Personal Statement Samples

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
User avatar
USC2009
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby USC2009 » Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:17 pm

I've written one draft of one statement (although I'm probably going to toss it, due to some mixed reactions to it) and now I really can't come up with anything to write about.

User avatar
Origin
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:56 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Origin » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:48 pm

USC2009 wrote:I've written one draft of one statement (although I'm probably going to toss it, due to some mixed reactions to it) and now I really can't come up with anything to write about.


I was in the same boat. I had one I spent weeks working on, editing, etc. Reviews were positive at first, but then came a streak of people ripping it apart.

I've since written a new one which I (and others) seem to like more, but not everyone has been a big fan.

Speaking of which: Is anyone willing to read and critique my PS? It'd be greatly appreciated and I'd return the favor.

User avatar
24secure
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:27 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby 24secure » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:49 pm

I really don't have any confidence in this personal statement, so if I could receive any sort of feedback on this, I would greatly appreciate it. I have not seen many example personal statements so thanks for the critique.

---------
It was another typical night in college. I had just won $20 in our nightly poker tournament, and I felt like I was on top of the world. I had decent grades, a handful of close friends, and no financial worries since my college education was completely paid for by my parents. However, as I was about to leave for the night, the campus phone rang. It was my platoon sergeant. He told me I shouldn’t sign up for classes for the spring semester because I, along with 20 other soldiers from my reserve unit, was being reassigned to a support unit from St. Louis. Our jobs were to provide support for a brigade of Marines at Camp Fallujah. Yes, I was headed to Iraq.

Immediately, I lost all hope. In the months preceding that phone call, the Marines had nearly lost the battle for the city of Fallujah, and from all reports, Fallujah was still a very dangerous place to be. On average, 4-5 soldiers were being killed each day, and with the prospect of being there for over a year, I figured my chances of survival were not that good. My grades went into a free fall, and Iby the time the fall semester ended, my grades reflected it; a dismal 2.7 GPA for the semester, a long fall from my 3.3 GPA the previous semester.

Eventually, after three months of terrifying warnings that it was only a matter of time before we encountered an IED (improvised explosive device), we wound up in Fallujah. Our new home for the next year, canvas tents, was next to an artillery station that was quite active. Needless to say, there were a lot of sleepless nights. At least 6-8 outgoing artillery rounds shook our tent each time one was fired. To top it off, my fears of not coming back alive were cemented as mortar rounds would rain down on the base 2-3 times per week.

In time, Iraq became more boring and routine than scary. Our days consisted of 8 hours of doing laundry for all of the combat Marines and then baking in the Iraqi sun at up to 140 degrees. In these temperatures, it was too hot for our air conditioners to work, thus adding to our discomfort. To pass the time, I decided to start lift weights in one of the gyms.

It was here that I met Malik, an Iraqi local that worked at the sign-in desk. He was friendly and outgoing and through our conversations, I was able to take my mind off of the daily grind that had become Iraq. He often talked about his family and events of the day. One day I asked him what it was like to live in Iraq before the invasion; his accounts were horrifying. Living in fear, political repression, and the denial of basic human rights were common place for him and his family. While our conversation made me feel sorry for him, it made me feel guilty about myself. Here I was: young, intelligent, and endless future opportunities to choose from. My time in Iraq would come and go in contrast with Malik, who would most likely live out the rest of his days in this dreary land with little to look forward to. My education was completely paid for and I felt I had wasted my first year and a half of college. I had always taken an interest in politics, and it was at this time that I decided that I would do all I could to be an advocate for social and civil rights. I also knew that if I was going to become a successful civil rights advocate, I would need to eventually attend law school.

Immediately, I quit feeling sorry for myself and ordered a couple of LSAT preparation books and began to study for the test. Not another moment of my college education was going to be wasted. No longer would I just float through college and get by. I soon began earning A’s in most of my classes, and even volunteered to work for Congressman X in his _____ district office. It was here that I was able to gain a better understanding and become more involved in the political process. Eventually I was selected to work in his Washington office. While I was effective in helping others understand and become more involved in the political process, my assistance was limited with how little I knew. In order to become a more effective political and civil rights advocate, this experience confirmed that law school is a necessity.

I feel my experiences in Iraq and with Congressman X have greatly prepared me for law school. In Iraq, personal problems often distract soldiers from the mission at hand. It took leadership from me (being their immediate supervisor) to get them to look past those issues and focus on the problem at hand. I was also able to delegate duties effectively, as many things needed to be accomplished in a short amount of time. During my tenure in Congressman X’s Washing office, angry constituents would commonly call and demand the Congressman support their view on a wide ranging number of issues. It took skillful communication to defuse many of the “conversations” and explain why Congressman X felt the way he did. Both of these environments were highly stressful, and in order to succeed, an enormous amount of communication, organization, and leadership were essential. Because I was extremely successful in both of these very different environments, I have no doubt I will be successful in law school as well.

User avatar
teaadntoast
Posts: 252
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:31 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby teaadntoast » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:59 pm

@24secure

The topic itself is great, but I think you're placing the emphasis in the wrong place and are not using space wisely. You've been to a place and experienced things that few other people applying to top school have, but it doesn't come through in your statement.

It's that old writing adage: show, don't tell. Use anecdotes to illustrate your the qualities about yourself that you think make you a strong applicant. Personally, I wanted to hear more about your interactions with Malik. Was there one particular conversation between the two of you that made an impact? An incident on a particular day? Focus on that.

Once you find a story, the essay will feel more coherent. As it stands, you seem to be trying to do too much at once and the result is a disconnect between you and the reader.

Lastly, put the info. about your grades in an addemdum instead of trying to explain it here. You've got a good reasons for an academic slump, but the explanation doesn't belong in your essay.

braun223
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:29 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby braun223 » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:16 pm

I would also appreciate anyone who is willing to give some feedback! Here is the PS formated for Minnesota.


Some say "Those who can't do, teach." For most of my life, I found this opinion insulting. I come from a family of teachers. My father is an elementary school administrator and a professor at St. Mary's University; my aunt is an elementary school principal and an administrator at the College of St. Benedict, and my sister is on the verge of becoming an elementary school teacher. For much of my life, I contemplated a future in academia as a professor of political science, which culminated in a meeting with my honors thesis advisor from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Timothy Johnson, last spring.
As I walked into Professor Johnson's office, apprehensions filled my mind. I thought, "What if I could not obtain a competitive score on the GRE? What if I cannot make the cut into a top-ranked graduate school? What if I am just not good enough?" Professor Johnson calmed many of the reservations I had about test scores and applications. One question remained, one that he could not suppress; "What about the sentiment of 'those who can't do, teach'?"
The previous fall, I fought qualms over a future as a professor while working in the fast-paced, exhilarating environment of national politics. I had been selected for an internship in the White House, so I packed my bags and moved to Washington, D.C. for four months. The experience augmented my passion for government and public service and developed an intrinsic motivation towards action. Although I admired teachers and aspired to enter education all of my life, I no longer felt that teaching would fulfill my desire to serve the common good. Because of this realization, I came back to Minnesota with an increased sense of duty to teach in the broader sense. To teach through example as a leader and public servant.
Although internships have provided political experience, I crave knowledge of the law that would prepare me for a future in public service. An education in Constitutional Law from the University of Minnesota would be unmatched. With exceptional professors like Guy-Uriel Charles and David Stras, as well as the Institute for Law and Politics, the University of Minnesota is truly the best place to study Constitutional Law.
It is now clear to me that one can teach and do. Through my proclivity towards action, focus on civic engagement, and dedication to leadership, I hope to teach others the positive effect that lawyers can have on their community by being a catalyst for policy reform. So, I say those of us who want to both “teach” and “do” should. A degree in Constitutional Law from the University of Minnesota would launch me into my vocational aspirations of public service.

User avatar
Origin
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:56 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Origin » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:18 pm

That's sounds more like a "Why Minnesota" than a PS...

User avatar
Haribo
Posts: 193
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:47 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Haribo » Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:15 am

braun223 wrote:I would also appreciate anyone who is willing to give some feedback! Here is the PS formated for Minnesota.


Some say "Those who can't do, teach." For most of my life, I found this opinion insulting. I come from a family of teachers. My father is an elementary school administrator and a professor at St. Mary's University; my aunt is an elementary school principal and an administrator at the College of St. Benedict, and my sister is on the verge of becoming an elementary school teacher. For much of my life, I contemplated a future in academia as a professor of political science, which culminated in a meeting with my honors thesis advisor from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Timothy Johnson, last spring.
As I walked into Professor Johnson's office, apprehensions filled my mind. I thought, "What if I could not obtain a competitive score on the GRE? What if I cannot make the cut into a top-ranked graduate school? What if I am just not good enough?" Professor Johnson calmed many of the reservations I had about test scores and applications. One question remained, one that he could not suppress; "What about the sentiment of 'those who can't do, teach'?"
The previous fall, I fought qualms over a future as a professor while working in the fast-paced, exhilarating environment of national politics. I had been selected for an internship in the White House, so I packed my bags and moved to Washington, D.C. for four months. The experience augmented my passion for government and public service and developed an intrinsic motivation towards action. Although I admired teachers and aspired to enter education all of my life, I no longer felt that teaching would fulfill my desire to serve the common good. Because of this realization, I came back to Minnesota with an increased sense of duty to teach in the broader sense. To teach through example as a leader and public servant.
Although internships have provided political experience, I crave knowledge of the law that would prepare me for a future in public service. An education in Constitutional Law from the University of Minnesota would be unmatched. With exceptional professors like Guy-Uriel Charles and David Stras, as well as the Institute for Law and Politics, the University of Minnesota is truly the best place to study Constitutional Law.
It is now clear to me that one can teach and do. Through my proclivity towards action, focus on civic engagement, and dedication to leadership, I hope to teach others the positive effect that lawyers can have on their community by being a catalyst for policy reform. So, I say those of us who want to both “teach” and “do” should. A degree in Constitutional Law from the University of Minnesota would launch me into my vocational aspirations of public service.


I personally don't like it, as I think it comes off as slightly insulting towards the teaching profession - and oftentimes schools include professors on the admissions committee.

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

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:16 pm

24secure wrote:I really don't have any confidence in this personal statement, so if I could receive any sort of feedback on this, I would greatly appreciate it.

---------
It was another typical night in college. I had just won $20 in our nightly poker tournament, and I felt like I was on top of the world. I had decent grades, a handful of close friends, and no financial worries since my college education was completely paid for by my parents. However, as I was about to leave for the night, the campus phone rang. It was my platoon sergeant. He told me I shouldn’t sign up for classes for the spring semester because I, along with 20 other soldiers from my reserve unit, was being reassigned to a support unit from St. Louis. Our jobs were to provide support for a brigade of Marines at Camp Fallujah. Yes, I was headed to Iraq.

Immediately, I lost all hope. In the months preceding that phone call, the Marines had nearly lost the battle for the city of Fallujah, and from all reports, Fallujah was still a very dangerous place to be. On average, 4-5 soldiers were being killed each day, and with the prospect of being there for over a year, I figured my chances of survival were not that good. My grades went into a free fall, and Iby the time the fall semester ended, my grades reflected it; a dismal 2.7 GPA for the semester, a long fall from my 3.3 GPA the previous semester.

Eventually, after three months of terrifying warnings that it was only a matter of time before we encountered an IED (improvised explosive device), we wound up in Fallujah. Our new home for the next year, canvas tents, was next to an artillery station that was quite active. Needless to say, there were a lot of sleepless nights. At least 6-8 outgoing artillery rounds shook our tent each time one was fired. To top it off, my fears of not coming back alive were cemented as mortar rounds would rain down on the base 2-3 times per week.

In time, Iraq became more boring and routine than scary. Our days consisted of 8 hours of doing laundry for all of the combat Marines and then baking in the Iraqi sun at up to 140 degrees. In these temperatures, it was too hot for our air conditioners to work, thus adding to our discomfort. To pass the time, I decided to start lift weights in one of the gyms.

It was here that I met Malik, an Iraqi local that worked at the sign-in desk. He was friendly and outgoing and through our conversations, I was able to take my mind off of the daily grind that had become Iraq. He often talked about his family and events of the day. One day I asked him what it was like to live in Iraq before the invasion; his accounts were horrifying. Living in fear, political repression, and the denial of basic human rights were common place for him and his family. While our conversation made me feel sorry for him, it made me feel guilty about myself. Here I was: young, intelligent, and endless future opportunities to choose from. My time in Iraq would come and go in contrast with Malik, who would most likely live out the rest of his days in this dreary land with little to look forward to. My education was completely paid for and I felt I had wasted my first year and a half of college. I had always taken an interest in politics, and it was at this time that I decided that I would do all I could to be an advocate for social and civil rights. I also knew that if I was going to become a successful civil rights advocate, I would need to eventually attend law school.

Immediately, I quit feeling sorry for myself and ordered a couple of LSAT preparation books and began to study for the test. Not another moment of my college education was going to be wasted. No longer would I just float through college and get by. I soon began earning A’s in most of my classes, and even volunteered to work for Congressman X in his _____ district office. It was here that I was able to gain a better understanding and become more involved in the political process. Eventually I was selected to work in his Washington office. While I was effective in helping others understand and become more involved in the political process, my assistance was limited with how little I knew. In order to become a more effective political and civil rights advocate, this experience confirmed that law school is a necessity.

I feel my experiences in Iraq and with Congressman X have greatly prepared me for law school. In Iraq, personal problems often distract soldiers from the mission at hand. It took leadership from me (being their immediate supervisor) to get them to look past those issues and focus on the problem at hand. I was also able to delegate duties effectively, as many things needed to be accomplished in a short amount of time. During my tenure in Congressman X’s Washing office, angry constituents would commonly call and demand the Congressman support their view on a wide ranging number of issues. It took skillful communication to defuse many of the “conversations” and explain why Congressman X felt the way he did. Both of these environments were highly stressful, and in order to succeed, an enormous amount of communication, organization, and leadership were essential. Because I was extremely successful in both of these very different environments, I have no doubt I will be successful in law school as well.



Paragraph # 5 and 6 are great. I would start with them after some introduction (Like paragraph #1)


As it was said leave the GPA issues to an ammendum. In essay you will provide all necessary info, and in ammendum you will use it to explain low grades.

Also, as it was said, dwell more on conversations with Malik. Thats a good and pretty unique experience, we want mmore of that.

P35
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:38 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby P35 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:01 pm

Hello all,

I've been learning a lot here - great forum! Like most of you, I too dread the idea of writing this PS about me without the benefit of guidelines. It would be much easier if they would just tell us to write about what we did over the summer break. So here's my first shot at it - thanks for the feedback in whatever form it takes.....




I come from a long line of late bloomers. My grandfather was a shoe salesman in Brooklyn before being drafted into WWII. After the war he found his calling and served with honor for twenty three years in the NYPD. He married his childhood sweetheart who raised up three children before earning her Bachelors and Masters in night school and then going on to become the reference librarian at the busiest branch of the busiest library system (Queens Borough Public Library) in the world. All three of their children went on to grad school as adults. My uncle and my aunt went to law school and my mother pursued science. I may be the latest bloomer of the bunch but the family resemblance is undeniable.

My inspiration is neither original nor surprising, but it is genuine. When I became a father in 2006 I had an epiphany that instantly snapped the world into focus. I took stock of my character and the life I had made for myself and realized that I wasn’t satisfied. I had enough material possessions, but I was lacking spiritually and intellectually. It was my turn to join the ranks of my family and pursue my passion.

I spent some time analyzing my life and reflecting on the circumstances that brought me to that point. I had dropped out of college a dozen years earlier with only one semester left to go. My reasons at the time were both painful and personal and are so far detached by time that they have no bearing on who I am today. I also thought a great deal about what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted a career that I would love. A career I would be passionate about. A career that my son could be proud of. Law school was a dream I had fostered in my youth, but it had been simmering on the back burner for the past decade or so. The more complicated life became, the more law school slipped from sight. My goal was clear but the waters were murky. I had the deep roots of a family man in his mid thirties. How do you go back to school when you have a wife and a kid and a mortgage? I knew it would take a couple of years to get into a position that would make all of this possible. Actually, it took three.

With this fresh perspective at hand I moved on to the planning phase. I finished the last nine credits of my Bachelors degree in night school and received straight ‘A’s. I studied diligently and did quite well on the LSAT. My wife and I made significant financial moves in preparation for law school. I have run this course steadfastly for the past few while the naysayers tried to chip away at my resolve. Without reservation, I can state that I am ready to meet the challenges of law school head on.

I also feel that my life experience will enhance my success in law school. I have fifteen years experience in the mortgage business. I owned a small retail business with my wife for several years and I’ve spent the past couple of years selling Hondas to the good people of Palm Beach County. Combined, the skill sets I have developed and the varied professional experiences I carry with me help to round out my being and will ultimately make me a better practitioner in the legal field.

The old saying ‘better late than never’ resonates particularly deep within me. I’ve watched most of my family members find themselves later than traditionally expected and I now know that this is the point in my life in which I was meant to bloom.

User avatar
teaadntoast
Posts: 252
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:31 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby teaadntoast » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:19 pm

@PS35

I really like your opening line and the first paragraph. Both are punchy and engaging, and made me want to read more. You also write very well, which is a huge plus.

Things get a little shakier further down, and you seem to be wandering a bit in your explanantion. Paras three four, in particular, seem as though they would be better placed in an addendum. Your reasons for leaving school and delaying a law career are important information, and I can see why you'd want to pass it on to schools, but this may not be the place to do it.

Rather, why not use that space to tell a story about the moment you deicded it would be worth it to you to go back to school? Even if there wasn't a specific incident or event that pushed you over that particular edge, you'll get to talk about your feelings and your character.

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

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:43 pm

teaadntoast wrote:@PS35

I really like your opening line and the first paragraph. Both are punchy and engaging, and made me want to read more. You also write very well, which is a huge plus.

Things get a little shakier further down, and you seem to be wandering a bit in your explanantion. Paras three four, in particular, seem as though they would be better placed in an addendum. Your reasons for leaving school and delaying a law career are important information, and I can see why you'd want to pass it on to schools, but this may not be the place to do it.

Rather, why not use that space to tell a story about the moment you deicded it would be worth it to you to go back to school? Even if there wasn't a specific incident or event that pushed you over that particular edge, you'll get to talk about your feelings and your character.

I Concur. Your PS is sheer BS.!

sher85
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:15 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby sher85 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:03 pm

teaadntoast wrote:@PS35

I really like your opening line and the first paragraph. Both are punchy and engaging, and made me want to read more. You also write very well, which is a huge plus.


I agree, I like the first line. However, the rest of the first paragraph needs to be done away with. Your first sentence grabs my attention and I am excited to read about you being a late bloomer. Instead, I get a paragraph of family history. When you have 500 words, you can't waste 50-100 of them telling me about your grandfather. I understand the need to set the backdrop, but you need do it it more efficiently and make it about you you you.

User avatar
the fledgling
Posts: 295
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:57 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby the fledgling » Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:32 pm

senegalese_filmmaker wrote:I am having trouble deciding between two approaches:

1.) Focus on my many legal (Spanish) interpreting experiences, the idea being that I want to be the attorney advocating for the client rather than just helping with communication and have learned a lot from different courtroom settings.

2.) Focus most on moving to Spain for a year when I was younger and being forced to adapt to a new culture, and in turn being able to share that experience with and give advice and reassurance to young Mexican/Guatemalan kids I interpret for in the hospital who have just recently moved to the U.S. and are having trouble adjusting.

What's more important, showing diversity of having had a lot of legal experience/exposure? Can I successfully incorporate both? Would a diversity statement help if I went more with option #1?


Both of these sound like wonderfully rich topics that would be interesting to read, but you are applying to law school and if I were an admin. I would be most interested in what you have to say about your interpreting experiences. I think it's possible for you to incorporate the two into one cohesive piece (i.e., is there a Spanish-speaker you've interpreted for/had a relationship with that affected you in particular, maybe a memorable experience?) but I would focus more on your recent, relative experience as an interpreter. Especially if that's your inspiration for wanting to become a lawyer.

nam1011
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:11 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby nam1011 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:14 pm

I was consideing writing about one of two aspects:

diversity- I am a white kid from the Bronx that lived in a predominately Spanish neighborhood. When I attended school, I joined a mostly black fraternity where I eventually became the Head of Public Relations and then VP. I was also on the step and stroll team and started a program called Real Men Read where we went to inner city schools to talk to young children about the importance of education and read for them.

OR

depression- I have never gone to a psychologist, because I refuse to go, but I am more than certain I have suffered from depression for the last 7 years of my life. I would talk about my emotions and how it affected my school work and what not. I would end it by talking about how the death of my father this year caused me to refocus and reivent myself. I have totally changed my mindset and while I still fight depression I feel that I have it well under control now.

What do you guys think would be better?

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

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:26 pm

I would go with the first, narrow it down to the black fraternity/inner city. I would make a closing statement that face to face communication and education for inner city kids can do more then just affirmative action.

I would also decline to state my race on application.

nam1011
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:11 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby nam1011 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:39 pm

Yeah, that is what I was thinking as well. I just needed some more opinion on the matter. On the your suggestion for the ending, I think it is funny because I was going to do that. I wrote a paper while in college about education or affirmative action and got an A. Thanks for your opinion though.

User avatar
JackieTreehorn
Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 11:31 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JackieTreehorn » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:25 pm

Hey all,

Hope everyone is enjoying Labor Day weekend and not stressing over law apps. Clearly, I fall in the latter category.

Anyway, I'm looking for PS input. The statement identifies a little too much about me so I didn't want to post it on the board, but I was hoping some of you would be willing to check it out via PM.

Thanks!

I'm also more than amenable to the idea of a PS exchange.

jecclesdrennan
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:03 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby jecclesdrennan » Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:49 am

Okay, here is my first run at a personal statement. I believe it needs a lot of work. But I am not a very good critic of myself. I find that I am very judgmental on myself. Please be honest and if you have suggestions or pointers they will be graciously received.

I also need help ending it. Do i say, because of this I will be a good lawyer? Because of this and SO much more I will make a great student of law? or, I know that regardless of where my legal career takes me I will be...

this is also my first post so if something goes wrong it was the computer.



Weary and drained of energy I drove the 350 miles home from Boise for the last time. This road which I had traveled so many times in the last seven months finally represented a road to liberation. Seven months earlier I had willingly traveled this same route into an undefined work assignment which would prove to dominate every aspect of my life.

In December of 2006, having finished my undergraduate degree, I accepted a position with Western Waterproofing, one of the largest concrete and masonry restoration contractors in the nation. Initially work was what I had expected, having interned with the office for the three previous summers. However, everything changed by the first week of February. I was told that I would be finishing a project which had been running the previous year and which had been put on hold due to football season. My assignment was to assume the role of project manager and wrap-up a two million dollar restoration project at Boise State University’s Bronco stadium.

Upon arriving in Boise it soon became clear that the promised three week wrap-up would become an extensive lesson in doing the job right. During the first month in Boise I had numerous meetings with the architect, engineer, and various university personnel. Each of these meetings unraveled more tasks which had either been left undone or which had been done incorrectly the first time. By the time I had become oriented with the project it was clear that the previous project manager had not been the competent manager which had led to his promotion and my taking over the assignment. This was evidenced by the fact that there was a punch list of over 415 items.

This assignment soon materialized into a very festive welcoming party to the real world. I have always enjoyed having positions of responsibility and enjoy the challenges of problem solving, teamwork, and decision making which come from such positions. However, I soon recognized that I was in unfamiliar territory and that many of the requirements of the assignment seemed to fit nicely into valleys of my weaknesses.

The first of these weaknesses was a fear of confrontation. Being that the project was off schedule and that the threat of liquidated damages was becoming more of a reality on a daily basis, I soon found that I was required to enter into confrontations with subcontractors, engineers, and lazy employees almost regularly. These confrontations were new for me and they drained my energy and took me completely out of my comfort zone.

The second of these weaknesses was self doubt. If asked to describe myself I would say that I am a confident person. However, I soon realized that my confidence had always come from knowledge or at least perceived knowledge. Once I was given the title of project manager I instantaneously and unknowingly became an expert on the project. Schedules, submittals, product data, construction methods, and contract documents all became part of an assumed knowledge of which others believed I had. Nothing in college was every like the cram sessions I soon found myself engaged in. I immediately began familiarizing myself with every aspect of the project. At night in my hotel room I would pour over the plans and specifications for the project, review daily logs, and become as familiar as possible with the materials for the job and their proper application for the project.

The third and most detrimental weakness was self motivation. I have always been a self starter but this project put my ability to self-motivate into a coma. Countless hours on site and in the hotel working, a complete lack of contact with colleagues, and the fourteen hours of driving on the weekend just to spend 18 hours at home and one night with my wife had a devastating effect on my morale.

It has been more than a year since I made that drive home and not a day goes by where I don’t use the skills and knowledge gained from the experience. I settled into a new home, got reacquainted with living with another person and resumed my role as sales/estimator for the company. As a result of those seven months I have come to know myself like never before and have found new confidence not in knowledge but in myself.

I still have confrontations with subcontractors, engineers, and laborers however these confrontations are no longer emotionally draining and are much more productive. I still have self doubt, but I know that with time and effort I can eliminate it. And my morale is high, I was able to accomplish a task which was beyond my ability and knowledge and which required sacrifices which I had not been prepared to make, looking back I realize that the dark days were the days which I grew the most.

More important than being able to recognize and overcome these weaknesses, I have been able to recognize my strengths, those things which put breathe into my life. I am passionate, I feel criticism and praise deeply. When I work I work hard and am not afraid to get dirty. When I play I play hard and love competition. When I laugh it is deep and infectious. I love to be continually learning. I try harder than most, feel more responsible than most and am more severe than deserved on myself.

jbs
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:54 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby jbs » Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:46 am

jecclesdrennan, you write very well. My question though is what is the purpose of this passage? I'm kind of unsure what this passage has to do with Law School and why you want to go. You may want to rework the direction and underlying point.

amyk
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:35 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby amyk » Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:47 pm

HELP MY PERSONAL STATEMENT, it's still in the rough draft -- but I can't stand looking at it/editing it anymore

I will never be the same. For a while I had convinced myself that nothing ever happened, it was all a twisted nightmare my brain chose to conjure. My childhood was overflowing with all the forms of abuse – sexual, physical, and verbal. All of which helped to develop my insecurity and my constant avoidance to solve my own problems. My denial sickened me. I had to deal with my past to disallow it from determining my future; this was my junior year.

The typical psychological reaction to repress traumatic events in order to cope had been causing my self-inflicted depression. When I chose to bitterly swallow the pith of my self-loathing and self-pitying attitude, did I slowly begin to realize and accept everything I am. My attitude for life was not one of importance. It became meaningless to me, and I found I was no longer directing my passions to things I sincerely cared about. My grades were slipping and I realized this trend would continue until I had come to my own and built a foundation upon which I could rely. I needed a sea change. The part of me that I undeniably chose to hide from the world, was urging to get out. Once I could no longer bear the torment of my secrets I gained enough courage to tell my friend. She sympathetically comforted me in my fragile state and guided me to get help with a school counselor. After a year of seeing a counselor, I felt safe and glad I went through the psychological quandary to talk my problems out. Though, one problem still remained: my family was not aware of what I had been through. My counselor and friends helped me want to change, but I still needed to confront my parents in order to enforce that change.

My parents still remained ignorant as time went on, I could not bear to tell them that their baby girl had been molested. When the time had come to tell them I had still been trying to figure out whose fault it was, what had actually happened; reviewing all the memories in my mind I wished to never be familiar with. I wished that these moments could not be true, that I could just be able to forget my past and live as if I were never affected. If I were able to do this, I would not have to break my family with my experiences. But I knew that if I just avoided my problems this would not be a change. I heeded to Robert Frost's poetic advice and took the path less chosen when I confronted both my parents and my brother. There I was, a seventeen-year-old college student lying limp as a dead child, crying harder than I ever thought possible as I explained to my parents what happened. They provided me a sense of security and understood that I needed more help with counseling in order to make peace with my situation. Afterward, I was left with only one person to tell: my brother. My hopes were for him to achieve a greater understanding and realization of why I had been so depressed in the past. The moment to tell him came sooner than I had desired. Over the phone, I unraveled the secrets that I fought best to keep hidden my entire life; he remained speechless. I knew I had to be the one to tell my brother and I could no longer hold the burdens of my past. Unfortunately, as I relieved myself of my burdens -- my brother took them upon his shoulders. My situation drove him into depression and that phone call was one of the last I had with him for a month. He wouldn’t answer my calls, texts or even talk to me online -- I never understood why at the time. My comprehension only came when my mother called to tell me that my brother was in the hospital after attempting to commit suicide. He ended up in the hospital twice after I had told him. It has been a few years, but we both have been able to come out of this situation stronger people.

“The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed. It is just these intense conflicts and their conflagration which are needed to produce valuable and lasting results,” was said by my favorite psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung. After experiencing so much, I have understood and realized that I was not given a tragedy, but rather a different view of the light. The past teenage years have allowed me to mature and open my mind more than ever. I have taken my setbacks and used them to build a foundation, and from the weakness of someone's decision to harm me as a child -- I chose only to gain strength.

ANON3333
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:13 am

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby ANON3333 » Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:50 pm

I think this would be a good statement if you were making the argument that you want to practice child advocacy/family law.

marburger06
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:42 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby marburger06 » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:26 pm

amyk, I think that your experiences could be a powerful topic for a PS, but right now it just seems like a laundry list of the bad stuff that's happened in your life. Your focus should be on how it's made you stronger. You said in the end that it made you stronger; how? Do you have an anecdote that demonstrates this? For instance (just making something up for an example), I could see a PS about how you volunteered to help victims of abuse because you could connect to them from your own experiences. You gotta give them something that really illustrates how you were able to overcome this, not just that it happened.

jecclesdrennan
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:03 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby jecclesdrennan » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:10 am

This a repost from the bottom of page 13.

I have added an ending. Please help me refine.

Weary and drained of energy I drove the 350 miles home from Boise for the last time. This road which I had traveled so many times in the last seven months finally represented a road to liberation. Seven months earlier I had willingly traveled this same route into an undefined work assignment which would prove to dominate every aspect of my life.

In December of 2006, having finished my undergraduate degree, I accepted a position with Western Waterproofing, one of the largest concrete and masonry restoration contractors in the nation. Initially work was what I had expected, having interned with the office for the three previous summers. However, everything changed by the first week of February. I was told that I would be finishing a project which had been running the previous year and which had been put on hold due to football season. My assignment was to assume the role of project manager and wrap-up a two million dollar restoration project at Boise State University’s Bronco stadium.

Upon arriving in Boise it soon became clear that the promised three week wrap-up would become an extensive lesson in doing the job right. During the first month in Boise I had numerous meetings with the architect, engineer, and various university personnel. Each of these meetings unraveled more tasks which had either been left undone or which had been done incorrectly the first time. By the time I had become oriented with the project it was clear that the previous project manager had not been the competent manager which had led to his promotion and my taking over the assignment. This was evidenced by the fact that there was a punch list of over 415 items.

This assignment soon materialized into a very festive welcoming party to the real world. I have always enjoyed having positions of responsibility and enjoy the challenges of problem solving, teamwork, and decision making which come from such positions. However, I soon recognized that I was in unfamiliar territory and that many of the requirements of the assignment seemed to fit nicely into valleys of my weaknesses.

The first of these weaknesses was a fear of confrontation. Being that the project was off schedule and that the threat of liquidated damages was becoming more of a reality on a daily basis, I soon found that I was required to enter into confrontations with subcontractors, engineers, and lazy employees almost regularly. These confrontations were new for me and they drained my energy and took me completely out of my comfort zone.

The second of these weaknesses was self doubt. If asked to describe myself I would say that I am a confident person. However, I soon realized that my confidence had always come from knowledge or at least perceived knowledge. Once I was given the title of project manager I instantaneously and unknowingly became an expert on the project. Schedules, submittals, product data, construction methods, and contract documents all became part of an assumed knowledge of which others believed I had. Nothing in college was every like the cram sessions I soon found myself engaged in. I immediately began familiarizing myself with every aspect of the project. At night in my hotel room I would pour over the plans and specifications for the project, review daily logs, and become as familiar as possible with the materials for the job and their proper application for the project.

The third and most detrimental weakness was self motivation. I have always been a self starter but this project put my ability to self-motivate into a coma. Countless hours on site and in the hotel working, a complete lack of contact with colleagues, and the fourteen hours of driving on the weekend just to spend 18 hours at home and one night with my wife had a devastating effect on my morale.

It has been more than a year since I made that drive home and not a day goes by where I don’t use the skills and knowledge gained from the experience. I settled into a new home, got reacquainted with living with another person and resumed my role as sales/estimator for the company. As a result of those seven months I have come to know myself like never before and have found new confidence not in knowledge but in myself.

I still have confrontations with subcontractors, engineers, and laborers however these confrontations are no longer emotionally draining and are much more productive. I still have self doubt, but I know that with time and effort I can eliminate it. And my morale is high, I was able to accomplish a task which was beyond my ability and knowledge and which required sacrifices which I had not been prepared to make, looking back I realize that the dark days were the days which I grew the most.

More important than being able to recognize and overcome these weaknesses, I have been able to recognize my strengths, those things which put breathe into my life. I am passionate, I feel criticism and praise deeply. When I work, I work hard and am not afraid to get dirty. When I play, I play hard and love competition. When I laugh it is deep and infectious. I love to be continually learning. I try harder than most, feel more responsible than most and am more severe than deserved on myself.

During this same year I have reflected numerous times on my chosen course of study in construction management and upon the specific courses which I studied. One course which has continually proved invaluable was the construction law course. Although the one semester course on construction contracts, bonds and sureties, and construction claims was abbreviated and barren of the depth which Law School provides, it exposed me to a world which has since become an integral part of my daily life. On a daily basis I seek work which I can put under contract, I work towards fulfilling the specifications of the contracts, and on several occasions I have been on the receiving and giving end of contract enforcement. Although not necessarily the end all of my desire to study law my experience with contracts and construction law has given me the ambition to pursue a legal education and career.

asadio
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:26 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby asadio » Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:36 pm

Hey everyone,

thanks to all those providing such solid advice on PS's here. It's my first time here, and i'd like to share mine and hopefully help critique others in the future. I'd like any feedback you have, and i'm hella good at taking negative criticism so lay it on.

stats:
UGPA: 3.2
GGPA: 3.8
LSAT: 169
2 years WE

PS
I tried out for my high school volleyball team in the ninth grade. Much to my surprise, I made that team and the team every year throughout high school, even winning a championship. I was told I had the potential to be good; I was tall and had long arms in comparison to my colleagues, and could jump with the best of them. But my body was never fully coordinated. Each element - legs, arms, and mind – worked independently, resulting in comical displays of lanky me attempting to swat a volleyball. I ended up on the bench most days, and although I worked hard at technique and memorized the playbook, the lack of synchronization between the different parts of me meant that I never quite lived up to the potential that my coach saw in me.

I went to college, diving head long into a soup of extracurricular activities and freedom, admittedly at times forgetting how to swim. With all of the new things I was able to try, one of the things I never let go of was playing volleyball. I played recreationally and competitively, on beaches and on hardcourt, and always kept in the back of mind my coach’s encouragement to become a better player. My college intramural team won a championship, and this time I was proud to say I played a major part in that victory.

I had not seen my coach since I left high school, but one year she brought a team to my college for a tournament and I ran into her in the gymnasium. We caught up on each other’s lives, and I offered to help her team warm up. I served, set passes to them, blocked their spikes, and even managed to get a couple of spikes in myself. My coach later commented to me that she was impressed at how good I had become. I was proud and a little flattered and managed to formulate a thank you and this (paraphrased) response:

“I guess my body finally matured and everything started working together.”

Looking back, I realized it was not just my body that became focused. All the elements of my life, one at a time, similarly fell into step. My heart, mind, body, and soul became more coordinated over time. Consequently, my attention, focus, drive, and spirit became more directed, able to direct their energies to a single vision.

How did this happen?

I was in the Himalayas, travelling from village to village assessing the implementation of Uttaranchal’s provincial health policies. I need not wax on the disparities I was witness to, particularly in regards to access to health services and the basic rights of these citizens compared to the rest of India. But what I will say is that I had never felt so blessed to have been given the opportunities in my life that I, until that point, had treated as mental furniture. I was striving for higher education, with the chance to succeed on my terms, and a comfortable existence – whereas I could have easily been a 19 year old with no choice but to build step farms into the side of a mountain. My spirit developed through this experience, and my academic focus soon followed suit. I could no longer disrespect those who did not get the opportunity that I did by putting only partial effort into my endeavours.

I heard somewhere that people experience a burst of intelligence after graduating from college. I always thought it was less an increase in intelligence than clarity in understanding where one’s intellectual strengths lay. When I began my Masters in Public Health I realized that it is in fact, both. I was soaking up information like a sponge, and could think critically in ways that I had never been able to do. I was exploring new ideas, forming intelligent thoughts rather than executing simple memorization, and honing in on what became, in my opinion, my intellectual strength. I chose to specialize in Health Policy because I understood how policy worked, where it came from, and how it translated into reality. I took in all that I could about the legal and political ramifications of policy, and became skilled at wording sentences and thoughts to be accurate, salient, and succinct.

Seeing a man stranded on his rooftop as hurricane flood waters washed away everything around him struck a chord in me. Working on issues of health and social service access among West African immigrants and refugees and seeing how they were limited by the system struck another chord. Organizing with classmates to help pass a ban on indoor smoking under the premise that it violated the right to health for employees of restaurants and bars strummed yet another chord. Learning more about the world and the constructive ambiguities in justice that exist in nearly every legal system began to beat a drum in my heart. And all the other experiences provided the chorus for what has become a full orchestra. My heart has taken years to develop, and I sincerely hope that it never stops maturing. For if that music ever stops, I will be left with no more passion for what I am doing in life, and my actions will be carried simply by the momentum of habit.

It feels good to understand who I am. And with that understanding comes the introspective thoughtfulness to recall the elements I have written above. But that understanding did not come naturally. I was forced to become acutely aware of who I am. I am a Muslim American. Between the fall of the World Trade Center towers in 2001 and the arrest and solitary confinement of one my closest friends on claims of plotting terrorist activities in 2006, I have been needled into examining my values, morals, and personal sense of responsibility. I have had my patience and resolve strengthened by the covert alienation I have felt, and by the continued struggle with the Canadian legal system in obtaining bail for my friend. But even this rock and a hard place were blessings. They catalyzed my growth, galvanized my reality, and provided me with the glue I needed to hold my mind, heart, and soul together - my sense of self.

For a long time I had trouble trying to decide between working with people on an individual, grassroots level to help them realize their rights, or advocating for changes at a macro level through policy. I’ve always felt capable and comfortable doing both, and certainly have the passion to practice both. And then it struck me: why not do both? By studying law and combining that education with my Masters I will have the necessary tools to advocate for policy change while assisting on a case by case basis those individuals, groups, or populations who may not be able to fight for themselves. I have set myself on this path, and hope that you see in me potential to accomplish these goals the same way my volleyball coach saw talent in my physique. All it took was maturation, and I have that now.

ezpar
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:48 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby ezpar » Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:21 pm

asadio --

I think your PS is way all over the place. It starts out good and shows how you grew as an individual, but then jumps in ten different directions after the volleyball stuff. I would focus on just one thing, even if that one thing involves multiple experiences (like your time abroad). As it is, showing personal growth through all of that just seems a bit too much.

Just my thoughts.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.