Thoughts on my statement?

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

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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:10 pm

Thoughts on my statement?

Postby Sophia_Mills » Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:25 pm

I'm new to this forum, so hey everyone! I have a draft of my PS and am going to have professors look at it as well, but I'm trying to get as many comments as possible. My main big-picture concern is whether it's a coherent story or whether it jumps around too much. The advice I've seen is to be genuine and I feel good about that, but want to make sure it's organized (it's just over 2 pages doubled-spaced). Thanks! :D


I was raised the daughter of a responsible, hard-working, immigrant mother who brought me to tears over any grade lower than an “A,” and an eccentric American father whose motto is “live off of others’ success for as long as you can.” Needless to say, I had a contradictory, but never boring upbringing. One thing my parents agreed upon, though, was the importance of civic knowledge. In 2008, I first adopted politics as a passion of my own when I became inspired by then-Freshman Senator, Barack Obama. As he stood on the steps of the Illinois State Capitol announcing a historic candidacy, I first reflected on the barriers that still exist in America. Along with the hope that accompanied the possibility of electing our first African American president came the harsh realization that many Americans were not afforded the same security and opportunities I often took for granted. People were discriminated against based on race and sexual orientation, marginalized because of their immigrant status, and counted out because of their economic class. Like so many other young people, I was compelled by President Obama’s call to progress and I vowed to seek a career path that would enable me to better our system. I believe that law is that path.

As a reserved, awkward kid, becoming a leader and an advocate sometimes seemed more of a whimsical dream than an achievable reality. But when I began my political science classes at Marshall, I immediately felt at home, and my success in the classroom gave me the initial confidence to pursue leadership opportunities, beginning with my work for Congressman Nick Rahall’s re-election in 2014. “Rahall” was a household name throughout my home state of West Virginia, so I knew that breaking my fears and working on his campaign would be an invaluable chance to connect with my community. The first day of training, our field director displayed a picture of President Obama walking the streets of Chicago with a clipboard in hand and reinforced that we, too, were becoming community organizers. The idea of even vaguely following in the footsteps of a man I so admired was exciting, but even more importantly, I recognized that even a young college student could exert influence. Devotion to a higher cause allowed me to cast aside my insecurities and gain strength.

Over the coming months, I spoke to people in trailers in the mountains, public housing in the city, and mansions in the suburbs, and through it all, I saw a fundamental human decency that solidified my commitment to public service. I learned that even when we fervently disagree, people are generally good. One especially notable experience was being sent to Marcum Terrace, a neighborhood of low-income apartments that has been pinned with a harsh local reputation and even received national attention in a CNN story about the heroin epidemic. I braced myself for the worst, but experienced just the opposite: I walked through the apartments greeted with “hello’s,” people asking if I needed help finding addresses, and friendly couples inviting me inside. Children were coming home from school and seniors watched them from behind the doors. People were excited that I cared about their voice and their vote, their faces lighting up as I checked for their names on my clipboard. Time and time again, similar experiences made me confront my own unwitting stereotypes and taught me countless lessons in open-mindedness and kindness. Most of all, I learned that public service, at its best, depends on a belief in others, including the stigmatized and disenfranchised.

In addition to my extracurricular motivations for pursuing law, I believe that my academic enthusiasm for the subject would contribute to my success in the field. Though cognizant that my undergraduate studies do not come close to the rigor of law school, I have appreciated opportunities to learn about law at Marshall. In my sophomore year, I was honored to win our Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy’s Dan O’Hanlon Essay competition, a Constitution Week tradition where applicants were asked to evaluate the constitutionality of the NSA’s metadata collection program. This challenging experience motivated me to take a constitutional law class, where I learned to think critically about judicial decision-making and to see beyond the partisan and ideological divides that often color the way we view the courts. At the same time, recent action by our Supreme Court—on topics ranging from abortion, same-sex marriage, and voting rights—highlight how much power the judiciary has to define our liberties with the sweep of a pen. The scope of our civil rights and liberties is now distinctly uncertain with an untraditional President appointing at least one new Justice in the next four years. Therefore, I believe now is an especially vital time to gain mastery of the legal system.

Scrolling down my Facebook wall full of cat videos and cake recipes, I recently stumbled into the worthy story of Journalist Connie Schultz’ first date with her husband, Senator Sherrod Brown. At dinner, Senator Brown wooed his future wife with his favorite quote by George Bernard Shaw. It read, in part, “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” This statement especially resonated with me, as it simply articulated what I have felt for the past few years. Throughout my time at Marshall, I have pushed myself both academically and personally because I excitedly embrace that my life belongs to the community—that I have benefited from support and privilege and now have the chance to serve others. That is the belief that steers me to enter law, and I would be honored to bring a spirit of service to [law school name].

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