Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Barbie
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Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:23 am

Here's a rough, rough draft. Missing a last sentence (or few). Please help with any advice/comments/critiques! It prob has tons of type-o's, I wrote it in an email because I still have to install Word my new laptop.. Thanks yall!


I walk into the room and meet dozens of puzzled glares. Squinted eyes trail me as I weave my way towards a seat in the corner. I know what they are thinking: Why is she here? I don’t blame them. I don’t look like they do. I’m barely twenty-one, my eyes are bright, and my hair is long and plentiful. It’s obvious that I’m new here, and they don’t think I belong. I’m still not sure I belong. At least, I wish that I didn’t. Someone finally musters the courage to scoot their seat next to mine and ask the question: “Why are you here?” I tilt my head towards the glass door which reads Moffit Cancer Center: Neuro-Oncology Department and respond “the same reason you are.”

This reason, as other patients have similarly experienced, is to obtain MRI results, recieve spinal taps, or discuss the progression and results of my treatments. I spend week after week dealing with the repercussions of having cancer, including frequent visits to the neuro-oncology and radiology departments at Moffitt, my surgeon's office, my physical therapist's office, and a series of other doctors pertaining to side effects and other necessary procedures, such as the preservation of my reproductive eggs. I haven't had many other options since the discovery of my tumor, a rare glioma; more specifically a malignant ependymoma.

The presence of this unwanted, cancerous clump has altered my life in an unexpected manner. My family, friends, and doctors expected to find me emotionally and phsyically drained and in a state of needing their care. Rather, they flock to watch me give speeches on behalf of the American Cancer Society at local highschools to raise money and spread the awareness of cancer. They collect newspaper clippings of the articles I write to inspire others like myself. They try to keep up with all the things I am doing to keep myself moving forward. I become inspired by inspiring others, and from my disease have found a new faith in myself. I found the strength to endure a very risky procedure which resulted in a week's time spent in the intensive care unit, and almost two month's in the hospital, while never withdrawaling from a single class in my full time schedule at my University. I became passionate about not letting my disease negatively impact my life, and instead allowed for it to propelled me into caring more about myself and my life than before. More than ever, I now strive to succed and achieve my goals, and more importantly, I now have complete faith in myself to do so.

My goal has long been to attend law school. My employment at a local law firm has given me the priveledge to work with and for people who are strong, kind, and using their professions to help those in need. Each week, I help the attorneys host free bankruptcy seminars and guide people struggling with the current economy on how to maintain their lives. Without charging a fee, they take the time to listen and aid the people of their community, who are often, like myself, stricken with steep medical bills and other hardships. My family has felt the reprucussions of extreme financial burden due to unpredicatble circumstance. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer only two months before my tumor was found. Our medical bills alone have forced my family to make great sacrifices, but each sacrifice has been made with grace: we are simply thankful to be alive. The attorney's I work understand life's burdens and genuinely strive to help people, rather than just expand their list of clients. This has continued to inspire me to pursue my law degree.

Through my disease I have found my own strength and voice; one I have been using to help raise awareness and aid for those who fight an often losing battle each day of their lives. I now dream to obtain a reputable law degree from XXX and give myself the opportunity to continue helping those who have been burdened by life's hardships. ......

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:38 am

nothin? its that bad? :(

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:49 am

Ok.. Ill beg... prettttty please?

J.Straw from Wichita
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby J.Straw from Wichita » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:55 am

jeez Barbie I'm on it. You have to read mine too then.

Alright. I think nobody's commented yet because this is a particularly strong PS. The opening paragraph definitely drew me in. You spent a good amount of time discussing how your disease made you stronger, great alternative to the sob story. You toot your horn for a little bit, I think that's fine, but maybe the sentence about writing articles that inspire others might come off a bit arrogant. This is nit-picking. Other than that, you tie in your career aspirations well. Are you interested in health law or anything like that? It might be a good place to include a bit about that if you're applying to specific programs. Well done.

Also I PM'd mine to you.
Last edited by J.Straw from Wichita on Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:55 am

J.Straw from Wichita wrote:jeez Barbie I'm on it. You have to read mine too then.


where at?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:03 am

I'll try, but I'm tired so please forgive me if my suggestions only address the obvious.
The first two paragraphs are very good.
The last paragraph is too much & needs to be deleted.
Paragraphs three & four need to be reworked to alter the tone to read in a slightly more detached manner. As an above poster wrote "you toot your horn once or twice too much" which has a numbing effect on the reader.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:14 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:05 am

CanadianWolf wrote:I'll try, but I tired so please forgive me if my suggestions only address the obvious.
The first two paragraphs are very good. The last paragraph is too much & needs to be deleted.


the last paragraph: the 2 liner? or the big one before it? the two liner is kinda the beginning to a conclusion (just the summary) is that the part you think is too much?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:11 am

Delete the last paragraph which is unfinished & contains only two lines. It's too redundant. You don't want to anesthesize the reader to your hardships & suffering.

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:12 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Delete the last paragraph which is unfinished & contains only two lines. It's too redundant. You don't want to anesthesize the reader to your hardships & suffering.


thanks! do you have an idea of how to newly approach an ending? also, does the PS feel (obv without a conclusion though) complete otherwise?

ballents
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby ballents » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:13 am

I don't have time to give any kind of intelligent critique because I need to go to bed. I wasn't planning on commenting at all, but after reading it I felt like someone needed to tell that it's really good. It's well written, engaging, and, most importantly, a truly inspiring story. If I worked admissions, I can't imagine trying to stand in your way.

I agree canadian wolf though; the last paragraph feels unnecessary. Although I don't know why you would want paragraphs 4 and especially 3 to read in a more detached manner. This is your story of not just surviving cancer, but thriving in the face of it. It's not a book review or an research paper. I think the emotion is what gives your essay strength.

Oh and you wrote withdrawaling instead of withdrawing.

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:17 am

ballents wrote:I don't have time to give any kind of intelligent critique because I need to go to bed. I wasn't planning on commenting at all, but after reading it I felt like someone needed to tell that it's really good. It's well written, engaging, and, most importantly, a truly inspiring story. If I worked admissions, I can't imagine trying to stand in your way.

I agree canadian wolf though; the last paragraph feels unnecessary. Although I don't know why you would want paragraphs 4 and especially 3 to read in a more detached manner. This is your story of not just surviving cancer, but thriving in the face of it. It's not a book review or an research paper. I think the emotion is what gives your essay strength.

Oh and you wrote withdrawaling instead of withdrawing.


Thank you :)

CanadianWolf
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:22 am

Based on the content & structure of your personal statement, you don't need a fifth paragraph unless you are able to share substantial insights not yet presented.
This is a very good rough draft that needs a bit less repetition & an injection of insightful wisdom.
Please don't try to read too much into my remarks as I am very tired. Also I read essays quickly & only once because that is essentially how admissions officers will review your personal statement. Also I read to understand the person & not to address grammatical & structural issues unless necessary to convey the essence of the individual.

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:24 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Based on the content & structure of your personal statement, you don't need a fifth paragraph unless you are able to share substantial insights not yet presented.
This is a very good rough draft that needs a bit less repetition & an injection of insightful wisdom.
Please don't try to read too much into my remarks as I am very tired. Also I read essays quickly & only once because that is essentially how admissions officers will review your personal statement. Also I read to understand the person & not to address grammatical & structural issues unless necessary to convey the essence of the individual.


(Sorry for the questions-- I know you're tired!!) so completely remove any type of conclusion (unless I can conjure up some non-cliche wisdom... ) and leave it with Para 4?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:28 am

To be blunt, the final paragraph is too much for the reader to bear. Don't numb the reader to your hardships, sufferings & triumphs. Too much detail, too little insight. Your writing really isn't a personal statement offering sensitive perceptions as much as it is a letter detailing events & activities.
I know people that I think handle stressful situations as you do. Have you ever seen the Academy Award winning film "Ordinary People" ? It was released in 1980, directed by Robert Redford, starring Mary Tyler Moore, Timothy Hutton & Donald Sutherland. It may help if you understand the charactor played by Mary Tyler Moore & how she deals with tragedy & unpleasant situations.
I suspect that your writing style is similiar to your presentation manner.

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existenz
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby existenz » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:39 am

Hey Barbie. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this essay. Obviously there are a lot of typos and grammar problems. You need to iron those out, and it will take more than just a spellcheck. Down the road, get the best writers you know to do a proofread.

More detailed critique:

In the first paragraph I was thinking "Why is she so full of herself" bragging about your youth and hair, etc., until you get to the kicker that you are at a cancer center and that you have cancer. That made me feel like an ass for prejudging you. Fairly effective and surprising intro.

Second paragraph -- what treatments did you receive? Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, drugs, surgery? Other than spinal taps you are a tad vague. I'd try to be a bit more specific here about what you were going through.

Third paragraph -- I like what you are trying to do here, saying that instead of letting cancer ruin your life you took the bull by the horns so to speak. But it does come across as a bit pretentious and showy. Maybe demonstrate a bit more humility here, rather than make yourself out to be the greatest cancer cure advocate ever. Too often you make it sound like your friends and family are your groupies. "They flock to watch me", "they collect newspaper clippings", "they try to keep up" are just too much. Sometimes it is enough to simply describe the activities you have done without trying to make it sound like you are the most amazing person in your world. Trust me, other law school applicants have done more and been through worse. Be proud but humble.

Fourth paragraph - "My goal has long been to attend law school." is a problematic line. How long? Please don't say you've always wanted to be a lawyer, that is cliched. Instead you should start off with "Today, my goal is to attend law school and continue my advocacy for others." The rest of the paragraph is ok except for some of the aforementioned spelling and sentence structure issues. I barely understand what this sentence means: "The attorney's I work understand life's burdens and genuinely strive to help people, rather than just expand their list of clients."

Last paragraph - Get rid of the world "reputable". Otherwise nothing really wrong here.

Hope this helps.

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trialjunky
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby trialjunky » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:17 am

Barbie wrote:I walk into the room and meet dozens of puzzled glares. Squinted eyes trail me as I weave my way towards a seat in the corner. I would start this off stronger, I guess your going for intrique in these first paragraph which is fine but it needs to be stronger, especially the 1st 2 sentences which really sets the tone for your PS.I know what they are thinking: Why is she here? I don’t blame them. I don’t look like they do. I’m barely twenty-one, my eyes are bright, and my hair is long and plentiful <--I understand the point you are trying to make but it sounds a little like bragging. I would focus more on the age but lose the stuff about your hair and eyes.. It’s obvious that I’m new here, and they don’t think I belong. I’m still not sure I belong. At least, I wish that I didn’t. Someone finally musters the courage to scoot their seat next to mine and ask the question: “Why are you here?” <<---If this was my PS I would prolly start this paragraph with this sentence. It's more interesting. It indicates you are at a place where you shouldnt be or normally not atI tilt my head towards the glass door which reads Moffit Cancer Center: Neuro-Oncology Department and respond “the same reason you are.”

This reason, as other patients have similarly experienced <--I dont care about other people unless they are altering something and making an impact in this situation they are irrelevant and shouldn't be pointed out, is to obtain MRI results, recieve spinal taps, or discuss the progression and results of my treatments. I spendt week after week dealing with the repercussions of having cancer, including frequent visits to the neuro-oncology and radiology departments at Moffitt, my surgeon's office, my physical therapist's office, and a series of other doctors pertaining to side effects and other necessary procedures, such as the preservation of my reproductive eggs. I haven't had many other options since the discovery of my tumor, a rare glioma; more specifically a malignant ependymoma. You've used the word "other" 4 times in this paragraph. This paragraph is a bit passive and is just a laundry list of things you had to go through. It doesn't really explain how you felt about any of it. It's one thing to have cancer which I'm sure adcomms have read about, but they way it affected you is different from any one else's experience

The presence of this unwanted, cancerous clump has altered my life in an unexpected manner. My family, friends, and doctors expected to find me emotionally and phsyically drained and in a state of needing their care. Rather, they flock to watch me give speeches on behalf of the American Cancer Society at local highschools to raise money and spread the awareness of cancer. They collect newspaper clippings of the articles I write to inspire others like myself. They try to keep up with all the things I am doing to keep myself moving forward. From the word "rather" to this point, this is all about what other people think and feel about you. It seems very self-involved. Personally, I would scrap the whole thing. I dont care what they think about you, I care about what you've done, what you went through and how it has altered YOU. I become inspired by inspiring others<--very pretentious, and from my disease have found a new faith in myself <--I like. I found the strength to endure a very risky procedure which resulted in a week's time spent in the intensive care unit, and almost two month's in the hospital, while never withdrawaling from a single class in my full time schedule at my University. I became passionate about not letting my disease negatively impact my life, and instead allowed for it to propelled me into caring more about myself and my life than before. More than ever, I now strive to succed and achieve my goals, and more importantly, I now have complete faith in myself to do so.

My goal has long been to attend law school. My employment at a local law firm has given me the priveledge to work with and for people who are strong, kind, and using their professions to help those in need. Each week, I help the attorneys host free bankruptcy seminars and guide people struggling with the current economy on how to maintain their lives. Without charging a fee, they take the time to listen and aid the people of their community, who are often, like myself, stricken with steep medical bills and other hardships. My family has felt the reprucussions of extreme financial burden due to unpredicatble<--spelling circumstance. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer only two months before my tumor was found. Our medical bills alone have forced my family to make great sacrifices, but each sacrifice has been made with grace: we are simply thankful to be alive. The attorney's I work understand life's burdens and genuinely strive to help people, rather than just expand their list of clients. This has continued to inspire me to pursue my law degree.

Through my disease I have found my own strength and voice; one I have been using to help raise awareness and aid for those who fight an often losing battle each day of their lives. I now dream to obtain a reputable law degree from XXX and give myself the opportunity to continue helping those who have been burdened by life's hardships. ......


I didn't read the other reviews so I might have hit on things they've already covered. My critique is totally subjective. My comments are simply recommendations that you can trash/keep. I fizzed out at the end, sorry. You're my girl so I want your PS to be awesome; so, I hope you aren't offended.

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:42 pm

trialjunky wrote:
Barbie wrote:I walk into the room and meet dozens of puzzled glares. Squinted eyes trail me as I weave my way towards a seat in the corner. I would start this off stronger, I guess your going for intrique in these first paragraph which is fine but it needs to be stronger, especially the 1st 2 sentences which really sets the tone for your PS.I know what they are thinking: Why is she here? I don’t blame them. I don’t look like they do. I’m barely twenty-one, my eyes are bright, and my hair is long and plentiful <--I understand the point you are trying to make but it sounds a little like bragging. I would focus more on the age but lose the stuff about your hair and eyes.. It’s obvious that I’m new here, and they don’t think I belong. I’m still not sure I belong. At least, I wish that I didn’t. Someone finally musters the courage to scoot their seat next to mine and ask the question: “Why are you here?” <<---If this was my PS I would prolly start this paragraph with this sentence. It's more interesting. It indicates you are at a place where you shouldnt be or normally not atI tilt my head towards the glass door which reads Moffit Cancer Center: Neuro-Oncology Department and respond “the same reason you are.”

This reason, as other patients have similarly experienced <--I dont care about other people unless they are altering something and making an impact in this situation they are irrelevant and shouldn't be pointed out, is to obtain MRI results, recieve spinal taps, or discuss the progression and results of my treatments. I spendt week after week dealing with the repercussions of having cancer, including frequent visits to the neuro-oncology and radiology departments at Moffitt, my surgeon's office, my physical therapist's office, and a series of other doctors pertaining to side effects and other necessary procedures, such as the preservation of my reproductive eggs. I haven't had many other options since the discovery of my tumor, a rare glioma; more specifically a malignant ependymoma. You've used the word "other" 4 times in this paragraph. This paragraph is a bit passive and is just a laundry list of things you had to go through. It doesn't really explain how you felt about any of it. It's one thing to have cancer which I'm sure adcomms have read about, but they way it affected you is different from any one else's experience

The presence of this unwanted, cancerous clump has altered my life in an unexpected manner. My family, friends, and doctors expected to find me emotionally and phsyically drained and in a state of needing their care. Rather, they flock to watch me give speeches on behalf of the American Cancer Society at local highschools to raise money and spread the awareness of cancer. They collect newspaper clippings of the articles I write to inspire others like myself. They try to keep up with all the things I am doing to keep myself moving forward. From the word "rather" to this point, this is all about what other people think and feel about you. It seems very self-involved. Personally, I would scrap the whole thing. I dont care what they think about you, I care about what you've done, what you went through and how it has altered YOU. I become inspired by inspiring others<--very pretentious, and from my disease have found a new faith in myself <--I like. I found the strength to endure a very risky procedure which resulted in a week's time spent in the intensive care unit, and almost two month's in the hospital, while never withdrawaling from a single class in my full time schedule at my University. I became passionate about not letting my disease negatively impact my life, and instead allowed for it to propelled me into caring more about myself and my life than before. More than ever, I now strive to succed and achieve my goals, and more importantly, I now have complete faith in myself to do so.

My goal has long been to attend law school. My employment at a local law firm has given me the priveledge to work with and for people who are strong, kind, and using their professions to help those in need. Each week, I help the attorneys host free bankruptcy seminars and guide people struggling with the current economy on how to maintain their lives. Without charging a fee, they take the time to listen and aid the people of their community, who are often, like myself, stricken with steep medical bills and other hardships. My family has felt the reprucussions of extreme financial burden due to unpredicatble<--spelling circumstance. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer only two months before my tumor was found. Our medical bills alone have forced my family to make great sacrifices, but each sacrifice has been made with grace: we are simply thankful to be alive. The attorney's I work understand life's burdens and genuinely strive to help people, rather than just expand their list of clients. This has continued to inspire me to pursue my law degree.

Through my disease I have found my own strength and voice; one I have been using to help raise awareness and aid for those who fight an often losing battle each day of their lives. I now dream to obtain a reputable law degree from XXX and give myself the opportunity to continue helping those who have been burdened by life's hardships. ......


I didn't read the other reviews so I might have hit on things they've already covered. My critique is totally subjective. My comments are simply recommendations that you can trash/keep. I fizzed out at the end, sorry. You're my girl so I want your PS to be awesome; so, I hope you aren't offended.


Not offended at all :) I have gone through a ton of different intros, and this is the only one I've liked so far for my PS enough to keep around for a while. And the part you crossed out in the third paragraph I feel like is the main point of the ENTIRE PS, so maybe I worded it wrong. It worries me that if you crossed that out, you didn't get the point I was getting at in total (in fact I think that is the only two sentences that genuinely shows, rather than tells, the point of this PS point blank. Which leads me to consider trashing the entire copy.

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:49 pm

existenz wrote:Hey Barbie. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this essay. Obviously there are a lot of typos and grammar problems. You need to iron those out, and it will take more than just a spellcheck. Down the road, get the best writers you know to do a proofread.

More detailed critique:

In the first paragraph I was thinking "Why is she so full of herself" bragging about your youth and hair, etc., until you get to the kicker that you are at a cancer center and that you have cancer. That made me feel like an ass for prejudging you. Fairly effective and surprising intro.

Second paragraph -- what treatments did you receive? Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, drugs, surgery? Other than spinal taps you are a tad vague. I'd try to be a bit more specific here about what you were going through.

Third paragraph -- I like what you are trying to do here, saying that instead of letting cancer ruin your life you took the bull by the horns so to speak. But it does come across as a bit pretentious and showy. Maybe demonstrate a bit more humility here, rather than make yourself out to be the greatest cancer cure advocate ever. Too often you make it sound like your friends and family are your groupies. "They flock to watch me", "they collect newspaper clippings", "they try to keep up" are just too much. Sometimes it is enough to simply describe the activities you have done without trying to make it sound like you are the most amazing person in your world. Trust me, other law school applicants have done more and been through worse. Be proud but humble.

Fourth paragraph - "My goal has long been to attend law school." is a problematic line. How long? Please don't say you've always wanted to be a lawyer, that is cliched. Instead you should start off with "Today, my goal is to attend law school and continue my advocacy for others." The rest of the paragraph is ok except for some of the aforementioned spelling and sentence structure issues. I barely understand what this sentence means: "The attorney's I work understand life's burdens and genuinely strive to help people, rather than just expand their list of clients."

Last paragraph - Get rid of the world "reputable". Otherwise nothing really wrong here.

Hope this helps.


blunt but extremely helpful, thanks :)

second paragraph- I didn't want it to turn into a sob story discussing the nastyness of some treatments, which is why I just mentioned "radiology department" etc... thinking it might be a subtle way?

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Barbie
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Re: Rough Draft -- PLEASE help :)

Postby Barbie » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:33 pm

HERE IS THE EDITED VERSION, PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU THINK IT IS AN IMPROVEMENT :) :) :

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=125507




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