Personal statement!!! help!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Personal statement!!! help!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:05 am

which topic would be best for a personal statement?
Some background information: I'm a biology major- originally i planned on going into medicine or biotech (i did some internships in medicine and technology) and then decided i want to practice law. I took a gap year and i'm currently teaching at two private schools (biology, english lit, sat prep, and earth science)
Topics:
1. my experience as an educator and how this experience will translate into me being a good lawyer
2. How my thought process evolved from wanting to practice medicine to deciding i'd rather practice IP law
3. My experiences growing up with an autistic brother and how this has impacted me as an individual
I actually wrote personal statements on all of the above :)
The second one was evaluated by a graduate school prep company and they told me it was terrible (not passionate, not personal, not emotional, makes a case for me not practicing law etc.)
The first one I wasn't satisfied with myself.
The last one is perhaps the most personal but I'm having a difficult time connecting it with why i want to go to law school (because I don't think I want to practice disability law).
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Mr. Archer

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Re: Personal statement!!! help!

Postby Mr. Archer » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:21 am

It's hard to see how the first one plays out, but maybe there's something good there. The second one is a topic that's more common than you might think, plus you've already been told it's a bad PS. You would be best not using that topic. The third one would be unique/personal. You don't have to center the PS around why you want to go to law school. You can use the PS to show a character trait that will benefit you in law or to discuss an experience that's shaped who you are. You should try to connect the experience to law school/law practice ideally. You should try the third out.

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UVA2B

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Re: Personal statement!!! help!

Postby UVA2B » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:21 am

In short answer, you'll never know what the best topic for your PS is until you actually introspect and decide how you'll put your best foot forward.

There is no such thing as the "right" PS topic for any candidate. If you want the best topic, think about some important and difficult questions:

1) Where does LSAT/uGPA place you? This isn't meant to be dismissive, but this profile will likely mean more than anything you write in the rest of your profile, so treat it accordingly.

2) What does your resume tell about you? This will be the first opportunity to give your application a third dimension, and it still matters, despite the question above. Your resume will frame the way the rest of your application is understood and accepted/denied. How your resume looks will matter in how you properly frame your entire application.

3) Where should a PS fit in the rest of your profile? This is the exact opposite approach to your brainstorming idea of PS topics, but this is particularly important with PS topics. Keep in mind that you've ideally answered the first two questions appropriately. With that knowledge in hand, you'll need to craft a message that enhances the overall image you've created with the previous. I can't tell you what will properly tell an ADCOM about your strengths because I don't know you, but this step matters. You're clearly weighing this pretty heavily, taking in several opinions, but until you think hard about what profile you want to present to people and give it a shot, it'll fall on disinterested ears. Find something you have passion for/talk impressively about/consider important, and so long as it fits into the aforementioned narrative, you will be painting a picture worth painting.

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Re: Personal statement!!! help!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:54 am

UVA2B wrote:In short answer, you'll never know what the best topic for your PS is until you actually introspect and decide how you'll put your best foot forward.

There is no such thing as the "right" PS topic for any candidate. If you want the best topic, think about some important and difficult questions:

1) Where does LSAT/uGPA place you? This isn't meant to be dismissive, but this profile will likely mean more than anything you write in the rest of your profile, so treat it accordingly.

2) What does your resume tell about you? This will be the first opportunity to give your application a third dimension, and it still matters, despite the question above. Your resume will frame the way the rest of your application is understood and accepted/denied. How your resume looks will matter in how you properly frame your entire application.

3) Where should a PS fit in the rest of your profile? This is the exact opposite approach to your brainstorming idea of PS topics, but this is particularly important with PS topics. Keep in mind that you've ideally answered the first two questions appropriately. With that knowledge in hand, you'll need to craft a message that enhances the overall image you've created with the previous. I can't tell you what will properly tell an ADCOM about your strengths because I don't know you, but this step matters. You're clearly weighing this pretty heavily, taking in several opinions, but until you think hard about what profile you want to present to people and give it a shot, it'll fall on disinterested ears. Find something you have passion for/talk impressively about/consider important, and so long as it fits into the aforementioned narrative, you will be painting a picture worth painting.


My lsat/gpa is 164/3.76. My resume shows that I have experience in a wide range of fields- I would consider myself a multi-potentialite but the admissions committee might think I'm wishy-washy. I wanted to package these diverse experiences in a favorable way so I thought it would make sense to write about how these experiences have shaped my decision to practice law. However, I don't think my personal statement (as it stands now) really speaks to the audience on an emotional level. Do you think this is a problem? Also,you say that the personal statement should strengthen the overall message, but can the personal statement just shed light on another aspect of my character? In other words, if my resume and LOR show my academic strengths, can I write a personal statement that focuses on my character?
Thanks for all your help!

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Re: Personal statement!!! help!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:59 am

Mr. Archer wrote:It's hard to see how the first one plays out, but maybe there's something good there. The second one is a topic that's more common than you might think, plus you've already been told it's a bad PS. You would be best not using that topic. The third one would be unique/personal. You don't have to center the PS around why you want to go to law school. You can use the PS to show a character trait that will benefit you in law or to discuss an experience that's shaped who you are. You should try to connect the experience to law school/law practice ideally. You should try the third out.

Thanks for your help! I'm a little reluctant to talk about my brother b/c its
a. very personal and difficult to talk about
b. more importantly, I don't want to come across as an applicant who's just piggybacking on her brother's disability. I don't really have experience working with the disabled community and I don't want to admissions committee to see me as inauthentic.
Do you think that b. is a problem?

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Mr. Archer

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Re: Personal statement!!! help!

Postby Mr. Archer » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mr. Archer wrote: Do you think that b. is a problem?


I think b. can be a problem if the PS is written in a way that makes b. a problem. If the PS is about how your brother's disability affected you growing up and shaped your world view or helped make you who you are, with a tie-in to how this makes you a good candidate for law school or will help you succeed in law, then I don't think that's inauthentic. Your brother having a disability doesn't mean you have to practice disability law.

To answer the question you posed to the above poster, yes, your PS can be about another aspect of your character. You're not a one-dimensional person, so your application doesn't have to have a a narrow message. Your resume' will show your academic and professional background. Your personal statement can be about you as a person, because it's a personal statement.

Anonymous User
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Re: Personal statement!!! help!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:35 am

Thank you so much for your help! Hope to nail this in a few days.



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