOL.

This is weird but amusing

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby ManoftheHour » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:42 pm

This is pretty terrible. Why didn't you write a safe granola PS? It tells me nothing about why you would be a good attorney/why you want to go to law school.

Some T-14 will still pick you up. Personal statements are TTT. You'll probably still get a few full rides at the T1s.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Nonconsecutive » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:46 pm

Honestly I enjoyed reading it, but I really don't feel like I learned much about you or why you want to go to law school. I felt like the part about wanting to go to law school was very superficial and tacked-on. Maybe this flowed better in combination with your DS, but as is I think you probably didn't give yourself any boosts with this PS. But I still think you'll get T14 with dem' stats.

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Gooner91
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Gooner91 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:58 pm

I read the whole thing without getting bored so it is not to bad from that standpoint. It is well written.

However it seems almost sarcastic, like you are taking it seriously, and does not tell much about you.
Its like you are saying you overcame adversity by killing the lich king in warcraft or by rooting for the Red Sox for 25 years before they actually won the World Series. It just strikes me as somewhat insignificant.
Of course it is possible others will disagree with my feelings on it, and I hope some adcomms do.

I am sure it means a lot to you but it gets kind of lost on people who are not interested in it.

You have strong numbers and I am sure you will get into a top school though. Best of luck with your cycle. :)

Anonymous User
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:02 pm

OP.

In retrospect, it doesn't say much about why I want to be a lawyer. But my DS was the granola, "I work with battered women getting orders of protection, I want to be a lawyer to empower women" crap. Honestly, I saw so many of those personal statements, I thought I was going to vomit. I wanted to stand out. Also, coming from an arts school, my academic credentials were the weakest part of my application. I was trying to shore that up by showing I have study-heavy hobbies. Ironically, I now realize that this probably made most adcomms take me less seriously academically.

Fuck.

To all future 0L, LET THIS BE A LESSON TO YOU. Write the granola PS. ALWAYS. Drink the Kool-Aid, and just write about how you want to change the fucking world and save the planet with your JDick.

Also...
my guess is socially active LGBTQ female Dungeon Masters with "many" other (nondescript) reasons to cop a legal education are a dime a dozen in the T14.


Really? Cause I'm the only LGBTQ female dungeon master I know....

EDIT: I wasn't trying to do the "overcoming adversity". I was trying to parody the overcoming adversity to showcase my academic commitment. I guess it didn't come off that way, at all...

Also, thanks to everyone for the comments. It has really helped me see how my PS was probably received. Also, I love that the poll is split.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:46 pm

I'm sorry to say that I didn't get the parody/academic elements at all.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:14 pm

Eh, I hate it a little, but no more than most of these things. It might be a little weird, but I don't think it's weird enough to adversely affect an admissions decision, personally.

xmbeckham
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby xmbeckham » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:28 pm

I don't think your PS is a disaster, in particular put together with your stats/recs/DS. You said you had been passed by by many schools. Does it mean you haven't heard from them yet or they have just rejected you? Maybe the problem is your letters of recommendation?

Anonymous User
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:53 pm

I haven't heard from them yet.

I really don't think it was my letters of rec. My bosses adore me, and have very impressive titles. My professors remembered who I was, respected me, and have a great standing in my community.

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wealtheow
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby wealtheow » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:49 am

Could be the missing word in the last sentence of your first paragraph.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Nonconsecutive » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:01 am

wealtheow wrote:Could be the missing word in the last sentence of your first paragraph.


I noticed that as well, but in the context its one that could easily be read over.

Anonymous User
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:05 am

Derp. This was NOT a final version. Fixed the missing word in submissions.

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Clearly
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Clearly » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:21 am

Why, with great numbers and softs would you do this?

Obesekittenlover
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Obesekittenlover » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:42 am

Did you really have no better, more concrete reason to go to law school? I come from an artsy background too and so I get that it's not the easiest connection to make. However, this comes off as very flippant and shallow. It's well written but not much above "I really like watching Law & Order."

rad lulz
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby rad lulz » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:45 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I'm sorry to say that I didn't get the parody/academic elements at all.

I thought it was funny bc I thought it was serious

Now it's just a badly executed parody

03152016
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby 03152016 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:55 am

I don't know how much of a difference the PS made in your rejections, but I didn't find your story to be particularly compelling or demonstrative of serious interest in law. It was brave to take a risk, but if you end up reapplying next cycle I'd recommend playing it safe. Also, if you haven't already read it, read the PS book on TLS.

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mindarmed
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby mindarmed » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:24 pm

This has to be flame.

Anonymous User
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:37 pm

mindarmed wrote:This has to be flame.


Surprisingly, no. Just a worried 0L, who tried to write a unique PS. And even after she read every single page of the TLS personal statement book, and every personal statement book she could get her hands on, decided that this was the best way to shore up academic credentials, by talking about the passion and energy she devoted to her hobbies. Also, I thought the originality of the topic would be a positive attention-grabber.



So, the advice seems to culminate in: my OTHER softs are solid, my stats are solid, so while the PS won't work miracles, it probably won't sink the entire application.

Now, the real question is: If/When I get WL by the rest of the T14, will a solid, serious LoCI repair the damage this has done?

EDIT: In at GULC.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby ManoftheHour » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:07 pm

This is the worst PS I've ever read. But you will get a handful of offers with your stats as well as a few T14 offers.

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Clearly
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Clearly » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:41 pm

Just a heads up, this wasn't the time to go bold.

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mindarmed
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby mindarmed » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
mindarmed wrote:This has to be flame.


Surprisingly, no. Just a worried 0L, who tried to write a unique PS. And even after she read every single page of the TLS personal statement book, and every personal statement book she could get her hands on, decided that this was the best way to shore up academic credentials, by talking about the passion and energy she devoted to her hobbies. Also, I thought the originality of the topic would be a positive attention-grabber.



So, the advice seems to culminate in: my OTHER softs are solid, my stats are solid, so while the PS won't work miracles, it probably won't sink the entire application.

Now, the real question is: If/When I get WL by the rest of the T14, will a solid, serious LoCI repair the damage this has done?

EDIT: In at GULC.


You actually seem pretty socially aware except for the whole law schools generally only care about your LSAT and GPA bit.

Anonymous User
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:07 pm

Clearly wrote:Just a heads up, this wasn't the time to go bold.


I think I've figured that out now...

You actually seem pretty socially aware except for the whole law schools generally only care about your LSAT and GPA bit.


So you're saying it can't really hurt me THAT much?

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PourMeTea
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Re: Did I screw myself over here?

Postby PourMeTea » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:36 pm

I can see how an adcomm might read this and think you are disingenuous about getting a legal education. It's well-written, which is why it's a bit surprising that you chose this parallel to hastily tie to "why law" at the end. There's no clear message here, and it may not have helped that you explicitly follow up with "for this reason, and so many more, I cannot wait to start my legal career @ x." It's not particularly compelling in that respect. But again, I think you'll still wrangle some phenomenal acceptances with your numbers alone. Congrats on GULC.




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