Personal Statement feedback

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

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Personal Statement feedback

Postby jbrown2300 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:13 am

Police officers desperately trying to corral the crowd. Students vehemently protesting, crying out for change to an apathetic system that had once again left another community devastated by a police shooting. I had seen numerous protest against police brutality on the news growing up, but none moved me like the protest of Michael Brown’s death. It was the immediacy of the protest, the palpable pain on the students faces as they marched tirelessly past my U.C. Berkeley dormitory window that drew me outside and compelled me to join. Detached from the intellectual conversations on systemic injustices I was accustomed to in the classroom, the protest forced me to see the real-life impact these injustices have on the type of communities I very much come from. A despaired community, hardened once more by tragedy, utterly certain its cries for change would again fall on deaf ears is what I remember most. After marching for the next two hours, I left the protest later that day inspired to utilize my education to help the voices of marginalized communities be heard in the fight for structural equality.

Anytime I undertake a new endeavor, my mother imparts the importance of “you must walk before you run”. This inculcation brought about my major in African American Studies. I needed to understand the historical forces behind structural inequality in marginalized communities before I could fight it. While course material was diverse, scholarship examining the intersection of law and race had a hold on me. These works inextricably link the perpetuation of structural and racial inequality to the law. Legal scholars like Ian Haney Lopez reveal how intent test, prevailingly articulated by the courts in cases of racial discrimination, could work to maintain racial inequality. Juxtaposing Lopez’s position with the law’s role in Brown v. Board of Education, I came to see the law as at the crux of the fight for equality. The centrality of the law coupled with my insatiable intellectual curiosity concerning the scholarship, birthed my desire to use a legal education as my instrument to fight structural inequality.

Since Michael Brown’s protest my passion to use my life to make a difference remains unyielding. This passion has led to my active participation in many organizations. I joined the Black Retention and Recruitment Center to help bolster percentage of black students matriculating into Berkeley. At neighboring high schools, I held personal statement workshops and overviewed the U.C. application process for graduating black seniors. In schools limited with resources, it was rewarding to sharpen essays and help students improve their applications. I am proud to say some of the students I helped became my fellow schoolmates at U.C. Berkeley.

As program coordinator of the Broome Family Foundation, I raised funds for the program’s expenditures. Over six weeks the program teaches a cohort of thirty minority boys the importance of entrepreneurship. Culminating with every mentee presenting its own comprehensive business proposal, the program gifts all those who finish a laptop to embark college with. Catalyzed by my belief in the program’s mission and efficacy, I scoured countless leads to help secure enough funds that in 2016 the program added its first cohort of young girls. The program now enriches the minds of boys and girls.

Growing up in an economically deprived part of inner city Los Angeles meant the consequences of racial inequality and marginalization were not unbeknown to me before the protest of Michael Brown’s slaying. See, I am the product of a community mired in generational poverty, beset with under-resourced schools, and plagued with a dearth of individuals holding college degrees. Witnessing how such consequences constrained the life chances of so many around me crystalized my commitment to school as a youth. I excelled in school singularly because education offered a permanent path away from my beleaguered community. Education was a means to escape the structural impediments ailing my community, not eradicate them. The protest pried opened my myopic eyes to the scope of brutal devastation by structural inequality. No longer could I reconcile selfishly liberating myself while so many like me perished.

I understand I cannot save every marginalized community, but my work since the protest has shown me the impact I can have. A legal education will enable me to continue and widen that impact through the ability of the law to address social ills and produce a fair society. This invigorates and excites me to become a lawyer in pursuit of social justice.

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Re: Personal Statement feedback

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:49 am

Way too broad. You've got about five different stories relating to the same theme, and you need to pick one to focus on. My personal choice would be a specific story relating to your work at the foundation or your childhood (assuming that the latter isn't going to be used for your diversity statement). But right now, I mainly get a rehash of your resume and a very shallow understanding of what motivates you. In addition to trimming the fat, a few things to watch out for:

-Stop trying to sound "smart." You're using overly complicated academic words and syntax, which comes across as an effort to impress the reader. Your education and resume already sounds pretty impressive, so just write naturally. Don't worry about using simple, clear sentences to get your point across.

-On a related note, when you use academic language in non-academic paragraphs, it isn't just jarring; sometimes, it's wrong. Some of your word choice and syntax, especially regarding the protest, just makes the sentences sound weird and like you're unsure of how to properly use some of the words. I don't think that's the case, but I do think you chose to cram some words through a thesaurus rather than use the most natural word that came to mind. Give your next draft a more thorough combing over for grammar and syntax issues.

-Don't include anything that reads like you're explaining the law to the reader. You're applying to go to law school, so no one expects you to be an expert on a specific legal doctrine. And because you likely aren't an expert on any legal doctrine, you run the risk of your reader knowing more about it than you do.

I think your theme is fine. You just need to tell the adcomm a specific, personal story to illustrate that theme.


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Re: Personal Statement feedback

Postby AnthonyT » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:40 pm

This sounds like a good start and it seems like you have some good material to work with. Like the previous poster said, just narrow in on a specific topic (I know it can be difficult.)

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