Personal Statement Samples

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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coolkatz321
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby coolkatz321 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 2:59 am

Let's see how it goes!
----

The environment could not be more perfect—the room is well-lit, a tepid 69°, and the windows are shut so no wind can get in. A heavy oak table sits in the middle, surrounded by four chairs. Sitting on top of the table, right in the center is a pitcher of filtered water and an empty bowl. At each chair sits a notebook and an empty pint glass, freshly cleaned and ready for action. I walk over to the fridge and pull out what I have been assigned for this latest round of write-ups: six different beers, each ready to be poured.

My job at the Brewing News is a college student’s fantasy—I get paid to evaluate beer. Many of my friends are often disappointed when I tell them that it is not the drunken free-for-all they believe it to be. I have found it to be a position of depth and responsibility, one that has a steep learning curve and necessitates initiative and aptitude.

On my first day, my boss emphatically told me, “We must demand more from the beer.” A confused curiosity came over me as I pondered the serious tone of this seemingly amusing statement; I would soon learn just how pertinent of a statement it really was. The sheer amount of knowledge required of me to evaluate a single beer was immense. I knew I had a lot to learn, and took the initiative to absorb the information needed to complete my very first tasting. I had the task of turning a heap of unfamiliar terms, qualities and classifications – a pile of papers on my desk – from a latent concept to a substantial and meaningful statement of judgment and possible persuasion.

Studying up for my first evaluation, I remember being overwhelmed by simply how many factors went into rating a single beer. I had to master nearly sixty different styles of beer, evaluate based on five different aspects—appearance, mouthfeel, taste, aroma and overall impression—and learn descriptions of terms I had never heard before. It would appear that these write-ups were certainly not going to be the walk in the park I had originally envisioned. Of course, some of the benefits were fantastic—I would now have the good fortune of being sneered at by my increasingly annoyed peers when I told them the Stout/India Pale Ale/Witbier they were drinking had a wonderful aroma of coffee/pine/citrus, although probably could have less malt/hops/carbonation.

There was much more substance to evaluating beer than simply advising others on their particular choices. I have never had a job that required such meticulousness—every beer needed to be evaluated with an intense amount of scrutiny; attention to detail was absolutely essential. My boss helped me to develop my skills as a taster—to be able to discern the difference between the tastes of coriander and orange peel, the aromas of grapefruit and lemon, and describe the color of a beer as dark amber or reddish-copper. With these newly acquired abilities came a newfound respect for beer, one which factored heavily into my write-ups. No longer was I simply drinking just any beer, but rather a “well-hopped pale ale with citrus undertones and a hint of ginger, perfectly carbonated and having a smooth but somewhat bitter aftertaste.” I learned to use constructive criticism, rather than negativity, in my evaluations; being pessimistic was not going to result in any improvements in subsequent editions of the beer.

The write-ups brought me back to what my boss had told me on that first day of tasting—the gravity of his words had finally hit me. Demanding “more from the beer” was imperative. Anything less from myself would inhibit the reasoned, objective criticism the evaluations required. This ‘pursuit of excellence’ does not end with the beer. The thousands of people reading these reviews and looking for guidance needed to be well-informed. My job was to make that selection process easier, offering them a detailed evaluation to guide their purchase decision. Hopefully, my evaluations would be a catalyst for consumers to demand more of their beer, and a public well-informed of the beer they drink could have a positive impact on the brewing industry as a whole. After all, in a society where we feel the need to know every minute detail of even the smallest of news events, it could not hurt to know something about our beer as well.
----

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TrampsLikeU$
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby TrampsLikeU$ » Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:15 am

Hey coolkatz,

I think that is definitely one of the best essays I've read on this site as far as maintaining reader interest goes, and I'm pretty sure you won't have to worry that anyone else is going to have the same topic as you.

The one suggestion I have is right at the end where you say "in a society where we feel the need to know every minute detail of even the smallest of news events..." I feel like it might be better if you say that about something more specific and petty than general "news"...it comes across as if you think its ridiculous for someone to want to know every detail about world news or political news, which could make you seem uninformed about or uninterested in the news. Maybe you could say something like fashion news or Hollywood celebrity gossip news, or at least make it clearer that you're not saying knowing about the news is unimportant.

Anyway, overall I really liked it; it is really easy to read and surprisingly effective.

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coolkatz321
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby coolkatz321 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:24 am

How about this: "After all, in a society where we feel the need to know every minute facet of the life of a Hollywood celebrity..."

wy-cupl
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby wy-cupl » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:12 am

Hello, my friends. Here is my first draft of my Personal Statement. I would very appreciate your advice and critique. Thank you for your feedback!


“How far is it between the ideal and the reality?” Some may argue that ideal is just ideal, which can never come true. However, my personal experience convinces me that every one will realize their dream as long as they have a specific objective and keep unremitting pursuits of it.

As a child, I initially developed interests in painting and still persistently keep cultivating such a hobby until now despite of my overburdened schoolwork. To learn painting, I have sacrificed lots of weekends on which most my peers were playing games. On the contrary, I had to study painting in studio which is dozens of kilometers far away whatever the weather was. In summer, I would continue to paint even though I had been soaked with sweat by the hot and humid weather; while in winter, I would do the same though my fingers were numbed. And on each vacation, I had to visit art exhibitions as well as painting masters throughout the country with my parents. As a matter of fact, at that time, I actually did not form profound understanding about why I should do this. Nonetheless, I incubated the awareness in my childish mind that I should adhere to my pursuits and then do it perfectly once I have made my determination to do something regardless of its arduousness. It is such a motivation that makes me paint best in the studio, and from a child who even can not endure the weight of the drawing board to transcend all the senior fellow apprentices. Besides, my overall performance, including Chinese painting, sketch and watercolor, ranked top 4 among all the outstanding students in art in Tianjin during my high school days. Moreover, I often won prizes in the competition of domestic and international, and was delegated to pay several visits to foreign countries for the exchange program by Tianjin Art Delegation. Most importantly, such a hobby provides me an accession to serenity, which refreshes my brain out of complexity and therefore I often make a new breakthrough and great progress in objective analysis after calming down. At the same time, it to some extent fosters my ability, such as innovative ability, analytical ability and so forth.

I will pursue my career goals with the same determination and tenacity I have demonstrated.

Whenever someone asks me about what my ideal job is, I will tell him that “I will become a man fighting for justice like my father.”

My father is a venerable judge who has been engaged in this field for more than thirty years. I am proud of my father and admire him very much all the time, when I see him busy himself in the legal work, such as hearing the cases, solving legal disputes, and the lawyers arguing to fight for legal rights for clients. Under the influence of my family, I, as a child, initially developed the interests in law and made determination to become a lawyer, which is still unswerving until now.

To realize my long-cherished dream, I have proceeded on ceaselessly and steadily and have a specific objective. Later, I was admitted into China University of Political Science and Law, one of the most famous law schools in china, with distinction and afterwards chose to study bachelor’s degree in law. Gradually, I realized that in order to become an outstanding attorney, it is not enough just to study textbooks, since law is a practical subject. Therefore, I initiatively participated in varieties of school activities to consciously cultivate my comprehensive abilities. Since my freshman year, I have involved in legal aid center, legal clinic, the basic people’s court and law firm, and contacted abundant actual cases, studied files and legal searching and so on. No matter my successful experience of being the president ever science my elementary school, the vice president of the Movie Association of my University which has the number of two hundred of members, or as a leader and participant of the football and basketball competitions, my leadership and coordinating abilities were brought into full play. The various honors manifest that my capacity of leadership and cooperation will always benefits my team and fellows.

With a wealth of in-depth learning and plenty of practice in law, I'm deeply conscious that there currently still exist many problems, such as unreasonable stipulation of legal systems, poor maneuverability and comparatively low qualities of lawyers in many places of china. As a result, many justices are distorted while the civil rights spoiled. As one of the legal students who will undertake the major responsibilities, I am inevitably determined to study the most advanced legal system and mentalities in the U.S., a country with high reputation for the most democratic legal system and advanced education in the world.

My participation in the Summer Law Program of the University of Montreal firmed my determination of going to study in the U.S. During my study there, I learned comprehensive expertise in civil and common law traditions, as province of Quebec private law system is based on the civil law tradition and its public system on common law. During the courses, the professors often addressed the cross-cultural aspects of their society and regularly conducted comparative law studies in the field of expertise. This experience greatly developed my ability to consider and resolve problems in different judicial categories from various legal systems. In addition, it dispersed my worries about my future study and enabled me to find out the integrating point of Chinese law and Common Law as well.

… …

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coolkatz321
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby coolkatz321 » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:13 am

wy-cupl wrote:Hello, my friends. Here is my first draft of my Personal Statement. I would very appreciate your advice and critique. Thank you for your feedback!


“How far is it between the ideal and the reality?” Some may argue that ideal is just ideal, which can never come true. However, my personal experience convinces me that every one will realize their dream as long as they have a specific objective and keep unremitting pursuits of it.

As a child, I initially developed interests in painting and still persistently keep cultivating such a hobby until now despite of my overburdened schoolwork. To learn painting, I have sacrificed lots of weekends on which most my peers were playing games. On the contrary, I had to study painting in studio which is dozens of kilometers far away whatever the weather was. In summer, I would continue to paint even though I had been soaked with sweat by the hot and humid weather; while in winter, I would do the same though my fingers were numbed. And on each vacation, I had to visit art exhibitions as well as painting masters throughout the country with my parents. As a matter of fact, at that time, I actually did not form profound understanding about why I should do this. Nonetheless, I incubated the awareness in my childish mind that I should adhere to my pursuits and then do it perfectly once I have made my determination to do something regardless of its arduousness. It is such a motivation that makes me paint best in the studio, and from a child who even can not endure the weight of the drawing board to transcend all the senior fellow apprentices. Besides, my overall performance, including Chinese painting, sketch and watercolor, ranked top 4 among all the outstanding students in art in Tianjin during my high school days. Moreover, I often won prizes in the competition of domestic and international, and was delegated to pay several visits to foreign countries for the exchange program by Tianjin Art Delegation. Most importantly, such a hobby provides me an accession to serenity, which refreshes my brain out of complexity and therefore I often make a new breakthrough and great progress in objective analysis after calming down. At the same time, it to some extent fosters my ability, such as innovative ability, analytical ability and so forth.

I will pursue my career goals with the same determination and tenacity I have demonstrated.

Whenever someone asks me about what my ideal job is, I will tell him that “I will become a man fighting for justice like my father.”

My father is a venerable judge who has been engaged in this field for more than thirty years. I am proud of my father and admire him very much all the time, when I see him busy himself in the legal work, such as hearing the cases, solving legal disputes, and the lawyers arguing to fight for legal rights for clients. Under the influence of my family, I, as a child, initially developed the interests in law and made determination to become a lawyer, which is still unswerving until now.

To realize my long-cherished dream, I have proceeded on ceaselessly and steadily and have a specific objective. Later, I was admitted into China University of Political Science and Law, one of the most famous law schools in china, with distinction and afterwards chose to study bachelor’s degree in law. Gradually, I realized that in order to become an outstanding attorney, it is not enough just to study textbooks, since law is a practical subject. Therefore, I initiatively participated in varieties of school activities to consciously cultivate my comprehensive abilities. Since my freshman year, I have involved in legal aid center, legal clinic, the basic people’s court and law firm, and contacted abundant actual cases, studied files and legal searching and so on. No matter my successful experience of being the president ever science my elementary school, the vice president of the Movie Association of my University which has the number of two hundred of members, or as a leader and participant of the football and basketball competitions, my leadership and coordinating abilities were brought into full play. The various honors manifest that my capacity of leadership and cooperation will always benefits my team and fellows.

With a wealth of in-depth learning and plenty of practice in law, I'm deeply conscious that there currently still exist many problems, such as unreasonable stipulation of legal systems, poor maneuverability and comparatively low qualities of lawyers in many places of china. As a result, many justices are distorted while the civil rights spoiled. As one of the legal students who will undertake the major responsibilities, I am inevitably determined to study the most advanced legal system and mentalities in the U.S., a country with high reputation for the most democratic legal system and advanced education in the world.

My participation in the Summer Law Program of the University of Montreal firmed my determination of going to study in the U.S. During my study there, I learned comprehensive expertise in civil and common law traditions, as province of Quebec private law system is based on the civil law tradition and its public system on common law. During the courses, the professors often addressed the cross-cultural aspects of their society and regularly conducted comparative law studies in the field of expertise. This experience greatly developed my ability to consider and resolve problems in different judicial categories from various legal systems. In addition, it dispersed my worries about my future study and enabled me to find out the integrating point of Chinese law and Common Law as well.

… …


First of all, I think this is way too long. I fell asleep halfway through the first paragraph. It just seems to drone on and on... make it shorter, and definitely more interesting. There's no way this captures the attention of, well, anyone.

wy-cupl
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Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:06 pm

Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby wy-cupl » Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:25 am

coolkatz321 wrote:
First of all, I think this is way too long. I fell asleep halfway through the first paragraph. It just seems to drone on and on... make it shorter, and definitely more interesting. There's no way this captures the attention of, well, anyone.


OK, I will try to shorten it and add some little instance.
Angyhow, Thank you for your advice!
:)

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scott82
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby scott82 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:39 pm

Greetings. I read almost the whole thread, and I still have the nerve to post my PS draft for critique. Would appreciate any guidance/comments, even from you JustDude. Forthwith:

<The ringing in my ears will never go away. This omnipresent hum that announces itself in quiet rooms is the faint but persistent echo of death’s touch, the product of a single second now three and a half years gone, yet still a vivid memory.

In May of 2005, I am two months into a combat tour in Ramadi, Iraq, leaving still too many unpredictable days before I can return home, be discharged from the Marines after four years of active duty, and put the lessons of my experience to use as a civilian.

Vehicle patrols through Ramadi’s cramped and filthy alleys are an exercise in suppressing one’s nerves. Our parade of armored humvees requires an ever-changing set of tactics to accommodate for our total lack of auditory stealth. Even so, our best efforts are regularly greeted with improvised explosive device attacks and small arms fire. As a vehicle commander for our company’s Quick Reaction Force, I count myself lucky I have only four Marines under my charge instead of forty. At times, the weight of being responsible for four other lives makes me feel like the oldest 22-year old on earth, but I stymie my anxiety by thinking of past wars, when men younger than I received battlefield commissions and led whole platoons in frontal assaults. Every time our convoy rolls through the base’s gate, an ominous plywood sign reminds me of the gravity of making one wrong or ill-informed decision: Complacency Kills, it reads.

On this day we screen the area ahead of a foot patrol, varying our routes and stopping points, moving unpredictably and finding cover wherever possible. Across a bridge, past a mosque, a right turn and we’re suddenly sandwiched between a creek and a long cinder block wall. The second humvee driver sees a large rice sack in the road and deftly maneuvers around it. In the third vehicle, my driver doesn’t see it until it passes under the wheels. We have no time to brace for the explosion.

The blast lifts us five feet in the air and hurls shards of fiberglass and metal onto the surrounding houses’ rooftops. As the humvee crashes back to earth and skids to a halt, my door flies open and I fall from the front passenger seat to the gravel road, tasting smoke and shaking off the shock wave that just rippled through me. I look down, fearing the worst, and find to my surprise I am still whole--no bleeding or broken bones. Calling out the names of the rest of my team, I am relieved as four shouts of “I’m good!” pierce the haze. We move swiftly into a nearby house and I make a radio call for assistance. Outside, the humvee lies in ruin, oil pooling in the dirt, the vehicle’s blood shed for our sake. Inside my head, the blast fades into a dull ring. It is still echoing when I arrive home safely in Iowa seven months later, discharge papers in hand. It still echoes now.

I sometimes struggle for words when people ask me that most ridiculous of open-ended questions about my time in Iraq: “What was it like?” Prose can never adequately express the abject fear, the melancholy, the smell, or the feeling of overwhelming relief mixed with shame at being one who came back unhurt, even as others close to me did not. Rather than trying to relate it to something else, I tell the stories and hope their impact is reflected in the way others see me live. I do this because I don’t know if it was this brush with death or some other factor that gave me the drive I lacked in my pre-enlistment attempt at college. I can’t say if the success of leading four Marines through combat and safely home gave me the courage to lead, or if it just brought to bear the courage that had been there all along. What I do know is, I am changed. I am focused. I am grateful. I am still ever mindful of complacency and I will not be its casualty. Instead, I will work to make it mine.>


Background notes:
I did a year at a community college prior to enlisting, and achieved an ignoble 1.9 GPA. Naturally, this dragged me down overall when I came back to school, so I am counting on the adcoms seeing my upward trend (3.5 in my major at a state school) and taking into account I got a 164 on the LSAT.

edit: made some minor changes.

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JustDude
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby JustDude » Wed Nov 19, 2008 2:58 pm

scott82 wrote:Greetings. I read almost the whole thread, and I still have the nerve to post my PS draft for critique. Would appreciate any guidance/comments, even from you JustDude. Forthwith:

<The ringing in my ears will never go away. This omnipresent hum that announces itself in quiet rooms is the faint but persistent echo of death’s touch, the product of a single second now three and a half years gone, yet still a vivid memory.

In May of 2005, I am two months into a combat tour in Ramadi, Iraq, leaving still too many unpredictable days before I can return home, be discharged from the Marines after four years of active duty, and put the lessons of my experience to use as a civilian.

Vehicle patrols through Ramadi’s cramped and filthy alleys are an exercise in suppressing one’s nerves. Our parade of armored humvees requires an ever-changing set of tactics to accommodate for our total lack of auditory stealth. Even so, our best efforts are regularly greeted with improvised explosive device attacks and small arms fire. As a vehicle commander for our company’s Quick Reaction Force, I count myself lucky I have only four Marines under my charge instead of forty. At times, the weight of being responsible for four other lives makes me feel like the oldest 22-year old on earth, but I stymie my anxiety by thinking of past wars, when men younger than I received battlefield commissions and led whole platoons in frontal assaults. Every time our convoy rolls through the base’s gate, an ominous plywood sign reminds me of the gravity of making one wrong or ill-informed decision: Complacency Kills, it reads.

On this day we screen the area ahead of a foot patrol, varying our routes and stopping points, moving unpredictably and finding cover wherever possible. Across a bridge, past a mosque, a right turn and we’re suddenly sandwiched between a creek and a long cinder block wall. The second humvee driver sees a large rice sack in the road and deftly maneuvers around it. In the third vehicle, my driver doesn’t see it until it passes under the wheels. We have no time to brace for the explosion.

The blast lifts us five feet in the air and hurls shards of fiberglass and metal onto the surrounding houses’ rooftops. As the humvee crashes back to earth and skids to a halt, my door flies open and I fall from the front passenger seat to the gravel road, tasting smoke and shaking off the shock wave that just rippled through me. I look down, fearing the worst, and find to my surprise I am still whole--no bleeding or broken bones. Calling out the names of the rest of my team, I am relieved as four shouts of “I’m good!” pierce the haze. We move swiftly into a nearby house and I make a radio call for assistance. Outside, the humvee lies in ruin, oil pooling in the dirt, the vehicle’s blood shed for our sake. Inside my head, the blast fades into a dull ring. It is still echoing when I arrive home safely in Iowa seven months later, discharge papers in hand. It still echoes now.

I sometimes struggle for words when people ask me that most ridiculous of open-ended questions about my time in Iraq: “What was it like?” Prose can never adequately express the abject fear, the melancholy, the smell, or the feeling of overwhelming relief mixed with shame at being one who came back unhurt, even as others close to me did not. Rather than trying to relate it to something else, I tell the stories and hope their impact is reflected in the way others see me live. I do this because I don’t know if it was this brush with death or some other factor that gave me the drive I lacked in my pre-enlistment attempt at college. I can’t say if the success of leading four Marines through combat and safely home gave me the courage to lead, or if it just brought to bear the courage that had been there all along. What I do know is, I am changed. I am focused. I am grateful. I am still ever mindful of complacency and I will not be its casualty. Instead, I will work to make it mine.>


Background notes:
I did a year at a community college prior to enlisting, and achieved an ignoble 1.9 GPA. Naturally, this dragged me down overall when I came back to school, so I am counting on the adcoms seeing my upward trend (3.5 in my major at a state school) and taking into account I got a 164 on the LSAT.

edit: made some minor changes.


It seems fine to me.

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scott82
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby scott82 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:20 pm

For struggle to yield success, it requires more than effort but desire too. No mountain will humble itself before a person not wanting to climb it. Challenge must not be mandated but instead be presented in a manner that antagonizes one to perform actions they would not otherwise.


You don't need this paragraph. I get lost in it, and it lends nothing specific to the essay. I would be more likely to be hooked right away if you painted a better opening scene of how close you came to going to India; I don't know what "a boarding pass away" means; In the airport?

I am currently working full time as an ocean policy intern at the public policy office of an extremely active science-based non-governmental organization.


Name it. "extremely active science-based non-governmental organization" doesn't roll off the tongue.

I completed my last year with Dean’s list honor, averaging the highest GPA ever in my academic career, and achieving my target LSAT score.


I think I read somewhere that you should avoid restating your transcript and resume in your PS; may want to reconsider this sentence.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think this PS will set you apart from others; there is a lot of "this is what I did in college" and "this is how I made the decision to go to law school" in here, and if you submitted this in the three paragraph form it's in now, I'd read "three years into my biology degree..." and glaze over.

AndrewD
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby AndrewD » Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:47 am

Ok, here I go. I'm really hoping that this PS does not suck, but I guess it might :? . HOWEVER, after like 50 opening paragraphs that completely sucked I want to post my first actual complete one. Be harsh, but constructive please! Saying "it sucked" does not help me get started on a new one. Of note: I'm an upper middle class white kid from the Pacific Northwest who has never really faced any true hardships like the death of a close relative or anything so I was trying to focus on something that would be reflected in my resume.



I resolutely flip through page 200 of an obscure book by a little-known English author. I’m searching for a single passage, half remembered by a professor who is “pretty sure,” that this particular obscure English author is the one who wrote it. He wants to use it in his next journal article which he informs me is on political slang. On one side of my desk is a growing stack of books through which I have already skimmed. On the opposite side are a disconcertingly large number of books I have yet to examine. I’d say it was like finding a needle in a haystack but honestly I think it would be easier to literally find a needle in an actual haystack. I will eventually come across the passage and feely greatly satisfied when I do, but what I really take away from the experience is the importance of being determined enough to slog through vast amounts of unhelpful information before landing on something useful.

When doing research, I can’t help but long for the instant gratification of the “aha!” moment. This is the triumphant realization that all your work ties together in a convenient little bundle, preferably through some ingeniously creative method that made the work magnificently simple. Unfortunately, I have found that real life doesn’t usually work this way. While I feel that creativity is important, I believe it tends to be overrated. Norman Borlaug, father of the “Green Revolution,” didn’t figure out how to feed an extra two billion people all at once, in some sort of scientific epiphany. He discovered one piece of information which led to another which led to another. Society progresses upon the back of research, and even small projects like finding a particular passage in an obscure English book might be used for something brilliant in the future. I like to tell myself that no one else has done the work for you and Google isn’t going to solve your problems.

I have tried to model myself after researchers who view both successes and failures as equally useful. If I can find out what doesn’t work that means I am one step closer to finding out what does. If I find something that does work it means I am one step closer to finding out something that works better. So by compiling data on the history and usage of political slang, I may be creating the framework for a groundbreaking book on the effect of communication in democracy. This book may then lead to governmental reform which could affect all aspects of society. It’s entirely possible that none of those things happen, of course, but that doesn’t make the actual process of conducting the research any less valuable.

Before taking a position as a research assistant, and subsequently as an assistant producer and researcher for Portland’s highest rated sports-radio show, I would search Google, and maybe hit the library if I couldn’t find what I wanted on the internet. I never would have thought I could spend time in the Oregon Secretary of State's office looking for biographical information of former governors, or on the phone with HSBC, trying to get an original copy of an advertisement. Though the glut of information available on the web has certainly made fact-finding simpler, I believe it has come with the unfortunate side-effect of making people information-lazy. There is something to be said for simple, unglamorous persistence, the kind that keeps me in the library until closing time and then back the next morning.

As a lawyer, I see myself expanding upon this love of research in order to use it as a tool for helping me advance the interests of my clients. I will have no problems reading through hundreds of pages of unhelpful documents in order to find that one shred of information that might win the case. I won’t rely on the internet as a substitute for straightforward hard work and dedication. My foundation as a researcher, along with my academic success has convinced me that a career in law is the most natural fit for my personality and ambitions.

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scott82
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby scott82 » Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:22 am

AndrewD wrote:I resolutely flip through page 200 of an obscure book by a little-known English author.


I'm not sure "resolutely" is necessary here. Also, have you considered setting the scene by quoting the author, then jumping directly into you frustratedly searching for the quote? If done right, it could be humorous for the adcoms, who will probably have read dozens of essays starting with obscure quotes; you could put a twist on this. Just a thought...

As it stands now, I'm not sure this paragraph needs to be in present tense.

AndrewD wrote:He wants to use it in his next journal article which he informs me is on political slang.


Change to "He wants to use it in a journal article on political slang".

AndrewD wrote:I’d say it was like finding a needle in a haystack but honestly I think it would be easier to literally find a needle in an actual haystack.


I appreciate the attempt at pithiness, but it just doesn't work here; by this point, you've already established you are looking for an obscure quote; no need to beat a dead horse.

AndrewD wrote:I will eventually come across the passage and feely greatly satisfied when I do, but what I really take away from the experience is the importance of being determined enough to slog through vast amounts of unhelpful information before landing on something useful.


Could do a better job of illustrating the "aHa!" moment referenced in the next paragraph's lead sentence. You're onto something with the "slogging through vast amounts of unhelpful information".

AndrewD wrote:instant gratification of the “aha!” moment. This is the


Change to "aha!" moment--the triumphant realization..."

AndrewD wrote:Unfortunately, I have found that real life doesn’t usually work this way. While I feel that creativity is important


Both "that"s in this section can be removed; you should go through the whole essay and cross all of them out, then read the piece aloud and see which ones are unnecessary.

AndrewD wrote:I like to tell myself that no one else has done the work for you and Google isn’t going to solve your problems.


Not sure this is needed, but if you include it, just say "I tell myself".

AndrewD wrote:I may be creating the framework for a groundbreaking book on the effect of communication in democracy. This book may then lead to governmental reform which could affect all aspects of society. It’s entirely possible that none of those things happen, of course, but that doesn’t make the actual process of conducting the research any less valuable.


Not sure about this part... If the research you have done leads to nothing, I don't see how the process of conducting it is still valuable. Idealism is not automatically a bad thing, but needs to be thought through.

AndrewD wrote:and subsequently as an assistant producer and researcher for Portland’s highest rated sports-radio show,


Needlessly self-aggrandizing, and will be evident in your resume. Cut.

AndrewD wrote:maybe hit the library


Don't say "hit the library". Too informal.

AndrewD wrote:I believe it has come with the unfortunate side-effect of making people information-lazy


Neither "side effect" nor "information lazy" needs to be hyphenated.

AndrewD wrote:There is something to be said


Cliche. If there is something to be said, say what it is.

AndrewD wrote:I see myself expanding upon this love of research


I would stop short of saying you have a "love" of research. If I were an adcom, I wouldn't buy it. An "affinity" perhaps, but not a "love". Also, "upon" is not needed here.

AndrewD wrote:I will have no problems reading through hundreds of pages of unhelpful documents


Again, overbearing. Surely, you would have at least a couple distractions. Stay away from saying you will have "no problems" or are "fully aware" of what lies ahead (I know you didn't do this; just an example). Everyone has problems sometime.

AndrewD wrote:I won’t rely on the internet as a substitute for straightforward hard work and dedication.


You shouldn't need to say this. By law school, this ought to be a "duh" factor for most.

There ya go.
<end criticism>

AndrewD
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby AndrewD » Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:18 pm

Very constructive and fair. Appreciate it Scott!

In your opinion is the topic solid enough to work with though? I've had a lot of trouble getting something going. At this point I'm just trying to write something that won't bring down my numbers. I'm fairly sure I want to go to Texas and my numbers (167, 3.75) should be good enough assuming my PS doesn't completely blow.

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scott82
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby scott82 » Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:43 pm

I think you have a good start, and with some tweaking, can make it interesting enough that they will at least consider you. With a 167/3.75, I doubt you have to worry much anyways; you're pretty close to the 75% mark for Texas in both cases. Some of us aren't so great in the grades dept. and have to pin all hopes on our LSAT score and a kickass PS. :wink:

caic517
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby caic517 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:34 am

hi, this is my first draft. thanks everyone for taking a look and giving feed back. Also, one thing that irks me a lot is if this just sounds like a very long and mundane account of my life. Rather than being a personal statement, it's more like a personal blog (and horribly written at that). Should I focus on 1 event in my life and build off that, or should I stick to this PE and really polish it up. Thanks.

June 30, 1997. I could feel my heart beat faster, the excitement surging through my body, and the tears welling in my eyes. The flags of China and Hong Kong slowly rose to the top of the flag poles, accompanied by the melodic grandeur of the Chinese national anthem, as Chinese around the world celebrated the reunification of China and Hong Kong. From that moment, China became a major player in international affairs, its future inextricably tied to strengthening global interaction and appreciation.

I still remember every detail of that moment. It gave me strength and pride to be born Chinese, but most of all, it gave me a dream. Using my Chinese American heritage, I strive to gain recognition for China internationally and help China understand the world. This passion became my very identity and sparked in me a desire to study law.

It has been 10 years since I first translated Chinese to English, memories of the experience replaying clearly in my mind. The thick brown paperback Chinese-English dictionary by my left hand, my fingers spinning the white 0.5mm mechanical pencil in my right hand, and The Analects opened before me. I would be intoxicating myself with self-indulgence if I said translating The Analects was not an immense challenge, but I wanted to impress my peers, to show them I was ready to face the adult world. In the end, I couldn’t. Disappointment drilled at me until my father pointed at a sentence in The Analects and asked me to translate it. “The man who moves a mountain, begins by carrying away small stones.” “Correct,” he said. “Success isn’t achieved in an instant. It takes planning and commitment.”

Throughout the years, my father’s words motivated me to continue chasing my dream and live my life in preparation for it. My decisions to attend XXX and YYY were no exception. The lectures on modern Chinese literature at XXX introduced me to China’s cultural transformation started in the early 20th century. I learned of China’s gradual international assimilation, of the deeply rooted convention, and of the conflict and struggle to accept and adapt foreign influence. In addition to informative lectures, XXX was a giant hub of international activity and opportunities. It gave me a chance to be more than a student. Volunteer teacher for underprivileged Asian students, international student activities coordinator, and New York City’s Department of Commerce’s translator for talks with Chinese trade delegates. These were all cherished experiences I earned at XXX and continued at YYY.

While the courses at XXX taught me about the details of modern China, the education at YYY traced China’s long history. Sitting at the front of the classroom, his briefcase on the edge of the table, literature pieces lined neatly in front of him, Professor D would recite an excerpt from his texts and spark a discussion with us. In this small and intimate academic environment, I learned of the nuances and progression of Chinese literature. Pieces from different authors, different regions, and different periods, even on the same topic, can produce astonishing differences or perfect likeness.

Interning at ZZZ Law Firm in Shanghai gave me the first extensive exposure to law. Like literature, law is a living entity that continues to transform and develop. It evolves to accommodate the present environment it operates in. Different contracts can share the same foundations and outlines but each contract possesses unique qualities that must be carefully illustrated. For instance, whether to arbitrate a joint venture dispute between a US investor and its Chinese partner in a Chinese state arbitration committee or to settle the dispute in America can yield divergent results. I had to guarantee that each clause in a contract was logical and detailed. If I did not precisely and logically present the details, my grievous error could cost a WFOE millions of dollars in investment. My experience at ZZZ made me realize the significance of law in international discourse. By employing law, I was able to contribute to China’s global integration and recognition.

Law also provided the foundational understanding and gave me the chance to welcome foreign individuals and organizations to China, to bring China and the world closer. Working for BBB, a WFOE with annual sales of 535.4 million Euros established in rural central China, I was able to support the development of this WFOE in a region of China isolated from foreign influence. In this past year, I deepened my involvement with law and consequently appreciated law’s extensive growth. It convinced me to pursue a study in law. During my year at BBB, I was responsible for the translations of company legal documents. I maneuvered through pages of purchase agreements, construction contracts, and labor contracts. I gained a comprehensive understanding of the legal intricacies involved in the operation of a WFOE in China. For me, law was an instrument to overcome cultural differences, personal biases and interests to produce a balance between the participants.

I am ready. I have devoted myself to understanding China for eleven years. I watched each successful step the country made to join the world, to be accepted by the world. But it is in these dire times, in this period clouded by distrust and deception that I yearn to help China. For me, the study of law is an extension of my dream—it is a conduit to link China and the world in a united future.

Ixylplyx
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Ixylplyx » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:58 am

caic517 wrote:The thick brown paperback Chinese-English dictionary by my left hand, my fingers spinning the white 0.5mm mechanical pencil in my right hand, and The Analects opened before me. I would be intoxicating myself with self-indulgence if I said translating The Analects was not an immense challenge, but I wanted to impress my peers, to show them I was ready to face the adult world.


Change it so it reads like this

caic517 wrote:The thick brown cock by my left hand, my fingers spinning the white dildo in my right hand, and PORN opened before me. I would be intoxicating myself with self-indulgence if I said the cock was not an immense challenge, but I wanted to impress my peers, to show them I was ready to face the adult world.

caic517
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby caic517 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:00 am

Ixylplyx wrote:Change it so it reads like this

caic517 wrote:The thick brown cock by my left hand, my fingers spinning the white dildo in my right hand, and PORN opened before me. I would be intoxicating myself with self-indulgence if I said the cock was not an immense challenge, but I wanted to impress my peers, to show them I was ready to face the adult world.


maybe i should change career choices to be a certain genre's writer......

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scott82
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby scott82 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:58 am

caic517 wrote:I could feel my heart beat faster, the excitement surging through my body, and the tears welling in my eyes.


I get that it was emotional, but I don't get why. I'm just an insular midwestern guy with limited knowledge of Chinese history, but you may need to explicate more the struggle it took for reunification. Also, the reader doesn't know where you are in this scene; in China? or just watching this on TV?

caic517 wrote:From that moment, China became a major player in international affairs, its future inextricably tied to strengthening global interaction and appreciation.


I'm pretty sure China was a major player in IA before this. They had been a permanent member of the UN Security Council for 50+ years by then. What is "global appreciation"? Not financial, I hope...

caic517 wrote:I strive to gain recognition for China internationally

See above.

caic517 wrote:and help China understand the world.

A little bit too quixotic if you ask me. And kind of vague.

It gave me strength and pride to be born Chinese

It gave you strength to be born Chinese? Personal preference here; I don't care for "ethnic pride" diatribes. I can appreciate someone being grateful to be born a certain ethnicity (I'm pretty grateful to be American) but pride suggests an inherent superiority to others, which is not so good. Food for thought.

caic517 wrote:It has been 10 years since I first translated Chinese to English, memories of the experience replaying clearly in my mind.

"...Chinese to English. Memories of the experience replay clearly..."

caic517 wrote:continue chasing my dream and live my life in preparation for it

The way this is phrased is redundant. "Chasing my dream" is kind of a cliche.

My decisions to attend XXX and YYY were no exception.

Awkward in its current location.

caic517 wrote:Volunteer teacher for underprivileged Asian students, international student activities coordinator, and New York City’s Department of Commerce’s translator for talks with Chinese trade delegates.

No need to restate your resume.

caic517 wrote:literature pieces lined neatly in front of him

Just say "books".

Two paragraphs about what you learned in college and two paragraphs about your internship/work experience, none of which moves very far beyond generality. I don't get anything from these four paragraphs that wouldn't be evident in your resume.

caic517 wrote:I watched each successful step the country made to join the world, to be accepted by the world.


You continually reference China as though it is not (or only recently became) part of "the world" without explaining what it is you mean. The world's largest population, 4th highest GDP, serious trading power, UN Security Council membership; these are things that, to me at least, place China well within "the world". If you were from Armenia or Swaziland, I could understand a little better, but China is definitely one of the big kids on the world's playground.

The Analects quote that your dad made you translate may be a better place to start. Much of the second half of this is just boring.

<end criticism>

caic517
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby caic517 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:37 am

thanks scott. that definitely helped. now i know for sure i came on like a delusional teenager filled drunk with narcissism. *rolls up his sleeves to hammer out another PS*

lym
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby lym » Sun Nov 23, 2008 10:57 pm

deleted
Last edited by lym on Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

atylwr
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby atylwr » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:11 am

.,,,,
Last edited by atylwr on Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

astatement
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby astatement » Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:27 am

Where are YOU in your Personal statement?
I see the world, the generation, poor Congolese kids ...you name it...but not atylwr as a person.
One thing for sure: don't start with quotation.

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Kares
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Kares » Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:08 pm

Comments? I really need some input... Thanks!!!


I am a result of my upbringing. I was terribly stubborn as a child and as a result I grew up arguing. My father said I had a talent for it; he told me I would be a great barrister. I used to yell back to him that no one called lawyers that anymore and I swore to myself that I would not become a lawyer just to prove him wrong. My mother stayed at home during a good part of my childhood. She required that I complete all my school work before I could play. As a result I went through school with a devastating work ethic. I would come home and immediately do my school work until I was absolutely satisfied that the next day it would be the best in my class. I received accolades in accordance to my efforts. I graduated at the top of my class in high school and was accepted to my choice colleges in the state where I planned to pursue the study of economics. It was my favorite class in high school and I showed the most natural aptitude for it. It made sense. Early in my freshman year of college I was granted a gift most young people lack, I was given perspective.

It was rush hour and my car was hardly moving along the interstate. I was on a trip to visit a friend at another university. After high school things had changed drastically, I was miserable. This trip was my last attempt at academic happiness. I was successful in my classes but I was miserable going to them. I needed to transfer away from the oppressive nature of my current institution to a more liberal school. It was in this hour of desperation that I received the call that granted me the gift of perspective. My mother sounded distracted as she gave vague answers to my onslaught of questions. Ultimately though she revealed the truth, my father had been diagnosed with fronto-temporal dementia, he was fifty-three. I remember the numbness that followed. I was not in denial but I had not conceptualized the consequences of the disease. Later upon reflection I realized that my father, the man with whom the majority of my arguments had been against, would no longer be able to argue with me. He would lose his ability to reason and perceive effectively. I was pained at the loss. I was also rewarded. I was faced with the reality of the expiration of my own abilities at a much younger age than most people. I knew the loss of my capacity to contribute to society effectively was impending. I realized that I did not want to lose the time I do have to reason.

Since that call I have made major changes in my life. Time is limited and there is not a moment which ought to be spent in unnecessary misery. I have transferred schools and added on a minor in Spanish and Environmental law. I have expanded my academic pursuits and I am satisfied and stimulated. I also know what I want to do in the future. Ironically my father’s diagnosis has become the catalyst for change in my life. As a child I rejected the career path he proposed for me. As an adult I crave the intellectual validation which a career in law can provide me. In the end though he won the argument; I will be a lawyer.

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scott82
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby scott82 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:55 pm

Kares wrote:I am a result of my upbringing.

Every person alive is a result of their upbringing. This is akin to saying "I am a result of sperm joining egg".


Kares wrote:My father said I had a talent for it; he told me I would be a great barrister. I used to yell back to him that no one called lawyers that anymore and I swore to myself that I would not become a lawyer just to prove him wrong. My mother stayed at home during a good part of my childhood. She required that I complete all my school work before I could play. As a result I went through school with a devastating work ethic. I would come home and immediately do my school work until I was absolutely satisfied that the next day it would be the best in my class. I received accolades in accordance to my efforts. I graduated at the top of my class in high school and was accepted to my choice colleges in the state where I planned to pursue the study of economics. It was my favorite class in high school and I showed the most natural aptitude for it. It made sense. Early in my freshman year of college I was granted a gift most young people lack, I was given perspective.


There is nothing remotely unique, redeeming, endearing, or interesting about this whole paragraph. Adcoms don't want to hear about how you told your dad you would never be a lawyer when you were eight; they already know you DO want to be a lawyer since they are reading your PS, so you aren't going to shock them with some big reveal down the page.

I don't know what a "devastating" work ethic is, but it doesn't sound good. You make yourself sound like an anal retentive child with an overbearing mommy. Rather than saying "my choice colleges in the state where I planned to pursue the study of economics" you could just say "Ohio State". Or whatever it was. Save yourself about ten words.

The last line of this paragraph turns the whole PS into a car accident that I can't stop staring at. Everyone who has sensory function has perspective. You may or may not have a greater appreciation for certain things than the average "young person" but when you actually say it, you just sound snooty. If you can't demonstrate this fact without explicitly stating it, you should reconsider your choice of topic.

I was successful in my classes but I was miserable going to them. I needed to transfer away from the oppressive nature of my current institution to a more liberal school.

This might be the worst line in the whole PS. You have demonstrated herein that you didn't make an informed decision about your undergraduate pursuit and you blame the school for your misery.

Kares wrote:I had not conceptualized the consequences of the disease.

Which is the same as saying "I didn't know" but in a needlessly euphemistic fashion.

I'm sorry about your dad, but in the scope of "overcoming adversity or negative circumstances" PS's, this will not stand out. If I were an adcom, I would be more likely to think "Here is someone who was certain economics was his/her chosen path, but wound up miserable in a year. What guarantee do I have that he/she will not have the exact same thing happen in law school, given the fact that his/her whole motivation for going to law school seems to be based on a father's dementia diagnosis".

Furthermore, you say nothing about what you have to offer the law school. The whole PS is about what happened to you, what you did, what you want, what you crave.

I recommend ditching this and trying a completely different approach.

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Kares
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby Kares » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:03 pm

woah! gracious thanks so much I really didn't know where to start but all of your criticism is great its good to hear another perspective! thanks!

atylwr
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Re: Personal Statement Samples

Postby atylwr » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:51 pm

astatement wrote:Where are YOU in your Personal statement?
I see the world, the generation, poor Congolese kids ...you name it...but not atylwr as a person.
One thing for sure: don't start with quotation.

Thank you, I appreciate it extremely. The two things you mentioned were things I had been considering, this was only and extreme rough draft. However, even if I were to fix those things, would it still be an acceptable PS? Should I elaborate on a story or should I just talk about myself more?




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