Is anyone still reading these?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
giohas
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:25 pm

Is anyone still reading these?

Postby giohas » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:58 am

I certainly hope so. I'll be sending one of them in tomorrow.
I've written up two different statements, and I'm trying to decide which to use, or whether I should dare try mashing them together into some unsightly beast.
I'd rather get criticism on the first, so if it looks too tl;dr just ignore the second. Thanks, all.

It’s 2005. I’m 17 years old, sitting across from a man at a table in a quiet room. He is tired, bleary-eyed, maybe ten years my senior. He came in and said he needed some help; he was due out in an hour, and was looking for a quick fix. Even a brief look tells me this is not something I can make all better in the time he has. Should I tell him? Should I try to explain the more serious problems he’s facing, how deeply rooted it all seems to be? He can’t change it all now, and by the next time he probably won’t remember. Maybe it’s better to just give him what he wants this time, and hope he comes in again later. Maybe then I’ll be able to make a real difference. I look at the sharpened point on the tool in my hand, give the man another quick glance, and get to work.
15 minutes later, he hurries off down the stairs, looking more awake and a little happier. I put down my pencil. I wonder if he’ll be able make the changes by the time his class starts, or just stop by at the end to turn the paper in. I had fixed his spelling mistakes, suggested writing a new thesis statement, told him to keep his topic sentences relevant and sent him down to the computer lab to remedy what he could of the assignment.
Working as a tutor at the community college was usually rewarding; I liked helping other students with English papers or problem sets, but it often seemed that I was not doing enough. I only taught the few that came in, and only worked with the material they brought, but it seemed there was little else I could do from a desk in the library.
Today, though, my circumstances are different, and they afford me the opportunity to attempt a greater impact on education of the sort I sought before. As to how I am to go about this, I do not know. While of course I have a good many ideas of what to change in the educational system, I know little about how to change it. If I am to deal with educational policy I must understand the system of laws that gives it context, or the historical precedents leading to its current state. My ignorance of these issues is likely all the worse for the fact that the first half of my education was quite divorced from the system they concern. I was homeschooled from early childhood, and my first experience with public education was the community college I attended. My family moved often during that interim, going from New England to south Texas to California. We frequently took road trips to visit extended family all across the country, and I was exposed to a remarkable variety of people and cultures at a young age. We would visit national parks and heritage sites to learn history or geography or whatever else we could find relevance to. It was a style of learning that I greatly enjoyed and it encouraged an inquisitiveness that I have found invaluable not just in my later schooling but also in how I approach problems in the everyday.
In California, when I was 13, I started taking supplementary classes at a community college. I quickly switched my curriculum over and became a fulltime student the next year. Shortly after, I began tutoring on campus and continued until transferring out. By the time I left to complete my degree I had already decided on a major. I liked taking things apart, seeing how they worked and then piecing them back together, so I majored in philosophy. Why limit myself to the physical with engineering when I could have all the range of discourse to peruse? I hope to apply the same skills I acquired then in learning the intricacies of the system I intend to work within.
I seek now to make a difference in education, for I believe it to be the best means to many ends, and to be the best of many ends itself. Though I know not yet how to effect the change I wish to see, I am convinced that it should be brought about, and that I will be able to do so. I trust the course of my study will be as engaging as it will be challenging, and I look forward to working with you in the effort.


And statement the second:
I was homeschooled. Perhaps I place undue emphasis on that fact as a defining characteristic of my identity, but I attribute more and more of where I find myself today to not having had an ordinary education. It was convenient, not being tied to a school, since my family seemed to move every three years or so. And while of course much of our schooling took place at home, the frequent road trips we took afforded my mother, my primary teacher, the chance to use whatever landmark we have passed that day to provide lessons that were engaging and got me asking questions about the particular subject. From the Midwest to New England to south Texas and California, and visiting widespread extended family all across the country, I have seen a lot of different cultures and met a lot of different people. No matter where I go, I always find something interesting to find out more about. And so, my education took place at the national parks and monuments that we passed when moving, or when driving my brothers to college in the fall. Even when visiting a great uncle in Oklahoma, and trying to figure out why that state had so much more roadkill on the highway. Learning this way encouraged an inquisitiveness that I have found invaluable not just in my later schooling but also in how I approach problems in the everyday.
In 2001, when we had stopped traveling as much, I began taking classes at a local community college to supplement my other course work. The next year I was a fulltime student, and spent five more years there, before transferring to Berkeley to finish my Bachelor’s degree. By that time I had found what I wanted to major in, something I could get excited about each day. I have always liked taking things apart and looking at the different pieces to discover how they all work together to become the one greater object, so it was suggested I take engineering classes or physics, but the choice was obvious: philosophy. It was a subject I could engage with at any level, and apply to anything I encountered. It was thrilling to be able to distill two unrelated issues to their constituent arguments, and find similar structures of reasoning. Whatever matter currently interested me, sometimes least of all my classes, I sought to look deeper into the theory behind it, to ferret out its basest premise.
I loved the focused attention to a given study and the academic environment that fostered that, but what I most thank that time for is simply the opportunity to find something I so enjoy pursuing, that I can enjoy for the rest of my life. And yet there are so many people I meet that have not been given the same chance. When I tutored at the community college, it was rewarding being able to help the people that came in, but I worried that my efforts were in vain. Though I could provide short-term help on an English paper or a math assignment, there was really nothing I could do then to remedy the underlying problem; there was nothing in school they were passionate about. It is from this lack that I am inspired now. I realize that I want to offer these people the same opportunity I had to find something I love. My own education is what enabled my own discovery, but that history is an uncommon one, and surely would not be effective or practical for everyone. I cannot even state that education is to be the source of this passion for all people; but I think it is a good place to start.
Though I do not yet know how to effect the change I wish to see, or even, fully, what changes should be made, I trust I will learn far more in the process than I expect. I look forward to working with you, and with everyone at the law school, and hope that together we can make this the engaging experience it deserves to be.

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daizee
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:16 am

Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby daizee » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:57 am

I've been wondering the same thing for the past 12 hours!

Loved your second (didn't read first yet) but this paragraph needs help:

In 2001, when we had stopped traveling as much, I began taking classes at a local community college to supplement my other course work. The next year I was a fulltime student, and spent five more years there, before transferring to Berkeley to finish my Bachelor’s degree. By that time I had found what I wanted to major in, something I could get excited about each day. THIS NEXT SENTENCE IS LET DOWN. I WAS READING ALONG, FLOW WAS GOOD AND NOW I'M CHANGING GEARS, AND THEN HAVE TO CHANGE GEARS AGAIN AFTER THIS SENTENCE WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT PHILOSOPHY. IT MIGHT BE JUST ME, BUT I'D LIKE TO SEE A DIFFERENT TRANSITION. I have always liked taking things apart and looking at the different pieces to discover how they all work together to become the one greater object, so it was suggested I take engineering classes or physics, but the choice was obvious: philosophy. It was a subject I could engage with at any level, and apply to anything I encountered. It was thrilling to be able to distill two unrelated issues to their constituent arguments, and find similar structures of reasoning. Whatever matter currently interested me, sometimes least of all my classes, I sought to look deeper into the theory behind it, to ferret out its basest premise.

REALLY LIKE YOUR WRITING; SEE WHAT OTHERS SAY. I'LL LOOK AT THE NEXT ONE.

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daizee
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:16 am

Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby daizee » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:00 pm

It’s 2005. I’m 17 years old, sitting across from a man at a table in a quiet room. He is tired, bleary-eyed, maybe ten years my senior. He came in and said he needed some help; he was due out in an hour, and was looking for a quick fix. Even a brief look tells me this is not something I can make all better in the time he has. Should I tell him? Should I try to explain the more serious problems he’s facing, how deeply rooted it all seems to be? He can’t change it all now, and by the next time he probably won’t remember. Maybe it’s better to just give him what he wants this time, and hope he comes in again later. Maybe then I’ll be able to make a real difference. I look at the sharpened point on the tool in my hand, give the man another quick glance, and get to work.
15 minutes later, he hurries off down the stairs, looking more awake and a little happier. I put down my pencil. I wonder if he’ll be able make the changes by the time his class starts, or just stop by at the end to turn the paper in. I had fixed his spelling mistakes, suggested writing a new thesis statement, told him to keep his topic sentences relevant and sent him down to the computer lab to remedy what he could of the assignment.


THE FIRST PARAGRAPH READS LIKE YOU'RE WORKING IN A METH REHAB. IS THAT INTENTIONAL???

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daizee
Posts: 57
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Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby daizee » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:05 pm

Shortly after, I began tutoring on campus and continued until transferring out. OUT TO WHERE? By the time I left to complete my degree I had already decided on a major. I liked taking things apart, seeing how they worked and then piecing them back together, so I majored in philosophy. Why limit myself to the physical with engineering WHY THIS COMMENT ABOUT ENGINEERING? I THING THE FIRST BLUE SENTENCE MEANT TO SAY ENGINEERING? IT'S VERY CONFUSING AND MAYBE DON'T MENTION ENGINEERING? when I could have all the range of discourse to peruse? I hope to apply the same skills I acquired then in learning the intricacies of the system I intend to work within.

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daizee
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Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby daizee » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:09 pm

I cannot even state that education is to be the source of this passion for all people; but I think it is a good place to start.

MAYBE TWIST THIS TO A POSITIVE AND THAT IT OUGHT TO BE A SOURCE OF PASSION AND THAT'S YOUR GOAL.

I REALLY LIKE THE SECOND ONE. IT READS BETTER. BUT SEE WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY.

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daizee
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Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby daizee » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:13 pm

I have EXPERIENCED many different cultures and met many different people.


YOU HAD 2 A LOT OF'S IN THIS SENTENCE.

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daizee
Posts: 57
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Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby daizee » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:16 pm

No matter where I go, I always find something interesting to find out more about

DON'T END WITH A PREPOSITION. AND THE NEXT SENTENCE STARTS WITH 'AND.' GET RID OF THE 'AND.'

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JordynAsh
Posts: 370
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Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby JordynAsh » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:18 pm

I read your first draft, and to me it read like a PS for grad school in education or something like it. You definitely need to add a few sentences or closing paragraph as to how your experience is clearly tied to a legal education and career.

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daizee
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Jan 09, 2010 1:16 am

Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby daizee » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:19 pm

that fostered that,

CHANGE WORDING

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devilishangelrjp
Posts: 257
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby devilishangelrjp » Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:35 pm

giohas wrote:I certainly hope so. I'll be sending one of them in tomorrow.
I've written up two different statements, and I'm trying to decide which to use, or whether I should dare try mashing them together into some unsightly beast.
I'd rather get criticism on the first, so if it looks too tl;dr just ignore the second. Thanks, all.

It’s 2005. I’m 17 years old, sitting across from a man at a table in a quiet room. He is tired, bleary-eyed, maybe ten years my senior. He came in and said he needed some help; he was due out in an hour, and was looking for a quick fix. Even a brief look tells me this is not something I can make all better in the time he has. Should I tell him? Should I try to explain the more serious problems he’s facing, how deeply rooted it all seems to be? He can’t change it all now, and by the next time he probably won’t remember. Maybe it’s better to just give him what he wants this time, and hope he comes in again later. Maybe then I’ll be able to make a real difference. I look at the sharpened point on the tool in my hand, give the man another quick glance, and get to work.
15 minutes later, he hurries off down the stairs, looking more awake and a little happier. I put down my pencil. I wonder if he’ll be able make the changes by the time his class starts, or just stop by at the end to turn the paper in. I had fixed his spelling mistakes, suggested writing a new thesis statement, told him to keep his topic sentences relevant and sent him down to the computer lab to remedy what he could of the assignment.
Working as a tutor at the community college was usually rewarding; I liked helping other students with English papers or problem sets, but it often seemed that I was not doing enough. I only taught the few that came in, and only worked with the material they brought, but it seemed there was little else I could do from a desk in the library.
Today, though, my circumstances are different, and they afford me the opportunity to attempt a greater impact on education of the sort I sought before. As to how I am to go about this, I do not know. While of course I have a good many ideas of what to change in the educational system, I know little about how to change it. If I am to deal with educational policy I must understand the system of laws that gives it context, or the historical precedents leading to its current state. My ignorance of these issues is likely all the worse for the fact that the first half of my education was quite divorced from the system they concern. I was homeschooled from early childhood, and my first experience with public education was the community college I attended. My family moved often during that interim, going from New England to south Texas to California. We frequently took road trips to visit extended family all across the country, and I was exposed to a remarkable variety of people and cultures at a young age. We would visit national parks and heritage sites to learn history or geography or whatever else we could find relevance to.


Be careful with your sentence structure.

It was a style of learning that I greatly enjoyed and it encouraged an inquisitiveness that I have found invaluable not just in my later schooling but also in how I approach problems in the everyday.
In California, when I was 13, I started taking supplementary classes at a community college. I quickly switched my curriculum over and became a fulltime student the next year. Shortly after, I began tutoring on campus and continued until transferring [strike]out[/strike]. By the time I left to complete my degree I had already decided on a major. I liked taking things apart, seeing how they worked and then piecing them back together, so I majored in philosophy. Why limit myself to the physical with engineering when I could have all the range of discourse to peruse? I hope to apply the same skills I acquired then in learning the intricacies of the system I intend to work within.
I seek now to make a difference in education, for I believe it to be the best means to many ends, and to be the best of many ends itself. Though I know not yet how to effect the change I wish to see, I am convinced that it should be brought about, and that I will be able to do so. I trust the course of my study will be as engaging as it will be challenging, and I look forward to working with you in the effort.


I like this one okay. I assume this is going to your first choice school. You might not say the last sentence. I just think it's a little presumptuous. While it's good to exude confidence, I am not sure that it is quite reasonable to assume yet that you WILL be working with them in the effort. But take that one with a pinch of salt.

And statement the second:
I was homeschooled. Perhaps I place undue emphasis on that fact as a defining characteristic of my identity, but I attribute more and more of where I find myself today to not having had an ordinary education. It was convenient, not being tied to a school, since my family seemed to move every three years or so. And while of course much of our schooling took place at home, the frequent road trips we took afforded my mother, my primary teacher, the chance to use whatever landmark we have passed that day to provide lessons that were engaging and got me asking questions about the particular subject. From the Midwest to New England to south Texas and California, and visiting widespread extended family all across the country, I have seen a lot of different cultures and met a lot of different people. No matter where I go, I always find something interesting to find out more about. And so, my education took place at the national parks and monuments that we passed when moving, or when driving my brothers to college in the fall. Even when visiting a great uncle in Oklahoma, and trying to figure out why that state had so much more roadkill on the highway. Learning this way encouraged an inquisitiveness that I have found invaluable not just in my later schooling but also in how I approach problems in the everyday.
In 2001, when we had stopped traveling as much, I began taking classes at a local community college to supplement my other course work. The next year I was a fulltime student, and spent five more years there, before transferring to Berkeley to finish my Bachelor’s degree. By that time I had found what I wanted to major in, something I could get excited about each day. I have always liked taking things apart and looking at the different pieces to discover how they all work together to become the one greater object, so it was suggested I take engineering classes or physics, but the choice was obvious: philosophy. It was a subject I could engage with at any level, and apply to anything I encountered. It was thrilling to be able to distill two unrelated issues to their constituent arguments, and find similar structures of reasoning. Whatever matter currently interested me, sometimes least of all my classes, I sought to look deeper into the theory behind it, to ferret out its basest premise.
I loved the focused attention to a given study and the academic environment that fostered that, but what I most thank that time for is simply the opportunity to find something I so enjoy pursuing, that I can enjoy for the rest of my life.


Awkward sentence structure.

And yet there are so many people I meet [strike]that[/strike] who have not been given the same chance. When I tutored at the community college, it was rewarding being able to help the people that came in, but I worried that my efforts were in vain. Though I could provide short-term help on an English paper or a math assignment, there was really nothing I could do then to remedy the underlying problem; there was nothing in school they were passionate about.


How does law school help you exactly with this goal? It sounds like you want to be a math or an English teacher.

It is from this lack that I am inspired now. I realize that I want to offer these people the same opportunity I had to find something I love. My own education is what enabled my [strike]own[/strike] discovery, but that history is an uncommon one, and surely would not be effective or practical for everyone. I cannot even state that education is to be the source of this passion for all people; but I think it is a good place to start.
Though I do not yet know how to effect the change I wish to see, or even, fully, what changes should be made, I trust I will learn far more in the process than I expect. I look forward to working with you, and with everyone at the law school, and hope that together we can make this the engaging experience it deserves to be.


Your conclusion falls flat IMHO. I was like "YES, I see that this person wants to be the change that he wants to see!" Then it kinda gives an impression that you really didn't know how to conclude (which is fine, because I have problems with conclusions myself). The first sentence is good, but explain to the reader perhaps more about the education goal. What I saw was a quick shift from focusing on the educational needs of others to your own educational needs. Continue to flesh out your goals.

Edit: Read the quote too, my comments are dispersed throughout.

giohas
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:25 pm

Re: Is anyone still reading these?

Postby giohas » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:38 pm

JordynAsh wrote:You definitely need to add ... how your experience is clearly tied to a legal education and career.
This definitely seems to be the biggest problem, then. I'll off and try to fix it up.
Thanks, everyone. Esp. daizee, for all the posts. :lol:




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