General Help

Get advice and feedback on your personal statement.
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briv

General Help

Post by briv » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:39 pm

Hi guys, I am having a lot of trouble with starting a personal statement, I have read countless examples... And, I don't feel like I have anything magnificent to write about that will catch an admissions committee's eye and be like,"Yes,we have to have her."

I've spent the last 5 years working in logistics, and the past year as a manager; I have worked the entire time I was pursuing my bachelor's--so I missed out on sororities, volunteering, study abroad, clubs, etc. I literally have work experience, and obvious determination to overcome the hand I was dealt by committing to a job and working hard while putting myself through school.

I don't know how to go about conveying an excellent personal statement using that information. Any help would be great.

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icechicken
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Re: General Help

Post by icechicken » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:13 pm

I wouldn't stress too much about writing an "excellent" personal statement - you don't have a ton of control over how it's going to be perceived at the end of the day and people disagree wildly about what separates the B+ PSs from the A+ ones.
I literally have work experience, and obvious determination to overcome the hand I was dealt by committing to a job and working hard while putting myself through school.
This sounds like fertile ground, a lot better than most people have. You've definitely done enough in 5 years to fill up two pages.

I'd start by writing down as much as possible about your work so far - milestones, what motivates you, particularly memorable/difficult days you've had, etc. Get as much as you can on paper (or a Google doc) and then try ranking the results in terms of how interesting you think they are.

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UVA2B
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Re: General Help

Post by UVA2B » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:32 pm

Seconding icechicken, you have enough in your background to write a strong (or at least serviceable) PS that will serve you well.

Not all PS are created equal, and some have to find an interesting angle to make otherwise mundane topics interesting. You have enough background to find an interesting topic, or at least I assume you do, because it doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering. What you want to keep in mind, above all else, is highlighting the aspects of *you* that you want conveyed beyond your other materials. Think themes. Leadership. Problem-solving. Compassion. Ethical decision making. Creative thought processes. Cultural and wise. [insert theme].

I know it can be daunting to pick a topic or theme to start from and hope it develops into a compelling narrative, but you have to remember that you know your narrative better than anyone, and therefore you have to exercise your discretion in picking what sells your character, intelligence, or whatever best. You have important qualities in you, and they can be shown to a third party reader like an ADCOM if you do it properly, but it's essential you take the initiative to think introspectively and ask yourself the tough question: what am I offering that makes me desirable as a law student? And how do I convey that to someone who doesn't know me?

briv

Followup Question

Post by briv » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:09 pm

I know the best advice is always follow any formatting guidelines that a school is demanding in their instructions. The school I am most interested in doesn't have any minimum page or word count requirements....which is both good and bad. I can write page after page when required, and I can condense down into the minimum when needed, but without any strict guidelines, I'm not certain what is considered a good medium for a personal statement and don't want to write too much or too little.

What is a decent standard word count or page minimum I should keep in mind?

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UVA2B
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Re: General Help

Post by UVA2B » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:41 pm

2 pages is the credited amount. If you really need to expand beyond that for a school that doesn't restrict the statement to 2 pages, feel free to expand some in the margins, but no school is looking for much more than 2 pages. If you spend the time necessary to really figure out what is essential in your statement and what is superfluous, 2 pages will seem eminently doable. The best PS always have punch because they start with a strong theme, maintain that theme, and turn on a valuable piece of indicia you think represent some positive quality of yours in line with that theme.

As I previously mentioned, find a theme or character trait you think you can strongly represent via a single anecdote or event, refine that anecdote to best show that character trait or theme, and make the story punch with a controlled and satisfying conclusion for someone who doesn't know anything about you beyond what you've chosen to provide them.

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