(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:05 am


Postby PaniniMe » Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:25 pm

Eta: thanks for your feedback. I'll definitely keep working with it.
Last edited by PaniniMe on Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:32 pm

Re: PS feedback please

Postby khwaja » Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:56 pm

Hi. I hope I can help. I just have a few suggestions.

For the first time in my life I was not the smartest person in the room, I was not even close.

This comes off as arrogant and kind of embarrassing to read. I would strongly suggest deleting it.

Working construction is not a perfect parallel to learning about or practicing law

I would delete this. I understand the point you're trying to make - that you showed you are able to excel in unusual circumstances, and that you expect that to transfer to law school - and now that I read it again, I suspect you're being tongue-in-cheek with the "perfect parallel" part, but at first read, it just sounds odd, like you think there's some element of parallel.

Law school is the medium that will allow me to continue to compete and enjoy the one thing that I am most passionate about, learning about the law.

Here, you are saying, "I want to go to law school because I want to go to law school." I would delete or change this sentence.

I think you need to better illustrate the connection between working at the construction site and wanting to go to law school. Again, I believe I see the point you are trying to make - that you learned you can excel in unusual situations, which told you that you can excel in law school, and it was that confidence that allowed you to finally want to go to law school, which you already wanted to go to but couldn't bring yourself to actually do because you lacked confidence - but I think that the point doesn't really come across. It reads as more disjointed than I think you want.

Also, there are a few run-on sentences that you should take care of.

I hope this helps.

Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:43 pm

Re: PS feedback please

Postby doing_it_in_a_car » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:15 pm

First, no need to disparage yourself about the substance of your life. If there's anything that my first semester torts class taught me, it's that any specific case can be distinguished by zooming in far enough, by incorporating detail, and any case can seem the same as others by zooming out. From an abstract enough view, everyone's life is one big cliche. So accept that and embrace the details that make your story unique. Incidentally, specific detail is what makes a story compelling at all.

The biggest problem with this PS is that it's all over the place thematically. That's fine for an early draft, but you need to pick one theme and write a story around it. The TLS page on personal statements provides several good ideas of kinds of themes.

There are many hints of different big ideas: competitiveness, curiosity in the law, lacking confidence and proving to yourself your capabilities, work ethic, succeeding in unfamiliar territory. But there is too much going on, and they are sometimes undermined by other details. For example, the work ethic idea is undermined by your statement: "With his direction I evolved into a great tinner." You seem to attribute your success to the foreman.

You might have a promising narrative about growing up tomboy-ish (if in fact you did), from your discussion of your construction experience. This would be especially compelling if you are interested in law because you perceive issues in gender inequality and have strived to break stereotypes and succeed in a male's world.

The second big problem is that you tell too much and show too little. Because of that, your stated interest in the law comes off as infatuation. It is unconvincing to merely state that you have been interested in the law, that you have taken many law related classes, and that you are "passionate" about the law. Without showing further detail on what exactly you enjoy about the law classes you've taken, mentioning those classes is a waste of space since it's redundant with the content of your transcript. PS' that revolve around interest in the law can only work if they are supported by some compelling story. At the very least you must show greater detail as to what about the law interests you. Read some of the statements in this thread, you can immediately tell which ones are good based on the level of detail. viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4353

You write "My days were spent moving 20-foot PVC pipe, organizing material, and sweeping floors." - that could have been copied from your resume. How did the work make you feel? How did the heavy pipe feel on your shoulder? Did you grow callouses on your hands? What made you keep going when you felt tired and wanted to stop (in construction, soccer, school, wherever)?

As for other, more minor problems, the style is too casual at times. For example, do not use exclamation points. "I had all this excess..." is inappropriate. "I guess you could say" is inappropriate as well. You should also refine your tone to eliminate unnecessary details. "I chose to pour myself into my schoolwork, which consisted of six classes chosen by an advisor I had never even met." Do you really need to tell us the name of your jobsite, or is it enough to explain you worked on constructing a 12 story apartment complex?

If there's anything I hope you take from my rambling critique, it's that you should show and not tell. Avoid generic big-idea buzzwords and instead write about what you remember seeing, hearing, feeling. Luckily, your strongest memories, the ones you remember most vividly, may be the best sources of raw material for your PS. Good luck.

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