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Author Topic: like the essay you sent in for college?  (Read 1960 times)

Maryanne007

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like the essay you sent in for college?
« on: July 14, 2004, 07:56:17 PM »
The personal statement is giving me a lot of confusion.  Most people (and I lean towards this as well) believe that the ps should not be about why you want to go to law school, but rather about who you are which would subtly show why you would be good at law school (I guess?).  How different is this from the essays we sent in as high school seniors where we talked about who we are in order to try to convey why we would be successful in that college?

To be more specific my college essay was about how my father has always been there throughout my life (and I spoke mostly about the things I did, such as science projects and debate teams, etc.)...  For my personal statement to law school I'd like to do something similar.  I was thinking of weaving a tale about certain attributes of my parents (to show my background, neither finished high school, my mom didnt even finish junior high, I immigrated here when I was two, so neither of my parents speak english and are pretty low income) that has shaped my life (and make an analogy to my life experiences...). 

So my question is, is this too much storytelling?  I've heard some people say a ps is suppose to be what you tell an interviewer in 5 minutes.. but this seems more like a short story to me.  Any thoughts?

THANKS!  :)

GA_Kristi

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Re: like the essay you sent in for college?
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2004, 08:40:08 PM »
I think those are all suitable things to discuss, as long as you do it in the context of showing the admissions committee how these things have shaped you as a person.  Any stories you tell should be showing the committee who you are.

Check out this website for some good tips:
http://www.geocities.com/theessayqueen/index.html

Hit the "Advice" page and check out some of the advice.  She gives examples of what some schools ask for in their personal statement, and most ask for you to tell them why you want to go to law school.  Most committees find it very important that you have a well-founded reason for wanting to attend law school.  I would find a way to work this into your statement, based on your experiences or personality traits.

Good luck!
"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious." - Vince Lombardi

lexie0502

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Re: like the essay you sent in for college?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2004, 08:51:46 PM »
I feel like for your proposed PS you are talking too much about your family history/experience and not about yourself.  You need to explain yourself, not your mother's journey and an immigrant.  I personally dont think that writing a PS as an anthology of our family is sufficient as a personal statement.  The personal statements needs to be about YOU! that's why it's a personal statement.  What you can say about yourself to the adcomm not what you can say about your family's integrity.  This is not like the college essays that we wrote for ugrad b/c those had questions.  Their purpose was to see if you can write.  This is to serve in place of an interview.  So tell them about yourself not about an abstract topic that doesnt have too much to do w/ you.

Maryanne007

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Re: like the essay you sent in for college?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2004, 10:39:47 PM »
thanks for the responses, although I have to say my college essays had no questions and neither do the law schools I want to apply to.  I will keep in mind that the story is about me... 

Specifically, checking the law schools instructions on the personal statement most say you can write whatever you want but it should be a chance to explain your background...



GA_Kristi

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Re: like the essay you sent in for college?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2004, 08:30:17 AM »
Even if they don't specifically ask I would address why you want to go to law school.  There much more likely to admit someone who they feel has a genuine interest in law school or being a lawyer than someone who failed to give them any reasons at all.  Most general advice I've read says that you should make sure and address this.  It's also usually helpful to address why you want to go to the school you're applying to, whether it be because of geography, programs offered, etc.  They want to know that you have a genuine interest in the law and their school.  There are many ways to illustrate this without hitting them over the head with it though, just find a nice way to flow from talking about yourself and your character traits into why those attributes have led you to be interested in law.

Good luck with it!  If you need someone to read it once you're done, give my friend I mentioned above a try...she's great with this stuff!  :)
"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious." - Vince Lombardi

buster

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Re: like the essay you sent in for college?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2004, 08:54:45 AM »
According to Law School Confidential and the interviews with admissions people therein (so put as much or as little stock in this as you prefer)...

For an applicant straight out of undergrad, "why I want to go to law school" tends to come across as very generic because there is typically a very limited base of experience from which to write. For an applicant with some work experience, and especially an older applicant, this is a question the application reviewers will be asking themselves so it's important to address it.

Even if they don't specifically ask I would address why you want to go to law school.

GA_Kristi

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Re: like the essay you sent in for college?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2004, 09:02:43 AM »
Here are some examples of personal statement prompts from applications.  You will see that quite a few, if not most, law schools ask you to give them some indication of why you want to pursue a legal education.  There are other ways to show why you're interested in law than saying "because I've wanted to go to law school since I was five," or "because my father is a lawyer"...those are the things they do NOT want to hear.  Like I said, its important to find a way to present this to the AdComm without hitting them in the face with it, so to speak.  Show them your qualities and attributes and why that has led you to be interested in a career in law.  There are eloquent ways to do this that are not cookie-cutter or boring to the AdComm.  Here are the examples of prompts for several schools:

UGA:
On a separate supplemental sheet state your reason(s) for desiring to obtain a legal education. Transfer and visiting applicants should state instead the reason(s) for desiring to attend University of Georgia School of Law.

Whittier:
Please attach a personal statement, not to exceed 3 pages, which addresses: (1) Why you want to pursue the study of law. (2) What educational, employment or family experiences would be relevant to this application?

George Washington:
All applicants are required to submit a personal statement which should include any additional information you think might be of assistance to the Admissions Committee in considering your application.  Examples of such information are significant extracurricular or community activities, the reasons why you want to study law, a discussion of your background, or an explanation of any unusual aspects of your academic record.  The statement must be written on separate pages and must accompany this application.
"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious." - Vince Lombardi

smujd2007

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Re: like the essay you sent in for college?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2004, 11:39:32 AM »
What you plan on doing for your personal statement sounds a bit like what I did.  Though not an immigrant, my family is relatively poor and my mom was a single parent for awhile.  It is okay to talk about these things, but not just by stating them.  You have to state them, and then talk about how they shaped you as a person, and how you have excelled with these issues in undergrad and in life.  I also suspect that this depends on how far up the law school ladder you want to apply.  At any rate, good luck with the application process! Though I am starting 1L in a month, I can honestly say that I am glad that the application process is over!!!!!
smujd2007 is now an Attorney at Law!

lexie0502

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Re: like the essay you sent in for college?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2004, 12:40:32 PM »
In response to GA_Kristi, in the GW prompt that you posted it said:

Examples of such information are (1) significant extracurricular or community activities, (2) the reasons why you want to study law, (3) a discussion of your background, OR (4)  an explanation of any unusual aspects of your academic record.

To me that sounds like they dont necessarily require that you state why you wanna study law but that you can choose to include any of the 4 choices that they gave among other options. 

lexie0502

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Re: like the essay you sent in for college?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2004, 12:44:37 PM »
ALSO in my essay I choose to talk about an adversity that I overcame in my background.  How do I link that to why I want to go to that particular school?  If the reason is that I want a specific program that has absolutely NOTHING to do with my background/adversity.  If I talk about how it was hard to learn english cold-turkey when I got to the US... how do I go from that to telling the AdComm that I want to go to that school because they have an awesome program for law and econ.  Maybe it's me but I am just not seeing the linkage.