Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
dabbadon8
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Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby dabbadon8 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:31 pm

This is pretty rough, and the first one I have done. I feel I didn't include enough of what I will contribute. I could use some suggestions as to where to put that info. The rock band, death penalty, public interest, SAO etc are all referenced in my PS. I am trying to give a continuous picture. Also, how is the opening? Too informal?

Since I was old enough to understand the concept of college, my cousin Larry has been extolling the virtues of the University of Michigan. One would think his rambling’s would have been lost on me, a mere child of seven, but I am starting to wonder whether his attempted brainwashing succeeded, as Michigan is now my top choice for law school.
Though I am very fond of my eccentric cousin, he is certainly not my only reason for wanting to attend the University of Michigan. I intend on pursing a career in public interest that will allow me to utilize my background in psychology. I am especially interested in the continuing development of death penalty policy. I believe the opportunity to conduct research under Phoebe Ellsworth, a preeminent scholar in both psychology, law, and the death penalty in particular, would be an invaluable asset in achieving my academic and career goals. I am also interested in participating in the Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic in order to utilize and build upon the experience I gained while interning at the State Attorney’s Office.
In addition to the first class academic opportunities, Michigan’s excellent financial services offer a welcome relief from a characteristic difficulty of pursing a career in public interest. The financial leeway offered by the 2L Public Service Guarantee is crucial to my ability to accept low paying internship typical of the public interest field. Furthermore, the Debt Management/Loan Forgiveness Program alleviates the financial pressure of student loans that often discourages students like me from pursuing careers in public interest.
Michigan’s excellent academic and financial programs offer compelling reasons to attend. When the law school’s breathtaking architecture and Ann Arbor’s collegial atmosphere are taken into consideration, Michigan stands apart as my top choice for law schools. Larry didn’t even have to mention that Michigan law has it’s own student rock band “TJ Hooper and The Learned Hands.” I made sure to tell him to mention that to his next batch of future Michigan converts.

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thequest
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby thequest » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:50 pm

I would probably forget cousin Larry altogether and I would definitely loose the phrase “attempted brainwashing”.

maddox86
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby maddox86 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:53 pm

I don't know how these "Why ...." are usually written but it came off like you're choosing Michigan for the money !!

dabbadon8
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby dabbadon8 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:57 pm

maddox86 wrote:I don't know how these "Why ...." are usually written but it came off like you're choosing Michigan for the money !!


Thats a good point. I think I will change the focus of that paragraph to how they facilitate public interest careers with just a brief mention of the 2L guarantee.

Also, the opening is obviously an attempt at humor, you think I should be more direct?

maddox86
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby maddox86 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:00 pm

I'm usually one for humor in these things, it lets your personality shine through but I don't know about "cousin Larry"... LOL

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dutchstriker
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby dutchstriker » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:13 pm

Yes, less focus on the public interest financial stuff. I don't think Michigan is really any stronger than peer schools in that respect anyway.

"mere child of seven" sounds like forced pomposity.

I don't think you want to give the impression that you had to be brainwashed into thinking Michigan is a good school.

I think a personal connection is a good thing to start and end with, like bookends, but I'm not sure this cousin Larry story really does it. Maybe it could with some tweaking. Have you visited the school?

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby TheBigMediocre » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:15 pm

If you can subtlety line up the first letter of each line to read

F
U
C
K
O
S
U

you may get some points.

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cinefile 17
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby cinefile 17 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:15 pm

I don't know much about what "Why X?" statements are suppose to entail, so feel free to ignore my advice, but I do know Michigan. Everything you list in your essay seems like something you got off the website. What I get from it mostly is that you listened to your cousin talk about Michigan, and it grew on you. Also, that Michigan has good academics and financial aid programs. I'd imagine that a really good "Why Michigan" essay would not only convey why you want to go there, but that you understand and are a good fit for the schools culture, mission, and environment.

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blink
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby blink » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:17 pm

dabbadon8 wrote:I intend on pursing to pursue a career in public interest



Also, as much as Cousin Larry may have had an impact, Adcoms don't give a shit. It's like saying I want to go to Duke Law because I grew up loving their basketball team. Irrelevant.

dabbadon8
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby dabbadon8 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:21 pm

dutchstriker wrote:Yes, less focus on the public interest financial stuff. I don't think Michigan is really any stronger than peer schools in that respect anyway.

"mere child of seven" sounds like forced pomposity.

I don't think you want to give the impression that you had to be brainwashed into thinking Michigan is a good school.

I think a personal connection is a good thing to start and end with, like bookends, but I'm not sure this cousin Larry story really does it. Maybe it could with some tweaking. Have you visited the school?


No I haven't visited unfortunately, I don't think I will manage to get there before september when I want to submit my apps. It is an accurate thing to say I read their website, but I really don't have much else to go on beside that and what I have been told. The cousin larry thing is true, he actually met his wife there so I have two relatives. The brainwashing is a joke, but I I don't want them to risk thinking that, maybe I will reword or just rewrite the intro. I agree with the financial thing, and will phase that out. What else can I do short of visiting?

dabbadon8
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby dabbadon8 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:22 pm

blink wrote:
dabbadon8 wrote:I intend on pursing to pursue a career in public interest



Also, as much as Cousin Larry may have had an impact, Adcoms don't give a shit. It's like saying I want to go to Duke Law because I grew up loving their basketball team. Irrelevant.


I am completely aware of this. The larry bit is more for humor/personality and to draw some attention. Not a real reason, more a literary device. Not sure if it is effective or worth using, though a literary device none the less.

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cinefile 17
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby cinefile 17 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:32 pm

To make your essay sound less like it's from the website, I would search TLS for "Michigan 1L/2L/3Ls Answering Questions" threads to try to get a better idea of what the environment of the campus and law school is like and what makes Michigan LS unique. Also, I would just be truthful. What really puts Michigan at the top of the list for you (there are many schools that have good financial aid programs and good academics)?. Is it Ann Arbor? Do you like the feel of midwestern schools? The versatility of the degree? The school spirit and sense of community that Michigan instills in people? It's strong and long lasting reputation? What would make you choose Michigan over other schools of similar ranking?

03121202698008
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Re: Please critique an early "Why Michigan?" draft

Postby 03121202698008 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:49 pm

Make sure you mention that their death penalty clinic is the only one in the US that takes non-DNA cases. I must have heard that repeated a thousand times during the ASW so they obviously care about that fact...




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