First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:30 pm

“Are you going to play college football”, my grandmother asked me as my family and I sat around the TV watching The Texas Longhorns play the Texas A&M Aggies on Thanksgiving day. I replied with the typical answer of young boys, a brazen and confident “Yes”. As I grew up, I even began to convince myself it was possible. My family constantly relayed to me the cliché, “you can do anything you set your mind to” and I had bought in on the concept. When it came time to play high school football I was good; I mean I was really good. I began to mull over my prospects of playing college football, when one day midseason I tore my ACL. This is an injury many athletes do not play after but I wouldn’t let it stop me instead I got a knee brace and finished out the season with a torn ACL. My junior year I finally received a letter, not just any ordinary letter, but “THE” letter. It was a letter of recruitment which I had always dreamed of. I frantically ripped it open only to realize I had failed. It was a letter from a football program at a small Division II school. “Not good enough”, I thought to myself.

The next week I began practicing harder, studying the game more intensely, and more importantly I had fully “set my mind to it” like my family always told me. My senior year came and went and I had my choice of division II schools, but when my high school coaches asked me where I wanted to play football I thought about that Thanksgiving day and replied, “UNIVERSITY”. They all laughed because it was the greatest football program in the state, but I knew I could do it. After all, I could do anything I set my mind to and with graduating seventh in my class, I knew I had the grades for UNIVERSITY. My freshman year of college I confidently tried out for The UNIVERSITY football team and made it. I had never been more excited or proud of myself, my family and friends rallied around me in complete support, I achieved it.

The joy of triumph quickly became sleepless sorrow. I was studying civil engineering and between my schoolwork and football practice it quickly proved to be too much. I tried to continue down this path of destruction not only because I loved football, or because I had dedicated my life to this point to it, but more importantly because I didn’t want to let my grandmother and family down. After weeks of anguish, I finally decided to quit, for the sake of my academic career. From this point on I desperately tried to find what it was that would not only inspire me but also drive me as football had. Realizing that engineering was only an interest not a livelihood I switched my major to biology. I had always been good at and enjoyed science. A semester later I applied for the position of, “legal assistant” at a law firm and received an offer. The rest, as they say, is history.

I truly believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. With a passion in your heart and an unwavering dedication driving you I believe the only thing that can stop you, is you. In my twenty-one years of life I have only had one passion that rivaled football, and it’s law. More specifically patent law. Upon finding this passion my life made sense, everything up to this point had been grooming me to become a successful patent lawyer. Obtaining the core curriculum of engineering, the bachelors of science and arts in biology, and a business certificate all laid a perfect academic foundation for the career path of a patent lawyer. The thing is, anyone can achieve these accolades. My true standout virtues are unteachable and untrainable; they are the qualities and skills that football instilled in me. These virtues give me a relentless drive for success and a “failure is not an option” attitude. I’m sure you will receive requests from people with better GPA’s, higher LSAT’s, and better overall applications, but I can assure I have “set my mind” on patent law and I will not allow anything to stop me from reaching my goal. I only hope that I will have the opportunity to do so with the support and teachings of “XXX” Law School.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

03282016
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Postby 03282016 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:34 pm

Last edited by 03282016 on Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:46 pm

Wahrheit wrote:I would find some other way to start this just to avoid that atrocious punctuation combination at the beginning.

Also edit for form and pacing, and change generalizations to specific attributions of your own talent as much as possible. Figure out what you want your "so what" to be and bring it home.

Can you elaborate on what you mean? I want your honest opinion on this P. o? S. does it appear to be conveying to adcom's the message an applicant would want to convey? Is it an interesting read?
Sorry, I've been writing all day for work and my brain is fried so I'm really in the dark on how good/bad this PS is.

03282016
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Postby 03282016 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:49 pm

Last edited by 03282016 on Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:54 pm

Wahrheit wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Wahrheit wrote:I would find some other way to start this just to avoid that atrocious punctuation combination at the beginning.

Also edit for form and pacing, and change generalizations to specific attributions of your own talent as much as possible. Figure out what you want your "so what" to be and bring it home.

can you elaborate on what you mean? I want your honest opinion on this PS does it appear to be conveying to adcom's the message a applicant wants to convey? Is it even an interesting read?
Sorry I've been writing all day for work and my brain is fried so Im really in the dark on how good/bad this PS.


It does not stand out to me as anything particularly unique or interesting about you compared to other applicants, and the connection between football and law does not appear to be strong to me.

I also think you use quotes around phrases that don't need them, and I don't know how important the specific quotes are to the narrative. The narrative is what matters.


Can you think of a way to tailor this PS to stand out. I think football was a huge success in my life and it taught me a lot about whats required to be successful. Should I maybe cut the school stuff out and build a better connection between the attributes obtained by football and how they will help me in law school, or cut football out and discuss how my undergrad laid the groundwork for patent law?

03282016
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Postby 03282016 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:56 pm

Last edited by 03282016 on Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:00 pm

Wahrheit wrote:Pick what you feel is most important to you and rewrite from scratch. Think about what really matters to you and how to tell that story. Try telling it verbally before writing it.

Thanks for your help!

03282016
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Postby 03282016 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:01 pm

Last edited by 03282016 on Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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WhiskeyAndCupcakes
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Re: First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:08 pm

.
Last edited by WhiskeyAndCupcakes on Fri May 29, 2015 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:18 pm

WhiskeyAndCupcakes wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: As I grew up, I even began to convince myself it was possible. My family constantly relayed to me the cliché, “you can do anything you set your mind to” and I had bought in on the concept.

The next week I began practicing harder, studying the game more intensely, and more importantly I had fully “set my mind to it” like my family always told me.

After all, I could do anything I set my mind to.

I truly believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. With a passion in your heart and an unwavering dedication driving you I believe the only thing that can stop you, is you. ///

In my twenty-one years of life I have only had one passion that rivaled football, and it’s law. More specifically patent law. Upon finding this passion my life made sense, everything up to this point had been grooming me to become a successful patent lawyer. Obtaining the core curriculum of engineering, the bachelors of science and arts in biology, and a business certificate all laid a perfect academic foundation for the career path of a patent lawyer. The thing is, anyone can achieve these accolades. My true standout virtues are unteachable and untrainable; they are the qualities and skills that football instilled in me. These virtues give me a relentless drive for success and a “failure is not an option” attitude. I’m sure you will receive requests from people with better GPA’s, higher LSAT’s, and better overall applications, but I can assure I have “set my mind” on patent law and I will not allow anything to stop me from reaching my goal. I only hope that I will have the opportunity to do so with the support and teachings of “XXX” Law School.


Talking about your involvement in sports is a fine topic. Your decision to quit football for academics can also be done well. So topically, I think you are fine, but it needs some editing.

The most consistent theme is "I believe people can do what they set their minds to" (I edited above to pull just these statements out). I would say that a great personal statement ABSOLUTELY can demonstrate this type of tenacity, but this cliche shouldn't need to be used (especially multiple times). In that sense, the writing feels a little idealistic/ applying to undergrad to me. I would find a way to demonstrate work ethic, stick-to-it-iveness, etc without using that phrase.

Agreed with the person above that the football + law connection feels forced. And I think saying that "everything up to this point had been grooming me to become a successful patent lawyer" is a VERY grandiose statement. I have a special aversion to overstating things (that other people may not share), but I'd be careful with phrases like this.

I also don't think that your personal statement needs to be a place where you compare yourself to others (e.g. "I’m sure you will receive requests from people with better GPA’s, higher LSAT’s, and better overall applications, but I can assure I have “set my mind” on patent law and I will not allow anything to stop me from reaching my goal") -- the people reading your statement understand that you think you will be a successful law student (otherwise you wouldn't apply), so I wouldn't use precious space for these types of comparisons


WOW thank you. I couldn't place my finger on it but I think your critiques hit the nail on the head. The both of you have said that the connection between football and law feels forced. I am fairly certain football is what I will write best about, so do you have any ideas for a higher quality connection between the two of them?

03282016
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Postby 03282016 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:26 pm

Last edited by 03282016 on Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:28 pm

Wahrheit wrote:I didn't even mention law in my PS, just qualities that make a good lawyer / law student.

I was just going to ask if it even had to really connect with law. Great timing

Anonymous User
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Re: First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:32 pm

Wahrheit wrote:I didn't even mention law in my PS, just qualities that make a good lawyer / law student.

I was just going to ask if it even had to really connect with law. Great timing

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WhiskeyAndCupcakes
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Re: First attempt at my PS, give your constructive criticism

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:35 pm

.




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