Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Julsnet
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Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby Julsnet » Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:03 pm

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Last edited by Julsnet on Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:20 pm, edited 4 times in total.

cavalier1138
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:33 pm

It's just really vague. It's not even much of a sob-story at this point, because it's extremely guarded.

If this is supposed to be about your mother's sickness and the impact she's had on your life, it just isn't coming through in the writing. Maybe focus less on the resume-rehashing and more on the personal connection. Take a specific anecdote and tie it in to what's going on for you at the moment. Right now, it just seems like a a very general personal history with tangential remarks about advice your mother gave you at some point. Topics like this require a real emotional rawness, and that's not present in this version.

And a personal statement doesn't have to explicitly have a "why law school" section, but I shouldn't be completely confused about why you're applying. It sounds like your resume might already tell the admissions committee that you have a legal-ish background, so maybe just focus on what drove you to go this direction.

clshopeful
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby clshopeful » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:09 am

'And without me, I truly believe, my mother would live a life without purpose.'

That line, I think, will strike just about anyone as very strange, overtly arrogant, and frankly disdainful to your mom.

Maybe focus more on ''why law school'' than the buildup. You sort of just say "I got my degree, then told my mom I wanted to go to law school." That isn't saying much about why you are going to law school...I think admissions usually is looking for some compelling reason. Just my thoughts. Going to law school shouldn't be for so your mom is proud of having raised a successful son... You need a better reason in my opinion, like going to make a change, to help others in difficult situations, or because something while you interned at the law firm you mentioned piqued your interest in a particular aspect of the law.

Also: saying things like "I truly believe" are empty words in essays.. It has no real significance behind it.
Happy to talk via PM if you'd like!

Edit: Not trying to be mean, I just tend to say my thoughts in a way that are straight forward

albanach
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby albanach » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:38 am

Julsnet wrote:Motivation is thought to be the driving force behind success and ambition, however I believe where this force derives from goes deep beyond the mainstream thought and custom. For me, little phrases my mother would scold me with when I made a mistake stuck to me like glue.


Admissions officers read hundreds of these personal statements. You have about ten seconds or less to make them think you're interesting and captivate their attention. Do you think these two sentences achieve that? All I've got after these two is that you have thoughts outside the mainstream and were often scolded as a child. I'm not sure that's the positive impression you're trying to create.

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Future Ex-Engineer
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:15 am

To be frank, I hated pretty much all of this. The first paragraph is not engaging, and the first sentence is a chore to read.

The second paragraph is a boring, roundabout way of saying things that should be a few lines on your resume.

The ending is also pretty weird. You say law school is your chance to give back to your mother - that objectively isn't true. If anything, you will be more of a strain on your loved ones/friends/relatives during law school due to the highly stressful nature of it (not to mention costs). You might be able to give back to her after law school, but that's a long way down the road.

So other than thinking your mom will be proud, is there any other reason you want to go to law school? If there is, it certainly doesn't show in this statement.

Note: not trying to be mean/harsh - just trying to be honest. My first attempt at a PS got brutally shredded by people on here, and it helped me out a ton.

YBF-W
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby YBF-W » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:25 am

What is going on here? Which quote is the main one? Sentence structure is weird everywhere. Main point is about your mother and you wanting to please her? It reads as if she's the one who worked hard to get you to meet your goals(??), which is not a good way to sell yourself. I met the introductory sentence with an intense eye roll and I don't ever roll my eyes. Awkward shifts from formal to very informal language. I honestly think you should scrap this and come up with clearer thoughts on what you're trying to say. What is it again you want admissions to know about you?

cavalier1138
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:11 pm

I didn't realize there had been edits made.

You literally went in the opposite direction from what I suggested initially. You don't tell the reader anything about yourself or your mother, and you're continuing to focus on vague generalities about your life.

The PS is your chance to show the admissions officer something they can't glean from your resume. This isn't it.

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guynourmin
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby guynourmin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:43 pm

mrgstephe wrote:So other than thinking your mom will be proud, is there any other reason you want to go to law school? If there is, it certainly doesn't show in this statement.


if it hasn't been said before, going to law school to make your mom proud or to "prove" something to bullies who said you wouldn't amount to anything or your girlfriend's parents who think you're trash but going to Harvard will prove you aren't, or or any other external bullshit is just that: bullshit. I do not believe there is even a sentence in this PS that is salvageable. you need a new idea and to start over from scratch.

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34iplaw
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby 34iplaw » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:17 pm

I agree with much of what has said below. That said, I took particular issue with one sentence that I absolutely loathe. Others may disagree, but ...

"And without me, I truly believe, my mother would live a life without purpose."

Others may disagree, but strike it from any draft IMO. I think I get what you were trying to say, but I just think it came across as tone deaf. It's something many parents would probably agree with and might even say, but it reads quite odd coming from a child, IMO.

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mjb447
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby mjb447 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:27 pm

I agree with most of the feedback provided in this thread. Also, if you wanted to go with the theme of "my mother helped me get where I am today" (which I don't recommend for reasons that others have said), your examples would need to be much more specific to your situation. Almost everyone applying to law school has gotten through undergrad and struggled through an interview or two, and almost everyone has had a parent give them interview tips or encourage them get their degree or express concern about a bad influence in their lives. I don't mean to trivialize your experiences or your mother's role in your life, but the PS (at least the middle portion) reads to me like it's about reflecting on your mother's advice to overcome adversity. Since both the adversity and the advice are relatively generic, it doesn't help you stand out at all.

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grand inquisitor
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby grand inquisitor » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:34 pm

read some freud and some bryan garner and then try again

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BasilHallward
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby BasilHallward » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:20 pm

The subject matter of OP's paper has received much flack, and deservingly so. From a technical standpoint, this PS is also messy. Passive voice, split infinitives, etc. Keep it simple, OP. A few examples:

First Sentence–"Motivation is thought to be the driving force behind success and ambition, however I believe where this force derives from goes deep beyond the mainstream thought and custom."

The above sentence shows a lack of understanding re: coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. So, basically this is a comma splice.

"As my aspirations higher…"

Ambiguity re: vocabulary–higher generally connotes direction. Here it is confusing and sounds awkward. "Increase" would be the logical usage

"…in my succeeding of that endeavor…"

You have this going on nearly everywhere. Avoid it. It creates too much potential for run-on sentences and is difficult to digest.

Re-rack re: subject matter; but, also hit up your local writing center for tips on clear writing.

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BasilHallward
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby BasilHallward » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:22 pm

grand inquisitor wrote:read some freud and some bryan garner and then try again



Oh, and the above +1

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brinicolec
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby brinicolec » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:39 am

34iplaw wrote:I agree with much of what has said below. That said, I took particular issue with one sentence that I absolutely loathe. Others may disagree, but ...

"And without me, I truly believe, my mother would live a life without purpose."

Others may disagree, but strike it from any draft IMO. I think I get what you were trying to say, but I just think it came across as tone deaf. It's something many parents would probably agree with and might even say, but it reads quite odd coming from a child, IMO.


I agree.

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brinicolec
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby brinicolec » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:43 am

I agree with basically all of these comments. I'm v confused about what your main point is and why it matters. I kinda understood it as "I'm doing this for my mom so believe me, I'll succeed" which doesn't really do much for me in terms of getting to know who you are as an applicant/why you should be admitted to x school. It's also just confusing to read, kind of hops around for awhile before forming any kind of point.

I vote you scrap this and try again.

S/n: Don't be discouraged. Writing a PS is difficult. Expect to write a few before you find one that truly works.

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TripleM
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby TripleM » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:24 am

I know you've put some work into this but I have to agree with everything above. To be honest, I don't think it's worth your time to try to tinker with this statement. I think you need to spend some time re-thinking your personal statement and then take another crack. I favor narratives... in other words a story with a beginning, middle and end. This essay does move through time, but there's no story that runs through it. It's a collection of anecdotes that are only related in that they involve the same characters.

There are also some technical issues, starting with the first sentence. I'm going to show you a fraction of the problems I see in an effort to convince you to start over. The first sentence serves no storytelling purpose other than being complex. The word "however" isn't the correct word because the second part of the sentence doesn't in any way contradict the the first part... motivation itself could come from beyond mainstream thought and custom. Plus, wherever it comes from, the force would be motivation. That's the definition of motivation. Also, the things your mother told you would all fit into mainstream thought and custom. Mothers telling children not to smoke is definitely both mainstream and customary. MORE IMPORTANTLY, the whole sentence serves no purpose. Start reading the essay as the words, "...little phrases my mother..." and you'll see what I mean.

So, that's just the first sentence. I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just wanted to illustrate that this just isn't the right essay. Usually, when a piece of writing feels really awkward, it's not the writers skill, it's that the subject matter just doesn't work. That's the problem here... it's not that you can't write it's that you don't really feel this essay deeply so you're writing circles around that awkward fact.

I'm going to propose that you stop spending time on this, brainstorm a few story ideas that you can bring back to us. We'll tell you which one seems to have the most promise. These should be stories, not concepts.

MadamSecretary
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby MadamSecretary » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:58 am

I agree with the above, not a bad idea to scratch it and start over BUT you should maintain some of your original ideas because if this is what motivated you to go to law school than you should say that. Admissions want you to be honest, and it will come across clearly in your writing if you're not committed to your ideas....

I think you should mention your mother and her being apart of your success but do not say you are going to law school for her more than yourself.. Law school is a long and difficult process, you can be selfish and want it more for yourself than anyone else and I think that is important

Dig deep down and REALLY think about who you are as a person and how this led you here - do not give all of the credit to your mother, although she may be a big part of your motivation, you need to show the admissions committee how you motivated yourself/the decisions you made/your successes, etc.

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HarveySpecterr
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby HarveySpecterr » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:06 am

Julsnet wrote:EDIT: After reading the first response, I edited the statement a bit, below is the edited version!

Hey guys, I just made my TLS account after reading some good editing reviews and was hoping you guys could help me out! Long story short, I don't know if my personal statement has elements that are indirectly required in it, such as maybe saying why I want to go to law school? I think at the end it also sounds a bit like a sob story and I dont know if admissions would like that. Please advise!


==


Motivation is thought to be the driving force behind success and ambition, however I believe where this force derives from goes deep beyond the mainstream thought and custom. For me, little phrases my mother would scold me with when I made a mistake stuck to me like glue. As I’ve grown older, the significance and understanding of these lessons became more prominent in my life, to a point where what compels me to wake up in the morning is being able to show her that I listened.
While a freshman at Old Dominion University, my parents had decided to get separated. I quickly had to start thinking about my future rather than the daily life of a college student. The first thing I remember as I bombed my first internship interview was, “Wow, mom did tell me to have a firm hand shake and sit up straight” while I sat in the room slouched and gave anything but a proper handshake. Before I quit smoking cigarettes, she almost pleaded with me to avoid that one friend whom she believed would be a bad influence on my life. All those details she wanted me to remember became relevant day by day, and one afternoon I remember I decided to make a change. The first step was to alter the course of my education and obtain an Economics degree at George Mason University. What pressed me to accomplish this was that one recurring memory of the day she told me these words, words that kept becoming increasingly pertinent, “When you grow up, you will understand.”
I did it. I made it to George Mason University and received my degree in Economics, I improved my interviewing skills and was offered an internship position at my first law firm, and among all the other milestones I reached, I remember the best satisfaction I had was still having my mom there to know that she succeeded as a parent.
When I told her that I planned on attending law school, I didn’t think about what that meant in regards to her goals. She began working harder, through sickness and loneliness, to make sure I completed this newfound plan. I began to realize that this continuous cycle of giving and taking works as a yin-and-yang bond. As I push my aspirations higher, I ask more of her to aid in my succeeding of that endeavor, while at the same time what she takes is seeing me happy and able to reach the points I set out for myself. Without her, I would be nowhere close to where I am now as a man. And without me, I truly believe, my mother would live a life without purpose. And now it is my turn to give rather than take. I will not fail, and if I do, I will step back and analyze what went wrong, and come back stronger. Because although this, law school, is 100% for me, it is 110% for her.


==


I hope I can offer a little bit of helpful criticism. For one thing, there are a lot of technical errors. "Derive from" is redundant. The first sentence of the second paragraph suggests your parents were "a freshman at Old Dominion University" -- this is because an introductory element modifies the grammatical subject. Here is another example of the same mistake: "Running to catch the bus, my book fell in the mud." This sentence has a book running to catch the bus; invites the reader to picture a little cartoon book with arms and legs. Instead, it's "Running to catch the bus, I dropped . . . " because it was "I" who was running. Which brings me to my next point: you should use the active voice more, and make people the subjects of your sentences. Get to the subject soon, and keep it next to the verb. Also the phrase "I truly believe" sounds weak, even disingenuous, as though you're about to say something unbelievable. More redundancy in "live a life," as well as "give rather than take." And all the commas in that last choppy sentence make your reader feel like they're riding in the car with someone learning to drive a stick: start, stop, start, stop. You can make these sentences flow much more nicely by making them simpler, beginning with a human subject, and making the verb come next. But these are only technical issues; in terms of content, I don't know what to tell you except that you'll need a better story. This doesn't hold together very well, and only gives the reader a vague sense of who you are. Your parents divorced (like half of us), you changed colleges from ODU to GWU to study Econ, you remember some things your mama told you and want to make her proud. That's sweet, but not very descriptive, and when I finished reading I didn't get the feeling that I *know* you at all. You should try to develop that more. It might involve taking some risks. One person on this thread described your essay as "guarded" and I think that's spot on. Try doing it again, unguarded this time.

Julsnet
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby Julsnet » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:35 am

Thanks for all the input guys haha yall are really good at nailing the points down. this is my first shot at my PS and i wrote it in 30 mins and edited it for 10 to have something to throw in here. tbh you guys definitely caught the point that im not feeling the subject material as much as I should be. gonna scratch and redo and come back when ready.

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grand inquisitor
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby grand inquisitor » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:25 am

Julsnet wrote:Thanks for all the input guys haha yall are really good at nailing the points down. this is my first shot at my PS and i wrote it in 30 mins and edited it for 10 to have something to throw in here. tbh you guys definitely caught the point that im not feeling the subject material as much as I should be. gonna scratch and redo and come back when ready.

maybe spend a little more time on this given its potential impact on your future. also it would be polite to catch some of these errors before throwing them before the collective wisdom of the internet/your potential readers.

Monday
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby Monday » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:51 am

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Last edited by Monday on Thu May 11, 2017 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Future Ex-Engineer
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Re: Just made my account! Can yall help with this?

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:54 am

Julsnet wrote:Thanks for all the input guys haha yall are really good at nailing the points down. this is my first shot at my PS and i wrote it in 30 mins and edited it for 10 to have something to throw in here. tbh you guys definitely caught the point that im not feeling the subject material as much as I should be. gonna scratch and redo and come back when ready.


Good on you. Time put into the current PS would have been an absolute waste. Looking forward to reading attempt #2




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