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Messages - Burhop

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Personal Statement / Re: About answering a specific question on the PS
« on: January 06, 2006, 05:32:27 AM »
if the schools that want 'why law?' are your top schools, do it, or you may kick yourself later.

If there's no prompt for it, no point in raking yourself over the coals.

good luck!


Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: January 05, 2006, 06:51:47 AM »
You know how you get so many E-mails from schools saying why they are the best choice for you and why you should apply.  How much of any of them can you recall?  Writing about why a school should accept you comes off the same but in reverse.  If the school has a good reputation and so on, it doesn't matter, you might apply anyway, if you get a generic E-mail from a school you have never heard of, you will only be interested if they say something about the dinosaurs that roam the law school library. 

Point being; to get any advantage out of your PS, you can't be generic.  Write something that makes the reader think you are a better candidate than what your application otherwise shows.  The number one rule that has been touched on but not explicitly stated in this thread is your PS must be positive.  If you write a well-crafted essay about absolutely horrible things that have happened to you, what does that accomplish, does the reader have any better idea of your positive attributes?  I think you almost have to write your PS like a used car advertisement, just with English above the 1st grade level.

The spin I usually give it is "your PS is like a good love letter--you gotta make the school *want* your ass."

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Snarky Haiku? Fukyu!
« on: January 05, 2006, 06:17:13 AM »
heehee! SCOTUS fukyu:

O Harriet Miers
You are my hero, lady--
eyeliner and all

Scalia, my man
can I be your Liberal?
No, you say? Fukyu!

Ginsburg always pouts--
laugh meter? You lose! Times has
no sense of humor.

O'Connor--will she
retire? Yes no yes no
yes no yes no yes

Alito--so not
as hot as newbie John and
his perfect bald spot

General Off-Topic Board / Re: For the funny LSD folk
« on: January 05, 2006, 06:05:01 AM »
ha! Y'all are hilarious--there are some really good ones in here. I'm going to let the thread run a bit longer so as to collect more brilliance for you folks, and then I'm going to compile them all and fashion a 'vote thread' in some manner that will likely lead to chaos.

I'm thinking the final list will have 10-15 topics, which will be juxtaposed nicely to create the sort of laugh-tension that results from being hit by two sorts of funny at once. (This, I find, usually culminates in a hearty snort/guffaw).

That abortion one was soooo wrong it was right, btw.

34. How I will help  Miersed become the new Borked

35. How I blogged as 'Harriet Miers' (

36. Harriet Miers is my hero!

Personal Statement / Re: Which theme is better?
« on: January 05, 2006, 05:52:33 AM »
Thank you for your input.  I did not intend to write an essay about how I beat alcoholism.  I drink quite a lot actually (hahah).  My father quit drinking shortly before I was born.  He came from nothing.  For my entire life we climbed the social ladder and have achieved a solidly upper middle class life.  I was the first male in my family to go to college.  I'll be the first to go to law school.  I feel compelled to write about this topic because I feel that it is something that I care about.  I understand that it is a risky topic though, mainly because it doesnít address why I want to study law. 

My reasons for going to law school are really very practical.  Iíve been working for four years now and have found out that English Majors have very little to leverage in the work force.  I think I would enjoy legal research and writing.  The skills that I have (reading, writing, analytical thinking) are valuable skills in the field of law.  I think law is the most suitable way for me to make the kind of living that I want to make. 

I donít think Iím capable of writing a genuine intellectual piece about why I love the law.  What did you write about?  Anyone?

It is a risky topic--not because it doesn't address law specifically, but because this is a common response to the idea of "personal statement"--writing about the most personal thing that has happened to oneself. The PS's that result from this instinct (often) end up reading like therapy transcripts.

The best PS's I've seen this season have been very action-oriented, along the lines of "here's one very colorful and memorable thing I accomplished that makes me seem like a hard-working, thoughtful, genuine candidate who would be great to have around for three years." The essays contain lots of action verbs, and all of the paragraphs focus around some central accomplishment. This creates a very holistic, memorable storyline that will stick in the adcomms heads.

...not to say that the 'first to college/law school' thing isn't important--but what if you were to set up the essay with the first 3-4 paragraphs around a story that makes you seem brilliant/fun/accomplished, and *then* mention right at the end "hey, I'm a first for my family." That, I would argue, would make the introduction of that info endearing--mentioning it up front is more...imploring, you know?

in any case, I hope you find the story you'd like to tell. And of course, there's loads of us on here willing to send you more advice than you'll ever possibly need, should you ask! ;-)



Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: January 05, 2006, 05:35:24 AM »
Just wanted to jump in here and give praise for Burhops. She really helped me with my PS. She has some great suggestions and helped with editing and I am still amazed at the effort I received from a (initially) complete stranger. I know myself, my PS resembled at least one of these scenarios, but she really helped me turn it around.

Thanks Dani

Whoa!!! *major blush*

Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: January 05, 2006, 05:33:48 AM »
By the way, I can understand why people lash out when their essays are criticized. You've spent 7 long and painful hours in the delivery room giving birth to your beautiful baby and when some one tells you it's absolutely hideous you'd probably get a bit cranky.  8)

Yeah, I understand that. But, hopefully, when people ask for feedback they are expecting honesty. Presumably they've spent 7 hours in the delivery room in order to have a healthy child. If the baby is sick and needs surgery, it's a bit counter-productive to yell at the obstetritian who tells you so. Ok - I think I might have stretched that metaphor a bit far....

I hope the adcomms feel the way that you do about my PS  :)

redemption, gadfly--your PS worries are non-existent! I've seen both, and you both come across as engaged and engaging.

I, of course, probably came across like a whack-job in everything I wrote. I shoulda just sent the Puma 250 in the stead of.....everything. O, alas, 20/20 hindsight!


Personal Statement / Re: Patterns I've seen
« on: January 05, 2006, 05:28:29 AM »

Along this same line, I've heard that running through all life accomplishments is a no-no; that just reads like an extended resume.

Aaah, the extended resume - that should have been number 2 on the list.  The Admissions Director mentioned this one as being a definite way to make the statement IMpersonal.  This is a great thread Dani! 

Well, thanks!

Now, if I could only get into law school based on LSD threads...should I send an addendum to this effect, you think? ;-)



Personal Statement / Re: About answering a specific question on the PS
« on: January 04, 2006, 06:22:48 AM »
I'd say it's be best to find a way to state your interest in the law in a way that doesn't sound like everyone else. Try this--get yourself good and silly--that means, allow for any possibility that pops into your head--and do a freewrite to respond to "why law?" Just start writing whatever nonsense comes to you. Do this for like 15-20 minutes. Write everything down, no matter how ridiculous it seems.

I think you'll find that once you've written the obvious stuff down, your mind will free itself up to get more creative with the question. You might even surprise yourself! This way, you'll have some more fodder to work with--some funny stuff, some creative stuff.

The reason students generally 'sound alike' is because they write the first thing they think of down. If you start writing down the 15th thing you think of, suddenly differences and nuances emerge. The individuality is in there--you just have to be committed to finding it.

good luck!


General Off-Topic Board / Snarky Haiku? Fukyu!
« on: January 04, 2006, 12:47:22 AM »
Pretty much what the title says. Here's a place to flex those latent poetic muscles and vent all in one. Write a 'fukyu' about what ails ya. Same 'laws' as haiku (well, anglicized anyways): 5-7-5 syllables.

Here are some samples borrowed from my poetry brethren at PFFA to get the ball rolling:

I could write better
poetry than you if I
pithed my own brain stem

My speling isn't
bad, you fat facist mouron,
it's inovative.

if I ever write
as badly as you I have
friends who will kill me

Definitely is
spelled with an i not an a
you ignorant ass.

my purple-winged words
soar beyond your fatal grasp,
poetry nazis

It's not a typo:
"kepe writting" means "please post more"
in Klingon, stupid.

You worry easy.
Consider the birds, how they
aim sh*t like snowflakes.

So you canít get laid.
Camilla Parker Bowles can.
Itís your fault, not hers.

it's content that counts,
you Thalassophiliac
slack-jawed buckethead

Your math is flawless
but we have this tradition
to skin nerds alive.

Shamans? Mushrooms? Please.
Sham hippie profundity
purchased by the bag.

circumlocution sounds good
next to your twaddle

Here's my attempt at law-themed fukyu:

Oh, happy Yalie
Give the bragging a rest:
We all say fukyu

180 you say?
It's hard to believe that of
a big prick like you.

LSAT, you're killin'
me with those weird logic games--
diagrams, fukyu

Rejection letter
wallpaper--one more way to
recall that fukyu

ah, poetry...


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