Care to give my PS a once-over?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
TpetersenDBC
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Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby TpetersenDBC » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:29 pm

Hey everybody, so I've been having some trouble really nailing down a direction and theme of my personal statement...the last one I threw up here to review got me some seriously great input and helped me craft this one. I don't have any exceptional stories of adversity or hardship, but I do have a strong motivation to go to law school, and I think diving in and dissecting that motivation is what will help me write my best personal statement. I've always been focused on what is and isn't fair, and how to make sure things are fair and just...so that's the theme. For as long as I can remember I've been particularly focused on justice and now not only want to learn how to discern what is and isn't just, but how to ensure what is just. Thanks in advance for any critique. It comes out to 2 pages double spaced.



For a majority of my early life I had been explicitly taught the importance of sharing with others. I grew up in day care alongside a sister who is two years my junior. Our parents both worked full time, however we were lucky to have a close family friend who ran a home daycare and agreed to watch us for a reasonable price. Her name was Diane, and she was more or less a third grandmother in our lives. Diane would watch anywhere from 3 to 7 kids at a time, and with a house full of children, a single television, and only so many toys, so many dollars, and so many Dianes, we were made aware early and often on the necessities of sharing and our duty to maintain equity among each other. This environment that I grew up in made any sort of inequality glaringly obvious. Some of these inequalities were allowed to stand, most were not, the important thing was that I noticed them and that I considered them, rolling them around in my mind as a way to shape my conception of justice.

Early on, the ruling adults in my life like Diane and my parents were the ones who mandated justice through equity, but over time I have come to understand the benefits that justice and equity offer society as a whole, and due to this understand I began to mandate it of myself and of those I came to surround myself with. As I matured and the necessity of justice became more and more clear to me, I began to try to understand fully just what the foundation of justice is, and how we ensure that justice is always done.

As you might expect, my favorite classes during undergrad were those concerning ethics. These classes showed me something I never knew I loved so much. I had always considered, perhaps too much at times, whether or not I was doing the right thing, I always did what I thought to be the right thing, however after I began studying ethics I felt I finally had the means to ultimately know what was the right thing. When I was taught these new ways of thinking, I realized finally that, in theory, I could know for certain how to behave in any given situation. While my understanding of justice is far from complete, it is surely more complete than it has ever been before. In law school I hope to not only further that understanding or what is just, but further my understanding of how to ensure that which is just.

Some people pursue a career in law because it is essentially their family business; they come from a long line of attorneys and feel that they have been bred for it. Others pursue it because they want to work in a relatively secure profession that can make them very wealthy. Others still pursue it because they feel drawn to it. Their personal values and world view forces them to conclude that in order to live their best life, they need to practice law; as it will help them do the most good for the most people. I belong to that latter group. The group who feels as if practicing law is a calling. The group who looks at a legal education not as a meal ticket or as a foregone conclusion due to their pedigree, but as a tool to create a better future. For my entire life, I have had a passion to ensure justice, and it is due to this passion for justice that I have such a strong desire to pursue a career in law.

I want to help ensure justice, no matter where I go. I understand that not every law student graduates and finds the legal career they expected or hoped for, but I do understand that justice is achievable in many different aspects of life. In certain aspects that justice is explicit and easy to achieve, while in others it is ambiguous and it’s discernment requires a greater amount of reasoning and argument. No matter what it is I do after my graduation from law school, I will do it with the desire and motivation to ensure justice for all, and I hope that your school can help me achieve that.

cavalier1138
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:07 pm

I am also having trouble nailing down a theme, and it's no small part due to some really awkward grammar and syntax errors that make it difficult to find the literal meaning of some of your sentences. My best guess for why I'm having trouble is that you've changed your writing style to be more "formal", which means that you're trying to use words and sentence structures that aren't authentically yours. Don't be afraid to be more casual and have a personal tone.

That said, I think you have the seeds of a decent PS in here. I'd just shy away from generalities like "I'm interested in justice" when applying to law school. That's an abstract concept. What do you want to do with your degree?

Edit: And drop the bit about "some people go to law school because [x]." It comes off as preachy and condescending.

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mjb447
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby mjb447 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:12 pm

Not liking it very much, mostly because anyone who had a childhood caregiver and took an ethics/philosophy/possibly any social science class could have written almost the same statement. You tell the reader that you have a "passion" to ensure justice etc., but I don't see any suggestion in the PS that that passion has previously manifested itself at all.

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sethnoorzad
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby sethnoorzad » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:44 pm

First of all, I think your sentences are nice and clear. The clarity of your writing is a strong point. So nice job.

I think that the biggest issue with your theme is that, in the course of life, pretty much everyone "grows up"... and that seems to me to be the meat of your statement. You talk about your growing conception of justice. That could be a valid theme for a PS, but I think it would be much more successful if you narrowed your focus to maybe one or two very concrete issues that shaped your vision of justice. Maybe you started learning about a certain issue facing society. You talk a lot about equality and equity so what are the things that you will do as a lawyer to combat inequity? What do you think the most important issues are?

When you are writing, it's easy to underestimate how successful you can be writing a short and narrowly focused statement. My advice to you is to find ONE very specific formative experience, having to do with your desire to fight for justice, and write about it. Use your good writing skills and make it great.

My opinion is that talking about sharing as a little kid is not really interesting to address in your PS. I mean this is your personal statement for law school. Surely there are tons of interesting things in your life that happened beyond the age of, like, sixteen at least (and you should mainly address things that happened in college or after). I don't think it's a good topic because EVERYONE learns to share as a little kid. It's something most humans go through at an early age.

You say that you don't have any stories of adversity or hardship.... I have a hard time buying that. So your life has just been a breeze up until now? Everyone has faced adversity in some form or another. What is the hardest challenge in your life from the last five years? What has it taught you? How have you changed in a positive way because of that?

Just some questions to get you thinking about some interesting topics. Your writing is good (nice job) but I think your topic (at least as it is now) is likely to flop with admission officers.

I think you have the potential to create a great statement with another rewrite. Perhaps hire an English tutor to just brainstorm with you for 90 minutes. Having someone who is a good writer at your side to bounce ideas off of can be really helpful. You've just got to take it to the next level and come up with something you KNOW is great. Daycare and sharing?..... not so interesting. You can do much better.

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zot1
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby zot1 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:50 pm

sethnoorzad wrote:First of all, I think your sentences are nice and clear. The clarity of your writing is a strong point. So nice job.



No, they're not. His wording is awkward and has some grammar/syntax problems. If you can't tell that, then you should probably get your own PS checked out.

OP, just freewrite an event that captures your experiences and understanding of fairness and justice. This is the surest way to have a pointed essay. Remember though, you want to highlight something about not necessarily about how you feel about something. Or if you're doing that, you need to connect it back to you and how it changes you as a person. Good luck!

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sethnoorzad
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby sethnoorzad » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:20 pm

zot1 wrote:
sethnoorzad wrote:First of all, I think your sentences are nice and clear. The clarity of your writing is a strong point. So nice job.



No, they're not. His wording is awkward and has some grammar/syntax problems. If you can't tell that, then you should probably get your own PS checked out.

OP, just freewrite an event that captures your experiences and understanding of fairness and justice. This is the surest way to have a pointed essay. Remember though, you want to highlight something about not necessarily about how you feel about something. Or if you're doing that, you need to connect it back to you and how it changes you as a person. Good luck!


LOL :lol:

Come on... there's no need to make absolutely sure that OP doesn't have even a slightly higher opinion of his writing skills than what they really are. You obviously feed on the negative vibes. And, I DO think his sentences are nice and clear. So shove it :lol:

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zot1
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby zot1 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:25 pm

Sigh. I'm not trying to put him/her down. The legal profession is full of perfectionists who will keep pushing you until you get things closest to the right way. If both of you think that's a problem, well, enjoy law school--it'll be a wild ride (depending on your legal writing professor, I guess).

OP is trying too hard, which is the problem. When you're not sure what you're writing, it comes off in the writing. I'm sure OP is a great writer. That doesn't mean I'm gonna lie and say this PS showcases his best writing.

Good luck to you as well.

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sethnoorzad
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby sethnoorzad » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:30 pm

zot1 wrote:Good luck to you as well.


You too, mayn :roll:

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chili_davis
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby chili_davis » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:45 pm

OP, I will try to be as blunt as possible. IMO your PS needs a COMPLETE revision. The first paragraph should be filled with strong context that leaves the reader intrigued and wanting more. Your theme (IMO) is quite childish and doesn't shed light on who YOU are as a person or candidate. I'm confident in saying you must have a better topic or moment of adversity in your life you can speak on rather than your thoughts on justice and having to share as a child. I would also agree with some of the previous opinions regarding your writing style. Be yourself, speak clearly, and let it flow naturally. Lastly, if you decide to say "to hell with it" and submit this product, for the sake of all that is holy take out the "motivation to ensure justice for all" bit. I threw up a little bit of my turkey sandwich reading that. Good luck OP! I know it sucks, but you can do better!

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Smc1994
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby Smc1994 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:02 pm

.

TpetersenDBC
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby TpetersenDBC » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:12 pm

appreciate the feedback all!

I feel like I sort of overthought this and lost the "personal" aspect of the personal statement.

I'll be back sometime next week with another I'm sure.

DrGlennRichie
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Re: Care to give my PS a once-over?

Postby DrGlennRichie » Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:53 pm

This requires complete re-write.

Paragraph 1.

You are rambling about your childhood experiences, and that you needed to share. I mean I can feel sorry for you as you had 2 full time working parents and 2 grandmothers and a third one, Diane, who was reasonably priced. Your complaining about lack of toys at that time sonds really weird. Your piece that you started thinking about justice at that age sounds dishonest.

Paragraph 2. I am not sure yoru use of "equity" is correct here. I might be wriong here, but for me it means something different. May be you meant equality? I dont know. Also your "necessity for justice" already too much.

Paragraph 3. As you might expect, Please dont tell the reader what the readers thoughts are. Also it is a bit illogical. If we were to expect your love for ethics after reading two tidbits about your childhood, how come those classes were "never knew I loved so much" for you, who actually have complete knowledge of your life? The third sentence there is just plain horrible. Yes, other sentences are also pretty bad.

Paragraph 4. This whole thing is very bad. "Some people are greedy, some people are nasty, others are nice. I am the third type." Never try to look good at the expense of others, especially if it is your assumption.

Overall, fix your language, and get away from juvenile "I want to ensure justice wherever I go".




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