Personal Statement Samples

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
B5A2D1
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby B5A2D1 » Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:03 pm

JustDude wrote:By popular demand:


As I stood in the unfamiliar airport with my two overweight bags looking around, tears rushed to my eyes. For the first time in my life, I felt completely alone. I stood still for five minutes praying that someone would recognize the confusion and come to my rescue. However, my waiting and praying continued on unanswered.


Your bags were looking around?

So basically, in a nut-shell, unfamiliar airport casued such a disstress. What kind of message this paragraph will send to the adcomm???.. It probably will say something about your future performance in the court room. I mean, if you , a 22 year old student, cannot handle an airport. The very fact that you were waiting and praying that someone will rescue you is somewhat disstressing and tells a lot about how independent you are. You know that you will be competeing with people that went to Africa on their own and visited half of malaria infected south east asia (for their own selfish reasons, but still).

It was time for me to get it together, fast.

This ",fast" is done for emphasis?

I struggled with my bags and headed to the information desk, trying to remember what I needed to ask and translate it in my head at the same time. “Ou est l’autobus pour Aix-en-Provence?” I repeated this it seems 20 times as I waited in line. “Ou est l’autobus pour Aix-en-Provence?” Finally, it was my turn. BLANK. Six years of French simultaneously escaped my mind.


You will be competing against people that immigrated here when they were 16, lived in poverty, went to college at 18, and graduated. Those people mastered English language enough in 2 years to be able to go to college, and in 6 years they are presenting to AdComms absolutely stellar essays. And you, after 6 years of studying french, cannot ask a simple question as "where is the effing bus". I mean, people go to other countries as tourists without any knowledge of language and still can manage well.

Will something similar happen in court room after 3 years of studying law???

I can only imagine how I looked to the woman behind the desk. I still to this day remember how I felt. My hands were sweaty and aching from the death grip I had on my suitcases.


See my point above. Now you are writing as so that was truly axtraordinatry experience. I have huge concerns about you in the court room.

I had been long forewarned about con artists who preyed on unsuspecting tourists. Everywhere I went I was constantly looking over my shoulder paranoid. My heart was racing triple time from anxiety.


"triple time" doesnt sound correct.


Anyway, this behavior is excusable only if you were high on pot that gives you paranoia. You will be competeing against people that were in Iraq. They can look over their shoulder paranoid. You are in France for gods sake. Not in Iraq, Zimbabwe or tribal amazonia.

For the first time in my life, I was thousands of miles away from home. My cell phone was vastly out of its range leaving no outlet to phone home and hear my mother’s assuring voice telling me I could do this.


Will you hear your "mother’s assuring voice" in a courtroom?

My mind was working in overdrive. The loudness of the airport, the rushing people, and the foreign language all combined to give me the biggest headache of my life.


Your life was not ruich in experiences, was it?

As I stepped to the counter and gathered my thoughts, I realized I was no longer in Memphis.




I had stepped out into the great unknown all alone.


Bus counter is a "great unknown"??? And yet again "all alone". It's like signing a paper "I cannot do anything without my mommy".

I still could not remember my rehearsed phrase, but luckily for me the French woman at the desk spoke English. Upon hearing her welcoming “Hello” spoken with a thick French accent, I knew I could do this.


You could do what??? Aske her in English??? Wow...

The semester I spent in Aix-en-Provence may very well be the most rewarding experience of my life. While studying French and Political Science in France for three months, I was awarded a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel throughout Europe.


Once in a life time opportunity???.. Hmmmmm I mean trip to moon could qualify as a once in a lifetime opportumity.

Most people in my family have never traveled outside of Tennessee let alone outside of the States. I knew I had to make the most of this time, seeing and learning as much as I could. Though I got to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Royal Palace in Madrid, Buckingham Palace in London, and even the souqs of Morocco, none of these trips or experiences were my greatest.


None was the greatest.
Yeah, I probably should have told you in the beginning, but, according to one law book. Anna something I believe wrote it. Well, according to it, never write you PS about your travel experiences in Europe. Well, Now you are making it worse, by having this laundry list. It might impress somebode in rural Georgia, but adcomms are savvier then that.


My greatest experiences in Europe took place in the small town of Aix-en-Provence, every day. The 100 days I spent living in this town taught me more about myself than my 20 years on Earth.


Wow, thats just sad.

I often say that going to Vanderbilt took me out of my environment, but truthfully Vanderbilt feels just like home compared to Aix.


"truthfully" here is a dangling modifier.

Everyday was a learning experience whether I was going to the boulangerie (bakery)


Cheesy.

or attempting to get a French library card. I learned that I could survive in an unfamiliar place even with a language barrier.


For god's sake you were studing french for 6 (six) years.

I also learned to enjoy my time alone. In the US, I was constantly with friends and family, the computer, my cell phone, and the television.


the computer, my cell phone, and the television


Quite a nasty list. I would put something like a book.

In France, I had ample alone time to reflect what I wanted to do with my life.


Translation: "I am not that social".

I have always had a plan. Graduate with Honors at the top of my class at Craigmont High School. Check. Vanderbilt. Check. Law School. Law Firm. United Nations. Retirement.


No resumes please in PS. Especially bragging about A's from high school. No good. Plus "Law School. Law Firm. United Nations. Retirement"

I mean "Law firm"??? "United nations"???.. What the hell are you talking about. Seems like you have no idea about real wiorld.


It was in these moments alone in France walking down the cobblestone streets or just staring out of my fourth floor apartment window that I truly decided that law school was really what I wanted.


So, you decided to go to law out of boredom and loneliness. You will be competing with people that had stronger reasons.

I always said I wanted to go to law school, but had begun to question my dedication to achieving the goal. I had become stagnant, satisfied for the first time in my life with being a B student, lacking motivation to improve, accepting the excuse that I went to Vanderbilt and that’s why my grades were lower, and unworried about getting into law school, relying on my seemingly good luck to get me where I wanted to be.


What you said in translation:

Your bad grades are due to the fact that Vanderbilt is too good for you. Vanderbuilt is a private school, so there is grade inflation. And it is not Stanford. So... This very sentence alone confined you to the tire 4 Law School.

Also, you are seeking axcuses for bad performance. Well, losers seek excuses, winners seek resources to fix the problem.

It was in France that I rededicated myself to my law school dream. I focused myself with a newfound strength stemming from the knowledge that I can do whatever I set my mind towards doing.


Delusion is the word you were looking for.

The fall semester of my junior year at Vanderbilt, I set out to conquer a foreign country arming myself with an intermediate knowledge of the language and culture and a willingness to adapt to change.


It was G.W. Bush, who set out to conquer a foreign country with substandard knowledge of language and culture. You were just an exchange student.

As I walked away from the information desk, with directions to the bus stop in my hand, I still felt the immense weight of anxiety. I bought my ticket to Aix-en-Provence, briefly stumbling with the funny new currency. As I placed my bags under the bus, it was if a small weight was lifted from shoulders. As I sat on the bus, by the window, I stared out into the country. For the first time since I had arrived in France, I felt excited about the adventures that awaited me. As the bus began the journey from the Marseilles airport to Aix-en-Provence, I began my own personal journey towards self-discovery.


Care to write about journe into self discovery. Wasn't much on that subject.



Thank you for the critique.
Just wanted to address some of the things you said
1) Vanderbilt doesn't have grade inflation and it prides itself on that.
2) Yes, 6 years of French is a lot, however, the French are notorious for there dislike of those who mess up their language and 6 years of French failed to erase my Southern accent. So yes, I was nervous to use my French on an actual French person NOT paid to teach me the language.
3)Not everyone can afford to travel around Europe. Because of scholarships, I had the opportunity. It really was once in a lifetime for because I'll most likely never again get a chance to study in France.
4)I NEVER said Vanderbilt was TOO good for me. I admit I slacked my freshman year with too much freedom and not enough studying. I did not decide to go to law school because of boredom. In my "not that social" time in France, I just realized I wasn't doing what I needed to do in order to get to law school.
5) And I'm sorry my life isn't "rich" enough in experiences for you. No, my mother was never a crackhead and yes, I know my father. Too bad for me that I'm middle class; not poor enough to be interesting, not rich enough to be "worldly."

Some of your critiques I will take to heart though because I do understand how one can interrupt my words differently than I intended. But some of your critiques, we'll just have to agree to disagree... Thanks :-)

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takingmytime
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby takingmytime » Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:16 pm

B5A2D1 wrote:I'm middle class; not poor enough to be interesting, not rich enough to be "worldly."


That's funny.

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JustDude
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:26 pm

Thank you for the critique.
Just wanted to address some of the things you said
1) Vanderbilt doesn't have grade inflation and it prides itself on that.
2) Yes, 6 years of French is a lot, however, the French are notorious for there dislike of those who mess up their language and 6 years of French failed to erase my Southern accent. So yes, I was nervous to use my French on an actual French person NOT paid to teach me the language.
3)Not everyone can afford to travel around Europe. Because of scholarships, I had the opportunity. It really was once in a lifetime for because I'll most likely never again get a chance to study in France.
4)I NEVER said Vanderbilt was TOO good for me. I admit I slacked my freshman year with too much freedom and not enough studying. I did not decide to go to law school because of boredom. In my "not that social" time in France, I just realized I wasn't doing what I needed to do in order to get to law school.
5) And I'm sorry my life isn't "rich" enough in experiences for you. No, my mother was never a crackhead and yes, I know my father. Too bad for me that I'm middle class; not poor enough to be interesting, not rich enough to be "worldly."

Some of your critiques I will take to heart though because I do understand how one can interrupt my words differently than I intended. But some of your critiques, we'll just have to agree to disagree... Thanks




I wanted to say that I didnt mean to offend YOU, but I was rather harsh on the person that I had in my mind after reading your PS. YOU dont need to be defensive. I am sure you are much better than that "imaginary" person in my mind. So you just need to convey all your fine qualities. PS is like clothes on a date - You woint go on a first date looking like crap. It ont be you. You will try to look better then you are.

You dont need to cure cancer in you PS - all great achievemnts look kinda fake anyway (unless its olympic gold medal - whcich is what it is, yo cant detract from that). Best things that I have read were simple honest essays about basic qualities that person thinks are important.

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bgc
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby bgc » Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:29 am

B5A2D1 wrote:5) And I'm sorry my life isn't "rich" enough in experiences for you. No, my mother was never a crackhead and yes, I know my father. Too bad for me that I'm middle class; not poor enough to be interesting, not rich enough to be "worldly."


JustDude's style might be such that it is difficult for you to take his advice but it IS valuable. I think this quote of yours sums up the problem. The impression this essay gives is that you don't believe that your life has any richness for you to share. I don't believe that is true, even if you never left TN.

This essay could have been written about your first time at sleep-away camp; the confusion, homesickness, and fear are too common to be effective. JustDude's response was VERY good because you have to think about what you are telling adcomms about yourself with this essay. You aren't writing it because you must write SOMETHING. You are writing it because they have given you two pages to make them want to meet you and believe that you will be an excellent lawyer. You are constructing a narrative that will present you as strong, capable, and interesting.

Getting something written is GREAT. I have been making notes on topics but have yet to put pen to paper. Still, I would urge you to explore other topics and try to find something that is unique to you. Write AT LEAST two statements and don't post them here until you've revised them at least twice. You really need to be better prepared before getting advice from others. Writing something in an hour and submitting it for criticism before even checking the grammar is not only lazy, it is a waste of time for those who read it and frustrating for you because you will inevitably hear comments primarily about things you would have caught had you spent time with your piece.

Writing is all about editing.

Read it out loud.

"On Writing Well" is a wonderful style guide.

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bgc
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby bgc » Sat Jun 21, 2008 12:30 am

JustDude wrote:I wanted to say that I didnt mean to offend YOU, but I was rather harsh on the person that I had in my mind after reading your PS. YOU dont need to be defensive. I am sure you are much better than that "imaginary" person in my mind. So you just need to convey all your fine qualities.


Quoted for emphasis.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:04 pm

I can't believe I'm agreeing with JustDude, but there is no way I would use that statement. All that jumped out to me was that you had 6 years of French and were scared to speak French in an airport. No matter what justifications you give for that, it's not going to sound good.
Your life doesn't have to be incredibly amazing to make a solid personal statement. You're a good writer. Just pick a topic that's a little more mature. I'm sorry to say it that way, but I think sending in this personal statement could only hurt you. About 90% of people going to law school studied abroad and about 90% of them had some sort of trepidation upon arrival. Honestly, I don't think I would ever use study abroad as a topic unless there was something incredibly unique about what you did.

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koggit
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby koggit » Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:59 pm

B5A2D1 wrote:I do understand how one can interrupt my words differently than I intended.


Hahahaha, awesome

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edgarderby
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby edgarderby » Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:24 pm

GPA: 4.0 (TTT Undergrad, Liberal Arts major)
LSAT: 166/160


Absolutely no work experience whatsoever, no club or group involvement or extracurriculars. I spent all my time in undergrad writing/recording music and doing marketing / random art projects associated with the band. I have a feeling this might have made me seem to be more of a gamble for a school, even taking into account my flawless GPA.

Really, really strong LOCIs. One professor, who is also an attorney, said I was the most brilliant student he had ever encountered, which seems like a pretty strong endorsement.


Accepted: University of Notre Dame ($$), Illinois ($$), Washington and Lee ($$$), William and Mary ($$$)
Waitlisted: WUSTL (???) , Cornell, Vanderbilt, UVA (Priority out-of-state)
Rejected: Berkeley

Attending: Notre Dame



Approaching the eve of my college career, I sat in math class diligently deciphering the Calculus final exam that ominously sat in front of me. My mind was already quite occupied. It was only weeks from prom and graduation, and most importantly, it was the very date on which my new short film had been publicly released and propagated among the student body. The classroom telephone buzzed to life. “Chris, they want you in the office…”

I begrudgingly arose from my seat and navigated the halls to the principal’s office, wondering what could be so pressing an issue as to preempt my exam. Upon entering the office, I was greeted by the uncharacteristically morose stare of my usually cheerful principal; she was flanked by the assistant principal who also expressed a look of shared discomfort. The principal pointed towards a chair, motioning for me to sit. She frowned. With a sigh, she began to speak. “I saw the…video you made. I have some questions to ask you about it.”

The film had focused upon philosophical themes atypical for the average high school short film: religion, fundamentalist extremism, the costs of war, and the way in which the media serves as a reflecting pool of the value judgments that Americans make when gauging the worth of life at home and abroad. The content was seemingly uncontroversial: A young student, daydreaming in class, stops himself from stepping on an ant. This event becomes the catalyst for the student’s examining of mankind’s respect for and treatment of life, expressing his views on the aforementioned themes in a narrative voiceover.

What began as a few questions regarding the general thematic characteristics and production details of the film by the principal turned into an intense and relentless interrogation. In what was surely one of the strangest dialogues of my life, the supreme figure of authority in my life at that stage was treating me as if I was creating an imminent threat for merely forwarding what she perceived to be an antagonistic position to the status quo. The extensive religious decorations adorning her office made it no secret that her displeasure with the themes of the film was hardly academic or secular in nature, and was at worst, outright discriminatory. I argued in support of the views in expressed for the film; more importantly, I had been arguing for the right to express beliefs that were in an extreme minority in the small, conservative town in which I had grown up. Unlike in the more engaging and diverse environment of the university in which such qualities are fostered, my former principal called the police.

Formally detained in the office, I sat as the principal compelled the officers to drive to my house and commit a warrantless and unreasonable search of my room to look for any evidence of malfeasance. They complied. They found nothing. The search left me feeling violated, forcing to the front of my mind an intimate awareness of the coercive nature of the state, and how it can unfairly aggress against those who are weaker and denied access to adequate counsel and defense.

In a great irony, I consider the controversy to be a greater reward as a transformative experience than any praise garnered by the film project. Then, as now, I attempt to shape those around me as much as I allow them to impact my outlook and understanding, giving all ideas the merit they deserve. I make an effort to give others the courtesy that I was not afforded in that office. Being in possession of many viewpoints and beliefs that exist in the minority has frequently led to my having to defend and dispel certain damaging and prejudicial beliefs.

In the following years of collegiate study, I would find my love for art and film surpassed by my admirations for scholarship, academic argument, and the belief that social justice is served by having individuals with diverse and rational convictions working in the area of law and government. I remain intellectually curious, recognizing that the quest for academic excellence requires an investigation of a variety of educational avenues.

The controversial circumstances eventually went to press as a front-page story in the largest newspaper in Dayton, Ohio following the film’s festival exposure at the Orinda, California Film Festival as one of eight films selected from over one-hundred submissions. The principal would remark when interviewed that she was proud of the positive exposure that had been brought to the school district as part of my artistic efforts. Despite the initial animosity, it was in large part thanks to the aforementioned conflict that I was able to refine my career aspirations. In this regard, I regret nothing and keep the experience as a positive memory that reinforces my goals and principles.

landm2333
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby landm2333 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:26 pm

Here is mine...a bit rough, I will prob get rid of first few sentences, but you get the overall gist. I'm down for any constructive comments.


In writing this personal statement, I could weave together a narrative that explains why, from an academic standpoint, law school coincides with my interests, undergraduate education, and professional aspirations. And, I could show what I have learned as a college student and how this knowledge qualifies me as a law school applicant. However, in doing so, I believe I would miss an opportunity to convey my character and personality. In lieu of an interview, this is my sole chance to express who I am beyond my transcript and numbers. Therefore I am going to opt for a second path—the one that focuses on the personal evolutions and events that have shaped me into the person I am today while allowing my undergraduate record and recommendations to paint my academic portrait.
In many ways, I am defined by the contrasts in my life. At the most basic level, I am the product of two people marked in their divergent life experiences. While my father was born into an economically advantageous situation and graduated from Harvard College, my mother was raised in Coney Island, Brooklyn and never earned a university diploma. However, it has been her grit and professional success that have allowed me to attend a private high school and X University without shouldering the financial burden myself. By nature of my parents’ dissimilar pasts and the values they have instilled in me, I have learned to appreciate academic success without forgetting the imperative of hard work or the value of the educational opportunities before me.
Similarly, the cities in which I have lived the longest, (big east coast city) and (big west coast city), have each had formative impacts on my world view. Living in (east coast city) until I graduated high school, I was fortunate enough to be immersed in one of the country’s most culturally rich, diverse, and unique communities. My closest friends, with whom I have little in common ethnically or socio-economically, are a reflection of the dynamics and interconnectedness of the environment around me. However, in moving to (west coast city), I was forced to reevaluate my previously (east coast city)-centric outlook. Having now experienced life on both sides of the country, I better understand and appreciate the myriad social, political, and economic currents within America’s borders. At the same time, the unifying goals, concerns, and beliefs of people across the country have convinced me further of the strong commonalities that bind together different populations.
Whether as a result of my upbringing in these cities, my innate personality, or both, I have evolved into a political individual. It is perhaps this aspect of my personality that reveals itself most noticeably in academic and personal realms alike. However, I view events around me through politically tinted lenses not out of partisan zeal, but instead because of a firm belief that political institutions and processes, though not perfect, are the main engines of continuity and change within American life. For me, politics are the basic mechanism by which the good in a country is consolidated and the maladies of society are addressed, analyzed, and ultimately rectified. Yet, my politics are not a monolith of beliefs. Indeed, looking at the range of issues that dominate contemporary political discourse, I am at once conservative and liberal, a Democrat and a Republican. It is for this reason that I far prefer the sound reasoning of those with whom I disagree over the emotional appeals of those who happen to share my position. Inside the classroom and outside of it, I have consistently learned more from the logic underpinning the former’s arguments, for it is their opinions that have challenged me to refine my own ideas and reexamine my assumptions.
Although some may identify contrasts and contradictions as sources of instability or inconsistency, I view them as the cornerstones of who I am. Moreover, I consider them largely responsible for my abilities to looking beyond the temptation of black and white assessments and to examine the inherent complexities of life, society, politics, and the law. Looking at myself, I can say that who I am is not a function of singular events. Rather, what I have to offer as an individual—conviction, passion, logic, an open mind, and a strong work ethic—extends from the collection of opposing beliefs and experiences that give shape to my life.

mwalsh2020
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby mwalsh2020 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:45 pm

philo-sophia,

that might be the best PS I've ever read. extremely well done.

weezy23
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby weezy23 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:56 pm

Is this totally way off base for a PS?

I do not remember my meeting with the doctor. In fact, my only memories of the appointment are watching television in the upstairs portion of his office and the pleasure I derived from the Cartoon Network (a rare treat for a 8 year old whose parents had not yet moved beyond the six channel world of network tv). However, despite what I recall, there was an interview between the physician and me and it ended in a diagnosis. Back at the house, my mother and father explained the verdict--I had Tourette’s syndrome. At the time, the nomenclature did not mean much to me. Yet, even as a child, I was able to take away two things from the ensuing conversation: 1) I could finally put a label on the idiosyncratic behavior that had previously remained unnamed and 2) I realized that, at some level, I was different. While I always knew that my shtiks (as my family euphemistically called them)—moments of incessant blinking, turning my head repeatedly, skipping sporadically while walking, and touching almost everything I passed on the street—set me apart from my friends, it was not until the official diagnosis that I decided I was not “normal.”
Over the next few months, my parents tried to walk a fine line between being proactive and pretending like nothing had changed. Though my mom ordered every available book on Tourette’s and I began to take a single pill every morning, my life stayed the same. My friends, my school, my love of basketball, and my symptoms all carried over from pre-diagnosis to post-diagnosis.
However, noticing neither a marked change in my behavior nor a markedly negative effect of Tourette’s on my life, my parents soon took me off medication and stored away the collection of medical literature they accumulated in those early months. In a way, they began to embrace the overarching image I had of myself—a fun-loving, energetic, and occasionally troublemaking boy who did funny things from time to time. Just as I was able to casually explain my behavioral peculiarities when classmates questioned me, my parents increasingly refused to define me by my condition.
Although I generally tried to avoid overanalyzing my symptoms and what they meant, I nevertheless recognized a pattern during the next few years. Whenever I engaged in a task requiring focus—tackling particularly challenging homework assignments, playing sports, finishing an especially difficult level in a new video game, etc.—my tics would disappear, if only momentarily. They would always come back, in varying forms and degrees of intensity, but this general pattern persisted. To this day, I am not sure if my attentiveness in school was a coincidence or an instinctive response to what I observed. However, as I passed through lower school and progressed in high school, my increasing focus on academic success coincided with the evaporation of my Tourette’s. While my symptoms were never at the extreme end of the spectrum, they became less obvious as my school and social lives became more time consuming. By the middle of high school, the “funny things I did from time to time" were mere memories. Since my early teenage years, whether in school or outside of it, I have not shown signs of Tourette’s syndrome.
While my desire to attend law school is an outgrowth of my academic and intellectual interests, my aspiration to be a lawyer, and more specifically a litigator, extends from my past. The ability to stand before a courtroom, fully composed and capable of engaging the minds of judges and jurors, was not in the cards for someone like me. Yet, due to a combination of resilience, luck, biology, and environment, this opportunity stands before me. It is because I appreciate this chance and understand its significance that I am determined to succeed both in law school and as a practicing lawyer. I owe my family and myself nothing less.

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normalien
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby normalien » Wed Jul 02, 2008 8:43 am

Weezy,

Overall I like it. I didn't think I was going to, but by the end, you had me pulled in, somewhat.

As a stylistic point, I'd do this: At the end you write,

Yet, due to a combination of resilience, luck, biology, and environment, this opportunity stands before me. It is because I appreciate this chance and understand its significance that I am determined to succeed both in law school and as a practicing lawyer. I owe my family and myself nothing less.


I'd write

Yet this opportunity stands before me. Knowing it should never have been, I appreciate the chance. It is my motivation to succeed in law school and my subsequent career.


You don't have to take my phrasing, but as you begin editing, try to make your structure bite a little more (i.e., through the occasional use of bold, short sentences). Bold, quick, poignant.

All that ^ and a $1.25 will get you a coffee, but I hope it helps.

weezy23
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby weezy23 » Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:57 am

Thanks. I agree, this must be tighter and contain a bit more bite, as you say. Thank you for the suggestion.



normalien wrote:Weezy,

Overall I like it. I didn't think I was going to, but by the end, you had me pulled in, somewhat.

As a stylistic point, I'd do this: At the end you write,

Yet, due to a combination of resilience, luck, biology, and environment, this opportunity stands before me. It is because I appreciate this chance and understand its significance that I am determined to succeed both in law school and as a practicing lawyer. I owe my family and myself nothing less.


I'd write

Yet this opportunity stands before me. Knowing it should never have been, I appreciate the chance. It is my motivation to succeed in law school and my subsequent career.


You don't have to take my phrasing, but as you begin editing, try to make your structure bite a little more (i.e., through the occasional use of bold, short sentences). Bold, quick, poignant.

All that ^ and a $1.25 will get you a coffee, but I hope it helps.

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JustDude
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:56 am

weezy23 wrote:Is this totally way off base for a PS?

I do not remember my meeting with the doctor. In fact, my only memories of the appointment are watching television in the upstairs portion of his office and the pleasure I derived from the Cartoon Network (a rare treat for a 8 year old whose parents had not yet moved beyond the six channel world of network tv). However, despite what I recall, there was an interview between the physician and me and it ended in a diagnosis. Back at the house, my mother and father explained the verdict--I had Tourette’s syndrome. At the time, the nomenclature did not mean much to me. Yet, even as a child, I was able to take away two things from the ensuing conversation: 1) I could finally put a label on the idiosyncratic behavior that had previously remained unnamed and 2) I realized that, at some level, I was different. While I always knew that my shtiks (as my family euphemistically called them)—moments of incessant blinking, turning my head repeatedly, skipping sporadically while walking, and touching almost everything I passed on the street—set me apart from my friends, it was not until the official diagnosis that I decided I was not “normal.”
Over the next few months, my parents tried to walk a fine line between being proactive and pretending like nothing had changed. Though my mom ordered every available book on Tourette’s and I began to take a single pill every morning, my life stayed the same. My friends, my school, my love of basketball, and my symptoms all carried over from pre-diagnosis to post-diagnosis.
However, noticing neither a marked change in my behavior nor a markedly negative effect of Tourette’s on my life, my parents soon took me off medication and stored away the collection of medical literature they accumulated in those early months. In a way, they began to embrace the overarching image I had of myself—a fun-loving, energetic, and occasionally troublemaking boy who did funny things from time to time. Just as I was able to casually explain my behavioral peculiarities when classmates questioned me, my parents increasingly refused to define me by my condition.
Although I generally tried to avoid overanalyzing my symptoms and what they meant, I nevertheless recognized a pattern during the next few years. Whenever I engaged in a task requiring focus—tackling particularly challenging homework assignments, playing sports, finishing an especially difficult level in a new video game, etc.—my tics would disappear, if only momentarily. They would always come back, in varying forms and degrees of intensity, but this general pattern persisted. To this day, I am not sure if my attentiveness in school was a coincidence or an instinctive response to what I observed. However, as I passed through lower school and progressed in high school, my increasing focus on academic success coincided with the evaporation of my Tourette’s. While my symptoms were never at the extreme end of the spectrum, they became less obvious as my school and social lives became more time consuming. By the middle of high school, the “funny things I did from time to time" were mere memories. Since my early teenage years, whether in school or outside of it, I have not shown signs of Tourette’s syndrome.
While my desire to attend law school is an outgrowth of my academic and intellectual interests, my aspiration to be a lawyer, and more specifically a litigator, extends from my past. The ability to stand before a courtroom, fully composed and capable of engaging the minds of judges and jurors, was not in the cards for someone like me. Yet, due to a combination of resilience, luck, biology, and environment, this opportunity stands before me. It is because I appreciate this chance and understand its significance that I am determined to succeed both in law school and as a practicing lawyer. I owe my family and myself nothing less.




Good things:
1. Easy to read. I didnt feel like "F*** That". Reread it 2 times easily
2. Quite unique in a sense that you are discussing how your diasability helped you, instead of all those stories how much you over came something.
3. But despite of #2, at the end of the essay, reader has a strong feeling that you overcame a mojor thing. It's nicely shown.

Normalien suggestion is good, Shorter succint phrases in ending will serve you better. I would write exactely what he/she wrote, but the idea seems to be good.

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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby WAsRuralTransplant » Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:42 pm

Removed
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ari20dal7
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby ari20dal7 » Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:06 pm

WARuralTransplant - Do not use #3. I loved #2. I thought it was engaging, well written, and unique. You should add a paragraph that talks about what you learned as well as what you taught - you don't want to seem like you're looking down on the city folk, and that would be my only real criticism.

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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby WAsRuralTransplant » Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:51 pm

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badfish
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby badfish » Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:08 am

Any comments/insights would be greatly appreciated. I realize that there are likely grammatical errors, but I'm looking to tweak the content before I attack the grammatical errors.

Please understand that this statement is purposefully atypical.

Thanks.

edit

Thanks for all the help!!
Last edited by badfish on Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bgc
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby bgc » Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:12 pm

shonyaey wrote:One day, I fear that I will wake up to find that my life’s accomplishments have become irrelevant. To my horror, I will discover that dust has settled over the relics of my achievements and that the world has moved on without me. I envision myself an old man, sitting alone and staring into a mirror; admiring the pale complexion of my own insignificance. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person who is terrified of this prospect.


Shonyaev,

I will hope to look at this more thoroughly but right now, examine ways to trim your statement. It's a good topic. Here are some random thoughts:

"One day," and "To my horror," are extraneous and weaken the opening. "I fear" implies both of these. The last sentence could go. At the very least, consider removing "sometimes." No one will think you constantly wonder and it should be clear that many people worry about their own insignificance.

Once you've looked at these, consider eliminating the entire paragraph. I feel like I'm in a holding pattern while reading it and suspect you wrote it because you thought you needed an intro.

The semicolon is misused. Semicolons separate independent clauses; if it cannot stand as a sentence on it's own, it should be separated by a comma. But that counts as grammar.


Nothing, but a choice.


Note that this does not mean the same thing as: Nothing but a choice. I actually like it with the comma, but suspect that you do not intend to separate nothing and choice. If you mean "only a choice," drop the comma. As I said, though, I like the comma. Think about what it means each way and how that would affect the writing of the rest of your statement. If you do mean it as it is written, make that more explicit so it is not interpretable as a mistake.

Writing and grammar are inseparable. Sorry.

And check the meaning of Axiom.

The topic could be interesting and the statement has some value but you have a lot of revision to do on your own. It sounds like you're trying too hard to write and that, as a result, you're writing much more than is required. My high school English teacher once used an essay of mine as an example of undesirable verbosity so I'm not judging!

I would expand the story of your family and experience and condense the philosophical discussion. The philosophical part really needs to be cut down as there is much redundancy.

The second section needs to be condensed and then expanded. There are too many different ways of saying that it is difficult to watch your grandmother grieve over her lost son. I don't want to trivialize that in any way; the repetition and melodrama has that effect.

The connection would be stronger if there were more about your life and how it relates to the topic. I don't think anyone will doubt the power of your experience. Still, it's good to make it more personal to you instead of an example of injustice.

The last paragraph is pointless. You might be using it as a place holder but, if you're not going to write anything more meaningful about the schools to which you are applying, do not include it.

Good work!

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JustDude
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:26 pm

shonyaey wrote:Any comments/insights would be greatly appreciated. I realize that there are likely grammatical errors, but I'm looking to tweak the content before I attack the grammatical errors.
Please understand that this statement is purposefully atypical.



Ok So we have one, two... seven paragraphs that are basically copy and paste from one of your papers for philosophy 102. I am not sure why adcomm need to reed a philosophy paper.


Then we have a paragraph about your uncle. Later on, apparently it is "In my home we have an unspoken rule regarding the fate of my uncle: we do not speak of it.", but perfectly fine for PS.

It is an exploration of the darkest crevices of your own fears through an external medium. It is the epitome of melancholy and helplessness. More than anything, it is sickening.


Man, you need to write part-time for Tales from the crypt.


Paragraph 10. Defending human rights is very original. But I guess OK.


11.
I am not writing about the pursuit of a career in human rights law so that I may gain admission into XXXX_Law. I am seeking admission to XXXX_Law, because I believe the prestige of the institution, the self reinforcing nature of the environment, and the caliber of my future classmates will help to guide me towards my goal of defending human rights.


Bolded portion is basically like saying "I am trying to use my uncles story in order to get to your school". Just strikes me as fakish.


But overall man. I dont know, may be it will work. Who knows. Its atypical and that might help.

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badfish
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby badfish » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:39 pm

Thanks guys, you've been quite helpful. If anyone has any other insights, they would be very much appreciated.

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ari20dal7
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby ari20dal7 » Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:46 pm

I'd cut the dramatic language and focus the PS more. Right now, it drifts between "I am the master of my fate" and "inspired by this terrible story", and the two are not well connected. If you want to talk about your uncle's situation, you'd want to focus on how that inspired you, and cut a lot of the language. Be plain and simple - it's truly a virtue. You might do something like "nobody talks about it, but nobody can forget about it. Just as the silence in my family hasn't helped us heal, the silence of the oppressed does nothing to help them to become free."

Still kinda dramatic, but more focused.

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ShelleyVA
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby ShelleyVA » Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:12 pm

OK: First draft. Shred it. I know it is a grammatical mess. I'm very well aware of that, but I'm also interested to know how you guys feel about the content/subject matter. I'm drawing a blank on a topic.

For the first several years of my life, I was mortified at the name my parents had chosen for me. My first name, Shelley, convinced me that my parents are just very unoriginal people. My sister's name is Kelly. This would make sense to me if we were twins, but this was clearly not the case. The similarity in names constantly evoked the question, "Oh, that is so cute, are they twins?". To which I responded, "Yes. We are twins. She is clearly a foot taller than I am and was born 3 years before me, but we're twins. We are a walking medical miracle". I was a well-mannered child.

My middle name caused me more humiliation in my younger years. My parents decided to name me after my maternal grandmother, Virginia. Without going into specific detail, I can tell you that my middle school classmates had a field day when they learned my middle name. Kids can be cruel, especially when they rhyme.

Despite my feelings about my middle name, I was very close to my grandmother. I was fortunate to spend a great deal of time with her in my youth. My siblings and I took the bus to her house every day after school. The four of us managed to get into some truly ridiculous arguments over things like which channel to watch on television, whose turn it was to take out the trash, and a number of other mundane things that seemed important at the time. Our grandmother was always there to break them up, band-aids in hand when necessary.

As we got older, our problems got more serious. I am still amazed at how my grandmother managed to keep up with all four of her children, her 12 grandchildren, and the three great-grandchildren she had by the time she passed away. Among the members of the family we had people with legal troubles, money woes, addiction issues, divorces, broken relationships, lost jobs, deaths in the family, and a number of other problems. Many of them could not be fixed with a band-aid anymore, but she was always there to do what she could. She wasn't a rich woman, but she would give you every thing she had to help you with your mortgage. She was not a licensed therapist, but she gave better advice than most people I have ever encountered. She was not a doctor, but at times her home remedies were more effective than anything a prescription could do for you. My brother was arrested once as a teenager and I remember the first thing my grandmother did when she saw him was give him a hug and tell him how much she loved him. Then she swatted him on the head and told him to stop being so stupid. She would not tolerate lasting arguments between family members. If you were upset with someone, she would insist that you sit down and work it out. Many of us would not fully realize the complex role she played in our lives until it was too late to thank her.

As my grandmother got older, her problems got more serious as well. She developed cancer. It spread. She was in and out of the hospital numerous times. Each time she begged to be left alone. She wanted to die at home with what dignity she had left. Rather than keep her in a retirement home, the family pulled together and granted her wish. We took shifts being with her at the house. We brushed her teeth, we dressed her, and we fed her when she would eat. What I remember most about shifts at her house was that even though she was the one in pain, she was always taking care of me too. She would tell me I looked too thin and insist that I had something to eat. She would tell me I looked tired and insist that I lay down to rest. She would listen to what was going on in my life and tell me how proud of me she was. It was not just like this for me, it was everyone. Every person that took the time to go over and help her was treated as if they were the patient, as if they were the one that needed looking after.

When my grandmother died, my family was devastated. We all knew it was coming but that did not make it hurt any less. She was our glue. She held us together more than any of us would realize until she was gone. I remember being asked to speak at her funeral. I was not sure what I would say. I stepped up the podium and looked around. I saw the family she had created. It was the family that she had kept together through some of the worst times imaginable. It was while standing at that podium that I realized my middle name was not something to be embarrassed of. Rather, it is a standard to live up to. My biggest aspiration is to meet that standard. It is in an effort to be more like my grandmother that I pursue a degree in law. My grandmother never received a college education, but she she worked with what she had to help the people around her. I am certain that a law degree would make me more able to do the same. I hold no convictions that I will be the person to rid the world of poverty or find a cure to AIDs, but I do think I can make a difference.

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JustDude
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Fri Jul 11, 2008 6:56 pm

OK: First draft. Shred it. I know it is a grammatical mess. I'm very well aware of that, but I'm also interested to know how you guys feel about the content/subject matter. I'm drawing a blank on a topic


Yep I will leave grammar alone. But use of tenses and other stuff need serious work. go over/come over ,ess up, and so on.

Overall the idea is OK I guess. So I will focus on particulates.

For the first several years of my life, I was mortified at the name my parents had chosen for me. My first name, Shelley, convinced me that my parents are just very unoriginal people.
I would stay away from personal attacks. Especially on your parents (Alma Mater will be next). And in the opening sentence of your PS.

To which I responded, "Yes. We are twins. She is clearly a foot taller than I am and was born 3 years before me, but we're twins. We are a walking medical miracle". I was a well-mannered child.


It's good that you didnt use F*** word. Anyway. Paragraph # 1 stays out of you whole PS. I mean the whole Idea was arount Virginia. It ended with it, logically it should have started with it. Kelly/Shelly is a bit out of place. Not necessarily remove it altogether, but mingling with Virginia peobably will work. However, it might destroy easy link to grandma.

My middle name caused me more humiliation in my younger years.

Stylistically not clear more then what?.,

Among the members of the family we had people with legal troubles, money woes, addiction issues, divorces, broken relationships, lost jobs, deaths in the family, and a number of other problems.


Bolded stuff is not the best.

She wasn't a rich woman, but she would give you every thing she had to help you with your mortgage.


I would take out mortgae. This level of specifics seems unnecessary. You are doing good job vreating this general compassionate image of your grandma. Specifics kills it.

My brother was arrested once as a teenager and I remember the first thing my grandmother did when she saw him was give him a hug and tell him how much she loved him. Then she swatted him on the head and told him to stop being so stupid.


This destroys everything. I mean there is nothing special about that. Plus it does portray her as someone who doesnt really help (I mean being arrested calls for strong actions), but rather tells a lot of unneccessary stuff.

Rather, it is a standard to live up to. My biggest aspiration is to meet that standard. It is in an effort to be more like my grandmother that I pursue a degree in law. My grandmother never received a college education, but she she worked with what she had to help the people around her. I am certain that a law degree would make me more able to do the same. I hold no convictions that I will be the person to rid the world of poverty or find a cure to AIDs, but I do think I can make a difference.


In the finishing paragraph I would introduce some qualities of you grandma like "compassion", etc, that you want to resemble with.

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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby vjm » Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:29 pm

I feel like I know more about your grandmother than I do about you. It makes me want to admit her postumously. Nice ending para, but bythen I had forgotten we were talking about you.




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