As I consider my law school options, I find myself drawn to an environment where the pursuit of academic excellence can thrive, while simultaneously offering the opportunity to gain skills, help others in the community while earning class credit and gain experience in the legal field. I am African American and have taken notice of study results displaying a disparately low percentage of minority students enrolled in legal studies. Ethnic group membership provides me with a different perspective on both society as a whole and the academic climate of post-secondary education. Completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at 43, places me in the category of nontraditional student. To contribute to my knowledge I also finished a minor in political science. Additionally, my final semester of undergraduate coursework focused on a second minor in law, politics, and society.
I received an honorable discharge from the United States Army and I am a Disabled Veteran, injured in the line of duty. I proudly served my country and unfortunately discovered, as the motto of the Veteran’s Administration states, “the price of freedom is not free.” When citizens enlist in the military, the possibility is very real that the individuals may have to give their lives, or may return to civilian society without their limbs intact. I do not mention my disabilities to elicit feelings of sympathy from anyone. Mine is not a sad story; it is a story of triumphant perseverance. In 1990, I lost full use of my left hand and later lost the sight in my left eye. I have overcome the limited use of my hand and the loss of vision in my eye. There were several months of my life that I spent in a wheelchair. Doctors told me that I would most likely never walk, run, or jump again. Thankfully, they were wrong. I was not willing to give up and spend my life as an invalid. For the rest of my life, I will never forget what I have been through. I learned to walk again when I was 22. Against ostensibly insurmountable odds, and in excruciating pain, I took my first steps. Failure was not an option and no matter how many times I fell down, I was always willing to stand up and try again. When I walk into a room today no one looks and thinks “there’s a guy in a wheelchair.” In fact, no one can even look at me and tell that I have any disabilities.
The same dedication that led to my physical recovery is the same commitment I maintain in every aspect of my life, including my academic pursuits. An examination of my transcripts reveals no general differences between my grades, nor displays any relative difference in the level of difficulty of my course selection. I have never been one to take the easy route and honestly, I would not feel satisfied if my grade point average was attained by taking easy courses. A full description of my course selection is beyond the scope of this personal statement. However, a brief mention of the electives, which focused on law, politics, and society, serves to elucidate my point. Therefore, the reader can deduce that my future academic performance while studying law would most likely continue to exhibit a clear trend toward high achievement. Disaggregation of my overall application into its component parts, positive academic acculturation, consistent grade point averages during undergraduate coursework, and graduating Magna cum laude, are all statistically significant in establishing plausibility of hypothesized success. My fortitude and dedication substantially contribute to the standard long-term predictive validity of traditional predictors of law school performance. I am more than a set of standardized scores and a high GPA. My life is a saga of success. I am a winner!