Wax Poetic or Stick to Facts?

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

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Wax Poetic or Stick to Facts?

Postby Nycsplitter » Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:51 pm

Hey guys,

Do you think an effective personal statement should focus more on impressive writing, reflection and ideas, or focus more on the substance and context of the experiences being discussed? I am finding that the lack of available space in 2-3 pages doesn’t allow for both.

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TheBlueDevil

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Re: Wax Poetic or Stick to Facts?

Postby TheBlueDevil » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:33 pm

IMHO you should aim to tell a story, or maybe a few stories, that show off your (positive and distinctive aspects of) your personality. Note: do not provide your whole biography and do not simply repeat your resume in narrative form. Within that story, you should aim to write elegantly, beautifully, poignantly, but above all else, concisely (that is to say, clearly and briefly).

This is a personal statement, which is to say (1) it should centrally be about you as a person and (2) it's a statement (feel free to look this word up in a dictionary if unclear) and thus more akin to an essay. You need to give, to some extent, facts about who you are (you certainly shouldn't lie or mislead about your life). You're not writing poetry or philosophy.

Ultimately, the goal of the personal statement is two-fold: First, show something (or things) interesting about you as a person (that is not otherwise revealed through your application) and demonstrate how that quality will make you a good law student and lawyer. Second, demonstrate that you are a good writer by delivering good writing (not necessarily good legal writing, but its elements: clarity, simplicity, brevity, coherence, organization, and, to the extent possible, beauty and pleasure).

nixy

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Re: Wax Poetic or Stick to Facts?

Postby nixy » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:03 pm

Nycsplitter wrote:Hey guys,

Do you think an effective personal statement should focus more on impressive writing, reflection and ideas, or focus more on the substance and context of the experiences being discussed? I am finding that the lack of available space in 2-3 pages doesn’t allow for both.

This is a false dichotomy. Substance/context and impressive writing etc. aren't a function of length and you don't need to sacrifice one to have the other.

That said, legal writing isn't generally poetic at all, so I would err on the side of not waxing poetic (personally, though, I don't even consider waxing poetic good writing unless you are, in fact, writing poetry. Or maybe fiction. Neither of those are what you're doing in a PS).

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265489164158

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Re: Wax Poetic or Stick to Facts?

Postby 265489164158 » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:25 am

TheBlueDevil wrote:IMHO you should aim to tell a story, or maybe a few stories, that show off your (positive and distinctive aspects of) your personality.


This. Think of it as the dinner party test - present yourself as an interesting guest. If you try to impress by waxing poetic, you might come off as a bore and not an authentic person who will add to the mix of the school. Just aim to write cleanly and show them a glimpse of who you are.



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