PLEASE Critique My Personal Statement!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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PLEASE Critique My Personal Statement!

Post by madras » Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:54 pm

Hiya! I'm getting ready to apply for JD programs, and I've just finished a draft of my personal statement. My goal (as you'll read) is UC Berkeley, but I'm also applying to UCLA, Lewis & Clark, and Stanford. I need all the help I can get! Thanks in advance :)

The pivotal moment in my decision to apply for law school came the first week of my sophomore year of my undergraduate studies. It was a Tuesday morning, and I was sitting with my assigned lab group in my general education Ecology and Conservation class. The professor was outlining the future of climate change for us on the board. “One of the first areas to be hit the hardest in terms of warming,” she explained, “will be rural parts of India. People will begin succumbing to heat stroke if they’re in the sun for more than 3 hours. People whose lives depend on agricultural work, people who will have contributed the least to the climate crisis, will be among the first victims of global warming.” I left the classroom, and practically ran to the records office to declare a minor in sustainability studies. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew that there was almost nothing more important to me than learning more about environmental justice.
I was a newly-declared visual arts major, and I didn’t know how exactly this newfound passion might meld with my love for art. Very quickly, however, I discovered that the two existed in a similar space; my education in visual arts served as a four-year sociological study of the fringes and subcultures of society, where so much of the most interesting art is created. The creative thinking and writing I was exposed to through my professors and friends in the department shaped the way I view fairness and equality, and pushed me outside of my experience as a white, straight, cisgendered woman at an expensive, private university. I learned more than I expected I would about my own privilege and that of those around me, and began developing a new interest in issues of justice based on sociological realities, rather than the hard and fast principles of criminality and expectations of societal contribution I had previously been exposed to. Through the diverse community of artists that came to be some of my best friends, I was invited outside of myself, and into a lifetime of learning a new kind of empathy.
It was my exposure to this community of different-minded people that prompted me to complete a university honors project during my senior year in which I conducted research and wrote an autoethnographic essay on women’s representation in the art industry. I found that underneath the surface of an industry that prides itself on acceptance of all people, there is common practice of prejudiced support of white male artists, and a history of discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, and race. The intricacies of the relationship between industry and self-identity proved to be the central theme in my thesis, and the examination of these intricacies were what drove me forward in my research. With each new layer of problematic practices in the industry came a more profound fascination with the policies and precedent that allowed them; layer after layer, a sturdy structure of dedication to studying law was being built atop the passionate foundation I laid years earlier in my general education ecology class.
The intersection between race, class, gender, and one’s relationship with the natural world is a phenomenon that has become a deeply-rooted passion for me, based on a lasting drive to aid in efforts to make change. The history of the United States’ policies concerning the natural world is filled with ideals based on conquest, and these policies have caused considerable damage not only to the natural world, but to the relationship between the natural world and the people living within it. There is incredible potential for social change housed in environmental protection, and it is this relationship that is so motivating for me: the potential for a world filled with sustainable, fair employment, renewed connection between people of all races and their planet, and a symbiotic relationship between government, industry, and the natural Earth.
I am whole-heartedly committed to the rigorous pursuit of knowledge that law school is sure to provide, and to the cause that sparked this journey to law. Through law, I want to begin to encourage change not only in environmental policy, but to the nation’s relationship with the natural world we depend on. I know that there’s a lot of work to be done ton the way to creating a lasting difference, and I can’t think of a better place to begin than at UC Berkeley.


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Re: PLEASE Critique My Personal Statement!

Post by Stephgflores » Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:52 pm

I think this is a good first draft of your personal statement. My advice would be to perhaps have a different eye catching opening. I think the first paragraph didn't necessarily flow well with the second. I read former U Chicago's former law admission officer, Anna Ivey's guide to Law School Admissions book and I def recommend her books. One of her advice on writing the personal statement is to have an eye catching opening and to make your personal statement descriptive throughout. Maybe you could begin describing a painting/art piece that demonstrates the concepts you mention and subtly refer to your accomplishements/passions. I hope this advice helps. Good luck.


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Re: PLEASE Critique My Personal Statement!

Post by CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:52 am

Terrible. Really bad essay due to a lack of a meaningful central theme. It seems clear to me that you are trying to force a reason to attend law school. Based on this writing, I suggest that you consider pursuing a masters degree is public policy or in environmental science.

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