Public interest essay generic statement

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SeanORaff33

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Public interest essay generic statement

Postby SeanORaff33 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:02 am

Below is my first draft of a generic public interest essay that I am planning on tailoring for USC, UCLA, BC, and BU. I feel it is very average, I would appreciate any help in improving it!

Despite only having a few years of work experience, I have already demonstrated my commitment to public service work. While attending Fairmont State University, I maintained heavy involvement in Student Government Association (SGA). My experience working in state government both piqued my interest in and prepared me for the challenges of a career in public interest law. Finally, As a Teach for America Corps Member and Special Education Teacher, I have served some of the most disenfranchised students in the country while being an advocate for social change. In the future, I hope to continue serving the public as a civil rights attorney and policy advocate.
My years in SGA were highlighted by my term as President and the accomplishments our organization made in serving the student body. Early in my term, I successfully stood up against the University’s Vice President for Fiscal Affairs on a proposal that would have forced all students to buy their textbooks at the campus bookstore, substantially increasing the cost for many students. In addition, we improved our school’s connection to the community through family activities like Halloween Trunk-or-Treat and through public service events like our Cleanup Main Street project. Lastly, when I became SGA President we only had about a dozen members, but after intense recruiting efforts we were able to increase our group to 40 members, improving our ability to represent the student body for years to come. While Student Government was my first foray into advocacy, it was just the beginning of my public service career. When I left Fairmont State I continued this career as a research fellow in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
The West Virginia Legislature only has a 60-day regular session, but I still managed to learn a lot during my tenure. I worked for the majority leadership and spent most of my time tracking bills, attending committee meetings, and researching issues of interest to the Speaker Pro Tempore, my assigned delegate. My position gave me nearly unlimited opportunity to meet lobbyists, other public servants like judges and senators, and other researchers. At the end of the legislative session I moved to the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts. I spent most of my time working on starting a Governor’s School for Entrepreneurship. I had worked with the Governor’s Honors Academy while in college, so getting to work on a similar project was a dream come true. I wish I could have had more time, but after about a month I left the Department after being accepted into Teach for America.
My time in TFA has been life changing. The challenges of teaching Special Education and working in a Title I school have been immense, but have led to the most rewarding moments of my life. I joined to be an agent of change and to bring educational equity to a group of students who desperately need it. This process has transformed me into an advocate for all of my students’ interests. While I am most concerned with their understanding of my lessons, reading levels, and academic progress, I am always thinking of my students’ futures. I am pursuing a JD so that I can continue to work for disenfranchised populations and for the benefit of our entire society.
Whether through non-profit or government, I hope to find meaningful work fighting for marginalized communities. I have always been drawn to organizations like the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, Human Rights Campaign, and similar groups fighting for social justice. Working to eliminate discrimination from our laws and from the lives of our neighbors is what motivates me. I know that I alone will not fix the criminal justice system or eradicate prejudice, but I can make a difference by being committed to improving the system and serving the public.
Through Student Government, working for the State of West Virginia, and Teach for America, I have dedicated my college and, albeit young, professional career to serving the public. I am excited and eager to study law so that I can continue to serve others and work for those who need justice. I know that the legal profession offers new and bigger challenges, but I am confident that my dedicated spirit and hard work ethic, along with a top-notch legal education, will make a significant difference in the lives of those I work for.

cavalier1138

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Re: Public interest essay generic statement

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:21 pm

I mean, it is pretty generic, and I'm not sure why you're writing it to begin with. Do these schools strike you as being heavily PI-focused? Do they ask you for a supplemental statement? What are you telling them that they can't get from reading your resume?

And though this is unrelated to your statement, you didn't list any schools that are likely to place you with the highly competitive civil rights organizations you listed. That level of PI work is extremely hard to break in to, and the schools you listed aren't known for sending people to those organizations.

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SeanORaff33

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Re: Public interest essay generic statement

Postby SeanORaff33 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 2:09 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:I mean, it is pretty generic, and I'm not sure why you're writing it to begin with. Do these schools strike you as being heavily PI-focused? Do they ask you for a supplemental statement? What are you telling them that they can't get from reading your resume?

And though this is unrelated to your statement, you didn't list any schools that are likely to place you with the highly competitive civil rights organizations you listed. That level of PI work is extremely hard to break in to, and the schools you listed aren't known for sending people to those organizations.



I am writing it because these schools offer full ride PI scholarships. None of them strike me as being solely or especially PI focused, but they are all good schools. Yes, they obviously ask for a supplemental statement for the scholarship. I need help making this more than just an expanded resume, that is why I posted this.

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SeanORaff33

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Re: Public interest essay generic statement

Postby SeanORaff33 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:12 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:I mean, it is pretty generic, and I'm not sure why you're writing it to begin with. Do these schools strike you as being heavily PI-focused? Do they ask you for a supplemental statement? What are you telling them that they can't get from reading your resume?

And though this is unrelated to your statement, you didn't list any schools that are likely to place you with the highly competitive civil rights organizations you listed. That level of PI work is extremely hard to break in to, and the schools you listed aren't known for sending people to those organizations.


@cavalier1138 would you recommend a complete rewrite? I am looking at it and trying to think of ways to expand on my experiences, not just list them, and I think I may need to do a total rewrite.

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Re: Public interest essay generic statement

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:15 pm

I think a total rewrite would be good. You want to focus on your personal connections to PI. More personal anecdotes that create a narrative of engagement and less restatement of your positions and responsibilities in organizations.

And I didn't say that you weren't applying to good schools. But you need to define "good school" for yourself. If "good school" means "school that makes me competitive for a job at the ACLU," then none of these schools qualify.

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Mr. Archer

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Re: Public interest essay generic statement

Postby Mr. Archer » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:21 pm

I would suggest cutting the part about SGA when you rewrite your PS. To me, it's stretching it to cite your SGA work as "public interest," even with the Cleanup Main Street project (not really sure what that means thought). I think the Teach for America and political work is a better angle. You describe your time in Teach for America as "life changing," so you could even just focus on that position (you can look at other Teach for America personal statements to see how others have treated it). Just try not to give a resume'.

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SeanORaff33

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Re: Public interest essay generic statement

Postby SeanORaff33 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:25 am

cavalier1138 wrote:I think a total rewrite would be good. You want to focus on your personal connections to PI. More personal anecdotes that create a narrative of engagement and less restatement of your positions and responsibilities in organizations.
.



I am going to take both of y'alls advice and do a full rewrite. I am going to cut the folksy SGA stuff that will be satisfied by my resume and stick just to my time in the legislature and TFA. Thanks so much for the feedback!

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lymenheimer

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Re: Public interest essay generic statement

Postby lymenheimer » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:39 am

Also, the more you say "I was involved in public service" or "public service" in general, the less I believed you actually care. Comes across like saying "I am so humble". Not that you can't define things as public service events, but you can also define them as service projects or even just projects. I think cutting out the SGA will help, but if this is for PI scholarships, I think they'll be able to make the connection without you saying it so frequently.

*I read it very critically, and I would assume PI scholly panels would use the same eye.

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SeanORaff33

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Re: Public interest essay generic statement

Postby SeanORaff33 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:47 pm

lymenheimer wrote:Also, the more you say "I was involved in public service" or "public service" in general, the less I believed you actually care. Comes across like saying "I am so humble". Not that you can't define things as public service events, but you can also define them as service projects or even just projects. I think cutting out the SGA will help, but if this is for PI scholarships, I think they'll be able to make the connection without you saying it so frequently.

*I read it very critically, and I would assume PI scholly panels would use the same eye.



I totally agree, thanks for the feedback!



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