I have seen many hundreds of statements and do not recall a single time that a quote improved one.
It is very unlikely to directly cost you an offer obviously, but it is typically a very poor use of space. I used a quote (2 lines) from a mathematician and linked if to the beauty of maths and why i wanted to study it. I used a quote (2 lines) from a mathematician and linked if to the beauty of maths and why i wanted to study it.
Unsurprisingly, writing to please an audience like that turns out to make for clunky prose—not to mention really awkward, unnatural phrasing.
The whole thing is peppered with words that seem a little—off.
I returned my personal statement to the vault, resolving never to speak or think of it again.
But as Freud got famous for observing, repressed thoughts have a tricky way of coming back on you.But "I would like to have intellectual challenge in my career; I like unraveling problems; I like research and writing," are such bland—though completely valid—explanations that they inevitably fail to engage the "personal" part of the personal statement mission.So, while those motivations might be the undercurrent of a personal statement, constructing the essay as an explicit "because A, then B" endeavor is not likely to be riveting.I'm sure there are ways of using a quote effectively in a PS - it's just that I can't recall seeing one!Sometimes I will unexpectedly stumble across an item I wrote at some point in the distant past, and upon rereading, I’ll be thrilled to discover I still like it. That is not the feeling I get when rereading my law school personal statement.I may have just finished generally criticizing this sort of theme (and this shows the danger of general advice), but it seems not impossible that this could have been an interesting topic.Yet, for reasons mysterious to me now, I seem to have made a deliberate choice back in 1989 to explore my topic in the most ham-handed imaginable way.My stupid personal statement would worm its way into my brain every once in a while, and finally, about a year and a half ago, I got the idea of tearing it apart for this blog: part philanthropic, educational gesture; part exorcism. Let’s just tackle this horrifying task bird by bird.It took me another year or so to get the nerve to go dig out my application file folder again, and yet another six months to beat back the waves of nausea that washed over me every time I peeked at the essay inside. Often I am asked, "What’s a good subject for a personal statement? (I say it just like that, with an exclamation mark.) While your life path to law school might very well be in the background of whatever you write, it is certainly not necessary—and usually not desirable—to make it an explicit rendering.(And let’s just politely avert our gazes from my having identified my mom’s degree, in the second sentence, as a .) Mostly, my personal statement is hard to read because of the hyper-formal tone I took.I can dimly remember writing with my unknown audience in mind, and picturing them as super, super, super stiff and humorless and scary—also, for some reason, I pictured at least 10 of them simultaneously reading my application.