Personal Statement Advice please! anything helps

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yafosho
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:02 pm

Personal Statement Advice please! anything helps

Postby yafosho » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:34 am

-- Just a little over 2 pages double spaced --

-Suggestions all over are welcome particularly for the second to last paragraph which I think comes off as excuse spouting when instead I would like to attribute my grade issues (not terrible but a 3.17 due to Cs in the listed classes below) to a general disillusionment with college in general at the prospect of graduating with a liberal arts degree with no plans for graduate school until 8 months ago. And yes I know this is technically an excuse too but my goal is to not make it come off as an explanation not an excuse. Thanks for your help all!

As I reached out and grasped the fingertip sized outcrop of rock jutting encouragingly from the face of the boulder I clung to, the ground a mere fifteen feet below, I am all of a sudden dumbstruck by a feral string of realizations. I’m stuck. I’m tiring. My grip is failing. Falling would mean tumbling down a 500 foot slope of rocky protrusions and jagged stones. With no one around for miles, the gravity of the situation began to weigh on me.

Growing up I always felt a slave to my anxiety. My ambition and desires were forced to take a back seat to the same anxiety issues that affected my mother and siblings, the anxiety of making the wrong decision or appearing unintelligent in the eyes of others. When I was young, my anxiety lead me to believe that under no circumstances could I deal with being wrong. In an attempt to counter this growing feeling, I became very passionate about even the tiniest things in my life. This passion developed into self-righteousness. I loved displaying my intelligence to others but after a while I began realizing that it no longer was about me enjoying the use of my intelligence, it was now about me asserting my superior intelligence to those around me. Eventually I realized how much this mentality not only hurt those around me, but also made creating a happy and fulfilling life for myself impossible. From then on, I strove to be a more empathetic person, one who was more understanding and considerate of the situations of others around me. After doing so I became much less stressed and considerably more mature. Yet over time I realized that the empathetic version of me was not as sharp, not as quick, not as confident as the self-righteous one. It was at this point in my life that I decided one day while camping to go off on my own and do some free style rock climbing.

Ten minutes of nerve-wracking, complete immobility had passed and it was still impossible to work back down the way I had come. Try as I might I could find no other hand holds to progress to so that I might change my position. A torrent of panic rushed from the pit of my stomach to the forefront of my mind threatening to overwhelm my senses as I realized that I literally held my life in my hands. Hanging there from the rock face I suddenly felt a surprising sensation. The fiery passion that I had for so long been afraid to tap into was suddenly brimming with purpose, ready to guide me through this predicament. This new found confidence inspired me to attempt reaching a ledge with my foot that I previously hadn't even considered possible. I reached it. I was from there able to shimmy down further and then, make a short leap to the safety of the ground and return to camp.

Until only eight months ago I had no idea that I wanted to go to law school, in fact I had very little idea what profession I wanted for myself at all. I had no plans for graduate school and had been testing out various fields to see if they were right for me. As I took entry level classes in psychology, anthropology, computer science, geology and math in search of a career, I underperformed in each of them. It is not that I underperform in classes I don’t find interesting. It is that halfway through I would realize that a career path in that class’s field was definitely not for me and considering I had no plans to attend graduate school at the time, I did not put in the work required to more accurately reflect my abilities. Having been a passionate person my entire life I always hoped that that passion would find a muse in college but after At the time I never stopped to think that these mistakes would come back to hurt me in the future. I would hate for that immaturity to prevent me from contributing my talents to your student body.

While there are a number of reasons why I want to attend Law School, the main reason is my passion for intellectual property law. My interest in digital technology & culture introduced me to the field of intellectual property law and my additional passion for the field of political science inspired me to seek it out as a profession. Every time I opened a LSAT book and every time I researched the increasing probability of law school in my future I felt passion. I was excited to learn and looked forward to studying for the admissions test every single day. In a short period of time I went from having no aspirations for attending graduate school to scoring in the 90th percentile on the Law School Admissions test, all made possible by my committed study habits and natural passion for the type of thinking required by lawyers. Since discovering my passion for law I have come into my own both as a person and a student. My previous underperformance in regards to my gpa does not reflect the person I am nor the quality of work that I am capable of producing. The commitment and intelligence I can bring to the XXX classroom will make me a valuable addition to your student body. I look forward to beginning my legal career and hope it will be at XXX. Thank you for your consideration and I hope to see you in XXXCITY in the fall.

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papercut
Posts: 1445
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:48 pm

Re: Personal Statement Advice please! anything helps

Postby papercut » Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:03 am

I'll comment on a small bit of your first paragraph. You can generalize the advice to the rest.

As I reached out and grasped the fingertip sized outcrop of rock jutting encouragingly from the face of the boulder I clung to, the ground a mere fifteen feet below, I am all of a sudden dumbstruck by a feral string of realizations


That sentence is too long. There are too many adjectives, some of which make no sense. What is a "feral string of realizations?" Also you should spank yourself any time you use an adverb. How does a piece of rock stick out "encouragingly?" Also you're using the passive voice. You should be doing things. Things shouldn't be happening to you. Finally, is the ground 15 or 500 feet below? It's kind of confusing. How about this instead:

I grabbed the small bit of rock on the face of the boulder. The ground, 500 feet below me. Suddenly, I realized something: I was stuck and my grip was failing.


With no one around for miles, the gravity of the situation began to weigh on me.


You should just delete that line. It does nothing for your story. It's almost comic. The gravity was weighing on you?

Don't try to be fancy with your language or your metaphors. You're just making your life harder, and your writing worse.

Shorter is almost always better. Adjectives are just clutter. Don't use adverbs.

Good job on starting in the middle of the action though.

I didn't read the rest, but if do something dumb, like go rock climbing on your own, you should learn a lesson about asking for help in your story. Something other than, "I was fucking awesome that day. I lone-wolfed the shit out that boulder."

yafosho
Posts: 47
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:02 pm

Re: Personal Statement Advice please! anything helps

Postby yafosho » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:48 am

Thanks for the advice, Here is my revised version that I feel comes across a lot stronger.

I reached out and grasped the fingertip sized outcrop jutting from the face of the boulder I clung to and was dumbstruck by a string of thoughts. I’m stuck. I’m tiring. I’m going to fall. Falling would mean tumbling down a 500 foot slope of rocky protrusions and loose stones. There is no one for miles. These may be the last few minutes I have on this earth.

Growing up I always felt a slave to my anxiety. My ambition and desires were forced to take a back seat to the same anxiety that affected my mother and siblings, the anxiety of making the wrong decision or appearing unintelligent in the eyes of others. When I was young, my anxiety led me to believe that under no circumstances could I deal with being wrong. In an attempt to counter this feeling, I became very passionate about even the tiniest things in life. This passion developed into self-righteousness. I loved to display my intelligence to others, but eventually I realized I was no longer enjoying the simple use of my intelligence. I was projecting my intelligence to pummel those around me. This hurt those around me and it made creating a happy and fulfilling life for myself impossible. From the moment of this realization, I strove to be a more empathetic person, more understanding and considerate of the situations of others around me. In doing so, I became much less stressed and considerably more mature, but I was not as sharp, not as quick, not as confident as the self-righteously driven me. I was conflicted, and I decided to go off on my own to do some free style rock climbing.

Ten minutes of nerve-wracking, paralysis had passed. Try as I might, I could find no other viable hand or foot holds within reach. I realized that I now literally held my life in my hands, and as panic rushed from the pit of my stomach to the forefront of my mind. Yet hanging there from the rock face, utterly desperate, aid came to me from the most unexpected of places. It came from within. I discovered the fiery passion that I had been afraid to tap into, and it was suddenly brimming with purpose, ready to guide me through this crisis. A newfound confidence inspired me to reach toward a ledge with my foot, something that previously had seemed impossible. I reached it. Then I shimmied down further, made a short controlled leap, and I was safely on the ground below.

Until eight months ago I had no idea that I wanted to go to law school. In fact, I had very little idea what profession I wanted for myself. As I took entry level classes in psychology, anthropology, computer science, geology and math in search of a career, I underperformed in each of them. It’s not that I underperform in classes I don’t find interesting. It’s that halfway through each course I would realize that a career in that class’s field was definitely not for me. Because I had no plans to attend graduate school, I saw no reason to put in the work required to accurately reflect my abilities. I never considered that this immaturity and disillusionment would come back to hurt me now, at a time when I’ve finally identified my life’s pursuit. I would hate for that immaturity to prevent me from contributing to and benefiting from XXX Law School.

Today there are a number of reasons why I want to attend law school, but the main reason is my passion for intellectual property law. My combination of undergraduate degrees introduced me to the field of intellectual property law in my final year and it struck me like a revelation. Every time I opened an LSAT book, I felt passion. I was excited to learn, and I looked forward to studying for the admissions test every single day. In a short period, I went from having no aspirations for graduate school to scoring in the 90th percentile on the Law School Admissions Test thanks to my committed study habits and natural aptitude for the type of thinking and learning required by law. My previous underperformance as reflected in my GPA does not reflect the person I am or the quality of work I am capable of producing.

Eight months ago I was back on that rock face. Graduation after four and a half years of college was on the horizon, and yet I still had no idea what to do with my life. I once again was desperate for a lifeline. This time, however, rather than emerge from within, my salvation came from the discovery of my passion for law school. This passion drives my certainty that the commitment and intelligence I can bring to the XXX classroom will make me a valuable addition to your student body. I look forward to beginning my legal career and hope it will be at XXX. I appreciate your consideration and I hope to join you in XXXCITY in the fall.




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