Law School Discussion

Patterns I've seen

chrisfield

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2006, 03:01:54 PM »
Burhops-

Sow wat dee crop?  (I don't know how that is spelled but you should know what I am talking about if you have been to Thailand)

redemption

Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #41 on: January 03, 2006, 03:07:46 PM »
*My statement does not start (or ever really talk about) my childhood.

*I do not give an autobiography.

*I do not take about the LSAT/my GPA.

Does this mean I might have a somewhat original PS?  Does anyone want to read it and tell me? (EDIT: I have already mailed it to 15 schools so I won't make changes.  I just want to know what you think about it.)

I'll read it, if you like. My tally of personal statements read is now up to about 40, so I have a reasonable sense of what people are submitting.. You can PM it to me

chrisfield

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #42 on: January 03, 2006, 03:16:35 PM »
*My statement does not start (or ever really talk about) my childhood.

*I do not give an autobiography.

*I do not take about the LSAT/my GPA.

Does this mean I might have a somewhat original PS?  Does anyone want to read it and tell me? (EDIT: I have already mailed it to 15 schools so I won't make changes.  I just want to know what you think about it.)

I'll read it, if you like. My tally of personal statements read is now up to about 40, so I have a reasonable sense of what people are submitting.. You can PM it to me

It's on its way.  Anyone else?

redemption

Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #43 on: January 03, 2006, 03:19:48 PM »
I attended a law school visit of a top 14 where the Director of Admissions actually went down the list of what they do not want to read about:

1. Why I wanna go to law school/why I'd be a great lawyer (this one was emphasized as a big NO)

2. Topic of senior theses or any other theses completed by applicant

3. Any argument, i.e. "Why should we all make an effort to fight global warming" etc. - It was stressed that the statement should not be used as a defense essay. It should be about the applicant and not the applicant's stance on a particular topic.

4. Autobiography (this one was also emphasized as a big NO)

That being said, I have read statements that fall into each of these categories.  To me, the worst ones are those that read like an autobiography.  It was advised at the aformentioned session that the writer choose an anecdotal situation or scenario that describe themselves.  I think that YaleColl06 best captured this technique with his statement.  It was the best I've read thus far and should be published in Anna Ivey or something like that.  His statement sent me back to the drawing board when I thought I was working on a final draft.

I would say that this is a rule of thumb. Few people write well, and doing so in these formats just makes mediocre writing seem worse than it is: in those personal statements written about early childhood, for example, or among those written around the theme of "why I want to go to law school" there is a remarkable similarity in the themes/tone/structure that makes it hard to distinguish one essay from the other. Some people, though, write so well that they can write to these themes and make the essay sparkle, either through a gift for writing or through just plain honesty and rawness of emotion. This, though, has been very rare and that is why, I think, the generic advice from adcomms and from books on how to do this say "stay away from those topics".

Nothing - not style, not intensity - can save the extended resume, however.

Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2006, 03:26:37 PM »
I totally agree with Redemption. Out of the 50 only 4 were awesome.

Redemption: Have you ever gotten "yelled" at for editing a ps. I told one guy his ps was a sob story but it was about someone else. I knew more about the other person he talked about. He was fuming mad when I told him.

redemption

Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #45 on: January 03, 2006, 03:37:47 PM »
Yeah, i've been yelled at multiple times and i think for the same reason that you cited. Then, after a few minutes, they reflect on how much work I've done in editing the grammar and punctuation and in writing comments and suggesting changes in the way it is organised and they PM/email back to follow up. I can't help it: I just don't see the point of saying it's fine when I don't think that it is..

Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #46 on: January 03, 2006, 03:52:52 PM »
Burhops-

Sow wat dee crop?  (I don't know how that is spelled but you should know what I am talking about if you have been to Thailand)

Hey! All I remember is "same same but different" and Farang, and kathooey (cuz I bought a book on 'em). You down with the Thailand, eh?

dani

Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #47 on: January 03, 2006, 03:58:06 PM »
I totally agree with Redemption. Out of the 50 only 4 were awesome.

Redemption: Have you ever gotten "yelled" at for editing a ps. I told one guy his ps was a sob story but it was about someone else. I knew more about the other person he talked about. He was fuming mad when I told him.

In my years of tutoring, I've had people freak out on me, cry, break down--it's not the norm, but it happens. The thing is, the advice usually 'takes,' even if an acknowledgment isn't given--I call it 'flipping switches.' Once you've questioned something someone has written, they can no longer honestly take for granted that it is good. So, even if they're grumpy, they usually do something with the info offered.

I've only had one person give me the what-for so far here, although I suspect others might have wanted to tell me off. ;-)

dani

Yale College Inferno

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #48 on: January 04, 2006, 02:55:02 AM »
I attended a law school visit of a top 14 where the Director of Admissions actually went down the list of what they do not want to read about:

3. Any argument, i.e. "Why should we all make an effort to fight global warming" etc. - It was stressed that the statement should not be used as a defense essay. It should be about the applicant and not the applicant's stance on a particular topic.

4. Autobiography (this one was also emphasized as a big NO)

That being said, I have read statements that fall into each of these categories.  To me, the worst ones are those that read like an autobiography.  It was advised at the aformentioned session that the writer choose an anecdotal situation or scenario that describe themselves.  I think that YaleColl06 best captured this technique with his statement.  It was the best I've read thus far and should be published in Anna Ivey or something like that.  His statement sent me back to the drawing board when I thought I was working on a final draft.

Thanks, Gemini, for your kind words. Sorry to have inadvertently sent you back to the drawing board, but I hope that you came up with something you're really happy with the second time around. If you want, I can help you read it.

As for #2 and 3, the argument essay, you might be interested to know that I also wrote a PS on the topic "why prostitution should be legal," which is also my senior thesis topic.  ;) But as a PS I only used it at Harvard, whot specified in their PS prompt that the essay could be about a class you have taken or a research project you have worked on. I think it also implicitly reflects my interest in the law without explicitly saying "Here's why I want to go to law school. First..." I did also send it to Stanford, but as an additional essay with the main PS being the "famille-rose teacup" essay that you read.

And my "Why Penn" essay was called, "Prostitution, Policy, and Penn." I hope that raises eyebrows without getting me an automatic ding! Penn actually has some graduate departments that seem like great places for me to continue my research while getting a J.D.

magnumalv

Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #49 on: January 04, 2006, 07:24:08 AM »
Yeah, i've been yelled at multiple times and i think for the same reason that you cited. Then, after a few minutes, they reflect on how much work I've done in editing the grammar and punctuation and in writing comments and suggesting changes in the way it is organised and they PM/email back to follow up. I can't help it: I just don't see the point of saying it's fine when I don't think that it is..

When I was asking for opinions on my diversity essay, this one guy just completely ripped it apart. Seriously--it was brutal. But it forced me to reevaluate... I followed some suggestions and ignored others that I felt would change my voice. One comment he made (in the vein of "the only good part about this stinking pile o' poo was...") inspired my personal statement. Which I asked him to read as well--I might as well find out the worst possible reaction now, after all. Anyway, it all worked out hunky dory. I think the problem with most people is that they have the potential to be good writers--they just don't realize that it takes a lot of work beyond the inital creative process. One of the greatest writing tools is a healthy sense of insecurity. :)

maggs