Gentle critiques, please - I wrote this at work.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
cdunn
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:39 am

Gentle critiques, please - I wrote this at work.

Postby cdunn » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:11 pm

This is my first draft, and am hoping just to get an idea of my progress so far. I wrote this in one sitting, on Wordpad (so no green/red squiggles), and have done so to just set up the framework. I imagine this will be edited and re-edited a thousand times over; however, I would appreciate any suggestions about the wording, structure, etc that can be given.

While I appreciate honest evaluations, please also remember that I am a human being who only has a little self-esteem left after his LSAT score (162 compared to you supah-smarties).

All that was left was a big red "K". On September 15th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged Biloxi, MS and the entire Gulf Coast region. My region, my city, and my home were destroyed, yet I was considered one of the lucky ones. No loved ones passed away due to the storm, nor did I know anyone directly who had suffered such loss. Even through a handfull of degrees of seperation, friends of relatives of friends were all still alive, just some, like me, without their worldly possessions.

Few structures over three stories were left standing in a ten mile radius of the Biloxi/Gulfport area; however, there was one that was simply baffling. Homes, stores, banks, businesses all with concrete foundations buried deep within the ground were destroyed - billboards, signs, power lines and light poles ripped and thrown from the ground. On Highway 90 in downtown Ocean Springs, MS, one remnant left standing was glaring out, almost mocking mother nature: a big red "K". "K" for Katrina? Actually, K for K-Mart, but the symbolism could not be ignored. The Gulf Coast region was devastated by the storm, yet somehow seemed to be inviting Katrina to come back and try again. If Katrina's job was to destroy the Coast, one stubborn sign showed that her mission was unaccomplished.

Five years later, there are still signs of the destruction five years past. In most of the region, though, the area is thriving more than ever. The economy of the area sufferred, the population fluctuated, and we stumbled trying to rebuild - here we are now, sprinting toward a brighter and better future. That big red "K" is still there, but now it has plenty of company in the form of businesses, signs, and buildings, some rebuilt from the past and some entirely new to city. The region still shows scars from battle wounds past, but the people's resiliency would not allow anything short of becoming better than ever.

I embody that same resiliency as shown by my city. I have my scars: whether they be physical scars from years of abuse from my father during my early gradeschool years or emotional scars from my father's drug addiction, my parent's attempted divorce, or my father's eventual suicide nearly a decade later. At one point in my life, I defined myself not by who I was, but by what I had been through. I felt like all I had were scars. All I had was a big red "K". Then I realized I was only partially wrong; I am not defined solely by the experiences in my life, but more so by the personal choices I make in response to those situations. I could choose to give up, give in, and settle for something less than I deserve, or like the Gulf Coast, could choose to keep going and keep thriving, not in spite of the past, but regardless of it.

I can trip, I can stumble, and I will show my scars proudly. I welcome a challenge, whether it be emotional, physical, or academic. I hope to be put in a situation where others think my failure will be inevitable. I thrive off proving doubters wrong. Through my short tenure on this planet, I have learned how to learn - to learn through different styles of teaching, through books, experiences, and mistakes. Most importantly, I have learned not just to learn from my own mistakes, but learn from the mistakes of others, without ever having to make the same incorrect decision. I am proud of where I am, proud of what I have been through, and excited about where I am going.

Due to my strong Southern ties, I have always felt connected to _________ and the _______ region. I know that during my first year of law school, I might struggle with the transition into such a brave new world, but I also know that I will never give up, and have the drive, perserverance, and self-determination that overshadow most. I welcome to a new challenge in law school, and look forward to being the only college graduate in my family. I look forward to being the person that is told he cannot succeed in something because of his past - I pray my past has branded me. I hope to have my own big red K; I will wear my scarlet letter proudly, for I thrive off of doing things other people said I could not do.

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

Re: Gentle critiques, please - I wrote this at work.

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:24 pm

Interesting, clearly written & enjoyable to read. The primary issue, however, is whether or not this personal statement will help your law school application in the event that it is used as an admission tie-breaker. I am not sure of the answer to that question.

User avatar
Cromartie
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:27 pm

Re: Gentle critiques, please - I wrote this at work.

Postby Cromartie » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:45 pm

cdunn wrote:This is my first draft, and am hoping just to get an idea of my progress so far. I wrote this in one sitting, on Wordpad (so no green/red squiggles), and have done so to just set up the framework. I imagine this will be edited and re-edited a thousand times over; however, I would appreciate any suggestions about the wording, structure, etc that can be given.

While I appreciate honest evaluations, please also remember that I am a human being who only has a little self-esteem left after his LSAT score (162 compared to you supah-smarties).

All that was left was a big red "K". On September 15th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged Biloxi, MS and the entire Gulf Coast region. My region, my city, and my home were destroyed, yet I was considered one of the lucky ones. No loved ones passed away due to the storm, nor did I know anyone directly who had suffered such loss. Even through a handfull of degrees of seperation, friends of relatives of friends were all still alive, just some, like me, without their worldly possessions.

Few structures over three stories were left standing in a ten mile radius of the Biloxi/Gulfport area; however, there was one that was simply baffling. Homes, stores, banks, businesses all with concrete foundations buried deep within the ground were destroyed - billboards, signs, power lines and light poles ripped and thrown from the ground. On Highway 90 in downtown Ocean Springs, MS, one remnant left standing was glaring out, almost mocking mother nature: a big red "K". "K" for Katrina? Actually, K for K-Mart, but the symbolism could not be ignored. The Gulf Coast region was devastated by the storm, yet somehow seemed to be inviting Katrina to come back and try again. If Katrina's job was to destroy the Coast, one stubborn sign showed that her mission was unaccomplished.

Five years later, there are still signs of the destruction five years past. In most of the region, though, the area is thriving more than ever. The economy of the area sufferred, the population fluctuated, and we stumbled trying to rebuild - here we are now, sprinting toward a brighter and better future. That big red "K" is still there, but now it has plenty of company in the form of businesses, signs, and buildings, some rebuilt from the past and some entirely new to city. The region still shows scars from battle wounds past, but the people's resiliency would not allow anything short of becoming better than ever.

I embody that same resiliency as shown by my city. I have my scars: whether they be physical scars from years of abuse from my father during my early gradeschool years or emotional scars from my father's drug addiction, my parent's attempted divorce, or my father's eventual suicide nearly a decade later. At one point in my life, I defined myself not by who I was, but by what I had been through. I felt like all I had were scars. All I had was a big red "K". Then I realized I was only partially wrong; I am not defined solely by the experiences in my life, but more so by the personal choices I make in response to those situations. I could choose to give up, give in, and settle for something less than I deserve, or like the Gulf Coast, could choose to keep going and keep thriving, not in spite of the past, but regardless of it.

I can trip, I can stumble, and I will show my scars proudly. I welcome a challenge, whether it be emotional, physical, or academic. I hope to be put in a situation where others think my failure will be inevitable. I thrive off proving doubters wrong. Through my short tenure on this planet, I have learned how to learn - to learn through different styles of teaching, through books, experiences, and mistakes. Most importantly, I have learned not just to learn from my own mistakes, but learn from the mistakes of others, without ever having to make the same incorrect decision. I am proud of where I am, proud of what I have been through, and excited about where I am going.

Due to my strong Southern ties, I have always felt connected to _________ and the _______ region. I know that during my first year of law school, I might struggle with the transition into such a brave new world, but I also know that I will never give up, and have the drive, perserverance, and self-determination that overshadow most. I welcome to a new challenge in law school, and look forward to being the only college graduate in my family. I look forward to being the person that is told he cannot succeed in something because of his past - I pray my past has branded me. I hope to have my own big red K; I will wear my scarlet letter proudly, for I thrive off of doing things other people said I could not do.


Very impressive for a first draft. I think your unique voice really resonates throughout the statement. You may want to consider revising the bolded parts as they can easily be interpreted in a negative light by the reader. Some may interpret this as a good indicator that you have the determination and will to overcome whatever obstacles external parties may impose on you; others may question why anyone would "hope" and "look forward to" being put in a situation where those around him tell him he cannot succeed or that his failure is inevitable.

sly_lychee
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:23 am

Re: Gentle critiques, please - I wrote this at work.

Postby sly_lychee » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:07 pm

All that was left was a big red "K". On September 15th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged Biloxi, MS(COMMA) and the entire Gulf Coast region. My region, my city, and my home were destroyed, (PERIOD. NEW SENTENCE) yet I was considered one of the lucky ones. No loved ones passed away due to the storm, nor did I know anyone directly who had suffered such loss (AWK). Even through a handfull (HANDFUL) of degrees of seperation(SEPARATION), friends of relatives of friends were all still alive, just some, like me, without their worldly possessions (VERY AWK SENTENCE. I WOULD DO AWAY WITH THE "DEGREES OF SEPARATION" AND BREAK IT UP INTO SEVERAL SENTENCES.)

Few structures over three stories were left standing in a ten mile radius of the Biloxi/Gulfport area; (PERIOD. NEW SENTENCE) however, there was one (ONE WHAT?) that was simply baffling. Homes, stores, banks, businesses all with concrete foundations buried deep within the ground were destroyed (PERIOD. NEW SENTENCE) - billboards, signs, power lines and light poles ripped and thrown from the ground. On Highway 90 in downtown Ocean Springs, MS (DON'T ABBREVIATE), one remnant (WORD CHOICE. TRY "STRUCTURE" INSTEAD?) left standing was glaring out, almost mocking mother nature (UNNECESSARY): a big red "K". "K" for Katrina? Actually, K for K-Mart, but the symbolism could not be ignored. The Gulf Coast region was devastated by the storm, yet somehow seemed to be inviting Katrina to come back and try again (WHAT WAS INVITING IT BACK? THE K? THE LOGIC DOES NOT COME ACROSS CLEARLY.) If Katrina's job was to destroy the Coast, one stubborn sign showed that her mission was unaccomplished.

Five years later, there are still signs of the destruction five years past. In most of the region, though, the area is thriving more than ever. The economy of the area sufferred (SUFFERED), the population fluctuated, and we stumbled trying to rebuild (PERIOD. NEW SENTENCE) - here we are now, sprinting toward a brighter and better future. That big red "K" is still there, but now it has plenty of company in the form of businesses, signs, and buildings, some rebuilt from the past and some entirely new to city. The region still shows scars from battle wounds past, but the people's resiliency would not allow anything short of becoming better than ever.

I embody that same resiliency as shown by my city. I have my scars: whether they be physical scars from years of abuse from my father during my early grade(SPACE)school years or emotional scars from my father's drug addiction, my parent's attempted divorce, or my father's eventual suicide nearly a decade later (THIS IS ONE BIG RUN-ON SENTENCE). At one point in my life, I defined myself not by who I was, but by what I had been through (BUT DON'T OUR EXPERIENCES CONTRIBUTE TO WHO WE ARE? PERHAPS YOU MEAN YOU WERE ONLY DEFINED BY YOUR TRAGIC EXPERIENCES AND NOTHING ELSE?). I felt like all I had were scars. All I had was a big red "K" (THIS SENTENCE COMES OUT OF NOWHERE).Then I realized I was only partially wrong; I am not defined solely by the experiences in my life, but more so by the personal choices I make in response to those situations. I could choose to give up, give in, and settle for something less than I deserve, or like the Gulf Coast, (I) could choose to keep going and keep thriving, not in spite of the past, but regardless of it (WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "IN SPITE OF" AND "REGARDLESS OF"?).

I can trip, I can stumble, and I will show my scars proudly. I welcome a challenge, whether it be emotional, physical, or academic. I hope to be put in a situation where others think my failure will be inevitable. I thrive off proving doubters wrong. Through my short tenure on this planet, I have learned how to learn - to learn through different styles of teaching, through books, experiences, and mistakes. Most importantly, I have learned not just to learn from my own mistakes, but learn from the mistakes of others, without ever having to make the same incorrect decision. I am proud of where I am, proud of what I have been through, and excited about where I am going. (YOU NEED TO SUPPORT ALL OF THIS WITH ANECDOTES AND CONCRETE EXAMPLES.)

Due to my strong Southern ties, I have always felt connected to _________ and the _______ region. I know that during my first year of law school, I might struggle with the transition into such a brave new world (LAW SCHOOL SHOULD NOT BE DESCRIBED AS A "BRAVE NEW WORLD"), but I also know that I will never give up,(NEW SENTENCE) and (I) have the drive, perserverance, and self-determination that overshadow most. I welcome to a new challenge in law school, (NO COMMA) and look forward to being the only college graduate in my family (SHOULDN'T YOU HAVE A BACHELOR DEGREE ALREADY? THAT'S COLLEGE. YOU MEAN A DOCTORATE?). I look forward to being the person that is told he cannot succeed in something because of his past - I pray my past has branded me(HAS ANYONE TOLD YOU THIS BEFORE? YOU SHOULD GIVE AN EXAMPLE IN THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH). I hope to have my own big red K; I will wear my scarlet letter (YOU STILL HAVE NOT ESTABLISHED THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE K AND YOU PERSONALLY - JUST THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE K AND YOUR HOMETOWN.) proudly, for I thrive off of doing things other people said I could not do.

*****

OVERALL, THIS NEEDS WORK BEFORE YOU SEND IT IN. YOU SPEND MOST OF IT TALKING ABOUT KATRINA WHEN YOU SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF. AFTER READING THIS, ALL I KNOW ABOUT YOU IS THAT YOU SURVIVED KATRINA AND HAD A DIFFICULT CHILDHOOD. HOWEVER, YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT HOW YOU OVERCAME THESE OBSTACLES. TELL ME HOW YOU REBUILT AFTER YOU LOST EVERYTHING AFTER THE STORM. WHAT DID YOU ACHIEVE AFTER THIS BIG REVELATION ON HOW YOU DEFINE YOURSELF? IF YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT ACADEMIC/PROFESSIONAL GROWTH, THEN YOU AT LEAST HAVE TO SHOW YOUR GROWTH AS A PERSON. SHOW YOUR NEW, AMAZING LIFE OUTLOOK THOUGH EXAMPLES. DON'T JUST ASSERT YOUR ARGUMENT, SUPPORT IT. ALSO SPELL OUT YOUR CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE STORM, THE K, AND YOURSELF. THE SYMBOLISM WAS NEVER VERY CLEAR TO ME. RUN A SPELL CHECK TOO. IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAVE A GREAT STORY TO TELL - A STORY ABOUT YOU, NOT YOUR HOMETOWN. NOW GO TELL IT! :)




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