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Author Topic: Need help starting PS  (Read 751 times)

TNGA60

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Need help starting PS
« on: December 03, 2007, 01:58:24 AM »
Now that the LSAT is over with I want to begin working on my law school applications but I am having trouble starting my personal statement. I visited about a dozen websites but I need more specific advice. Here is my first attempt at a PS:

I looked at the test grade list posted outside of my professorís classroom; next to my identification number was a 76.  I felt a strong sense of disappointment to have received a C on my first test in college. The grade was not terrible and I knew that my parents would not be disappointed in me for achieving to this degree but I knew that this was not representative of my capabilities. I had been given a great opportunity to attend college and at that moment I decided I would not allow myself to be satisfied with simply obtaining a degree. I needed to exhaust every resource available and obtain the best education I could while I was in school. This mindset has forced me adopt a strong sense of determination and sound study skills that will be valuable while I study and practice law.
   It was not always certain that I would have the opportunity to attend college.  I come from a working class in a rural area of Tennessee and our financial situation declined when the factory where my mother worked shut down in 1994.  Since then, she has been unable to obtain stable employment leading to my parentís filing bankruptcy in 2005.

I did not like where it was going at all and I decided to scrap it and try to start again. I thought the first paragraph was too melodramatic and the second has too many unnecessary details.

Someone please help me start this thing. Here are some things I think help describe me and I might put in my PS:

working class family from a rural area(family lives in a trailer)

first person in family to graduate college

strong determination and study skills(w/o mentioning 4.0)

Moved to Tennessee from Michigan at age six(shows ability to adapt to new culture???)

Internship in congressional district office

writing a senior research paper(Political Science) that is not required(shows desire to archive beyond requirements???)

Leadership skills:
VP of fraternity(in charge of communication w/ alumni, website and media relations)
Coordinator for the Students for Human Rights
News Coordinator for college radio station(it is a member of executive board)

community service:
feed homeless every year for thanksgiving w/ fraternity
setting up project w/ church for feb. 08 to help women in 3rd world

destruction of property charges at age 15-will write about how it affected me in addendum.(should this be in PS? It truly changed the path I was on)

How should I approach the fraternity thing? I was able to pay for it by working part time and excess aid? Do I need to mention this? Do I need to cut out fraternity all together? I think this also shows my ability to adapt out of my comfort zone.

I know this is long and I am sorry but if anyone can set me on the right path I would be very appreciative.

curriguy

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Re: Need help starting PS
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2007, 04:23:11 AM »
I'm writing mine now!  I literally have THREE different intros...NONE of which I feel happy with...meh, I'm just going with the lesser of the evils

anxshusmonkee

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Re: Need help starting PS
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2007, 05:33:57 AM »
I think the following experiences would be the most interesting/fruitful for a personal statement:

"working class family from a rural area(family lives in a trailer)

first person in family to graduate college

strong determination and study skills(w/o mentioning 4.0)

destruction of property charges at age 15-will write about how it affected me in addendum.(should this be in PS? It truly changed the path I was on)"

Some of these topics can be woven together, of course, but I would be careful about trying to cram too much into the topic. For example, I probably wouldn't mention your fraternity experience (unless maybe you made it into an essay about how frat life was a huge juxtaposition from your lifestyle growing up? That could be interesting.). Good luck!

t L

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Re: Need help starting PS
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2007, 07:42:37 AM »

working class family from a rural area(family lives in a trailer)

first person in family to graduate college


Your entire PS could be about these things.  I would start off with an interesting anecdote about growing up.  Put the readers in your shoes with a story.  What was it like?
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TNGA60

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Re: Need help starting PS
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2007, 11:14:01 AM »
Thank you for your help.

anxshusmonkee, you think I should mention the juvenile charges in the PS.  I thought it might be best to save it for the addendum so that way I basically get two PSs.  But it is also the crucial point where I decided to start making the best of my chances in life which has lead me to applying to law school anyway. So it is difficult to separate the two.

Also, should I mention that I met the woman that I will be marrying in less than two months soon after I got into trouble. We have been together ever since and she has also had a hugely positive effect on me but I do not want to give them the impression that I am not an independent person as well.

anxshusmonkee

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Re: Need help starting PS
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2007, 12:31:56 PM »
Thank you for your help.

anxshusmonkee, you think I should mention the juvenile charges in the PS.  I thought it might be best to save it for the addendum so that way I basically get two PSs.  But it is also the crucial point where I decided to start making the best of my chances in life which has lead me to applying to law school anyway. So it is difficult to separate the two.

Also, should I mention that I met the woman that I will be marrying in less than two months soon after I got into trouble. We have been together ever since and she has also had a hugely positive effect on me but I do not want to give them the impression that I am not an independent person as well.

I wouldn't mention your fiance; I think you're right that it could create a less than ideal impression of you.

The reason I like the idea of including the juvenile charges in the PS is that it provides one central coherent story for you to use as a foil for introducing other parts of your life. There's also a lot of potential for a really unusual opening sentence--not to mention a unique approach--which might pique the interest of adcomms. Are there are other life events that you think would have the same effect? Also, I'm not sure how much mileage you'd get out of having the juvenile experience an addendum (or, as you put it, "extra" personal statement). Obviously you'd want to give the adcomms all the information they need, but I'm not sure how excited they'll be to read more than they have to, or how carefully they'll look at extra information, etc. If you do decide to go that route, it also puts extra pressure on you to make sure that you have two perfectly polished essays instead of one.

Tena

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Re: Need help starting PS
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2007, 03:58:44 PM »
no offense, but it seems a little cheesy; we all go through hardships and challenges, the older you are, the more you realize that.

I think some of those points are important to mention but not to solely focus on. What are your aspirations? Where do you see yourself?

TNGA60

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Re: Need help starting PS
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2007, 06:41:32 PM »
no offense, but it seems a little cheesy; we all go through hardships and challenges, the older you are, the more you realize that.

I think some of those points are important to mention but not to solely focus on. What are your aspirations? Where do you see yourself?

Yeah I was afraid of that. The DS might be a good way to go.

Also the minor conviction might be a good starting point for the PS. Does anyone else agree?

Also, I came up with a new idea today. I would start with quoting the LSAT question about resolving the contradiction. Then use it for a theme of my PS. Talk about being a member of a fraternity and growing up as I did. Having a 4.0 but also strong people skills. etc. I have often thought of myself in these terms anyway and I think I could write an honest statement about myself with this. If I can find a way to work in stuff about my skill set and why I want to be a lawyer, would this work?

Tena

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Re: Need help starting PS
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2007, 07:19:19 PM »
I am writing my PS as well, so I am unsure about what will work 100; however, I think it is important to write what you want to get out of law school and how you can contribute to the learning environment. Also, connect with the person who is reading your statement (I guess kinda difficult since you don't know the person)

good luck;)

Kevin.

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Re: Need help starting PS
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2007, 01:17:47 PM »
I found when I was writing my statement that once I put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, in my case,) and actually got a full draft down, it became a lot easier to work with.  It sounds like you know the general direction in which you want to write - I would just get it all down, even if it's messy in spots, and then cut, add, and rephrase to make it the best it can be.
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