Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

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Monte.Cristo
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Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby Monte.Cristo » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:24 am

Has any one of you read a successful law school personal statement that truly moved you? Made you exclaim "wow"? Or felt like you really got a good sense of who he/she is as a person, what makes them tick, what really motivates them, etc?

I've looked at several books (55 Successful Harvard Law School essays, etc) containing multiple personal statements that "worked" or supposedly "made a difference," as well as some of the sample PS posted on TLS and those compiled by Ken in his book. Needless to say, I've been very impressed by all the intellectual grit, diverse experiences, subject matter etc, and I certainly don't think I can come close to many of them.

But I have yet to read an essay that truly moved me, left an indelible impression or made me exclaim "WOW!" by the end. I was just wondering if any of you have, and if so, if you could perhaps post the link or bib. info.

To be honest, I felt that many of the essays looked impressive mainly because they were written by those who had actually gotten in (something like a placebo effect). I was slightly disappointed by PS written by successful Yale applicants. Does anyone else share/not share such an opinion?
Last edited by Monte.Cristo on Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thederangedwang
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby thederangedwang » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:31 am

Yes, there have been like one or two that made me go damm.

read the sample ps thread in this thread. The first one is not bad...there's also another one written by standfordhopeful on page 2 or something thats also very very good.

EDIT: here is the link to the sample ps thread
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4353

the first one by pinkelephant is in my opinion very strong.......stanford hopeful's essay is on page 2, 3rd post down
Last edited by thederangedwang on Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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fltanglab
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby fltanglab » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:33 am

I know of some that were truly spectacular, but none that people are willing to disclose. I have also read a med school personal statement that made me cry, but I think that was partially because I knew the applicant and learned a lot from the PS.

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moneybagsphd
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby moneybagsphd » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:44 am

I will go even further and say that I have never read a personal statement that is truly good.

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Borhas
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby Borhas » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:39 pm

No. I feel sorry for the poor saps that have to read that garbage. Worst form of literature ever.

bmore
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby bmore » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:41 pm

I think that too many personal statements are written to move someone or to show how the author overcame adversity. I would think these get to be pretty boring to Adcoms. There are other topics out there, that show who you are and why you would be an asset to their law school.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby ThreeRivers » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:35 pm

I really don't get the point of a personal statement tbh... I think submitting any writing sample would be better

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:47 pm

Borhas wrote:No. I feel sorry for the poor saps that have to read that garbage. Worst form of literature ever.

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moneybagsphd
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby moneybagsphd » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:16 pm

The problem is inherent to the narrative arc of the personal statement itself. You not only have to tell a story, you also have to unpack all of the themes for your reader. And you have to do it in 2 pages. Making matters worse, the mode of writing best suited to the personal statement-- concise, utilitarian language-- is insipid. The verbal suface of the prose is coarse. I wince at the clumsy metaphors and ill-judged word choice.

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Errzii
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby Errzii » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:23 pm

I've read one that made me think "holy shit," does that count? I don't recall the specifics but someone basically wrote about how his/her family survived genocide in a third world country and he/she was witness to family members getting executed. Pretty intense and brutal stuff. Although it's definitely more on the side of extreme and unusual circumstances, it was nevertheless presented very intelligently and I felt as if I was reading a novel, the whole thing was very surreal.

bp shinners
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:12 pm

I've been lucky enough to work on a few with students who had amazing stories and good writing abilities. A few have made me laugh, a few have brought tears to my eyes. Though the one that I'll always remember didn't have an emotional impact on me so much as a general engagement with an unfamiliar subject matter. The student wrote on her non-traditional field of study in such a way that I felt more well-rounded when I was done reading it. That was, in my opinion, the best personal statement I've ever read.

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Ludo!
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby Ludo! » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:15 pm

It's ok to cry, crying takes the sad out of you

CaptAdams
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby CaptAdams » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:00 pm

thederangedwang wrote:The first one is not bad...


I'm sorry, but that first one makes me laugh every time. I'm not trying to be a dick or anything, but I imagine the person who wrote it sitting at his computer, pecking away with thesaurus in hand. I guess I can't get past a lede that uses the phrase "and felt a queer beat in my stomach."

thederangedwang
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby thederangedwang » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:33 pm

CaptAdams wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:The first one is not bad...


I'm sorry, but that first one makes me laugh every time. I'm not trying to be a dick or anything, but I imagine the person who wrote it sitting at his computer, pecking away with thesaurus in hand. I guess I can't get past a lede that uses the phrase "and felt a queer beat in my stomach."

no offense, but queer isnt a thesaurus quality word...and for the most part the essay isnt heavy on the vocab. IMHO the vocab level isnt at all advanced. Besides, queer in this context has almost a poetic quality to it, like the way Frost used it.

auntjulia
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby auntjulia » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:39 pm

Most personal statements I read aren't very good when judged against writing I really enjoy-- I'm a major book nerd. I've never a personal statement that moved me and 97% of the ones I read that attempt to elicit emotion come across as very false. However, I think that if I were an adcomm, personal statements would be very useful to me in deciding who to admit. What the person chooses to talk about and how they try to present themselves says a lot. And even within the generally poor selection there's wide variance in quality.

P.S. I agree with the poster who was underwhelmed by Ivy league undergrad personal statements. The unction and self importance were grating.

CaptAdams
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby CaptAdams » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:48 pm

thederangedwang wrote:no offense, but queer isnt a thesaurus quality word...and for the most part the essay isnt heavy on the vocab. IMHO the vocab level isnt at all advanced. Besides, queer in this context has almost a poetic quality to it, like the way Frost used it.


I never said it was advanced. It simply uses a few words that no one uses anymore in the context (i.e. queer). Your likening it to Frost is exactly the point. To me, that first sentence says "Oh, she's read some Capote" and then I have a little laugh. I just find it to be a jarring first sentence is all.

thederangedwang
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby thederangedwang » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:50 pm

CaptAdams wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:no offense, but queer isnt a thesaurus quality word...and for the most part the essay isnt heavy on the vocab. IMHO the vocab level isnt at all advanced. Besides, queer in this context has almost a poetic quality to it, like the way Frost used it.


I never said it was advanced. It simply uses a few words that no one uses anymore in the context (i.e. queer). Your likening it to Frost is exactly the point. To me, that first sentence says "Oh, she's read some Capote" and then I have a little laugh. I just find it to be a jarring first sentence is all.

ah, i see where you're coming from...yeah the essay does have a different feel to it, but overall i thought the writing was solid..but alas, the op's numbers were so solid we don't know how the ps was viewed by the adcomms

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CactusPuppy
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby CactusPuppy » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:03 am

ThreeRivers wrote:I really don't get the point of a personal statement tbh... I think submitting any writing sample would be better


Exactly what law schools need. A more shallow and trade-oriented application process. The process is far too concerned with soft factors right now.

EMZE
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Re: Ever read a personal statement that truly moved you?

Postby EMZE » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:08 am

I've spent a lot of time reading those on this site, of friends, in those books I paid too much for before I discovered the curse/blessing that is TLS. I have found that the amazing thing about personal statements is how subjective the response can be based on the readers background. Best example I can give is, from my experience, reading PS's that discuss traumatic experiences events. This is just because of my background growing up in a tough town, first hand witness to 9-11-01, and a combat vet to Afghanistan. A personal statement about hardship that is well written and helps me empathize with the individual are incredible to me. Same reason I enjoy books of all levels, from the Hunger Games Trilogy to The Diary of Anne Frank, Memoirs of a boy soldier, Infidel, Persepolis. All tops on my list, in no order, and of greatly varied literary value. On that same end though, it takes a lot more to impress me with personal statements like that. I do NOT mean the hardship has to be intense; be it a Herzgovinian refugee or someone that lost their great aunt six years ago, both can express that spectrum of their personality I appreciate. But if it seems the least bit disingenuous, dramatic for (beyond literary) effect, or exaggerated, my appreciation for it goes out the window, even if the story is interesting.

Now, that said, a PS about someones interest of particle physics kindling at a young age watching their father as an engineer and blossoming through their adults years, resulting in a trip to CERN which made them want to get into IP, well I appreciate those personal statements for what they are, and can absolutely be convinved of someones passion through them. I just haven't yet read one that will resonate with me personally like the former.

So, to answer your original question. Yes.




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