VERY rough first draft -- PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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whattt
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VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby whattt » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:05 am

deleted
Last edited by whattt on Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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billyez
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby billyez » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:08 am

I went through two paragraphs already and I can immediately say that this feels like I'm reading a transcript - a summation of facts rather than a personal story.

Why is there an asterisk by Maria's name?

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whattt
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby whattt » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:12 am

Shit, you're probably right. Okay, I can work on that.

Why is there an asterisk by Maria's name?

She's on the organization's website and someone recommended that I change her name since I didn't exactly get permission. Is that foolish?

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:23 am

This is extremely scattered. There is absolutely no continuity between your discussion of time abroad and Maria.

Why did you mention these three different experiences without highlighting personal growth? You need to focus on displaying strengths with clear examples or mention weaknesses while showing self-awareness coupled with development.

All I saw in this draft was that you spent some time overseas while facing a language barrier and you feel sorry for people that were less fortunate.

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Adjudicator
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby Adjudicator » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:25 am

Great beginning, in my opinion; I like how you tell the story. Your writing is strong and I think the tone feels natural and very appropriate for the genre. I think the cross-cultural aspects will work in your favor, as many schools seem to be looking for that.

As the above poster suggested, I would try to tie everything together a bit more, and relate it more to yourself and "why law school."

But, I thought it was a good read.

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billyez
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby billyez » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:30 am

Adjudicator, I'm glad you posted that you liked his style of writing and like his intro because it allows for a proper critique to occur. Could you tell me what you liked about the intro and his approach to his story? Critiques get a lot better when folks have different viewpoints on matters.

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whattt
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby whattt » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:35 am

The scattering is what I've been most worried about, so this is great advice. Thanks!

I would definitely appreciate differing viewpoints since I'm sure all the adcomms won't agree. Gotta try to make everyone happy :)

Do you think I have too many anecdotes/stories, or is it simply the way they're presented?

I just have too many ideas flying around!

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billyez
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby billyez » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:40 am

whattt wrote:I just have too many ideas flying around!


Besides the rather hollow voice the PS seems to be written in, I think this is the biggest problem. You talk about one experience and then jump to another without much use of any transition. As others have rightfully ntoed. Stick to one, at the most two, ideas and develop them exclusively.

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whattt
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby whattt » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:44 am

Awesome, I can definitely do that. Thanks :)

If it were less scattered, would that help the voice?

I can toss the entire thing if its that bad ...

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Adjudicator
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby Adjudicator » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:45 am

billyez wrote:
whattt wrote:I just have too many ideas flying around!


Besides the rather hollow voice the PS seems to be written in, I think this is the biggest problem. You talk about one experience and then jump to another without much use of any transition. As others have rightfully ntoed. Stick to one, at the most two, ideas and develop them exclusively.


It is interesting that you call it a hollow voice, because I liked the voice... but perhaps it reminds me of my own writing? :)

I do agree that it needs more continuity and I would suggest bridging the anecdotes with some personal exposition where you really relate it to yourself.

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Adjudicator
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby Adjudicator » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:49 am

For what it is worth, if you're thinking about scrapping it or reworking it, I highly suggest that you keep the parts about Korea! Okay, this is just me talking, and I'm not an adcomm. But I found that opening very interesting, and I know that at least some schools like to hear about cross-cultural experiences. Maybe you can expand on it.

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kazu
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby kazu » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:40 am

I found the opening interesting too - something about the writing seems to pull the reader in.

However, I don't know if I necessarily agree with Adjudicator on keeping the Korea part, or at least keeping it in whole. While the paragraphs were interesting, I don't know if all of that is really necessary - I feel like it could be cut down to 1 paragraph and still be effective.

Also, I agree with everyone else in that it reads as extremely scattered. I literally went wtf? on the 3rd paragraph. Also, I feel like this needs more "you" - especially more positive sides of you. You definitely need to work more on making it more cohesive.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:21 am

Ten productive minutes trying to decode a tiny sticker attached to my door on Google Translator told me that I had exactly five days until the government was going to turn off my water''


Is very captivating, but unclear. How about:

Ten productive minutes trying to decode a tiny sticker attached to my door using Google Translator told me that I had exactly five days until the government was going to turn off my water.."

First off, I like this essay a lot. There are some awkwardly-used words/ phrases: "excruciatingly trying to explain my dilemma" is one of them, "lame attempts at charades" is another, but overall the connections you make shows a level of depth that is refreshing. I agree that it seems a bit scattered as you read, but it really comes together at the end -- there's that "oh, that's what the writer was doing" element, which is great, in my opinion.

Growing up in America speaking fluent English and Spanish meant I knew more or less what was going on around me at all times. Rarely did I feel linguistically lost and often I was lucky enough to receive instructions twice. I spent hours listening to stories about my grandparents’ immigration and their struggle to assimilate to American culture. I was captivated, but past entertaining anecdotes, the stories never truly struck a chord. My experiences in Korea and Cambodia gave me a unique perspective to my ancestors’ struggles as well as the challenges of other immigrants, illiterates and people who have been left unnoticed and without a real, orproverbial, voice.


Minus the minor strikethrough, this paragraph is really well done -- as someone who lives in an area where the predominant language is Spanish (and doesn't speak it fluently) I definitely have times where I feel "linguistically lost" -- highlighting the privilege that comes from speaking both English and Spanish is an excellent observation.


A couple of suggestions -- you need to give the reader context -- why are you in Korea?
What type of work are you doing with Maria? Why has Maria come to you for help? Something about drugs, I see, but perhaps you should be a bit more specific....

In the Cambodia paragraph -- you need context there too, why are you there? You have these extraordinarily rich experiences, but it is difficult to visualize, to truly understand, you as an individual. So provide context. I might even take that paragraph, and move it to the beginning:

"On a recent trip to Siem Reap, where I was doing X for X, I spoke with Khmer women, they told me this quote, it allowed me to reflect, here are some life stories that connect with that quote." It seems like the quote is the theme of the essay, so it might help resolve the "scattered" issues if you let the reader know from the get-go what you're trying to convey.

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Barbie
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby Barbie » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:36 am

I didn't really read others comments so sorry if I'm repeating anything.. but I thought it was a decent read. Your writing style works well with this piece. It isn't necessarily scattered, but it lacks transition. One or two sentences between the different aspects of the story would clear things up greatly. Also, you mention how you can relate to Maria and a situation you were put in, but not exactly how you grew from it. Delve more into what you gained from the experience, personally.
Hope my comments are of some help :)

CanadianWolf
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:43 am

Awkward & confusing. Lacks clarity (other than the third paragraph). The opposite of what law schools are seeking & the opposite of how good lawyers write.
Strive for an organized presentation showing clarity of thought expressed in crisp, clear sentences.

inmans
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby inmans » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:50 am

and ... I'm pretty sure the word "oriental" is frowned upon in most intellectual circles...

chymali
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby chymali » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:56 pm

It lacks a voice and it needs some major re-organizing. I'm not sure how your Korea story ties into Maria. In fact, I'm not even sure if your Korean story needs to be in there. I am assuming that you put it in because it shows that you know what it's like to be without a voice (like Maria), although these are two completely different situations. I would focus on one or the other, not both.

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emilybeth
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby emilybeth » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:01 pm

I'd find a new way to describe Maria rather than "orally capable," that's for sure.

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whattt
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby whattt » Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:53 pm

Haha okay thanks everyone! So the general idea is that I should make it more organized, and take one (or severely reduce) some stories- but unclear which one(s).

I thought about writing brief contexts, but its in my resume why (1) I was in Korea/Cambodia; and (2) the work I did at the organization with Maria (which, I mention in the real PS but I left out to post this). Do you think it's overkill to mention it again? I'm scared my essay will start to read a bit like a transcript/resume. :-/

Couple small things --
and ... I'm pretty sure the word "oriental" is frowned upon in most intellectual circles...

Is a certain type of medical clinic -- accupuncture, herbal remedies, etc. ... most people that have lived (or even visited) Asia would probably know this, but I also don't want to sound like a bigot, I'll look over that again

I'd find a new way to describe Maria rather than "orally capable," that's for sure.

Good catch.

Thanks everyone :) I'm definitely back to the drawing board with this one!

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Adjudicator
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Re: VERY rough first draft -- PS

Postby Adjudicator » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:28 pm

Keep it up. I think we can all agree that you are a capable writer, and that you have some interesting experience as well.




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