First Draft- Any commentary welcome (UPDATED)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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truffleshuffle
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First Draft- Any commentary welcome (UPDATED)

Postby truffleshuffle » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:15 am

See below
Last edited by truffleshuffle on Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Fresh
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby Fresh » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:48 am

truffleshuffle wrote: I hope to further my education and my personal growth through the study of law, and, wherever I end up, I hope to stop “studying abroad” and start calling it home.


I think that you need to discuss what stopping "studying abroad" has to do with the pursuit of a legal education. I don't mean to be rude at all, but I have no idea what the CT vs TX has to do with why you want to go to law school. Couldn't you just move somewhere and live there to "stop studying abroad" without going to law school?

The first thing you need to do is think about how law school relates to the whole of your essay, and make that its primary focus.

Positives: your writing is clear (minus a few errors); you make interesting comparisons

CanadianWolf
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:49 am

Is this for your UConn application ?

P.S. Although I agree, this sentence "October is a time for football, not the World Series" will make you lots of friends as well as lots of non-friends.

blsingindisguise
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:52 am

Scrap it, start over. This has nothing to do with attending law school, plus it's riddled with cliches and grammatical errors and doesn't tell me much about you as a candidate. You're still in the mindset of writing an essay for college.

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truffleshuffle
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby truffleshuffle » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:57 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Is this for your UConn application ?


Everywhere but there :lol: . I'm only applying to Uconn at the request of my parents and they are paying the app fee. I don't plan on returning to CT.


I feel like TLS is pretty divided on the "Why Law" part in a PS. Is it really necessary?

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Fresh
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby Fresh » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:59 am

truffleshuffle wrote:I feel like TLS is pretty divided on the "Why Law" part in a PS. Is it really necessary?


I don't think it'll hurt to explain why you're applying to law school when you're... applying to law school.

CanadianWolf
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:01 am

No, it's not necessary unless specifically requested by the essay prompt. Your personal statement contained a few whimsical insights that I found entertaining.

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neimanmarxist
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby neimanmarxist » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:07 am

the good news is that you're a good writer.
The bad news is that your PS veers strongly toward the whiny and baselessly negative (which you put a thin, positive spin on. Seriously? People from CT look to NY or Boston for their identities? This statement is just.... no. The way it comes off is as you complaining about the other people in the state and asserting that you're different, humbler and more content to be where you're from. Problem: you really just don't know what the rest of the people in the state are thinking, even if you think you do. )

As for the "do I have to write my law school personal statement about law school " question: This is not a literary exercise. If you aren't directly telling them why you want to go to law school, you should be revealing something about your identity that will make them believe that you would be a great lawyer/law student. That's just my opinon.

Also, I think there are too many references to sports in this essay that don't really reveal anything about your identity except that you like sports, or watching sports. Careful with that. you want to come off as sharp and intellectually capable, something I believe your writing does for you. But seriously, world series and football in October? Is this a way of classifying people? I have no idea what that means, and I imagine a lot of admissions officers won't either. Don't come off as the sort of person that assumes everyone shares your interests.

blsingindisguise
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:10 am

I don't think it absolutely has to be "why law" but if the prompt is open-ended (i.e. doesn't specifically ask for something else) I think that's a better default option. After all, I'm an admissions guy. I read this essay. I'm looking for candidates who are first and foremost serious and ready to excel academically and commit themselves to a legal career. I read your essay -- what is it supposed to tell me about you? I mean you sound like a cool guy and all, but I'm some law dean and I don't give a shit if you're a cool guy. Or if I do, it's a secondary consideration. You do have a nice, breezy tone and a sense of humor and that's good, but there's not much else in this essay.

blsingindisguise
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:19 am

Also if anything I think this would make a little more sense as a U-T app. If you're applying to, say, Indiana and writing about how Texas is better than Connecticut it just seems a little off target.

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GoodToBeTheKing
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby GoodToBeTheKing » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:19 am

truffleshuffle wrote:Do a good deed and tell me honestly how you feel about it. 161, 3.75, Whitey, pretty boring life. This is supposed to be a general PS, but does it come off as too Texas-centric? Do any Texans out there have a problem with how I described Texans? What should I clear up or further explain?

Thanks to everyone who replies

Most college students study abroad in exotic locales,I think you should put a "period" here I went to Texas. Coming from Connecticut, Texasseemed like a whole other country. was whole other country. One thing is clear about Texans: they are proud to be Texanperiod here., regardless of culture, creed, ethnicity, or color.comma Everybody idolizes the cowboy. Everyone remembers the Alamocomma. Almost every Texan seems to have a firm grasp of these basic tenetscomma. However, in Connecticut, state pride is an alien concept, and there are no universal tenets; instead the whole state divides itself along one universal argument: Red Sox v. Yankees.

Opposite of the inward looking Texans, people from Connecticut look outwards towards New York City and Boston for their identity. It is hard to grow up in between these two cities and not find yourself identifying with one or the other. Honestly, I will be the first to admit, life in “The Big Apple” sounds a lot more appealing than Hartford, CT, “The Insurance Capital of the World.” But I do not identify with either city. I grew up in Connecticut’s “Quiet Corner,” the most rural area between Washington D.C. and Boston. I spent my summers working on my grandparent’s orchard living about as differently from “life in the big city” as one can get. Even a Red Sox-Yankee game puts me to sleep.

Every time I tell someone I am from Connecticut there is a sort of eerie silence, as if they do not know what that means. Yet, even when I had resisted the allure of New York and Boston, I was sadly one of those people as well. Did I leave Connecticut because I was not proud to be from there? What do you even even call someone from Connecticut? Connecticutian? Nutmegger? How can I be proud of a place if I cannot identify with it? These are the questions that popped into my head, and yet I had no answers.

I learned that to Texans it did not matter if I identified myself with New York or Boston. I learned I was a Yankee transplant all the same, and I embraced it. It made me think of the “Misplaced Texan” bumper sticker I had seen when touring colleges. A few of my family and friends in Connecticut do not see it as the type of label one should take pride in, and I will admit it lumps me together with thousands of people I have nothing in common with, but so would Connecticutian, Nutmegger, or whatever you call someone from Connecticut.
I think the vagueness of the title is its true beauty. Being a Texan or a New Yorker describes more about the individual than simply their origin, but Yankee transplant does not.

I know I am not like the majority of people in Connecticut. I do not dream of living in Manhattan or among the cobblestones of Boston. To me, October is time for football, not the World Series. Nonetheless, I am still a Yankee transplant, and for the first time I have a title I am comfortable wearing. However, just because some Texans and New Yorkers see the idea of leaving their home as treasonous, does not mean I am not proud of Connecticut. I realize that I left Connecticut not because I am ashamed of it, but because I want to experience different places, cultures, and lifestyles. I am still proud to be from Connecticut, proud to have grown up “out in the boondocks,” and proud of the hard-working, independent, and open-minded individual that I have become as the result of that upbringing. My personal experiences in Texas have provided me a new appreciation for what I have and a better understanding of myself. I hope to further my education and my personal growth through the study of law, and, wherever I end up, I hope to stop “studying abroad” and start calling it home.



Ok, I made grammatical changes to the first paragraph, but honestly gave up reading after the second. The first two paragraphs talk about Connecticut and Texas (two things that are not about YOU). This is a Personal Statement, with limited space given to explain who you are, why you want to be a lawyer, and why you should attend Law School X. Use the space accordingly. I think your first two paragraphs can either be worked down to one or two sentences or just can be deleted all together.

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GoodToBeTheKing
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby GoodToBeTheKing » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:20 am

blsingindisguise wrote:Scrap it, start over. This has nothing to do with attending law school, plus it's riddled with cliches and grammatical errors and doesn't tell me much about you as a candidate. You're still in the mindset of writing an essay for college.



+10000

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truffleshuffle
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby truffleshuffle » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:35 am

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I realize now I gotta dig a little bit deeper and make it more personal. I'll post a new one when it's ready.

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GoodToBeTheKing
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby GoodToBeTheKing » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:35 pm

truffleshuffle wrote:Thanks for the feedback everyone. I realize now I gotta dig a little bit deeper and make it more personal. I'll post a new one when it's ready.



Awesome! Glad you are getting the hang of it! Writing your PS is very challenging, and does not come over night.

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philosoraptor
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby philosoraptor » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:00 pm

GoodToBeTheKing wrote:Ok, I made grammatical changes to the first paragraph, but honestly gave up reading after the second. The first two paragraphs talk about Connecticut and Texas (two things that are not about YOU). This is a Personal Statement, with limited space given to explain who you are, why you want to be a lawyer, and why you should attend Law School X. Use the space accordingly. I think your first two paragraphs can either be worked down to one or two sentences or just can be deleted all together.
GoodToBeTheKing, you should read the whole thing before you judge it, and you should have at least a basic understanding of grammar before you try to correct it. You inserted several errors, which is the worst thing an editor can do.

OP, this is not that bad, and you don't have to focus your PS on why you want to go to law school. Although this is not as "personal" a PS as it could be, I don't dislike the theme -- having spent a few years as a transplanted Southerner in Connecticut, I know what you mean. I wouldn't necessarily scrap the whole thing, but I would try to focus a little more on how your experiences wrestling with state identity affected your understanding of yourself, your background, your country, etc. Can you be a little more creative in how you approach it?

What others have said about cliches and grammatical problems is true, though, so try to bring a unique voice/spin to this (well-worn) topic, and bring it back for editing after each draft.

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esq
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby esq » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:01 pm

I agree with everything that has been said about your PS. It's just one giant cliche and, if anything, only shows us your lack of maturity. For example:

What do you even even call someone from Connecticut? Connecticutian? Nutmegger? How can I be proud of a place if I cannot identify with it? These are the questions that popped into my head, and yet I had no answers.


What kind of people walk around with these sorts of questions popping into their heads? At least these thoughts aren't significant to most people. When I moved from San Diego to TX, I know that I was too busy with life to think about this sort of nonsense. In fact, I think that your PS makes you come off as insecure with new places, not comfortable. Another thing that I think is a big oversight in this PS, and maybe its just me, is for the entirety of your PS you talk about being a city boy who is uncomfortable with Texas - at least this is the image I get from your description of Yankee v. Red Sox Connecticut. You then say that you are "proud to have grown up 'out in the boondocks.'" You know, I always thought that the boondocks related more to Texas than to CT. This common background should have helped you to fit in in TX. In any case, your PS frames you more as a strange, uncomfortable character than an independent, open-minded individual. Many people, even city guys like myself, fit right in in TX.

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12AngryMen
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby 12AngryMen » Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:10 pm

philosoraptor wrote:
GoodToBeTheKing wrote:Ok, I made grammatical changes to the first paragraph, but honestly gave up reading after the second. The first two paragraphs talk about Connecticut and Texas (two things that are not about YOU). This is a Personal Statement, with limited space given to explain who you are, why you want to be a lawyer, and why you should attend Law School X. Use the space accordingly. I think your first two paragraphs can either be worked down to one or two sentences or just can be deleted all together.
GoodToBeTheKing, you should read the whole thing before you judge it, and you should have at least a basic understanding of grammar before you try to correct it. You inserted several errors, which is the worst thing an editor can do.

OP, this is not that bad, and you don't have to focus your PS on why you want to go to law school. Although this is not as "personal" a PS as it could be, I don't dislike the theme -- having spent a few years as a transplanted Southerner in Connecticut, I know what you mean. I wouldn't necessarily scrap the whole thing, but I would try to focus a little more on how your experiences wrestling with state identity affected your understanding of yourself, your background, your country, etc. Can you be a little more creative in how you approach it?

What others have said about cliches and grammatical problems is true, though, so try to bring a unique voice/spin to this (well-worn) topic, and bring it back for editing after each draft.


I quite concur. I believe the topic to be very good. It will resonate good with anyone whos ever been in your shoes. That means about everyone. Do try and focus on what is in the last paragraph mostly though cause you start to relate it to yourself. Bravo overall.

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Calla Lily
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby Calla Lily » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:19 am

.
Last edited by Calla Lily on Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:13 pm

I agree with Calla Lily ^^^ wholeheartedly.

OP, you're obviously funny:

Every time I tell someone I am from Connecticut there is a sort of eerie silence, as if they do not know what that means.


That's hilarious. I experience something similar when I tell people where I'm from (another North-to-South transplant situation.)

More than just humor, you provide a level of reflection that shows you are insightful. Those two qualities (humor and insight) can serve you well, so, use them and write a PS that counts. I'm sure once you do, it'll be great.

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truffleshuffle
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome

Postby truffleshuffle » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:37 pm

Ok, first I want to thank everyone for tearing me a new one. Then, I want to thank those that came in later to give me encouragement. Both were just what I needed. So this is my new draft. I'm not concerned about grammar right now. Can I at least work with this? Does this work from a content standpoint? Is this still one giant cliche? Am I going in the right direction?

Thanks in advance.

At the age of 11, I had a pulse. Growing up on my grandparent’s orchard, it was all I needed. Farming requires synergy and coordination. You can only sell what you have picked, and there is a small timeframe to pick, sort, and sell the produce before it goes bad. With time being such a large factor, everyone needs to contribute to the overall effort with some type of skill to keep the operation running. My uncle Moe welds, my dad makes the signs and labels, and my grandma keeps the books.
When I started contributing at 11, I predictably lacked any of these skills, but I had pulse, and in my family, that meant I could work. I started out working side by side with the migrant workers that came every summer. I would come home from 8 hour days in the blueberry patch looking like I had wrestled Smurfs, and the raspberry bushes scraped my arms enough to warrant one concerned teacher to inquire about my home life. Over time, I got to work the farmers markets alone and I learned how to operate the endless maze of irrigation hoses and even how to press cider.
Upon leaving the farm for college, free time was suddenly abundant and I applied the work ethic instilled in me from the farm towards my studies. However, everything in farming is tangible and concrete. Effort, or lack thereof, is visible and obvious for all to see. The classroom environment was markedly different, my studies consisted of abstract ideas and theories. I wrote papers on the counter-hegemonic elements of the Grand Theft Auto video game series and compared the epigraphic traditions of the Romans and Greeks. While I enjoyed researching these topics and honing my analytical skills, I desired an instance in which these abstract ideas had practical applications other than a random Jeopardy question.
Spring of my junior year, I enrolled in the (School Name) Honors College’s On Human Nature class. One lesson involved an old Harvard Law Review article by Lon L. Fuller titled, The Case of the Speluncean Explorers. The article is a hypothetical case in which five men trapped in a cave learn via radio that they will all die from starvation before they can be rescued. After being assured that it will allow them to survive, they resort to cannibalism and decide who will be sacrificed by drawing lots. The unlucky man reneges upon their agreement and demands they wait, unfortunately, his colleagues refuse. Execution, by law, is required for the crime of murder, and, upon exiting the cave, the four survivors are charged with the man’s death.
As a class, we debated whether execution was condonable. Fuller constructed the case so that neither side is more justifiable than the other. We debated whether the men’s isolation in the cave placed them in a state of nature, and, if so, would the laws of society still apply? Did the death of one man for the survival of four justify the survivor’s action? Were the medical officials who assured that cannibalism would allow them to survive at fault? The decisions we reached regarding these concepts and ideas decided, albeit hypothetically, the practical application of the law. This exercise provoked my interest in the law. I learned that much of what lawyers do revolves around reading, writing, and research, and yet, unlike my undergrad studies, these efforts still have clear and tangible impacts on the lives of others.
I know that all matters of the law are not life or death decisions as in Fuller’s hypothetical, and that there are other fields that will allow me to gain practical skills. However, only law allows me to delve into the world of abstract ideas and satisfy my intellectual curiosity, while still allowing for practical applications in society. Law and society go hand in hand, and society, like a farm, requires collaboration between skilled individuals to succeed. I believe the study of law will allow me to contribute more than just a pulse.

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esq
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome (UPDATED)

Postby esq » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:51 pm

Ummm...?

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Calla Lily
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome (UPDATED)

Postby Calla Lily » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:42 pm

I loved the first paragraph, liked the second paragraph, and then you lost me from there. You spent almost two paragraphs discussing the details of a hypothetical law case, which I think deviated from the purpose of sharing more about you.

Also, I felt it was too disjointed. I understand your attempt to connect it all at the end, showing your interest in law because of the combination of abstract and practical, but I don't think it compensated for the jumping around beforehand.

I think the general topic of growing up on the farm and the contrast to your life at school is interesting, but I would think it would be better to steer that in a different direction than the discussion of the law review case. I do think you have made progress from your original draft/topic and that with some more work and brainstorming, you will have a great PS.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome (UPDATED)

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:04 pm

You need to write down one sentence explaining what it is you're trying to convey in this essay. Just one sentence. Chances are, you can't, because this essay is all over the place. I feel like I'm getting little vignettes of your life, that tell me nothing about your life overall, or you as a person. It's like when you wake after a drunken outing, and realize your recollection of the night's events amount to a slide show, rather than a motion picture. Figure out what you're really trying to say, make sure all details, explanations support that. Start over!

I laughed at the Smurf allusion, but think it's a bit too much for a PS...

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birdmann783
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Re: First Draft- Any commentary welcome (UPDATED)

Postby birdmann783 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:44 am

more about you...less about the case....

this is kind of tricky but still.... all i got from this was you grew up on a farm, and liked the case so much that you want to be a lawyer.....

you're a good writer....add more.....stuff about you




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