Law School Discussion

What kind of PS is this? Does this stack up well to the comp? How can I improve?

Happy_Weasel

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This paper is to describe to my life and how it led up to my interest in the study of law. I guess the relevant story of my life began when I was 13 years old and had reached a low point in my life. During this point in my life I was given the opportunity to develop some of my talents under what was thought to be the benevolent control of my father. Through his maneuvering, I reluctantly was able to, and eventually came to relish the study of Engineering at the local community college as a dual-enrolled student. During this time, I was also active in many other activities. I was a Boy Scout and eventually a member of the prestigious and safe guarded society of scouts, The Order of the Arrow, which was devoted to cheerful service. However, academic achievement and community service were not the only aspect of my life at the time. My divided family was embattled in a fierce child support battle after an equally fierce divorce one. By my 14th birthday, my father and step-family had come to enjoy home ownership in the prestigious Island Estates community in Florida. There, my family was also engaged in a fierce political and legal battle in which their very home owner status was challenged. As my studies and community involvement progressed, so did my awareness of the world beyond me and around me. Through this time, I learned about the glory of new sciences but I also learned of the horror of the growing threats against democracy, within my nation, within my community and from outside the nation's and community's borders. I learned that the powers of science and engineering would be made impotent and useless if the forces against the democratic society that makes these marvels possible were to prevail and destroy the free society in which ideas can circulate. From here, I learned that the most important thing I could do was not develop these ideas, but to protect these ideas. In this, I learned that Law was more important to our society than the ideas within it. At this point in my life, I was 16 and the year was 2001. Around this time, I earned my eagle and had completed over 100 community service hours in the creation of recreational areas and centers for community education. Around this time, my unwavering support for my father began to wane as his behavior became increasingly erratic and immoral and his insistence that I practice engineering and the natural sciences grew. It was around this time that I decided that I needed a fresh start to pursue a moral life and a career that was of utmost importance to all.  From this, on December 28, 2002, I left to live with my mother and step-father in Wyoming where I would complete my High School and Community College education. Also, during this time I learned, through trial and error more and more morals and values that would help me live my life and serve the world. From the time I arrived in Wyoming, I performed another 100 community hours on the Wind River Indian Reservation as a teaching volunteer. During this time, January 2003 to August 2004, I learned about what I wanted to do with my life and the values I would live by. Throughout this time, my interests in the study of law was reinforced and strengthened. I learned that the only way our society could stay strong and become stronger was through the rule of law, not the rule of men. I learned that through law, that the ones that harm, in all areas of society from the very top to the very bottom must be held accountable for their actions and that the only way freedom, especially the freedom of the transmission of ideas, could be protected was only through the law. By March 2004, I was attending Central Wyoming College and was learning about what would be my charge if I did study and practice the law and from here and I accepted this charge as I affirmed it as my calling. Another major event occurred during this time. I met what would become my fiancé at Central Wyoming College and learned to love her and her child. Through this experience, I learned about the family life I never had and grew to love it and even take on more responsibilities than that. Since then, I have been an active member of the CWC business club, even visiting the world's most vital establishments to our society in New York City. Even in this time of juggling a sudden family that included my future wife and a 2 and a half year old child, extracurricular activities and a full time schedule, I also held my love's hand through a potential life-threatening condition and the resulting surgery, even when I only knew her for a month. However, this hurdle was easily leaped and eventually, I completed my AA and my HS diploma in the same year. My degree average on my AA was a 3.82. After finishing my AA, my family and I moved to Laramie so that Jessica and I could attend the University of Wyoming. At the University of Wyoming, I have joined the Phi Alpha Delta to learn more about the study of law and during the election season, I was the Vice President of the Campus Democrats. Since my arrival at the University of Wyoming, it has been my goal to get into the(a) College Of Law and my GPA and my LSAT reflect that. I am committed and have followed my dreams since I grew strong enough to follow them.
Addendum: Even though I was eager to study Engineering in Florida, I was still not mature enough for the rigors of a hard college major. I appeal to the admissions committee to understand this and the maturation process I have undergone from having only a few commitments and classes with a C average to many commitments, a family, a 27-hour a week job, many classes and an A- average. I also have had to overcome a quite harsh emotional disability to gain what I have already obtained.

official2008

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OMG, they're not even going to get past the first sentence. if this isn't a joke i'd seriously consider revising. don't give your life story for one, and put an attention grabber at the beginning for two. PM me if you want some more tips.

youranidiot

This is pretty bad.  Pick one thing you want to write about and stick with it...your father, your fiance's family, your community work.  But this is awful. Of course, unless your LSAT is truly abysmal, your PS isn't gonna matter much for the schools you're applying to.

ok- first off, get rid of that first line, "This paper is to describe..."  For one thing, it isn't a paper, and secondly, explicitly stating "This is what I'm going to write about" is not considered to be a sophisticated writing technique, and it is also not attention-grabbing.

The essay is also too chronological- "I did this, then this, then this happened, etc."  While it touches on many of the important moments of your life, it doesn't really tell a story.  Pick out the most compelling aspects and flesh them out in more detail.  Delete childhood events, like Boy Scouts.

Regarding the addendum- you should realize that your GPA is not that bad.  If you want to explain factors of adversity that prevented you from excelling more as a college student, you absolutely should.  But absolutely be positive about it.  Don't make it sound as if you feel you were dealt a bad hand- because we've all hand our problems and difficulties, and sure some have had it worse than others, but the important thing is what you learned from your experiences, how they made you stronger, rather than how bad they were.

Also, that last part about a "quite harsh emotional disability" should probably be left out.  Right or not, I think it would prejudice the adcomms-- because you used vague terms, they might be inclined to suspect the worst.  It also seems to come out of nowhere right at the end of the essay.

Otherwise- you have some good stuff in there- it could just be presented much better.  If you know any people who are talented writers, definitely show it to them.

Happy_Weasel

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Lol, I'm glad you guys caught this before I turned this in otherwise I would of probably gotten rejected by every single school I am actually considering. Hell, I would probably be the only 156 at Cooley if it wasn't for you guys. The thing is though is that I don't understand why I am such a dry writer. Every essay exam I take I ussually know the material, but get docked 15-20 points almost right of the bat. My professor from last semester recommended "Strunk and White" and testified pretty well to it but will it only take a book or should I take a 2000-level comp class or communty enrichment class or should I just live my life making excuses for my dry writing or perhaps claiming it as "new writing" as my school has "new thinking".

Perhaps I should just take my finest points and ask if they are competitive or how to make them seem competitive-

-Business Club
-VP of Campus Dems
-Phi Alpha Delta
-(lets round up) 30 hours of work during school
-Started college early and relatively weakly but matured
-200+ Community service hours in 2 states and 1 reservation
-Finished College Early
-Been responsible for family from an early age

I'm struggling with my PS too.  Whenever I read it I feel like a 5th grader must have written it... :-\
The reason I tuned out yours was you said "my life" four times in the first three sentences...it was painful.  I guess that is exactly the point of having others read it...fresh eyes. You start to state at it and things just blur... :D

I read about half of it... at first I didnt realize it was your PS... I thought you were introducing your PS to the readers on this board.

My PS was solid. Perhaps not incredibly interesting, but solid. It took me FOREVER to write. I had over 15 versions. It completely changed from beginning to end.

What I suggest is for you to brainstorm. Think about instances in your life that make you feel/realize something and made you think about studying law. Or you could just demonstrate you interest in tying a legal education to... I dunno, something like research (if you've done a lot of research).

Anyhow, I kept trying to think of a few instances in my life that I could describe, and analyze. And then I went from there.

It's cheesy, but I bought a couple of books on how to write a personal statement. One of the most valuable points I applied was to use more verbs, and less adjectives. Verbs are what make any writing interesting - you portray movement, you make your words alive.

Based on what I read of your PS, it is way too chronological. Tell a story. Focus yourself more. If you want to talk about growth, you'll need to strengthen the development of what grew in you (compassion? drive?) and for what (compassion for children? drive for justice?). And then take some life experiences (I just used two) and weave a story.

I certainly am NOT the best writer. But what I think I liked most about my PS was how genuine it was. I also made a point to make it easy to read, but also vary my sentence structure and sentence length.

Good luck. And post again when you've made revisions!


Happy_Weasel

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Heres a little opening that I have been working on...


"Thank you for giving me my day to present my case to this fine institution of education and trust me, you will you not regret giving me this day. I come here to this school of Law under the banner of doing my part, no matter how small or local or how large or overwhelming the charge is to me to protect the people’s freedom. My proposal to the voters of this committee is to enable me to follow my passion to help those who need guidance whether they are a scientist or a businessman that need to patent their art so they may be able to get their product to the people or perhaps to protect that businessman or scientist from the frivolous attacks and litigations of those who are inspired to sell the people’s farm for their own personal gain. All in all, I wish that this committee will vote to see that I do get my chance to keep my charge so that  I may be able to help the people, whether a professor that has been working on stem cell research that has found a cure one of our most tragic and destructive diseases to helping a small-town business get their they may keep their charge to make society a greater place to live."

InVinoVeritas

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that's really hardly better.  take a look at the personal statements in Montauk's book.  they'll give you an idea of the kind of statements that work well.

Cyndra

Wow, not a good idea to write a PS like you're trying a case. Make the attention-getter your own and then own it. This looks like you're trying way too hard. PM me if you'd like to see mine.