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Author Topic: PS Prompts for Older Students  (Read 1301 times)

RockyMtnHighMama

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PS Prompts for Older Students
« on: June 19, 2004, 06:36:18 PM »
Ok, transcript's in. LSAT taken (trying hard not to count down the days til July 6th). First request for LOR mailed on Tuesday, and trying to figure out whom to ask for the second. The resume making my non-work-experience life sound relevant has been written and filed away for the application. So the next big step is the PS.

The problem is, I'm 39 years old. With 17 years RWE, I can't imagine where to begin with my PS. There is so much to tell about me, but what is the best thing to tell? How do I capture a lifetime in a page or two? How do I essentially say - I've wanted to become a lawyer since high school mock trial competition? How do I say - don't count me out because I chose to become a mother first and a lawyer second? How do I say - I'm darned good at catching on fast (imagine going from an impoverished rural Appalachian high school class of 10, then graduating valedictorian from another rural (but Iowa) high school class of 50, then matriculating into a 1st tier university of 30,000 all in the space of 15 months)? How do I say - I can understand IRS rules well enough that my husband was the only one in his company not bitten by the section 83b monster when the stock market crashed - because I recommended a course contrary to all so-called professional advice? How do I say - I'm a self-starting, finish what I begin, do it right or don't bother kind of person who keeps a messy house? How do I say - Now is the time to do Law School because I may go deaf in the next 10 years from Meniere's disease... without sounding whiny? I understand that the PS is a time to brag, a time to explain, a time to argue for why the law school wants you, even more than why you want the law school. But bragging about myself, or begging for pity for myself, (the above paragraphs notwithstanding) is extremely uncomfortable.

Does anyone have any writing prompts that might elicit ideas for the PS?

David Bakody

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Re: PS Prompts for Older Students
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2004, 06:08:33 PM »
I'm 37 and I have some idea of what you are facing.  In my own case - I focused on a key moment in my life that was both interesting as well as had a connection with law, rather than attempt to tell my entire life story within a few pages.

My sense is that the single most important thing to a law school is your LSAT score, with the PS being icing on the cake.

egfmba

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Re: PS Prompts for Older Students
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2004, 08:36:54 PM »
I would say write your PS.  Just write.  Then, after a break from it (could be days, could be hours, could be weeks), go back to your PS and re-read it.  You'll be able to edit it much more clearly then.

Take out as much as you can without compromising quality or flow.  Then leave it alone again and come back to it again.  Edit again.  If, after this, you find that it's still too long, figure out which part is least relevant/moving/valuable to the PS and remove it and all references to it.  Then re-edit and smooth it out.  Keep doing this until you've got a final statement you're proud of.  If it makes someone cry a little, even better!

Seriously though, walking away from your work and returning to it can help you get a better perspective on what you're putting out there.

After you think you're done, take your PS to someone you trust, but who is impartial.  Have them read it over and take a red pen to it so you know what threw them off or put them off when they're reading your PS.  Then, start the editing process all over again.  When you just can't improve on it anymore and you're as satisfied as you're going to be, send it out.

Good luck!
We are responsible for actions performed in response to circumstances for which we are not responsible. - Allan Massie

shortbus

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Re: PS Prompts for Older Students
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2004, 04:20:19 AM »
You are overthinking the problem. The PS is not your autobiography, nor is it a place to brag, nor is it a place to discuss how much you want to go to law school. It's a place to show some of your human personality. Pick an experience UNIQUE TO YOU that displays your character and talk about it. As for illness, I think it's like race or sexual orientation --- if it's necessary background data for the central narrative of your PS, okay, but it won't stand on its own so well.




I understand that the PS is a time to brag, a time to explain, a time to argue for why the law school wants you, even more than why you want the law school. But bragging about myself, or begging for pity for myself, (the above paragraphs notwithstanding) is extremely uncomfortable.

Does anyone have any writing prompts that might elicit ideas for the PS?

jacy85

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Re: PS Prompts for Older Students
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2004, 02:07:28 PM »
I'd stop in a book store and pick up a book on your law app PS.  It definitely won't write your statement for you, but most of these books give great tips on what not to write and basic things you should try to include.  The Barrons book is one of the better one, i think.

They also include many real essays, and while it's never a good idea to get an idea as a starting point from there, you can definitely see how other non traditional students handled the PS.

I think the Barrons book was $12 or something.  Not all that much, and it's a great tool to get you started.  It's helped me quite a bit I think.