Personal Statement First Draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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RobertGolddust
Posts: 370
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Personal Statement First Draft

Postby RobertGolddust » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:37 pm

That What Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Smarter
I can recall sitting in a classroom at Lackawanna community college listening to my Business Law professor lecture about the legal system and his personal experience navigating through it. The cadence and alacrity with which he spoke was magnetic, and I remember thinking to myself “I want to be like him.” That night I called my father and told him that I wanted to be an attorney. My Father, eager to encourage any type of ambition other than my youthful dreams to be a rock and roll star told me he thought that was an incredible goal. My friends on the other hand were more up front when I told them about my new dream: “you have no shot xxx; you are an idiot.”

I never listened to them though, and although I had doubts about my aptitude for the profession, I moved forward sola fide. I knew my path would be arduous because before this point academics were always neglected in exchange for rock music. However, like Bob Dylan I could tell the times were changing and I needed to start anew like Descartes. Feigning a pristine mind in my studies, I began with the classics like Plato and progressed to the study of the Romans, then the English, and finally the history and thought of my own beloved country, America. While paving my own intellectual bedrock, I looked at myself many times in the mirror and earnestly inquired if I was wasting my time. To be honest I thought I was.

However, unbeknownst to myself I was making improvements. The first to notice was my girlfriend who applauded my improved vocabulary and even claimed I was doing a smashing job of getting my point across. My Father was also an early supporter, charitably engaging me in debates about history and literature. At first our conversations comprised me as sole listener, he as sole lecturer. But during one of our discourses he argued that Socrates was a rabble rouser that undermined the virtue of Greek culture. I expressed disapprobation to his claim, countering with the opinion that Socrates watered the seeds of progress. His aim was only to improve the condition of the Greeks just like Christ’s aim was to improve the quality of humanity. The unpopular anomalies of history tend to balance excesses or deficiencies that develop in the unfathomable complex equation of existence.

The next day he called me on the phone and offered to send me to college if I was interested. That very same day I applied to the local university in town, The University of Scranton, to study English. I was overwhelmed at first because I wanted to be the top student in every class—but I was lacking the fundamentals the best students had. Luckily though, my teachers recognized my drive and eagerness to learn, and they were willing to spend extra time with me in order to help lay a solid foundation for reason. I’m forever thankful for those teachers who helped me realize my potential, who helped me charge towards my goals, who helped me believe in myself. Because of them I became a zealous disciple of education. The joy derived from knowledge and reason is more satisfying to me than stepping on stage with a guitar in my hands in front of 10,000 people.
In many of my classes I would receive a C/D on the first paper and then climb my way to the top and score an A by the end of the class. At the time I was livid that I was The University of Scranton's number one contender for the most improved award, but it was a boon in disguise. I now realize that I have something that can’t be taught, a tenacious personality and faith in progress. To me the words “that which does not kill me makes me stronger” is something more than philosophical poetry or a pop song. I truly believe in it, and as a result, I charge towards my goals with no fear.
After scoring in the 60th percentile on my first LSAT I was shattered and for the first time in a while I felt defeat crushing my spirit into inaction. But I believed in myself because good people took the time to invest in me, and I myself had covered too much ground to turn back. I let defeat ignite ambition, and I hit the books harder than I ever thought was possible. After making a 25% improvement on my score and leaping out of the fat part of the bell curve into the skinny part, I was with filled with assurance that hard work, struggle, and diligence pay off. If accepted into your Law School, I can promise you that I will continue on my current pace. I will bring the same passion and diligence to xxx that my teachers at the University of Scranton always encouraged; nothing can slow me down or scare me now that I’m convinced that the struggle is always worth it, win or lose.

graciegold
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Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:45 pm

Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby graciegold » Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:04 pm

I really loved this. Your story is super interesting, first of all, and you do a good job of maintaining a balance between your impressive confidence and honest humanity. I especially loved the bit about the most improved student award...gold. Also, I liked that you gave yourself credit for working hard and motivating yourself when other people maybe weren't so supportive (your friends?), but also were very grateful to professors and your father.
Minor notes - maybe don't capitalize father, and if you're looking to cut it down (I don't know what the word count is), you could probably take out the description of the argument about Socrates.
I hope this works out for you! It sounds like you very much deserve it.

dolphinsareevil
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:51 pm

Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby dolphinsareevil » Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:18 pm

I loved your PS. you do a good job getting your point across.

Two suggestions:
Don't start with a cliche. I'm sure the admissions staff has read that line hundreds of times. I would instead start with the Bob Dylan/Descartes line
Don't say that your friend called you an idiot. I'm not sure why, but that gives a wrong impression.

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RobertGolddust
Posts: 370
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:09 pm

Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby RobertGolddust » Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:31 pm

Don't start with a cliche. I'm sure the admissions staff has read that line hundreds of times. I would instead start with the Bob Dylan/Descartes line


Thanks for the suggestion, my Dad totally hated that line but I think he was just being a dick.

Don't say that your friend called you an idiot. I'm not sure why, but that gives a wrong impression.


That's the third time that's been suggested to me; So I'm taking it out.

Thanks for the feedback, feel free to send me your PS, dolphin.

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UOI4430
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Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby UOI4430 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:33 pm

Hey Golddust,

Just wanted to offer some thoughts on how to improve your PS. This is just my opinion so take it for what it's worth.

I think that you might be overdoing it with some of your word choice (trying to sound too academic). It comes across as disingenuous IMO, like you were just pulling words out a thesaurus. i.e. "The cadence and alacrity with which he spoke was magnetic..." or "Feigning a pristine mind in my studies..."

Perhaps the best English writing coach ever is Jacques Barzun. His advice, "write simple and direct." You don't need to try to impress the adcomms with your vocabulary and believe me this PS won't. Just write what you mean clearly and concisely.

Did your dad seriously suggest that Socrates was a "rabble rouser who undermined the virtue of Greek culture?" To which you responded that Socrates "watered the seeds of progress." This sounds like it came straight out of a philosophy 100 class. This won't win you any points with the adcomms.

"The unpopular anomalies of history tend to balance excesses or deficiencies that develop in the unfathomable complex equation of existence."
-- To be BRUTALLY honest, I think you added this to make you sound smart, but it's convoluted and totally irrelevant. This is an example of extremely poor writing. It must be cut from your PS.

The first several paragraphs are just poor. However, when you get into the part concerning your education, accomplishments, and LSAT your narrative is actually quite good. The problem is that you will have lost the adcomms by the time you get there. Focus on that portion of PS and shy away from verbosity.

You won a most improved award which as a previous poster said is "gold." Concentrate on how academics became the most important part of your life. Also, give the adcomms some idea as to why you want to be a lawyer other than having taken a business law class (trust me 10,000 other applicants wrote the same thing).

Other than that I think you have a strong PS concerning your drive to improve yourself. Sorry if I came across too harsh. Good luck with your applications!

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RobertGolddust
Posts: 370
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:09 pm

Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby RobertGolddust » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:10 pm

Hey Golddust,

Just wanted to offer some thoughts on how to improve your PS. This is just my opinion so take it for what it's worth.

I think that you might be overdoing it with some of your word choice (trying to sound too academic). It comes across as disingenuous IMO, like you were just pulling words out a thesaurus. i.e. "The cadence and alacrity with which he spoke was magnetic..." or "Feigning a pristine mind in my studies..."

Perhaps the best English writing coach ever is Jacques Barzun. His advice, "write simple and direct." You don't need to try to impress the adcomms with your vocabulary and believe me this PS won't. Just write what you mean clearly and concisely.

Did your dad seriously suggest that Socrates was a "rabble rouser who undermined the virtue of Greek culture?" To which you responded that Socrates "watered the seeds of progress." This sounds like it came straight out of a philosophy 100 class. This won't win you any points with the adcomms.

"The unpopular anomalies of history tend to balance excesses or deficiencies that develop in the unfathomable complex equation of existence."
-- To be BRUTALLY honest, I think you added this to make you sound smart, but it's convoluted and totally irrelevant. This is an example of extremely poor writing. It must be cut from your PS.

The first several paragraphs are just poor. However, when you get into the part concerning your education, accomplishments, and LSAT your narrative is actually quite good. The problem is that you will have lost the adcomms by the time you get there. Focus on that portion of PS and shy away from verbosity.

You won a most improved award which as a previous poster said is "gold." Concentrate on how academics became the most important part of your life. Also, give the adcomms some idea as to why you want to be a lawyer other than having taken a business law class (trust me 10,000 other applicants wrote the same thing).

Other than that I think you have a strong PS concerning your drive to improve yourself. Sorry if I came across too harsh. Good luck with your applications!



Thank you for the feedback. My dad said a few of the same things. I will definitely keep in mind every suggestion.

thisone2014
Posts: 106
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:03 pm

Re: Personal Statement First Draft

Postby thisone2014 » Tue Jan 27, 2015 10:29 am

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