Example #1: This personal statement was edited by EssayEdge.com
Halfway through my senior year at the University of Arizona, I was chosen to be the undergraduate representative at “Arizona First,” a three-day, bipartisan conference focused on shaping legislation to bring economic growth and prosperity to the state. During the conference, I worked closely with state representatives and senators–the majority of whom were lawyers–proposing legislation to create new job opportunities, more commerce, and an increased standard of living in Arizona.
For the first time in my life, textbooks no longer mattered. I was faced with the weighty challenge of balancing reality with idealism. As the conference progressed, I noticed that the most effective participants were lawyers, not because of superior information or inside knowledge, but because they instinctively knew how to deal with the difficult situations and interactions that arose. The conference taught me to appreciate the interpersonal subtleties of conflict resolution and showed me that I would succeed in a career as a lawyer.
During my last year of college, I experienced the rewards that flowed from academic and intellectual challenges. Although I had the option of graduating with a degree in finance in four and a half years, I stayed an extra semester to obtain a second degree in accounting. The abstract nature of finance and the concrete precepts of accounting have provided me with a wealth of knowledge and the ability to look at problems from both a theoretical and a practical perspective.
By distinguishing myself in both of my academic programs, I was granted the honor of becoming a Professor’s Assistant (PA). As a PA, I experienced the extremely rewarding challenge of teaching students in need of special assistance, and I drew upon the people skills that I had learned at the conference. Helping students understand previously foreign concepts is an indescribable feeling, and the work convinced me to pursue a career teaching law.
In my third year of college, I was elected president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE), assuming full responsibility as the youngest president in our chapter’s history. Running meetings, representing the fraternity to the university, and serving as the fraternity’s spokesman in the community helped me refine my leadership, organizational, and speaking skills. Before my tenure, SAE was second-to-last in academic rankings among fraternities. After I left, we were number one. For leaving the chapter free of any financial or scholastic probations, I received the “Order of the Phoenix,” the highest national award given to a brother for exemplary leadership and zeal.
Transitioning from academia to the professional world, I obtained a position as a summer intern at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Based on my background and experience, I was assigned the role of supervising my assistants during my first audit, a responsibility typically reserved for accountants who have been with the firm for two or more years. Learning to plan and execute an audit has further developed my researching and critical thinking skills, which will enhance my competency as a lawyer.
Despite the professional opportunities and rewards available at PwC, I do not believe that I can reach my full potential intellectually, academically, or professionally in an accounting firm. Public accounting is a noble profession and obtaining my CPA certification will provide me with invaluable skills for dealing with business clients. However, I too often find myself engaging with my clients as an adversary rather than as an advocate. Leaving this field to obtain a law degree will allow me to pursue a career that is more consistent with my dominant personality traits: loyalty and charity.
I look forward to law school as an opportunity to develop my most cherished personal characteristics. As an experienced leader, teacher, scholar, and professional, I have much to contribute to a program in law. My analytical, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills will help me become a competent attorney, and I am anxious to embark on this next stage of my career.
While attending the University of Illinois, I have enjoyed many opportunities to learn about the environment while developing an interest in the law. Hands-on experiences in the lab, field work across the state, and lectures from leading researchers engaged my mind and captured my interest. Studying ecology and the world’s environmental problems has instilled in me a deep appreciation for the environment as well as a desire to learn how attorneys utilize regulatory systems to protect it. Participating in an undergraduate research project on climate change, interning in a methylmercury lab, and taking an environmental law class have inspired me to attend law school to pursue my interest in learning how the law can address environmental problems.
During spring semester 2006, I began a research project on climate change under the direction of Dr. Tony Endress. We analyzed climate data from the past 100 years to investigate how the observed variations affected the phenology of Illinois flora. The engaging research revealed the extent to which climate change alters the function and timing of processes in ecosystems. I continued researching environmental problems last summer with the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center. As an intern in Dr. Robert Hudson’s lab at the University of Illinois, I conducted a research project on methylmercury in crayfish and odonates from the Piasa Creek Watershed in southeastern Illinois. Methylmercury, a widespread neurotoxin especially hazardous to developing organisms, is found throughout the world’s aquatic ecosystems and poses a threat to public and ecosystem health. Although I enjoyed contributing to the academic community with my research, I wanted to do something more tangible about the problems I studied. Applying the law to diminish threats to human and environmental well-being would simultaneously achieve social and environmental justice, benefiting both humans and nature.
Both research endeavors have been fascinating, rewarding projects, but research alone cannot satisfy me professionally. The legal system makes connections between science and regulatory policy, allowing the results of scientific research to engender change that benefits society. My research projects inspired me to learn how to use the law to improve ecosystem quality and to protect human well-being. I am interested in developing policies that protect species from hazardous exposure to methylmercury and other toxins by reducing their abundance in ecosystems. In law school, I hope to learn how to craft a practical regulatory system that mitigates the negative effects of climate change on society and the environment. As a lawyer, I want to apply science through the law to make a positive change in the world.
While my research projects directed me towards specific issues to examine in a legal context, studying the law as an undergraduate inspires me to explore deeper aspects of legal structures and how they affect environmental well-being in law school. Last semester in environmental law class, I found my niche. Reading and discussing cases in class captured my interest every day because I felt passionate about each issue and was fascinated by the legal arguments used in each situation. Although the course focused on many cases and a variety of legal issues, at the end of the class I wanted to know more. Continuing my legal studies in law school will provide the tools I need to achieve my goal of applying science through the law, thus improving human and environmental wellbeing. With my future aspirations in mind, I look forward to the rewarding challenges of law school.