Please Tear Apart My PS

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Please Tear Apart My PS

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:27 pm

Hello all, I would just like some help with my PS. It is my first time doing this, I did well on the LSAT and have an addendum, but at the same time I really want to nail this. Any help would be appreciative.

"The early years of my life were the happiest I would ever have- though I would not know it at the time. Having divorced parents is common in America, one would even say very common. In that regard I am not remarkable. I still remember the summer after First Grade my mother drove me back home. I was excited to see my father after having been with my grandparents for two weeks. I ran inside looking everywhere for him- my mother had said he “might not be home.” That was the end of their marriage, he had moved to an apartment. While of course I was sad the next few years of my life would be absolutely terrible, and I would barely smile until college.

My mother insisted on keeping me. She made a decent salary and received child support. And yet she squandered it. Living in Texas in the summer she never paid for childcare- because of this as she was a home health nurse she would lock me in her car. When it was 100 degrees outside it would be far worse inside. Once I urinated, having drank as much as possible as I was sweating horribly. I was yelled at for days. Once I managed to get out- she forgot to lock the car. I was yelled at for almost costing her her job… at the time she said because kids could not travel to patient’s homes, but later because as I found out she was scared of the ramifications of leaving a six year old in a car in the middle of summer for two hours. My possessions were often lost in the frequent moves- including when we lost a storage shed with all my memorabilia I had collected. Fast forward to my Senior year and I was fully rebelling- this meant getting C’s instead of A’s as I was grounded for a year for my first B, not smoking or drinking! I had nonetheless managed to survive and thrive for 12 years by this point- and am proud of that.

And so, I finally escaped from her. I was so happy- ecstatic. I did well in college and truly loved life. I finally was able to talk to and see my dad more than once a month, and she no longer got to dictate what we did. Teachers had previously asked about abuse and I always denied it, but in hindsight… regardless I enjoyed life. I excelled in all my classes and joined the Debate Team which I adored. And then, three months after escape, my mother got cancer. So, I dropped everything to take care of her, skipping even finals, to take care of the women who I honestly hated at some points as I believed it the right thing to do. Emotions should not trump morality- something I believed then and now.

I know that story is long- but it is at the core of who I am. Because of my own history I want to help others. Originally, I merely wanted to teach History- to reach out to young minds and help mold them. At UTSA and as a child History was always a release from the struggles of day to day life. However, around 2020 I realized this was not enough- seeing the virus spread so far and the administration do nothing… I realized if I wanted to help, I could not just be a teacher or a professor. I needed to take an active role in the world. And so, I decided on Law School. I switched my studies my senior year and completed two years of studies in one. I decided I had to do well- so even while working, I also attended school and studied for the LSAT. I had only June and July to study- during which I was also, as said, doing both work and school- and I got a 172 from an original 154. I have done and will do everything necessary to excel at Law School because I have a reason- to make the world better. I want to help children yes- but I also want to help adults, the elderly, the infirm and the disabled against anyone who has the power to control their lives. Against anyone who, with the power to protect them, leaves them to struggle and actively harms them."

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Re: Please Tear Apart My PS

Post by cavalier1138 » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:06 am

I think this is the right topic, but this isn't the right way to do it.

For starters, your intro frames this as a story about being a child of divorce. But it isn't. It's a story about being the child of an abusive parent. If you mention the divorce, it should be a side-note later in the PS. And if I were you, I would start your PS in one of two ways: (1) start from the point of taking care of your mother as a young adult, or (2) start from the point of you locked in the car at age 6 (7?). Either way, the theme you're developing is the idea of people in helpless situations needing an advocate, and I think either of those starting points will get you there (I think I lean towards 1, but I'm not sure yet).

There's also something about the tone your narrative takes right now that almost trivializes the abuse. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it feels scattered. And the result is that you start to come off as someone who needs to vent, rather than someone whose childhood experiences helped mold them into someone who wants to show others the care they never received. I would pick one specific incident (the locked-in-a-car one seems like a good candidate) to describe in detail, and then I would pivot to a shorter explanation that this defined your relationship with your mother through [age].

And on a very granular note, don't mention the LSAT or LSAT prep in here. They have your stats; use the PS to focus on your story.

Again, this is the right topic. But it's not the right statement for you yet. Take another crack at it.


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Re: Please Tear Apart My PS

Post by nixy » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:44 am

I agree with the above. Right now this reads more as (understandable) resentment against your mother rather than an explanation of where you’ve come from and how it’s shaped you. I know this is going to sound a little unkind, but I think you need a little more narrative distance from what happened. (I have to admit that reading this, it also sounds like there were economic issues involved in your mom’s abuse - not paying for child care and moving regularly sound informed by money struggles, so it’s not clear how your mom actually squandered her salary/child care money - though this is really a side point.) But mostly, yeah, this isn’t about being a child of divorce, it’s having an abusive parent (and I do have to wonder where dad was during this period - it may be that your mom succeeded in keeping the two of you apart somehow, but that’s not clear).

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Re: Please Tear Apart My PS

Post by RunnerRunner » Fri Aug 07, 2020 5:01 pm

Hi OP. Congrats on bumping your LSAT score from 154 to 172--that's excellent! Sorry to hear you had such a rough childhood, and glad to hear you came through it and are doing well.

I think you have a good start here and picked the right topic. Just a few notes below.

In line with what previous posters have said, I think you need to tie this together with a better theme and (if you can) articulate a more specific reason you want to go to law school. Right now you write: "I want to help children yes- but I also want to help adults, the elderly, the infirm and the disabled against anyone who has the power to control their lives. Against anyone who, with the power to protect them, leaves them to struggle and actively harms them." I think wanting to help people is a great reason to go to law school. But I think if you phrase your desire to help people too broadly, admissions officers might think "does this guy really have a plan?"

My advice would be: see if you can narrow down your goals a little, and tie your backstory to those goals. E.g., if you could say something like "As someone who survived abuse as a child, I want to spend my career shielding children from abuse. That is why I want to work as a [insert specific career goal]." Then you can make the whole piece point towards that goal.

Also--and I am sure you would have done this anyway--make sure you proof this thing for sentence structure and grammar like crazy before you apply. One thing that popped out to me was that you capitalized "Law School" a couple of times. You don't need to do that unless you are referring to a specific law school. (So, law school would be lowercase here: "I want to go to law school because I am passionate about helping people"; BUT it would be capitalized here: "I want to attend Columbia Law School because I love paying really high rent.")

Good luck!

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Re: Please Tear Apart My PS

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:15 pm

Guys I just wanted to thank you so much- both for your kind words and for your criticisms. They are 100% contrusctive and that's exactly what I was looking for. I will go about retooling it immediately. Thank you all again y'all are truly the best :)

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