Personal Statement Help/Critque--take a look!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
murrps
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:10 pm

Personal Statement Help/Critque--take a look!

Postby murrps » Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:14 pm

Any advice is appreciated!

About four years ago I was slouched in front of my high school guidance counselor for routine college advising in which I was met with an open-ended request to describe myself in one word; I paused, smirked, and then responded, “ultimate.” The implications of my response should suggest nothing less than ridiculous and I knew that. I knew that I was supposed to give a praising word that would convince others of my prowess but I didn’t care. Ironically, however, it was my flaw of passivity and hubris that would put me in a position to achieve my greatest strength.

I walked out of the office reflecting on the probing questions of my counselor. The feelings of apathy were pressingly familiar. As I made my way back into class, I slouched into another chair and proceeded to take another test for which I hadn’t prepared. The predicament wasn’t notably unusual for a student of my temperament; I prided myself in scoring high test marks sans studying. With slightly above average grades and negligible effort, I found no reason to explore my subjects any deeper than required. Hence, my response to the counselor in my one-word descriptor really captured the height of my arrogance at the time.

In tandem with this complacency, however, was a biting sense of uncertainty. It was nearing the end of my senior year and college deadlines were quickly approaching. Being indifferent for the past four years wasn’t conducive to finding a particular interest, to say the least. Yet, despite my apprehensiveness in regards to what I would do at college, I wanted to at least get it; the base reasoning of not wanting to work at Ledo’s Pizza for the rest of my life compelled me to apply. In this way, I viewed college, like high school, as another requirement.

At orientation I was handed a paper filled with possible majors. I skimmed down the page and eyed over criminal justice. It was field my father had worked under his entire life and so I believed it to be suitable start. And that it was. During one of the classes, we began to examine the link between morality and punishment and I was surprised to see that we could debate what the truth of the matter was; something I always enjoyed doing, but never thought it had a place in school. For the first time, I stayed after and pressed further. My intrigue was short-lived, nonetheless, as the class, and others of the major, became increasingly focused towards police work—something of which I had no desire in pursuing.

As I was signing up for classes my sophomore year I had a sick feeling that college would be a dismal repeat of high school. With the class requirements laid before me, I noticed I had the choice of introduction to philosophy or introduction to religion. I just so happened to choose philosophy on a mere whim. And although my decision was capricious, it had a lasting effect on my academic trajectory. The introductory course was anomalous to any prior class I had taken and as it literally put me in aporia—a state of puzzlement—I realized I had met my match. Philosophy frustrated my arrogant attitude as I was being forced, for the first time, to really think about the subject matter. No longer could I review scribbled notes five minutes before a test and walk out feeling satisfied. As a result, it provided a seriousness about learning that I had up till then brushed off with the quip of “ultimate.” A few weeks later I found myself situated in front of the philosophy department chair with a declaration to change majors.

The best thing about being a philosophy major was that it showed me what I was certain about. I was certain in my interest in an analytical approach to learning: constructing arguments and the use of the laws of reasoning to form those arguments. It was no insignificant wonder why I was attracted to arguing the place morality had in punishment during that criminal justice class. Furthermore, not only would my first logic class teach me all the laws of inference but it would also reveal my uncanny knack for logical reasoning. I ended up consistently scoring the highest grade on every test that was administered for that class and would repeat this again in the next level of the course. In contrast to my earlier self, I wasn’t afraid to admit, much to the dismay of classmates, that I even enjoyed working through unassigned logic problems.

While I was passionate about the entire methodology of philosophy I still had an attraction for criminal justice. Exploring the field, specifically in its relation to morality, had piqued my interest, but, as mentioned earlier, the program offered at my school didn’t seem apt to my own proclivities. Studying law, on the other hand, is a perfect synthesis between my remaining interest in criminal justice and my passion for analytical reasoning.

When I look back at myself, four years ago, sitting in the counselor’s office, I recognize that I really never had an appropriate word to describe myself; I had meandered through high school and part of college with no objective in mind and hadn’t the vaguest idea of what I wanted. I claimed that I was ultimate. I just didn’t know what I was ultimately about.

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CardinalRules
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Re: Personal Statement Help/Critque--take a look!

Postby CardinalRules » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:55 pm

It's interesting in some ways but portrays you as being a bit of a drifter for whom law school may be just the next passing fancy. I might tone down and abbreviate the description of your complacency and spend more time discussing the two fields that did capture your enthusiasm in college; that section of the essay doesn't arrive until after the reader has formed a clear perception of you as someone who doesn't like to commit.

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Fevsi
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Re: Personal Statement Help/Critque--take a look!

Postby Fevsi » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:23 pm

I second managamy that you are up to a good start, but need to make it more concise. The point about being a drifter does not need to be made so many times. The turning point has to either come much earlier, or be much more dramatic, take your pick. I also think that the pace is just way too slow. Nobody really cares about what you did in high school unless it is something worthy of NY Times. Make it flow faster, fill it with more interesting details. What was attractive for you in philosophy except its "entire methodology"? Btw, philosophy has no such thing, anyways. That is, philosophy has in fact a number of conflicting methodologies, and saying that you like its entirety means you don't really understand what you are talking about, or don't really care. So scrap generalities and move on to concrete heart-felt details that will grasp your readers. Good luck!

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TTTennis
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Re: Personal Statement Help/Critque--take a look!

Postby TTTennis » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:29 pm

A few things I noticed from reading through it once. These are my suggestions, take em or leave em...

murrps wrote:Any advice is appreciated!

About four years ago I was slouched in front of my high school guidance counselor for routine college advising in which I was met with an open-ended request to describe myself in one word; I paused, smirked, and then responded, “ultimate.” The implications of my response should suggest nothing less than ridiculous and I knew that. I knew that I was supposed to give a praising word that would convince others of my prowess but I didn’t care. Ironically, however, it was my flaw of passivity and hubris that would put me in a position to achieve my greatest strength.

I walked out of the office reflecting on the probing questions of my counselor. The feelings of apathy were pressingly familiar. As I made my way back into class, I slouched into another chair and proceeded to take another test for which I hadn’t prepared. The predicament wasn’t notably unusual for a student of my temperament; I prided myself in scoring high test marks sans studying. With slightly above average grades and negligible effort, I found no reason to explore my subjects any deeper than required. Hence, my response to the counselor in my one-word descriptor really captured the height of my arrogance at the time.

In tandem with this complacency, however, was a biting sense of uncertainty. It was nearing the end of my senior year and college deadlines were quickly approaching. Being indifferent for the past four years wasn’t conducive to finding a particular interest, to say the least. Yet, despite my apprehensiveness in regards to what I would do at college, I wanted to at least get it; the base reasoning of not wanting to work at Ledo’s Pizza for the rest of my life compelled me to apply. In this way, I viewed college, like high school, as another requirement.

At orientation I was handed a paper filled with possible majors. I skimmed down the page and eyed over criminal justice. It was the field my father had worked under his entire life and so I believed it to be a suitable start. And that it was. During one of the classes, we began to examine the link between morality and punishment and I was surprised to see that we could debate what the truth of the matter was; something I always enjoyed doing, but never thought it had a place in school. For the first time, I stayed after and pressed further. My intrigue was short-lived, nonetheless, as the class, and others of the major, became increasingly focused towards police work—something of which I had no desire in pursuing.

As I was signing up for classes my sophomore year I had a sick feeling that college would be a dismal repeat of high school. With the class requirements laid before me, I noticed I had the choice of introduction to philosophy or introduction to religion. I just so happened to choose philosophy on a mere whim. And although my decision was capricious, it had a lasting effect on my academic trajectory. The introductory course was anomalous to any prior class I had taken and as it literally put me in aporia[strike]—a state of puzzlement—[/strike] (don't define the word or don't use a word that you think you have to define for the reader -- it isn't very effective) I realized I had met my match. Philosophy frustrated my arrogant attitude as I was being forced, for the first time, to really think about the subject matter. No longer could I review scribbled notes five minutes before a test and walk out feeling satisfied. As a result, it provided a seriousness about learning that I had up till then brushed off with the quip of “ultimate.” A few weeks later I found myself situated in front of the philosophy department chair with a declaration to change majors.

The best thing about being a philosophy major was that it showed me what I was certain about. I was certain in my interest in an analytical approach to learning: constructing arguments and the use of the laws of reasoning to form those arguments. It was no insignificant wonder why I was attracted to arguing the place morality had in punishment during that criminal justice class. Furthermore, not only would my first logic class teach me all the laws of inference but it would also reveal my uncanny knack (That's kind of a bold statement. I hope your LSAT score backs this up. Not sure if the top grade in two classes is enough proof to warrant the use of "uncanny knack") for logical reasoning. I ended up consistently scoring the highest grade on every test that was administered for that class and would repeat this again in the next level of the course. In contrast to my earlier self, I wasn’t afraid to admit, much to the dismay of classmates, that I even enjoyed working through unassigned logic problems.

While I was passionate about the entire methodology of philosophy I still had an attraction for criminal justice. Exploring the field, specifically in its relation to morality, had piqued my interest, but, as mentioned earlier, the program offered at my school didn’t seem apt to my own proclivities. Studying law, on the other hand, is a perfect synthesis between my remaining interest in criminal justice and my passion for analytical reasoning.

When I look back at myself, four years ago, sitting in the counselor’s office, I recognize that I really never had an appropriate word to describe myself; I had meandered through high school and part of college with no objective in mind and hadn’t the vaguest idea of what I wanted. I claimed that I was ultimate. I just didn’t know what I was ultimately about.


Overall, I like it. It is a good start. I agree with managamy in that you might want to "abbreviate the description of your complacency." Best of luck.

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JustDude
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Re: Personal Statement Help/Critque--take a look!

Postby JustDude » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:03 am

About four years ago I was slouched in front of my high school guidance counselor for routine college advising in which I was met with an open-ended request to describe myself in one word; I paused, smirked, and then responded, “ultimate.” The implications of my response should suggest nothing less than ridiculous and I knew that. I knew that I was supposed to give a praising word that would convince others of my prowess but I didn’t care. Ironically, however, it was my flaw of passivity and hubris that would put me in a position to achieve my greatest strength.

I walked out of the office reflecting on the probing questions of my counselor. The feelings of apathy were pressingly familiar. As I made my way back into class, I slouched into another chair and proceeded to take another test for which I hadn’t prepared. The predicament wasn’t notably unusual for a student of my temperament; I prided myself in scoring high test marks sans studying. With slightly above average grades and negligible effort, I found no reason to explore my subjects any deeper than required. Hence, my response to the counselor in my one-word descriptor really captured the height of my arrogance at the time.

In tandem with this complacency, however, was a biting sense of uncertainty. It was nearing the end of my senior year and college deadlines were quickly approaching. Being indifferent for the past four years wasn’t conducive to finding a particular interest, to say the least. Yet, despite my apprehensiveness in regards to what I would do at college, I wanted to at least get it; the base reasoning of not wanting to work at Ledo’s Pizza for the rest of my life compelled me to apply. In this way, I viewed college, like high school, as another requirement.



Ok here you spent three paragraphs describing what a douche you are. You probably managed to encompass most of the possible negative traits that are certain to annoy admission officer, You are described yourself as completely unmotivated (You description of "no effort"), bragging (above average "marks" with minimal effort), complacent (you said it), arrogant and apathetic. I can only wonder what was your motivation in doing that. Well, if you are betting on showing yourself as a changed man later on, it's going to be an uphill battle. Plus the language in which you wrote it, still betray that you still are an arrogant douche. This particular quote "flaw of passivity and hubris that would put me in a position to achieve my greatest strength" reeks of arrogance.

Also I love your motivation to go to college - Ledo's pizza. Way to insult people working there and to show yourself as complete fool. Which pizzeria is responsible for compelling you to go to Law School???.. Dont be afraid, share the brand.


At orientation I was handed a paper filled with possible majors. I skimmed down the page and eyed over criminal justice. It was field my father had worked under his entire life and so I believed it to be suitable start. And that it was. During one of the classes, we began to examine the link between morality and punishment and I was surprised to see that we could debate what the truth of the matter was; something I always enjoyed doing, but never thought it had a place in school. For the first time, I stayed after and pressed further. My intrigue was short-lived, nonetheless, as the class, and others of the major, became increasingly focused towards police work—something of which I had no desire in pursuing.



This is another very convincing paragraph. You managed to deliver to the reader that even if you will change in the future (your interest in class), this could be a very short aberration, and soon you will be the old you, an arrogant unmotivated douche. You also managed to show your lack of intellectual curiosity and your whimsical choice of criminal justice will certainly imply that your choice of law is whimsical as well.

As I was signing up for classes my sophomore year I had a sick feeling that college would be a dismal repeat of high school. With the class requirements laid before me, I noticed I had the choice of introduction to philosophy or introduction to religion. I just so happened to choose philosophy on a mere whim.


Good way to reinforce your academic apathy and whimsical nature. We are half way through here and I am already beginning to wonder wheter you are even going to rebut your image of a complete moron or you just want to portray yourself as a douche.

And although my decision was capricious, it had a lasting effect on my academic trajectory. The introductory course was anomalous to any prior class I had taken and as it literally put me in aporia—a state of puzzlement—I realized I had met my match. Philosophy frustrated my arrogant attitude as I was being forced, for the first time, to really think about the subject matter. No longer could I review scribbled notes five minutes before a test and walk out feeling satisfied. As a result, it provided a seriousness about learning that I had up till then brushed off with the quip of “ultimate.” A few weeks later I found myself situated in front of the philosophy department chair with a declaration to change majors.


Good job, you used an SAT word (aporia) and explained what it is. Yeah, now I see, you are well rounded. And yet again, we are back to your "reviewing scribbled notes 5 minutes before the test". If you want to show academic excellence - show your high GPA. Having mediocre GPA and insisting that you didn't do anything to earn it will not portray you as an intellectual. More like a lazy douche in crappy college. Also, if you UG institution is some state school, then there is nothing to brag about buddy.

The best thing about being a philosophy major was that it showed me what I was certain about. I was certain in my interest in an analytical approach to learning: constructing arguments and the use of the laws of reasoning to form those arguments. It was no insignificant wonder why I was attracted to arguing the place morality had in punishment during that criminal justice class. Furthermore, not only would my first logic class teach me all the laws of inference but it would also reveal my uncanny knack for logical reasoning. I ended up consistently scoring the highest grade on every test that was administered for that class and would repeat this again in the next level of the course. In contrast to my earlier self, I wasn’t afraid to admit, much to the dismay of classmates, that I even enjoyed working through unassigned logic problems.


"uncanny knack for logical reasoning." Really??????? Really???.. Uncanny???? And who told you this???... I heard a good suggestion for PS: "show, dont tell". I will rephras it for your ego. "Show, dont brag, well may be brag a little" And yet again, for the third time we have this incredibly arrogant "I ended up consistently scoring the highest grade on every test that was administered for that class". GPA shows that. No reason to rub this. What is your GPA by the way???

While I was passionate about the entire methodology of philosophy I still had an attraction for criminal justice. Exploring the field, specifically in its relation to morality, had piqued my interest, but, as mentioned earlier, the program offered at my school didn’t seem apt to my own proclivities. Studying law, on the other hand, is a perfect synthesis between my remaining interest in criminal justice and my passion for analytical reasoning.


This gotta be the lamest excuse for studying law. Apparently you percive it as a combination of two classes that you were mildly interested in. Thats a dedication right there. Especially after your description of yourself as whimsical and lazy person. Also, badmouthing your Alma Mater could be a bad idea in a personal statement for a School application. But you said that you are an arrogant douche and I did not expect any better.

When I look back at myself, four years ago, sitting in the counselor’s office, I recognize that I really never had an appropriate word to describe myself;


May I suggest "douche". It really does describe you. Appropriately.

I had meandered through high school and part of college with no objective in mind and hadn’t the vaguest idea of what I wanted. I claimed that I was ultimate. I just didn’t know what I was ultimately about.


I could not think of more nauseating ending then playing with words Ultimate and ultimately. Ultimate douche I guess that's who you are. I will be honest, if you were next to me I probably would punch you in a face right now. And yeah, I can bet you are Canadian.

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Clint Eastwood
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Re: Personal Statement Help/Critque--take a look!

Postby Clint Eastwood » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:06 am

Ladies and gentlemen, he has returned.

murrps
Posts: 2
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Re: Personal Statement Help/Critque--take a look!

Postby murrps » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:58 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone. Making some much needed changes now!

And I suppose I should thank Justdude for ripping me a new one.
To answer your question, my GPA is a 3.971




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