Personal Statement Advice

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

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Personal Statement Advice

Postby bvoets17 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:35 am

Hi There, I'm in the process of writing my personal statement and would love if someone could read mine and give me advice. I would also love to swap with anyone if they need help too! Thanks!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

This quote hung in my mother’s classroom, in one of those motivational picture frames found in virtually every classroom in America. My mother has worked in education since before I was born, starting as a high school Health Sciences teacher immediately following her college graduation and eventually becoming the Assistant Principal in charge of her high school’s counseling department. Since she has worked in education her entire career, growing up I spent a lot of time at school outside of my normal classroom hours. While this would sound like a nightmare to a lot of people, I really enjoyed all of the extra time I got to spend around my mom and her colleagues. It was in these settings I saw the belief and dedication of her and her fellow faculty members to Mandela’s words.

The faculty of my mother’s school placed a great deal of focus on ensuring the students of their school were given the best education they could provide. I often saw them go out of their way to give struggling students additional opportunities to succeed through things such as afterschool and weekend tutoring. The integrity and selflessness they displayed in the education of young people showed they truly believed in the power of education as a force for good in our society. I looked to these people, especially my mother, as amazing role models because they truly wanted to give those they educated the tools to fight for change in this world. From this, I became inspired to become a teacher myself. Motivated to achieve this goal, in middle school and high school I got involved in peer tutoring during my lunch periods, and some of my teachers also let me help with class lectures. Making an impact like this on the education of my peers was an extremely rewarding experience. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with the achievement of understanding something is a marvelous feeling, and helping others achieve that feeling was wonderful.

I continued these activities through high school, but as time passed I realized I was interested in teaching only because it allowed me to do something that helped others. I was not particularly interested studying the research and theories that underlie education as a discipline. Instead, my interests began to shift towards the subjects of history and government. This was first sparked by the final project I was assigned my 7th grade history class. We were learning about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the project presented a hypothetical situation in which an individual’s Constitutional rights may or may not have been violated. We were asked to decide whether or not a violation of rights occurred, and then to formulate an argument defending this decision using interpretation of the Constitution and study of legal precedent. It was the first time I realized the power of the Constitution, and studied the way our country’s laws affect society. I found this to be absolutely enthralling, and over the years my interest and knowledge of history continued to develop, eventually leading to my choice to study Political Science and History in college. In both of these disciplines, I emphasized the study of American Politics and American History, and highlights of my coursework were classes on “Courts and Politics”, “American Legal History”, and “Public Policy Analysis”. In these classes, we deeply analyzed many decisions of the Supreme Court, and also the evolution of the legal system over the course of country’s history. These classes reinforced the law’s power to protect the basic rights of individuals, and also its capacity to be a force for good in our society. They also showed the many instances where the law was used to provide benefits and protection to individuals and groups in our country who had been marginalized in the past. I furthered this education by serving for one year in the Local Affairs Office of UCSB’s Student Government, and spending an additional year as an intern for the Pretrial Services division of the Santa Barbara Superior Court. In Student Government, I dealt with school administration and local lawmakers to advocate for and propose resolutions that protected the rights of students and other community members in Santa Barbara. At the Superior Court, I worked in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Office to gather important information about criminal defendants to determine their eligibility for pre-trial release. In both of these roles I got firsthand experience on the function of law in society, and was afforded the opportunity to help administer it but also work to improve it. Through my studies and other experiences, I worked with lawyers, politicians, and other community officials who embodied the same integrity and selflessness that inspired me to pursue education much earlier in my life.

Through all of my experiences since spending my days in my mom’s classroom, one thing that has never changed is my desire to use my education and experience to create something positive for as many others as I can. At first, I thought teaching was the best way for me to achieve this, but as I got to know myself better, I learned this was not true. I see in law the same things I saw in education, and my deep interest in the study of law makes me very confident that pursuing a career in law would be the best way for me to fully realize this desire. Throughout my life, I have displayed a dedication to investing my time in making sure that others were equipped with weapons to allow them to make a difference in this world. Now, I wish to invest my time in obtaining a law degree, so I can improve my own arsenal in my pursuit of positive change in our world.


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Re: Personal Statement Advice

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:36 am

While clearly your Mom & Nelson Mandela are worthy of admission, your PS is little more than a superficial regurgitation of your resume.

The Nelson Mandela quote has been used too many times by too many law school applicants.

Overall, this reads more like an application essay from one applying to college rather than to law school as it fails to offer the depth of insight & analysis sought by law schools.


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Re: Personal Statement Advice

Postby lnsl123 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:00 am

Last edited by lnsl123 on Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Personal Statement Advice

Postby mjb447 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:09 am

I generally agree with what other commenters have said - I don't get a very strong sense of you as an individual from this statement. Also, "I want to go to law school to help people" is so overdone it's basically a cliche, and I'd try to find something a little more unique to you if you can.


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Re: Personal Statement Advice

Postby bvoets17 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:38 pm

Thank you all for your feedback! I really appreciate the time you all took to give me advice on my statement and plan on incorporating it into my future writing.


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Re: Personal Statement Advice

Postby pyramidenergy888 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:19 pm

Hey I am a UCSB alum as well!

I just have one thing to add about your PS: I would write as much as possible about your experiences in college and after and try to minimize mentioning anything from before. IMO, talking about high school and before HS doesn't sound very good at all.

It sounded great when you were talking about your extracurriculars at UCSB!

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