PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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vestedinterest
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PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby vestedinterest » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:00 pm

Here's a draft I just finished. Any response will be noted. My initial thought is the conclusion lacks a "punch", but let me know what you think. Thanks.




Hitherto my first encounter with the writing of Wisconsin conservationist Aldo Leopold, I struggled to reconcile the undeniable priority of industry in modern capitalism with my understanding of man, the animal, in the larger context of our evolutionary progression. As a white male from the hegemonic figurehead that is the United States, who, by birthright alone, perhaps occupies the most privileged position in this world hierarchy, I was dismayed at the unrelenting commitment to economic growth and the general pursuit of material wealth that I felt was at odds with clear evidence of the implacable degradation of our planet. In learning the central tenets of ecology, mainly the interconnectedness of all living things, my heightened awareness of the growing disconnect between the biosphere’s evolutionary history and modern economic dogma left me most pessimistic in thinking about the prospects of future generations, my bloodline included. To me, the outstanding scientific discovery of the twentieth century was not Einstein’s theory of relativity, but rather the complexity of the land organism, and the last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “what good is it?” If the biota, in the course of eons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts?

It is 150 years since Darwin changed the paradigm of biotic understanding, and we know now what was unknown to all the preceding caravan of generations: that men are only fellow voyagers with other creatures in the odyssey of evolution. Reading Leopold’s seminal work, A Sand County Almanac, I saw for the first time, someone addressing some of the very questions I had earlier posed to myself. Darwin’s breakthrough, he argues, should have given us a sense of kinship with fellow creatures; a wish to live and let live; a sense of wonder over the magnitude and duration of the biotic enterprise. We should have come to know that man, while captain of the adventuring ship, is hardly the sole object of its quest. These things should have come to us, but I, like Leopold, fear they have not come to many.

The remnants of wilderness and their history of evolution will yield bigger values to the nation’s character and health than they will to its pocketbook, and to destroy them will be to admit that the latter are the only values that interest us. Mechanized man, oblivious to the world of flora and fauna, is proud of his progress in cleaning up the landscape on which he must live out his days, but I, conscious of the marks of death in a community that believes itself well, cannot sit idly by lest some future citizen suffers similar qualms about the biotic price of our good life. Hope lies in recognizing that we shall never achieve harmony with the land any more so than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. Since it is hard to make a man do a thing which does not spring naturally from his personal sense of right and wrong, the basis of conservation ultimately rests on our own individual ethics, and in higher aspirations such as these, the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive.

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Marionberry
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby Marionberry » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:14 pm

I stopped reading at "Hitherto."

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oshberg28
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby oshberg28 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:17 pm

Marionberry wrote:I stopped reading at "Hitherto."


:lol:

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maxm2764
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby maxm2764 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:24 pm

Marionberry wrote:I stopped reading at "Hitherto."


Seriously, hitherto?

Edit: Although, the rest of it is just as weird as "hitherto." I feel like I'm reading a textbook.
Last edited by maxm2764 on Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mfeller2
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby mfeller2 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:27 pm

Redo this. It sounds like a Pocahontas speech with big words. I understand you have a great passion for this, but this isn't a good way to demonstrate it. Remember you're writing to get into law school, not environmental sciences degree in grad school.

*Also I stopped reading after hitherto. Started again, then stopped after hegemonic.

GettingReady2010
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby GettingReady2010 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:36 pm

oshberg28 wrote:
Marionberry wrote:I stopped reading at "Hitherto."


:lol:

:lol: :lol:

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saito816
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby saito816 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:54 pm

maxm2764 wrote:
Marionberry wrote:I stopped reading at "Hitherto."


Seriously, hitherto?

Edit: Although, the rest of it is just as weird as "hitherto." I feel like I'm reading a textbook.


Yes, that pretty much sums it up. Unless TC is trying to write a "risky" PS to get into a really far reach school it probably needs to be scrapped and rewritten. It was incredibly dense reading, I got your point, but I'm not sure this was the best way to convey that point.

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:59 pm

Essentially your essay suggests, in a very long-winded manner, that "Man must live with, learn from & respect nature." The problem is that your writing unnecessarily complicated that very simple statement. And that is not good because law schools seek the opposite.

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vestedinterest
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby vestedinterest » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:22 pm

got it on the archaic first word. :oops: made some edits, trying to make this more clear. Keep in mind I do plan on doing natural resources/PI, so I will be applying to schools in this mold.

Before my first encounter with the writing of Wisconsin conservationist Aldo Leopold, I struggled to reconcile the priority of industry in modern capitalism with my understanding of man, the animal, in the larger context of our evolutionary progression. My discontent stemmed from society’s steadfast commitment to economic growth and the pursuit of material wealth, which I believed to be at odds with clear evidence of the implacable degradation of our planet. In learning the central tenets of ecology, mainly the interconnectedness of all living things, my growing awareness of the disconnect between the biosphere’s evolutionary history and modern economic dogma left me most pessimistic in thinking about the prospects of future generations, my bloodline included. For me, the most meaningful scientific advance of the twentieth century was discovering the complexity of the land organism, and the last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “what good is it?” If the biota, in the course of eons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts?

It is 150 years since Darwin changed the paradigm of biotic understanding, and we know now what was unknown to all the preceding caravan of generations: that men are only fellow voyagers with other creatures in the odyssey of evolution. Reading Leopold’s seminal work, A Sand County Almanac, I saw for the first time, someone addressing the very questions I had earlier posed to myself. Darwin’s breakthrough, he argues, should have given us a sense of kinship with fellow creatures; a wish to live and let live; a sense of wonder over the magnitude and duration of the biotic enterprise. We should have come to know that man, while captain of the adventuring ship, is hardly the sole object of its quest. These things should have come to us, but I, like Leopold, fear they have not come to many.

The remnants of wilderness and their history of evolution will yield bigger values to the nation’s character and health than they will to its pocketbook, and to destroy them will be to admit that the latter are the only values that interest us. Mechanized man, oblivious to the world of flora and fauna, is proud of his progress in cleaning up the landscape on which he lives out his days, but I, conscious of the marks of death in a community that believes itself well, cannot sit idly by lest some future citizen suffers similar qualms about the biotic price of our good life. Hope lies in recognizing that we shall never achieve harmony with the land any more so than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. Since it is hard to make a man do a thing which does not spring naturally from his personal sense of right and wrong, the basis of conservation ultimately rests on our individual ethics, and in higher aspirations such as these, the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive.

GettingReady2010
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby GettingReady2010 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:29 pm

Is it a bad idea to bring politics in a PS in such an obvious way?

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:41 pm

To be blunt, it's about three paragraphs too long. Law schools seek those who write in crisp, clear sentences and express their ideas in a concise manner; which are all things that your essay fails to do. My impression is that you are camouflaging simple thoughts in convoluted language to make your thoughts appear to be more complex than they are. It's not likely to work.

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Marionberry
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby Marionberry » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:52 pm

Also, the average comma count per sentence is probably 3 or 4. Maybe more if you count semi colons.

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:58 pm

Have you written in a similiar style during your university years ? If so, has noone offered constructive suggestions to modify your work ? If your university has a writing center, you should consider seeking guidance.

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dooterdude11
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby dooterdude11 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:11 pm

Frankly, this is not a good style for a Law School personal statement, in my opinion. Shorten things up and drop the flowery adjectives.

However, you are a good writer. Your style has maturity and you can use English, that's for sure. Disregard any posters who have indicated otherwise. I think the best and most artistic English writers use lots of commas and semi-colons.

There is, though, never a reason to use the word "hitherto"; that just sounds pompous, as do some other things you have written here.

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:25 pm

Disregard any poster that suggests that your writing shows maturity & a mastery of English.
Regardless of differing opinions, law school will quickly cure what ails your writing or you will encounter a very difficult & disappointing three years.
Consider reading Anna Ivey's book on law school admissions for some guidance.

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vestedinterest
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby vestedinterest » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:41 pm

I have written in this way, and my teachers said they appreciate my style. My grades in writing courses seem to indicate at least some grasp of the language. Also, I don't think anything in here is overly complex, maybe a bit radical for the average simpleton.

GettingReady. No politics here. It's funny any discussion of the economic system gets cast in a political light. These days, the political is merely a pawn of specific economic forces.

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dooterdude11
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby dooterdude11 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:48 pm

It's not that its complex; it isn't. It has to do with the way you're writing. I think it's ok to write like this when writing a thesis or an essay or an opinion piece, but for an application where admissions officers are scrutinizing you who do not know you it is very dangerous to come off as pompous.

I think your style itself is good quality but not right for this venue.

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maxm2764
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby maxm2764 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:54 pm

vestedinterest wrote:maybe a bit radical for the average simpleton.


I knew that comment was coming at some point. Using big words doesn't make you look smarter than the "average simpleton," it makes you look like a douche. Even the watered-down version makes you seem like a pompous asshole.

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Marionberry
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby Marionberry » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:14 pm

OP, I see that you have like 10 posts, so I'm going to assume that you're not very familiar with the way this forum works. If you post a personal statement on here with "comments welcome" in the title, you're going to get a whole lot of snarky, harsh and possibly mean-spirited criticism. Some of it will be valid, some of it will just be people being jerks. To get defensive, and to imply that your critics are simpletons as you appear to, is not the appropriate response. It should tell you something when almost every response to your ps is negative. If you can't take the unnecessarily harsh responses, then TLS if probably not the place to get your PS reviewed.

On that note, everything that has been said is true. It stuffy, pretentious, hard to read, and devoid of any apparent point relevant to law school admissions. The goal is to convey your ideas thoroughly with as much precision and as few words as possible. You did the opposite of this. Big words and run on sentences don't make you seem smart, they make you seem like a tool.

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dooterdude11
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby dooterdude11 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:45 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Disregard any poster that suggests that your writing shows maturity & a mastery of English.
Regardless of differing opinions, law school will quickly cure what ails your writing or you will encounter a very difficult & disappointing three years.
Consider reading Anna Ivey's book on law school admissions for some guidance.


It does suggest those things in the context of artistic writing--though it isn't perfect. Artistic writing is an entirely different style than legal writing, but because OP's style is not a good fit for the latter doesn't mean you should simply denounce it as bad writing. I think it's good, but not the kind that law schools look for.

Anyone who thinks that the height of ALL writing ability is to convey ideas in short, terse sentences needs to go read Moby Dick or something.

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vestedinterest
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby vestedinterest » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:46 pm

i read somewhere that adcomms want to hear about the applicants thoughts and perspective. i would rather supply them with something other than another stupid narrative.

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ArchRoark
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby ArchRoark » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:54 pm

I read your essay and I come away knowing nothing about you. What have you done to further what you are advocating for? Something concrete... Something more then just soap box commentary.

BTW - love your avatar,,, that guy is pretty illy... have you seen the ski-dude one?
Last edited by ArchRoark on Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dooterdude11
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby dooterdude11 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:23 pm

vestedinterest wrote:i read somewhere that adcomms want to hear about the applicants thoughts and perspective. i would rather supply them with something other than another stupid narrative.


Dude, they do want to hear about that stuff. But, take this scenario.

I'm an adcom; i've now read hundreds or am preparing to read hundreds of applications. I open up yours to see your thoughts and perspectives. Instead of reading: "I think society has an obligation to protect the environment." I read your version: "in the totality of the echelons of human existence, no genius has ever been so profound as that of Darwin who first birthed the incredible concept that man has an unceasing obligation to protect the sanctity of his animal partners...BLAH BLAH"

That's annoying; wouldn't it be for you?

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:20 am

OP please buy any book on legal writing or law school admissions or examine filings in a federal court if you want guidance on appropriate legal writing. If, however, you want to pretend to be the next Herman Melville, then swallow the counter-productive words of the other poster who, ironically, writes in short, terse sentences; which is a practice that I do not advocate.

Also, I hope to be present when you respond to a judge's inquiry that your motion is an example of artistic writing in the mold of Herman Melville's Moby Dick & that he is a simpleton not expected to understand or fully appreciate your mature & artistic style.

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maroonzoon
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Re: PS Draft 1...Comments Welcome

Postby maroonzoon » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:15 pm

Your style obfuscates the scant substance that is there. It is airy and academic, and you might think law school is all about this style of writing and high academia, but a personal statement is a personal statement. Pick up a copy of Reader's Digest. That is the style they are looking for -- very personal, very vivid. Do you have any experience to illustrate your words? You're just telling, not showing, and honestly it will not set you apart or make you memorable.




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