A revised personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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A revised personal statement

Post by lawschoolhopeful98 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:00 pm

When I was 17, my mother, sister, and I became homeless. I remember my mom telling us we had two days to pack up our things and move out. I remember us staying up all day and all night packing our whole lives into boxes, only for it to be seen a few times a year in a storage facility. I remember trying to decide what to pack, picking the few shirts I could keep and agonizing over which books I'd have to part with. I remember watching the door close behind me for the last time. I remember standing next to my family knowing that we no longer had a home. I remember holding back tears because I needed to stay strong for my mother and sister.

I remember the kindness of my grandparents as they made room in a tiny living room for the three of us and our pets. I remember my fear of the future and I remember when that fear turned to hope. Despite this unpleasant experience, we pushed through every day so that we could try and keep a sense of stability. During this year, my mom had started working with Uber, and I had just started my first year at XXXX. I can honestly say that this transition was one of the hardest because I just lost everything I knew and I didn’t know where I was headed. It took a couple of semesters for me to gain my footing, but I eventually found my way. My mother, on the other hand, was working all hours of the night so that she could provide for us the next day. Growing up raised by a single mother has given me the strength I never knew I needed. Seeing her work and find motivation through despite what she was facing inspires me every day.

I have been altered by my experiences after losing my home, and I have seen how life is when you have nothing. While I was not in a position to help my mom and sister when we became homeless, and I am thankful for those who did help us. This experience has broken me and put me back together many times, and has allowed me to experience something that I never thought I would. I have gained a new perspective on the world, and it showed me that I was living in a bubble secluded from real-life situations. When that bubble popped, I learned how to live life in reality, not with my head in the clouds.

During this time, I have given my career choice a second thought and realized that I wanted to practice law so that I could eventually work with people who have had the same experience as me. My goals in life have changed, and I know now that I need to spend my career advocating on behalf of and for the homeless. Being able to work with them and give them hope for their future like someone did for me, pushed my interest in law further. I could see myself making a significant impact through public interest law and more specifically working with the homeless and the underrepresented population. I feel this area of law will allow me to participate in a subject matter I am passionate about and have a personal tie to.

The thought of being able to practice law, influence and empower others and change lives pushes me every day to do better and be better. I believe being homeless for the past few years gave me a different perspective on the world by showing me what it is like to live on almost nothing and how I can overcome my current situation and still have a passion to work and pursue higher education. Being homeless has made me empathetic, strong, has taught me perseverance and has shown me that I can achieve success regardless of the situation at hand. I know that when I enter the doors of law school, I will tackle it in strides and I will make sure that when I leave those very doors, I will be advocating and making a change in my community.


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Re: A revised personal statement

Post by acr » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:10 pm

Not great, to be honest.

It's way too generic and idealistic.

The idea of your homelessness driving your pursuit of a legal profession can work as the premise of a personal statement, but I wanted to hear about what you did to overcome the situation. I also wanted to hear about how you have given back to homeless people before now.

Did you volunteer in a soup kitchen?

Did you stop on the street to talk to a homeless person to try to guide them toward a better life?

Did you find a hungry homeless person on the street and take them into a restaurant for a meal?

Expanding on an example like this, in a reflective way, and talking about how the initial taste of helping homeless people fueled you to help them with the law as a weapon and shield, would be more effective than generic idealistic tropes.

Keep in mind that it's a personal statement. The bits about your mom and grandma can be effective details on the margins, but you should be the central focus.

There are some problems with the writing as well. The piece didn't come across as particularly polished to me. I thought the rhetorical style of the opening paragraph was ineffective and cheap: you are the one recounting the details of your experience. Of course you remember the broad strokes of what happened to you. Repeatedly saying "I remember" can be effective as a rhetorical device when you're recounting small details (e.g. "I remember the color of our front door as it faded into the distance..."), but you use it incorrectly.

Try to write it more as a narrative with a start and finish that says something more about you.


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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:42 am

Re: A revised personal statement

Post by Npret » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:02 pm

Yo don’t need to go to aw school to be an advocate for the homeless.

While I’m sorry about your hard life, this is a story of things that happened to you. Not about you.

I agree with the above poster.

Your experiences can make for a great personal statement. Just keep rewriting until you get there.


Posts: 1986
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:42 am

Re: A revised personal statement

Post by Npret » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:04 pm

I meant “you.”

One more tip - avoid cliches in your writing.

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