Personal Statement! LEt me know

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 298266
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:43 pm

Please advise:


I sat on the edge of my bed, palms sweating, motionless. My eyes were fixed on the contact name within my phone, “Anonymous Hotline.” I had heard about these outlets throughout grade school and other institutions; numbers you would call to anonymously request help with someone or something that you were worried about. I clenched my fist and closed my eyes, and nervously pressed call.

It was college orientation when I first became friends with Nick. “Do people actually enjoy these things?” he whispered in my ear as we sat among the other anxiety-ridden freshman. The remark gave me a slight grin amid an environment that was anything but comfortable. His humor never ceased to amaze me at its timing and quality, filling the gaps during any stressful position we found ourselves in. It was the saving grace during a conversation I had with my crush. I had forgotten her name, and stood there with a blank face. “Julian, you need to stop getting all these girl’s numbers man. They all remember your name but you forget theirs.” If she hadn’t let out a subsequent laugh, I daresay I would have had close to a heart attack.

It wasn’t too long before Nick and I became acquainted with upperclassmen who resided in popular off-campus housing areas. Having an access to a wider network of older friends in this regard played out very well on weekends. However, I soon found Nick spending his days there as well. The frequency of these visits became somewhat worrisome as they protruded onto his academic life. One day he offered me to come with him, and my curiosity gave in.

As we walked over to the house, a sense of caution overcame me. We arrived at an establishment I had not yet visited before. I found my caution wasn’t without reason as we entered the building. Opening the front door, a distinct smell immediately overpowered my senses. If it wasn’t obvious what Nick was up to before, it was clear as day now. There in front of me were a few familiar faces and strangers alike, gathered in the living room. Everyone was assembled in a cult-like manner around a variety of substances that were scattered on a table. “Do you want to try?” was the first question I was asked by one of the residents. I could feel my heartbeat racing yet kept a cool and casual face. Responding with a sturdy shake of my head, I confidently declined. It was only a short while after that I fabricated an excuse for me to leave, describing an assignment I had due. I walked out that door without looking back. It was the last time I entered that house, but the memory of it remains with me to this day.

Following this event, I began to reflect upon my own values. I had been strong enough to shake my head in the face of temptation and pressure, but it wasn’t enough. I had to be strong for not only for myself, but for those around me whom lacked the courage and guidance to do so. And in this particular case, it was for Nick. His grades declined close to failure as a result of his habits, and soon the drained expression constantly shown on his face spoke novels. Pressuring him as a friend to change his behavior had no effect. As a result, I found myself on my bed days later debating between what was right and what was wrong, and I made a choice.

While I sat on my bed listening to the dial tone of the phone ringing, what must have been a thousand different thoughts circulated in a single moment. “What if he gets in trouble,” I thought to myself. Nick was my best friend. I did not want to be the cause of the consequences that could have arisen from the authorities getting involved. Yet, I had to decide if it was worth ending the self-destruction he was inflicting upon himself. The stream of thoughts was quickly shattered by a voice answering the other end of the line. My eyes widened, and I responded.

During our usual lunch less than a week later, Nick confessed that his parents had caught on to his declining grades and they had suspected a cause. They threatened to pull him out of school unless his performance improved. Hearing this, I immediately sprang into action and offered to help him with class, so long as he stopped visiting the off-campus houses he used to frequent. He reluctantly agreed. Before long, he spent most of his free time at my dorm, and I even introduced him to a workout schedule which he effectively utilized. Nick graduated from Old Dominion University with three semesters on the Dean’s List, and to this day I maintain close contact with him.

On the phone with the hotline, I had instead decided to ask for assistance regarding how to deal with the situation rather than provide a specific confession. From the advice I received, I had contacted his parents and stated my concern. This gave Nick his own chance. A chance to not only turn around his downward spiral the way he wanted to do it, but to come out stronger than ever.

There are many cases such as Nick’s that echo throughout our society. The decision I made that day on the phone revealed a part of who I was. It brought my determination to assist those in need to the forefront of my personality. A determination to help otherwise genuine individuals who lose their path in trying to find their identity. And its stories such as Nick’s that drive me towards becoming an advocate for those who have a bright future ahead, but who sometimes need a voice to guide them when all others are silent.

lucretius_
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:58 pm

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby lucretius_ » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:59 pm

Ugh. This is worse than the original. It's so self-righteous. You come off even more arrogant.

This quote in particular is an example of the complete lack of true, informed empathy: "I had to be strong for not only for myself, but for those around me whom lacked the courage and guidance to do so."

You look down on someone so much that you have determined that you are the only one able to make decisions for them? Your action, in comparison, are "courageous"?!?! Aren't we talking about other adults that have equally complex inner-lives to your own? You think they are going through life like a zombie, devoid of any thought or self-awareness? I mean, come on! This is not heroic, its insulting.

The first draft of this PS made me want to help. This draft just made me angry. It's such a naive view of drug use and of what the work of being a lawyer is actually like. You want to be praised for calling another student's parents instead of talking with him yourself about what his drug use meant to your friendship? Please.

Also, didn't you end the last one saying that you haven't had contact with Nick for a while? Now, suddenly, he's your best friend and you keep in touch after he changed his ways to your liking?

Keep working on your PS, but find a new topic that spends less time disparaging others and more time focused on your individual achievement. There was another PS on here after yours that discussed drug use of a family member. Go read that. Think about how mature that one reads in comparison and reassess.

User avatar
cbbinnyc
Posts: 358
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:49 am

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby cbbinnyc » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:16 pm

I remember your first draft of this from a while back ... I see that you've tried to make some adjustments, but I think you are largely running into the same problems that posters addressed previously. Although you have included yourself as a more active player, this story still seems focused on Nick more than on you. And, while it is commendable that you helped your friend, calling his parents, helping him with work, and introducing him to a workout schedule are not particularly remarkable. The whole thing comes off a bit over-dramatic: your friend did drugs in college (!!) and his grades suffered, but then he stopped doing drugs and he graduated with good grades. IMO, you should try to find a different topic that is more focused on showing your own personal growth.

Whether or not you choose to keep this topic, you should have somebody go through and help you clean up the syntax and grammar. There are a lot of places where the wording is a bit jarring. For example, "I daresay I would have ..." "We arrived at an establishment" "There are many cases such as Nick's that echo throughout our society" etc.

Anonymous User
Posts: 298266
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:18 pm

lucretius_ wrote:Ugh. This is worse than the original. It's so self-righteous. You come off even more arrogant.

This quote in particular is an example of the complete lack of true, informed empathy: "I had to be strong for not only for myself, but for those around me whom lacked the courage and guidance to do so."

You look down on someone so much that you have determined that you are the only one able to make decisions for them? Your action, in comparison, are "courageous"?!?! Aren't we talking about other adults that have equally complex inner-lives to your own? You think they are going through life like a zombie, devoid of any thought or self-awareness? I mean, come on! This is not heroic, its insulting.

The first draft of this PS made me want to help. This draft just made me angry. It's such a naive view of drug use and of what the work of being a lawyer is actually like. You want to be praised for calling another student's parents instead of talking with him yourself about what his drug use meant to your friendship? Please.

Also, didn't you end the last one saying that you haven't had contact with Nick for a while? Now, suddenly, he's your best friend and you keep in touch after he changed his ways to your liking?

Keep working on your PS, but find a new topic that spends less time disparaging others and more time focused on your individual achievement. There was another PS on here after yours that discussed drug use of a family member. Go read that. Think about how mature that one reads in comparison and reassess.


I tried talking to him, exemplified in the part about how pressuring him as a friend didn't help. If you want me to make this statement more clear and longer, I can do that. However, I took steps before calling.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 298266
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:20 pm

cbbinnyc wrote:I remember your first draft of this from a while back ... I see that you've tried to make some adjustments, but I think you are largely running into the same problems that posters addressed previously. Although you have included yourself as a more active player, this story still seems focused on Nick more than on you. And, while it is commendable that you helped your friend, calling his parents, helping him with work, and introducing him to a workout schedule are not particularly remarkable. The whole thing comes off a bit over-dramatic: your friend did drugs in college (!!) and his grades suffered, but then he stopped doing drugs and he graduated with good grades. IMO, you should try to find a different topic that is more focused on showing your own personal growth.

Whether or not you choose to keep this topic, you should have somebody go through and help you clean up the syntax and grammar. There are a lot of places where the wording is a bit jarring. For example, "I daresay I would have ..." "We arrived at an establishment" "There are many cases such as Nick's that echo throughout our society" etc.


Can you give me specific example of the grammar issues? Is it actually an issue or is it simply different from how you write?

cavalier1138
Posts: 4015
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can you give me specific example of the grammar issues? Is it actually an issue or is it simply different from how you write?


It's not just that poster's perception. Your writing is weak, and the examples they provided are great examples of feeding words into a thesaurus and/or using them incorrectly.

lucretius_
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:58 pm

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby lucretius_ » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
lucretius_ wrote:Ugh. This is worse than the original. It's so self-righteous. You come off even more arrogant.

This quote in particular is an example of the complete lack of true, informed empathy: "I had to be strong for not only for myself, but for those around me whom lacked the courage and guidance to do so."

You look down on someone so much that you have determined that you are the only one able to make decisions for them? Your action, in comparison, are "courageous"?!?! Aren't we talking about other adults that have equally complex inner-lives to your own? You think they are going through life like a zombie, devoid of any thought or self-awareness? I mean, come on! This is not heroic, its insulting.

The first draft of this PS made me want to help. This draft just made me angry. It's such a naive view of drug use and of what the work of being a lawyer is actually like. You want to be praised for calling another student's parents instead of talking with him yourself about what his drug use meant to your friendship? Please.

Also, didn't you end the last one saying that you haven't had contact with Nick for a while? Now, suddenly, he's your best friend and you keep in touch after he changed his ways to your liking?

Keep working on your PS, but find a new topic that spends less time disparaging others and more time focused on your individual achievement. There was another PS on here after yours that discussed drug use of a family member. Go read that. Think about how mature that one reads in comparison and reassess.


I tried talking to him, exemplified in the part about how pressuring him as a friend didn't help. If you want me to make this statement for more clear and longer, I can do that. However, I took steps before calling.


No thanks.

The majority of posters that have spent the time reading your work and giving you criticism have said the same two things:

1) This story is not about you, and the parts that are about you do not make the reader like you any better.
2) The writing itself is sloppy and needs significant work before anyone would consider it polished and ready for an admissions commitee.

It's time to make a change. Find a new topic and do actual rewrites. Like this: Write a whole new statement. Then, rewrite the entire thing. I'm not talking spot-editing. Open up a new document and rewrite a PS using the same basic ideas, but make it a point to clarify your meaning through proper word choice (please take whatever thesaurus you use and throw it in the trash) and more concise use of language.

User avatar
MediocreAtBest
Posts: 601
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:51 pm

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby MediocreAtBest » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:04 pm

It's my first time reading this, but I can't say I like it. It's not really about you, and the part that's about you is taking credit for Nick turning his life around. I hate that you even considered bringing the police into it. I don't think you're displayed the best understanding of drug addiction and the struggles people face. It's just not the most compelling story, I still don't know anything about you, and I don't think it would help your case.

I'd find a new topic or drastically change the one you're writing about. I don't think it's impossible to write about Nick and make it an interesting PS, but it's just not the direction you're headed in.

User avatar
cbbinnyc
Posts: 358
Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:49 am

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby cbbinnyc » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
cbbinnyc wrote:I remember your first draft of this from a while back ... I see that you've tried to make some adjustments, but I think you are largely running into the same problems that posters addressed previously. Although you have included yourself as a more active player, this story still seems focused on Nick more than on you. And, while it is commendable that you helped your friend, calling his parents, helping him with work, and introducing him to a workout schedule are not particularly remarkable. The whole thing comes off a bit over-dramatic: your friend did drugs in college (!!) and his grades suffered, but then he stopped doing drugs and he graduated with good grades. IMO, you should try to find a different topic that is more focused on showing your own personal growth.

Whether or not you choose to keep this topic, you should have somebody go through and help you clean up the syntax and grammar. There are a lot of places where the wording is a bit jarring. For example, "I daresay I would have ..." "We arrived at an establishment" "There are many cases such as Nick's that echo throughout our society" etc.


Can you give me specific example of the grammar issues? Is it actually an issue or is it simply different from how you write?


Sure. For example ...

In paragraph 1: "I clenched my fist and closed my eyes, and nervously pressed call" should be "I clenched my fist, closed my eyes, and nervously pressed call."

In paragraph 2: "It was college orientation when I first became friends with Nick." College orientation is not a time. Probably better to say, "It was during college orientation that I first became friends with Nick."

"I had forgotten her name, and stood there with a blank face." Take out the comma.

Paragraph 3: "Having an access to a wider network of older friends in this regard played out very well on weekends." Wider access than what/who? Wider access than you had before? Wider access than most freshmen? Also, a bit redundant ... could just say, "Having access to a wide network of older friends played out well on weekends."

Etc. These are just pure grammar issues. I didn't address odd syntactical choices.

Incidentally, I can only speak for myself with certainty, but almost anybody who ends up with a good personal statement (other posters most likely included) had to write a first draft, totally scrap it, and start over - probably multiple times. I ended up going with my first draft's topic, but I probably wrote four or five alternate essays and totally reworked my original idea before getting a finished product. So nobody here is being unduly hard on you by telling you to scrap this and start over - this is just a reality of writing a solid statement.

Anonymous User
Posts: 298266
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:11 pm

lucretius_ wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
lucretius_ wrote:Ugh. This is worse than the original. It's so self-righteous. You come off even more arrogant.

This quote in particular is an example of the complete lack of true, informed empathy: "I had to be strong for not only for myself, but for those around me whom lacked the courage and guidance to do so."

You look down on someone so much that you have determined that you are the only one able to make decisions for them? Your action, in comparison, are "courageous"?!?! Aren't we talking about other adults that have equally complex inner-lives to your own? You think they are going through life like a zombie, devoid of any thought or self-awareness? I mean, come on! This is not heroic, its insulting.

The first draft of this PS made me want to help. This draft just made me angry. It's such a naive view of drug use and of what the work of being a lawyer is actually like. You want to be praised for calling another student's parents instead of talking with him yourself about what his drug use meant to your friendship? Please.

Also, didn't you end the last one saying that you haven't had contact with Nick for a while? Now, suddenly, he's your best friend and you keep in touch after he changed his ways to your liking?

Keep working on your PS, but find a new topic that spends less time disparaging others and more time focused on your individual achievement. There was another PS on here after yours that discussed drug use of a family member. Go read that. Think about how mature that one reads in comparison and reassess.


I tried talking to him, exemplified in the part about how pressuring him as a friend didn't help. If you want me to make this statement for more clear and longer, I can do that. However, I took steps before calling.


No thanks.

The majority of posters that have spent the time reading your work and giving you criticism have said the same two things:

1) This story is not about you, and the parts that are about you do not make the reader like you any better.
2) The writing itself is sloppy and needs significant work before anyone would consider it polished and ready for an admissions commitee.

It's time to make a change. Find a new topic and do actual rewrites. Like this: Write a whole new statement. Then, rewrite the entire thing. I'm not talking spot-editing. Open up a new document and rewrite a PS using the same basic ideas, but make it a point to clarify your meaning through proper word choice (please take whatever thesaurus you use and throw it in the trash) and more concise use of language.



You say the writing is sloppy but haven't given a single example of a "sloppy" sentence or how you would write it instead. If the issue is you can't understand the level of word use that I use, then that's another issue. However, when you make a general claim, give at least a few specific examples.

cavalier1138
Posts: 4015
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You say the writing is sloppy but haven't given a single example of a "sloppy" sentence or how you would write it instead. If the issue is you can't understand the level of word use that I use, then that's another issue. However, when you make a general claim, give at least a few specific examples.


Oh, man. You are nowhere near as smart as you think you are.

Posters on this thread have already given you about half a dozen specific examples of where your writing needs improvement. And literally no one has said that it doesn't. Pull your head out of your own ass and learn to take the note. If you end up becoming a lawyer, this is mild criticism compared to what you'll face on work product.

lucretius_
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:58 pm

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby lucretius_ » Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You say the writing is sloppy but haven't given a single example of a "sloppy" sentence or how you would write it instead. If the issue is you can't understand the level of word use that I use, then that's another issue. However, when you make a general claim, give at least a few specific examples.


"A determination to help otherwise genuine individuals who lose their path in trying to find their identity. And its stories such as Nick’s that drive me towards becoming an advocate for those who have a bright future ahead, but who sometimes need a voice to guide them when all others are silent."

This entire sequence is "sloppy". You start with a fragment. Fragments are middle school level mistakes. After the period, you begin the next portion with "And" (not always incorrect, but generally seen as a weak transition) and then improperly use the possessive "its" in the place of the contraction "it's". The whole clause that follows is written with you as the passive participant. The subject "stories" is acting on you. "Towards becoming" is awkward phrasing.

If you believe this sequence to be polished, use it. I guarantee you admissions teams will disagree.

hi1everyone
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:38 pm

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby hi1everyone » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:55 pm

I think you need a new topic for a few reasons. I'm not trying to be mean here. I'm sure you appreciate honesty, otherwise you wouldn't post on here.

1. As others have mentioned, this isn't really about you. I would be more interested in reading this from Nick's POV because he's the one who actually did the work. You can't take credit for his work, and that's what you're doing by essentially linking your "intervention" (which was about as passive as an intervention can get) to his success.

2. This reads like a "Just Say No!" ad. There are a lot of cliches with both language use and how you describe yourself declining the drugs. It sounds like you're talking about pot, and I really think it's overblown with descriptions of your heart racing and having to come up with an excuse about an assignment... a lot of people smoke in college, and it's more and more casual. I kind of cringed at how you seemingly struggled to get out of that situation, as though these were some kind of drug lords and not just a bunch of kids in their early 20s hanging out and smoking weed.

3. There will be people writing on experiences like this in their PS or diversity statements where they actually did have Nick's experience-- overcoming drug use, dealing with a family member with substance abuse, working with addicts in a professional setting, etc. Yours is essentially a watered-down, lame version of those experiences. To me, you come across sheltered and young. It sounds like you haven't had many experiences, and it doesn't tell me much about you other than what you think adcoms want to hear ("I don't do drugs! I lead others by giving them workout plans!").

Instead of beating this to death, I think you should start with a really good brainstorm. Go for a run, draw, play a video game, whatever. Clear your mind and make lists of things you've done, objectively, throughout college (I assume you're K-JD based on this essay). What were you involved in? What were your hobbies? How did you spend your time outside of classes? Think about your academics. Which professor had a strong impact on you? What was your favorite class? What was your favorite/least favorite assignment? Think about big moments. Have you ever traveled? Lost someone? Ran a race? A marathon? Don't think about it like some Herculean feat. Just be honest. What makes you mad/sad/laugh? Just answer questions! Write them all down on a big sheet of paper or write them on your computer. Then narrow it down to a few, based on which you can honestly write about without resorting to cliches and dramatization. Write a couple different essays without worrying about wording or grammar or description, just for overall story. You will find something better that more honestly and positively conveys who you are.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 27704
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:09 pm

I would also suggest not making things up for a PS. In previous versions you lost touch with Nick/Nick was pulled from school and you don't know what happened to him. Suddenly you're turning his life around and you're best buds. It sounds like you're making up what you think would make a good PS rather than actually writing honestly about yourself.

User avatar
Platopus
Posts: 997
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:20 pm

Re: Personal Statement! LEt me know

Postby Platopus » Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:07 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I would also suggest not making things up for a PS. In previous versions you lost touch with Nick/Nick was pulled from school and you don't know what happened to him. Suddenly you're turning his life around and you're best buds. It sounds like you're making up what you think would make a good PS rather than actually writing honestly about yourself.


This is solid advice. It's really much easier to write about things that have actually happened. Parts of this comes across as artificial / disingenuous. For example "I sat on the edge of my bed, palms sweating, motionless" - I have a hard time believing your palms were actually sweating. It comes across as very obvious rhetorical effect. In the same vein, be careful of embellishing Nick. For example " His humor never ceased to amaze me at its timing and quality, filling the gaps during any stressful position we found ourselves in." Humor isn't "amazing", and it doesn't "amaze" people, especially not all the time. Overall, I think you have a good start, but I would focus on coming across more genuine / realistic.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.