Personal Statement Samples

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
colbytim25
Posts: 20
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:12 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby colbytim25 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:08 pm

GPA: 3.61
LSAT: 160

When I graduated from college, I returned home to Boston and began looking for jobs in which I would be able to utilize my knowledge of Spanish on a daily basis. I found a great position at a law firm in downtown Boston that specializes in immigration and criminal defense. I quickly realized that working on sensitive issues such as political and gender-based asylum claims would be an invaluable experience.
I encountered many depressed, desperate and impoverished people during my three years as a paralegal at this firm. Hearing the stories of persecution that clients had experienced in Sudan, Nepal, Haiti and other countries was truly life-altering.
My co-workers and I often volunteered to speak at numerous community centers on immigration laws, asylum cases and how to obtain affordable legal assistance. One Saturday I went alone to speak at a rally for battered women at a church in Dorchester, a poorer and culturally diverse area of Boston. As a young white man, I was a bit apprehensive to be speaking in front of a large group of women in a mostly Latino neighborhood. Nevertheless, I looked forward to the challenge.
Many of the women in attendance were immigrants looking for help and were eager to find out if they had any available recourse. They seemed comforted that I was able to speak to them in Spanish. A vast majority conveyed their frustration with not being able to obtain an affordable but dedicated lawyer. After speaking for about fifteen minutes, mainly about the Violence Against Women Act, I was confident that many of the women now realized that they had options to legally remain in the United States. Following the gathering, several women came up to talk to me and to thank me for taking the time to speak with them.
As I was leaving the church to take the train back to Boston, a young woman tapped me on the shoulder. She mentioned that she had only caught the end of my presentation but was interested in learning more about her legal options. She confided that she had remained married to an abusive man for three years simply because she wanted to remain in the United States. She had become increasingly frustrated and did not want to subject her children to witnessing the abuse any longer. I admired her courage in coming forward but was also deeply concerned about her safety.
The young woman was shaking as I told her that she might benefit from a certain form of immigration relief available to those who have experienced physical abuse or mental cruelty by their citizen spouses. I ascertained that this woman was unable to work legally since her residence application through her spouse was still pending. Her husband continually refused to attend her residence interview with her to finalize the process. He was clearly taking advantage of this woman. She was visibly frustrated by her relationship but was convinced she had no available relief.
This young woman came to our office the week after my presentation in Dorchester. I pleaded with my boss to take the case on a pro bono basis. He reluctantly accepted after I mentioned that I had performed some research the previous weekend regarding self-petitions under the Violence Against Women Act. I was elated to see this file opened and excited to start working on the case.
After two full days of drafting the client’s affidavit, collecting testimony from friends and relatives and assembling a convincing package for the immigration service, we submitted her case for review. Six weeks later, we received a prima facie eligibility determination from the service. Our client could now obtain employment authorization, public benefits and apply for special housing with her minor children. Three months later, with a new managerial position at a local restaurant, our client obtained her permanent residence.
This experience, along with countless others like it, motivated me to become a lawyer. These cases fueled my desire to advocate for people in need. As a paralegal, one can only do so much. I will use my status as an attorney to help many more people in the future. I have encountered too many people who have been neglected and exploited by various offices and organizations. These people deserve legal counsel as much as anyone and should receive fair and zealous representation, regardless of their skin color, country of origin or economic situation. I hope to provide this representation.


What do yall think?

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supercommon
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:13 pm

Photographer's statement

Postby supercommon » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:19 pm

3.42 GPA / 161 LSAT

Applied to: Berkeley, Hastings, University of Arizona, Texas-Austin, USD, Oregon. Accepted at UA, still waiting on the others. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, as well as what you think my chances are at each of the schools. Thanks!

---

The walls flashed white again and again. I saw an orange glow and knew that I must have blinked, the strobe so bright I could see it through my eyelids. Thousands of dollars of flashtubes, diffusers and rigging hung delicately above my head. My boss watched from the back of the room as I paced across the seamless white background paper. A week’s worth of phone calls and callbacks relied on the speed of my shutter finger—no time for blinking.

I was in the studio of Tucson’s largest newspaper publisher. We had ten minutes to shoot a health spa feature and I was the lead photographer. The spread would run half a page on Sunday in the city paper and the files I made in those remaining minutes had to be flawlessly composed.

As I began to pose the model I thought about how my ideal photo should look. I visualized lighting configurations between test shots, mentally rearranging strobes and predicting their effects. If one was too far from the model, or aimed poorly, shadows would distort the image and the illusion of the scene would be lost to the viewer. I checked and double-checked my exposure—apertures, shutter speeds and film numbers reeled inside my skull. Absolute command of these technical details was key to accurately capturing my eye’s definitive image.

I circled my model as I shot off three more frames. I had been working for months to train my eye to the minutiae of fashion photography. A loose strand of hair or bead of sweat might add hours to post-processing. Now, under the pressure of deadline, I had to catch them all and still work creatively, efficiently and professionally. But I was ready.

As a news photographer for The Daily Wildcat, I learned to thrive in stressful situations. I spent two years photographing students, speakers and faculty, often on very short notice or (on breaking news stories) none at all. I had to setup, pose and compose a shot in unfamiliar locations with routinely anxious strangers as subjects. If I was photographing the university president or a visiting lecturer, I would have only a few minutes to get the Shot, and there were no second chances. I became a focused and precise photographer because of the lessons learned at the Wildcat—it published daily and if I didn’t deliver my assignments on time the paper might not get out the next day. I had to think and act clearly down to the wire, always tracking the next big news my editors needed “right now.”

In the publisher’s studio, this journalist’s poise allowed me to operate effectively on a much larger stage. The paper in which my photo would appear would reach almost two hundred thousand readers that Sunday—ten times the circulation of the Wildcat. It was my job to create a dramatic, compelling image that not only clearly conveyed the client’s message but would also stand up to the mechanical abuses of graphic layout and newsprint without losing impact.

I peered through the viewfinder and found my shot. The room flashed, and the hum of recharging strobes suffused as I checked the frame. I searched the file for imperfections and continued shooting until my time was up. I cleaned, processed and sent the file to layout and that weekend I saw my photo on the cover of the paper’s Sunday magazine.

As a photographer I was able to enlighten myself to the intricacies of an art form, and seek now to strengthen my intellect in new and more practical applications. My fitness for law school is not based in my photography’s technical quality, but in the analytical thinking and attention to detail from which it is drawn. Study at Hastings will develop this unique perspective in a dynamic environment and provide the resources necessary to explore my interests in intellectual property and human rights. I have carefully considered the challenges law school will present, and am fully confident that I will benefit in their undertaking. The academic demands of the College combined with my role as a creator will allow me to make a tangible contribution to society while pursuing the demanding professional future I envision.

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gdon
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:12 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby gdon » Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:47 pm

I was halfway through college when my car became my home. The dashboard functioned as a nice desk area while the backseat and trunk doubled as a walk-in closet. The only spare room was the driver seat, which I turned into my bed. It was simple, a little cluttered, but it served its temporary purpose. I maintained personal hygiene using the town recreation building’s showers. I woke at sunrise and settled down in my car after long days of work and school. The unique experience contributed greatly to my decision to pursue law school.

When I was eighteen, I left home to attend college. Although I had always planned to leave, I knew my plan meant losing my parents’ support. They always encouraged my decisions, trusting my integrity and realizing my determination, but they made it clear that they could not afford my resources and tuition and that I would have to work hard to pursue a college degree. I awaited the challenge of living independently.

During college, I struggled to find roommates with compatible lifestyles. I was busy working a full-time job, attending class, and juggling volunteer work, fraternity, and extracurricular activities. Sacrificing my free time became normal. Eventually, I found my schedule clashing with my roommates, and I realized that house distractions impaired my focus. We parted ways and I was left with an outstanding bill and no place to live.

Refusing to abandon my academic goals, I decided to utilize available resources. Remaining as involved as possible, I devoted most of my time to saving money. Each night lying back on my headrest and peering out my window, I knew my resulting education would validate hardship.
I persevered, adjusting to different seasons. Through temperature rise and fall, my savings balance only rose. I was able to save up for a new place to live. Living alone required working extra hours, sometimes at multiple jobs, but I was regaining control of my circumstances.

The diverse perspectives I experienced while living in my car aroused an interest for studying law. The process I encountered when separating from my roommates exposed me to the procedures involved with contract agreements. With my own lack of financial resources, I realize the importance of funding for the common man to obtain legal representation. This gave me an interest in pro-bono work. My interest in constitutional law arose after I had my car searched by officers one evening. It was quite embarrassing for me and disappointing to the officers when they realized I was the wrong person they were looking for. Overall, being homeless gave me the opportunity to relate to people that are less fortunate, and ultimately gave me direction during a time that I was growing as a person.

Since my homelessness, I have exercised my time productively. I continue to work full-time with increased interest in volunteering. Helping with Habitat for Humanity, an organization dedicated to helping people improve their living, has become more meaningful because I relate to their cause. I have mentored friends through similar troubles. I also became a source of living for my own parents after a fire took their house. I proudly contribute my accomplishments to others.

My car experience reflects my persistent need to overcome immediate obstacles and compels me to pursue a law career. Understanding the world from different perspectives, struggling through adversities, and lending my support to others contribute to this goal. With tenacity, perseverance and adaptability, I can contribute to the diversity of the student body at *****. My time spent in adverse conditions convinces me that my scholastic potential has yet to be fully realized. With a new goal and new beginning, I will devote my time to becoming an exceptional scholar, enriching myself to contribute more in the future.

ready
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:25 pm

Personal Statement Samples

Postby ready » Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:35 pm

Hi, can you read mines and help me...im into it so deep im lost!!
GPA 3.64
LSAT 156

Im REALLY trying to get into Cardozo despite my low low lsat score - ANY help would be appreciated


I close the teacher’s bathroom door gingerly behind me. From my bag, I pull out one syringe, one needle, and two vials. I sit down on the closed toilet seat and with a trembling hand start to wipe the alcohol pad feverishly over my upper thigh. Tears are filling my eyes, and blurring my vision. I blink and wipe the wetness from my leg. I mix the vials, measure, grip my leg tightly with my left hand, and hold the syringe in my right. One, two, three…the needle is still hanging in the air. Why doesn’t it ever get easier? I try to talk myself into it, I need to hurry, or I am going to be late. My hands are wet from sweat, making it even more difficult to grip my leg. One, two, ok it’s in. Slowly, I empty the contents of the syringe into my thigh, quickly pull out the needle, and wipe with another alcohol pad. I pull down my skirt, wash my hands, and walk out to teach my next class. Infertility be damned, I have to teach the five senses to 8 year olds.
On August 8, 2004, I married my now husband, Rami, and moved to live with him in Zurich, Switzerland. This stunned everyone who thought of me as the quintessential, Type-A, New York City girl. Having grown up in an extremely abusive home, I had a mission from early on. I graduated undergraduate school with honors in three years, all while working full time to pay my way through school, and leading various clubs on campus. I was going to be a lawyer by 23. I would work as a mediator for families going through divorces. Looking back, I realize that as respectable as my intentions were, my experiences gained at home and school alone were not enough for me to be a successful mediator.
Being thrown in the middle of Zurich was the first of many unexpected curveballs that would make me an even stronger person. Once I felt comfortable with my grasp of Swiss-German, I started looking for a job aside from Swiss Capital Partners. I contacted the principle at a local private Elementary school to teach English. He was slightly humored. Did I have a teaching degree? No. Did I have an English degree? No. In his thick Yiddish accent he asked, “So nu, why should I hire you?” “Because what I lack in degrees, I more than make up for with eagerness, and intuition.” The principal explained to me that Zurich law mandates that students begin taking English language classes in the fourth grade, and that they already had a teacher for those classes and my services would not be needed. I explained to him that giving the girls in the second and third grades basic English classes would guarantee better state-wide language grades at the end of Elementary school. I persuaded him to give me a chance. I wrote a letter in German stating the benefits of learning languages at a younger age, and sent them out to the parents. Within a week, I was hired to teach English. However, I realized early on that was meant to mediate for a more mature audience; one who wouldn’t keep saying, “But that’s not fair!” Legal controversies between families were of a much greater importance for me.
During this time, my husband and I were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. Test after test, we were told the same thing we knew on our own, “you aren’t getting pregnant, and we don’t know why.” We wanted real answers, real logic, but as often is the case in medicine, there just weren’t any. Now it was my turn to keep saying, “but that’s not fair!”
It seems a lifetime since I finished college. My experiences since then have profoundly changed me, instilling in me a leadership and discipline built on a solid foundation of insight, resolution, and perseverance. My struggles with infertility have given me a deeper insight into what people go through during a divorce. As young children, we are led to believe that if you are a good person, life with be kind to you. We hope to marry our best friends, have as many children as we like, and walk off into the sunset hand in hand with our spouse. I have learned that that is not the case. Life throws unexpected curveballs at us, and it is up to us to make a productive life out of them. 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “We are disturbed not by events, but by the views we take of them.” Infertility has been an unexpected struggle for me, but I continue to start my every day the same way I started this personal essay; one syringe, one needle, two vials, and a lot of hope.

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minneapolisite
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:41 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby minneapolisite » Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:53 pm

About Me:
  • GPA: 2.66
  • LSAT: 171
  • Graduated in 2004, applied for 2008 cycle.
  • Have been in my legal marketing career at a well-known legal publishing company for three years

Accepted to both schools to which I applied:
  • $30,000 scholarship at University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • $75,000 scholarship at University of St Thomas (Minneapolis)

About the Personal Statement
  • two pages
  • double-spaced
  • Times New Roman
  • 12pt font size

*** I'm not interested in comments, as I've already gone complete at all my choice schools. I am just posting this here to add to the PS repository. ***

PADDLING HARD

Deceptively glassy from shore, the surface of Lake Minnetonka suddenly seems turbulent as my kayak teeters helplessly on its waves. Granules of sand cling to my bare knees, reminding me of my last moments secure on land. Just minutes ago, I knelt on the scorching beach, timidly inspecting the kayak’s unfamiliar anatomy. Now the boat trembles beneath me in response to the relentless shore-bound current and my own faltering movements.

I dig my paddle into the shallow muck and pole awkwardly to the nearest fixed surface—a neglected set of planks which meets only the loosest definition of “pier.” The rain-logged timbers yield slightly under my recently manicured nails, and I rest the paddle’s shaft across my lap.

The waves lapping into shore are persistent but predictable; I use this opportunity to tentatively experiment with the boat’s balance. Torso centrally aligned and knuckles firmly clenched around the edge of the dock, I shift my hips from side to side to wobble the kayak. The controlled wobble fails to instill any feeling of control. Several futile trials later, I reluctantly accept that my anchored experiments are not accomplishing anything. I push away from the comfort of the cove, clumsily navigating into open water.

The paddle wrenches and jerks as I grapple with the incessant swells. Inbound waves break against the hull, combating my strokes and twisting my powerless kayak parallel to the shore. I counterattack, applying the paddle as an oar, concentrating my efforts first on the left and then on the right sides of the kayak, laboriously zigzagging the boat away from the coast. I am aware my method is not efficient, but the canoeing technique is familiar and seems to be effective. I slog onward, tilting from side to side with each inexpert stroke.

Frustrated with my lumbering progress, I decisively pierce the water with newfound precision, slicing into its surface and heaving each paddleful of water behind me. I focus on displacing the water neatly with the blade, making each stroke more deliberate than the last. Robotically digging into the water, I imagine myself as stationary as a gravedigger shoveling mounds of earth—slice left, pull back, slice right, pull back—I feel my inexperienced muscles flex until my whole body falls into an easy rhythm and each stroke feels nearly effortless. Faithful to my freshly-polished process, I become aware of the building momentum of the boat. I realize the stability that earlier I could gain only by anchoring myself to the pier is now present as a function of my own physical exertion and devotion to grasping the fundamentals of kayaking.

No longer at war with the water, I take my eyes from my craft to glance over my shoulder. I am surprised to find I have left the shore far behind. My paddle now oscillating without conscious thought, vibrant autumnal vistas reward the afternoon’s toil. The white plumage of a trumpeter swan contrasts starkly with the smooth surface, reddened by the canopy of crimson and copper foliage on the bank of the distant shallows. Higher up,
saffron leaves rattle silently in the trees, releasing the sun’s rays in crisp ropes of yellow light.

Hours later, submerged in bubbles, I gingerly knead my throbbing shoulders with tired hands. My aching muscles and the blisters in my palms are sweet reminders of the day’s victory.

MOVING FORWARD

At work or on the water, I see new challenges as opportunities for strategic innovation and approach them with diligence and energy. My career in the Internet industry—a dynamic, unpredictable and, at times, frustrating environment—continues, after ten years, to provide me with a renewed sense of achievement.

At [well-known legal publishing company], I have developed a fascination for law, a profession even more mercurial than web development. I am recognized there as a leader capable of creating order from chaos while addressing multiple parallel assignments. I have been managing people and major projects since age 14, when I served as the volunteer publisher of a non-profit magazine. In my legal career, I will employ the organizational, communication and management skills I honed in professional and volunteer positions.

[Paragraph specific to why I am interested in this law school.]

I will fit well into the law school’s student body. Though my age makes me a “typical” law student, my three years’ post-graduate experience in the legal marketing industry affords me a unique perspective. My academic potential—evidenced by my above-average LSAT score—and my quick advancement in my career testify to my ability to “paddle hard” in the face of challenges.
Last edited by minneapolisite on Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Uncle Matthew
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:09 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Uncle Matthew » Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:50 pm

No, no, no. You guys are going about this all wrong. They don't want to hear about your work with refugees, your summer in Nicaragua teaching English, your personal struggles against inequality and deprivation. They want prose; they want pathos; they want feeling. Make the reader of your essay feel something - anything - and you're almost there.

G.P.A. 3.71
LSAT 173


There is a creek that runs behind my grandmother's house. It smells of clover in the spring, honeysuckle in the summer, and of nothing quite as much as color in the fall: violent reds, tender yellows, and the intervening spectrum that fills one's heart with joy, for the warm months, and sorrow, for the cold. The creek is death, in the winter; greys and whites and shades thereof, scents of hunger, sounds of fragility.

My grandmother was an old woman, even when I was young. She was a product of the Dust Bowl, and the sadness of that never quite left her; when she saw a young child smile, she would smile, too, but sadly. Sadly for the childhood she lost on the farm, for the innocence that vanishes with hunger, and for the dust, and death, that lurks, always, just out of sight. She would cry when the wind blew. Her face was lined, lines; it was a mass of lines, with hardly any smooth skin. There was sadness in those lines, yes, but also a kindness, a quiet generosity that showed itself in unexpected ways. The death of the Depression never left her. She had been dying ever since.

She died on a Tuesday, without comfort, alone in the house, alone in the world. Pop-pop had left us years ago, but my grandmother would never leave the house that he had built. Their courtship was old-fashioned - those were still old-fashioned times - and they barely knew one another when they were joined eternally, man and wife. The land, with the creek, was a wedding present. He felled the trees and cut the lumber himself, and by the time the house was finished they had lived the first of 42 years together, and both knew - but never spoke aloud - that theirs would be a contented life. There was none of the love that is so crucial in marriages these days, none of the passion, none of the heat. Instead, there was a deep, abiding respect, and a gentle, mutual affection that was always muted, but ever-present. They made love by the creek on warm days, and, indeed, my mother was conceived in such a way.

I grew by alongside that creek. I ran, and laughed, and wept, alongside the creek. As it aged, so did I; as its waters flowed away, away, never the same drop to be seen again, so did my minutes and hours and days. It was my friend, when no one else was, and it still is. I was created beside the creek, and, when I was eight, I died - but momentarily - in its icy grip, skates dragging me down. Pop-pop pulled me out, but the strain was too much for him; he was never again warm, and gave his life for mine. The creek didn't care. It was my friend, yes, but it did not care about my life, or Pop-pop's.

After she died, we sold the house. I spread her ashes in the creek. She would have wanted it that way.

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JustDude
Posts: 354
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:07 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Sat Mar 01, 2008 6:41 pm

No, no, no. You guys are going about this all wrong. They don't want to hear about your work with refugees, your summer in Nicaragua teaching English, your personal struggles against inequality and deprivation. They want prose; they want pathos; they want feeling. Make the reader of your essay feel something - anything - and you're almost there.

G.P.A. 3.71
LSAT 173



I like your comment. And your polynomatic stats!

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minneapolisite
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:41 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby minneapolisite » Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:27 pm

Uncle Matthew wrote:I grew by alongside that creek.


I don't understand this sentence. :S

Ulfrekr
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:12 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Ulfrekr » Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:41 pm

Cycle's done, so here's the results:
3.1/170, URM, 5 years WE.
Accepted: Stanford, NYU ($25k), Chicago ($64k), Northwestern, Michigan ($135k)
Waitlisted: Harvard, Columbia
Rejected: Nowhere
Withdrew w/o decision: Penn, Duke, Texas
Attending: Michigan

********

I could barely understand Harrison over the background chatter of the rugby party, so I only caught the tail end of his question: "…thought I heard something in practice, and, well, are you gay?"

I smiled at him, and shook my head, even as I felt my stomach lurch. What had I done wrong? Had some inflection given me away, or had I responded suspiciously to some inscrutable cue or prompt? I had spent my post-pubescent years carefully perfecting a façade: ruining my posture and changing my walk to hide all evidence of my training in ballet; vigilantly monitoring the pitch and tone of my voice; dressing poorly, shaving sporadically, and generally presenting myself as the polar opposite of the gay man as conceived in the popular imagination. I was a skilled performer in a different kind of closet drama, one so long-running that at times I could almost forget I was on stage.

Until I shook my head at Harrison, however, I had never lied outright. In high school, I had promised myself that if anyone asked me directly about my sexuality, I would be honest. I then proceeded to do everything in my power to prevent such questioning. After entering college, and realizing that many people could recognize the signs of repressed homosexuality when they saw them, I had refined this endeavor. I started making the effort not just to appear straight, but not to appear closeted. Thus, I became a vocal defender of gay rights, assuming no one would suspect someone so openly supportive of gays might conceal his own sexuality. I gained further credibility by predicating my support on my experiences as a biracial individual, often citing the anti-miscegenation suit Loving v. Virginia as the crux of my argument for gay marriage. I tolerated no homophobia in my presence, and eschewed macho affectation.

This ruse seemed completely successful. In fact, I began to despair that no one would ever see through it, for even as I dreaded exposure, I craved it. By my senior year of college, it had begun to weigh on me that I was going to graduate without any of my friends or teammates knowing who I really was. Then Harrison, a younger student whom I did not know well, ripped my pretenses to shreds with a question, which suggested that all my efforts had been for naught.

I could have used his query as an opportunity to come clean, but I had a failure of nerve. I knew I was selling my happiness short for my desire to fit in, but this desire was so deeply ingrained in me that it seemed impossible to resist. After years of living in South Texas, where my appearance, Midwestern accent, and inability to speak Spanish marked me as an outsider in most circles, I was not eager to risk alienation once again. Yet in attempting to avert it, I ensured it. Obsessing over issues of personal identity, I became increasingly disengaged throughout the year, both socially and academically.

I found succor only in my senior thesis, on the system of outlawry in early medieval Iceland. In researching my thesis topic, I waded through dense statutory codices and ancient trial records, seeking to understand the legal issues underlying various events in the Icelandic sagas. Learning to view a society through these dispassionate filters was a fascinating intellectual exercise, and a welcome distraction from the emotional turmoil of my personal life. By the end of senior year, my thesis was the one accomplishment that I could look back on with unadulterated pride. Everything else seemed in tatters, and I graduated in dejection.

Three years later, I stood in a ballroom in central Reykjavík. Corks popped, streamers rained down from the ceiling, and dozens of voices sang out in chorus: the Icelandic parliament had just granted gay Icelanders and their relationships full equality under the law. I had the good fortune to be in town on an intensive language program, and was invited to the official announcement. I thought of all that had transpired in my life between that uncomfortable rugby party and this festive affair. Shortly after the personal nadir of graduation, I finally decided it was time to come out. I confided first in my best friend, and with his encouragement, I embarked on a mission of declaration. My disclosure was met with near-universal support and far, far less surprise than I had anticipated. I realized I had been a fool to carry such a heavy burden for so much longer than was necessary. With that weight off my shoulders I immediately started to grow in confidence and maturity, immersing myself in work, building strong new relationships, and generally enjoying life more fully.

In Reykjavík, I gathered with strangers from many different countries, yet I felt among us a sense of community. I was celebrating rights I might never enjoy, but my contentment on the occasion was not lessened by this knowledge. For once, it did not seem to matter what anyone else might think of me. I had gotten to where I needed to be, and I knew that fear and equivocation would never hold me back again.
Last edited by Ulfrekr on Mon May 12, 2008 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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waytofailself
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:20 am

My fairly blase statemengt

Postby waytofailself » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:10 am

My cycle is pretty much over, and with the only two remaining schools I have to hear back from probably sending me notices within the next month or so I doubt posting this will make any difference. I entered this game a bit overwhelmed and confused (one of my firsts posts here was about how I, as a WMASP nonGLBT, should approach a diversity statement!), but in the end I've done fine. I've been accepted to all but one school I applied to (and George Mason has been kinda weird with people with my numbers this year), but I'm posting this here in case it will help other people.

LSAT: 164
GPA: 3.55
PS Focus: A comparison of my academic endevors with my professional dissatisfaction that has led me to pursue and more challenging field.
Why It's Different: Instead of attempting to try and jazz up my PS with hooks and ladders (a technique that works for many but one that I don't think fits into the focus of mine), I wanted to get the reader inside my mind and demonstrate how law school is the next logical step for my intellectual progression.

It's not a perfect PS, but it has gotten the job done:

Edit: just an FYI: I am going to Wake Forest Law with a half tuition scholarship.

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

The beauty of poetry lies in how it is never as simple as it seems on the surface. Much like a finely woven tapestry, a passerby may only notice the big picture without appreciating the interlocking of colors and the individual threads that were woven through the loom. Whether it is a lawyer drafting a legal document or a poet crafting the perfect transition, both must work within the delicate balance of form and function when weaving the English language into a seamless portrait full of images and meaning. My passion is to examine the inner workings of language and to form my own interpretations of them. While the legal profession will give me many opportunities to explore such complex works, it is two memories I have working with poetry that do the most to motivate me as I pursue the challenges of law school.

I was not always so intrigued by the intricacies of language, but a poetry writing class at UNC Greensboro changed my perspective completely. As will be the case in the legal profession, my work was constantly being compared, examined, reexamined, and evaluated by peers and professors who did not hold anything back. After being praised for my writing for so long, I was blindsided by my first poetry submissions getting torn to shreds by my peers. After reviewing their feedback, I explored works by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dillon Thomas, Sylvia Plath, and others that I had read in previous classes but in a new way: word by word until I got a strong sense of their poetic process. With enough research, my work improved to the point where my harshest critics became my strongest proponents. However, it was their high expectations of my poetry that lead me to a significant breakthrough.

After spending hours dissecting complex language systems from a wide variety of dense writing styles, my ability to analyze a writer’s arguments and my ability to form my own had improved dramatically. On top of this, I found my explorations into language to be empowering instead of exhausting. It is this kind of enthusiasm that will prove to be an asset as I work through vast amounts of dense legal documents during my three years of law school.

A year and a half after that poetry class, the tables had turned and I was now a high school teacher trying to push my students towards similar breakthroughs. While I was able to attain their interest by starting my poetry unit with the powerful images of Etheridge Knight’s isolation from his family in “The Idea of Ancestry”, I wanted them to explore beyond the surface of the poem and into the work’s interwoven arguments and images. This proved challenging, but I relished the opportunity to grow as a thinker along with my students.

A few days into the unit, a principal came in to observe my class. He was impressed with my ability to connect to my students on their level, and he felt that it was a skill that could serve me well in any profession. But when I expressed my concern about students only focusing on the surface details of the poems, he replied that I had reached the finish line – there was no room in the curriculum for my students to read into any of works so deeply because they would not be required to on the state test. A few days later, I realized that following his advice meant curbing my desire to critically analyze what we read in class. Unwilling to lock away the epiphany I experienced during my college poetry writing class, I decided to pursue a new career.

I want to work in an environment that will challenge me and allow me explore my potential through reading, writing, and critical analysis. I thought education would give these opportunities, but I cannot afford to neglect the full extent of my abilities and risk losing them. At UNC Greensboro, I grew into the thinker I am today because I was required to push myself. In law school, I see myself making similar breakthroughs and finding the intellectual fulfillment that I have sought for the past three years while teaching high school. I eagerly anticipate what new heights I will reach after conquering the challenges of the next three years.
Last edited by waytofailself on Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

interestedbyestander
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:44 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby interestedbyestander » Sat Mar 15, 2008 7:56 am

LSAT: 162
UGPA: 3.68


“A woman is like a tea bag: you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”
Nancy Reagan

An executive once sent me the above quote saying that it reminded him of me. He felt that I had never lost my focus, or more importantly, my sense of humor during a period of personal hardship and struggle in my life. I took pride in his compliment because despite having been abandoned by my husband and left as the sole provider for our 6-year old son, I persevered, and earned successive promotions to an executive management position in my full time career. At the same time I was continuing my college education at night and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Economics. During this difficult episode in my life, I relied on my ability to smile in the face of adversity. I learned that a sense of humor translates into a positive attitude, and that keeping my head up in a tough situation was the best way to spot an opportunity. This experience and the ways in which I dealt with it serve as evidence that I have the intellect, confidence and strong character to become a very capable law student.

As a young woman I had always envisioned becoming a professional. Although I was uncertain of the means by which I would achieve this goal I knew the value of an education and earned three concurrent associate degrees before getting married and having a son at the age of 23. At the age of 25 I had begun to look seriously into the future, deciding that the next step I needed to take was to earn a four year degree. As a married woman with a young son and a husband who worked little, I found myself financially obligated to continue my full time job when I returned to college. I discovered that although working 50 to 60 hours a week while attending school in the evenings was exceedingly difficult, my desire to succeed gave me the drive and determination to excel beyond my counterparts both in school and at work.

The next five years of full time work and night school were complicated by financial problems and my husband’s mental illness. My drive to succeed kept me focused on a brighter future even in the shadow of these challenges. The more experience I gained at work the more I realized that advancing my education was the only way I was going to move forward. A new obstacle developed when my husband left me to raise our son by myself and with no family nearby to assist me. This was an extremely trying time in my life and many people close to me advised me to put school ‘on hold’ and focus on taking care of my son. While my first priority has always been the welfare of my son I realized that every challenge I ever faced in my life had only motivated me to work harder to succeed. So once again I looked positively to the future, set my goals, and re-organized my life to reach them.

In August 2007, after much work and personal discipline, I achieved my goal and graduated with honors from VCU. At about the same time I accepted a store level executive position, managing a $21 million operation with 125 employees. My hard work and positive outlook allowed me to achieve what many told me would be impossible. Now, as my story approaches the present time I am formulating a plan for the next goal that I will accomplish in my quest to provide a stable future for my son and myself. I have grown personally, professionally and academically over the past several years and have decided to pursue the area of business that has most captured my interest, the relationship between law and the economy.

I first envisioned becoming a lawyer when I took a course called “Legal Environment of Business”. My interest in law and the economy grew as I became more knowledgeable about the mechanisms of both the US economy and those of other countries around the world. I am fascinated with how so many aspects of economic success hinge on the strength of a legal system, and in particular property rights law. The clear and defined ownership of property that we enjoy in the United States allows for growth in our economy where other countries with less stringent and ill-defined property rights cannot count on such protections as a means for growth. I am confident that the challenges I have faced as a single working mother will not only contribute to the diverse background of fellow law students at the University but will offer a unique perspective in discussions and debate within the academic environment.

Looking back at the above quote, I believe Nancy Reagan had it right; facing adversity is the best means for understanding one’s true potential. While no one ever wishes to go through hardships in life, I can say that I am a much stronger and more confident person for having to rely on my intellect, experience and fortitude to accomplish the goals I set for myself. These traits will serve me well in the future as I set my sights on law school and a successful career in the legal profession.

Talon2DSO
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:04 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Talon2DSO » Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:13 am

Essay #1 sent to 4 schools

One of the unexpected benefits to filling out law school applications was the opportunity to take stock of my life. To do this, I decided to look through all of the photographs I collected over the past decade. There were pictures celebrating birthdays, weddings, and quinceñeras with my family. Then there were photos of the summer I worked on a shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico. Pictures of the many years I spent in the Air Force traveling to Cambodia, Thailand, and Korea and finally, pictures of my current life as an undergraduate student at Texas A&M University. Though most of these events were life-changing experiences for me, the most rewarding photos I came across were those where I was able to change the lives of others. The last photo I held between my fingers was that of a young Cambodian woman I helped when she came to the US in search of the American Dream and instead lived a nightmare.
In the summer of 2005 I received a call from a local women’s shelter in Austin, asking for translation help. Initially, I was excited at the opportunity to finally use my language skills until I realized the woman I would be translating for had just lived through a horrific experience. Like an emergency worker, I dropped everything and drove as fast as I could to help. When I arrived at the front gate, I found it very unsettling that the shelter was fortified like a military base in a hostile area. This type of security could only mean that inside this compound were women and children who feared for their lives. This was not a compound designed to keep people in, it was designed to keep the evil out. As I sat at the front gate, I wondered if I was prepared to provide help and comfort.
Once in the compound, I met with a caseworker to determine what was expected of me and, more importantly, to ensure I wasn’t in over my head. The caseworker informed me that the young lady I was translating for had been sent to the United States from Cambodia through a mail-order bride service. She was brought over to the United States by an abusive man living in Austin. While she was in Austin, she was repeatedly abused physically, mentally, and sexually by her husband and his friends. Her nightmare was exponentially magnified by the fact that she was unable to understand or speak English. Now that she was in the women’s shelter, she was safe and it was my responsibility to help her communicate her story.
As soon as I began speaking Khmer, her shoulders dropped and she released months of fear, anger, and frustration. For the first time in months, she was able to communicate her feelings in her native tongue. I first experienced dealing with emotional individuals translating for families at a landmine victim hospital in Battambang province, but a living victim was something I never experienced. While my primary role was to translate for the caseworker, I understood that I was the only Khmer-speaking friend she had encountered in months. For the next few days, I dedicated my days and nights ensuring her needs were being met. I even began searching for a clinic that would treat her. Unfortunately, we ran into a major obstacle; she had a spousal visa and did not qualify for care at the homeless and immigrant clinics in town. She was rejected because she was in the United States legally. We were eventually able to find a doctor willing to waive her medical fees but the experience left me with many more questions than answers.
The next few days my new Cambodian friend regained most of her spirit. She joined my wife and me to Fourth of July festivities, lunches, museums, and lazy days at the park. Once she was ready to leave the shelter, I introduced her to the Khmer community in Houston where she was absorbed and accepted as family. Since 2005, I, along with Catholic Charities of Houston, have been helping her work towards citizenship under the Violence Against Women Act. While this has the potential to be a happy ending, there are many more immigrants, legal and illegal, that are exploited and abused on a daily basis. Many immigrants searching for a better life in the United States instead find themselves facing the harsh realities of human smuggling and trafficking. I realize there are many more women and children experiencing the same horrible situation as this young lady. Current immigration policies seem to encourage more illegal immigration, creating a number of human rights violations on our borders. While I do not agree with some of our immigration policies, I believe it is incumbent upon me, as the son of Mexican immigrants, to use my language skills and a legal education to provide these immigrants a voice at a time when their voice becomes lost.


Essay #2 Sent to 3 schools:

The first time I went to college I lacked the maturity and foresight to do well. I was so irresponsible, in fact, that my GPA for the first 40 hours of undergraduate coursework is an abysmal 1.60. I was a disappointment to my family and myself. I was so overwhelmed by the feelings of frustration and failure that I withdrew from school, work, my family, and friends. One day in July, I drove to South Padre Island to wallow in my own self-pity. Instead, I found myself entering the gates of the Port of Brownsville to find work on a shrimp boat. It was on this boat that all feelings of self-pity gave way to determination, perseverance, and vision for my future.
I knew very little of the shrimp industry when I drove up to the docks where dozens of shrimp boats lined the inlets. I remember that even as I drove into the dock area, my intention was to sit around and think for a few hours and go home. Instead, I found myself at the doorstep of the manager’s office for one of the shrimp companies. Before I could understand what I had gotten myself into, I was fitted for boots, work pants and work shirts. They were to be deducted from my pay at the end of the trip. I was going into the Gulf of Mexico to harvest shrimp. To say I was out of my comfort zone is a gross understatement. I was a light-skinned, suburban, middle-class Mexican-American working with a group of seasoned, hard-laboring, illegal immigrants from Mexico. These were the men I was always warned about. In Mexico City, these were the men you crossed the street to avoid. Now, I was going to confine myself to a ship in the Gulf with them.
On the way out into the Gulf, I remember standing, almost triumphantly, on the hull with romantic ideas of Hemingway running through my head. I pictured myself as one of Hemingway’s characters on a manly adventure of self-discovery. I was unaware that there was nothing romantic about what I was about to do. That first night in the Gulf was peaceful. A row of lights from other shrimp boats dotted the horizon, making the Gulf look like a small town in the Texas flatlands. At midnight, a flare, indicating the start of the harvest, signaled overhead. The small city became a bee hive. Shrimp boats swarmed across the water with nets dragging dozens of feet below the surface. After a couple of hours, the crew and I pulled the netting out of the water to reveal two large bulbs full of ocean life. With the help of a wench, we hauled these nets over the deck of the ship and dumped all of its contents. This started a race against time. We had to pull the shrimp from each of the 7-foot piles of ocean mess in time for the next load. I sat on my stool hunched over pecking into the pile, over crabs, under fish, and shells, and starfish, and trash. There was nothing romantic about the smell. There was a pungent stench of iodine, salt water, and diesel becoming stronger every minute. As the smell became stronger, my stomach became weaker. I was so overcome by the smell and the motion I became sick. Unfortunately, I did not have the luxury of excusing myself or finding comfort with my mother. I sat in my stool, hands bleeding, working to keep my tears from falling. After the first pile of ocean mush had been picked clean of shrimp and shoveled off the deck, the next load was being hoisted overhead. No break between loads, only work, and it was 4 in the morning.
After the first 12 or so hours, I could no longer hold back my tears. I sobbed as I worked. My hands were swollen and bleeding. Though I had gloves, the crabs still managed to break the skin when they clamped on my fingers. I still managed to stab myself in the palms when I grabbed a shrimp the wrong way. I was pouring peroxide into my gloves. It would burn for a second then the numbness would return. After a while, the burn felt good to me. I was miserable for the first three days and I found no solace anywhere. We worked through the night and well into the hottest parts of the day. I felt as though the sun and moon had betrayed me.
One morning, as the loads were giving us a short break, I decided to use the shower in the engine room of the boat. As I made my way down into the depths of the boat, the deafening hum of the twin diesel engines oscillated as the boat pushed through the heavy saltwater of the Gulf. The shower head was on the opposite end of the engine room, with no shower curtain to be found. As I stood under the shower head, I became overwhelmed with emotion. I sobbed uncontrollably for several minutes as the cold water fell on me. My sobs were protected by the sound of the engine and I noticed that no matter how hard I screamed, I could not hear it. I felt insignificant. I missed being a young boy under the care of my parents, where I knew I could seek comfort when I needed it. I missed not worrying about my future because my parents had things all planned out. I missed the innocence of being young and happy. Yet, when I opened my eyes, blood still flowed from my hands, I still was throwing up on a regular basis, and all of my dignity had been lost. My reality was stuck on this boat where comfort gave way to pain. I stood there, alone, naked and scared, crying hopelessly. For the first time during this trip, I began to pray.
This prayer changed me. I went from feeling hopeless to becoming empowered. I realized that miserable or happy, I was not leaving this boat anytime soon. I chose to become more proactive with my crew and with my job as a crewmate. I continued to pray and I began reading the Bible we had on board. My attitude did not just change, my entire perspective on my life did. I decided to become more proactive with my life. For the next week or so, life on the boat became relatively easier. I became good friends with my crew and they accepted me. But then again, they understood the change in me better than I did. In a very hard way, I learned perseverance, determination, and initiative.
Shortly after this shrimp boat experience, I enlisted as a linguist in the United States Air Force. For the next 6 years, I applied these lessons in every aspect of my military career. Whether it was learning Khmer in rural northeast Thailand or writing the first intelligence manual for Cambodia, I was determined to be the best Southeast Asian linguist in the military. I studied the Khmer language and culture with extreme fervor and, after the initial year of language school, I was the highest scoring Khmer linguist in my class. As I matured in the military, I was becoming more and more proactive in my life and in my community. I was organizing charitable events like a clothing drive for homeless veterans. I was meeting the needs of the community and at the same time developing into a stronger, more driven individual.
Now that I am a 31 year old undergraduate at Texas A&M University, I still look back on that shrimp boat experience fondly. I credit that experience with having taught me to use my attitude to change the environment I live in. I was completely lost when I first boarded the boat, but when I returned to dry land I had a sense of purpose. My goal was not to start a new life, but to improve the one I already had. My failures in school became blessings and my misery on the shrimp boat became my rite of passage. I used those lessons to improve my grades in school and to contribute to my community.

User avatar
J-Rod
Posts: 508
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:00 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby J-Rod » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:59 pm

Here is my personal statement.

GPA: 3.83 State College
LSAT: 163 Non-URM


Accepted: UVA

Deferred: U of IL, W&L

Waitlisted: GWU

Rejected: Georgetown

Pending: Emory, UCLA, WUSTL, W&M

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

Early on in my life I lived in the city of Lakeland, Florida, and outside of my favorite sport, swimming, this was one of the only constant things in my life. After my younger sister died, my parents began to adopt. Soon I had two new younger brothers and a younger sister, none of whom were the same race as me. They came from a combination of African American, white, and Native American backgrounds. Living in a racially diverse family presented a unique set of challenges and often times brought ridicule and insult from others around us. Through it all I learned how to be confident in myself and to defend what I care about most, such as defending my younger brothers and sister from racial prejudice from people around them. Having this self-confidence and being comfortable in a diverse environment would benefit me greatly in the years to come.
Like most kids I began kindergarten at age five, but beyond this, little else was similar about my education. I attended two elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools in multiple states. Having been presented with situations in which I had to make new friends, adjust to new environments, and adapt to different cultures, I was able to learn more about these varying cultures, meet new people, and further develop a more comprehensive view of the world around me. For example, living in Florida I had never met someone who had grown up on a farm, so when I moved to a fairly small town in the farm country of Illinois, I was able to learn about the agricultural side of America. With each new experience, I not only made the most of the opportunities presented to me, but I also grew as an individual. I learned how cultures can vary in different parts of the same city, and in different parts of the country. Whether I was in Florida, Illinois, South Carolina, or Virginia, every place was unique, and provided different opportunities. While these adjustments were often very distracting, I never let them prevent me from maintaining my own academic and athletic goals. I have always been a self-motivated person, and the self-confidence I have learned through my unique background allows me to achieve my goals no matter where I find myself.
Being the new kid was never easy, and being from a different place and culture made adjusting difficult. Add to it the aversion that many people felt towards me because of my racially diverse family, I was often met with insult and suspicion. Having grown up always knowing and enjoying diversity, I was still able to make new friends, establish a new life for myself, and continue my academic success in an environment that was different, often times in the most influential ways, from the ones I had known. And as I went through high school and prepared for college, I knew that some of the greatest changes of my life still lay ahead of me.
When I began college, change was still as abundant as ever. I had to adjust to not only to living on my own for the first time, but to living one thousand miles away from home. I could no longer defend my younger brothers or rely daily on my family’s support, but I have been able to use what I learned through my experiences with them to my advantage in college. Whether I used my self-confidence to make myself stand out academically, or used my comfort with diversity to meet new people and get involved in campus organizations, I have been able to enjoy a challenging but very rewarding college experience. It was also where my love for American political theory and law was established and nurtured. The first honors course I took was “Democracy in America” with an outstanding professor, Dr. Gary Glenn. As I continued to study under him every semester, his ability to teach, to instill in me a passion for learning, personal growth, and a greater understanding of justice are what drove me to want to become an attorney. Through all of my college experiences, I never let myself lose confidence or my composure, and I now find myself ready to take on my next life changing endeavor, law school.
All of my unique experiences and the changes I have encountered have taught me both self-confidence and self-motivation, and I have developed a desire to defend what I care about most. My passion for American political theory and law is what has driven me to start the journey to become a lawyer. I know that my ability to capitalize on any opportunity that presents itself, my ability to overcome and embrace any challenge or change in my life, to embrace diversity, and my ability to remain confident and focused on my goals are the skills that will allow me to excel not only as a student of the law, but as a lawyer, and a representative of American political theory and law about which I am so passionate.

User avatar
sjk
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:14 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby sjk » Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:04 am

bump

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pwilson2008
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:32 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby pwilson2008 » Sat Apr 26, 2008 1:25 am

07-08 Cycle

GPA: 3.96
LSAT: 170

Accepted: Emory ($$$), UVA ($$), UPenn ($$), NYU, Yale
Waitlisted: Columbia, Harvard
Rejected: -

Attending: Yale

After my last day teaching English for the summer at an orphanage in Lhasa, Tibet, I meet a friend in a teashop behind the Potala Palace. He hands me an envelope and warns me to be careful. If the Chinese get hold of it, he tells me, it will mean prison or worse for him.
On the red, printed lines, in black ink, my friend has addressed the envelope and its contents to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Inside he has stuffed two pages describing his parents’ imprisonment for their actions as “political subversives,” his childhood as an orphan, and the deplorable state of affairs in the Tibetans’ occupied homeland. He prays that the great leader of the Tibetan people will one day return.
A day later, on my way home, I travel back through India, where I had previously studied for a semester in the capital of the Tibetan exile community. I meet briefly with Tibetan friends whose families in Tibet have given me money, clothes, and letters to deliver to their relatives in exile. They ask me about their homeland and I tell them that the Chinese are erecting more buildings than ever, the new Beijing-Lhasa train has brought floods of Han Chinese immigrants and tourists, and armed guards march on the roofs of buildings near their holiest temple. On the other hand, I tell them, the elders still ceremoniously circumambulate the empty Potala Palace and young adults speak of political revolution.
My Tibetan friends nod their heads to acknowledge their contemporaries and tell me about a hunger strike and demonstration for Tibetan freedom that they plan to stage next month in Delhi. Their efforts remind me of the Tibetan Buddhist ideal of sacrificing oneself for others that I have come to embrace, however clumsily, since living with the Tibetan refugees in India. Their talk of demonstrating calls to mind late hours in America campaigning for the Tibetan cause, images of screaming Tibetan protestors with Tibetan flags painted on their faces inspiring my work.
Two days after leaving Lhasa, I arrive home in Atlanta, GA, one week before the start of my last year in college. I hurry to the Tibetan Buddhist institute where I work and greet the twenty-six monks living just outside the city. They thump me on the back, shower me with ceremonial silk scarves known as khata, and ask for news of Tibet. I offer them blessing cords from the holy temple of Lhasa, show them pictures of the Tibetan capital, and gossip with them in Khamke, a variant dialect of the Tibetan I have been studying in school and abroad.
Looking at a photo of the Jokhang temple, two monks tell me about participating in a demonstration staged at that very site protesting the Chinese rule in Tibet before fleeing their country for fear of their lives. One monk tells me, quoting monk activist Jampa Tenzin, “The Tibetan cause is a cause for truth, and when you are fighting for the truth you cannot wait for someone to tell you to fight.” Moved by his conviction, I promise him I will never stop fighting for Tibetan freedom.
In late October, two months into my senior year of college, His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrives in Atlanta for a three-day stay. I meet him on the first day during his audience with Students for a Free Tibet, a group for which I have served as president for three years. Bowing before His Holiness, I offer a khata of the highest quality and, speaking in Tibetan, I present the letter I have carried out of Lhasa. Looking into my eyes, he takes the khata from my hands, raises it slowly to the crown of his head in a gesture of blessing, and places it around my neck.
The Dalai Lama opens the letter and reads excerpts aloud to his entourage: “…we Tibetans suffer under brutal Chinese rule…,” “…we dream of your return and a free Tibet….” Taking my hands in his hands, the Dalai Lama tells me, “Thank you.” Then he turns to address Students for a Free Tibet about the work that remains to be done for the Tibetan cause.

Yale 250

For two months I waited with Sarah. Every day I came to her room and sat by her bed. Together we watched the August rain fall outside her window and listened to the nurses chatter down the hall. Sometimes Sarah spoke to people I could not see. She held on tightly to my pulsing hand and mumbled towards the shadows in the room.

I had begun visiting Sarah when an ambulance driver rolled her gurney into a room at Hospice *****. As an intern, I took on the responsibilities of feeding her meals and reading aloud the Hallmark cards her family had sent. I spoke with her visitors while she was sleeping and adjusted her legs to prevent bed sores.

In the liminal stage between life and death where Sarah resided, I became attuned to the moments in which I could make a difference. When her feet turned black, I consoled her as she cried. If she reached out to me, I held hands with her for hours. As she slipped further into a world which I could not see, where shadows were dead relatives and nurses invisible, I continued to come every day and sit by her bed.

On the last day I visited her, when the waiting was over, the value of my careful attention became clear. Sarah looked around in terror, her eyes darting around the room. I offered her my hand and she immediately grasped it. Recognizing my grip, she relaxed. Then she let go.

palad006
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:02 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby palad006 » Sat May 03, 2008 6:25 pm

Admitted: Chicago, Cornell, Georgetown, Hastings, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn*, Texas, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt
WL: Duke, Virginia
Rejected: Berkeley, Harvard

*Attending

GPA: 3.54
LSAT: 173

My mind has a strong affinity for reconciliation—establishing harmony between disparate people, events, or concepts. I am not fond of the phrases “mutually exclusive” and “separate but equal”. When I see tension dissipate between two parties and a bridge built between them, I feel energized and satisfied. Therefore, throughout my life, I have made it my task to be a harmonizing force in personal, community and professional conflicts.

In my attempts to promote harmony I have faced formidable challenges from my own value system. I am continually struggling to reconcile my Christian faith to my academic background in anthropology. My attraction to anthropology stems from my love of understanding cultural traditions. My studies remind me of how the plurality of voices from different cultures enriches the fabric of humanity. However, it is this same plurality of voices that becomes a source of contention with the absolutist elements of my Christianity; it is after all a faith bounded by a value system that tends not to yield to the relative lenses of culture. Through my mental navigation of this personal dilemma, I have matured greatly and gained insight into the structure of cultural conflicts.

Through my leadership positions in college, I gained experience in acting as agent of reconciliation within my community of students in just these types of conflicts. In my senior year, I became a member of the executive team for my Christian student group. I emerged as a public representative of my faith on campus, a leader and a voice for the Christian community. Excited to lead, I was also troubled. There existed on campus a wide gulf between the Asian American Christian community and the Asian American community at large. Although our organization was the largest Asian American group on campus, we had very little dialogue with other members of the Asian American community. Our group was perceived by others as insular and concerned solely with spiritual issues, identifying more with the Evangelical Christian discourse than our cultural and ethnic backgrounds. At the same time, we saw the greater Asian American community as fractious, lacking the coherence and moral standards that our fellowship possessed.

What I aimed to do as part of my vision was to reconcile the Asian American community on common ground that we all shared. I approached leaders from other Asian American groups inviting them to collaborate with us on events dealing with cultural and societal issues that united us. I stressed that Asian American Christians did consider our culture an important aspect and shaper of our identity. The responses to my message were overwhelmingly positive and our communities were brought together through a series of events that I helped organize. The initial event that my group co-sponsored was with the Chinese Students Association and took place in the innocuous form of a dodge-ball tournament, resulting in a huge turnout from our communities. The success of this tournament set the stage for other more serious-minded events, culminating in a campus-wide event that we helped publicize with other Asian American organizations in which proceeds went to raising awareness and combating the plight of victims of injustice in Asia. Dialogue within the Asian American community continued during the rest of my tenure as a leader.

Through this experience, I recognized the importance of meeting people on their own terms. I was not content to stay complacently in my own community and wait for an offer of reconciliation from the other side. I realized that if I proactively engaged other groups, I could facilitate meaningful dialogue and change common stereotypes. This realization would serve me well when I took the postgraduate step of becoming a teacher working with urban youth.

As a public school teacher, my determination to maintain harmony has been sorely tested time and time again. It was unnerving the first few times I put myself in the way of angry students as they screamed and threatened one another in lieu of a fight. My untested voice would waver and in my weakness, the rest of the class would gather around these students, thus escalating the conflict. But the more times I got involved, the more clear-headed I became; my calm demeanor aided me in separating the protagonists from each other and from the class.

Before teaching, my approach to restoring harmony tended to be steeped in careful deliberation, the result of several days of reflection. This way of peacekeeping contrasted to the instantaneous nature of maintaining peace as a teacher, which required me to be constantly on the alert in order to put out the petty fires of conflict that could lead to a conflagration. In a span of a year and a half, teaching has transformed me from being an avoider of immediate conflict to an active diffuser of tension, keeping my classroom and job afloat.

Law is a natural conduit for my aspirations to develop as a peacemaker. Lawyers act as third-party mediators that resolve disputes, creating order out of discord. My in depth anthropological studies of the nuances of cultural traditions have prepared me to understand the nuances of law, and use it to mediate as well as advocate on behalf of others. Training in law will allow me to continue my passion for understanding the perspectives of others and solving problems with these insights. I want to thoroughly immerse myself in different discourses with an open mind, actively challenging my preconceived notions of thinking. As a lawyer, I hope to analyze arguments and take the best elements from both sides, synthesizing them into a coherent whole.
Last edited by palad006 on Mon May 19, 2008 4:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Pyke
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:28 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Pyke » Sat May 03, 2008 6:59 pm

GPA: 3.27 start of cycle, 3.40 in March when marks updated.
LSAT: 166 June, 163 Sept.

U.S.:
Admitted: Minnesota ($5k/yr), UIUC ($25k/yr), W&L ($11k/yr), Indiana Bloomington ($14k/yr), Utah, Houston, Temple ($12k/yr), Miami ($23k/yr), Lewis & Clark ($17k/yr)
Waitlist: Virginia, UCLA, Vanderbilt, WUSTL, GWU, Colorado
Reject: Harvard, NYU, Columbia, Chicago, Penn, Michigan (Defer/Reject), Duke, Northwestern, Cornell (Defer/Reject), Georgetown, George Mason
W/D: W&M.

Canada:
Admitted: Toronto, Western ($5k/yr)
W/D: Queens, Ottawa

Attending:
Toronto.
-=-=-

P.S.:

There I was, sitting in the play structure, overweight, with glasses on my face, wanting
desperately for someone, anyone, to come play euchre with me. I had seen my parents playing it, and
wanted to play myself. No one did, as the other six year olds were satisfied with just playing in the
sand. I must have made quite a sight, all alone, with my glasses and deck of cards. I suppose it is not
surprising I never really fit in.

I was simply different, and thus, I was an easy target. I suppose in retrospect, I may as well
have been waving a red cape in front of a raging bull. I was severely bullied. Children can be cruel, and
I came home in tears for many years. Eventually, I had to see a psychiatrist, meeting with her in the
living room of her home. I recall overhearing the exchange with my parents afterwards, where she
indicated that if I remained in the school, I would be emotionally destroyed. As a result, at the
Christmas break of that year, I changed schools.

I was removed from the flame, but in many ways, the damage had already been done. I sealed
myself up, because it was easier than to risk being hurt again. My self-esteem was in large part
destroyed. I let myself believe that it was alright to be treated as less than human. My few forays into
the life of normal teenagers were met with repulsion, and so I withdrew. I decided to devote my
attentions instead to an online game, called Utopia. People couldn’t see who I was, my physical
appearance didn’t matter, and I could just be myself. I did stunningly well. I rose through the game’s
society of a hundred thousand players, becoming a leader of a team with players looking up to me as a
role model, in a way they never did in the real world.

I began to be more confident in my abilities. Although my self-esteem wasn’t repaired, I did
begin to feel as though on an academic level, I could make a difference. The result was that I spent
hours devoting myself to helping others with assignments and projects, relationships, and crises. I tried
to make sure that I could be there for others, as I knew what it was like to face the storm alone, and on
some levels, because the kindness I received in return was worth so much.

When I began my undergraduate degree, I expected things to remain the same. I figured people
would only accept my mind while rejecting who I was. I suppose it all changed when a teaching
assistant, Warren Tam, came up to me. He told me how much my helping people in the class had
meant, and that they had come to thank him. He thanked me for that. That my help had meant so much,
helped make me feel better about myself. The fact that the girls in the class showed their affection with
simple gestures like hugs reaffirmed my humanity as well. I decided that I didn’t want to just be on the
outside looking in anymore. I wanted to be involved.

I started small, with a marking contract and proctoring some exams. I became more
comfortable with working in groups and more organized. I did a good job, and I made the Dean’s List
for the first time. My self confidence continued to grow. During this past summer, I applied to be a
Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Business Management, one of the most prestigious positions in
my faculty, because they are chosen among the best, brightest, and most involved students, to be role
models for the first year students. I was ecstatic that I was selected for the position. With my
confidence higher than it had ever been, I decided to try out for the very extravert oriented Jeux du
Commerce, a bilingual commerce competition where thirteen universities submit delegations of
students for academic cases, sporting events and social challenges. I was stunned and overjoyed when I
discovered I had earned a spot on the three member Business Ethics Case Competition team in the
academic part of the competition. For the first time, I feel like I’m an active part of the school
community, inside and outside of the classroom, and am proud of how far I have come.

I’m no longer the child in that play structure from all those years ago. I’m a caring, loyal,
intelligent, honest, and open individual. I know what it takes to succeed, I am confident in myself, and
I know how others should be treated. I have become a better, more complete person. The damage that I
suffered all those years ago has slowly healed, and in its place, the real me has been left behind. Going
into tomorrow, I have realized that it will be this person that I really am, and nothing else, that will
define my future; and with this, I am confident that I will succeed.

granfalloon
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:24 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby granfalloon » Fri May 23, 2008 1:33 pm

...
Last edited by granfalloon on Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

standtriumphant
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:46 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby standtriumphant » Mon May 26, 2008 5:12 am

bump


more more more

ml1987
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:35 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby ml1987 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 11:38 am

Hi, just wondering what everyone thinks about this...obviously tailored to Berkeley but I was hoping to use this general essay/idea (cut down in length for other schools) for all my applications. Be brutal! Thanks.


********************************************************************************************************
In early October of 2007, I followed a string of fiery exchanges in the xxx Daily between students, professors, and outside observers over “Islamofascism Awareness Week.” Sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center and designed to foster discussions on terrorism among college students, the weeklong symposium represented a point of conflict for members of the xxx community. While some argued that the week perpetuated a prejudiced ideology, others questioned whether protestors were committed to protecting the United States from an existential threat.
However, removed from the center of the controversy, I saw both sides as dancing around the real issue. Arguing for the sake of arguing, they were neither discussing the big ideas nor developing a useful, nuanced understanding of today’s security challenges. Although I was in Australia at the time, I considered the matter too important to stay silent. I emailed an article to the paper’s editorial board and it was published soon thereafter, arousing both praise and critique.
As my central thesis, I posited that, because al-Qaeda-style terrorism cloaks its violence in a perverse militarized version of religion, Muslims must take the lead in resolving a growing crisis within the global Islamic community. A week later, a professor responded with a letter to the editor denouncing me as “Islamophobic”—a hot-button term designed, in my opinion, to stifle debate and discredit ideas without dealing with their substance.
Though thousands of miles away from Boston, I quickly embraced the opportunity to defend both my arguments and my intentions. And, despite the late hour, I did not feel the slightest bit of exhaustion in doing so. To the contrary, I was energized, focused, and thinking clearly. Unable to wait until morning, I eagerly reflected on my thoughts, reexamined my assumptions, and faced the professor’s substantive points head-on. Like a jolt to my system, the opportunity to craft a cohesive argument out of myriad competing thoughts brought me alive when most of Australia was fast asleep. After several hours of work, I concluded that being pigeonholed was a small price to pay for “unabashedly facing the realities of international terrorism” and urging Muslims to reclaim Islam from those who fly a false banner of religiosity in perpetrating their violence. Looking back, the moment I sent in this article was the culmination of my transformation over the last three years.
When I entered xxx University, I was not sure what I was supposed to accomplish as an undergraduate. The advice I received was far from uniform, generally separating into two camps. There were those who said, “Find something you like and stick with it,” while others argued, “Try everything, and do not limit yourself to anything.” Unfortunately, much of my first year was spent stumbling in the proverbial dark. I enrolled in classes without thinking about which topics I could connect to personally and I began to consider xxx a means to some vague professional end.
Yet, as time passed, my initial perspective gave way to a more mature and productive outlook. Acclimating myself to the college environment, engaging more seriously with my coursework, and cultivating meaningful relationships with peers and professors, I began to understand where I fit in and how best to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by my university. Despite my early uncertainty, I gradually discovered and subsequently pursued my interests in American domestic politics, international relations theory, and U.S. Middle Eastern foreign policy. And, in the process of fully applying myself, I realized that law school was in my future.
My time in college has taught me that, first and foremost, I thrive when intellectually challenged. Furthermore, if I have developed a passion over the last three years, it is navigating problems with others who share my enthusiasm, even if they disagree with my viewpoint. Indeed, some of my fondest memories of xxx include seminars with my advisor and political science professor yyy. Whether debating post-September 11th U.S. foreign policy or anti-Semitism in the context of American-Israeli relations, we consistently found ourselves at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum. Yet, despite our divergent views, I had the richest discussions of my college years in Professor yyy’s classes. Not only did I gain a greater appreciation of the logic underpinning his arguments, but also, I was able to formulate and better understand my own political philosophy as a result of our conversations.
Therefore, in light of my interests, character, and goals, I am naturally drawn to the law school experience. At xxx, I have benefited from an interdisciplinary education and delved into subjects as diverse as neoconservative political theory, macroeconomics in developing countries, social psychology, and acting. Thus, in seeking to keep with this trend, I look forward to engaging legal issues that require a breadth of knowledge and the fusion of theory and practicality.
With this goal in mind, and given my research and meetings with professors, I view the University of California Berkeley School of Law as the ideal learning environment—conducive to constructive debate and demanding clear but complex thinking. More specifically, Boalt’s International Legal Studies Program Hall converges perfectly with my academic penchants for international affairs and law. The program’s curriculum, which entails courses such as The World Trading System and Regional Economic Integration, Law of War/International Humanitarian Law, and International Aspects of Intellectual Property Law, is unparalleled in its comprehensive yet flexible treatment of international law. If granted admission to Boalt Hall, I intend to take full advantage of the International Legal Studies Program and to utilize my political science background in exploring the growing challenges of practicing law in an increasingly globalized world.
While I am sure of my desire to attend law school, I cannot ultimately say where it will take me. I can see myself gravitating to “big law,” public interest, government service, and in-house representation respectively. What I do know, however, is that I can and would excel at UC Berkeley School of Law. I am certain that I will lend unique perspective, passion, and voice to my class. And, I am confident that a legal education from your school will formatively impact my personal and professional evolutions for the better. Thank you very much.

User avatar
olympia1000
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby olympia1000 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:29 pm

Tear apart please. First draft, wrote it in about an hour, just want to know if I'm on the right track.
PS: I left out the name of my employers to protect the innocent. ;)

The early morning light flooded the studio as I nervously began to unpack over a quarter of a million dollars worth of product onto eight consecutive tables. I knew I had to move with speed and precision. It was 7:30 AM, and every glass, vase and blanc de chine figurine needed to be on display, labeled and its packaging neatly stored by the time the photo-shoot began at 10 AM. Most importantly, nothing could be broken. My hands trembled as I unpacked Baccarat pieces worth more than my yearly salary, but I moved quickly and by the time the photographer and stylist were ready to begin, everything was in its place.
It was my first photo-shoot as the decorating intern for the XYZ Magazine. I was excited, eager and extremely oblivious. Having landed such a coveted position – an 8 month paid internship acting as the department’s assistant –I was ready to contribute and absorb as much as I could from those around me. Little did I know that at photo shoots I was to be like a child in a strict household: seen and not heard.
I’ve always been curious, and eager to learn, perhaps to a fault. I want know not just the cause of the effect, I want to understand why the whole process has occurred. As a result, not knowing the politics of my environment, I politely asked editors questions during the down time. “What makes that shot ‘organic’”? “Why did you select those pieces for the table vignette?” I quickly deduced that I would better off observing as much as I could, taking notes, and asking questions later.
Even after I outgrew the role of intern and became a full-fledged Editorial Assistant at ABC magazine, I still wanted to understand as much as I could about the industry and to grow within my position. I knew I needed to work on more challenging projects to move ahead, and I also knew wouldn’t received them unless I asked. Six months later my persistence paid off. I was rewarded with my first byline: an article about mess makeovers – which was fairly ironic considering I am the queen of clutter.
In the last four years as I’ve slowly climbed the editorial ladder I’ve consistently demonstrated curiosity, a love of learning, ambition and the desire to challenge myself - all qualities I believe are essential to excelling in the study of law. Though working in the magazine industry has been exciting, and at times glamorous, I want to work in a field where the fruits of my labor are felt more deeply than a set of bound pages that will eventually find their way to the trash. I want to work in a field that makes a difference in my life as well as others. I know law is that field. I hope that you will allow me the opportunity and privilege to spend the next three years studying, learning and continuing to challenge myself at ABCXYZ University.

User avatar
JustDude
Posts: 354
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:07 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:47 pm

olympia1000 wrote:Tear apart please. First draft, wrote it in about an hour, just want to know if I'm on the right track.
PS: I left out the name of my employers to protect the innocent. ;)

The early morning light flooded the studio as I nervously began to unpack over a quarter of a million dollars worth of product onto eight consecutive tables. I knew I had to move with speed and precision. It was 7:30 AM, and every glass, vase and blanc de chine figurine needed to be on display, labeled and its packaging neatly stored by the time the photo-shoot began at 10 AM. Most importantly, nothing could be broken. My hands trembled as I unpacked Baccarat pieces worth more than my yearly salary, but I moved quickly and by the time the photographer and stylist were ready to begin, everything was in its place.
It was my first photo-shoot as the decorating intern for the XYZ Magazine. I was excited, eager and extremely oblivious. Having landed such a coveted position – an 8 month paid internship acting as the department’s assistant –I was ready to contribute and absorb as much as I could from those around me. Little did I know that at photo shoots I was to be like a child in a strict household: seen and not heard.
I’ve always been curious, and eager to learn, perhaps to a fault. I want know not just the cause of the effect, I want to understand why the whole process has occurred. As a result, not knowing the politics of my environment, I politely asked editors questions during the down time. “What makes that shot ‘organic’”? “Why did you select those pieces for the table vignette?” I quickly deduced that I would better off observing as much as I could, taking notes, and asking questions later.
Even after I outgrew the role of intern and became a full-fledged Editorial Assistant at ABC magazine, I still wanted to understand as much as I could about the industry and to grow within my position. I knew I needed to work on more challenging projects to move ahead, and I also knew wouldn’t received them unless I asked. Six months later my persistence paid off. I was rewarded with my first byline: an article about mess makeovers – which was fairly ironic considering I am the queen of clutter.
In the last four years as I’ve slowly climbed the editorial ladder I’ve consistently demonstrated curiosity, a love of learning, ambition and the desire to challenge myself - all qualities I believe are essential to excelling in the study of law. Though working in the magazine industry has been exciting, and at times glamorous, I want to work in a field where the fruits of my labor are felt more deeply than a set of bound pages that will eventually find their way to the trash. I want to work in a field that makes a difference in my life as well as others. I know law is that field. I hope that you will allow me the opportunity and privilege to spend the next three years studying, learning and continuing to challenge myself at ABCXYZ University.





What are you trying to say??? Innutshell: I was a photographer. Yep. And now I am a LAWER!!! Hoorayyyyy!

User avatar
olympia1000
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby olympia1000 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:06 pm

JustDude wrote:
olympia1000 wrote:Tear apart please. First draft, wrote it in about an hour, just want to know if I'm on the right track.
PS: I left out the name of my employers to protect the innocent. ;)

The early morning light flooded the studio as I nervously began to unpack over a quarter of a million dollars worth of product onto eight consecutive tables. I knew I had to move with speed and precision. It was 7:30 AM, and every glass, vase and blanc de chine figurine needed to be on display, labeled and its packaging neatly stored by the time the photo-shoot began at 10 AM. Most importantly, nothing could be broken. My hands trembled as I unpacked Baccarat pieces worth more than my yearly salary, but I moved quickly and by the time the photographer and stylist were ready to begin, everything was in its place.
It was my first photo-shoot as the decorating intern for the XYZ Magazine. I was excited, eager and extremely oblivious. Having landed such a coveted position – an 8 month paid internship acting as the department’s assistant –I was ready to contribute and absorb as much as I could from those around me. Little did I know that at photo shoots I was to be like a child in a strict household: seen and not heard.
I’ve always been curious, and eager to learn, perhaps to a fault. I want know not just the cause of the effect, I want to understand why the whole process has occurred. As a result, not knowing the politics of my environment, I politely asked editors questions during the down time. “What makes that shot ‘organic’”? “Why did you select those pieces for the table vignette?” I quickly deduced that I would better off observing as much as I could, taking notes, and asking questions later.
Even after I outgrew the role of intern and became a full-fledged Editorial Assistant at ABC magazine, I still wanted to understand as much as I could about the industry and to grow within my position. I knew I needed to work on more challenging projects to move ahead, and I also knew wouldn’t received them unless I asked. Six months later my persistence paid off. I was rewarded with my first byline: an article about mess makeovers – which was fairly ironic considering I am the queen of clutter.
In the last four years as I’ve slowly climbed the editorial ladder I’ve consistently demonstrated curiosity, a love of learning, ambition and the desire to challenge myself - all qualities I believe are essential to excelling in the study of law. Though working in the magazine industry has been exciting, and at times glamorous, I want to work in a field where the fruits of my labor are felt more deeply than a set of bound pages that will eventually find their way to the trash. I want to work in a field that makes a difference in my life as well as others. I know law is that field. I hope that you will allow me the opportunity and privilege to spend the next three years studying, learning and continuing to challenge myself at ABCXYZ University.





What are you trying to say??? Innutshell: I was a photographer. Yep. And now I am a LAWER!!! Hoorayyyyy!


Hey Dude, thanks so much for the constructive comments on my writing. They really helped to improve the piece. I'm so glad you read it carefully enough to deduce that I work with photographers and am not one. I'm sure your close attention to detail will ensure that you are going to make a great LAWER too! Can't wait to return the favor!

User avatar
badfish
Posts: 1160
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:53 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby badfish » Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:12 pm

olympia1000 wrote:
JustDude wrote:
olympia1000 wrote:Tear apart please. First draft, wrote it in about an hour, just want to know if I'm on the right track.
PS: I left out the name of my employers to protect the innocent. ;)

The early morning light flooded the studio as I nervously began to unpack over a quarter of a million dollars worth of product onto eight consecutive tables. I knew I had to move with speed and precision. It was 7:30 AM, and every glass, vase and blanc de chine figurine needed to be on display, labeled and its packaging neatly stored by the time the photo-shoot began at 10 AM. Most importantly, nothing could be broken. My hands trembled as I unpacked Baccarat pieces worth more than my yearly salary, but I moved quickly and by the time the photographer and stylist were ready to begin, everything was in its place.
It was my first photo-shoot as the decorating intern for the XYZ Magazine. I was excited, eager and extremely oblivious. Having landed such a coveted position – an 8 month paid internship acting as the department’s assistant –I was ready to contribute and absorb as much as I could from those around me. Little did I know that at photo shoots I was to be like a child in a strict household: seen and not heard.
I’ve always been curious, and eager to learn, perhaps to a fault. I want know not just the cause of the effect, I want to understand why the whole process has occurred. As a result, not knowing the politics of my environment, I politely asked editors questions during the down time. “What makes that shot ‘organic’”? “Why did you select those pieces for the table vignette?” I quickly deduced that I would better off observing as much as I could, taking notes, and asking questions later.
Even after I outgrew the role of intern and became a full-fledged Editorial Assistant at ABC magazine, I still wanted to understand as much as I could about the industry and to grow within my position. I knew I needed to work on more challenging projects to move ahead, and I also knew wouldn’t received them unless I asked. Six months later my persistence paid off. I was rewarded with my first byline: an article about mess makeovers – which was fairly ironic considering I am the queen of clutter.
In the last four years as I’ve slowly climbed the editorial ladder I’ve consistently demonstrated curiosity, a love of learning, ambition and the desire to challenge myself - all qualities I believe are essential to excelling in the study of law. Though working in the magazine industry has been exciting, and at times glamorous, I want to work in a field where the fruits of my labor are felt more deeply than a set of bound pages that will eventually find their way to the trash. I want to work in a field that makes a difference in my life as well as others. I know law is that field. I hope that you will allow me the opportunity and privilege to spend the next three years studying, learning and continuing to challenge myself at ABCXYZ University.





What are you trying to say??? Innutshell: I was a photographer. Yep. And now I am a LAWER!!! Hoorayyyyy!


Hey Dude, thanks so much for the constructive comments on my writing. They really helped to improve the piece. I'm so glad you read it carefully enough to deduce that I work with photographers and am not one. I'm sure your close attention to detail will ensure that you are going to make a great LAWER too! Can't wait to return the favor!



Clearly, the sarcasm was unnecessary and rude, but dude may have helped you more than you gave him credit for.

While I liked your personal statement it did little more for me than list several qualities which you found useful in one professionial experience which you believe will hold the same utility in the study of law. You clearly spent a lot of time and effort setting up the premise for introducing these qualities to your reader(s).

The reason law schools ask for a personal statement is to gain an insight as to who you are, the diverse qualities you bring to the table, and why you want to be a lawyer/go to law school. By saying you are naturally curious, eager to learn, and ambitious you have described the majority of law school applicants. This in no way differentiates you from anyone else.

Equally important/concerning: While dedicating a majority of your time/space to your previous working experience (which is only useful insofar as it allows you to introduce the aforementioned characteristics/qualities) you've neglected to develop a very major part of the personal statement (why I want to be a lawyer/what about you/your past drives that desire).

As far as I can see that piece of the statement has been relegated to "I want to work in a field where the fruits of my labor are felt more deeply than a set of bound pages that will eventually find their way to the trash. I want to work in a field that makes a difference in my life as well as others. I know law is that field. " Keep the trash reference, it works, but try to find a good reason why they should admit you. What made you choose law school as opposed to pursuing a career editing in magazines. You could clearly find a way to influence people's lives in the world of mass media so what makes being a lawyer so different?

The best part of the statement, in my opinion, was the quirk about you being the queen of clutter. It may not have been indicative of why you would become a good lawyer, but it was honest, funny, and allowed me (the reader) to see two things. 1) I got some insight into your character. 2) I know you are acutely aware of your own shortcomings. By letting your personality shine through and tweaking some of the content, I think you can make some constructive revisions to this statement.

(Sorry if I was harsh, but it takes a lot of guts to put your statement up on this site and I don't want to do you a disservice by saying it was awesome and I would love it if I were on an admissions counsel).

User avatar
olympia1000
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:34 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby olympia1000 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:54 pm

shonyaey wrote:
olympia1000 wrote:
JustDude wrote:
olympia1000 wrote:Tear apart please. First draft, wrote it in about an hour, just want to know if I'm on the right track.
PS: I left out the name of my employers to protect the innocent. ;)

The early morning light flooded the studio as I nervously began to unpack over a quarter of a million dollars worth of product onto eight consecutive tables. I knew I had to move with speed and precision. It was 7:30 AM, and every glass, vase and blanc de chine figurine needed to be on display, labeled and its packaging neatly stored by the time the photo-shoot began at 10 AM. Most importantly, nothing could be broken. My hands trembled as I unpacked Baccarat pieces worth more than my yearly salary, but I moved quickly and by the time the photographer and stylist were ready to begin, everything was in its place.
It was my first photo-shoot as the decorating intern for the XYZ Magazine. I was excited, eager and extremely oblivious. Having landed such a coveted position – an 8 month paid internship acting as the department’s assistant –I was ready to contribute and absorb as much as I could from those around me. Little did I know that at photo shoots I was to be like a child in a strict household: seen and not heard.
I’ve always been curious, and eager to learn, perhaps to a fault. I want know not just the cause of the effect, I want to understand why the whole process has occurred. As a result, not knowing the politics of my environment, I politely asked editors questions during the down time. “What makes that shot ‘organic’”? “Why did you select those pieces for the table vignette?” I quickly deduced that I would better off observing as much as I could, taking notes, and asking questions later.
Even after I outgrew the role of intern and became a full-fledged Editorial Assistant at ABC magazine, I still wanted to understand as much as I could about the industry and to grow within my position. I knew I needed to work on more challenging projects to move ahead, and I also knew wouldn’t received them unless I asked. Six months later my persistence paid off. I was rewarded with my first byline: an article about mess makeovers – which was fairly ironic considering I am the queen of clutter.
In the last four years as I’ve slowly climbed the editorial ladder I’ve consistently demonstrated curiosity, a love of learning, ambition and the desire to challenge myself - all qualities I believe are essential to excelling in the study of law. Though working in the magazine industry has been exciting, and at times glamorous, I want to work in a field where the fruits of my labor are felt more deeply than a set of bound pages that will eventually find their way to the trash. I want to work in a field that makes a difference in my life as well as others. I know law is that field. I hope that you will allow me the opportunity and privilege to spend the next three years studying, learning and continuing to challenge myself at ABCXYZ University.





What are you trying to say??? Innutshell: I was a photographer. Yep. And now I am a LAWER!!! Hoorayyyyy!


Hey Dude, thanks so much for the constructive comments on my writing. They really helped to improve the piece. I'm so glad you read it carefully enough to deduce that I work with photographers and am not one. I'm sure your close attention to detail will ensure that you are going to make a great LAWER too! Can't wait to return the favor!



Clearly, the sarcasm was unnecessary and rude, but dude may have helped you more than you gave him credit for.

While I liked your personal statement it did little more for me than list several qualities which you found useful in one professionial experience which you believe will hold the same utility in the study of law. You clearly spent a lot of time and effort setting up the premise for introducing these qualities to your reader(s).

The reason law schools ask for a personal statement is to gain an insight as to who you are, the diverse qualities you bring to the table, and why you want to be a lawyer/go to law school. By saying you are naturally curious, eager to learn, and ambitious you have described the majority of law school applicants. This in no way differentiates you from anyone else.

Equally important/concerning: While dedicating a majority of your time/space to your previous working experience (which is only useful insofar as it allows you to introduce the aforementioned characteristics/qualities) you've neglected to develop a very major part of the personal statement (why I want to be a lawyer/what about you/your past drives that desire).

As far as I can see that piece of the statement has been relegated to "I want to work in a field where the fruits of my labor are felt more deeply than a set of bound pages that will eventually find their way to the trash. I want to work in a field that makes a difference in my life as well as others. I know law is that field. " Keep the trash reference, it works, but try to find a good reason why they should admit you. What made you choose law school as opposed to pursuing a career editing in magazines. You could clearly find a way to influence people's lives in the world of mass media so what makes being a lawyer so different?

The best part of the statement, in my opinion, was the quirk about you being the queen of clutter. It may not have been indicative of why you would become a good lawyer, but it was honest, funny, and allowed me (the reader) to see two things. 1) I got some insight into your character. 2) I know you are acutely aware of your own shortcomings. By letting your personality shine through and tweaking some of the content, I think you can make some constructive revisions to this statement.

(Sorry if I was harsh, but it takes a lot of guts to put your statement up on this site and I don't want to do you a disservice by saying it was awesome and I would love it if I were on an admissions counsel).


Hi Shonyaey,
Thank you so much. I wrote this while at work and posted what I'm aware was a very rough draft - simply because I wanted to know if there was anything to viable to work with. I chose to focus on my work experience because I'm a splitter, and I'm hoping my lsat score and work experience make up for my poor gpa (particularly at schools like NU), and I was trying to write something a little different. I definitely realized after posting that my transition from work experience to why I want to be a lawyer was much too short and and insufficient. What I was entirely unaware of what that I should incorporate more of own personality into the statement. (As an editor we are constantly trying to remove our voices). And you are definitely right, all I really accomplish is setting up a list of cookie cutter qualities that every other entering law student has. I definitely plan to revise after incorporating your advice, and will repost. I wanted a harsh critique - that's the only way to improve, right?
Thank you very much for your help!




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