Personal Statement Samples

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
meerap
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:50 pm

Postby meerap » Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:53 am

well ive gotten malaria from drinking infected water... sooo if you wanna hit up that doctor that diagnosed me with it... thats cool

User avatar
angiejolie
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:04 pm

Postby angiejolie » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:42 pm

well ive gotten malaria from drinking infected water... sooo if you wanna hit up that doctor that diagnosed me with it... thats cool


i think i would seriously question the credibility of that doctor. you must be the first person ever to get malaria from drinking water.

edit: went and read your PS. even if you did get malaria from drinking, i would still take it out, just because it kinda makes you sound kinda crazy. whether it is true or not, the rest of the population believes that malaria only comes from mosquitos. if you want to leave the sentance in, exchange "worms" for "malaria" or something.

other than that, i agree with the rest of the commentors on it. your last paragraph does sound like a resume. perhaps you can give examples of what your Food for the Hungry group did and how your leadership skills played into that, instead of listing all the groups you were in.

its definitely a good start and shows that you are very passionate. hope that helps a bit.
Last edited by angiejolie on Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Kompressor
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:51 am

Postby Kompressor » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:47 pm

Meerap, you should change your PS to revolve around being the only person in the history of the world to contract Malaria from drinking water. That's a very interesting and definitively unique situation.

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7664
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:50 pm

I'm going to call the WHO. They should be alerted that all of the mosquito nets people are donating to Africa aren't needed. Apparently, we should be donating water filters instead. This is a massive public health crisis.

User avatar
angiejolie
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:04 pm

Postby angiejolie » Wed Nov 14, 2007 7:56 pm

3 things OSCIST:

1) correct me if I am wrong, but I dont think that uniquity is a word. try uniqueness

2)
Most importantly, I became involved in the local political scene, and I witnessed a malaise among our leaders in the response to Hurricane Katrina.

that sentance does not flow. they are two separate thoughts, unless you say: "Most importantly, after witnessing malaise among our leaders in the response, I became involved in the local political scene."

and 3) the last few sentances sound a bit cliched. not sure what to do about that though.

and i suppose fourthly: are you applying to schools in New Orleans, or at least in the South?

noftzgermi
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 8:09 pm

Advice?

Postby noftzgermi » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:41 pm

I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice on my personal statement?
It is 3:30 in the morning and I am feverishly pouring over the notes for the Constitutional Law exam that is scheduled for Monday morning. The monotonous silence that working third shift in a hotel offers is conducive to the time consuming evaluation that the case of Marbury v. Madison warrants. As I pour over the details of the case, the silence is broken as the front doors of the hotel open granting access to two men who walk into the lobby seeking shelter for the night. As I hurriedly stumble through the procedures for checking someone into the hotel, I engage in small talk with the men, who appear to have not slept in days. I quickly tell them the total cost of the room which comes out to be $85.49 and the stockier of the two gentlemen hands me a crisp one-hundred dollar bill. I focus my attention toward the cash drawer, carefully counting the $14.51 that I owe the man. As I am looking down into the drawer, I suddenly feel a cold, metallic object pressed against my right temple. My heart rate begins to accelerate and my knees buckle underneath me as the man demands the money from my drawer. My mind races as the primal instinct of flight or fight takes hold. I silently stumble through the options, can I make it out the back door without being shot or should I just give the man the money and hope that he will not shoot me. My life depends on this split second decision, what should I do?
Unfortunately, this event was not my first encounter with violent crime. Eighteen years earlier I had been introduced to the criminal element through a horrifying event that shattered the innocence of my childhood, replacing the peace and tranquility of life with a mood of fear and distrust. On a beautiful spring day when I was five, my mother took me to my favorite place in the world, Blueberry Gap Farm. It was a place of wonder for me as I interacted with the various animals I would never have seen on the Air Force base where we lived. When we arrived at the park, I convinced my mother to let me go to the restroom alone for the first time, justifying with a child’s innocent reasoning that I was a big boy and didn’t need her to come with me. As I entered the shack that was the bathroom, I was sexually assaulted by a pedophile that had been lurking in one of the stalls. Following the assault, the man then threatened to kill me and my mother if I told what had happened. I did my best to push the events into the recesses of my mind, determined not to mention it to keep my mom safe. Fear overwhelmed me as I replayed what had happened, always looking around the corner for the man to return and harm my family. I was unable to escape the event, even in sleep, as nightmares of the event became unbearable. For months on end I slept on the floor of my parent’s room in an attempt to escape the man who haunted my dreams.
Finally, after five years of enduring the nightmares and shame, I finally told my parents of what had happened. My parent’s quickly entered me into therapy, where I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the assault. Through therapy my fear began to fade as I dealt with the lingering trauma that the event had produced. As the years have passed and I have become more aware of the statistics on pedophiles and their likelihood to repeat their offenses, a tinge of guilt has always lingered, as I have always wondered if someone might have escaped the ordeal I went through if I had only mustered up the courage to have told someone about what had happened. It is something that I deal with to this day but I recognize that I will never really know what might have happened.
I write this not as a victim seeking sympathy but as an survivor who has taken what was a destructive event and utilized it to gain strength and motivation from. My goal to practice Criminal Law emerges from a deep-rooted desire to help others who have been forced to endure similar experiences and to help them gain the justice and closure that I never got. While I understand the world is not perfect and that justice may not be attained for everyone who has experienced the horror of sexual assault, I nonetheless feel an obligation to spend my life fighting in our court systems for those victimized by criminals.
After what seemed like an eternity, I quickly hand over the money in the drawer, rationalizing that my life is not worth the four hundred dollars that the hotel keeps on hand. As the two men flee, I quickly dial 911 and within five minutes the Concord Police arrive on the scene. The crime scene technicians begin to process the scene and I realize that I have all of the information on the gentleman who had acted like he needed a room, copied directly from his driver’s license. I quickly print out the information and give it to the officers. They immediately issue an alert for the suspect and collect as much evidence as they can. Within four hours they call me down the Concord Police Department where I am asked to identify the man who had held a gun to my head. I instantly recognize the man and he is arrested and charged with armed robbery. After a long ordeal, the man faced the justice that his actions deserved.

oscist
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:07 pm

Postby oscist » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:21 pm

1) Uniquity is a word, although a rare one I suppose.

2) You think so? I feel that both thoughts are closely tied, but I will review this.

3) I'm not applying to any schools in the south. I am applying to most of the Top 14 (not Berkeley), but I also believe these schools have wide, national appeal, and therefore welcome and encourage situations such as mine. Any comments on this thought as well would be appreciated.

Thank you for your criticism, and please, keep 'em coming people ;]]

User avatar
jbauer24
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:20 pm

Postby jbauer24 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:40 am

oscist- your PS is nearly flawless to me. It is VERY well written and VERY readable. Great work!

The only weakness (and it isn't a very big one) is the third paragraph. For some reason I began to feel a little detached while reading it- possibly because the first two were so catching, insightful, and impassioned. I realize you are taking the time to describe how your appreciation and relationship with New Orleans developed but the description seems a little impersonal.

This is really nitpicking- but I think the missing element between the description of your mother's company and the work you did for it is a greater emphasis and more detail on the personal impact the company (and its services) had on you. If you could describe what you took away from it on a personal level from witnessing the work it was doing and how it made you appreciate New Orleans even more- leading you to to take a pro-active role.

I guess the paragraph would be more powerful (in terms of a dramatic impact) if I came away from it really feeling that you had blood and sweat invested in New Orleans, that you loved the place, and felt your passion for it and your contributions to the city. That you were a part of it and it was a part of you. It may seem a little cliche and extreme, but i gaurantee it would be memorable. You could possibly split it into two paragraphs (the first describing the company, what it did for New Orleans, and how you were there to witness it from the start transitioning into the second where you describe how what you witness enlightened you to how you could also contribute to the city that you love and then go into the detail of what you, yourself, did).

I also think a more descriptive transition between your third paragraph and your final one would help the flow. possibly:


For all the interests I have taken in New Orleans, the most poignant now may be in its preservation. The city, ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, struggles to sustain the vibrant and cultural life from which I have come to love. I became involved in the local political scene...


This is just a suggestion, you have more personal stake so I'm sure you can come up with something better or more personal to you.

But really- as is- the PS is still very good. Glad to share my opinions with you and I really envy your writing ability ;) Good luck!

User avatar
jbauer24
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:20 pm

Postby jbauer24 » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:14 am

noftzgermi-

Straight up- I would toss the narrative about being robbed at gunpoint. It doesn't say much about yourself other than you know the correct procedure to follow after being mugged. Also, your critical decision- run away or give up the money- should not be a decision at all! Thinking about fighting or making a break for the backdoor when you are unarmed and have gun to your head sounds completely ridiculous. I mean who are you, Jack Bauer? ;) It's a pity though because the narrative starts out pretty interesting but I really think you should drop it.

The unfortunate events that happened to you as a child serve as a better example of how you have been able to triumph over tragedy. The way you describe your attack could use a little work. It's such an extreme and horrible violation that happened to you but I think the way you are describing it is very matter-of-factly. I was kind of taken aback by the blaise of the statement.

I think you have alot of material to work with, it just needs to be restructured in a more dramatic presentation. Possibly apply the same type of narrative description from the robbery story to lay out the setting and shock of your attack?

Zin
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:13 pm

Postby Zin » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:16 pm

Dreamy -- I want to add, it is riddled with more than the usual amount of cliches. "My true colors," "face of adversity," and so forth.

You learned death was not to be taken lightly.. Are you sure you didn't learn that before you were 18?

Also, you talk about how you learned to fight for what you believe in (another cliche by the way), and then go on to talk about the conditions at your workplace. I don't see a "value" evidenced here since you were helping yourself as much as you were your co-workers.

MessyNessy
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:46 pm

Newbie

Postby MessyNessy » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:09 pm

Great site! I've loved reading everyone's statement & like some of you, I'm just starting application process. I'll take the LSAT 12/1 but right now my practice scores are in the low 160's. Not very good but I'm still hitting those practice tests hard. I'm hoping to get into one of FL's state schools, hopefully U/F. Anyhow, I'd love ANY feedback you've got!

Growing up, it was near impossible to miss the signs. The signs of what my life was to be. In a small, rural town in southern Florida, on the outskirts of a quickly diminishing Lake Okeechobee and the eerily murkiness of the Everglades Swamps, I know a place that only a select few realize exist. Air boats with gleaming frog gigs aimed high, four wheelers with caked mud fresh on the tires and drivers, the somehow enjoyable smell of a hunting buggy’s exhaust, and the comforting crunch of Saw Palmettos underneath was the sounds and sights of my childhood. Along with this dying way of life, was also the suffocation that one only can experience from lack of opportunities and innate will to desire more. Small town way of life is a wonderful place to raise children and my roots are held in high esteem, but the same beloved place became stifling for my dreams and aspirations. I began living an illusion of life. Constantly stifling my wants and consoling myself with my achievements.

Childhood adolescence although unremarkable, mimicked what seems to now be the “traditional” family. The last of 4 children, spaced some twelve years apart, my life was that of one alone. Parents divorced when I was still very young, but for the better. Father was an alcoholic deep in denial, as many seem to be, Mother was a conflicted individual, resentful of the life she had created. Once the long overdue divorce became final, Mother had new conflictions to face and Father, well, he had more demons to chase.

Life remained significantly insignificant. Like most children of a single-parent household, there were many hours left unattended with few ways to fill them. Reading was my escape. I devoured each and every book that I could get my hungry hands on and thus began a life-long addiction to the True Crime Series. These stories, oddly enough, mirrored my own. I could relate with many of the victims: young girls, starved for love and affection, unfilled desires the start of their own demise. The stories, filled with gruesome details and compelling characters, initiated my love and respect for the law. I would read, and reread the chapters that developed the characters depth and then flip forward to the detective putting the case together and the State Prosecutors putting the “bad” guys away. The State Prosecutors became my heroes…they were the ones that kept me safe. This was the start of my dream.

Teenage years became a constant struggle. Dreams and aspirations only increased but opportunities somehow didn’t….the flip side of life in a small town. As before, my life was one of that much alone. While I did well in school and had many friends, my home existence left much to be desired. During this time, my older brother had struggles of his own, ones that my Mother deemed more important than those of her last child, left at home. I still have flashbacks of her repeating a “key” proverb over and over:

Luke 15:4, 6, "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'"
While this proved the justification needed for her difficult choices, it was not without unintended consequences, as choices never really are. As a teenager with lots of free, unsupervised time, reading no longer “cut it.” I discovered much more entertaining ways of keeping myself occupied. Of course, there was the usual high school athletics, dating, and nights out with friends, but unfortunately, some of the choices I made, affected my life greatly: High school graduation: May of 1996; Necessary marriage: January of 1997; birth of daughter: May of 1997; scandalous divorce: May of 1998. This was the beginnings of settling into life in a small town.

It was here, at this point in my life that my inner struggles began. It wasn’t the obstacles I had created, although a single mom at eighteen years old was quite a feat to overcome, it was struggles of a personal nature. I always knew that I would never be satisfied with the kind of life a small town and young marriage could offer, but you see here, this mentality is unique. According to family and friends, I was lucky to be with someone willing to step up, marry me, and take care of the baby. We were lucky to find a trailer to rent. We were lucky to be able to scrape by and pay our rent. Although I was told day in and day out just how “lucky” I was, I refused to accept that this is all my life could consist of. I took stock of my situation and realized that I was the one who had put my self in it and I was the only one that could get my self out. For the next, 10 years that was my only focus.

I stepped up to the plate and became a single, self-supporting mother before the official start of my twenties. When all of my former high-school friends were attending college and enjoying life, I was working three jobs to keep paying rent on that damn trailer. Then became the realization that unless I make a drastic change, the same cycle I had continued from my own mother, would be continued another generation through my daughter. That was unacceptable for not only her, but for myself. I enrolled back into college the next day. I secured a better paying position with more traditional hours that allowed me to continue working full time to support the two of us, but attend college at night. For four long years, my days consisted of waking at 5am, getting my daughter to school at 7am, work at 8am, class at 6pm, and finally, home at 10pm to start all over again the next day. Although law and criminology remained my passion, I decided to major in Elementary Education because it could provide the one thing my life lacked the most: time with my daughter. Remaining focused on this goal allowed me to accomplish my dream.

Once an official “college grad”, I set out to teach in my hometown. I relished the newfound time to do such daily activities as riding bikes with my daughter and watching her at softball practice, although simple enough, they were a pleasure previously unknown. I enjoyed teaching and have always placed an emphasis on education, probably because I know better than most its’ critical value. However, something always felt “missing.” After several years, it no longer felt like a challenge. I decided to go back to school to obtain my Masters in Reading because this was a component of education that is close to my heart. I believe a school, allowing a child to graduate without being able to read is a mortal sin that needs all of our attention. While I continue to work in this field and educate our teachers and parents regarding the most essential components of literacy, still, I feel like “something” is missing.

It’s only been through deep introspection that I’ve finally identified the elusive missing link: Law. It’s my first love and first desire. Through these years, I’ve realized that the all along I’ve made educational choices based on what I’ve convinced myself wasn’t possible. It wasn’t possible for me, a single parent to attend law school. It wasn’t possible for me, a teenage mom, a simple statistic, to attend law school. It wasn’t possible for me, a hometown girl from -----------, Fl to attend law school. It wasn’t possible for me, ---------- to attend law school.

Now, years later, I’ve realized that in some sense, I was in fact right. As long as I continued to make excuses, it would never be possible for me to attend law school. Those excuses are officially abolished. I’ve proven to myself that I’m capable of destroying every obstacle and barrier I’ve ever created in order to accomplish my dreams and reach my goals. I’ve proven to myself that not only do I rise to the challenge, but I walk the path with grace and humility. I’ve done what I need to do. I’m through living for others.

For my daughter, through me, she will see that where you come from does not dictate who you are. She will see that the only limits we have are the ones we place on our selves. She will see that daring to dream simply is not enough for obtainment. She will see that obstacles and challenges to overcome really only provide fuel for those who will really succeed. She will see that there are two types of people in this world, those who take and those who make and she’s no different than me. I could have stepped back and took what others thought was good enough for me, but instead I refused to resign myself to so-called “fate” and made my life what I wanted it to be. I know all of these qualities will help me excel in the study of law just as they have helped me arise triumphantly in my early years and professional career beyond college.

During my experiences as a Risk Manager applying Worker’s Compensation and liability laws during my undergrad days, and my second career as a school teacher and Reading Specialist has allowed me to perfect my communication skills. Getting objectives across in a concise, explicit, and comprehensible manner is crucial to the success of not only my students but also my self. I know that these skills and my personal character traits alongside the steadfast determination to accomplish my short and long-term goals will assist me in becoming a successful law student. I am no longer held back by the decisions of my past but rather inspired by the growth I’ve achieved and am excited for what I intend to make the future contain.
Last edited by MessyNessy on Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Zin
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:13 pm

Postby Zin » Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:31 pm

retasu:

I know the study of law will be very demanding, but having adapted to life in a country where the ground can quake beneath my feet at any moment, I believe I am ready to tackle this new challenge.


You mean like California? Suddenly the entire populations of Japan, California, Iran, India and Egypt look like great candidates for the law school. I would definitely re-work this line to emphasize the work you did and the cultural transition, not the unimpressive fact that you were in an earthquake.

The tie-in to geology seems a little bit tacked on. About fifty percent of the essay is "an earthquake happened." Trim that down, because you cannot take credit for an earthquake.

Zin
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:13 pm

Postby Zin » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:17 pm

lemoncake:

Language is fine on a whole. Here are a few things to change:

who were sent to work on farms as teenagers


Awkward word order. I suggest "who as teenagers were sent to work on farms"

As a scientist, I am proud to be part of a collective effort in seeking the truth in the areas of our choice.


Doesn't quite work grammatically with the use of "our." A collective is a singular. I would re-write.

currupted


Corrupted

My commitment to bringing about changes to community began when I advanced my social insights and advocacy skills through assuming leadership positions in student organizations.


Your commitment began when you assumed leadership positions. To seek leadership positions, your commitment must already have begun before that.

"changes to community" is both vague and incorrect. It should be "changes to the community" or "community change" or "changes to communities." Any would be great grammatically, but still vague.

and in complex area of legal issues.


Insert "the"

I aspire to bridge the gap between China and developed countries in our perspectives and knowledge around the design and implementation of effective IP regimes.


This sentence is a mouthful. It doesn't make sense to use "around."

To study law is the intersection of three sets composing my life


Not a great sentence. You begin with the indefinite article "to study," then "sets" sounds like too technical a term to be about your life.

In the long term, I see myself take


"Taking"


On the more substantive side, it sounds like you have a number of accomplishments that are not optimally presented. Your organizational choices can be a little confusing. Your accomplishments are rather diverse, so you may want to better spell out how they build toward your conclusion.

In many cases, you resort to vague language regarding these accomplishments, also language which is not very subtle, like "challenging intellectual work," a phrase you don't actually use, but there are several like that. Let your audience figure more things out, and use more specific language and examples. One example: coming from China and helphing immigrants, especially if they are Chinese immigrants, already tells us you are bilingual and bi-cultural.

You have a lot of strong content, but it needs to be presented better, because it is not reading as strong as I know it ought.

User avatar
lemoncake
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:27 pm

Contribute your Personal Statement - make TLS a better place

Postby lemoncake » Sun Nov 18, 2007 2:17 pm

Zin: great comments! i can't tell you how much i appreciate your help.

00TREX00
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:41 pm

Postby 00TREX00 » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:41 am

...
Last edited by 00TREX00 on Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
King_Of_Carrot_Flowers
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:31 pm

Postby King_Of_Carrot_Flowers » Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:42 am

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

If anyone wants to critique my statement, I'd really appreciate it. Feel free to be brutal. I haven't had to write something so explicitly self-centered since I was a senior in high school so this has been kind of strange for me.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As a child, I never recognized any sense of difference in my life. If someone asked me to distinguish what separated my life from my friends' lives I would probably offer a trifling lament over the fact that many of my friends had pets while my dad stubbornly refused to allow such “filthy” animals to run rampant in his house. However, as I grew older I began to sense that the home I was from wasn't as run of the mill as I had liked to assume, and that household pets were the least of my parents' worries in society. After an initial callow reaction of embarrassment to the differentness of my upbringing, these experiences now motivate me every day.

At the age of nine I was instantly excited as my parents registered me for a local youth hockey team. Despite not knowing much about the sport, my parents were supportive as I showed a growing interest and dedication to the sport. Each week, one of my parents would dutifully drive me to and pick me up from practice, and one day my father even stayed and watched as I honed my skills. After practice, as I removed and packed away my assorted equipment, my father tried to make friendly conversation with the team's coach about the positive impact the team and sport were having on my psyche. I looked on passively as the coach seemingly struggled to understand some of my father's words before quickly and distantly dismissing him with a simple “yeah.” My dad, seemingly bruised inside but unwilling to show it, urged me to hurry up gathering my belongings while the coach moved on to the dad of one of my teammates, now laughing boisterously. On the car ride home my father and I were silent as I reflected on the recent awkward happening. I didn't know if the reason my coach acted so disinterested was because he simply couldn't understand dad's accent or if it was because he thought my dad couldn't possibly understand hockey like the rest of the dads. Either way, I concluded, it had to do with my dad being different.

Soon afterwards, I found my parents to be as eager to make new friends in our new home state of Florida as I was. After being invited to a party by a coworker my parents dragged my sister and I along to a house party and, as we entered, I instantly recognized the distinct and familiar aroma of Indian spices throughout the house. Indeed, this party didn't seem any different than the house parties my parents had dragged me to when we lived in Ohio. After food and drinks, the men and women formed their own separate social spheres in different rooms where the conversation boringly and predictably centered on work or politics for the men and clothes or food for the women. While my sister and the younger children ran around the house I eagerly joined the older boys playing basketball outside set to prove my skills to this new group. After returning indoors to search out my mother with the rest of the women I realized she wasn't there. It didn't take long before I found her in the kitchen, visibly upset and cleaning dishes by herself in a kitchen that wasn't hers. Following my family's early departure my mother broke down crying on the car ride home, decrying how the other women cruelly would not accept her simply because she wasn't Indian. Once again, I realized my family was different, and these differences were far more glaring to the outside world than I had ever wanted.

Throughout my adolescence and teenage years I felt a growing sense of resentment and embarrassment over my family. I found it easier simply not to introduce my friends and acquaintances to my parents' bi-racial marriage or my adopted, learning disabled little sister. Sure I loved them, but I hated feeling like I needed to explain them to everyone, and secretly wished a lack of pets was my family's only outwardly distinguishing feature when people came to visit.

Thankfully, everything people had said about college being a place to find one's self turned out to be true for myself. Ironically (or predictably, depending on perspective), however, it wasn't until I had left home that I learned to truly appreciate where I came from. As I reached out into the university and Tampa Bay community I learned that embracing my origins was central to rewarding experiences in my life. Through the ties I have made in my Fraternity and Student Government, I have encountered peers whose extraordinary experiences have inspired me to never feel ashamed of my own experiences again. Witnessing my sister's painful self-esteem problems as she continues to struggle with her learning disabilities has encouraged me to become a coach with the Plant City Punishers, a local Special Olympics volleyball team. Seeing these athletes overcome challenges far greater than I have ever had deal with has taught me to never take my own life for granted and make the most of every situation I'm presented.

And thus, I have reached the point in my life where I can reflect on what has made me a law school applicant through this personal statement. I would be lying if I said I knew exactly what type of law I would like to practice, or with whom I specifically want to work with. However, I do know that I would be elated to further my academic interests while, at the same time, enriching my life by facing new challenges and opportunities presented by a legal career that hopefully begins next fall. After intently considering the prospect of dedicating the next three years of my life to law school, this statement serves as my personal declaration to take that next step in the enrichment of my life.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks guys!

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7664
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:09 am

sandy,

I read your statement pretty quickly (about 1 minute, which is what I think an adcomm would give it).
I think you have some interesting aspects of yourself to write about, but they're presented in a poor manner.
Your first paragraph about your background should be much shorter, and much more interesting. Instead of your intro maybe think about starting with a quote from somebody who wonders about your life story, or just diving right in to tell it. All i got from it was that you've moved around a lot, people find that interesting, but none of it really tells me why you are interesting, even though the things you talk about definitely have that potential.
Second paragraph: I have some mixed feelings about this one. Your religious views may help you to stand out a bit, but I'd hesitate before you adamantly state some of your views in a PS. Depending upon what law school you are applying to, the statements you make might not go over so well. Law schools strive to be a diverse place, and if they end up viewing you as someone who contributes to that diversity, but who has a problem with others' diversity, that might be an issue. I think there is a way to frame your religious views in a more positive light by focusing more on how they have been reshaped and grown more as you've matured.
The third paragraph is very vague: you went to college, lived a lot of places, rebelled against your parents. Doesn't say much and it doesn't do much. Point out some specific instances that helped shape you.

Fourth: Way too many interests. No need to state them all. It really doesn't jump out as a good "Why I want to go to law school start". The high school example isn't really effective. What about tying it in more with your religion or unique background? Also, avoid things like "I have developed". How? Why? It's much too passive.

Fifth: Huh? That's a rather awkward transition, and I'm not sure how it relates to the rest of the essay. You say you want to fight for issues, but after talking about the death penalty, abortion, gay rights, education, etc, I have no idea what you want to fight for and how you would do it or really why you care. What I get from the last paragraph is: The world has a lot of problems. That is bad. Going to this law school will somehow help me do something to help me change this.
What you want: This is the problem that through my unique experiences I've grown passionate about. Show that it has challenged and strengthened your religious views. Make the adcomm view you as passionate, not simply view you as someone who says they are passionate about it.

I hope that helps somewhat. I think you have a good topic, it just has to be worked out and better defined.
Good luck!

Probono
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:31 pm

Postby Probono » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:49 am

Quick note:

A sentence in the first paragraph reads "a academic peer adviser." The "a" should be "an."

User avatar
lmardin
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2007 12:23 pm

here it is :)

Postby lmardin » Wed Nov 28, 2007 3:23 pm

Attending University of Massachusetts Amherst fresh out of high school many would describe me as happy, carefree and perhaps a bit reckless. I considered getting an education a necessity rather than as an opportunity. I was unaware that soon the course my life had been taking would take on an entirely different direction.
The strange man’s face was covered with deep, dark pock holes. His hands were shaky but strong. His eyes were filled with determination and promise. Promise of something I never wanted, and fought with every ounce of my being not to receive. This strange man pinned me down, ripped off my clothes and forced himself inside of me. In a matter of minutes this man shattered my pride and violated me to an extent I had never known to be possible. In only minutes, this stranger changed my life forever.
The day after the rape was as horrific as the moment it happened. I shook violently for hours. When the police began to ask me questions, I began to vomit. My father, a man who I had never seen show any extraordinary amount of emotion, broke down sobbing in the waiting room.
The months following the attack were even more challenging. I withdrew from school, unable to handle life on my own. I was scared, anxious, temperamental, and lacked motivation to do much of anything. When I learned that the perpetrator had fled to Florida and escaped law enforcement I retreated deeper, withdrawing both socially and emotionally.
My mother begged me to see a rape counselor but I steadfastly refused. The thought of speaking about the rape made me ill. I wanted to forget it had ever happened. I enrolled at Worcester State College in the fall of 2004. My decision to go back to school did not come from
a will to educate myself, but instead from a desire to get out of my house and keep my mind occupied.
Returning to school gave me purpose and engaged my time. However, the rape constantly entered my thoughts. I began to realize that my self-pity was starting to affect my life in negative ways. I was progressing nowhere and I understood that in order to move past the sexual assault, I had to overcome my depression and take control of my future. This realization became even stronger after my first year back in school. I knew that I needed to set a goal for myself and law school immediately came to mind.
It is difficult to explain the change that occurred within me. I can only describe it as a fire was lit from within me. I became intent on living my life to its full potential. I began spending more time with my family and became even closer to my two younger sisters. I felt a need to give back to the community so I volunteered with homeless children. I wanted to make a difference at Worcester State, was voted President of the Criminal Justice Club and organized one of the most successful job fairs in the history of Worcester State College. I studied endless hours, learning more about life through my courses than I could have ever imagined possible.
Although my experience was horrible I was able to take from it the ability to see my life from a different perspective. This perspective has eventually led to my own success. At times I wished that my transformation came at a smaller price…however, I realize now that the way in which it did come was so difficult, it ensures I will never lose sight of the understanding I have gained.

oortaq
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:10 pm

Diversity Statement and Regular Statement

Postby oortaq » Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:49 pm

Stats: 3.3 gpa, 163 LSAT
Acceptances so far: UT Austin (Kansas Resident)

Diversity Statement:

I have faced a variety of economic, social and personal disadvantages in my life. At 8 years old, after I excitedly pointed out that, for the first time, I too, was going to each lunch, my teacher explained to the class that my lunches, were, in fact, paid by her and their parents and that I did not deserve them. I also experienced racism, with the most vivid memory being when I was 13 and Klansmen surrounded my wheelchair-bound grandparents at a public restroom facility and refused to let them in while I lay helplessly on the floor. Throughout these humiliations, I had my grandparents by my side telling me that things had been worse before and encouraging me to always fight injustice. With their support, I blossomed and did not let these common markers of social disadvantage hold me back. But their guidance did not prepare me for a life as an orphan, which is what I became when I was 18. Being an orphan brought with it additional economic hardship, but its most debilitating wound was emotional as the stress of having no safety net and no real home was something I was forced to deal with everyday until my recent marriage. Through it all, however, I survived, excelled and have managed to create a wonderful life for myself.

When I was born, my biological mother and father were still in the military and so I was shipped off to be taken care of by my paternal grandparents. My biological parents exited the Marine Corps when I was six months old and reclaimed me. Six months later my grandparents visited and saw that I had been physically abused and was eating out of a garbage can with clear signs of starvation. They took me to San Antonio, Texas where they were awarded full-custody. I never saw or was in contact with my biological parents again.

My grandparents were not in the best of health. Not being ones to avoid hard truths, they made it clear that one day they would be gone and that I would have to take care of myself. However, that truth did not prepare me for the night my grandfather died during my quinceanera. His death was a devastating blow not only because I now had to care for my ailing grandmother, but also because I lost a great protector. My extended family had always resented me for “taking” their parents from them. With my grandfather gone and my grandmother fading fast, I was left alone to face my extended family’s wrath. They beat me, verbally abused me, and threatened to take away my grandmother and leave me alone to fend for myself if I ever said a word. Through it all, they never once helped with a bill or with her care. When she died, I attended the funeral and boarded the plane back to Boston one hour later and began life on my own at 18.

When I returned to Boston, my first thoughts were to the summer. During the school year, I had guaranteed room and board and knew I would have enough to buy the necessities, but with summer that would all end. Summer internships were not necessarily about a great opportunity (which they were), but rather, they were about food, shelter and companionship. I was always jealous of my friends when they left for home at holiday and summer breaks. Several times their families took pity on me and invited me to visit in the in-between times when internships had ended and dorms were not yet open. And while they always treated me well, it was very difficult to watch their gatherings and know that I had nothing comparable in my life.

In December of 2006, I started a new chapter in my life by getting married. My 18 year old self would be shocked if she saw how I live now: I own a home; I have a husband and a dog. Having all these things were difficult to imagine when I boarded that plane back to Boston. I have often wondered what advice I would give myself if I could go back to that time and I think I would leave things as they were. Although I suffered much, I have become a better, stronger, smarter person because of what I lived through. I am far less judgmental of people than I was before because I know I will never know what they go through, just as my friends never saw how hard it was for me at holidays or graduation. I am skeptical of laws that treat 18 year olds as full adults, such as in the case of the current SCHIP, immigration and foster care reform debates, because I know exactly what it takes to survive in that position. Perhaps most importantly, I have learned to value people and to let them know their place in my heart because they can be gone in a flash and being alone is far worse than it seems.

I know that I will be successful because of these lessons regardless of when or where I continue my education, but I hope I will be able to take them to law school where they will bring me a valuable and not often seen perspective that will allow me to best serve all those in need.


Personal Statement
When I was 15 my grandfather, the only father I had ever known, died.
While my family had never been financially stable, my grandfather’s death and the loss of his VA pension was a devastating blow. At the same time, my grandmother, the only mother I had ever known, suffered from a series of strokes due to complications of kidney disease and was left bed-ridden. I spent most of high school trying to keep everything together, emotionally and financially. My intellect and persuasive skills were put to the test everyday as I had to convince bill collectors to wait just one more month for a payment, doctors to try just one more treatment to keep my grandmother alive, and social services to let my grandmother stay in my care just a little bit longer. I learned very quickly that a teenager and a sick, old woman have very little authority and even fewer people to turn to for help. In attending law school and earning a law degree, it is my hope that I will be able to help those who are in the same situation I was once in: poor, little authority and even fewer resources. I believe this degree will allow me to complete this goal by giving me the authority I have lacked to this point that has prevented me from truly helping those who need it the most.

I have spent the last 2 ½ years working in a variety of non-profit and advocacy roles, from education, to politics, to law and non-profit management. My work has reemphasized to me how hard it is to be an advocate without having the authority to take action. In my current full-time position I am entrusted by the federal government to manage a program that pays others to train seniors, in the belief that this exposure will help them get back into the workforce. Even with paid insurance and wages, it is a struggle to get more than 20% of them placed into part-time positions.

Frequently, the agencies with which we place our participants refuse to hire them when an appropriate position opens, although it is “strongly encouraged” in the agreement they sign with the government. When I ask employers why they do not hire participants, it rarely has to do with their skills or attitudes, but rather, it is strictly their age. Employers are candid with me because they know there is little I can do to stop them as we need the agencies more than they need our participants.

It is difficult to explain to a grandmother who is desperate to care for her family that her only disqualification is her age. What is most disheartening, however, is that they accept this as something that cannot change and they thank me for trying. In those moments after I finish speaking with them, I am taken back to my own grandmother who would always comfort me after a particularly difficult day by telling me that I had done all I could. I am tired of my best only being a phone call or a compliant to the head of a department. What I would like to be able to say to that grandmother is that someone cares about the daily discrimination they face as a senior; be it in the social service office or in the workplace, and that someone with the power to sue and, frankly, scare them, will gladly speak on their behalf. This is something that is well within a lawyer’s domain and something I wish to do.

In the lyrics to my favorite song, “I Will Buy You a New Life,” there is a verse that says, “I hate those people who love to tell you/ that money is the root of all that kills/they have never been poor/they have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas”. These lyrics have always touched me because they portray so well what the poor and forgotten already know: it is easy to look at the source of power and deny its importance when you are comfortable. I feel that many people who counter that the legal profession does not offer much in the way of social change feel this way because they are “comfortable”: they have the money, education, ethnicity, and/or cultural background that make their voices count. I acknowledge that law is not the only way to make the kind of difference I want to make. However, I know from personal experience that there is a desperate need for people to take a stand with the authority that only a lawyer can offer the poor and disenfranchised. For this reason I know my decision to become a lawyer is the best way I can make a difference.

User avatar
M51
Posts: 178
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:59 am

Postby M51 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:00 am

Since my cycle's over, I figure I'd pay it foward. When I was trying to figure out a topic for my statement, the essays of mbalmazi and StanfordHopeful (both appearing earlier in this thread) greatly helped ease the process for me, and I recommend to anyone who hasn't read them yet to do so when you get a chance. My essay is for anyone without a great story to tell. It is the classic play-it-safe essay for people who haven't cured cancer or faced extreme hardships. You cannot find a more "typical" essay topic than philosophy, but "typical" does not imply that it cannot be done well, or that it cannot get you accepted w/ borderline #s. If your "typical" topic is important to you, there's nothing wrong with letting the Ad-Com see this passion.

In my essay, I do a few things that many people repeatedly tell you not to do. This was on purpose. I talked about a typical topic, one that does not make me unique and one that hundreds of other applicants are sure to talk about. I repeated two items from my resume that I thought were important, only adding one line of additional detail to each. I added a short "Why Columbia?" section to the end that was only a few sentences long. All I can say in my defense is that it felt like the best representation of me, and this was the most natural way for me to convey a sense of who I am in under 1000 words. I wanted to focus on the tone and structure of my statement more than the message itself. I wanted to present myself as a mature individual ready for Law School.

Accepted ED to Columbia. Accepted RD to Georgetown w/ handwritten note that said "loved both of your statements". Haven't been rejected anywhere yet. My diversity statement was more personal (unique), and probably less helpful to the typical applicant. So, it's not here. Anyways...


Vitals:

- 173 / 3.57
- Philosophy and Government double major.
- Asian Male; NJ; Straight out of UG.
- Typical soft factors, including various leadership positions, awards/honors, part-time work during school, fluency in another language, summer internship at law firm, and two unfortunate citations for underage possession of alcohol.



Personal Statement:

At exactly 9AM, Professor E***** entered the room. This was my first class in college; I had no idea what to expect. After five painfully silent minutes inspecting her table with measured expression, she gave the old mahogany three hard knocks. Her voice was clear when she finally addressed the class. “Does this table actually exist?”

Fifty-two credits and five seminars later, I have still not found the answer to this question. In fact, my pursuit of knowledge has only led me to discover further areas of consideration. Free will and determinism? Ethical imperatives? Justice? During my search, I have de-constructed reality with Descartes, conversed on ethics with Socrates, and reasoned about government with Feinberg; my understanding grew, but I found no solid answers. It appears that whenever any theory of resolution is advanced, the necessities of logic would ruthlessly tear down its foundations. Our intuitions appear to be hopelessly contradictory with no common underlying rules; every pattern found yields multiple exceptions. Should we then fall into skepticism? We cannot, for such a proposition has its own logical flaws; the denial of two opposing statements is no less a contradiction than the affirmation of both. It is perhaps this dilemma which has led to the popular perception that philosophy is only for classrooms and coffeehouses, a pursuit without relevance to the real world.

However, regardless of how futile the endeavors of philosophy may appear, its exercise is certainly not pointless. Instead, it becomes only clearer through examination that in this uncertain world, the process of logic is every bit as valuable as its product. Knowledge cannot exist in a vacuum; there is always the need for reflective inquiry. Through the practice of philosophy, the soul is enriched, the passions tempered. We become able to accept paradoxical questions as a vital aspect of our lives and thus come to a richer understanding of the possibilities inherent in the world around us; the world is not resolved, but managed. When we walk out the doors of philosophy, we are better equipped to handle the complexities of this world.

What I have gained through philosophy are not specific answers, but rather methodologies on how to thrive among these questions. I have applied these various methods to my life as a college undergraduate. As the Director General of the W***** Middle School Model UN Conference, I organized a new tiered conference schedule with specified staff duty assignments for each individual; our club saved thousands of dollars on busing as a result of this change, and delegate waiting time during the conference was cut by more than half. When my fraternity big brother was expelled from the college, I helped him articulate his arguments for his appeal letter; on his last day on campus, he told me that his heart felt more at peace knowing that his case was logically sound, despite the decision of the dean. During my internship at D***** Law Firm, I used my knowledge of predicate logic to translate the sensitive grammar of legal contracts from Mandarin Chinese to English; my coworkers were impressed by the speed and accuracy of my translations and were astonished to learn that I had no legal background. Thus, philosophy becomes one of the most practical of arts through its provision of the necessary tools for understanding and analysis. I still cannot adequately prove the existence of the table; I am not altogether convinced that it exists objectively. But in the end, the prize lies not in any conclusions reached, but the exercise of examination itself. It is the practical applications of reason to our lives that will allow us to better shape the world at large.

Before entering the world of philosophy, I made the decision to become a lawyer. While the journey afterwards may have changed the way I view the world and my position within it, my desire to attend law school survived the examination intact. I wish to attend law school in hopes of finding future work associated with navigating the copyright nuances associated with digital mediums. I am especially excited about Columbia Law School because of its excellent intellectual property offerings in the curriculum, containing a deep selection of the appropriate 2L/3L courses such as “Publishing Law from Print to Digital” and “Life, Liberty, and Liability in the Digital Millennium.” Further, the Center for Chinese Legal Studies provides a great extracurricular opportunity for me to explore copyright law relating to China, and the Clinical Seminar for Law and the Arts allows me to put my classroom learning into practice. My background in philosophy and my relationship with China make me particularly well suited for these areas. While I certainly cannot know the full scope of lawyering without the actual experience, I am already looking forward to applying my versatile philosophy education to a future legal career.



Hope this helps someone's brainstorming process. =P

TheFridge
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:59 am

Postby TheFridge » Thu Dec 06, 2007 1:34 pm

GPA: 2.9
LSAT: Pending Dec. 07 results (likely 170-172)

Since graduating from Johns Hopkins University 5 years ago, I have been working as a mechanical engineer in the commercial building design and construction industry. My life has changed significantly in that time period; I’ve gotten married, my wife and I bought a house together, and most recently, we had our first child. The addition of these responsibilities has given me cause to reconsider my chosen line of work, and I have concluded that I need a career change.

The strength of the construction and engineering industry is closely tied to interest rates and property owners’ willingness to take risks in the real estate market. When I first entered the workforce, these factors were both booming, making business opportunities relatively easy to come by. The recent market crunch, conversely, has caused A/E and construction firms to “tighten their belts” to make it through the current rough patch. Although long-term prospects for the industry are generally favorable, the short term implications for employees are lower salaries, fewer (or no) bonuses, and cutbacks in benefits. Some smaller firms will not be able to make it through, and will be forced to close up shop; I worked for one firm last year that is now on the brink of bankruptcy. No amount of savvy or know-how can save businesses in these situations, and it makes for an extremely unstable situation for their employees.

Apart from market factors, the building design industry is undergoing a transformation in how its services are rendered. The traditional method of producing construction documents by “putting lines on paper” is being supplanted by total building modeling. For much of the history of architecture and engineering, construction documents were produced by drawing every piece of the building by hand. The level of detail and amount of planning required to create an entire set of drawings using these methods was incredibly high compared to today, and the skill needed to translate ideas and concepts into executable drawings was (and still is) considered to be on par with that required to create a work of art. Today, computer aided drafting programs are considered industry standard, and an individual’s required skill level has been reduced considerably. Building Information Modeling programs, which are rapidly becoming en vogue and will soon become the new industry standard, couple the reduced skill level of a CAD program with a comparable reduction in required knowledge of construction in general; many (if not all) building components and systems are automatically generated by the program itself, the user essentially becoming an IT service technician. These new computer-driven methods of design are, in general, a good thing. They streamline the design process and promise to bring unparalleled levels of efficiency and coordination between design disciplines. Design fees and durations will decrease accordingly.

Scarcity of available projects leads to increased competition for the few available jobs, while decreased fees for each project will necessarily lead to lower profit margins for the firms and lower salaries for the employees. My desire to leave the unstable building design and construction industry, coupled with my distaste for the newer methods of design have led me to seek out a new profession where I could put my skills to work in a way that I had not previously considered. My wife, who works for the State Department, has long wanted to attend law school. She suggested that I consider different areas of law that would be compatible with a person with a mechanical engineering background, and this is when I discovered Patent Law.

I suppose I always knew it existed, but had never considered actually entering the field. However, the more I thought of it, the more it made sense. I had already grown up reading patents, as my father has a dozen or so to his name. Working for ExxonMobil, he developed plans for several parts of catalytic cracking converters, as well as a few chemical processes, and I had the opportunity to review these inventions before and after they were awarded patents. I have also always harbored a curiosity for understanding how things work – my mom likes to tell the story of how as a child I would follow the washing machine repair man or the air conditioner service tech around to try to uncover the mysteries of these machines.

My consideration of this field has led me to conclude that Patent Law is indeed where I would like to re-start my career. My plan is to pass the US Patent and Trademark registration examination in Spring 2008, enroll in Law School in Fall 2008, with the ultimate goal of becoming a patent attorney.

HalfManHalfAmazing
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:10 pm

Postby HalfManHalfAmazing » Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:43 pm

GPA: 2.85
LSAT: 156

(What do you expect? Im a criminal)

The current legal system in our country is based on the idea of justice meted out by a fair an equitable system. As fair and equitable as it can be given the constraints placed upon it. The overreaching intent of the criminal justice system is not just to incarcerate, but to rehabilitate those who have been through the system into functioning members of society. Ideally the criminals placed into correctional institutions will have received the best legal representation possible, and once placed will safely earn their way back to society.
Unfortunately that is not the case. As a former inmate, I can tell you from firsthand experience that the correctional system is full of inadequacies and that inmate rights is an oxymoron. The correctional system in America is not only dangerous, but overcrowded. Often times people are found guilty with barely competent representation, and once inside, there is no one to look out for an inmate’s safety but themselves and their friends, should they make any. Because of the relative lack of safety (relative to say a very dangerous country, and most Americans are far safer than the safest inmate) prison time is always hard time.
There is no money in defending people who are already incarcerated. It’s difficult for someone who makes less than $20 a day in the best cases, and less than a dollar a day in the worst cases to afford legal representation of any kind, let alone quality legal representation. To represent inmates, you must have a calling. I have that calling. I want to defend those that cannot defend themselves. I don’t believe that being sentenced to prison should be the equivalent of a societal death sentence. If that’s the kind of country we live in, this country was certainly never meant to be that kind of country. This is however a country that locks people up and throws away the proverbial key, shutting out the light at the end of the tunnel for many people. Unfortunately for those involved with the criminal justice system on all sides, the people who are locked up tend to be poor, undereducated, and minorities. We can either say as a society that the aforementioned are more likely to commit crimes, or we can say that the system is inherently unfair in many, though not all, cases. They need our help as a society, and I would like to help them.
I am asking you to take a big risk by admitting me to your law school. Convicted felons are pretty far down on the totem pole in society, and the admittance of anyone convicted of a felony is going to raise questions, and hackles.
I think I am a good risk though. I’m a good person, and I possess a lot of the qualities that would make me a good attorney. I’m quick on my feet, I’m resilient, I don’t ruffle easily, and I speak well. I will blend in well with any class that you admit. I work well with others, and I consider myself to be a social minority. While you may accept racial minorities, and economic minorities, how many social minorities will you accept? I am the downtrodden, the disadvantaged. I don’t give up on things, and I don’t quit.
I look at putting together a law school class as being like a chef. You can make tasty dishes with run of the mill ingredients. A little chicken, some water, and some noodles and you’ve made chicken soup. Chicken soup is good, and it’s nourishing, but it’s not remarkable. Putting together a law school class gives you the opportunity to be advantageous. You can use ingredients from all over, diverse ingredients which given time to simmer will turn into something really amazing, like Kung Pao chicken. Putting people into a law school class with very divergent backgrounds is not only beneficial for the law school students who get to meet those with diverse and divergent backgrounds, it’s good for society as a whole. Law schools train professionals who literally hold the balance of people’s lives in their hands. In addition to taking those from varying races, it’s important that people from different stratas of life are in society practicing law. If the faces are the same, but the life experiences are unvaried then you have no empathy in law. You’re not going to win every criminal case, and it’s important that when that ship is going down, that you have someone to hold your hand and let you know that everything is going to be allright, because really, it is.


*Brutalize me*


Note from Ken - I wanted to thank everyone for posting their statements here. If you do not get the feedback you want then you may want to engage in the free editing swap found at this post:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... hp?t=13378

nondescriptuser
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 2:09 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby nondescriptuser » Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:11 pm

yeah, yeah... wrote this in one sitting -- don't know if it's fly o' not. all comments welcome.

"How do you teach the semicolon?" My teacher in high school admitted being caught off-guard when he was asked this question in an interview for a teaching position.

I have exhausted myself in the quest to answer the question; after much thought and sweat, I have an answer.

I would teach the semicolon to first take off its cloak and take a bath. The semicolon is far underused, undeniably enigmatic to some. Others mistreat and abuse it. When properly employed, however, it usually separates two independent clauses, which is necessary to do to abstain from creating run-on sentences; it otherwise is used to separate items in a list, which are composed of phrases often involving punctuation of their own. When certain words or sentence structures beckon its arrival, it finds itself in an indelible position in relation to the words surrounding it, and it then works its magic, like Houdini.

Houdini was a mystery: he performed the seemingly impossible. It is not necessary to recount his fate here though, which would call upon a myriad of unintelligent platitudes surrounding his death. To give an idea, Mama Cass did not die from "eating too many sandwiches." Such cliches are precisely what I avoid when speaking of semicolons, a lost art.

I shun platitudes because my life is the exception to the rule. Name another 5'10'' 190-pound former varsity athlete, who has an appreciation for classical music and art; an endless capacity to entertain philosophic questions; and a penchant for flossing his or her teeth, while talking on the telephone and cooking a steak. Ask another Wachovia customer how they derived an answer to the security question on their bank account. Did it involve Plato's Republic and a color that reminds them of perfect squares?

I can describe how I think without losing a feeling of security because I know how to hide my sources (but not without invoking a famous quotation from Albert Einstein). Whether it is listening to Gandhi describe the nature of peace, to Socrates engage in philosophy, or to Arnold Schwarzenegger describe the efficacy of particular weight movements, I like to follow those who lead. My rendition, a conglomerate representation of the ideas espoused by the above sources and a whole lot more, forms a consistent blend, a nuanced idea.

As a former member of a speech team, my nuances have led me to abstract concise quips from their context so as to make them applicable elsewhere. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, "200 pounds is always 200 pounds." To paraphrase, no matter how something is painted, its inherent character remains. I could refer to the famous quotation of H.L. Mencken: "An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it is also more nourishing." Though Schwarzenegger's quotation is more concerned with motivation and Mencken's is more closely themed on reality versus fiction, the two say something similar: they both document the conception that truth is bolstered more by empirical means than by preconceived notions.

As I have been concerned with truth my whole life, naturally the pursuit of law would seem fitting for me. Instead of speaking in terms of aphorisms and proverbs, I could be speaking of precedence and applicability. I am not afraid to be different, and I am not afraid to stand out. I could see myself in the courtroom, citing past cases to persuade the jury that a particular rule stand in the courtroom, and to my left I could find a band of five-hundred angry faces, and my lips would not quiver when speaking in front of them.

I may not have taught that semicolon; but, unlike others, I have defended it.

User avatar
Webs0116
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:30 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Webs0116 » Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:17 pm

Hi guys, I was hoping me you could help me with mine. This is my second attempt, so be harsh if it warrants it. First of all, I am extremely unhappy with my conclusion but figured maybe somebody had some advice to steer me in a better direction for my conclusion. Thanks in advance!!!

=====

We sat there in that same smelly restaurant back-room that we had come to know as our home for what seemed to be the longest four minutes of our lives. We were all there, all silent, impatient, and exhausted with our eyes transfixed to the large projection screen in front of us. We were about to learn the fate of our efforts over the past eight months. Would those efforts be rewarded, or would they be fruitless? Finally we knew as the votes flashed on the screen before us; and just as we sat in silence for the previous four minutes, we remained so for the next four. Our candidate had lost. After the initial anger had subsided, I began to think back to everything that I had done. All the phone calls, door knocking, flyering, and old fashioned manual labor which was customary for all young first-time campaign workers had now been for naught, I thought. Yet just as quickly as my anger began to return, I stopped and began to smile. I smiled because those visions of hard work and dedication suddenly triggered the realization that I had just concluded my first campaign, and after years of studying and political club involvement, I had finally taken the first step in my journey to serve my government, and my fellow citizens.
My entire future up until that point seemed to be sketched out in my head. I was going to graduate high school at the top of my class and attend an exceptional college, succeeding there both academically and socially. I was going to join a great Fraternity, making dozens of lifelong friendships while giving back to the community. I was to be a member of the Undergraduate Student Government there and initiate change on behalf of the student population and after years of hard work, go on and become the Student Body President.
In the years following the election, I would integrate my desire of political action with strong academics and heavy community involvement. I knew that with the proper education and experience, I would not only be able to kick-start a career in public policy, but I would finally be able to fulfill my dream of actually being a candidate. Sure, typical setbacks took place that were not planned. But after overcoming a near-death experience in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when a cruise ship I was traveling on almost capsized, the untimely death of a close grandmother, the diagnosis of cancer to my grandfather, and a home invasion robbery that resulted in the loss of over $10,000 of charity money I raised for a local children’s hospital; all within the span of twelve months; I felt more then ever that I was capable of returning nearly anything that life had served me. I found myself taking solace in my belief that everything happens for a reason. Still, everything that I had planned out had so far come true. The foundation was developed and all the pieces were flawlessly in their places for the one remaining piece of the puzzle. It was time to run for Student Body President of the University of Connecticut.
I considered the campaign extremely serious from the onset. After all, it would take both a supreme work ethic as well as a targeted strategy to garner even support from the 26,000 students on campus to defeat my competition. We spent the weeks leading up to the election tirelessly flyering, door-knocking, and stumping in dining halls and classrooms; all the while attempting to stay active in numerous other leadership roles and maintain midterm grades. It was without question, the most physically draining and emotionally challenging period of my life, but something that I knew and hoped would be worth it in the end. I spent the night prior to the election in similar fashion to those before it. I remember my exhaustion and the frustration that I was unable to muster up the three to four hours of sleep my body so desperately needed. Instead, I found myself practicing acceptance speeches and imagining student welfare initiatives I would implement following my win in the election; all in an attempt, I supposed, to provide premature justification for the hard work that was put forth not just by me, but by everyone who supported me. Finally, the results were in, and eerily similar to that memorable day in November five years ago, I was part of an uneasy silence that was hard to rid.
For the first time in my life, the plan was thrown off. Something that I had dreamed of was for the first time, not to be, and not because it was out of the realm of possibility or because of a lack of hard work, but because it was simply not meant to happen. Now when I look back, I realize that for the first twenty-one years of my life, I lived with the dangerous and ignorant assumption that life went on as planned. Suddenly, I was taking more meaning out of the advice my little league coach used to give when he told us to look for the fastball, but be ready to adjust to the curveball. Although devastated, this event did not hamper my goals; as it was through my realization that I learned to never give up on them, but only to work harder for them. It is with great anticipation that I now stand at the end of a pivotal chapter of my life and stand at the precipice of another. I greatly look forward to the challenging life that law school has in store and eagerly anticipate how I am able to take my experiences with me, not only for the fastballs, but also for the curves.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.