Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

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Anonymous User
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Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:41 pm

Questions I have about this PS include:

- too "self-centered" or whiney about past?
- not specific enough about experiences during undergrad?
- too generic?

Any other thoughts welcome too! I know if any school looks beyond the numbers it is SLS, so please give me your best/worst :D

I entered the examination room wearing dark blue jeans and a grey blazer, a calculated balance between formal and casual. The comprehensive oral and written examination that I was about to sit for was created for a handful of hopefuls – there were eight of us in total – who didn’t hold a “Matura” that is required to enroll at a Swiss university. Although appearances shouldn’t have been the deciding factor, the investments and sacrifices I had made over the past months meant that nothing could be left to chance. On top of this, I was the only test-taker sitting without a preparatory course, making admission to the University of Zurich even more of a stretch. Still, my heart was set on higher education, and I had a strong feeling that fate would find sympathy with my wishes. A few weeks later, I received the telephone call that would change not only my future, but also the self-perception of my abilities.

The move to Switzerland at age eleven had hugely affected my progress at school. Not speaking a word of German, the transition required me to immerse myself in a foreign culture at a time where everyone was just trying to be accepted by their classmates. The fact that I had just been offered place at grammar school back in England made things all the more frustrating. My single mother was always there to emotionally support my sister and I, but she couldn’t make life during class and recess any more comprehensible or tolerable. Under the pressure of this enormous change, my motivation and grades suffered. Years passed and I became proficient in German to the point of being accent-free. Towards the end of my apprenticeship program, I developed a strong appreciation for my multicultural experience. I had shared the classroom with kids from all walks of life; the daughters and sons of both expats and Eastern European refugees. This afforded me an outlook on society that few of my peers possessed, and the realization that I could play this hand and potentially achieve great things led me to focus on my potential rather than the hurdles I had encountered until this point.

Upon entering university, I became particularly interested in how different cultures and classes resolved their differences on the domestic and international stage. This led me to a successful and rewarding career in the world of Model United Nations. I received many diplomatic awards for my ability to bridge gaps between parties that had difficulty finding common ground, discovering the common denominator in the debate and articulating a pragmatic and inclusive solution. Using these same skills, I was also able to make a real impact in student politics. As co-president of the students’ union in my sophomore year, I made it my goal to help current and potential students from all backgrounds to access and succeed in higher education, and enjoy the educational benefits that I had come to appreciate. Although challenging at times, it was ultimately an incredibly rewarding experience to negotiate with ideologically diverse actors both internal and external to the union and create positive-sum solutions to all kinds of issues.

The insights gained during my studies and extra-curricular experiences at the University of Zurich and the London School of Economics has brought me to the conclusion that the study of law is the next step. Although I cannot say exactly in what area I wish to practice in upon graduation, I would cherish the opportunity to address and resolve the same disagreements and misunderstandings between parties, only this time wielding the power of a top-notch legal education from my home country and state. During a trip to SLS last spring to get a feel for the school and sit in a class, I spoke with various students. What struck me the most was their diversity in every possible measure. During my time spent at LSE I have gained appreciation for just what such a well-rounded student body can provide; despite differing stories and paths, a mission to change the world in some shape or form unites everyone. Immersion in such an environment means you cannot help but be challenged and have your perspectives broadened even further.

It is with these insights and aspirations that I submit my application to Stanford Law School. By accepting me to your J.D. program, you would gain a driven student dedicated to the understanding and improvement of the legal system and society as a whole. I thank you for considering my application.

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34iplaw

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Re: Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby 34iplaw » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:27 pm

Questions I have about this PS include:

- too "self-centered" or whiney about past?

I don't think so... I think that part is good. TBH, my least favorite part is the stuff about while you are in undergrad.

- not specific enough about experiences during undergrad?

See above.

- too generic?

See above... I think the UG stuff comes across as generic and kind of boring...the stuff about when you are younger seems far more interesting and relevant to your development

TBH, I think you should focus on how that move shaped you and your lens. I find the model UN stuff to be quite boring.

I entered the examination room wearing dark blue jeans and a grey blazer, a calculated balance between formal and casual. The comprehensive oral and written examination that I was about to sit for was created for a handful of hopefuls – there were eight of us in total – who didn’t hold a “Matura” that is required to enroll at a Swiss university. Although appearances shouldn’t have been the deciding factor, the investments and sacrifices I had made over the past months meant that nothing could be left to chance. On top of this, I was the only test-taker sitting without a preparatory course, making admission to the University of Zurich even more of a stretch. Still, my heart was set on higher education, and I had a strong feeling that fate would find sympathy with my wishes. A few weeks later, I received the telephone call that would change not only my future, but also the self-perception of my abilities.

-I like this topic. There shouldn't be a comma in 'not only my future, but also the' I think. I would reword the appearances bit. I get what you mean, but the phrasing makes it sound like you were chosen because of your snazzy grey blazer. Saying that they shouldn't have been the deciding factor seems to imply that they were.

The move to Switzerland at age eleven had hugely affected my progress at school.

-I don't care for hugely.

Not speaking a word of German, the transition required me to immerse myself in a foreign culture at a time where everyone was just trying to be accepted by their classmates. The fact that I had just been offered place at grammar school back in England made things all the more frustrating. My single mother was always there to emotionally support my sister and I, but she couldn’t make life during class and recess any more comprehensible or tolerable.

-I like this.

Under the pressure of this enormous change, my motivation and grades suffered. Years passed and I became proficient in German to the point of being accent-free. Towards the end of my apprenticeship program, I developed a strong appreciation for my multicultural experience.

-TBH, I think this could be more interesting than the UN stuff.

I had shared the classroom with kids from all walks of life; the daughters and sons of both expats and Eastern European refugees. This afforded me an outlook on society that few of my peers possessed, and the realization that I could play this hand and potentially achieve great things led me to focus on my potential rather than the hurdles I had encountered until this point.

-I believe you should expound on what this refers to. i.e. This range of interactions. I also think the latter sentence is a bit clunky to read.

Upon entering university, I became particularly interested in how different cultures and classes resolved their differences on the domestic and international stage. This led me to a successful and rewarding career in the world of Model United Nations. I received many diplomatic awards for my ability to bridge gaps between parties that had difficulty finding common ground, discovering the common denominator in the debate and articulating a pragmatic and inclusive solution. Using these same skills, I was also able to make a real impact in student politics. As co-president of the students’ union in my sophomore year, I made it my goal to help current and potential students from all backgrounds to access and succeed in higher education, and enjoy the educational benefits that I had come to appreciate. Although challenging at times, it was ultimately an incredibly rewarding experience to negotiate with ideologically diverse actors both internal and external to the union and create positive-sum solutions to all kinds of issues.

-TBH, there's something about this paragraph I don't like (it could totally just be me so I'd get other opinions)... It's really hard to put my finger on. I found the stuff about your youth far more interesting and real. This has a sort of manufactured sense of being specifically tailored. It could be some word choice like 'career', 'many diplomatic rewards', and 'positive-sum solutions'...

The insights gained during my studies and extra-curricular experiences at the University of Zurich and the London School of Economics has brought me to the conclusion that the study of law is the next step. Although I cannot say exactly in what area I wish to practice in upon graduation, I would cherish the opportunity to address and resolve the same disagreements and misunderstandings between parties, only this time wielding the power of a top-notch legal education from my home country and state. During a trip to SLS last spring to get a feel for the school and sit in a class, I spoke with various students. What struck me the most was their diversity in every possible measure. During my time spent at LSE I have gained appreciation for just what such a well-rounded student body can provide; despite differing stories and paths, a mission to change the world in some shape or form unites everyone. Immersion in such an environment means you cannot help but be challenged and have your perspectives broadened even further.

It is with these insights and aspirations that I submit my application to Stanford Law School. By accepting me to your J.D. program, you would gain a driven student dedicated to the understanding and improvement of the legal system and society as a whole. I thank you for considering my application.

You shouldn't abbreviate LSE or SLS. You should always define an acronym before you use it... and it's weird to use an acronym when it is only used once. I feel like it wouldn't be as big of a deal since, obviously, SLS will know SLS, but it just is really odd IMO.

Monday

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Re: Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby Monday » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:53 pm

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Last edited by Monday on Wed May 10, 2017 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NavyNuke

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Re: Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby NavyNuke » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:01 pm

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Last edited by NavyNuke on Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ChodeAnalBead

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Re: Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby ChodeAnalBead » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Questions I have about this PS include:

- too "self-centered" or whiney about past?
- not specific enough about experiences during undergrad?
- too generic?

Any other thoughts welcome too! I know if any school looks beyond the numbers it is SLS, so please give me your best/worst :D

I entered the examination room wearing dark blue jeans and a grey blazer, a calculated balance between formal and casual. The comprehensive oral and written examination that I was about to sit for was created for a handful of hopefuls – there were eight of us in total – who didn’t hold a “Matura” that is required to enroll at a Swiss university. Although appearances shouldn’t have been the deciding factor, the investments and sacrifices I had made over the past months meant that nothing could be left to chance. On top of this, I was the only test-taker sitting without a preparatory course, making admission to the University of Zurich even more of a stretch. Still, my heart was set on higher education, and I had a strong feeling that fate would find sympathy with my wishes. A few weeks later, I received the telephone call that would change not only my future, but also the self-perception of my abilities.

The move to Switzerland at age eleven had hugely affected my progress at school. Not speaking a word of German, the transition required me to immerse myself in a foreign culture at a time where everyone was just trying to be accepted by their classmates. The fact that I had just been offered place at grammar school back in England made things all the more frustrating. My single mother was always there to emotionally support my sister and I, but she couldn’t make life during class and recess any more comprehensible or tolerable. Under the pressure of this enormous change, my motivation and grades suffered. Years passed and I became proficient in German to the point of being accent-free. Towards the end of my apprenticeship program, I developed a strong appreciation for my multicultural experience. I had shared the classroom with kids from all walks of life; the daughters and sons of both expats and Eastern European refugees. This afforded me an outlook on society that few of my peers possessed, and the realization that I could play this hand and potentially achieve great things led me to focus on my potential rather than the hurdles I had encountered until this point.

Upon entering university, I became particularly interested in how different cultures and classes resolved their differences on the domestic and international stage. This led me to a successful and rewarding career in the world of Model United Nations. I received many diplomatic awards for my ability to bridge gaps between parties that had difficulty finding common ground, discovering the common denominator in the debate and articulating a pragmatic and inclusive solution. Using these same skills, I was also able to make a real impact in student politics. As co-president of the students’ union in my sophomore year, I made it my goal to help current and potential students from all backgrounds to access and succeed in higher education, and enjoy the educational benefits that I had come to appreciate. Although challenging at times, it was ultimately an incredibly rewarding experience to negotiate with ideologically diverse actors both internal and external to the union and create positive-sum solutions to all kinds of issues.

The insights gained during my studies and extra-curricular experiences at the University of Zurich and the London School of Economics has brought me to the conclusion that the study of law is the next step. Although I cannot say exactly in what area I wish to practice in upon graduation, I would cherish the opportunity to address and resolve the same disagreements and misunderstandings between parties, only this time wielding the power of a top-notch legal education from my home country and state. During a trip to SLS last spring to get a feel for the school and sit in a class, I spoke with various students. What struck me the most was their diversity in every possible measure. During my time spent at LSE I have gained appreciation for just what such a well-rounded student body can provide; despite differing stories and paths, a mission to change the world in some shape or form unites everyone. Immersion in such an environment means you cannot help but be challenged and have your perspectives broadened even further.

It is with these insights and aspirations that I submit my application to Stanford Law School. By accepting me to your J.D. program, you would gain a driven student dedicated to the understanding and improvement of the legal system and society as a whole. I thank you for considering my application.


This is a bad personal statement.

Like one of the poster's above me, it doesn't have an SLS-specific vibe. More like that [insert law school here] vibe.
It's also not even written that well.
"A few weeks later, I received the telephone call that would change not only my future, but also the self-perception of my abilities."
The self-perception of your abilities? Wtf?
It's not compelling either. It is generic-- nothing about YOU stands out. Who cares if you encountered something diverse, with all those "sons and daughters"? What I'm saying is that your story might not actually be diverse relative to applying to law school-- 'diverse' is a good word to use when you grew up in Zimbabwe and all your relatives were heroin addicts.
Also the mention of not having a direction in law school, and riding the ambition of merely wanting to change the world-- this is not an attractive thing. It is sometimes rhetorically potent to acknowledge that you don't know what you want to do yet-- it can show that you are self aware (good self-perception, lol). But in this case it seems to detract, because you don't have a stellar story to begin with; you're merely moving from stage to stage in your life, from school to school to school, aimlessly.

Hopefully my saying this doesn't make you have a meltdown or some shit and you use it all constructively.

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Re: Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:28 am

Thanks for all the constructive criticism. There are definitely some valid points that need addressing..

It is hard to word a PS about life-changing point in your life, but I really believe that being pulled from your home country and put in a foreign school where a different language is spoken is something I can write about. I have some interesting stories from Model UN and student body presidency but I though that these would be too generic. It seems from your responses that the issue is communicating the story of my transition period stronger and connecting it to the rest of my application better. I will post an updated version soon.

zeglo

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Re: Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby zeglo » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:14 am

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Last edited by zeglo on Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:36 am

zeglo wrote:The opening sentence sounds cliche and cringe-y. I think the first sentence is important.

Also, this doesn't scream SLS specifically to me. Make it about them and why you're good for them, not just yourself.



Thanks. I am aware of this, but am unsure on how to make it engaging from the get-go without it being cheesey. With regards to SLS, there really is no other justification than that I like the campus, I love California (born there and lived there for a while), but will try to build on this better.

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34iplaw

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Re: Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby 34iplaw » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:
zeglo wrote:The opening sentence sounds cliche and cringe-y. I think the first sentence is important.

Also, this doesn't scream SLS specifically to me. Make it about them and why you're good for them, not just yourself.



Thanks. I am aware of this, but am unsure on how to make it engaging from the get-go without it being cheesey. With regards to SLS, there really is no other justification than that I like the campus, I love California (born there and lived there for a while), but will try to build on this better.


Find a better reason for why SLS then, IMO. I think the international stuff is interesting. The other stuff was eh though.

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KiltedKicker

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Re: Stanford-specific PS, any thoughts appreciated!

Postby KiltedKicker » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:19 am

The nice thing about personal statements is that you can keep trying until you get it right. The harsh critiques are accurate, keep trying.

This is too general and doesn't say anything about you. Tell a more specific story about a more specific subject or event. Show off your writing ability while telling Faye (know your audience) something about who you are and why the school should want you to be here. Stanford does care a lot about fit, and you should see your personal statement as more of a chance to show off who you are and what characteristics define you than it is a chance to brag about your resume. Use the PS to speak to something beyond your numbers and leadership positions.

I personally think with Stanford it's worth submitting two separate kinds of letters.
1.) A personal statement that speaks to who you are, talks about your character, and shows off writing ability.
2.) Something short that explains why Stanford in particular appeals to you. If the only reason you can give is that it's highly-ranked and you like California, do more research. Find some professors that appeal to you. Decide what types of law interest you, what goals you might have, and explain how Stanford can help you achieve those goals. Talk about specific pro bonos, clinics, or journals that you'd like to join. Mention a class you'd like to take. Most importantly, talk about the type of community it is and the people SLS attracts, and why you think that environment is the best fit for you.

Best of luck, at SLS or elsewhere



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