it's not too late, right? right?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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fruitcocktail
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it's not too late, right? right?

Postby fruitcocktail » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:08 am

I'm a mad procrastinator. I plan on having this shipped off by Monday. Thanks to anyone who reads this.

I suck at creative writing so this piece is fairly straightforward and technical. if it get's too lofty and makes you want to puke let me know any suggestions are much appreciated. if we get into the same school I'll buy you at least 10 beers thanks!

Many people who are familiar with my character may find it unsurprising that I have decided to choose a career in law. My friends and family would describe me as a motivated, responsible person who is unwavering in the pursuit of goals. My professors and co-students would likely use the word obsessive to describe my effort in achieving perfection in my work. My employers and co-workers would likely describe me as a highly organized person who lets no detail go unnoticed. While these descriptions may fit, they fall short of providing my motives and qualifications for studying and practicing law. From my rural upbringing has risen a reverence for nature and an instinct to protect and preserve it. My travel experience has resulted in adoration for the diversity of mankind. I am resolved to defend and contribute to this diversity in an unmitigated manner. Through the study of literature I have strengthened and matured the aforementioned attributes.
I was born and raised in the Black Hills of Western South Dakota. As a young man I often cursed the disadvantages of a rural upbringing. The social and cultural setbacks I loathed were tempered by the insight that a childhood in the solitude of nature affords. Although I no long enjoy hunting as an adult, this sport has contributed greatly to the maturation of my views. As a youth my father and I would hike into remote areas. We integrated ourselves into nature via this primal ritual. No more than our family could utilize was every harvested. The animal was respected and nearly every element of it was put to use. The peace that I felt in forests and fields has grounded in me several resolutions. The first being that use of nature by man is only acceptable to a sustainable degree. There is no act more deplorable than the degradation of nature. In addition, the use of nature and its resources should only be done so in the course of necessity. Lastly, commodities procured at the expense of the natural world should never go to waste. My appreciation for nature is a characteristic which influences nearly all of my thoughts and actions. Although the setting of my youth is influential it is just one dimension of my disposition.
My parents were crucial in supplementing and alleviating the potential stagnation of rural life. Having experienced much of the world as former military dependants, they emphasized the importance of diverse experiences. I remember flying on my first airplane, alone, at the age of seven. My parents had arranged for me to spend a portion of the summer with relatives in Kentucky. Thereafter this occurrence would become a common affair. On each of my birthdays I would be given an envelope containing an airline ticket, its destination unknown to me. I am still an enthusiastic traveler. I do so because unfamiliar situations yield previously unchartered thoughts and realizations in me. The most integral theme that these experiences have provoked in me is the universal rights of each individual. The variety in humanity that I have encountered has given way to intense motivation. I intend to serve and defend diverse individuals with the great intensity. This ambition serves me well as look towards navigating law in the interest of helping others. Beyond pure experience, the viewpoint which an absorption in literature furnishes has also impacted me.
Before I could walk or talk my mother would hold me in her lap and read to my older sister and me. Literature is intrinsic to my personality. I strengthened my love of literature by pursuing an English degree at Black Hills State University in the Northern Black Hills. In college I was able to widen my scope. Literature became less of a way to experience familiar emotions. It became a means of seeing from different perspectives. In other words, my sympathy for others grew exponentially. As my literary mind developed so did my critical mind. My disdain for systems which dehumanize or take advantage grew. My mind became skeptical of widely accepted notions. As a result of this I became obsessed with the process of accumulating evidence in support of or in defiance to nearly any subject. I am highly skilled at synthesizing large amounts of information and extracting the most relevant details. This is one of my most defined qualities which will contribute the greatest in my professional life.
There is no more important task than defending the quality of life on earth. This belief is an integral part of my character as I truly believe that beyond this there is nothing. While some may say this position offers a bleak outlook of existence I take the opposite position. Rather than find despair in this notion I find opportunity. I am resolved to leave a meaningful, positive impact in the span of my life. Regardless of the direction my focus in law school takes, I bring a sharpened mind and voracious work ethic. Through the practice of law I will exert my ability to uphold the dignity of man and nature.

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Cupidity
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby Cupidity » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:16 am

I am upset that there isn't a rocky raccoon joke in here somewhere.

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Cupidity
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby Cupidity » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:22 am

You use a lot of what I like to call "unecessary modifiers".

Examples:
"Many"
"May"
"Likely"
"really
"While"

These are all words that add to sentence length and can be removed without altering content.

You also say "would" alot. They "would" describe you? How about "My friends describe me". The whole thing is an exercise in passive verb tense which is a grammatical nightmare.

And you say "no long" instead of "no longer"

Those are the only technical/stylistic comments I have. However, to be candid, this is a god-awful-boring personal statement. You've given me a very shallow portrait of your life's story, and while you clearly have some writing skill--minus the above comments--you haven't told me anything interesting or biographical about you. You clearly want to develope the who nature aspect of this PS, so perhaps go more in depth in there, and include specifics. "I love nature" tells me nothing "I love nature because this one time"...thats a personal statement.

invain_asylum
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby invain_asylum » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:27 am

This is very weak. The writing is very poor, and the subject matter makes you out to be a dumb hick.

Sorry, just telling it like it is. I've sat on Ph.D. admission committees and I would say no to this one.

Rewrite from scratch, and emphasize how you are academically suited to law school despite coming from a peripheral academic and cultural background. Don't talk about flying to Kentucky.

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fruitcocktail
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby fruitcocktail » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:59 am

thanks for your suggestions cupidity.

the passive modifiers are definitely an issue.

as far as content, writing this has been hard for me in that I come from a technical writing background. i tend to write dryly.

as for the negative comments, my lsat/gpa numbers will take care of any dumb hick assumptions

invain_asylum
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby invain_asylum » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:28 am

as far as content, writing this has been hard for me in that I come from a technical writing background. i tend to write dryly


No, you write badly. As I said, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that's the way it is. Your grammar, spelling, usage, sentence construction, paragraph construction, and paragraph transitions are awful. The writing is C- for a high-school junior.

I say this not to make you feel bad, but to try to help you understand how huge the difference is between this and a good PS. The bar is far higher than this for admission, and it's far far far higher than this for success in a good program, to say nothing of a job.

as for the negative comments, my lsat/gpa numbers will take care of any dumb hick assumptions


If you think so, then go for it. But believe me, Harvard doesn't care about your hunting habits. Actually, they do--they'd prefer you didn't have any.

Once again, I mean to be constructively critical here, not nasty. I'm just trying to get you to understand that your PS is WAY WAY WAY off the mark and needs to be ditched in favor of something smarter, better-written, and more strongly oriented toward attributes that will make you successful in law school. Not hunting, not being a hick from SD, not flying to Kentucky.

OK? That's my last word. Hope you hear it and take it to heart.

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fruitcocktail
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby fruitcocktail » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:40 pm

thank you for the straight talk talk invain. i am still revising but i understand that your opinion is that the entire piece is garbage.

are you applying this cycle? I am interested in what a ps from a writer such as yourself looks like. it may help to point me in the right direction.

i take it you have a negative opinion of hunting, but i am not sure that it is some sort of forbidden topic.

thanks!

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pleasetryagain
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby pleasetryagain » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:49 pm

Cupidity wrote:I am upset that there isn't a rocky raccoon joke in here somewhere.


one day his woman ran off.. with another guy.. hit young rocky in the eyee.

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Georgiana
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby Georgiana » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:54 pm

I have to agree with the prior criticisms. It was so hard for me to even skim it. I kept getting bored and wanting to look away. I don't think hunting is taboo and it could make for a good PS, but you're doing way too much here. Don't open with 4 lines of "this is how others see me." Others are not writing this PS, you are. It's supposed to be about how YOU see yourself. It should be a narrative that is easy to read and says something about you that may have implications for you as a law student (it doesn't have to be explicit). Trying picking one of the topics (hunting/nature, travel, literature) and using that as a basis for the PS instead of hopping from topic to topic.

invain_asylum
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby invain_asylum » Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:50 am

thank you for the straight talk talk invain. i am still revising but i understand that your opinion is that the entire piece is garbage.

are you applying this cycle? I am interested in what a ps from a writer such as yourself looks like. it may help to point me in the right direction.

i take it you have a negative opinion of hunting, but i am not sure that it is some sort of forbidden topic.

thanks!


Hi Cocktail,

I'll pm you mine. I'm not applying, though. Landed a good job, and only have a 3.69/169 LSAT, so I chose the bird in the hand.
Apologies again if I seemed nasty; that was not the intention.
You are possibly right about hunting. And it depends somewhat on your target schools. I would leave it out for top schools and consider it safer for, say, non-elite state universities, especially in Red states. Just one opinion.

Best of luck, and hope my ps helps.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:15 am

invain_asylum wrote:This is very weak. The writing is very poor, and the subject matter makes you out to be a dumb hick.

Sorry, just telling it like it is. I've sat on Ph.D. admission committees and I would say no to this one.

Rewrite from scratch, and emphasize how you are academically suited to law school despite coming from a peripheral academic and cultural background. Don't talk about flying to Kentucky.


invain_asylum wrote:No, you write badly. As I said, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that's the way it is. Your grammar, spelling, usage, sentence construction, paragraph construction, and paragraph transitions are awful. The writing is C- for a high-school junior.

I say this not to make you feel bad, but to try to help you understand how huge the difference is between this and a good PS. The bar is far higher than this for admission, and it's far far far higher than this for success in a good program, to say nothing of a job.
.


Law school admissions is more of a numbers game than anything else. If you have the numbers, most schools will just ignore a poor written (changes a little bit for the top schools, but even Harvard will most likely not care to much if your PS is of lower quality as long as you have the right numbers). PS and good softs are for important for people with borderline numbers. A sub-par PS and lacking softs will typically not get you rejected if you have the numbers though.

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booboo
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Re: it's not too late, right? right?

Postby booboo » Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:28 am

I agree with the other critiques in this thread. At times, your grammar and structure rendered some sentences useless. Also, you seem like you have three jumping off points (nature, rural life, literature) and just put the three together to create a snapshot of who you are. However, as you did this, you did not mesh the three together, but haphazardly combined them. Each one could conceivably form your PS. The reasoning for why law was not strong. Being an individual of diverse and obviously unique background does not necessarily mean law will help feed your appetite for growth.

Good luck with your PS revision work.




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