Personal Statements, Resumes, and Letters of Recommendation / Re: Can you read my personal statement?« on: September 11, 2007, 10:06:57 PM »
If ya still need someone to take a look at it, send it my way and I'll look it over for ya.
Sounds good. Let me ask this as well. I've heard conflicting views on whether or not to address in the personal statement any areas that are lacking. For example, my sophmore year I had a bad semester gpa wise, and want to at least touch on it. Is this the thing to do in a personal statement, or should I not even bother with it??
Speaking as someone who's applied successfully for a lot of stuff over the years, let me offer some advice:
Your PS should tell a story. That story should frame your decision to go to law school as the logical conclusion.
Your resume will have the nuts and bolts of what you've been doing these last few years
Your letters of rec. will explain why those things make you awesome
Personally, I think a personal statement should address the following:
1. How my past experiences have influenced who I am today
2. Why that person I am today is 100% sure law school is the absolute right next step in his/her life
3. The things that person you are today plans on doing later in life that he/she needs a law degree to do
Although the PS is not the place to try and "explain" a bad semester or year, if you can find some way to work that experience into 1. on the above list, you may be able to convert it into a positive, for it will contribute to the overarching narrative you are trying to create. However, be really careful about trying this...
A better approach might be to write an addendum explaining that semester, but write it in such a way as to make it seem like a footnote of your personal statement.
For example, if the theme of your PS is overcoming adversity, you don't need to mention the bad grades in the PS, but you can say in your addendum that you bombed that semester for X reason, but you learned from your mistakes, and you rededicated yourself the next year etc.
Remember: every single word in your application should increase the chances of your being admitted. If you can make an addendum function in this way, then it's a useful tool, and it would be a good idea to write one. However, if it feels superfluous/tact on/out of place/embarrassing, you shouldn't include it.
Also, always keep in mind that in these matters, there are no absolute merits or demerits. It's all a matter of interpretation. The key is being smart enough and careful enough to tell a good story.
Just a thought...