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(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
mmart207
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

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Postby mmart207 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:55 pm

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Last edited by mmart207 on Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

acr
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Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:14 pm

Re: PS Second Draft

Postby acr » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:09 pm

I think this is a good personal statement. However, it doesn't really explain why your background motivates you to succeed in law. Instead, you write about "success" in the abstract, which means that this could function as a personal statement for any type of graduate school. "Success" can take on any number of meanings, and I think an admissions officer would want to know why you desire to specifically be successful in law. I would rewrite this statement to include a deeper explanation of why you're motivated to enter the legal field.

I also wonder if this statement would be more effective by going straight into the narrative. I'm sure that many applicants begin personal statements with generic descriptions of their backgrounds, motivations, career goals, etc. You have a real opportunity here to grab the attention of the reader by beginning with something that very few applicants can claim - that you were shot. I was pretty shocked when I read that. And I rarely get shocked by things I read. Personally, I would begin with the narrative and use the narrative as a vehicle to explain your motivations. In other words, maybe you should show your motivations through the story itself rather than simply telling the reader.

Lastly, there were a few places where I noticed grammatical mistakes and frankly odd wording and sentence construction. I recommend reading through the statement as closely as you can to fix the awkward wording and grammatical mistakes.

Like I said, I think this is a good statement, and I think it's almost ready. I would just make sure to include some sort of connection to the legal field (maybe growing up around people who flouted the law? I don't know), getting as much out of your unique narrative as possible, and polishing the writing.

mmart207
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: PS Second Draft

Postby mmart207 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:19 pm

acr wrote:I think this is a good personal statement. However, it doesn't really explain why your background motivates you to succeed in law. Instead, you write about "success" in the abstract, which means that this could function as a personal statement for any type of graduate school. "Success" can take on any number of meanings, and I think an admissions officer would want to know why you desire to specifically be successful in law. I would rewrite this statement to include a deeper explanation of why you're motivated to enter the legal field.

I also wonder if this statement would be more effective by going straight into the narrative. II'm sure that many applicants begin personal statements with generic descriptions of their backgrounds, motivations, career goals, etc. You have a real opportunity here to grab the attention of the reader by beginning with something that very few applicants can claim - that you were shot. Personally, I would begin with the narrative and use the narrative as a vehicle to explain your motivations. In other words, maybe you should show your motivations through the story itself rather than simply telling the reader.

Lastly, there were a few places where I noticed grammatical mistakes and frankly odd wording and sentence construction. I recommend reading through the statement as closely as you can to fix the awkward wording and grammatical mistakes.

Like I said, I think this is a good statement, and I think it's almost ready. I would just make sure to include some sort of connection to the legal field (maybe growing up around people who flouted the law? I don't know), getting as much out of your unique narrative as possible, and polishing the writing.


Thank you for the suggestions! I will definitely continue to read through it to see if I can make any adjustments when it comes to sentence structure. As for adding my motivations for pursuing law, I have read from several schools that they do not necessarily look for that explanation in a personal statement. I have read that a personal statement can just be about a personal experience that has shaped who you are as a person, and I feel as though that is what I wrote about. I feel that my motivations for wanting to go to law school would be a bit irrelevant to the personal statement as a whole. Given that I am a URM, a personal statement should be something that really distinguishes me from other applicants, and I feel as though I was able to articulate that in the statement. I will most likely be writing a diversity statement as well, and I believe it is there where I will discuss my motivations for pursuing law.

mmart207
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: PS Second Draft

Postby mmart207 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:29 pm

Made a few edits and added them to the original post.

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MrAdultman
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:18 pm

Re: PS Second Draft

Postby MrAdultman » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:06 pm

First, I think this is a really promising topic. I disagree about it needing to explain your desire to go to law school - that's certainly a valid approach to a PS, but you don't need to do that. Read the Spivey posts if you want confirmation.

I think the first paragraph might be too general. Give some more details about some/all of the following: what growing up in this environment was like, how you resisted the bad influences around you, what your friends did, and how you were different. I'm guessing most AdComs' only exposure to high-crime urban areas (like mine) is watching The Wire. Make the reader really feel what it was like, even in just a few sentences.

Paragraph two definitely needs to be more vivid (I'd also change the topic sentence - it reminds me of the start of The Kite Runner, ugh). You got shot! Holy shit! That's one of the most intense experiences a person could live through! The reader's mouth should be hanging open by the end of this paragraph. Work on the narrative: more vivid language, build a little more suspense, really convey what it was like to live that moment.

I'm worried it might lose focus after the third paragraph.What exactly is the take away here? I like the "I don't want to become a statistic" line. I think you should stress that a little more, and give a clearer direction to the last few paragraphs. Remember, this isn't your DS or an academic addendum, so don't stray off in those directions (though of course your diversity should come out in this essay). I generally like the last paragraph and think it's definitely where you should end, except maybe replace the cliche "I persevered and strived towards my goals" stuff.

Also, a general comment, but this essay could be *much* more concise. Try cutting this down 15%.

Overall I like it - good luck with your edits!

mmart207
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: PS Second Draft

Postby mmart207 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:55 pm

MrAdultman wrote:First, I think this is a really promising topic. I disagree about it needing to explain your desire to go to law school - that's certainly a valid approach to a PS, but you don't need to do that. Read the Spivey posts if you want confirmation.

I think the first paragraph might be too general. Give some more details about some/all of the following: what growing up in this environment was like, how you resisted the bad influences around you, what your friends did, and how you were different. I'm guessing most AdComs' only exposure to high-crime urban areas (like mine) is watching The Wire. Make the reader really feel what it was like, even in just a few sentences.

Paragraph two definitely needs to be more vivid (I'd also change the topic sentence - it reminds me of the start of The Kite Runner, ugh). You got shot! Holy shit! That's one of the most intense experiences a person could live through! The reader's mouth should be hanging open by the end of this paragraph. Work on the narrative: more vivid language, build a little more suspense, really convey what it was like to live that moment.

I'm worried it might lose focus after the third paragraph.What exactly is the take away here? I like the "I don't want to become a statistic" line. I think you should stress that a little more, and give a clearer direction to the last few paragraphs. Remember, this isn't your DS or an academic addendum, so don't stray off in those directions (though of course your diversity should come out in this essay). I generally like the last paragraph and think it's definitely where you should end, except maybe replace the cliche "I persevered and strived towards my goals" stuff.

Also, a general comment, but this essay could be *much* more concise. Try cutting this down 15%.

Overall I like it - good luck with your edits!


Thank you for the suggestions! I'll try to be a bit more descriptive in the second paragraph for sure. As for the focus after the third paragraph, my intentions were to describe what the process of transitioning back to class was like for me. It was very difficult, and I feel that AdComs would benefit from knowing that. I think it shows grit and determination, both of which are qualities that prospective law students should have in my opinion. I don't think the last two paragraphs have any similarity to a DS or an academic addendum (there was nothing to explain discrepancy wise, I finished the semester with a 3.8 ).




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