(nearly) Final Draft PS: Comments appreciated

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
tipler4213
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 11:16 am

(nearly) Final Draft PS: Comments appreciated

Postby tipler4213 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:44 pm

The Arabic language: classified by the US Department of State as one of the world’s five most difficult languages. Its twenty-eight characters, many with no English pronunciation equivalent, are written right-to-left with grammatical rules that make simple processes like forming plurals into intellectual endeavors rivaling nuclear physics. The ranking is warranted. Yet, instead of being deterred by this daunting collection of incomprehensible scribbles, I am inspired. I am driven to excel by challenges and thrive when confronted with insurmountable tasks. This has proven true in high school, college, and while studying French and Arabic abroad, and I am confident it will again prove true in law school.
My first linguistic challenge came through a semester immersion program in France. Due to an inadequate number of semesters of French, I had been forced to gain special approval into the program, and when I arrived, I was admittedly in over my head. The entire first night, I was unable to utter a complete sentence, and my host family even turned to English to make sure I understood the rules. Slightly embarrassed, I sought to remedy the problem as aggressively as possible. While most of my friends retreated to English language novels and TV shows, I “Francified” all my activities. In my leisure, I played soccer twice a week with French students at the university, watched local TV, and read French novels. I started with short stories and plays, but by the end of the semester I had read over 4,000 pages in French, and every morning, I read the Figaro newspaper cover to cover. When my parents came to visit near the end of the semester, my host mother confessed that when I arrived, I was the worst French speaker of the twenty-five Americans they had hosted, but that I was now the best they had ever had. Due to my diligent strategizing, I responded to the challenge of immersing myself in a culture, in which I could hardly order lunch, and reached my current level of fluency in French.
Armed with this confidence, I decided to up the ante and apply for the US State Department’s Critical Languages Scholarship for beginning Arabic. A week after returning from France, I was once again airborne over the Atlantic. Destination: Tunis, Tunisia. Whatever confidence I had developed while in France vanished about thirty seconds into the first lesson, when my professor informed me that my notebooks was upside down. How else could we write from right to left? Over the course of the summer, the thirty college and post-graduate students chosen to be among the 6% worthy of the government grant were tested to the edge of their limits. We were there on the government’s dime, and they did not intend to have it wasted. Nine hours at the program’s center was the norm and we had a minimum of five hours of homework to grapple with nightly. On our weekend “breaks,” students were constantly piping the dreaded I-Vocab through their headphones or drilling exercises in Al-Kitaab in preparation for our weekly examination. Many of my fellow students, exhausted by the daily grind, refused to utter a word of Arabic outside of the walls of our program center, but I approached it differently. I sought out every opportunity to speak with Tunisians. I spent hours at meals with our host family, hoping to absorb whatever vocabulary I could, and conversed with the employees at the local café so often that I was invited to join their weekly soccer match. All of this hard work finally paid of at the end of the summer when I earned the highest grade of anyone in the program, 99%, on our final examination. In the face of the hardest intellectual challenge of my life, I had once again flourished.
Through these experiences abroad, my studies as a Global Relations major, and my longstanding passion for law, I have developed a strong desire to work in the growing field of international law. Currently, I am working with the Chertoff Group, an organization providing strategic security advice and risk management solutions for commercial and government clients. Following law school, I will pursue a career devoted to issues concerning the relationship between governmental and commercial prerogatives, international norms, and the legal rights of citizens in matters of security. These experiences and my proven ability to respond well to challenges will allow me to make significant contributions to the XXXX community. In addition, my experience in Sewanee’s intellectual setting, focusing on writing skills, a low student-faculty ratio, classroom discussion, and an interdisciplinary approach to the subject matter have prepared for the similar educational environment at XXXX. I am therefore extremely confident that I will be a valuable asset in the classroom and a successful student at XXXX.

tipler4213
Posts: 634
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 11:16 am

Re: (nearly) Final Draft PS: Comments appreciated

Postby tipler4213 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:18 pm

hump-de-BUMP-you-got-it-Bump-de-hump

User avatar
samsonyte16
Posts: 77
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:52 pm

Re: (nearly) Final Draft PS: Comments appreciated

Postby samsonyte16 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:37 pm

You've clearly had some very interesting experiences abroad and probably have everything you need to write a great PS. But I think you can do better than this. You cover a lot of ground in this essay, describing your experiences in both France and Tunisia, but you don't really say much to distinguish you from other people who study abroad. Instead of telling the reader you immersed yourself in local culture you should show them by recounting specific experiences. I would consider choosing one or two specific incidents from your study abroads that illuminate something unique about you and build your essay around them.

Grammatical edits and other more self-contained thoughts below:

tipler4213 wrote:The Arabic language: classified by the US Department of State as one of the world’s five most difficult languages. Its twenty-eight characters, many with no English pronunciation equivalent, are written right-to-left with grammatical rules that make simple processes like forming plurals into intellectual endeavors rivaling nuclear physics (I would change this comparison. I'm sure forming plurals is hard, but not nuclear physics hard. The exaggeration seems lazy). The ranking is warranted. Yet, instead of being deterred by this daunting collection of incomprehensible (again, they actually are comprehensible. That's your point) scribbles, I am inspired. I am driven to excel by challenges and thrive when confronted with insurmountable difficult tasks. This has proven was true in high school, college, and while studying French and Arabic abroad, (perhaps new sentence here) and I am confident it will again prove true in law school.
My first linguistic challenge came through an semester immersion program in France. Due to an inadequate number of semesters of French, I had been forced to gain special approval into the program, and when I arrived, I was admittedly in over my head (this sentence seem awkward. try cutting it down to two clauses). The entirefirst night, I was unable to utter a complete sentence, and my host family even turned to English to make sure I understood the rules. Slightly embarrassed, I sought to remedy the problem ("remedy the problem" sounds overly formal) as aggressively as possible. While most of my friends retreated to English language novels and TV shows, I “Francified” allmy activities. In my leisure, I played soccer twice a week with French studentsat the university, watched local TV, and read French novels. I started with short stories and plays, but by the end of the semester Ihad read over 4,000 pages in French, (start new sentence) and every morning, I read the Figaro newspaper cover to cover. When my parents came to visit near the end of the semester, my host mother confessed that when I arrived, I was the worst French speaker of the twenty-five Americans they had hosted, but that I was now the best they had ever had. Due to my diligent strategizing ("diligent strategizing" sounds a bit arrogant) , I responded to the challenge of immersing myself in a culture, in which I could hardly order lunch, and reached my current level of fluency in French.
Armed with this confidence, I decided to up the ante andapplied for the US State Department’s Critical Languages Scholarship for beginning Arabic. A week after returning from France, I wasonceagain airborne over the Atlantic. Destination: Tunis, Tunisia. Whatever confidence I had developed while in France vanished about thirty seconds into the first lesson, when my professor informed me that my notebooks was were upside down. How else could we write from right to left? Over the course of the summer, the thirty college and post-graduate students chosen to be among the 6% worthy of the government grant were tested to the edge of their limits (this information should be on your resume, not in your essay). We were there on the government’s dime (this phrase is probably too colloquial), and they did not intend to have it wasted. Nine hours at the program’s center was the norm and we had a minimum of five hours of homework to grapple with nightly. On our weekend “breaks,” students were constantly piping (why past progressive tense here?) the dreaded I-Vocab through their headphones or drilling exercises in Al-Kitaab (what is that?) in preparation for our weekly examination. Many of my fellow students, exhausted by the daily grind, refused to utter a word of Arabic outside of the walls of our program center, but I approached it differently. I sought out every opportunity to speak with Tunisians. I spent hours at meals with our host family, hoping to absorb whatever vocabulary I could, and conversed with the employees at the local café so often that I was invited to join their weekly soccer match. All of this hard work finally paid of at the end of the summer when I earned the highest grade of anyone in the program, 99%, on our final examination. (again, resume, not essay) In the face of the hardest intellectual challenge of my life, I had once again flourished.
Through these experiences abroad, my studies as a Global Relations major, and my longstanding passion for law, I have developed a strong desire to work in the growing field ofinternational law. Currently, I am working with the Chertoff Group, an organization providing strategic security advice and risk management solutions for commercial and government clients. Following law school, I will pursue a career devoted to issues concerning the relationship between governmental and commercial prerogatives, international norms, and the legal rights of citizens in matters of security. These experiences and my proven ability to respond well to challenges will allow me to make significant contributions to the XXXX community. In addition, my experience in Sewanee’s intellectual setting, focusing on writing skills, a low student-faculty ratio, classroom discussion, and an interdisciplinary approach to the subject matter have prepared for the similar educational environment at XXXX. I am therefore extremely confident that I will be a valuable asset in the classroom and a successful student at XXXX.

User avatar
maroonzoon
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: (nearly) Final Draft PS: Comments appreciated

Postby maroonzoon » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:39 am

If you're going to mention a longstanding passion with law, you have to actually talk about it.

The French part is redundant. The much more interesting part of the essay is the Tunisia thing. Spice it up with more details and anecdotes, make it your own. Otherwise, I think I've read this essay 100 times.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: (nearly) Final Draft PS: Comments appreciated

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:27 am

As a final draft, your essay fails. Poorly written & poorly constructed. Too long. This personal statement is unlikely to help your law school applications. Try to write in crisp, clear sentences that more precisely convey your message. Too many words with too little to share. Try to relate insights into your thoughts & your experiences that shaped your view of the world.

Beantown26
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:03 pm

Re: (nearly) Final Draft PS: Comments appreciated

Postby Beantown26 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:52 am

It looks more like a first draft than a final draft...do not stop working on it.

User avatar
GoodToBeTheKing
Posts: 296
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:34 pm

Re: (nearly) Final Draft PS: Comments appreciated

Postby GoodToBeTheKing » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:01 am

difficult to read. I would follow the advice of the poster who marked it up in red. Make those changes, read it, and see if it's then easier to read.

Also, the first paragraph is ALL about the Arabic language, and does little to tell me who you are. I am bored already.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.