Law School Discussion

Please advise....

Please advise....
« on: January 08, 2012, 08:46:05 PM »
At an early age I learned that life is full of obstacles and that experiences can be bitter and painful. I also learned that with hard work, focus and dedication, success can be achieved and many hardships can lead to positive learning experiences.

While in China, I was born to a family in poverty and experienced the traumatic loss of my sister to illness because of my familyís inability to afford medical care for her.  Fortunately, with my grandmotherís help, we immigrated to the United States for a better life, and hope that I would pursue a higher education and become a professional in the United States. 

My family immigrated to New York City and settled in Chinatown when I was 14 years old.  In the beginning, I was enthusiastic and ambitious about the possibilities of my new life here, but I soon found out that reality was much different from my expectations.  Adapting to a brand new environment at the age of 14 posed many unforeseen problems for me: the social, psychological, and economic pressures of trying to fit in was difficult for me to overcome.  The combination of learning a new language and adjusting to a different culture were too much for me initially.  This burden of adapting to a new life along with my parentsí expectation on me doing well in school suppressed me so hard that I felt an inability to be myself.  I failed every class during my first semester in high school, struggling to understand my teachers and not coping with the American high school education system.   With all this pressure on me, I had a mental breakdown.   The many failures almost made me give up on my learning and education, however, my volleyball coach, Ms. Colon, encouraged me to join the school sports teams, and I unexpectedly found my passion in sports.  I became very passionate and dedicated to sports, and I was able to get my life back on the track.   The support from my teammates and encouragement from the coaches helped me build a positive attitude toward life.  I was able to gain respect from them with my excellence, hard work, and dedication in sports.  I was awarded as the Most Valuable Player for my high school basketball and volleyball teams and Athlete of the Year 2002 of Seward Park High School. Our volleyball team won the second place in the Public School Athlete League. My success, accomplishments and dedication were carried over to my work in the classroom. As a result, I passed all my classes every semester and I was able to successfully graduate from high school. Academically, however, I did not excel as I had in sports.

Due to my weak educational foundation in high school, I rejected an offer from CUNY Hunter College who had recruited me to play volleyball for them.  I did not think I would survive academically in the competitive colleges, so I deliberately selected a less academically competitive college to just fulfill my parentsí expectations of me to attend college.  However, an incident occurred that changed my attitude toward education during my first year of college.  My mother was physically assaulted and verbally abused at her work as a homecare attendant.  She was not aware of her rights, and her limited English kept her in silence about this unjust incident.  This brought me grief because I was not able to defend her or seek any remedy for her.  In addition, I felt that I had let my family down, not fulfilling my responsibility as the eldest son, in accordance with the Chinese tradition.  My mind was filled with regret, and I blamed myself for not taking my education seriously.  The incident made me realize the importance of attaining higher education.  It gave me the motivation to study hard and tried to catch up with what I had missed out and build a stronger academic foundation. My achievements and experiences in sports taught me that success can only be achieved with hard work and dedication. I was able to channel the same energy I had for sports into academics. After a year of hard work, I was able to transfer from SUNY Old Westbury to SUNY Binghamton. SUNY Binghamtonís competitive academic environment was a great challenge for me. I believed that hard work would help me get through any obstacles that I would encounter. I successfully took on the academic challenges in Binghamton. With my immeasurable hard work, I exceeded my parentsí expectations and became a Certified Public Accountant.

As I grew older, I have seen many more unjust incidents similar to those experienced by my mother.  I realized that there were so many people who were mistreated, and cannot seek remedy just because of the English language barrier and the unaffordable legal consultation.  For example, on my way home from work one day, I met a Chinese immigrant who was being abused due to a small conflict.  She was sitting on the sidewalk and crying helplessly.  When the police officers arrived to inquire about the situation, I offered to interpret for her.  I discovered that she was willing to compromised and kept in silence about this unjust incident.  Seeing the tears on the Chinese immigrantís face reminded me of my motherís suffering. These victims need affordable legal representation to help them seek the fair treatment and legal remedies provided by the law. I believe that if people, like me, could speak up for and help them legally, their voice could be heard. That is why I am considering law school now. 

When I think back about all the obstacles and struggles I have overcome, I am very grateful for having such experiences in my life because they molded me into a thoughtful, determined and compassionate person.   I consider myself emotionally and mentally ready for law school.  My education, professional experience and licenses, along with my cultural background and ability to speak 4 languages (Taishanese, Cantonese, Mandarin and English), will help me succeed as a student in law school. After learning _______ law schoolís strong public interest law program at the New York Law School forum, I am very interested in _______ law school, and I can vision that my legal career will help people, like my mother, and benefit the Chinese community.

Thank you very much.


Re: Please advise....
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2012, 11:10:47 AM »
here's my advice: don't dwell on weaknesses and failures, and especially don't start your personal statement with them. The first paragraph sets the mood and by the time I got to the more interesting details, I had already made a negative assumption about your academic abilities. You need to be positive and convince whatever school you're applying to that they need you. I would cut out all the info about you're high school experience. Start off with something like, how you had such positive expectations when you first moved to the US (no more that 2 sentences). then follow up with the incident with you mother being harassed. I feel like this was the major turning point in you decision to study law. You need to show them that you would be a dedicated student because you have a goal/purpose in life. Ty making these additions and post another copy. I'd be glad to review it.