Personal Statement模板大全



Q:Mr. Fong-Sandoval, We were hoping you could begin by describing your duties as a member of the Admissions Committee.
A:Gladly, when I served on it, the Admissions Committee was comprised of a total of eleven people: six students, four professors, and the Director of Admissions. I read ten personal statements every day for a total of three months. We started reading the statements in early January, but it would pile up until I was reading 15 statements per day because applications sent in closer to the deadline increased the workload of the Admissions Committee.
Q:Did your duties include other tasks besides evaluating personal statements?
A:Yes, I read each application package I was assigned in its entirety. A committee member reads all the materials in each application package he or she is assigned, which includes undergraduate GPA, LSAT report, and letters of recommendation. I paid careful attention to each applicant's undergraduate course load, and the types of classes taken. I also considered their major. Some applicants included resumes;
I found this to be very helpful in getting a clearer picture of the applicant. I strongly suggest that applicants include a resume even if it is not required for the application. As for the letters of recommendation, my advice is that they should be lengthy enough to convey to the reader the impression that the person making the recommendation knows the applicant well. Moreover, the letter of recommendation should shed light on the applicant's personality and capabilities.
Q:Of all the materials that comprise a law school application package, which component was, in your opinion, the most important?
A:The PERSONAL STATEMENT. Most applicants that the Committee considered, regardless of their undergraduate major or GPA category, have roughly the same numbers. We were looking for real people, not mere numbers.
I can tell you for a fact that some applicants with a straight 4.0 undergraduate GPA and a high LSAT score were denied admission because they wrote horrible personal statements. The Admissions Committee felt that these people did not take the application process seriously.
Q:Previously you mentioned that the Admissions Committee received most of the applications towards the application deadline. In your opinion, should applicants submit their applications as early as possible?
A:Well, yes and no. Yes, if they have dedicated the right amount of time and thought to their application. You see, the early applications received more attention because we had more time to review them. With regard to the personal statements, we could tell who had put in the time and effort, and who had not.
My advice is that it is better to turn in a strong personal statement later on in the process, rather than turning in a mediocre one earlier. By that I mean take time to perfect your personal statement because the Admissions Committee will notice the level of attention that you have given your personal statement, no matter when you turn it in.
If I were a student who was going to turn in a statement early and had not revised or edited it considerably, I would take the extra time to make sure it is well developed and send it in closer to the application deadline.
You waste the advantages of early submission if you turn in a bad personal statement. It's a trade off. Nevertheless, don't be too close to the deadline because if the school has rolling admissions most of theavailable spots would have been filled by then.
Q:How much time did you spend on each statement?
A:In the first half of the semester about six to eight minutes. In the second half of the semester, due to the increased volume of applications towards the deadline, I was only able to dedicate about three to five minutes per statement.
Q:In light of the fact that your average reading time fell from seven to four minutes per personal statement, what is your advice to applicants?
A:A COMPELLING introduction is the most important part of a law school personal statement. As I begin reading, the introduction can put me in a positive or negative mindset for the rest of the essay. A strong introduction catches my attention, makes a good first impression, and compels me to read on carefully and with interest.
Q:You said that if you found the introduction compelling, you would read the rest of the applicant's essay "carefully," as if it is a good thing; but would an applicant necessarily think a "careful" reading is good?
A:On the whole, yes. Let me explain. I think I know what you are driving at, and yes, a careful reading means the personal statement must not only start strong, but finish strong.
Also, the more attention I give an essay, the more likely I'm going to see errors I might not see on a quick read; so thorough editing is essential. However, the more attention an applicant gets, the more the opportunity for a personal connection between the reader and the applicant.
Q:If established, will this personal connection necessarily translate to the applicant being accepted?
A:Not necessarily, but I'll tell you one thing--it gets that person CLOSER to being accepted than the other applicant who wrote a dull personal statement. Dull personal statements are a chore to read. Indeed, I know for a fact that dry, dull, and unmotivated personal statements actually WORK AGAINST applicants.
The bad writing tells me that the applicant did not take the application process seriously. Let me emphasize that the application process includes making the effort to write an engaging personal statement, not just merely listing your stellar grades. While your good grades get you noticed, this notice may not be enough to gain you acceptance if the rest of your application package is deficient.
Q:Was the recommendation of only one member enough to accept or reject an applicant?
A:One committee member's recommendation was not enough, in and of itself. But one member's recommendation did carry some weight with the other Committee members.
Q:Given that there are many readers, would you advise that the personal statement be written in such a way that it engages many different people?
A:Sure, but always make sure that is clear, well written, and COMPELLING.
Q:In your opinion, what did a winning personal statement consist of?
A:Consistently, the personal statements that grabbed my attention, and in my opinion, other readers' as well, had a THEME. These personal statements had a structure that clued me in quickly as to the applicant's experience, traits, and potential. Thus, the winning statement laid a solid foundation in the first paragraph.
The winning personal statement needs to build on that foundation and demonstrate that the applicant has direction in life and has the drive, ambition, and motivation to make it in law school and beyond. The personal statement is a window to the personality of the applicant and should be crafted carefully.
Indeed, one should leave an impression that one is confident but not arrogant. A little modesty helps as well. I wasn't that interested in the list of an applicant's accomplishments. I was more interested in their character and potential.
Q:So, would it be fair to say that the use of themes like "overcoming adversity," "personal growth, " or "family history," as well as the use of analogies help make a personal statement stronger?
Q:At the other end of the spectrum, what, in your opinion, makes a personal statement a loser?
A:Disorganization. A bad personal statement forces the reader to dig into the statement to even get a faint idea as to the personality and potential of the applicant. Writing a statement that asks for effort from the reader is a nonstarter.Another problem area is lack of enthusiasm.
I liked to see a little passion from applicants as to why they want to become lawyers. I wanted to see some drive. I also wanted to see how they contributed to their community or their school. Another concern is whether the applicant appears conscious of his/her identity and accomplishments.
Another indicator of a poor personal statement is typos. I believe that everyone on the Admissions Committee sees typos as red flags. Typos show that the applicant clearly did not take the personal statement seriously. Avoid long paragraphs and run-on sentences. Don't get too complex. Don't get too fancy either.
Stay away from nontraditional formats or gimmicks--like writing your personal statement as a legal memo, printing it on legal pleading paper, or formatting it as a legal declaration/affidavit. I thought that such gimmicks were pretentious and the other committee members thought that the gimmicks discounted the content of the personal statements.
Q:Exactly how competitive is the law school application process?
A:Very competitive. Most people's GPA and LSAT scores are pretty much the same--they fall within a tight range. Everyone, in terms of interests, is pretty much the same: similar clubs, similar schools, similar classes. The only area, in my mind, where you can really set yourself apart and shine is in your personal statement.
Of course, stellar academics are always going to put you into a positive light. However, good numbers do not excuse the applicant from taking the application process seriously.
Q:Please rate the importance of the following elements in the personal statement evaluation process: creativity, clarity, personal feel, format or organizing theme, and voice or perspective taken by the applicant. Please rate each of these on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most important.
A:Well, most of the criteria you mentioned are interrelated and all are important. Indeed, I expected each one to be present in the statements I was reading. It's hard to separate them, so it is hard to rate them on a 1 to 10 scale. However, since you posed the question, here are my estimations Creativity:
This element is important because you want to connect with the reader early and maintain that connection throughout the statement. Dull, boring, uncreative writing will not draw the reader in, and will not hold the reader's interest.
This is important because this element is assumed to exist in all the personal statements that the Admissions Committee reads. It is a threshold assumption of competent writing. Now, if the applicant does something to shake that assumption, I'd say the applicant would have serious problems getting accepted. A reader must be able to follow along with the personal statement. The writer must be able to clearly communicate his or her character, feelings, thoughts, or messages.
Personal Feel:
My definition of "personal feel" is how much the applicant connects with the reader. The personal feel is what can really convey your character and potential if done correctly. Creating or developing a personal feel, or personal connection, is the most important aspect of writing a personal statement, that's why I gave it a 10.
However, it is probably also the most difficult aspect of writing a personal statement. An applicant might want to have a neutral person, someone who doesn't know the applicant well, read the personal statement to test for this personal feel. The neutral reader's feedback is valuable because they are in the same position as the Admissions Committee--anything unclear to your reader will most likely be unclear to the Admissions Committee, too.
Format or Theme:
In my opinion, regardless of how personal or creative the statement is, if it's unorganized, it shows that the applicant does not know how to write well. A format or theme is basic to any essay. We assume that given the application schedule, each applicant will have come up with some theme or format. The absence of a theme or format is absolutely inexcusable!
Voice and Perspective:
I would rate and analyze this element the same as "creativity" because it involves the same concerns.
Q:Above all else, what mistake should an applicant avoid in drafting their personal statement?
A:Avoid a superficial approach, you must be PERSONAL that's why this essay is called a "personal statement."
Q:So you would agree with the summary that personal connection/revelation is the most important element of a law school personal statement?
A:Yes, because it shows me and the school what makes you a viable candidate, what will contribute to your success, and it conveys your character. We are looking for people, not numbers.
Q:Thank you for your time and your insight, Mr. Fong-Sandoval.


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