Rough Draft

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Rough Draft

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:41 am

Every Saturday morning since I turned eight years old I have mowed the lawn. Over the years a task that once seemed daunting and unpleasant has evolved, to my surprise, into an activity of serenity and contemplation. Relationships, motivations, and goals have always been uncertain. However, stability always found its way to me in the casual walks taken up and down the rows of grass.

Growing up in a suburb just outside Salt Lake City, Utah, the mood was, as any outsider would interpret, decidedly Mormon, and my family was no exception. The lifestyle was illustrated by abstinence from alcohol and unnecessary luxuries, focus on doctrines explained in scripture, and most importantly a commitment to hard work, which in my family’s case, was hard labor. The boundless yard and garden required routine maintenance, something I was not fond of in my younger years. I would often be reprimanded by my father for shirking my assigned duties in favor of reading alone in my room, an activity that seemed to me more enjoyable than monotonous, but to my father, a sure waste of a good pair of working hands. As I approached elementary school, my father began to see my interest in reading as blessing rather than a curse. Coming from a long line of farmers, academic aspirations, although alien to him, seemed to show promise for a more fruitful life. He picked up a second job in order to send me to private school. It was a costly move, but one he believed would allow me to thrive.

While enlightening, my time at private catholic school was highlighted by the divergence from the Mormon culture I had grown to accept unconditionally. Suddenly I was drinking wine at mass and reciting The Lord’s Prayer before every class period. Not only were my old friends increasingly skeptical of my adherence to the faith, but also, my own convictions regarding true belief had become unclear. Unable to reconcile this inner conflict, I resolved to best accommodate both faiths in my life. Although tenants of both seemed valid in their own regard, it was difficult for me to reconcile the certain incompatibility. The resulting dissonance is what instilled my desire for discourse and ultimately, my decision to join the debate team. Past experiences speaking in church together with my propensity to seek answers made me an excellent fit. Over the years I excelled at debate, winning numerous accolades and awards, ultimately resulting in my position as captain, and subsequent years as assistant coach. What many didn’t realize is that my success in argumentation is not a result of sheer intelligence, but rather a function of perspective. The ability to sympathize with both sides of an issue is what allowed me to successfully argue with conviction, regardless of the stance. After having debating for years in both high school and college, I have come to realize that there isn’t always a single correct answer and that seeing certain issues as black and white can prove detrimental. Certain legislation is good and bad for different reasons, pro life and pro choice are equally valid with regard to different maxims, and consequentialism and deontology can both be morally correct philosophies. I have since embraced the idea that very little is absolute, and that a good argument is made convincing through the effectiveness of articulating perspective. I am now content to say that I am a Democrat and a Republican, a Lakers fan and a Celtics fan, a Mormon and a Catholic, depending on the day of course.
I believe I am an excellent candidate for law school because of my ability to evaluate arguments on the basis of their different maxims. Understanding perspectives and motivations is the key to understanding human behavior and ultimately affect the rule of law that is meant to govern said behavior. The opportunity to prosecute or defend is analogous to defending the affirmative or negative side in a debate. While both sides are opposite, they both require sincere conviction when defended. The law itself serves both as a constant force, and as a medium subject to tailoring, just as the grass must always be mowed, but can so be accomplished in various different ways.

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Re: Rough Draft

Post by Ramius » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:08 am

This wasn't a particularly strong PS IMO. First off, it involved an excessive amount of telling and very little showing. Talking in-depth about how you won competitions in debate throughout high school and college and became the captain might be evidence that you're a decent debater, but does it really show your critical reasoning skills and your ability to articulate your thoughts in a clear and concise manner? If you're going to use this sort of approach, I need to see how you encountered a problem or issue, how you reasoned through it and ultimately came to your conclusions.

Additionally, starting with the snippet about mowing your lawn as a young kid and moving on to things completely unrelated to that beginning anecdote causes the PS to feel disjointed and the anecdote to seem superfluous. Any anecdote used should really tie the PS together or at least frame the rest of the discussion in some way. As it is, it's basically a picture of a miserable little kid mowing his front lawn. Hardly a strong image to an admissions committee.

A further issue with this is the focus on your adolescent years. Unless the story is particularly telling of who you are today and shows something clearly and positively about your character, you should avoid anything pre-adulthood. As the Dean of Admissions of Matthewsean85 School of Law, I could really care less about your upbringing in this instance. You had a dichotomy of instruction going through a Catholic private school as a follower of another religion? You're hardly the only one. How are you unique?

Lastly, your summation of why you think you'd be good in law school isn't very convincing. In fact, I don't really want you to tell me why you think you would be a quality law school student. What I want to see is evidence that you'll be a quality law school student. This is like you telling me how you're really smart, really trustworthy, really athletic, etc. Don't tell me, SHOW ME.

On a positive note, your writing is on the right track (although definitely needs some editing for word selection and tense) and I think you could have an interesting PS discussing how your outlook on the world is affected by your upbringing, but it needs to focus on the modern day and how that upbringing led you to conclusions in your adult life. An in-depth discussion of your childhood more suggests that you're using the PS as a sort of therapy. Not a great idea.


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