250 Word Personal Statement Samples

Postby RTR10 » Wed Feb 21, 2007 11:26 am

GPA: 3.4
LSAT: 165 (highest-Dec 06), 157 (Sept 06)
Accepted: Emory ($), Alabama ($), Baylor, Pepperdine ($), Mizzou($), South Carolina ($), Temple ($), Creighton ($), Hofstra ($), Quinnipiac ($), Washburn ($), Ave Maria ($), FCSL ($), St. Thomas-MN ($), SLU ($), Case Western
Waitlisted: Fordham, WUSTL, Catholic, Loyola Chicago, Wisconsin
Deferred: American
Withdrew before decision: UIUC, Arkansas LR, Campbell
Attending: Alabama on a full tuition scholarship

During a time in my life that should have been filled with Saturday morning cartoons and Barbie dolls, I was picking up the pieces of the emotional disaster that was my mother. When I was four years old, my father was killed in a horrific accident on the drive home from his night shift at the Kraft plant. To this day, my mom feels like the accident was her fault because my parents, typically on cloud nine, had gotten into a colossal fight the night before he died. She spent much of the time after his death trying to cope with this guilt and devastation. How was I supposed to know this day would change my family’s cheerful home into a place that I avoided at all costs?

I am only twenty-one years of age, but I feel about twenty years older. I essentially had to raise myself, because my mom was far too emotionally traumatized to nurture me. My mother consistently left for work before I went to school and did not return until after I was in bed, so I spent the majority of my childhood in my grandparents’ home, cooking with my grandmother and watching “Days of our Lives” with my grandfather. In addition to the normal forty-five hour weeks and countless hours of grading papers and planning lessons, my mom served three terms as president of the Alton Education Association as well as several terms on the Region Board. She was not throwing herself into her work because she loved it; she was doing it to avoid the one person who reminded her of the life she had lost—her daughter.

When I was a kid, I was involved in absolutely everything. I played the flute, the violin, the piano, and the bassoon. As an all-star athlete, I competed in softball, soccer, basketball, golf, dance, and gymnastics. Remember that little girl looking into the stands or the audience hoping to see someone there who loved her and was proud of her, who had to hold back the tears when the seat was empty? That was me. My loneliness gave rise to remarkable creativity, however, which took the form of charcoal drawings, oil paintings, and black-and-white photography. My isolation also provided me with maturity and compassion. Instead of becoming someone who resented love, I yearned for it. However, even after years of begging to be loved by my mother, she chose to love someone else.

On Thanksgiving of my sophomore year of high school, my mother asked me if it was okay for her to go on a date with Robert. It had been eleven years since my father had passed away, and I wanted my mother to be happy. Little did I know that Robert was only nineteen, a convicted felon, and her former student. Robert pulled a gun on me over Fall Break of my sophomore year of college, has sexually harassed me several times in front of my family, and conned my mother out of thousands of dollars for drugs and other terrible habits. Despite several attempts to leave him, my mother is still with Robert six years later, even after two severe beatings and several death threats. I left home in August of 2003 to attend Saint Louis University and to escape the detrimental environment my mother’s relationship had created.

Right before I left for college, my mother financially abandoned me and informed me that I was always a burden to her. This declaration devastated me and I found myself dealing with loneliness, hatred, and sadness. Each day brought with it reminders that I now had no one to run to or to confide in. My heart was broken and I had to pick up the pieces single-handedly. With this friction in mind, I redirected my energy toward helping others and improving myself.

I longed for a fresh start and an opportunity to provide others with the love, compassion, support, and protection that were absent in my life. I found success in my academics with time, once I discovered coursework that captured my interest and provided me with a newfound happiness. Several involvement opportunities arose all over campus, and I was quick to dedicate myself to numerous organizations. Through countless leadership positions within these organizations, I was able to help others immediately. As the Freshman Executive Delegate to the Honors Student Association, I organized a toy drive for 150 children in the Children’s Hospital who were unable to spend Christmas at home with their families. Perhaps one of my favorite activities involved providing golf lessons to local terminally ill children with SLU Women’s Golf and the DreamWorks Foundation. As the Internal Vice President of Pan-Hellenic Council, the governing body of the sororities, I worked diligently to improve the Greek community. This involved anything from instituting a campus-wide collection of Yoplait lids for breast cancer research to planning every detail of Greek Week to bridging the gap between the Greek community and the Administration. However, my biggest impact on the SLU community rested within my position as a Resident Advisor. I found the opportunity to assist incoming freshmen in their transition to college incredibly rewarding. Saint Louis University became the family that I never had, and I finally felt like I belonged. As I continued to grow, I decided that I was ready to readdress my tumultuous relationship with my mother.

On April 11, 2004, my mom broke the news to me that she had colon cancer over Easter lunch at the Olive Garden. Regardless of the anger I felt towards my mother for the disappointments during my childhood as well as her inability to leave the man who was completely ruining her life, I did not want the September morning in 1989 in which my father did not return to recur. I spent hours upon hours in the hospital during my mother’s chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well as during two surgeries in which most of her colon and intestines were removed. The second surgery during January of my junior year resulted in my mother being placed into a drug-induced coma for a month to fight off the infection. Seeing my mother so vulnerable forced an awareness of the time I had wasted avoiding her. I once again sought after the ideal mother-daughter relationship, but I would have settled for her just to be conscious so I could have told her how much I loved her. Luckily, she was released from the hospital shortly after March began. Ever since, I have spent more and more time with my mother, learning whom she is, how she feels, what she wants, and most importantly, how much she really loves me.

Several people think my mother is a failure, and I used to be one of them. I never wanted to be like my mother; in fact, I wanted to be the complete opposite of her. There are many things I wish she had done differently, but I now realize that many of those lonely nights developed me into the person I am today. My mother lived for me, even though we both thought she was living to avoid me. She failed at many things so that I could have the life that she and my dad had always dreamed for me to have. My individuality, independence, strong motivation, desire for success, leadership ability, maturity, ability to love, and my efforts to help the less fortunate were all derived from my mother’s absence.

My life’s experiences have undoubtedly shaped me into a compassionate person who yearns to protect women and children from domestic violence by providing them with a voice to fight against those who control them. However, these experiences in no way limit me from achieving my personal and professional ambitions. The same resiliency that has helped me to attain my past goals will certainly assist me in my determination to practice law. I have already drastically impacted the Saint Louis University community, and I long to do the same at XXXXX Law School as a dedicated student and within the community as a proud lawyer. Even though I have had to take a few steps back along the way, no obstacle has ever prevented me from accomplishing my dreams. Although my experiences have not been entirely unique, my response to these challenges definitely sets me apart. I consider my past a means of shaping me into the individual I am today. I realize that attending XXXXX Law School will provide many more obstacles. Nevertheless, these barriers will help to mold me into the lawyer I will be tomorrow.

Last edited by RTR10 on Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:35 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Essay writing for dummies: How to write a good personal statement


The process of applying for jobs, internships, and graduate/professional programs often requires a personal statement or application letter. This type of writing asks writers to outline their strengths confidently and concisely, which can be challenging.

Though the requirements differ from application to application, the purpose of this type of writing is to represent your goals, experiences and qualifications in the best possible light, and to demonstrate your writing ability.

Your personal statement or application letter introduces you to your potential employer or program director, so it is essential that you allow yourself enough time to craft a polished piece of writing.

1) PREPARE YOUR MATERIALS

Before you sit down to write, do some preparation in order to avoid frustration during the actual writing process. Obtain copies of documents such as transcripts, resumes and the application form itself; keeping them in front of you will make your job of writing much easier.

Make a list of important information, in particular names and exact titles of former employers and supervisors, titles of jobs you have held, companies you have worked for, dates of appropriate work or volunteer experiences, the duties involved etc.

In this way, you will be able to refer to these materials while writing in order to include as much specific detail as possible. If you need some inspiration you can aslo find some examples personal statements for college.

2) WRITE A FIRST DRAFT

After you have collected and reviewed these materials, it is time to start writing. The following is a list of concerns that writers should keep in mind when writing a personal statement/application letter.

Answer the Question: A major problem for all writers can be the issue of actually answering the question being asked. For example, an application might want you to discuss the reason you are applying to a particular program or company.

If you spend your entire essay or letter detailing your qualifications with no mention of what attracted you to the company or department, your statement will probably not be successful.

To avoid this problem, read the question or assignment carefully both as you prepare and again just prior to writing. Keep the question in front of you as you write, and refer to it often.

Consider The Problem: This is a personal statement; using the first person pronoun  is acceptable. Writers often feel rather self-conscious about using first person excessively, either because they are modest or because they have learned to avoid first and second person (you) in any type of formal writing.

Yet in this type of writing using first person is essential because it makes your prose more lively. Using third person can result in a vague and overly wordy essay. While starting every sentence with is not advisable, remember that you and your experiences are the subject of the essay.

Avoid Unnecessary Duplication: Sometimes a writer has a tendency to repeat information in his or her personal statement that is already included in other parts of the application packet (resume, transcript, application form, etc.). For example, it is not necessary to mention your exact GPA or specific grades and course titles in your personal statement or application letter.

It is more efficient and more effective to simply mention academic progress briefly (I was on the Dean List or I have taken numerous courses in the field of nutrition) and then move on to discuss appropriate work or volunteer experiences in more detail.

Make Your Statement Distinctive: Many writers want to make their personal statements unique or distinctive in some way as a means of distinguishing their application from the many others received by the company or program.

One way to do this is to include at least one detailed example or anecdote that is specific to your own experience perhaps a description of an important family member or personal moment that influenced your decision to pursue a particular career or degree. This strategy makes your statement distinctive and memorable.

Keep It Brief: Usually, personal statements are limited to 250-500 words or one typed page, so write concisely while still being detailed. Making sure that each paragraph is tightly focused on a single idea (one paragraph on the strengths of the program, one on your research experience, one on your extracurricular activities, etc.) helps keep the essay from becoming too long.

Also, spending a little time working on word choice by utilizing a dictionary and a thesaurus and by including adjectives should result in less repetition and more precise writing.

Personal Statement Format

As mentioned before, the requirements for personal statements differ, but generally a personal statement includes certain information and can follow this graduate school personal statement format(see following model).

Introduction

Many personal statements begin with a catchy opening, often the distinctive personal example mentioned earlier, as a way of gaining the reader's attention. From there you can connect the example to the actual program/position for which you are applying. Mention the specific name of the program or company, as well as the title of the position or degree you are seeking, in the first paragraph.

Detailed Supporting Paragraphs

Subsequent paragraphs should address any specific questions from the application, which might deal with the strengths of the program/position, your own qualifications, your compatibility with the program/position, your long-term goals or some combination thereof.

Each paragraph should be focused and should have a topic sentence that informs the reader of the paragraph's emphasis. You need to remember, however, that the examples from your experience must be relevant and should support your argument about your qualifications.

Conclusion

Tie together the various issues that you have raised in the essay, and reiterate your interest in this specific program or position. You might also mention how this job or degree is a step towards a long-term goal in a closing paragraph. An application letter contains many of the same elements as a personal statement, but it is presented in a business letter format and can sometimes be even shorter and more specific than a personal statement.

An application letter may not contain the catchy opening of the personal statement but instead includes detailed information about the program or position and how you found out about it. Your application letter usually refers to your resume at some point. Another difference between a personal statement and an application letter is in the conclusion, which in an application letter asks for an interview.

3) REVISING THE PERSONAL STATEMENT/APPLICATION LETTER

Because this piece of writing is designed to either get you an interview or a place in a graduate school program, it is vital that you allow yourself enough time to revise your piece of writing thoroughly.

This revision needs to occur on both the content level (did you address the question? is there enough detail?) and the sentence level (is the writing clear? are the mechanics and punctuation correct?). While tools such as spell-checks and grammar-checks are helpful during revision, they should not be used exclusively; you should read over your draft yourself and/or have others do so.

SAMPLE

As a child I often accompanied my father to his small coin shop and spent hours watching him work. When I was older, I sometimes set up displays, waited on customers, and even balanced the books. This experience instilled in me the desire to own and manage my own business someday, yet I understand that the business world today is more complex. This complexity requires more education, and with that in mind, I am applying to the Master's of Business Administration program at Indiana University Bloomington (IUB).

In addition to my helping out in my father's business, I have had numerous other work experiences that further enhance my qualifications for this program. My resume enumerates the various positions I have held at Kerasotes Theaters, Chili's restaurants, and Indiana University's new Student Recreational Sports Center (SRSC), and what all of these positions have in common is an emphasis on serving the public effectively. Further, as an assistant manager at the Showplace 11 and a staff coordinator at the SRSC, I have gained valuable expertise in managing employees and creating work schedules. Both of these positions have allowed me to develop my sales and people skills, which are extremely important in an increasingly service-driven marketplace.

Not all of my work experience has been as a paid employee. Part of my volunteering experience at Middleway House, the local battered women's shelter, involved extensive work on computers, including word processing, organizing databases and creating spreadsheets. Also, I recently participated in an internship program for academic credit with the Eli Lilly corporation in the personnel division.

As a management intern, I was able to watch the workings of a major corporation up close and would like the opportunity to combine my experiences with the theoretical background available in the MBA program at IUB, with its emphasis on computers, marketing and human resources.

My successful internship is one element of my overall academic success as an undergraduate here at IUB, yet I have also made time for a variety of extracurricular activities, including working for my sorority and competing in intramural basketball. My positive experiences here have resulted in my desire to stay in Bloomington to continue my academic endeavors; furthermore, continuing my education here would allow me to make important business contacts, with the career goal of opening my own computer consulting firm in the Midwest.

(Based on: www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/personal_statement.shtml )

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