personal statement critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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personal statement critique

Postby inmybeginning » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:22 pm

This is my first draft of my personal statement. TBH, I'm still on the fence about the topic. Any thoughts and feedback would be great. Thank you!


Looking back, I had a somewhat peculiar childhood, although I would never have characterized it as such at the time. I was raised in a lower to middle class nuclear family in the Bay Area. My parents were deeply religious, strongly conservative, yet also highly educated (both my parents have doctorate degrees). They carefully constructed the world we were exposed to so that we would not encounter what they perceived as “sinful.” We were homeschooled. We watched very little television. We were taught Creationism.

All signs pointed to a highly sheltered childhood leading to the perpetuation of the same dogmatic ideas into adulthood - but for one thing. They encouraged us kids to read - read as much and as far and as wide as you could. I took this message to heart. From Canterbury Tales and Dr. Faustus to Moby Dick and Ben Hur, I had devoured many of the books in the Western canon by the time I graduated high school. Some girls keep lists of boys they like, but I kept book lists - reading anywhere from 15 to 20 thousand pages per year. And through books I came to know the world I could not see; from the haunting depths of depraved passion (Moby Dick) to the exalted, other-worldly sacrifice of Sydney Carton, I found the world - and it spurred questioning and discontent.

No matter how hard I tried, I found it so difficult to “fit” into the world of Church and Conservatism. I found that, much of the time when I spoke, my ideas were dismissed (because I was a woman, or I was too young) or ridiculed. So I stopped talking, except to a trusted few, and developed the art of asking good questions.

And so I went off to college. Although I attended a conservative Christian college, I was hopeful because I was also attending [program], a “Great Books” program with a Christian flair where I dreamed that others would have the same passion I did for learning and knowledge. And I did meet many people who enjoyed art museums and reading nearly as much as I did.

But there was still a disconnect. The ideas I encountered in the works of Augustine and Calvin were at odds with the foundational, seemingly immovable principles of the Churches I used to attend. Ideas began to change. Reading The Peloponnesian War taught me the lesson that history is influenced by the victor and inherently subjective. Reading early Church fathers placed traditional doctrine into the continuum of history, which changes and morphs with the people and the times.

It was a difficult time for me - the beliefs I had once held to be unshakeable had become shifting sand under my feet. Gradually, however, the dust settled - but with an important lesson learned: always question, always learn.

Once I graduated from college, I began an entirely different type of learning, that of the workplace. Although I had worked all through high school and college, often working more than one job at a time, most of my experience came by working with very small groups of people and not the larger atmosphere of GOALS, my first “real” job out of college.

The procedural part of my job was always easy for me, but the part of my job that required teamwork and eventually management of my coworkers does not come as naturally. It’s funny to think that books would still help me even in this, but they have. Good novels explore the nuance and subtlety of human motivation and desire; such understanding has helped me understand, empathise, and eventually guide my coworkers. I continue to learn every day what can make me better at my job, and I hope I never stop learning.
Last edited by inmybeginning on Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: personal statement critique

Postby zerato5 » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:40 pm

This is just my opinion but when you say "that of the workplace" it sounds awkward. Also I would use "strong conservatives" instead of "strongly conservative."

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Re: personal statement critique

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:31 pm

Brief thoughts (feel free to discredit everything I'm saying if you feel it doesn't apply):
IMO you contradict yourself when you say that all of your long-held beliefs crumbled underneath you - the feel I got from the whole essay was that you had always questioned the dogma you were raised in.

I don't have any idea after reading this why you would want to go to law school (a professional school) rather than pursue a PhD or some other academic/research field.

How does any of this make you unique to schools you are applying to? What exactly do you have to offer to them that no one else does? I hear you saying you disagree with the conservative way you were raised, and that you like to read - however, I get the feel that those views are probably in the majority among top schools (i.e. being progressive/liberal/not-conservative, and reading is a requirement for law school).

I also didn't really get any idea of who you are other than that I would assume you are shy/introverted (no idea if that's accurate or not, just the impression I walked away with). Is that in line with the image you are trying to give to adcomms? (Totally cool if that is)

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