Using Personal Voice in Personal Statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Using Personal Voice in Personal Statement

Postby Amalthea » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:13 pm

I wrote the first draft of my personal statement and gave it to two friends, one with a Master's in Public Health and the other currently applying to medical school. They both told me that I needed to turn off the "personal" voice by eliminating as many of the "I"s and "me"s that I could without making the statement sound ridiculous. From their standpoint, an admissions officer reading already knows that it's my personal statement so there is no need to reiterate the fact. Rereading my less-personalized edit, I do think my PS sounds very professional.

The other personal statements that I have seen around TLS are moving and very well, personal, and I can't help but wonder if I've made a mistake. I wanted to sidestep the cliches and avoided writing about how my uncle was unfairly imprisoned due to what we think was poor legal defense or my upbringing rebelling against my parents in a strict Muslim household. I do feel that both of these subjects defined me to an extent, but instead I chose to focus on my love of writing fiction and how I craved a dimension of pragmatism in my writing that I feel will translate well to law.

So to summarize:
1) Will I alienate myself from admissions officers by not using the "I" and "me tense" when I can avoid it?
2) Did I make a mistake picking a boring and honest subject instead of going for dramatic effect?

Also I am out of editors, so if anyone would like to read it I would be forever grateful. Let me know via posts below - I will PM you and can definitely look at yours in return.

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Re: Using Personal Voice in Personal Statement

Postby txdude45 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:32 pm

1) If you cut "I" and "me" from your statement on the advice of those friends, I will find you and destroy you. They gave you really terrible advice.

2) Write about whatever you can write best about. You don't want to write about something really jarring, obviously, but outside of extremes, you want adcomms to learn something about you. Tell whatever story you want.

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Re: Using Personal Voice in Personal Statement

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:40 pm

I'm having a hard time thinking of a way that a personal statement without 'I' and 'me' would be ok. Your friends gave you bad advice. It's not an editorial; it's a personal statement.

I don't think your topic was itself a bad choice; plenty of people write terrific personal statements that have nothing to do with injustice or the legal system or great personal drama.


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Re: Using Personal Voice in Personal Statement

Postby kublaikahn » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:41 pm

Most people make the mistake of writing about some circumstance or event that defined them. I would write about how you define you. Find some event that expresses your definition of yourself.

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