Can anyone take a quick look? Be harsh.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
kdickey05
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:27 pm

Can anyone take a quick look? Be harsh.

Postby kdickey05 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:14 pm

I'd love any opinions.

With mouse in hand I slowly circle the mouse pad as Marguerite, a fifty year-old immigrant from Cape Verde, watches. Together we watch new windows open as I clicked icons. Together we watch words appear on the screen as I type letters on the keyboard.

When I signed up to volunteer in an English and computer skills class at the International Institute of Boston I didn’t quite realize just how basic some of the skills I would be teaching were. But after my volunteering experience it became obvious that I wanted to continue helping immigrants and refugees on a more personal level. Returning to the IIB as an intern the following year, I saw the paperwork side of the immigration process as well as the difficulties that come with navigating the immigration system.

As an educated, English speaking American these things were difficult enough for me to comprehend. Forms and instruction sheets often left me confused. I was, indeed, happy that I did not have to sort out my own immigration status. I was beginning to understand some of the difficulties encountered in immigration’s legal side that, in turn, led to the realization that many immigrants had need for direct and personal help.

As a member of the first generation of “computer-literate-students,” I felt prepared to explain the Internet and its uses. I approached this expecting the Internet to be the most difficult aspect of the computer class for most students. It came to me as a complete surprise when it was the very physical features of the computer that were the first problems for many--the “mouse” and the simple process of gliding it across the mouse pad, the click of cursor on an icon. Having grown up with the computer, these movements are, for me, as fluent as walking. Not so for my students who, coming from Eritrea, Bolivia and Egypt, found these initial barriers they needed to overcome. Once mastered – the mouse and the cursor – new barriers presented themselves: the search engine, changing a font.

Let us not forget Marguerite. Eventually she was able to take the mouse in her own hand and begin using some basic computer applications. She learned to use Google and YouTube. However, as a result of our more personal relationship I learned that, even more important than learning computer skills and mastering the English language, was her need to solve her legal immigration status and to be able to navigate the immigration system on her own.

Another student, Michali, an Eritrean boy my age, was one of the students I also helped solve the mystery of the mouse and set up an email account. As I helped him enter his chosen screen name and password on the Yahoo! homepage, Michali looked the happiest I had ever seen him. His life in Eritrea had never given him the opportunity to use a computer, no less the Internet. Now, in the United States, he has access to the entire world! Seeing the excitement that a simple email address brought to Michali made me recognize just one of the things that I take so for granted on a daily basis. Working with these immigrants and refugees at IIB has made me infinitely aware of just how difficult adjusting to life in the United States can be.

Marguerite, Michali, and I were at the International Institute of Boston for drastically different reasons. They were fighting to stay in this country. I was simply tying to help fill some of my free time. At the end of my few months of interning Marguerite and Michali were steps closer to understanding and solving their immigration status, and I – inadvertently - was a step closer to understanding where I would choose to focus my life.

I can’t say exactly why immigration law is such a draw to me – but I do know that it has something to do with seeing the happiness and appreciation on the faces of Marguerite and Michali as I helped them click on a computer or log into their email account for the first time. It also might just be that thanks to this eye opening internship at IIB I have been able to see how lucky I am to be an American and help others in seeking the same privilege.

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Dany
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Re: Can anyone take a quick look? Be harsh.

Postby Dany » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:51 pm

kdickey05 wrote:I'd love any opinions.

With mouse in hand I slowly circle the mouse pad as Marguerite, a fifty-year-old [needs hyphens between each of the words] immigrant from Cape Verde, watches. Together we watch new windows open as I click[strike]ed[/strike] [Keep verbe tense consistent] icons. Together we watch words appear on the screen as I type letters on the keyboard.

As a member of the first generation of “computer-literate students,” [Do not put a hyphen between literate and students. 'Computer-literate' is an adjective that modifies the noun "students."] I felt prepared to explain the Internet and its uses. I approached this expecting the Internet to be the most difficult aspect of the computer class for most students. It came to me as a complete surprise when it was the very physical features of the computer that were the first problems for many - the “mouse” and the simple process of gliding it across the mouse pad, the click of cursor on an icon [you need another example here. Series sound best in threes.] Having grown up with the computer, these movements are, for me, as fluent [Do you mean fluid?] as walking. This was not so for my students who, coming from Eritrea, Bolivia and Egypt, found these to be initial barriers they needed to overcome. Once they mastered the mouse and the cursor, new barriers presented themselves: the search engine, changing a font, [again, you need a third example to complete the series.]

[strike]Let us not forget Marguerite.[/strike] Eventually Marguerite [strike]she[/strike] was able to take the mouse in her own hand and begin using some basic computer applications. She learned to use Google and YouTube. However, as a result of our [strike]more[/strike] personal relationship I learned that, even more important than learning computer skills and mastering the English language, was her need to [strike]solve her legal immigration status and to[/strike]be able to navigate the immigration system on her own and [strike]solve[/strike] secure her legal immigration status.

Another student, Michali, an Eritrean boy my age, was one of the students I[strike]also[/strike]helped solve the mystery of the mouse and set up an email account. As I helped him enter his chosen screen name and password on the Yahoo! homepage, Michali looked the happiest I had ever seen him. His life in Eritrea had never given him the opportunity to use a computer, [strike]no[/strike] much less the Internet. Now, in the United States, he [strike]has[/strike] had [keep verb tenses consistent] access to the entire world[strike]![/strike] . [Do not use exclamation points in a formal essay or professional setting.] Seeing the excitement that a simple email address brought to Michali made me recognize just one of the things that I take[strike]so[/strike]for granted on a daily basis. Working with these immigrants and refugees at IIB has made me infinitely aware of just how difficult adjusting to life in the United States can be.

Marguerite, Michali, and I were at the International Institute of Boston for drastically different reasons. They were fighting to stay in this country; I was simply tying to help fill some of my free time. [Use a semicolon to separate those two sentences, because they represent one coherent thought.] At the end of my few months of interning, [comma] Marguerite and Michali were [strike]steps[/strike] closer to understanding and solving their immigration status, [strike]and[/strike] while I – inadvertently - was a step closer to understanding where I would choose to focus my life.

When I signed up to volunteer in an English and computer skills class at the International Institute of Boston, [insert comma after long introductory clause] I didn’t quite realize just how basic some of the skills I would be teaching were, but after my volunteering experience it became obvious that I wanted to continue helping immigrants and refugees on a more personal level. Returning to the IIB as an intern the following year, I saw [Did you just see it? Or participate? If I were you, I'd emphasize that you got hands-on experience with the paperwork processes] the paperwork side of the immigration process as well as the difficulties that come with navigating the immigration system.

Even as an educated, English-speaking [hyphenate this] American, [comma] these things [What things? You need to specify here.] were often difficult [strike]enough[/strike]for me to comprehend. Forms and instruction sheets often left me confused. [strike]I was, indeed, happy that I did not have to sort out my own immigration status.[/strike] I was beginning to understand some of the difficulties encountered in immigration’s legal side that, in turn, led to the realization that many immigrants had need for direct and personal help.

I can’t say exactly why immigration law is such a draw to me, [Use comma instead. You have too many hyphens so far.] but I do know that it has something to do with seeing the happiness and appreciation on the faces of Marguerite and Michali as I helped them click on a computer or log into their email account for the first time. [Insert a sentence here about the second year of interning, with the paperwork, and how it also drew you to immigration law.] It also might [strike]just[/strike] be that thanks to this eye opening internship at IIB I have been able to see how lucky I am to be an American and help others in seeking the same privilege.


Overall, I think this is quite a solid PS, and I enjoyed it. I made many grammatical corrections, but content-wise, it was fine. I also changed the order of the paragraphs, so that it goes somewhat chronologically. You need all the computer stuff at the beginning, then the descriptions of your computer students, THEN you need to put the paragraphs about coming back the next summer, then the closing. The original order [Intro - computer - paperwork - computer - computer - closing] didn't make much sense. Also, I think it would help to flesh out details of your second year interning there. The computer stories are interesting, but don't have much to do with the legal field. Why would helping someone learn how to use a mouse be relevant to law school? Rewarding, yes, but legal? Not as much. Don't get me wrong, I like all of the computer anecdotes you have, but the paperwork part is MUCH more relevant to law school/immigrant law, and I think you need to add some more details, so that it's at least 50-50.

I hope these edits are helpful to you; good luck!

kdickey05
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:27 pm

Re: Can anyone take a quick look? Be harsh.

Postby kdickey05 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:24 pm

Thank you so much! Very helpful!

A couple other people have suggested that I answer these questions, do you think it's necessary or would expanding on the internship be more beneficial?
- what effect did meeting these people have on you? 
- What were you feeling when you worked with them?
- What challenge did you see for them that you believe you can help to overcome by being an immigration lawyer?
- What challenge will law school provide you?
- What personal goal will this help you reach?
- What professional goal will immigration law help you reach?

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Dany
Posts: 11580
Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:00 pm

Re: Can anyone take a quick look? Be harsh.

Postby Dany » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:29 pm

kdickey05 wrote:Thank you so much! Very helpful!

A couple other people have suggested that I answer these questions, do you think it's necessary or would expanding on the internship be more beneficial?
- what effect did meeting these people have on you? 
- What were you feeling when you worked with them?
- What challenge did you see for them that you believe you can help to overcome by being an immigration lawyer?
- What challenge will law school provide you?
- What personal goal will this help you reach?
- What professional goal will immigration law help you reach?


The only one which I think is relevant and would make your PS better is "What challenge did you see for them that you believe you can help to overcome by being an immigration lawyer?" Well, MAYBE answering "What professional goal will immigration law help you reach?" would help a bit.

I really think expounding upon the internship to show that you have experience with legal issues relating to immigration would be most beneficial, though. You want to show the adcomms that you a) know what immigration lawyers do, b) have a clear idea of how law school will help you excel in this field, and c) will be a great law student AND future immigration lawyer because of your experience.

kdickey05
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:27 pm

Re: Can anyone take a quick look? Be harsh.

Postby kdickey05 » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:34 am

Any other opinions?

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neimanmarxist
Posts: 418
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:41 am

Re: Can anyone take a quick look? Be harsh.

Postby neimanmarxist » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:39 am

Two things jumped out at me. This is a good PS, but
1) you say "I was simply trying to help fill some of my free time. " I think it makes this good deed that you did sound like something you are dispassionate about. Like there's no difference between doing that and playing tennis, or whatever. Come up for a better reason for why you were at this institute.

2) "i don't know why x is such a draw to me" as the lead in to the last paragraph. Again, this doesn't sound mysterious, it makes you sound kind of non-commital. you're drawn to x type of law because you want to better people's lives, as you go on to state in the paragraph. Saying that you can't put your finger on the reason makes it sound like tomorrow, you might find fly-fishing to be a draw to you. You want to show commitment and passion, not whimsy. Re-word this sentence and give a reason why you want to do what you say you want to do in law school.

kdickey05
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:27 pm

Re: Can anyone take a quick look? Be harsh.

Postby kdickey05 » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:34 am

Thanks.

I was kind of iffy about those statements from the beginning, so I'll be sure to change them now!




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