Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Personal Statements, Resumes, and Letters of Recommendation => Topic started by: grad09 on August 23, 2009, 08:50:38 PM

Title: PS Topic Decision- Advice greatly appreciated!!
Post by: grad09 on August 23, 2009, 08:50:38 PM
I am looking for different opinions on how to write my personal statements. I just graduated from Boston U (GPA 3.42) and am working on the LSATs as we speak via Kaplan. My goal is to get into a top 20 law school, and I understand in order to do so, I need a great personal statement (aside from scoring well on the LSAT). But I donít know what exactly I want to convey about myself or what situations in my life I would like to focus on. I thought of a few ideas, any help or criticism would be greatly appreciated.

1-   Disadvantages in upbringing/education/socioeconomic conditions
I was raised in a small city in NJ near Manhattan. The city is poor, incredibly overpopulated, and the primary language is Spanish. It is full of Hispanic/Latino diversity, so being of Cuban heritage, my immigrant grandparents who settled there fit right in. However, there is an incredible lack of higher education in its populace and a terrible education system, which has made the city a place with a little opportunity for upcoming youth. During high school, out of a graduating class of 500, the average SAT score was just below 900 (on the old 1600 scale). The 10 or so students with SATs above 1000 were praised on a hallway bulletin board. I was thinking about writing how tough it was to make it out of here, get into a respectable undergraduate program, etc. Also, I was thinking of possibly tying in some sparked interest in immigration law.

2-   Unique career goals
As you may have read above, I grew up right outside NYC. Thus, I lived through a pretty momentous occasion- 9/11. I saw with my own eyes the terror as it unfolded, and I felt fear pervade the environment I lived in. This experience created a devotion to combating terrorism, hence why I studied Arabic and majored in International Relations. I have wanted to work for the bureau ever since, and I want to attend law school as an avenue to the FBI. However, Iím not sure how an admissions committee would respond to this. Will they appreciate this reason for attending law school, or is this seen as a misguided reason? Also, I have recently been diagnosed with a heart condition at 22 yrs old (so lame) which may impede my efforts to work for the FBI. So being a lawyer might be the closest I will ever come to being a special agent. Should I mention this? I am fearful the committee will think I am looking to law school as a second option, and I donít really want to be there. What are your thoughts?

3-   Interest in international affairs
My last idea was to write about my interest in international affairs, combined with the experience of studying abroad in Australia. It was a life lesson in itself; I went through good times and bad. I feel itís a little clichť sometimes, but I just wanted to throw it out there.

What do you guys think? Thanks for the help!
Title: Re: PS Topic Decision- Advice greatly appreciated!!
Post by: EarlCat on August 23, 2009, 10:15:40 PM
Let's start with your goal in writing a PS in the first place.  When your application hits the admissions desk, you are known only as L156478943.  Your job is to turn L156478943 into a living, breathing, unique human being who will bring experience, knowledge, opinions, and perspective to the classroom that nobody else in this wide wide world can.  It's not terribly important what you want to do.  It's important who you are.  So focus on the background story or experience or whatever that really makes you who you are.  This, of course, is much easier said than done.
Title: Re: PS Topic Decision- Advice greatly appreciated!!
Post by: writetrackad on September 05, 2009, 09:38:27 AM
I echo EarlCat, and most importantly, the way your narrative is conveyed and humanized is more important than the actual content.  However, content can drive the strength of the story, but be wary of drafting a cliche statement, which I can see happening with option #1 if you don't approach it correctly.  Furthermore, there may be oppoortunity to integrate the three options into one cogent and thematically united statement. 

I would be glad to help.

Kal, Write Track Admissions