Personal Statement

Now that my application cycle has come and gone, it’s time to share my law school personal statement.  It seemed to have served me quite well, as I was only rejected by Columbia.

Good luck with yours!  And, for the record, if you even try to plagiarize, you deserve to be sodomized with a fishhook.

***

My mother came of age in Chiang Kai-Shek’s Taiwan, while my father mined Pennsylvania coal to earn his Yale tuition. Meanwhile, my childhood heroes include Laura Ingalls, Jane Eyre, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Magic Johnson. Therefore, I am of three disparate cultures: my mom’s, rooted in her rural Taiwanese authoritarianism; my dad’s, a compromise between “The Greatest Generation” and Mad Men; and my own, inspired by novels and my peers. This cultural triumvirate compelled me to transcend my status as a twenty-two-year-old biracial feminist, forging me into a scholar determined to mitigate the law’s unintended consequences and a citizen devoted to helping people create their own opportunities.

My dad lived from 1917 to 2007, a span longer than that covered in my second semester of U.S. History. He got me my first library card when I was two, taught me basketball when I was three, and needed me to feed and bathe him, while fending off his debt collectors, when I was thirteen. Experiencing how intimately the public and private sectors collide in the last stages of life convinced me that we powerful citizens must be advocates for all who are ignored because they are too young, old, ill, meek, radical, or just plain “other.” Our law affects the disenfranchised much more than it does the elite, and I am responsible for perpetuating an ethical balance of power.

Familiarity with age and death also freed me to focus on life’s most important phenomena – relationships, equality, and responsibility — and independently forge a strong sense of identity. I was ashamed of being the poorest kid in a wealthy suburb; however, I used this financially-mandated humility to catalyze my pursuit of mentors throughout my schooling and career. As a freshman in high school, I asked expert peersto mentor me in music, journalism, and academics. As a freshman in college, I appalled my friends and family by pledging UCSD’s “anti-sorority” sorority, in which I defended TriDelta’s founding values and created more gender- and environmentally-aware programming and sisterhood. Today, I am the youngest, newest, and only female full- time employee in a five-million-dollar business.

As a Pre-College Faculty Manager for [insert my company here], I help ensure that our students from all socio-economic backgrounds have a consistently strong experience and take steps to get into their dream colleges. I continually seek feedback from my coworkers and manager and have already reached the apex of my company’s academic field positions. In 2008, my success in the classroom created word-of-mouth buzz that resulted in revenue growth of 54 percent. Moreover, in the four months I have held my current position, I have already driven a 16 percent increase in my division’s Teacher Excellence by dismissing mediocre teachers and supporting potential stars. Most important, I am institutionalizing best practices that will self-sustain a culture of scholarship even after I have left for law school.

I love mentoring teens in test prep and model government because I get to be a hands-on coach instead of a domineering lecturer. In class, I use the Socratic Method to develop students’ inherently solitary Test Day practices. When volunteering with California Youth and Government, I partner with teens to clarify their goals, and question their arguments to help them analyze their opinions. I am looking for a law school that develops its talent similarly: through partnership, confrontation, apprenticeship, and good faith.

I look forward to confronting the University of Chicago’s often economics-based, supposedly “conservative” approach with my own perspective, in order to build solid foundations for women’s public and private rights and contribute to international law’s relatively nascent paradigms. I want to be a litigator, law professor, food justice entrepreneur, education evangelist, and diplomat. I’m not sure how I’ll find the time to enhance each of these fields, but I do know that a University of Chicago education will help me excel in every role I choose. Your institution’s joyous nerdiness and practical outreach inspire me, and I hope to again take full advantage of the quarter system’s fast pace and varied coursework. I am very excited to become a full-time student once more, and hope to be your orchestra’s principal clarinetist and lead your champion women’s intramural football team. The University of Chicago is my dream school, and I know that, if admitted, I will help it flourish in the twenty-first century. I hope you give me the opportunity to contribute to the University of Chicago, and I thank you for considering my application.

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