Transfer PS Critique

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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VinceIrons
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Transfer PS Critique

Postby VinceIrons » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:22 pm

Updated PS Below!

So I'm not certain if this or the PS forum is the best location to ask for a critique, but I assume those who peruse this forum are more knowledgeable in this area, so I'm posting it here. Please move it if this is the wrong location.

This is a very rough draft of what I believe my final PS will look like. I'm hoping someone can give me some pointers on which of my three reasons for wanting to transfer will be given greater weight, and which I might want to avoid. I'm assuming the QQ about my undergrad GPA is not one of the more compelling reasons to accept me, but I've added it just in case. I'm mainly looking for critique on content, not as much about style, though any pointers in that area will naturally be welcome.

Thank you in advance to all who reply.

P.S. This works out to be one full page double spaced. I'm expecting to use a few paragraphs on the second page to address the specific school.

I love law school. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the profession for me. Unfortunately, at my current law school my peers do not seem to share the same interest and passion for the law that I do. They seem to see law school as a means to an end; suffer through three years and come out with a better job. Most of them are here because they couldn’t think of anything better to do, or just wanted to put off living in the “real world” for a few more years. Now I don’t mean to disparage my fellow students, they are great people in their own right, they simply do not contribute to the academic environment I wish to be a part of. Quite frankly, it is disheartening being one of the very few who sincerely enjoys the reading and lectures. I want to be a part of a community that shares the same interest in law that I have, that feels just as I do that law school is a fantastic intellectual experience in its own right.

Aside from wanting a more supportive peer network, I wish to transfer law schools to broaden the geographical scope of my job opportunities. I fear that with where I am now, I will be locked in to practicing only in Long Island or New York City. While those are not necessarily bad places to work, I want to be sure I have a greater range of opportunities available to me. I also want access to better jobs in general. Though I’m sure it’s cliché by now, there is something to be said for the job prospects that come from attending a highly regarded law school. Simply put, I feel limited where I am right now, and that is not a feeling I enjoy.

I also wish to test my intellectual mettle against some of our nation’s top law students. Due largely to poor choices in classes as an undergraduate, I do not believe my undergraduate GPA accurately reflects my intelligence. I found out the hard way that my strengths lie in writing and reasoning, not in the hard sciences. That unfortunately cost me the opportunity to attend some of the finer institutions. I have, however, redeemed myself with an excellent performance my first year that I no doubt believe I will maintain, if not exceed.



Here's my second attempt at a PS, this time with much less asshole. I'm hoping I can use the first and second paragraphs as a general start to the schools I'll be applying to in the South. For any more up North, I'll obviously have to think of something else. This current draft is aimed at Vandy, which is more or less my #1 choice. It's only 1 page, double spaced, so I have plenty of room to flesh out my reasons if need be. Hopefully, if I've got the general idea down it'll be much easier to replace the school specific paragraphs and I won't have to show you guys 5+ completely different Personal Statements.
I love the law, and I love studying it. Although I had some doubts and was quite nervous at first, my time as a first year law student has solidified my interest in practicing law. I could not see myself in any other profession. I have always been a wonderful writer, I possess excellent critical thinking skills, and I cannot wait to put my knowledge to work in a legal career. I am exceedingly grateful to Hofstra for giving me a chance to demonstrate and hone my skills.

At [X LAW SCHOOL], I expect to further develop my writing and reasoning abilities, and hopefully use them to benefit the school as a member of the Law Journal. I am also excited to have the opportunity to pursue a career in the South. Though I have enjoyed my time up North, I am a Southern man at heart and wish to continue my legal career there. I also hope to connect with other students who share my same love and passion for the law.

I have recently become more and more interested in practicing intellectual property law, specifically copyright and trademark. Vanderbilt’s robust Intellectual Property Program will give me a fantastic opportunity to pursue this field. The Intellectual Property and the Arts Clinic is another reason I wish to transfer. Being able to participate in such a clinic is an opportunity I would love to be a part of. I know my passion and enthusiasm will be a welcome addition to the program.

My time at Vanderbilt as an undergraduate was a phenomenal experience, and though it may be clichéd, I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I was gone. Having an opportunity to practice the profession I love, in a city I love, at a school I love would simply be a dream come true. I hope to bring the skills I have developed, and further improve them and put them to good use at Vanderbilt in the Fall.
Last edited by VinceIrons on Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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IzziesGal
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby IzziesGal » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:33 pm

1st paragraph: I don't know if this is a flame or not, but in your PS, you come off as entitled, cocky, and egotistical. Your whole first paragraph is a huge turn off to a reader and would likely alienate an admissions committee member. You mention that you don't mean to degrade your fellow law students, but that is exactly what you do. I think you need to channel a more humble vibe and then write from that place instead of wherever you were emotionally/mentally when you wrote this.

2nd paragraph: I'd be careful about saying "better jobs" - it makes it sound like your current prospects are crappy (even if they are, I would advise against saying this) and it comes across as you being ungrateful to your current institution. Again, you want to seem humble and enthusiastic about the law and grateful for having the opportunity to study and practice one day. Maybe just focus on certain opportunities that are unavailable to you (using concrete examples) or on how you'd like to be in a certain geographic region and school X has stronger ties there.

3rd paragraph: talking about not being able to attend the "finer institutions" should be eliminated. Again, you come across as ungrateful and unappreciative of whatever opportunities you've had in life. Also, don't apologize for your undergrad performance in this essay. This is not the place.

Honestly, I recommend starting over from scratch - think instead about what you've gotten out of law school so far and how school X will be able to help develop that further and provide you with opportunities aligned with your interests.
Last edited by IzziesGal on Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lawl Shcool
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby Lawl Shcool » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:34 pm

You should start over.

It comes across as whiney and complaining about your classmates makes you look like an ass. Also, bringing up bad decisions you made as an undergrad voluntarily is not a good way to sell someone on your merit as a student.

The general themes are OK, wanting to challenge yourself against the best competition and more access to jobs, but you need to re-do how you are relaying those themes. Rather than focus on you being unhappy with your classmates and being limited by your current school you should be explaining how the new school can help you reach those goals.

weejonbu
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby weejonbu » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:41 pm

Aha... I would recognize a Hofstra student anywhere. Good luck on transferring.

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VinceIrons
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby VinceIrons » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:43 pm

Thanks for the quick replies. Looking over it again, I certainly do seem like an ass. Not my intention in the least, of course. Is there any merit in continuing with talking about wanting a more academically supportive peer network? It's something I feel very strongly about, and is definitely one of the reasons I wish to transfer. However, as I unfortunately made clear in this draft, it's very easy to sound like a dick when talking about it.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:48 pm

Your PS is unlikely to help your cause. The fact that you want to transfer out of Hofstra does not need a great deal of elaboration. Be positive. Be grateful that Hofstra gave you an opportunity to prove yourself. Focus--in a positive manner--on your desire for more employment options. Forget about your undergraduate GPA & about your LSAT score as both are not relevant. Positives. Be positive, humble, grateful, enthusiastic & energetic. Try to portray yourself as someone that would add a dynamic aspect to the class.

tycho_brahe
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby tycho_brahe » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:52 pm

if you say something like "at [transfer school x] i feel that i will find peers who share [characteristic y]" you can say the same thing without disparaging your current school. don't mention your current school unless it's something positive. in fact, i'd recommend that you write something reflecting your appreciation of your current school for giving you chance even though you had a garbage GPA in undergrad.

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esq
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby esq » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:56 pm

I would cut the first paragraph out entirely. "I don’t mean to disparage my fellow students," bu you do. I think that remarks like these, which come off more as an opinion than anything else, might raise some questions about your character more than anything. I'm sure, and I think that the schools that you're applying to will think this way also, that the way you see the culture at your law school probably won't be much different if you transfer. Highly qualified or not, the motives of law school applicants generally remain the same across the board imo. Though you seem to think that in some way you are have better motivation than the majority of your peers who don't want to live in the "real world," this opinion does nothing to help your case, so keep it to yourself.

I think that as a transfer applicant, the best strategy will be to focus on the positives about yourself and why/how you are a good fit for the law school you are applying to, e.g.:

- During your experience you found that you were not only interested in the law, but that this interest has motivated you to become a highly effective student.
-You've become very interested in practicing__________as an attorney.
-You think that ______University will be a good fit because they have__________program, which you would like become involved in.
-Through_________University, you feel that you can more effectively utilize your education to become the type of lawyer that envision yourself becoming.
-Maybe, because of __________Universities location, I will have the best opportunity to practice in__________city, which is where I would ideally like to establish my career.

Things like that. I also wouldn't focus on the negatives of your past educational experience, or negative views of what your law school offers-will place you. (e.g. you spend too much time explaining why your negative view of LI/NY isn't necessary bad, why your view about wanting to go to a better law school might be cliche, why you are limited where you are - negatives). They already implicitly understand that you aren't exactly thrilled about where you are, don't waste time telling them the obvious. Tell them about the positives and why those positives will allow you to make a positive impact at their university - positive! I really think that this is what they are looking for. You have a great opportunity here to tell people how awesome you are, don't waste time bumming them out on the un-awesomeness of where you are coming from.

P.S. I see that some others have beat me to it. The point is shared - be positive.

dakatz
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby dakatz » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:12 pm

Step 1: Pick up PS
Step 2: Proceed to tear PS into pieces
Step 3: Place pieces into trash

I don't know if you are joking or if you just really weren't clear as to what a transfer PS was supposed to be, but why on earth would a school want to accept someone who disparages his classmates, disparages his school, and then spends his closing words making excuses for his undergraduate GPA? I am sorry to be rough on you, but these sound like all the things you would want to avoid.

The bashing of your classmates is the worst of it and completely uncalled for. But you also fail to pose any reason aside from better jobs as to why you want to transfer. Sure, its always going to boil down to better jobs. But you really should couch it or dress it up a bit. What about the schools you are applying to entice you? How and why can you add to their class? What are your goals and how can your target school help you reach them (aside from mere geographic flexibility)?

You should really start from scratch. Cut out all the unnecessary and egotistical bashing of your classmates, add in some more detailed and nuanced reasons for transferring beyond "I want a better job".

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IzziesGal
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby IzziesGal » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:29 pm

I do have to give OP credit for taking the criticism like a champ. Especially with his/her low post count, there was definitely the potential for this thread to devolve into well.....typically TLS argument threads. =)

Follow the suggestions in this thread, focus on the positive instead of negative, and re-post what you have - I'm sure we'd all be happy to take a second look. And kudos for not taking any of the criticism personally.

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VinceIrons
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby VinceIrons » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:38 pm

Thanks again to everyone for their quick, excellent, and honest feedback. I am currently in the process of completely rewriting my PS and attempting to put a much more positive spin on things. I apologize for sounding like a completely egotistical prick. Though there may be some truth in that statement, it is certainly not what I want to come across as. I will update with PS #2 (either in a new thread or just edit the original, whichever makes more sense) hopefully soon. Again, I truly appreciate everyone's help with this. Trying to come up with a decent PS just to get in to law school was hard enough, and somehow this transfer one is even more difficult.

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VinceIrons
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby VinceIrons » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:44 pm

IzziesGal wrote:I do have to give OP credit for taking the criticism like a champ. Especially with his/her low post count, there was definitely the potential for this thread to devolve into well.....typically TLS argument threads. =)

Follow the suggestions in this thread, focus on the positive instead of negative, and re-post what you have - I'm sure we'd all be happy to take a second look. And kudos for not taking any of the criticism personally.


I do take everything very personally! The whole reason I submitted my draft to you guys was to get honest and unbiased criticism. If my PS is utter shit and I sound like an ass, I want to know that before I send this in to a potential transfer school's admission board. I know softs don't matter as much as the actual grades, but I don't want them to end up hurting my chances.

I can only hope people don't peg me as "that egotistical asshole" :)

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esq
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby esq » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:50 pm

Nah, nobody will even remember this, and everyone here has said a few things that are far more fucked up anyway. :D

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IzziesGal
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby IzziesGal » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:10 pm

esq wrote:Nah, nobody will even remember this, and everyone here has said a few things that are far more fucked up anyway. :D


Haha....so true. So, so true. :wink:

mrosmith
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby mrosmith » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:39 pm

Here is my intro paragraph.

I’ve overcome a lot to be in the position to write this statement. I am the oldest of three children from a single parent home and there were times when my mother -- who was battling to balance a factory job with parenting three kids -- didn’t know how she was going to put food on the table. My parents split up soon after I began attending middle school. I returned daily from a tough middle school experience to a home life that was even tougher. The roller coaster of emotions following the separation got even worse when my brother got sick. My mother then lost her job caring for him during his recovery. Having no savings and a father unwilling to help, we were strapped. My struggle at home motivated me to try to escape through success at school. I graduated high school at the top of my class and promised myself I would make a difference in the world. The resolve I learned in middle and high school helped me become the first member of my family to go to college, but it has also pushed me further.

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esq
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby esq » Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:50 pm

IzziesGal wrote:
esq wrote:Nah, nobody will even remember this, and everyone here has said a few things that are far more fucked up anyway. :D


Haha....so true. So, so true. :wink:

Image
Or have done a few things . . . :P

-------------------------------------------------
As for your intro mrosmith, it's really hard to tell how effective your new intro approach will be without the rest of your PS. I think that it could be an effective intro, but just as long as your pre-law school past doesn't set the tone for the majority of your PS. As I understand it, at this point your PS should really reflect what you've accomplished while at law school, and why that makes you the applicant that they should admit.

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Lawl Shcool
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby Lawl Shcool » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:04 pm

OP: I PM'd you

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Lawquacious
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:12 pm

Don't any one hold back or anything in blasting giving constructive feedback to OP. :lol: I think most of the feedback I glanced at is pretty good though, if a bit harsh. The original version PS did come off as being fairly diminutive toward your current school I think, and also may demonstrate you have a slightly unrealistic view of how superior your peers at the prospective new school are likely to be (unless you're looking to go T3/T4 -> T10, in which case the differing quality of the student bodies prob could be as vast as you seem to imply).

smiley
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby smiley » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:03 pm

Would anyone be willing to take a look at my PS and see if I'm on the right track? If so, please PM me, as I don't want to hijack the thread. Thanks :)

teebone51
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby teebone51 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:42 pm

smiley wrote:Would anyone be willing to take a look at my PS and see if I'm on the right track? If so, please PM me, as I don't want to hijack the thread. Thanks :)


pm'ed

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Vronsky
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Re: Transfer PS Critique

Postby Vronsky » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:06 pm

OP - the second attempt is still boring. What you need is some kind of hook. "I love law school" or "I love the law" makes my eyes glaze over from very beginning.

Somewhere on this site (maybe in his transfer thread?) you can find a copy of Arrow's PS, which follows the familiar formula of placing the reader in a quasi-fictional setting, THEN transitioning into a more typical discussion of the releveant considerations. I think he opened with something about fumbling for a light switch in the library at 2 in the morning. By throwing the reader off with the first sentence/hook, as opposed to starting off about law school blah blah blah, you can keep the reader's attention.

Also, this is sort of personal, but the mention of "I am a Southern man at heart" just sounds really antebellum to me. It might not sound that way to schools in the south, but I would consider rephrasing. Show, don't tell. What makes you identify with southern life as opposed to northern life? Give examples or illustrations and your point will be better made.

hope this helps and good luck.




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