Please review and critique my PS.

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
IAMGenius
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Please review and critique my PS.

Postby IAMGenius » Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:24 pm

I would really like help on reviewing this. If you think it is trash pleae state that. I need honest feedback. I've had a hard time coming up with ideas.

“We are proud to inform you that Black Leaders of Tomorrow (BLT) has been granted permanent charter status as a recognized Auburn University organization.” For me, this was the first moment of success as a college student. Once just an idea shared amongst friends, the creation of a student organization aimed at mentoring minority high school students had been established. It was through this organization that I was able to accomplish many goals that couldn’t be done by sitting through hour long lectures or writing ten page papers. Through this organization I could give back to the community that helped me make it to where I am. Unfortunately that is also a community where my peers are statistically more likely to be in jail or dead than in college. That is the black community.
The idea behind this community service oriented organization came about during my freshman year here at Auburn University. I was in search of an organization that was heavily involved with the community, but I didn’t want to join one whose members just punched the clock to fulfill a community service requirement for another organization. I wanted to join one where the work done reflected who I was as a person. One day I was asked to give a presentation to a group of minority high school students who were visiting Auburn for the day. I was asked to present my viewpoint on college and how what I have learned has benefited me. Seeing as how I was only a freshman, I didn’t really understand how my input would help, however, I agreed.
During the presentation I presented my viewpoint to a room of blank stares and sleepy groans. Feeling as though everyone was bored with my ‘life in college so far’ story, I asked the students a couple of questions. The responses to these questions would lead to a turning point in my college life. The first question was, “How many of you want to go to college?” Most of the students raised their hand. I continued, “How many of you understand the process of getting to college?” To this question I can vividly remember four students raising their hand. I thought to myself, “How can you not understand the process for getting to college?” My thoughts were soon rationalized as one student commented that, “Nobody has really ever talked to me about it. I know I want to go but besides taking the ACT I don’t know much more”. This was a story not to unfamiliar to my own. Going through high school I too did not know much about the process. High school counselors are good but trying to mentor an entire class of seniors can be a hard task for anyone to accomplish. So instead I sought out to learn and complete the process on my own relying very little on outside help. I understood that for many even that can be an obstacle.
This is how I was led to the idea of Black Leaders of Tomorrow. I founded BLT during the fall of my sophomore year with the help of my close friends. We all held the same ideals for the organization, and that is to give help and inspiration to those in need. The scope of the organization is to visit high schools within the state of Alabama and talk with students in various grade levels about life after graduation. We discuss various topics including the importance of education, the college application process, and most importantly the alternatives to college. Many counselors have applauded our efforts and commented that our work is great supplement to their jobs and gives kips a firsthand account that they cannot offer.
I am very proud of the success my organization has had on Auburn University’s campus. However, my joy doesn’t come because of my affiliation as the organizations founder, but it comes from the principles that have been instilled in me through my work with the organization. The organization has not only helped to change me as a person, but it has also changed my career choices. Originally a Building Science major aimed at becoming a successful project manager, I have put those aspirations aside in hopes to attend law school. It is my belief that with a Juris Doctorate I will be able to help my community either through the public or private sector of law. I have learned that giving back doesn’t take money and it doesn’t take a lot of time. All it takes is effort and a will to make things better for those who come after you. Through BLT I have been able to do my part in reducing the attitude held by most minority students from underprivileged backgrounds. It should be known that where you come from is not all that defines who you are, but also where you are going and the effort you are willing to put forth to get there. I know that my organization is only one star in a sky a billions, but I hope that it can be a beacon of light that leads others to serve and give back as it has for me.

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billyez
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby billyez » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:35 pm

Please format it properly and make it easier to read by separating the paragraphs and I'd be more than happy to review it.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:20 pm

This essay should help considerably.

IAMGenius
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby IAMGenius » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:04 am

Anymore advice? I see people reading the post but nobody replying. Is it that bad? LOL!

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fl0w
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby fl0w » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:53 am

IAMGenius wrote:“We are proud to inform you that Black Leaders of Tomorrow (BLT) has been granted permanent charter status as a recognized Auburn University organization.” For me, this was the first moment of success as a college student. [really? perhaps it was the most significant, but was it the first? it begs the questions, "where you unsuccessful in college up to this point? and why?"][/color] Once just an idea shared amongst["amongst is very "old-fashioned", although it is still grammatically correct] friends, the creation of a student organization aimed at mentoring minority high school students had been established.[i know that it is perhaps implied, but you have not stated that you CREATED/FOUNDED this organization. Don't leave it to the reader to infer this important piece of information (unless you didn't created it, but i assume you are writing about it because you did)] It was through this organization that I was able to accomplish many goals that couldn’t be done by sitting through hour long lectures or writing ten page papers. Through this organization I could give back to the [black] community; that [which] helped me make it to where I am [ and where exactly are you? the implication is that it is a good place, but perhaps you should put some more definition around that]. Unfortunately that is also a community where my peers are statistically more likely to be in jail or dead than in college.[ the previous sentence stands out like a sore thumb in your introduction. you've thrown black adversity in there as an afterthought. If the rest of the essay addresses it, you need to better integrate it into this opening paragraph. If the rest of the essay does not address this statistic, you should omit.] That is the black community.
The idea behind this community service oriented organization came about during my freshman year here at Auburn University. I was in search of an organization that was heavily involved with the community, but I didn’t[avoid contractions throughout your essay!] want to join one whose members just punched the clock to fulfill a community service requirement for another organization. I wanted to join one where the work done reflected who I was as a person [and who ARE you as a person? without saying that, the reader does not understand what type of work you are interested in because you've compared it to a reflection of yourself without defining yourself]. One day I was asked to give a presentation to a group of minority high school students who were visiting Auburn for the day. I was asked to present[ing] my viewpoint on college and how what I have learned has benefited me. Seeing as how I was only a freshman, I didn’t really understand how my input would help, however, I agreed.
During the presentation I presented my viewpoint to a room of blank stares and sleepy groans. Feeling as though everyone was bored with my ‘life in college so far’ [be consistent with the use of single quotes vs. double quotes] story, I asked the students a couple of questions. The responses to these questions would lead to a turning point in my college life. The first question was, “How many of you want to go to college?” Most of the students raised their hand. I continued, “How many of you understand the process of getting to college?” To this question I can vividly remember four students raising their hand. I thought to myself, “How can you not understand the process for getting to college?” [ this "thought" comes off as fairly condescending. MANY high school students do not understand the process and only gain that insight through the assistance of something like a guidance counselor. You may want to modify your thought to something along the lines of how imperative it is that all these students desiring a college education understand the process by which they may be accepted to an educational institution. you begin to touch on this in the next few sentences; however this first thought is fairly abrasive and seems like you are "talking/thinking down" to your audience in the story]. My thoughts were soon rationalized as one student commented that, “Nobody has really ever talked to me about it. I know I want to go but besides taking the ACT I don’t know much more”. This was a story not to unfamiliar to my own. Going through high school I too did not know much about the process. High school counselors are good but trying to mentor an entire class of seniors can be a hard task for anyone to accomplish. So instead [instead of what? instead using a counselor? why did you do that? just because they are busy? It also feels contradictory that you wanted to do this on your own with very little outside help, but now are telling a story about a group that is aimed at providing that help to others. The help that you chose not to accept. You've essentially pointed out that you are advising others not to take the path that you chose which may not be something you want to point out in your essay] I sought out to learn and complete the process on my own relying very little on outside help. I understood that for many even that can be an obstacle.
This is how I was led to the idea of Black Leaders of Tomorrow. I founded BLT during the fall of my sophomore year with the help of my close friends. We all held the same ideals for the organization, and that is[;] to give help and inspiration to those in need. The scope of the organization is to visit high schools within the state of Alabama and talk with students in various grade levels about life after graduation. We discuss various topics including the importance of education, the college application process, and most importantly the alternatives to college [why is that most important?]. Many counselors have applauded our efforts and commented that our work is great supplement to their jobs and gives kips["kids? do you want to call them students instead?"] a firsthand account that they cannot offer. [You haven't really demonstrated anything measurable in terms of the success of your program. Has it accomplished what you intended it to? If so, how do you know? What are the results and how are they measured? It sounds nice on paper, but one could make the argument that any person could give speeches at high schools without any actionable plan behind it. ]
I am very proud of the success my organization has had on Auburn University’s campus.[I thought the place where you wanted the program to be successful was in high schools? what is the success on the university campus and how is that important to a program that is supposed to be helping high school students? The way you have it written right now makes it seem like you were simply after notoriety.] However, my joy doesn’t come because of my affiliation as the organizations founder[i believe this is the first time you identify yourself as the founder of the organization], but it comes from the principles that have been instilled in me through my work with the organization[ this is slightly troublesome because in the introductory paragraph you said you wanted to be a part of an organization that reflected who YOU ARE. now you are saying that you created an organization that CHANGED who you are. "instilled in me" means that the organization gave you some principles (principles that you never concretely define) when your initial goal in the introductory paragraph was to demonstrate how YOUR principles lead you to create this organization]. The organization has not only helped to change me as a person, but it has also changed my career choices. Originally a Building Science major aimed at becoming a successful project manager, I have put those aspirations aside in hopes to attend law school. It is my belief that with a Juris Doctorate [i'm not sure if that should be Juris Doctor or Juris Doctorate] I will be able to help my community either through the public or private sector of law. I have learned that giving back doesn’t take money and it doesn’t take a lot of time [I, and many others, would actually argue that giving back does take money and a lot of time. be careful with that statement]. All it takes is effort [and time?] and a will to make things better for those who come after you. Through BLT I have been able to do my part in reducing the attitude held by most minority students from underprivileged backgrounds.[the previous sentence doesn't make sense. "reduce the attitude"? reduce it from what to what? I'm not sure that attitudes are "reduced" as much as they are "changed". You do not define how you change the attitudes. This goes back to what i mentioned about measuring the success of your organization.] It should be known that where you come from is not all that defines who you are, but also where you are going and the effort you are willing to put forth to get there. I know that my organization is only one star in a sky a billions, but I hope that it can be a beacon of light that leads others to serve and give back as it has for me.


I made some edits above.

Overall, while I think you've got a good potential start, you fall short in a few areas. You do not really "own" the organization that you founded until the end of the essay. You also do not detail explicitly how the organization has impacted its target audience. Nor do you provide any kind of measurement of its true success. Additionally, you contradict yourself a few times within your essay.

I hope some of my edits are helpful.
Last edited by fl0w on Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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CG614
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby CG614 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:57 am

But why law school? You really don't address this question properly. Has potential, but needs work. Good start.

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fl0w
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby fl0w » Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:58 am

CG614 wrote:But why law school? You really don't address this question properly. Has potential, but needs work. Good start.


That too. You touch on the fact that you think a JD will help you, but you don't get very deep into it at all.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:19 am

"How can you not understand the process for getting into college?" is probably the single most powerful sentence in your essay. Don't change it.
"Juris Doctorate" is correct.
I thought your essay addressed the question of "why law school" sufficiently.
This is a good personal statement in large part because of its sincerity & that it caters to what most law schools are seeking in a genuine and thoughtful manner.

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fl0w
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby fl0w » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:38 am

CanadianWolf wrote:"How can you not understand the process for getting into college?" is probably the single most powerful sentence in your essay. Don't change it.
"Juris Doctorate" is correct.
I thought your essay addressed the question of "why law school" sufficiently.
This is a good personal statement in large part because of its sincerity & that it caters to what most law schools are seeking in a genuine and thoughtful manner.


entitled to your opinion, i just happen to disagree with it.
"How can you not understand the process for getting into college?" Easy. Nobody every explained it to you. It's like asking a 5 year old "how can you not understand how to multiply and do long division?" They haven't learned it yet. It comes off as condescending. I would say it's only power is in the level of arrogance it portrays (I understand that was not the intent of the sentence, it is just how it reads to me)

Why Law School? "It is my belief that with a Juris Doctorate I will be able to help my community either through the public or private sector of law." There is only one sentence on "why law school". I do not think that is sufficient. How will you help your community? What area of law do you want to focus on? In what specific ways do you think you will be able to apply the law to right the wrong that you currently perceive in your community?

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A Swift
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby A Swift » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:44 am

"It was through this organization that I was able to accomplish many goals that couldn’t be done by sitting through hour long lectures or writing ten page papers."

These kind of passive sentences make the essay pretty hard to read. Try the active voice.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:46 am

Flow: I think that you miss the author's point of experiencing a revelation & gaining a purpose when learning that high school students didn't understand the college application process. This sentence is the key to the author's transformation which leads to a desire to attend law school to effect social change. Seeing the world from another's perspective shows maturity & respect for others, and is the key to being able to facilitate change.
Although in need of minor editorial alterations, this is a strong essay for law school admissions purposes in my opinion.

dukelawguy144
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby dukelawguy144 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:51 am

um its ok. Kinda bored reading through it and it was preachy. You dont really elaborate on why law school. Hopefully your other numbers are bank because this essay wont be a decisive factor that will help you get in.

Way to emphasize the black card

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fl0w
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby fl0w » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:51 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Flow: I think that you miss the author's point of experiencing a revelation & gaining a purpose when learning that high school students didn't understand the college application process. This sentence is the key to the author's transformation which leads to a desire to attend law school to effect social change.
Although in need of minor editorial alterations, this is a strong essay for law school admissions purposes in my opinion.


I agree with what you just wrote, in part, but the revelation should be focused on the fact that the students have not been provided the proper resources to have that understanding, not that the students do not understand. Because, after all, the organization that the author founded was created to address the fact that students did not have the help that they needed to understand the process, not to address the fact that they were unable to understand the process.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:56 am

Whatever you do, please don't write out a list of factors detailing "Why law school". These tend to be the most superficial essays. You clearly demonstrated in your writing why law school is a compelling option for you.

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dominkay
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby dominkay » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:54 pm

Don't start with dialogue or quotes.

IAMGenius
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby IAMGenius » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:08 pm

Thanks to everyone who commented. There were a lot of valid points that I couldn't see. As for the "Why Law School question." I currently have several different ambitions that lead me to law school. I'm not quite sure how to work them into this essay. Here are a few of them.

I have ambitons to work in the public sector. Sort of the same path Obama took. Then I also want to go into Business Law maybe International Business Law. I haven't quite made a final decision choice yet so I don't want to write a personal statement that's all about wanting to be in the publi sector or vice versa. That is why i briefly mention both. Any ideas? I also plan on writing some "Why XYZ school" essays for particular schools. (NYU, UChicago, and Emory) my top 3 choices.

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merichard87
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby merichard87 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:15 pm

1. Ask yourself what International Business Law is and what role do you hope to play within that specialization. Then find out if that job actually exists.

2. I agree with some of the above posters, overall it was an ok PS but there was something about it that I did not connect with (and I too have been in a room of minority high schoolers who didnt know to get to college). Also, I agree that you didnt adequately address what a law degree had to do with the things you addressed in this PS.

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CG614
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby CG614 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:52 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Whatever you do, please don't write out a list of factors detailing "Why law school". These tend to be the most superficial essays. You clearly demonstrated in your writing why law school is a compelling option for you.

My advice is not to take this advice. You need to demonstrate why you want to go to law school. Nobody is suggesting a list of factors.

luckycurl84
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Re: Please review and critique my PS.

Postby luckycurl84 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:54 pm

IAMGenius wrote:
“We are proud to inform you that Black Leaders of Tomorrow (BLT) has been granted permanent charter status as a recognized Auburn University organization.” Who is stating this? Where is it quoted from? I'd just frame it properly.
For me, this was the first moment of success as a college student. Once just an idea shared amongst friends, the creation of a student organization aimed at mentoring minority high school students had been established. It was Through this organization, it I was able to accomplished many goals that couldn’t be done by sitting through hour long lectures or writing ten page papers through academics. Through this organization By founding this organization, I could give back to the community that helped me make it to where I am. It reads cliche. I would suggest "the community that supported me" Unfortunately , that is also a same community where my peers are statistically more likely to be in jail or dead than in college.I'm not sure if it's grammatically correct. I wouldn't think you could start off with a restrictive clause, but I'm sure some grammar genius could tell you. That is the black community.
The idea behind this community service oriented organization came about during my freshman year here at Auburn University. I was in searching of for an organization that was heavily involved with the community, but I didn’t want to join one whose members just punched the clock to fulfill a community service requirement for another organization.I wanted to join one where the work done reflected who I was as a person. I caution you against desparaging other organizations. Maybe just stress your need of personal fulfillment of an organizations' impact.

One day I was asked to give a presentation to a group of visting minority high school students who were visiting Auburn for the day. I was asked to would present my viewpoint on college and how what I have learned has benefited me. Seeing as how As I was only a freshman, I didn’t really fully understand how my input would help, ; however, I agreed.FYI. The semi-colon is critical here. Otherwise, it's a run-on sentence. Feel free to change it to two sentences if you want. During the presentation, I presented my viewpoint to a the room was full of blank stares and sleepy groans. Feeling as though everyone was bored with my ‘life in college so far’ story the attention dropping, I asked the students a couple of questions. The responses to these questions would lead to a turning point in my college life. The first question was, “How many of you want to go to college?” Most of the students raised their hand. I continued, “How many of you understand the process of getting to college?” To this question, I can vividly remember four students raising their hand. I thought to myself, “How can you not understand the process for getting to college?” My thoughts were soon rationalized as one student commented that, “Nobody has really ever talked to me about it. I know I want to go but besides taking the ACT I don’t know much more”. This was a story not to unfamiliar to my own. Going through high school, I too did not know much about the process. High school counselors are good, but trying to mentor an entire class of seniors can be a hard task for anyone to accomplish. So Instead, I sought out to learn and complete the process on my own, relying very little on outside help. I understood that for many even that can be an obstacle.


That's all I could get through in my lunch break. So far, it's some good starting material. I didn't mean to put words in your mouth, but just to get you thinking about word choice and being concise. Be careful about comma usage. If you're still at Auburn, find out about any English tutoring. It's a good resource for a grammar check.




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