Law School Discussion

Applying to Law School => Personal Statements, Resumes, and Letters of Recommendation => Topic started by: chaoticpuppet on February 01, 2010, 07:33:43 PM

Title: Critique my PS please
Post by: chaoticpuppet on February 01, 2010, 07:33:43 PM
Backhoes, bulldozers, excavators – I love them all. By my fifth birthday, I could name every piece of heavy construction equipment. Most children enjoy the prosaic games tag or hopscotch. I was different; I preferred going to family company owned construction sites and riding the equipment with my grandfather. With an early interest in construction, my attention inevitably turned towards Legos and Erector Sets. Even my first job, landscaping, related to construction.

In all technicality, I was a landscaper long before receiving a paycheck. Memories of planting flowers and pulling weeds with my parents flood my mind at the beginning of every spring. On more than a few occasions, I would pretend the flowerbeds were construction sites and I would use my toy trucks over mundane garden tools. My backhoe dug holes for flowers, my grader loosened soil around otherwise hard to pull weeds, and my bulldozer dumped dirt on weeds I was too lazy to pull. The summer following my twelfth birthday, I was ready to branch out of my parents’ garden and begin my professional landscaping career. Having recently built a house on a massive 15-acre property, I started my career with my grandfather. For the next several summers, the land was ours to tame and mold.

Through the summers, I never tired of landscaping. Naturally, I thought about a career in construction. However, as I began my studies at Allegheny College my dreams started to transform. Suddenly, construction was only a hobby, no longer satisfying my intellectual desires. Several philosophy courses later, Descartes’ mind/body problem captivated me. As I progressed in philosophy, disappointment set in when modern philosophers had no concrete evidence for a mind/body link. Realizing I needed a more empirical route, and thinking the answer lay with the brain, I began studying psychology eventually leading me to neuroscience.

As a neuroscience major, I was awarded many opportunities to take part in various research projects. Through two separate internships and a yearlong independent study, I gained valuable insight into the world of scientists. The summers of 2007 and 2008 saw me taking a sabbatical from landscaping. Opening the door to the world of academic research, I worked with Dr. Hollerman on an animal model of autism in my first internship. Fall semester I had the opportunity to continue with the summer research, however, still interested in a mind/brain link I chose to study memory. For the next year, I studied two subtypes of declarative memory in rodents, attempting to show they were associated with two different areas of the brain. Though failing to support my hypothesis, my research added to the litany of others attesting to the fact that declarative memory is not specific to humans. Summer of 2008, I continued researching, this time working with Dr. Juhasz, synthesizing a stockpile of carborane anions used in the construction of superacids. Unlike my previous internship, there was little in the way of experimentation creating an environment that felt similar to working at a private research firm.

Though I enjoyed my research endeavors, they alone were unable to quench my voracious intellectual thirst. With this knowledge, I resumed my old landscaping post after graduation, while I reflected on my experiences in neuroscience. I emerged with the realization that I came out of science with a desire to use research in a way to affect regulatory policies, something only a study of the law provides. I now wish to use my background in science to begin a career as an intellectual property lawyer. I am confident that my background in construction and science – fields that demand excellence in methodical, logical, and analytical thinking – will allow me to succeed in law school. My backhoes, bulldozers, and excavators have since transformed into methodical, logical, and analytical thinking, themes that have been present throughout my life.
Title: Re: Critique my PS please
Post by: cwhelan on February 01, 2010, 07:58:26 PM
tighten up overall. one example:

(I emerged with) the realization that (I came out of) science with a desire (to use )research in a way (to affect )etc etc

Sort of repetitive phrasing and can be shortened, as in 'My scientific experience endowed me with a desire to conduct meaningful research.'
Title: Re: Critique my PS please
Post by: cwhelan on February 01, 2010, 08:04:00 PM
"In all technicality, I was a landscaper long before receiving a paycheck"  "I was a landscaper long before I received my first paycheck.

Im not sure its a good idea to use toddler-time interests as backups for your particular path. Its just a little "IVE ALWAYSS WANTED TO BE A ... " type essay. I would lessen the detail on your early years and expand more meaningful coverage of later things.

I began studying psychology eventually leading me to neuroscience

 not sure this is grammatical, neads a pause in thought, like .."I began studying psychology, eventually sharpening my focus towards neuroscience"

Title: Re: Critique my PS please
Post by: gdeurance on February 11, 2010, 08:05:56 PM
I would agree with the first and second posters. Read each paragraph as its own entity. You tend to bring things up, devote a sentence to the idea, then move on. There is a real lack of continuity. You played in the dirt, then you went to college--how does the one carry you into the other? Unless you went to school to be an architect or real estate developer, it really does not. I can appreciate Descartes, but you fail to explain the Mind/Body link (you do not have enough time regardless) and hence that paragraph really sits alone and again breaks the flow.

What I gathered from this, you have an interest in regulatory policy. That is your focus, but why? Figure out the defining thing in your past that has lead to that interest, then create your narrative from that. Was it something you witness during your time in landscaping or construction? Was it from working in the field of neuroscience? Often a first draft is useful only in as much as finding your topic sentence or overall theme. That is why it is important not to spend too much time on it--likely you are going to cut 90%.

hope that helped
Title: Re: Critique my PS please
Post by: william wallace on February 24, 2010, 08:18:48 AM
Okay, I would cut this part of a sentence "Although it failed to support my hypothesis." I feel it just doesn't matter.

I think you should cut the first two paragraphs completely. Maybe the problem mentioned by other posters would be solved if you focused on a smaller time frame. You do bring things up and then move on. Maybe if you shortened your time period, you would be able to go into more detail.

Use this extra space to expand more on the last paragraph.

Don't mean to be critical. You can do this!!!