The Two Purposes

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					Personal Statement Workshop

   Loyola College Pre-law Society
          October 5, 2007
The Two Purposes
   To give the Admission Committee some insight
    into you that they would not otherwise have.
      That is, to give the Admissions Committee

       another reason why they should admit you as 1
       of 200 applicants for 85 spots.
      Purpose of insight: They benefit by admitting

The Two Non-purposes
 To tell the Admissions Committee how
  great their law school is.
 To tell the Admissions Committee why you
  want to go into law [unless they ask]
    This is trite.

    If the Application asks you to write on
     this, you still use the Personal Statement
     as an insight vehicle.
The Formula for Success

U+Pe +Pz+L=
                 Revealed through
                  what you write about:
                   Experience
Uniqueness        Person

                   Achievement

                   Contribution

                             Statement can apply
                              only to you.
Personalness                 Law schools seek
                              diversity of
                              backgrounds, etc.

Remember - - They want to know how
YOU will enrich their classroom.

             Statement has flair.
             Statement has a
             Statement has that
             To the “legal enterprise”
              [anything related to law].
             To the study of law.
             To the excitement of law.
              To the intellectual content
Linkage   
              of law.
             To the empowering of
The Structure of the Statement
   Title
   The first sentence: sink   the hook
 The central, or core, paragraphs: develop
  the one theme
 The final paragraph: Linkage
Format Rules
   Font: Times New
   Size: 12 point       2 pages
   Margins: 1 inch
   Special: bullets,
    underline, or bold
    . . . .maybe once

                             MAX !
Prose Advice
 Use active voice.
 Use simple words.
 Write in the first person.
 Use parallel structure.
 Use descriptive rather than vague words.
 Cut, cut, cut: be precise and succinct.
 Use gender-neutral phrasing.
   After graduating from Loyola, Jared spent the year at Loyola’s Bangkok,
    Thailand program. He taught English and in general sampled what it was like
    to be a foreigner, an outsider, a minority member in another country. He
    learned about different foods, customs, people, problems, the whole array of
    broadening things one encounters when living in another country. On one
    weekend, Jared rented a motorbike and went out to tour the countryside. After
    a while he felt he was lost and at that moment was surrounded by men
    speaking a language he did not recognize, all wearing red bandannas. He
    recognized the men as Khmer Rouge, the ruthless and fanatical group which
    took over Cambodia after the Vietnam war. They took him a mile or so into a
    village , took his motorbike, threw him into a hut, stripped him, and left him
    there. He stayed there all night. Once someone came in to talk roughly to him,
    but the language barrier made the conversation one-sided. The next morning,
    they threw him his clothes. He dressed., They took him outside and gave him
    his motorbike. They pointed the way and obviously told him to leave. He left.
    Following the directions given at several Khmer Rouge checkpoints, he was
    able to make it back into Thailand.
Sinking the Hook & Linkage: I
   My first encounter         This experience
    with the law was when       directly triggered my
    I was seized by the         very personal interest
    Khmer Rouge.                in the rule of law and
                                gave me a glimpse of
                                what life can be like
                                when the rule of law
Rebecca Susan
   Rebecca Susan took a year off of college to work for NCCC, our
    domestic Peace Corps type program. NCCC sends their teams out on
    various “spikes” to do various projects ranging from clearing brush in
    campgrounds to the spike Rebecca Susan’s group was sent on --- to
    Cleveland to help the IRS hand out tax forms and staff the Information
    Desk at the Federal Building. The group arrived in Cleveland and was
    put in a hotel. In the daytime, they would work at the IRS operation
    and some of the NCCC persons were even able to help people fill out
    some of the simpler tax forms. At night, they would stay in the hotel
    which turned out to be a fully operational crack house with a little
    prostitution thrown in. Arrangements were made after several nights
    to move the NCCC people to a better place but until they were moved,
    the nights were noisy and at times scary, with people knocking on the
    students’ doors to see who was there., etc.
Sinking the Hook & Linkage: II
   I used to live in a      I learned first-hand
    crack house.              how we depend on
                              law, and I also learned
                              how easily unlawful
                              people can live
                              amongst us. This
                              experience rather than
                              turning me off to law
                              fired up my interest.
   Jeveeta was a member of a young people’s group which
    was able to meet Mother Teresa and actually spend some
    time talking with her. Jeveeta was most impressed by the
    sense that something was “different” about Mother Teresa,
    something about how she seemed to live every second
    putting God’s kingdom here on earth first. In listening to
    Mother Teresa talk about why she did all the humbling and
    lofty things she did, Jeveeta felt somehow that she should
    try to carry into her life some of the values she sensed in
    Mother Teresa --- dedication to building God’s kingdom
    on earth, dedication to bettering the condition of people
    she was in contact with, and total selflessness.
Sinking the Hook & Linkage: III
   As a result of my           Because of their
    conversation with            position and power,
    Mother Teresa, I will        lawyers can make a
    never be the same as I       difference. I think
                                 what I bring to the
    once was.                    study of law is that
                                 now I have a clear
                                 vision of the type of
                                 difference I want to
5 Do’s
1.   Write about yourself.
2.   Cover an aspect of yourself not covered
     elsewhere in your application.
3.   Have only one theme
4.   Follow the format rules.
5.   Critique your statement by the ingredients
     of the formula.
Formula Checklist
    Is the statement Unique, or could someone
   else who is applying write pretty much the
   same statement?
     Is the statement Personal, that is, does it give
   the reader an insight into who I am?
  Does the statement have Pizzazz, something a
   little unexpected, something extra?
  Do I link the theme of the statement to a law
Five Don'ts
1.   Don’t plead or whine or try to get
2.   Don’t be too creative.
3.   Don’t use big words to impress.
4.   Don’t lie or deceive.
5.   Don’t have any grammatical or technical
If You Do the Don’t’s and
   Don’t Do the Do’s . . .
A “Core Statement” Strategy
   Some schools require statements on certain topics.
   Most subjects are adaptable to a “core statement.”
   Therefore, for a school-specific statement:
    First Paragraph = Substantially revised
    Core Paragraphs = Core paragraphs which can
    be used for all statements with minor changes
    Last Paragraph = Substantially revised
Process at Loyola
   Get a faculty reader.                   OWL’s
   Only “final” drafts.           http://owl.english.purdu
   Next, use me as a reader.
   Core statement to LSDAS.        ng-labs.html
   Individual statements to    
    individual schools.             /~writery/
                                   http://www.departments.
                                   http://owl.english.purdu
                                   Loyola's Writing Center

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