Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
tyler.owen92

New
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:34 pm

Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

Postby tyler.owen92 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:43 pm

Personal Statement
I was three years old when my father handed me my first golf club. I stood barefooted in the front yard, doing my best to stretch infant hands around the worn rubber grip. It was a moment that seemed innocuous enough at the time, but one that ultimately shaped the course of my life—beyond just determining the clothes I wore or what I hoped Santa Claus would leave under the tree.

Every summer growing up, the country club for which my father was the Grounds Superintendent hosted the [XYZ] Open, a stop on the PGA Tour for 51 years. I was mesmerized watching the seemingly divine talents of the game’s greatest professionals. Even the less-well-known players were impressive: their techniques efficient, their strategies infallible, their successes rooted in a steely drive for excellence. I became a regular caddy at the club, often waking up early to hitch a ride with my father. I learned from him the subtleties not only of the course he maintained, but especially of the game itself: why the cup was placed in a certain portion of the green; the nuances of how wind, temperature, and humidity affect the golf ball’s spin and flight; even how different species of turf impact the behavior of a ball as it rolls across the green.

My time spent as a caddy helped to foster my desire to become a competitive golfer. Around the age of ten, I modified a golf ‘pull cart’ so that I could tow my clubs behind my bicycle. Thereafter liberated to make it to the local public course even if my parents were unable, I played nearly every day of the week. I distinctly recall a particular moment in which our neighbor (who was also an avid golfer), taken aback by what must have seemed a peculiar sight, commented that I had “caught the bug.” It was then that golf taught me its most valuable lesson: what it means to have passion. I realized that the countless hours I had spent immersed in the game were all in pursuit of my life’s first passion.

I fell in love with every aspect of the game, especially its quirks. To be great at golf requires both the artist’s imagination and the engineer’s exacting precision. It’s a game governed by a lengthy code of hard-and-fast rules, but lacks umpires or referees. A great golfer continually pursues nothing short of perfection, but also quietly accepts her most recent failure. My love for all aspects of this game drove me to want to compete at the highest levels; I prepared incessantly to gain an edge on my competition.

Despite my best efforts, I was a relatively unremarkable competitor throughout high school. I won a few tournaments and set some personal records, but fell short of the success I desired. That said, my performance was good enough to warrant a golf scholarship, which led me to the college I attended. Competing at an entirely new level, my performance as a collegiate rookie was even less impressive than it was in high school. I seriously considered giving up golf altogether and transferring to another university; after all, I chose [COLLEGE] University over the other colleges to which I had been admitted in large part to satisfy my drive to compete.

I didn’t transfer though; I kept playing in pursuit of that elusive passion. One can learn the value of perseverance in a multitude of ways, but I learned it from golf. Had I chosen to abandon golf, I likely would not have learned certain lessons that have been fundamental in determining the course of my life. Namely, that the concerted pursuit of a passion inevitably results in unforeseen benefits. I didn’t necessarily remain at [COLLEGE] to grow in my faith, but that was one immensely beneficial result of my decision to stay and play golf. I certainly didn’t remain at [COLLEGE] to learn lessons in humility, but those too will pay lifelong dividends. This game has shaped my life for the better—and all because, at every crossroad I encountered at which I could have forged a new path, I instead decided to follow my passion for competitive golf.

Ultimately, this is what drives me to pursue a career in law: passion.

Even from a fairly early age, I felt destined for law school. My long-held interests in politics, and an insistent longing to influence public discourse and policy, made a quality legal education seem like the next logical step after college. Now, that is not to say I haven’t had my doubts; throughout my undergraduate years and beyond, I began to question my attraction to law school. Similar to my golfing career, I struggled through feelings of doubt, inadequacy, and most importantly, whether I would even enjoy a legal career.

But my time since college has ultimately solidified my desire to pursue law school. My professional experiences have helped affirm my passion for public policy. I’ve learned the challenges that come with navigating the complex issues of higher education and with tactfully refuting opposing rhetoric. Most importantly, these past two-and-a-half years have provided the opportunity to take an entirely introspective outlook, enabling me to become fully aware of my career interests. I’ve realized that while golf was my life’s first passion, my passion for influencing politics and public policy transcends mere leisure. Indeed, I am now able to fully commit myself to this passion, and establish a career trajectory to last the rest of my life.

After law school, I hope to return to (or remain in) my home state of Michigan—ideally, to attain a public policy or legal advisory role in Lansing. I feel a genuine sense of indebtedness to the state in which I was raised; I have a duty to return and help make Michigan an even better place than it was for me growing up. A degree from the University of Michigan Law School will no doubt provide the foundation I need to build a lasting and rewarding career.

Looking back on my life so far, it has clearly been an era defined by golf. This game influenced who my closest friends have been, the college I attended, and consequently where I’m working and living as I write this. I will always have a passion for this great game, but the next chapter of my life will be defined by the pursuit of a much different passion—that of meaningfully influencing politics and public policy. Although I’m surely not the only applicant who shares this passion, I am confident that my perspective and unique experiences will allow me to make valuable contributions within my law school class and beyond.
Last edited by tyler.owen92 on Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

grades??

Silver
Posts: 984
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:55 pm

Re: Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

Postby grades?? » Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:48 pm

If you want to do policy, go to policy school. Law school isn't for politics or policy. Makes your personal statement read weird and like you should be applying to policy school, not law school. You might need to do some more research to see what lawyers really do.

User avatar
mjb447

Silver
Posts: 1276
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

Postby mjb447 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 6:09 pm

I like your discussion of golf, but I wonder if there are any other parallels you could draw between your golf experience and your professional goals. Not sure if it's possible, but right now it just reads like "here is one thing I am passionate about and here is another." Also, I come away convinced that you're passionate about golf but you don't convince me in the same way that you're interested in law school (maybe that comes through more from your resume etc., though). A personal statement about loving golf could also come off a little bougie to some people, but I don't think it's really a problem.

N.B. - If it matters to you, your username and details from your personal statement out you.

Sophia_Mills

New
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:10 pm

Re: Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

Postby Sophia_Mills » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:14 pm

I disagree with the comments above. I think you can absolutely influence public policy through law. You could even run for office and literally write policy. You could work for legislatures interpreting policy, etc. I think it's a good PS.

grades??

Silver
Posts: 984
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:55 pm

Re: Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

Postby grades?? » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:58 pm

Sophia_Mills wrote:I disagree with the comments above. I think you can absolutely influence public policy through law. You could even run for office and literally write policy. You could work for legislatures interpreting policy, etc. I think it's a good PS.


You are a 0L. If you go to law school wanting to do policy and that school isn't named Yale, then you are wasting your time and money. If you want to influence policy, go to policy school. If you want to run for office, run for office. You don't need law school for either. Also, the skills law school teaches aren't the same as writing policy. You might do a little in some classes where the professor likes policy, but its not something you go to law school to learn.

You should go to law school before giving advice about what you can and can't do with a legal degree.

User avatar
mjb447

Silver
Posts: 1276
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:36 am

Re: Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

Postby mjb447 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:38 am

Also, it's not necessarily about whether you CAN influence policy or successfully run for office after going to a particular law school. It's about whether this PS tells a good story and says good things about OP as a candidate hoping to get into law school. The vast majority of lawyers don't end up in office or shaping policy in the direct way that OP seems to be referencing, so the PS should probably either address more realistic outcomes or really convince a reader of OP's stated passion for policy/running for office and its connection to law school. Right now, there's a disconnect for me re: whether OP is a great candidate for law school and has strongly considered his reasons for going. (As I said supra, the resume may help with that. I don't know.)

User avatar
arroznueve

New
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:14 pm

Re: Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

Postby arroznueve » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:27 pm

I agree with the above feedback that: (1) you need to strengthen the connection between talking about golf and talking about law school and (2) you need to be stronger and more specific about your reasons to attend/the outcomes you want.

On (1), it just reads to me like you couldn't make it professionally in golf, so now you're just like, "Hey, here's a thing." I highly doubt you actually took the LSAT and prepared an application on a whim, so try to better communicate that to the reader. As was said earlier, find some parallels.

On (2), if you want to know why law and policy became linked, it was that a bunch of lawyers ran for state legislatures because lawyers were not yet allowed to advertise. You built up clients by running for public office. That's no longer relevant (both for advertising and for the fact not a lot of folks are able to go into solo practice), and so even ignoring political sentiments that may push in "outsiders," the link is changing. Now, you may not want to hold public office, and work in policy some other way, but then you're openly going to law school for at-best a JD Advantage job, which makes one wonder if you should even go to law school. If you read that and shake your head at me not understanding your career goals, I think you'll see where you statement needs work: the reader doesn't get a sense of what you're trying to do, why you're trying to do it, and why you want to go to law school to accomplish that.

SJ1211

New
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:23 pm

Re: Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

Postby SJ1211 » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:54 pm

grades?? wrote:If you want to do policy, go to policy school. Law school isn't for politics or policy. Makes your personal statement read weird and like you should be applying to policy school, not law school. You might need to do some more research to see what lawyers really do.


This isn't true at all. I work in "policy" (which can mean about a hundred things) and if you want to work in legislative offices, administrative agencies, think tanks, non profits, campaigns, pretty much anything in the policymaking sphere a law degree is really valuable. (A) you'll hit a ceiling in your career without a grad degree, whether an MPP or law degree, and (B) a law degree will make you a *much* better policymaker.

I've seen this firsthand; many of my colleagues are attorneys and they certainly did not all go to Yale. OP, pursue your dreams; we need a lot more policy and public service minded attorneys.

grades??

Silver
Posts: 984
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:55 pm

Re: Thoughts on my Personal Statement?

Postby grades?? » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:04 am

SJ1211 wrote:
grades?? wrote:If you want to do policy, go to policy school. Law school isn't for politics or policy. Makes your personal statement read weird and like you should be applying to policy school, not law school. You might need to do some more research to see what lawyers really do.


This isn't true at all. I work in "policy" (which can mean about a hundred things) and if you want to work in legislative offices, administrative agencies, think tanks, non profits, campaigns, pretty much anything in the policymaking sphere a law degree is really valuable. (A) you'll hit a ceiling in your career without a grad degree, whether an MPP or law degree, and (B) a law degree will make you a *much* better policymaker.

I've seen this firsthand; many of my colleagues are attorneys and they certainly did not all go to Yale. OP, pursue your dreams; we need a lot more policy and public service minded attorneys.


You too are an 0L and have not been to law school either..... stop giving advice when you aren't correct



Return to “Law School Personal Statements?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.