Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Nashvillelaw21
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:23 pm

Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

Postby Nashvillelaw21 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:05 pm

I hate writing personal statements. HATE. I think I always end up sounding cheesy. This is my draft for my personal statement.

Right now it's tailored a little toward University of Colorado, but the skeleton will stay the same. I've been very involved in politics and I hope to focus in public interest/service law. I'm not trying to make a ton of money, just a good living where I can help people and make a difference. Hopefully that comes across. If you could let me know what to expand on or what to take out, that would be great. I'm already pretty self conscious about it, so please don't tear it to pieces.

I have an LSAT score of 160 and a GPA of 3.8. Please don't tell me to retake. I'm not trying to go to a Tier 1 school. And I'm not the greatest test taker (nerves). Also, please don't tell me how law school is harder than the LSAT. I get that. My point is that I'm not retaking it. I was over the moon with my score because it was higher than I'd gotten on most of my practice tests.

Anyway. Here it is:

I have always thought of myself as a passionate and determined person. Anything I do in life, I want to master it. While in high school, I wanted to make the varsity softball team. I wanted to make the honor choir. I wanted to get a part in the school musical. So, I did all of those things and more. But as I got older, my passions changed. I found myself fixated on politics.

In the midst of the historic 2008 presidential election, I went to college with my new passion. I found campaigns to be the most interesting aspect of politics because of the possibilities campaigns presented for the future. I was so interested in campaigns that I ended up creating my own major called Campaign Strategy and Communication. I also interned with several campaigns, the Democratic Party, and a political advertising firm. I even got a job at that advertising firm after I graduated.

The point of telling this story is to show how my passions have evolved into something deeper than wanting to be the best. I also want to make a difference. My passion for politics is about more than the debates, the strategy, and the overall excitement. It comes from a desire to cause change in the world and contribute to my community in a way that makes me proud to wake up in the morning.

This passion to make a difference is why I am seeking a law degree. I find myself wanting to be a voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. I want to help people get the justice they deserve and allow their stories to be heard. As the child of a social worker, I have witnessed the value of a voice among silence. While that voice does not always cause a wave of change, it usually causes a ripple. And even though that ripple may seem invisible to many, its reach is long and wide. To me, becoming a lawyer is one of the most tangible ways to become that voice and cause that ripple.

My aspirations boil down to three words: make a difference. With a nationally recognized public service law program, Colorado Law is a perfect fit for my aspirations. The Colorado Law application states, “We seek students who advance our core values of character, diversity, leadership and commitment to service.” I believe I am this type of student.

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

Re: Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

Postby thisone2014 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:15 pm

I think you have a nice, natural writing style that doesn't sound contrived, which is big asset. However, you spend most of the PS talking about why you're passionate about one career path-- campaign management-- in an app for a different path. I think you need to either explain this redirection in your interests, or explain why it's not a redirection at all. Just reconcile the two in some way.

Nashvillelaw21
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:23 pm

Re: Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

Postby Nashvillelaw21 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:27 pm

thisone2014 wrote:I think you have a nice, natural writing style that doesn't sound contrived, which is big asset. However, you spend most of the PS talking about why you're passionate about one career path-- campaign management-- in an app for a different path. I think you need to either explain this redirection in your interests, or explain why it's not a redirection at all. Just reconcile the two in some way.


Good point. I guess that's why I'm trying to show that my affinity for politics really came from a desire to do something that matters. I'm just having a hard time telling my story without making it too much about campaigns.

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

Re: Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

Postby thisone2014 » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:33 pm

Nashvillelaw21 wrote:
thisone2014 wrote:I think you have a nice, natural writing style that doesn't sound contrived, which is big asset. However, you spend most of the PS talking about why you're passionate about one career path-- campaign management-- in an app for a different path. I think you need to either explain this redirection in your interests, or explain why it's not a redirection at all. Just reconcile the two in some way.


Good point. I guess that's why I'm trying to show that my affinity for politics really came from a desire to do something that matters. I'm just having a hard time telling my story without making it too much about campaigns.


Maybe the way to do it would be to say "I want to do something impactful. I felt that I could do that through campaign management, which I found interesting because [reasons you liked campaign]. However, I eventually found that law offered even more-- the chance to make a change through [PI law/immigration law/etc] and [other reasons you're drawn to law].

would that work?

Nashvillelaw21
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:23 pm

Re: Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

Postby Nashvillelaw21 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:14 am

thisone2014 wrote:
Nashvillelaw21 wrote:
thisone2014 wrote:I think you have a nice, natural writing style that doesn't sound contrived, which is big asset. However, you spend most of the PS talking about why you're passionate about one career path-- campaign management-- in an app for a different path. I think you need to either explain this redirection in your interests, or explain why it's not a redirection at all. Just reconcile the two in some way.


Good point. I guess that's why I'm trying to show that my affinity for politics really came from a desire to do something that matters. I'm just having a hard time telling my story without making it too much about campaigns.


Maybe the way to do it would be to say "I want to do something impactful. I felt that I could do that through campaign management, which I found interesting because [reasons you liked campaign]. However, I eventually found that law offered even more-- the chance to make a change through [PI law/immigration law/etc] and [other reasons you're drawn to law].

would that work?


made some changes. thoughts?

I have always thought of myself as a passionate and determined person. Anything I do in life, I want to master it. While in high school, I wanted to make the varsity softball team. I wanted to make the honor choir. I wanted to get a part in the school musical. So, I did all of those things and more. But as I got older, my passions changed.

In the midst of the historic 2008 presidential election, I went to college with a new passion: politics. I wanted to make a real impact, so I decided to become involved in political campaigns. Campaigns presented possibilities for the future. One such campaign was the 2011 mayoral race in Nashville, TN. I worked as a field organizer for Mayor Karl Dean’s re-election campaign. I learned a lot while working on that campaign, but my biggest takeaway was the common denominator among the people that made up that campaign team: a law degree.

Starting from the staff, there was a young law school student on summer vacation. He has gone on to work as Counsel for Congressman Jim Cooper and is now the Chief Deputy Criminal Court Clerk of the Nashville area. Then, there was the campaign manager. She has since worked as a voter protection coordinator for President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and as the Director of the Nashville Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods. And of course, there was Mayor Dean himself. He was Nashville’s public defender for nine years and continues to create a great legacy as a mayor who fights for education, mass transit improvements, and health initiatives. All of these people wanted to make an impact. Each of them have done it in a slightly different way, but with the same foundation.

I know there are many ways to make an impact, but I have seen how a law degree can be a valuable tool in achieving that goal. The trick is to use the tool effectively. I want to use it to become a voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. I want to help people get the justice they deserve and allow their stories to be heard. That is why I have developed an interest in public service law. As the child of a social worker, I have witnessed the value of a voice among silence. While that voice does not always cause a wave of change, it usually causes a ripple. And even though that ripple may seem invisible to many, its reach is long and wide. To me, becoming a public service lawyer is one of the most tangible ways to become that voice and cause that ripple.

My passions continue to evolve, but they always boil down to three words: make a difference. With a nationally recognized public service law program, Colorado Law is a perfect fit for my aspirations. The Colorado Law application states, “We seek students who advance our core values of character, diversity, leadership and commitment to service.” I believe I am this type of student.

----------

I think I spend too much time talking about the campaign team members now, but I'm trying to prove the point that knowing these people has inspired me to study law and that each of them have taken slightly different paths, but all using a law degree.

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

Re: Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

Postby thisone2014 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:50 am

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Last edited by thisone2014 on Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nashvillelaw21
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:23 pm

Re: Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

Postby Nashvillelaw21 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:05 am

[quote="thisone2014"]I agree, I think I wouldn't linger so long on the other campaign members. I also think "everyone on the team just so happened to have a law degree, even though the positions didn't require law degrees" probably isn't a great reason to highlight that you want to go to law school.

If I were you, I'd take a step back for a few days and try to clarify your own personal narrative, rather than writing first and trying to make sense of the narrative later. I think you have bits and pieces here that definitely have potential.[/quote

hmmm. maybe. I've taken a few days, and can't take many more. haha. As I mentioned, I hate writing personal statements and I will write and rewrite for wayyy too long.

And personally, I don't think it's a bad reason. I've seen people who I admire use a law degree to make a difference. I want to emulate that. I've seen the path they've taken and I want to follow. I do need to cut some of the details out though. I'm just trying to put a turning point from campaigns to law or blur the line a little.

Thank you for your feedback though. It is very helpful :)



I know my reasons for wanting a law degree are probably somewhat different than the normal law applicant. I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing, but it can be difficult to articulate.

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

Re: Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

Postby thisone2014 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:07 am

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Last edited by thisone2014 on Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JamesRay
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:00 pm

Re: Personal Statement Feedback - Please don't be too harsh

Postby JamesRay » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:10 pm

Hey,

I think that in general your statement has a strong core. It tells me something about your passions and interests. I think the issues really are in the delivery. I think it could be developed more and that the writing could be more economical.

*deleted*

If not, here are my recommendations:
1. Look at every word you use and decide if that is the appropriate word and if there is a way to convey the same idea more directly or clearly
2. You tell me why law school, you tell me how you got into it. You tell me nothing else about yourself. Remember that this is an interview. The purpose of your PS is not, I repeat NOT to show why you want to be a lawyer. It is to convince an admissions board that you will be accretive to their incoming law school class. This means you need to tell me more about yourself yesterday and today; give me less of what you want to be and more of who you are.

*deleted*




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