Personal Statement, please critique!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Personal Statement, please critique!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:22 pm

The context of my background has always impacted the way I view the world around me and, conversely, the way I am viewed by those around me. My great-great-grandfather came to this country as an impoverished pig farmer and my family hasn’t progressed much further since then. Until myself, ever man in my family has been a pig farmer. Growing up around stockyards in (state) meant a great deal of hard work at an early age. Managing livestock and helping to run the business of raising and selling pig’s involved manual labor, amateur veterinary work, accounting, and ensuring compliance with various laws and regulations; oftentimes all in the same day. This ethic of hard work has helped me throughout life to overcome the challenges of being the first member of my family to go to college while remaining successful in the rigorous physics program at (school) while competing at the highest level on the national collegiate debate circuit. Handling the many responsibilities of pig farming prepared me to juggle Feynman diagrams, policy recommendations, and postmodern French philosophy. I will continue to use these skills to excel in law school.

My agrarian childhood, however, has also complicated my life in many ways. Despite the simple nature of my family’s long time occupation, my father always taught me to be proud of the work we did to feed people. I took this message to heart and from an early age planned to continue the work that my family had been doing for hundreds of years. I learned everything I could about the work my father did. I still listen to farm reports and keep up to date on pork futures prices despite being far removed from my agricultural past. I felt a strong connection to my past that made every job, from preparing receipts to shoveling out pens, seem more significant and meaningful. My unique cultural background could prove invaluable by broadening the experience pool of any law class significantly as well as the legal profession as a whole.

Despite my contentedness with the lifestyle of my family, they weren't content with allowing me to stagnate. I had distinguished myself in school with high grades and exceptional test scores. My parents always emphasized the importance of an education, which they never had. My friends and family saw my gifts as an opportunity for me to escape the community and culture that I saw as central to my identity. My mother and father wanted something more for me than what they had and they gave me every opportunity and made every sacrifice necessary to make sure that I could succeed. My mother pushed me relentlessly in school and, just like the lessons that my father taught me about our history, I took her motivation to heart. Despite this conflict, I knew one thing; I would not be the one to let my family down. I took on the pressure of generations of hope and devoted myself to school. This ability to overcome adversity and overwhelming probability will serve me well in law school and beyond.

Like many people working in the agriculture industry, my family was at the mercy of a myriad of conditions that determined our prosperity on a day to day basis. Feed and pork prices often had a stranglehold on our ability to support ourselves. This came to a head in 2008 when my family was forced to sell our stockyards and leave the way of life that we had known for all of our lives. With the loss of a stream of income, our economic condition worsened considerably until my father was able to find new work. Growing up in an environment of cyclical poverty has given me a fundamentally different perspective from the vast majority of my fellow students at my university. I’ve been constantly reminded that my experiences stand in stark contrast with the upper middle class upbringing of my peers. I have attempted to use my point of view to encourage my classmates to change their opinions on issues like poverty and education to be more sensitive to issues of class and power. This ability to force others to reevaluate their preconceived assumptions will prove indispensable in an even more gentrified law classroom.

I have overcome countless obstacles to get where I am and I can continue to excel in law school and beyond. I can contribute to the diversity of any law school class in multiple significant ways. My experiences have shaped me as I have shaped the world around me and I am excited to be further shaped, and shape in return (Law School).

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Puffin
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Re: Personal Statement, please critique!

Postby Puffin » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:54 am

Quick typo at the beginning with every, overall I thought it flowed well and it was an interesting read. The assumption that law school will be more gentrified than your university (although I'd be surprised if it wasn't), might be something adcoms don't want to hear considering most of their prominent stances on promoting socioeconomic and racial diversity in their classes. Probably just nitpicky but it stood out to me for whatever reason.

kcdc1
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Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:48 am

Re: Personal Statement, please critique!

Postby kcdc1 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:46 pm

Your essay states that you are proud of your roots in farming, but a some of the language in the essay doesn't support this sentiment. For example:

"My great-great-grandfather came to this country as an impoverished pig farmer and my family hasn’t progressed much further since then."

You also talk about escaping that life and use language that suggests that you see educated, white-collar employment as superior. I am not sure how you actually feel about those issues. Just letting you that your essay might be sending mixed messages.

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papercut
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Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:48 pm

Re: Personal Statement, please critique!

Postby papercut » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:26 am

kcdc1 wrote:Your essay states that you are proud of your roots in farming, but a some of the language in the essay doesn't support this sentiment. For example:

"My great-great-grandfather came to this country as an impoverished pig farmer and my family hasn’t progressed much further since then."

You also talk about escaping that life and use language that suggests that you see educated, white-collar employment as superior. I am not sure how you actually feel about those issues. Just letting you that your essay might be sending mixed messages.


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