The George Mason 500

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:00 pm

Here is my Personal Statement for George Mason Law School not to exceed 500 words

Booker Washington once said “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed”. While I reflect upon my academic career through the lens of Booker Washington’s wisdom, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. My quest for knowledge has endured through a gauntlet of enormous obstacles.
When I was a freshman in college I was experiencing an education for the first time since dropping out of high school in the tenth grade to help support my mother who is permanently disabled and legally blind. We had been living together in a trailer since her separation when I was twelve years old. Since we had no car I resorted to biking over 10 miles every day to school in the oppressive snow filled streets. I realized at age eighteen that I needed to move into the city to facilitate my education.
I found affordable housing alone; however, my new apartment was located in the ghetto of Schenectady. It was above a liquor store next to a bar and a funeral home. But, I was used to living in subpar conditions and I thought that I could make my time there perfectly uneventful. I was wrong.
One evening in the winter of 2008 as I enjoyed my studies at my living room desk, I overheard a man enter the hallway of my apartment building. Moments later, I heard him kick in my neighbor Sarah’s door. I heard loud thudding noises as she was beaten and thrown into the walls of her home.
I immediately phoned the police. But, after a few moments of listening to her cries, I decided to take action. I burst into the hallway and pounded on her door in an attempt to reason with this attacker, but he simply ignored my calls. The situation looked bleak, but I refused to give up and let this injustice stand. So I took a step back, took a deep breath, and rushed the door.
I felt the door cave against my weight, and as I came into Sarah’s living room I surveyed the apartment. I was confronted with a ransacked living room, at the center of which a man lay atop my downstairs neighbor. He was still assaulting her. I ran over and subdued the trespasser. As I waited for the police to arrive I watched the suspect vacillate between states of anxiety, depression, and violence. Fortunately, I was able to take charge of the situation by calming him.
Finally, I heard the police enter the apartment building. I stood up briskly and walked over to the apartment’s mangled front door to explain the situation to the officers, and left the scene to them.
When I returned to my apartment I immediately resumed studying. As I studied, I was distracted by the loud enduring investigation in the hallway. The police seemed unimpressed with the intruder’s story.
Last edited by john1990 on Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
mrtoren
Posts: 733
Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:43 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby mrtoren » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:17 pm

Is that an essay question? Is there a prompt you would care to share with us?

In any event, even if every part of your story is true, it sounds overly dramatic. You're touching on a number of serious life obstacles without delving into them further. Maybe you don't have room to discuss them. If that's the case, I would eliminate mentioning some of them. As the reader, it left me doubting your credibility from the start. You also need to tweak your story telling. You focus too much on unimportant details in the lead up to the climax and then fail to deliver a satisfying story arc. In story telling, the drama needs to be veiled, not quite so overt.

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:34 pm

mrtoren wrote:Is that an essay question? Is there a prompt you would care to share with us?

In any event, even if every part of your story is true, it sounds overly dramatic. You're touching on a number of serious life obstacles without delving into them further. Maybe you don't have room to discuss them. If that's the case, I would eliminate mentioning some of them. As the reader, it left me doubting your credibility from the start. You also need to tweak your story telling. You focus too much on unimportant details in the lead up to the climax and then fail to deliver a satisfying story arc. In story telling, the drama needs to be veiled, not quite so overt.


The only instruction is to write a personal statement on a topic of your choice not to exceed 500 words. Sorry for not specifying that this is a 500 word personal statement. The story is 100% true and i would never lie in a law school aplication :?
You are right in guessing that i didn't have space to discuss the events more fully, since i am right at the limit of 500 words. But, i think that i explain how the events triggered each other. Although, I agree that the story could use a little more winding down . Thank you for your review! Your referral to the story arc should be helpful as well

jessie
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:13 am

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby jessie » Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:50 pm

I really dislike essays that start of with quotes about perseverence and overcoming adversity. Such quotes are a dime a dozen and could really apply to anyone's essay. If you're going to start of with a quote (although, in such a short essay I think it's a waste of space), use one that has more of a direct connection to what you're talking about.

Your writing is full of "purple prose" which only serves to hinder the story. You are talking about having to go through tough times, harsh conditions, and a horrible event. You can write about that well without including phrases such as "a gauntlet of obstacles", "oppressive snow fille dstreets", "enduring investigation".

Also, you use a lot of tell and not a lot of show when describing the scene. "I subdued the trespasser." Okay. What did you do?

The ending also didn't work for me as a conclusion. You went back to studying? It makes you sound really callous, even if that's what you did. And how does this tie into your education?

I'm not saying I doubt your story, but the way it's written makes it sound fake ("subdued the intruder" and "not impressed with the intruder's story" in particular made me cringe). Adcoms will probably have a similar initial response, and you won't have a chance to defend yourself.

User avatar
89vision
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby 89vision » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:12 pm

That's intense. I think it should be more focused, it does not seem completely connected. As in, how does not having a car relate to capturing an intruder? By assault I assume rape, and if it were rape, and you just went back to studying, it seems like you do not consider the act that important. If I witnessed a neighbor getting attacked, I do not think I could go back to my room an study. That seems a bit insensitive, to me.

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:40 pm

jessie wrote:I really dislike essays that start of with quotes about perseverence and overcoming adversity. Such quotes are a dime a dozen and could really apply to anyone's essay. If you're going to start of with a quote (although, in such a short essay I think it's a waste of space), use one that has more of a direct connection to what you're talking about.

Your writing is full of "purple prose" which only serves to hinder the story. You are talking about having to go through tough times, harsh conditions, and a horrible event. You can write about that well without including phrases such as "a gauntlet of obstacles", "oppressive snow fille dstreets", "enduring investigation".

Also, you use a lot of tell and not a lot of show when describing the scene. "I subdued the trespasser." Okay. What did you do?

The ending also didn't work for me as a conclusion. You went back to studying? It makes you sound really callous, even if that's what you did. And how does this tie into your education?

I'm not saying I doubt your story, but the way it's written makes it sound fake ("subdued the intruder" and "not impressed with the intruder's story" in particular made me cringe). Adcoms will probably have a similar initial response, and you won't have a chance to defend yourself.


Yes there are many quotes regarding overcoming diversity, but this one is more prominant. Most people know of Booker Washington and this quote. Furthermore, my entire essay is about overcoming obstacles, so this quote in my opinion fits in 100% :mrgreen:
Yes i can write without describing the streets, but if you had to bike 10 miles believe me you would consider those 4 words well spent. The investigation was enduring and longlasting, it was another obstacle to go back to studying. Also, i hardly knew this person and i was not about to spend my evening grieving for her losses...I had an exam coming up and had already done all i could. I would have been out of place at the investigation. This ties into my education because it shows how i was disadvantaged and still succeeded. More importantly it shows my devotion to my education...
im sorry that you think my essay is fake, but i have better things to do then write fake papers, there is a 2 and 3 page version which you might be interested in... I don't have time to describe how i subdued the intruder and i know thats how police regularly describe that takedown. In the 2 and 3 page version there is more detail but this is a one page paper! I had another person say that their favorite line in the entire paper was "not impressed with the intruders story". This was after reading the 3 page version though, which can be found here
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=168747
let me know if you have anymore questions

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:43 pm

89vision wrote:That's intense. I think it should be more focused, it does not seem completely connected. As in, how does not having a car relate to capturing an intruder? By assault I assume rape, and if it were rape, and you just went back to studying, it seems like you do not consider the act that important. If I witnessed a neighbor getting attacked, I do not think I could go back to my room an study. That seems a bit insensitive, to me.
Last edited by john1990 on Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
89vision
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby 89vision » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:51 pm

If the point is you risking your life for someone else, than your background is not that relevant. I don't think your intro leads into the main point that well. It sounds like you are going to talk about overcoming poverty, and then you discuss something completely different. I think you should go in one direction or the other.
It must not have been that powerful of an experience if you could go back and study for a test. I understand you want to show you are a good student, but it makes you seem desensitized. It would sound better if you stayed with your neighbor the rest of the night to comfort her. I think that is a valid point. You may not mean to imply that, but as a stranger reading your essay, and as a female, that is what I took from it. If that is not how you want people to take your essay, you may want to revise it.
I don't know if abrehending a robber is you overcoming an obstacle more than you helping someone else. I don't think the essay describes how you overcome obstacles. It states how you came from a bad background, stopped a robbery, then studied for a test. Does that make sense?

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:03 pm

89vision wrote:If the point is you risking your life for someone else, than your background is not that relevant. I don't think your intro leads into the main point that well. It sounds like you are going to talk about overcoming poverty, and then you discuss something completely different. I think you should go in one direction or the other.
It must not have been that powerful of an experience if you could go back and study for a test. I understand you want to show you are a good student, but it makes you seem desensitized. It would sound better if you stayed with your neighbor the rest of the night to comfort her. I think that is a valid point. You may not mean to imply that, but as a stranger reading your essay, and as a female, that is what I took from it. If that is not how you want people to take your essay, you may want to revise it.
I don't know if abrehending a robber is you overcoming an obstacle more than you helping someone else. I don't think the essay describes how you overcome obstacles. It states how you came from a bad background, stopped a robbery, then studied for a test. Does that make sense?
Last edited by john1990 on Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:05 pm

89vision wrote:That's intense. I think it should be more focused, it does not seem completely connected. As in, how does not having a car relate to capturing an intruder? By assault I assume rape, and if it were rape, and you just went back to studying, it seems like you do not consider the act that important. If I witnessed a neighbor getting attacked, I do not think I could go back to my room an study. That seems a bit insensitive, to me.


89vision, a life of poverty will desensitize you! But it will strengthen you too

User avatar
Hopefully2012
Posts: 465
Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:22 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby Hopefully2012 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:26 pm

.
Last edited by Hopefully2012 on Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
89vision
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby 89vision » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:45 pm

You are not talking about how it has strengthened you. You are showing that it desensitized you, which is probably not a good thing. Especially if a female ad com reads that. Keep it if you like, but you are not getting a good reaction so far, which should concern you.

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:05 am

89vision wrote:You are not talking about how it has strengthened you. You are showing that it desensitized you, which is probably not a good thing. Especially if a female ad com reads that. Keep it if you like, but you are not getting a good reaction so far, which should concern you.
Last edited by john1990 on Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
89vision
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby 89vision » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:43 am

I already gave you suggesstions:

"If the point is you risking your life for someone else, than your background is not that relevant. I don't think your intro leads into the main point that well. It sounds like you are going to talk about overcoming poverty, and then you discuss something completely different. I think you should go in one direction or the other.
It must not have been that powerful of an experience if you could go back and study for a test. I understand you want to show you are a good student, but it makes you seem desensitized. It would sound better if you stayed with your neighbor the rest of the night to comfort her. I think that is a valid point. You may not mean to imply that, but as a stranger reading your essay, and as a female, that is what I took from it. If that is not how you want people to take your essay, you may want to revise it.
I don't know if abrehending a robber is you overcoming an obstacle more than you helping someone else. I don't think the essay describes how you overcome obstacles. It states how you came from a bad background, stopped a robbery, then studied for a test. Does that make sense?"

-You are not communicating what obstacles you overcame. Either focus on being poor and overcoming that, or focus on the break in. They are two distinct themes. Choosing one would better focus your essay.

-You have a bunch of different themes, and from what you are explaining your essay means and what I took from it are completely different. You will not have the chance to explain it to the school.

-If you want to write about how desensitization is a good thing, go for it. I think that is a bad idea. Becoming withdrawn from emotional events is not a good thing.

-The more details you are adding in your posts, the more confused I am about what your main point is. The break in is not about overcoming obstacles. You are writing about helping a neighbor, you are not explaining how helping a neighbor helped YOU overcome an obstacle. Your obstacle is poverty. How is helping your neighbor during a break in you overcoming poverty? That is not explained. That is the disconnect that I am citing.

-Do not end with "this horrible thing happened....and then I hit the books." Like I said, comforting neighbor, taking a walk to reflect, etc; seems much more realistic. Again, you are writing about this because it is important, correct? If it is important, why did you have such an unemotional response at the time? That does not make sense to me.

Does that make sense? It seems like you have two statements in one. And it doesn't make sense to me.

User avatar
BiglawOrBust
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:11 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby BiglawOrBust » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:49 am

Yeah, dude, I'd center around dropping out of HS and your subsequent life of poverty, only mentioning the attack as a side-note ("My hood was so rough, I even had to help my neighbor whose apartment was broken into and she was assaulted"), rather than giving it the distinction as the seminal event of the story.

Otherwise, you have some good shit here in the sense that it's crazzzzaaaayyyyy and will stand out.

jessie
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:13 am

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby jessie » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:04 am

john1990 wrote:Yes there are many quotes regarding overcoming diversity, but this one is more prominant. Most people know of Booker Washington and this quote. Furthermore, my entire essay is about overcoming obstacles, so this quote in my opinion fits in 100% :mrgreen:
Yes i can write without describing the streets, but if you had to bike 10 miles believe me you would consider those 4 words well spent. The investigation was enduring and longlasting, it was another obstacle to go back to studying. Also, i hardly knew this person and i was not about to spend my evening grieving for her losses...I had an exam coming up and had already done all i could. I would have been out of place at the investigation. This ties into my education because it shows how i was disadvantaged and still succeeded. More importantly it shows my devotion to my education...
im sorry that you think my essay is fake, but i have better things to do then write fake papers, there is a 2 and 3 page version which you might be interested in... I don't have time to describe how i subdued the intruder and i know thats how police regularly describe that takedown. In the 2 and 3 page version there is more detail but this is a one page paper! I had another person say that their favorite line in the entire paper was "not impressed with the intruders story". This was after reading the 3 page version though, which can be found here
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=168747
let me know if you have anymore questions


If you don't agree with someone's critique, then move on. Defending how you wrote your essay to us is not going to do anything, because we are not the ones who make decisions about whether or not you get into law school. If other people have said they liked it and you agree with them rather than the pepole who didn't, then submit what you have.

I would keep in mind, however, that if you feel people are misinterpreting what you wrote then you should really consider writing it in a different way, because an ADcom is just as likely to misinterpet.

I think you're being a bit rude to people who are only replying to be helpful. If you think they're way off base say "thank you for your input" and don't use their suggestions.

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:33 pm

BiglawOrBust wrote:Yeah, dude, I'd center around dropping out of HS and your subsequent life of poverty, only mentioning the attack as a side-note ("My hood was so rough, I even had to help my neighbor whose apartment was broken into and she was assaulted"), rather than giving it the distinction as the seminal event of the story.

Otherwise, you have some good shit here in the sense that it's crazzzzaaaayyyyy and will stand out.


I cant tell how much of this is sarcastic, maybe all of it :?

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:34 pm

If you don't agree with someone's critique, then move on. Defending how you wrote your essay to us is not going to do anything, because we are not the ones who make decisions about whether or not you get into law school. If other people have said they liked it and you agree with them rather than the pepole who didn't, then submit what you have.

I would keep in mind, however, that if you feel people are misinterpreting what you wrote then you should really consider writing it in a different way, because an ADcom is just as likely to misinterpet.

I think you're being a bit rude to people who are only replying to be helpful. If you think they're way off base say "thank you for your input" and don't use their suggestions.


I agree 100% in retrospect. Sorry if i was rude to anyone, that wasn't my intention

User avatar
BiglawOrBust
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:11 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby BiglawOrBust » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:42 pm

john1990 wrote:
BiglawOrBust wrote:Yeah, dude, I'd center around dropping out of HS and your subsequent life of poverty, only mentioning the attack as a side-note ("My hood was so rough, I even had to help my neighbor whose apartment was broken into and she was assaulted"), rather than giving it the distinction as the seminal event of the story.

Otherwise, you have some good shit here in the sense that it's crazzzzaaaayyyyy and will stand out.


I cant tell how much of this is sarcastic, maybe all of it :?


My bad. None of that was sarcastic.

User avatar
theadvancededit
Posts: 315
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:31 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby theadvancededit » Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:44 pm

I highly advise you to not include a quote. By including a quote in a GM 500, you're taking up word space by something an Adcomm doesn't want to hear. They want to read your own words, not something they've probably read already. You have a lot to say so you'd benefit more from devoting word real estate to your own story over someone else's. Just my $.02.

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:04 am

....good point ill consider downsizing it

+1
Last edited by john1990 on Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:06 am

theadvancededit wrote:I highly advise you to not include a quote. By including a quote in a GM 500, you're taking up word space by something an Adcomm doesn't want to hear. They want to read your own words, not something they've probably read already. You have a lot to say so you'd benefit more from devoting word real estate to your own story over someone else's. Just my $.02.


Thanks for the tip, there is definitely a lot of merit in what you are saying, i may cut the quote.

+rep

User avatar
BiglawOrBust
Posts: 215
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:11 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby BiglawOrBust » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:29 am

BTW, the "George Mason 500" sounds like some hillbilly NASCAR race.

User avatar
john1990
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:49 pm

Re: The George Mason 500

Postby john1990 » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:55 pm

Sorry to disappoint you, judging by your avatar you must have gotten really excited when you saw the title.

IBTL

attention troll :arrow:




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ATLgroupie, Baidu [Spider], guybourdin, TriSapien and 9 guests