Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Abc3956427253
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:01 am

Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

Postby Abc3956427253 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:13 am

.
Last edited by Abc3956427253 on Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ramius
Posts: 2005
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

Postby Ramius » Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:28 am

Abc3956427253 wrote:Hello everyone-

Any help you can give reviewing this PS is very much appreciated. I am hoping to apply Duke ED on Friday but feel like I am coming up short. Please know it lacks a conclusion.

My 'story' is that I graduated from undergrad in 2010. Have worked as a fundraiser and campaign manager for various political causes since then. Now I'm VP at a small political consulting firm but am tired of having to move to a new community every year to keep moving up in my career.

Please be honest in your comments.
------

“You know you really shouldn’t be doing this,” said the man in suspenders and a fedora who had approached me.

As a professional political activist, I had faced rabid anti-abortion protestors, fire and brimstone preachers opposed to gay rights, CEOs wanting special treatment, and, once, even a small, fully robed Ku Klux Klan delegation at a college football game. Defusing awkward conversations was a required career skill. Passing out campaign literature on the front porch of a juke joint in the Mississippi Delta, I stood ready to use those skills again “Oh? You think so?” I responded dully. “Well, are you registered to vote in the area?”

I was there to sell campaign buttons and bumper stickers for #####, a local attorney from an old Delta family running to be Governor of #####. I was not there to get career guidance from a rotund Swede whose native culture obviously had different mores on what was appropriate advice to give to someone you just met. A 24-year-old campaign Finance Director for one of the most competitive Democratic candidates for Governor in a decade, I had banked two million dollars for the campaign and saw a path to the three or four million more we needed. I was, in my opinion, clearly on the right path.

“Oh, I do not mean to offend,” he said. “But a man your age should not be in politics. Politics is so vicious. If you spend all of your time in the fight you lose perspective. A man like you should find a girl. Build a strong foundation. Learn what is really worth fighting for.”

The conviction that I already knew what was and was not worth fighting for had brought me to political work. The freedom to love and marry who you want. That was worth a fight. The chance to earn a wage and status in society on merit and not lineage. That was worth a fight. A struggle for barren land that would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. That, most certainly, was not.

My political consciousness formed in response to the US invasion of Iraq a few days after my sixteenth birthday. The war reached into my home when my mother got called to service. Her tenure as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve had previously been limited to one weekend a month and two weeks a year. Now she fed a vampire of a war by collecting, storing, and shipping to the front lines hundreds of gallons of blood for field hospitals. As a member of the Medical Corp she was far from danger. But I felt also that she was far from me. I turned to politics for the first time as I voiced my opposition to the war.

In college this new desire for political efficacy competed with my longstanding ambitions in science. During the days I studied chemistry and assisted with research in the Pharmacology Department. In the evenings I attended meetings, drafted policy proposals to lobby the administration, and organized trips to battleground states to get out the vote in close elections. I founded several campus organizations including the #### chapter of the ##### Institute of which today I now serve on the national board. I launched a chapter of Roots & Shoots and proposed and implemented recycling and bicycle sharing programs that continue to this day. And I planned the largest anti-war protest on campus since Vietnam, a milestone I hope never needs to be exceeded. The abstract end products of pure science had my respect. But the living people and communities impacted by the outcomes of activism garnered my passion. After a summer in DC as an intern, I committed fully to professional politics and switched my major and my career path.

The same energy that led me to graduate from college with 62 credit hours and one more Bachelor’s degree than necessary made me perfectly suited for campaign politics. I returned to DC with my first job and a desire to learn the skills needed to build a progressive movement in the South. Shuttling between the Chinatown consulting firm where I worked to the Democratic National Committee to sit daily with Rep. ##### “dialing for dollars”, I worked to raise almost $4 million for his re-election. Even a visit from President Obama could not turn the district. On Election Night we lost by 18,000 votes. Eager for the next fight, I returned to Mississippi to work for the ##### for Governor campaign.

From Mississippi I moved upward on the map and in my career as I joined a nationally watched Congressional campaign in #####. Both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List. As tension mounted the staff began cracking under the pressure. First the Finance Director left and then, a month later, the Campaign Manager. After a promotion, I was the only remaining senior leadership on the campaign. I discovered improper recordkeeping required us to reconcile eight months of bank statements or risk allegations of campaign finance fraud. We combed cabinets of check copies and deposit slips to trace every cent from receipt to expenditure before the campaign finance reporting deadline. Yet even short staffed we produced the strongest fundraising quarter in the history of the district. Exceeding that in the next quarter, we moved toward our eventual win.

Since then I have lived and worked in five states as I worked to organize for workers’ rights, elect a Mayor, raise over $8 million in donations, and have played a small part to help elect a President. As an aide to candidates and elected officials, one is seen as an insider. I have left events through the kitchen entrance to climb into black SUVs to avoid the press, and I have flown on so many private planes I am now only a few flight hours short of getting my Private Pilot’s License. But in the ways that count we are outsiders in the community. We sweep into town and take over, but we are not from there. I sign a three-, six-, or nine-month lease on an apartment I barely visit. There is the job, the election outcome, and then a week packing the office and moving to the next campaign. All of the time in the fight. Trying to not lose perspective.

Now, I understand what that man was telling me on the juke joint porch that day...CONCLUSION TO BE WRITTEN


Your voice is strong, which is an awesome place to start. You seem supremely convicted toward a singular purpose in your life. Even though I take issue with many of your personal stances toward things and the way you phrase them, I respect the way you approach them.

Political affiliations aside, you do need to refine this narrative. You are absolutely on the right track focusing on your development in your political party and how those experiences have made you grow. You don't lack conviction toward your cause; what you lack, however, is a strong indication of your personal growth. Professional growth is a great thing, but personal growth is much more difficult. How did those experiences raising millions of dollars and working on countless campaigns change the way you see the world, your experience, or your professional future? How did it make you a better person. I personally believe in any PS where the person improved on themselves throughout their PS, and I didn't particularly see that in yours. I'm not saying that's a required aspect to a PS, but it's always a good way to see an applicant when they showed growth, maturation, and development as a future professional.

Your statement is off to a great start, but keep refining and focusing on how the experiences you talk about made you a better person and how they shaped who you are. If I'm an ADCOM, I want to see who I'm admitting, and I'd rather admit someone who was bright, energetic, insightful, and self-aware over someone who showed their particular prowess and how they rocked the world they came from.

Abc3956427253
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:01 am

Re: Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

Postby Abc3956427253 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:03 am

Thank you for your comments. Are my political statements offensive to you as someone who may not necessarily agree with them?

I'm a movement progressive, but I don't want to be a jerk, in my essay or anywhere else.

LFCNY9
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:22 pm

Re: Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

Postby LFCNY9 » Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:29 pm

I think that this is a very strong statement, as you clearly come across as someone who is hardworking, goals-oriented, and with a solid reason for attending law school, which I am sure you will elaborate on further in your conclusion.

However, I would be careful including your political views. If you happen to have a right-leaning Adcom reading your PS, I think they could well be offended.

This is a great resource on this site for help with Personal Statements: http://www.top-law-schools.com/statement.html

If you go to Point 9 "Not To Dos", and then number 6, you will see that they tell you to avoid offering views on political doctrines and contentious issues (your comments on the war may be so defined).

I am in the process of completing my PS, and have not applied before, so I am certainly no expert and I am sure others could elaborate better on how serious or not this is. I imagine it would be tough to take a lot of that out, since your views on the war clearly helped shape your college and graduate career thus far, and this is the key part of your essay, but I just wanted to give you that warning.

As I said, you have a lot to work with and once you sharpen this up I am sure it will be a compelling statement.

User avatar
Ramius
Posts: 2005
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

Postby Ramius » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:01 am

Abc3956427253 wrote:Thank you for your comments. Are my political statements offensive to you as someone who may not necessarily agree with them?

I'm a movement progressive, but I don't want to be a jerk, in my essay or anywhere else.


Your political views are incongruous with mine, but despite my reservations about them, I respect them because you don't shove them in my face to the extent that you're right and anyone who thinks differently lacks basic reasoning skills. Basically, we fundamentally disagree on some pretty big issues, but I respect the fact that you disagree with me, and I expect that you disagree with mine. This negates any political affiliations.

Having politically charged statements like you wrote have the potential of backfiring, and you should be fully aware of that, but if you can find a way to make your statement more geared toward your conviction and work ethic and less toward your political beliefs, you'll find that illustrious sweet spot you're looking for.

User avatar
Emma.
Posts: 2401
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:57 pm

Re: Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

Postby Emma. » Wed Jan 07, 2015 12:37 pm

Agree with the others that this could be a strong PS, but it needs further work.

Abc3956427253
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2015 12:01 am

Re: Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

Postby Abc3956427253 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:27 pm

Thanks everyone. I will edit with these comments in mind. Good luck to you if you are applying this cycle.

User avatar
ballcaps
Posts: 527
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:20 pm

Re: Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

Postby ballcaps » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:34 pm

LFCNY9 wrote:I would be careful including your political views.

this.


lines like
Abc3956427253 wrote:I had faced rabid anti-abortion protestors

are way too brazen and make you sound biased/unreasonable.

i'm happy to read for style/syntax after you hone it a bit more. pm if you want.

03152016
Posts: 9189
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:14 am

Re: Please review PS. Hoping to apply Duke ED Friday

Postby 03152016 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:38 pm

yeah that line made me cringe a little
especially since it was in the same line as 'fully robed ku klux klan delegation' :lol:

but overall it's heading in the right direction op
use a scalpel on those edits, showing your passion is an asset




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.