Personal Statement Help!!! First Timer!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Personal Statement Help!!! First Timer!!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:55 pm

Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:03 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Personal Statement Help!!! First Timer!!

Postby papercut » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:37 pm

You are way off track. You're trying to do "fancy" writing, instead of writing the way you would speak. The thing that sticks out the most is that you're an adjective abuser. Adjectives should be used sparingly. You don't use one if it is obvious from the noun or verb. You also don't want to use them at all because it encourages you to tell rather than show.

As the frigid cold seeped into the hidden cracks of the windowpane,

"Frigid cold" sounds awful because cold is frigid. It's like saying "the cold cold."

I gazed toward the luminescent moon

No one "gazes" these days, unless they're trying to sound stuffy. Are you a Victorian gentleman or something? Why are you using such a god awful long and ugly word like "luminescent." Why not just say "bright moon?" Why not just "moon?"

The cascaded shadows of the motionless oak trees created an ominous presence, which magnified as the single candle that illuminated the room began to subside.

To cascade means, "to pour downward rapidly and in large quantities." So how can the shadows pour down rapidly when the trees aren't moving? You're either just jamming in useless adjectives or you're trying to be too poetic. Either way you're not in good shape.

I can't make myself read more.

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Re: Personal Statement Help!!! First Timer!!

Postby ellayo » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:55 pm

An overhaul is needed. I agree a lot with the above. I don't think that your style needs to switch to completely conversational, but here you are beyond stiff. It sounds like you are trying to write what you think a good writer would say. The end impact is that you mask your true voice. I think it's nice to add little, personalize flourishes here and there (think once or twice over the course of a two page paper). But if you are weighing down every sentence with five adjectives it starts to sound inauthentic. Here, it makes this story that is meant to be touching seem like satire. As in I literally stopped after your third sentence to skim the rest because I thought you might be a troll. That is not the impression you want to give off.

Beyond that, you have some major grammar issues that it's not really worth it to dive into here. Rewrite, repost. Or pm me. I would be willing to go over some grammar with you, but not while your edits need to be so major.

Here is my advice content-wise: you have a truly compelling story to tell. The problem is that you focus the majority of your PS stating many examples of your childhood tribulations and leave hardly any room for demonstrating how you grew from your experiences. Spend 1-2 paragraphs tops talking about your childhood (OR, you could write a diversity statement about your childhood and focus your PS on something else). To trim it down, think of one anecdote that demonstrates all of the stuff you are trying to tell us. Don't spend an entire paragraph waxing poetic about a hug you gave your mom. After your paragraph (maybe two) about your childhood, you need to dive into something more recent. You talk a lot about how the experience instilled empathy in you. Maybe you can describe how that has manifested in your adult life?

Avoid cliches. Don't state that you are going to be the change. Don't do it. Best of luck.

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Re: Personal Statement Help!!! First Timer!!

Postby dnptan » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:25 pm

I agree with both posters: it needs an overhaul but you do have a great story to tell. Drama is good (I'm dramatic myself) and a mastery of vocabulary is good. However to truly be effective, you need to use the right word at the right place. The words you are using are very dense, and when something dense happens content-wise, it gets overlooked. Use those words to hone in on points of interest, instead of being scattered every which way.

Also, your tone is inconsistent. The pacing needs work as you shift from intense "play by play" to broad "narrative" in the span of one paragraph.

Lastly, show don't tell. "Excelling both academically and athletically" may be true, but it's unjustified. Instead you could say that becoming team captain of X while simultaneously graduating valedictorian was something you knew would make your mom proud. Just an example, of course.

Best of luck! Hope this helps.

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