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Law School Personal statement...critiques welcomed

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Hi, my friend asked me to help her out with her personal statment to Law School. I have made some critiques, but just wanted to get a broader range of opinions on it. Any help will be much appreciated, thanks.


(working on revised version...thank you for the support)


Thanks again for taking the time to help me out. I know, it needs some polishing.

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1. I like the opening quote - it's a good attention getter. Keep it, and work off of that some more. It sets a tone of an underdog who is hard working with great determination and perseverance. Just add onto it throughout the statement. Give concrete examples that can make a reader think "Wow" and they want to read what happens next. The downside is that this is the most common approach to take in a personal statement.

2. Minor revisions such as taking


his words stayed in my brain for the rest of my life


and tranforming it to something like:


"his words have been playing over and over again in my mind since then"


To me, that elicits more emotion. As a reader, I would think "why are you replaying those words" and "how are those words driving you" and "what exactly is going on in your mind." It's more of a psychology/personality component. Make the reader think that he or she is in your shoes while they are reading it. They want to be captivated by a story.


3. "I have confronted life differently than most people I grew up with"


Everyone has. Don't just state the obvious. Show it powerfully with words and examples. Tell stories. Evoke emotion from your reader. These people pore through hundreds of these letters, and most of them are all bland and the same with the same story "I am different (accept me)."


4. "working menial jobs or taking public assistance"


Don't say it - describe the job. Paint it as ugly as you can without making it seem fake or lieing. You want to induce an emotion.



The owner of Applebee’s also took notice of my excellent work and offered me a job in his corporate office after I graduate. What are the odds of that happening?


I don't like "what are the odds of that happening?" It seems fake, it seems almost snobby. Though the profession of law is snobby, you do not want to come accross that way as you are trying to be accepted into the group. Maybe discuss how you embraced this opportunity for the corporate office and what you did with it instead of "what are the odds..."


These are just a few examples. I see many peppered throughout, but a good start nonetheless. Look at it this way. Admission committees read thousands of these letters, and most people play the same tone: I am hard working, I am different, look at me shine, etc. Rise above that. Be honest, and paint a picture that evokes emotions. Do not use cliches. Speak from the heart. This is your sole opportunity to discuss you. Don't focus on anything from grades to academic achievements to LSAT - that is why they request transcripts, a resume, and an LSAT score. Use this little area of words to effectively demonstrate a narrative about you. It's a great way to show someone that besides being smart and ambitious (you have good grades, LSAT, and are applying to law school), that you are a good storyteller and can write creatively. I'd suggest keeping the climax near the end - build up as much suspense as you can to keep the reader engaged.


Also, it seems kind of short. Most schools require 2-4 pages I think, double spaced? Always better to make it closer to the max than the min. Is there a word count being used instead?


Good job overall

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Hey there,

I agree w. BellaDonna's advice; your friend may consider showing this essay to his/her advisor, OR if there is a career center at his/her school, they usually offer these services as well.


Just from the top of my head, I can see that the writer of this essay may wish to consider the following:


1. It is too colloquial. A personal statement it may be, but this does not mean you write like you're talking to a friend.

It's preferable that these essays should be professional.


2. In the middle of the essay, the writer offers some examples to demonstrate his/her work capabilities; sites that offer advice about writing these statements often point out that it's best to use examples that are relevant to the field to which they are applying. For instance, though the "Applebee" example is a good one, the ability to provide good customer service at a restaurant may be of little importance to a law school admission committee.


Just my two cents.

Hope this helps ...

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Honestly, what strikes me about it is that the writer is seemingly trying to hammer in over and over what makes them stand up above the rest (literally) instead of letting their personality and accomplishments speak for themselves.


I hate to say it, but saying that you have struggled and rose above more than anyone else is really showing that you don't understand that almost everyone combats their own difficulties in life. Maybe not due to race, or something visible, but I can say that there are numerous people whom will be applying whom have had to overcome great hardships. You don't want to sound as if you are putting those persons down while bringing yourself up. Law is a professional faculty, and you have to show that you can "play well with others" as well as be strong academically.


If you really do rise above, the review committee will see that without having to be told directly you do....

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