Thanks

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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blackwater88
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Thanks

Postby blackwater88 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:54 pm

Thank you all
Last edited by blackwater88 on Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:51 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking and Immigration

Postby esq » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:06 pm

I think that this topic is actually very good. It is easy to understand why this experience might motivate you to have a desire to help the Mexican-American community. You might take it a step further and structure that last paragraph specifically towards schools that have solid immigration law/policy programs. It might be a great way to connect your motivations specifically with how a school can help you.

Here are a few things that I didn't like. First of all, I think that you can cut much of the work experience you have listed out. Your resume will contain this information, and unless there is something specific about how a particular position shaped you, or a project that you worked on (such as your publishable work, which can likely be included in your resume as well) then it is probably best to cut this out of your PS.

I also think that there are multiple instances where you speak in passive voice. "I have been able to work on a soon to be published report on public security in Tijuana," should be: I worked on a report concerning Tijuana's public security that will soon be published. And "I have experienced the anguish," should be: I experienced the anguish.

Other than that, I like where you are heading with your PS. I think it shows that you are not only motivated, but you have developed yourself through that motivation.

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blackwater88
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking and Immigration

Postby blackwater88 » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:31 pm

esq wrote:I think that this topic is actually very good. It is easy to understand why this experience might motivate you to have a desire to help the Mexican-American community. You might take it a step further and structure that last paragraph specifically towards schools that have solid immigration law/policy programs. It might be a great way to connect your motivations specifically with how a school can help you.

Here are a few things that I didn't like. First of all, I think that you can cut much of the work experience you have listed out. Your resume will contain this information, and unless there is something specific about how a particular position shaped you, or a project that you worked on (such as your publishable work, which can likely be included in your resume as well) then it is probably best to cut this out of your PS.

I also think that there are multiple instances where you speak in passive voice. "I have been able to work on a soon to be published report on public security in Tijuana," should be: I worked on a report concerning Tijuana's public security that will soon be published. And "I have experienced the anguish," should be: I experienced the anguish.

Other than that, I like where you are heading with your PS. I think it shows that you are not only motivated, but you have developed yourself through that motivation.


Thanks a lot man, this is the kind of feedback I was looking for. I get what you are saying about not putting too much of my work experience on the PS, after reading it a few times I realized it kind of sounded like a resume. The thing is, both immigration and drug violence are topics that really interest me, and ultimately I want to focus on immigration law, but after trying to tie both topics together I realized I ended up summarizing part of my resume. Also, I haven't done anything big on immigration, I will be doing the program this coming school year, but I don't know how else to demonstrate my interest in the topic.
What do you suggest?

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Horchata
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking and Immigration

Postby Horchata » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:19 pm

blackwater88 wrote:Could someone take a look at my first draft? I feel like I'm covering a lot of ground and would like feedback on that matter, grammar and sentence structure also.




It has been said that you are not from Tijuana unless you know someone involved in drug trafficking. The first time I heard that saying I found it amusing but never givegave it much thought. Living in northern Mexico I had always been exposed to drug trafficking and drug violence,(;) but it was not until I was thirteen years old that I saw some truth in that saying. (I can't put my finger on it, but the last two sentences don't flow right.)

I was very close to my uncle ____, (use period or semicolon)he lived with me and my mother (my mother and I)for a few years during my elementary school years when we lived in Mexico; (period would sound better here)naturally it was shocking when I learned that he had been sent to prison for trafficking marijuana and cocaine across the Mexico-U.S. border. (no need to say what drugs were involved IMO)I had heard about people making money like this, but I never suspected someone in my own family could be involved in such (a)despicable business. To make matters worse, my uncle was only a California resident and was facing deportation once he served time. Such news devastated my family (.) By the time he served his sentence all of our immediate family was living in the United States, he would have to be in Mexico without anyone to count on. This sentence uses two different tenses. In the first half, the past tense, and the second half, the conditional tense

Learning the harsh reality of deportation and the impact that drug trafficking can have on a family, I became very interested in both drug trafficking (maybe use a pronoun for "drug trafficking" to avoid being repetitive)and immigration. Being a U.S. citizen of Mexican born parents I realized that both of these topics would always follow me wherever I went, especially now after Mexico had declared war on drug trafficking (it might be cool to bring in the word "narcos" at this point for another pronoun)and the immigration of undocumented migrants had become such a social pressing issuetry to cut this last part down because the sentence drags on too much, but it's good info. tho). By the time I started my undergraduate career at _____ I knew drug trafficking was something I wanted to research, this led to choosing political science as my major.(this last sentence sounds weird. You could end it like this: research, leading me to choose political science as my major.)

I spent my first two years at ____ doing my own personal research on the cartels that controlled the area of Baja California, keeping a tally of violent deaths across the State and reading as many scholarly articles on the matter that I could get my hands on. During my third year I was finally able to incorporate my personal interest on the topic with my schooling. After taking a class with ________________, Director of the ____________________________ at ___, I learned that he was undertaking a project named _________________. Part of the project involved looking at the impact that drug violence is having in contemporary Mexican society;(.) I knew this was my opportunity to take my interest on the matter to a higher, more academic level. By demonstrating my intellectual capacity in _________’s class and offering to help with any project he needed assistance on, I was given (active voice: he gave me)the opportunity to work at ___. With my involvement at ___, I have been able to work on a soon to be (I think it is written like this: soon-to-be-written)published report on public security in Tijuana. (You might want to start the sentence like: The highest point in my undergraduate career was when OR The culmination of my undergraduate career was when)I have participated in a round table with both Mexican and U.S. officials discussing the effectiveness of both the Obama and Calderon administrationsin dealing with (handling of)the current wave of drug violence in Mexico. This experience has helped me grow both as a student and as a person, - (instead of comma) I was given (the)freedom to chose the topic I wanted to research, but at the same time I was guided by _________ (______ guided me)in conducting my work. Sitting at the same table as the Assistant to the Attorney General of Baja California and seeing how limited the Judicial branch often is in enacting its duty, taught me that if I wanted to influence the way drug violence is currently fought, I would have to do it through the legal profession. (This sentence is contradictory. If you say you saw how limited the judicial branch is, why would you want to use this same branch to change things? After this sentence, the logical conclusion would be for you to go into private military contracting (like Blackwater :)) or the police.)

As I said before, I am greatly interested in immigration not only as a Mexican-American, but also because I have experienced the anguish, hurt and disappointment of having a loved one being deported. To better understand the nature of Mexican migrants and their experience in the United States, I applied to the _________________ Research Program this upcoming year and was fortunate enough to be accepted. I hope conducting field research for _____________________________________ will help me gain knowledge into the factors that contribute to the emigration of such people. I feel that this project, (after)having experienced deportation in my family, and having conducted research on drug trafficking and drug violence, can help me become an attorney that can serve the Mexican-American community(you might want to say: in a special way). I am confident that if my uncle had had someone in our community and explaining to him the nature of immigration laws, he would not have gotten himself involved in that line of business.(Are you really trying to say that if you uncle knew the criminal/civil repercussions of the drug trade he would not have done it? This sounds highly unlikely. When write that you were going to be writing about this I knew the point connecting your uncle and how that makes you want to be lawyer would be tough. It would be tough to say I want to be a lawyer to help drug traffickers stay out of trouble...I'm not sure how I feel about how that would look to an adcom. You might want to go down the line of talking about how there are different types of Mexicans who have different problems relating to immigration and how you could help them out because of your intimate knowledge on the subject) My uncle even confessed that he thought because he was the son of a U.S. citizen he did not have to fear deportation.

By gaining admission to _________________ I will take the advantage of the programs that instruct on immigration law, (like such and such program.)I hope that by becoming a lawyer, coupled with the knowledge that I will gain through the migration research project, and what I learned by working with the ______________________, not only can I help improve my community, but will also gain the tools to have a fruitful and successful professional career.



Hope this helps. It was a good start. A lot of it is food for thought. I found it very interesting and I'm sure no one is going to have a PS like it. IMO you need to connect the dots between your uncle and your wanting to become an immigration attorney. The way you do it doesn't come off that convincing or logical to me.

In regards to the last poster's comment, I think it's ok to explain your resume in more detail if it explains why you want to go to law. (And I'm obviously biased because I do this in my PS.) I know law schools say that don't want to hear a regurgitated resume, but often times one or two experiences on our resume change our life; that's just the way it is. I personally think you strike the right balance. Yeah, and he was right about the passive voice. I point it out a couple of times. Espero que te ayude, wey.

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking and Immigration

Postby esq » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:30 pm

Sorry if it came off as 'remove all mention of your work experience.' I didn't intend to make it sound like that. After reading your PS, it just seemed like you were trying to list all of your relevant professional experience. I would - and I did in my PS as well - mention interesting experiences about certain jobs that can be better connected to your personal development in your PS.

You could say something like:

The experience with my uncle sparked my interest in Mexican drug cartels. I began conducting research and pursuing professional work opportunities that allowed me to better understand the dynamics of it. I initially spent two years researching cartels and the violent methods they used to establish hegemony in Baja California. I eventually became formally involved in my work through my university. My research qualified me for professional opportunities, and my work on Tijuana's public security issues at ____________ will soon be published. I became politically involved with the issue as well, and I served as the Assistant to the Attorney General of Baja California, where my efforts taught me that if I wanted to influence the way drug violence is currently fought, I would have to get a legal education.

I think that my experience and background will help me to be an effective advocate for the Mexican-American community if I can gain a legal education in immigration law. The Mexican-American community faces 'such and such issues that relate to my experience and background'. They need advocates that understand their situation and can help them effectively surmount these issues. I think that I could be such an advocate, and that I would enjoy doing so. . . . or something along these lines.

I am interested in "Blank University" because of its immigration law program. I think that by involving myself in "need to look at their website and see what their program offers and then say how you would like to get involved" I could develop myself in "such and such way towards my goal." . . . and there are probably a few things, sentences, that you can say about their program . . . Therefore, your school is peachy and I want to go to it.

______________________________

I think that much of what you had in your work experience paragraph was fluff that can be easily excluded, which allows you to more concisely get to the point of your academic and professional development (e.g. keeping a tally of violent deaths across the State and reading as many scholarly articles on the matter that I could get my hands on. - I think that most academics understand what MX's violence entails, and that research means that you will read scholarly articles.)

I think that you need to show that your academic and professional experience has in fact helped you to understand the problems of immigrant/Mexican-American issues. You shouldn't be afraid to state what they are, then, and relate this to how your perspectives can help with their issues.

It's just a suggestion, but I think that the next logical move to make your statement flow would be to connect yourself with a law school. I think that adcoms are looking at how their law school can help the students that are applying, and if you can show them how, then that is a positive.

My grandparents both immigrated from Mexico, so I understand how Anti-Latino discrimination is dis-empowering to immigrants, and forces them to do things that they normally wouldn't have to if their situation was different. So I hope that this is helpful and that you are able to get into the field that you are looking towards. Good luck.

DreamShake
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking and Immigration

Postby DreamShake » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:51 am

A few general observations:

1) Work experience should be mentioned only insofar as it has impacted you beyond the obvious. In other words, mention only stuff that is life-altering.
2) I like the content, but you need a lot of grammatical help--even more than Horchata has provided. I suggest consulting an on-campus organization or office if you can find one. At present, the PS reads like it was written by somebody without a full grasp of the English language (being honest, not mean).
3) "As I said before, I am greatly interested...not only as a Mexican-American, but also because I have experienced the anguish..." comes off as both redundant and pity-seeking. You either need to elaborate earlier in the essay on the extent of influence that your uncle's arrest had on you, or you should modify this sentence. In either situation, delete "As I said before."

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blackwater88
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking and Immigration

Postby blackwater88 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:46 am

DreamShake wrote:A few general observations:

1) Work experience should be mentioned only insofar as it has impacted you beyond the obvious. In other words, mention only stuff that is life-altering.
2) I like the content, but you need a lot of grammatical help--even more than Horchata has provided. I suggest consulting an on-campus organization or office if you can find one. At present, the PS reads like it was written by somebody without a full grasp of the English language (being honest, not mean).
3) "As I said before, I am greatly interested...not only as a Mexican-American, but also because I have experienced the anguish..." comes off as both redundant and pity-seeking. You either need to elaborate earlier in the essay on the extent of influence that your uncle's arrest had on you, or you should modify this sentence. In either situation, delete "As I said before."


I see what you're saying in regard to work experience, I'll cut it down and make the essay more focused. Thanks for the honesty too, I'll revise all the grammatical mistakes so it's easier to understand.

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blackwater88
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking (Second Draft)

Postby blackwater88 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:03 am

Have just updated my PS. Hope it reads better than the first draft.

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking (Second Draft)

Postby esq » Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:29 am

Institute (Should this word be capitalized?)


I'll try to look at your update more tomorrow, but no, institute only needs to be capitalized as part of a formal title - like the Institute for Public Interest for example.

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12AngryMen
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking (Second Draft)

Postby 12AngryMen » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:10 am

I very much like it in fact. I believe that it gives a clear dilineation of why you will pursue a law school education and why it is important to you. Matter of fact this is very well structured. 8)

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blackwater88
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking (Second Draft)

Postby blackwater88 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:54 am

12AngryMen wrote:I very much like it in fact. I believe that it gives a clear dilineation of why you will pursue a law school education and why it is important to you. Matter of fact this is very well structured. 8)


Thanks :)

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking (Second Draft)

Postby esq » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:34 pm

I've tried to correct a few things here for you. I've also taken the liberty to change a few things in hopes of demonstrating some of the connections I think you need to make to relate this to law school. Overall, I think that it's moving the right direction. I'll try to explain some of what I did here below.



As a Mexican-American who was raised in Tijuana, Mexico I became familiar with a common stereotype: you are not truly Tijuanense unless you know a drug trafficker. When suggested in banter with my friends or as a joke at a party, nervous laughs echoed throughout the group because, though meant as a jest, the stereotype had a certain degree of truth to it. Narcotráfico, drug trafficking, - always use italics when introducing a foreign word for the first time - had a strong influence on my culture while growing up. I learned the reality of this as a teenager when, unsuspectingly, my uncle was arrested for for drug trafficking. Insert thesis here - here's my suggestion: This experience eventually propelled me towards a budding career as an academic who specializes in drug cartel research, and I think that it has given me a significant perspective that will help me serve the Latino community as an attorney.

My uncle Agustin lived with my mother and I in northern Mexico. He was my mother's youngest brother, he was soft-spoken, easily influenced and in his early twenties. We were all surprised when my grandmother called with the troubling news, my uncle had been arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border for the intent to distribute. When they searched him, they found large - could engage with detail here, like: they found 9.3 kilograms of cocaine - amounts narcotics. He was convicted as a drug trafficker, and would eventually be deported.

As a young teen, it was hard for me to understand how my uncle became involved in narcotráfico. To me, my uncle was a mentor, the guy that taught me how to ride my bicycle and played chess with me after school. His arrest had a profound impact on me, and I became particularly interested narcotráfico because of it. I never understood how ingrained in my society's culture this leviathan was until they took him away. By the time I reached high school, my peers were becoming involved in the romantic ideas built up around the local narcos. Not only were they mesmerized by the danceable corridos, but many of them even strove to one day become the top kingpin. Through music and iconography, these narcos were no longer outlaws, but folk heroes to be celebrated. Although having an uncle behind bars opened my eyes to the world of narcotráfico - because you are talking about the culture built up around narcotrafico in Mexico, I think you should continue to be consistent with the term in the paragraph -, what I saw as social decomposition among my peers because of it drove me to study the nature of the drug world so I could better understand it.

I went to XXX University and decided to explore my interest in narcotráfico through a political science degree. During my first two years, I used my spare time to study drug cartels . I kept tally of violent deaths that occurred in the state of Baja California and the fluctuating hegemony of the various drug cartels that controlled Mexico. During my third year, I learned of an opportunity to involve myself with the University of XXX, which was conducting its own research on drug cartels through the XXX Institute. I took a Mexican politics class with the director of the institute. I did exceptionally well in his class, and by the end of the course he hired me as one of his research assistants. I soon began conducting research and pursuing professional work opportunities that allowed me to better understand the dynamics of Mexican drug cartels and their trade.

Working with the XXX Institute encapsulated the culmination of my undergraduate career. Participating in this research opportunity allowed me to meet with different U.S. and Mexican officials, including the Assistant to the Attorney General of Baja California and academics. I was even offered an opportunity to evaluate the work the current state administration is doing in Baja California and provide possible solutions to the mistrust that exists among the different law enforcement agencies. (Did you cash in on this offer? If not take it out. If so, be more direct with how you phrase it: I became politically involved when I was was asked by - such and such agency - to evaluate the then current administrations effort to organize Baja California's inefficient law enforcement through better policy. These experiences gave me a keen understanding of Mexico's issues, and helped me to realize that, through the capabilities I developed, there was more I could do to help remedy the issues.

Start connecting this to the "why law school" question.The experience with my uncle sparked my interest in narcotráfico. My desire to take a proactive role in Mexican policy and make sense of the current war on drugs, which is taking its toll on not only Mexico, but also the Latino community here in the U.S., has enabled me to gain a perspective that allows me to understand their circumstances. -I use Latino, because I think that you experience actually helps you understand Latinos, a broader group, who will also be able to help through law school - I think that I can make a stronger impact by helping the Latino community solve issues such as these by gaining a legal education at _________ University. What began as a desire to make sense of a issue that I was interested in has transformed into a topic that has defined my scholarly pursuits, and will hopefully continue to define my legal career. - Your thesis re-emerges here.


-----------------

Sorry if there are any typos, or mistakes, I am too tired tired to go back and proof what I have done here. This is just an example of how I would approach your topic. I think it makes it flow, and connects your background with your desire for law school a bit more. I cut some things out, because they seemed to distract from the desired topic, for grammar reasons, and because some of it would lose its focus - you - by talking too much about your family's perceptions, etc. Use this how you want, but I think that this might give you at least a little more direction. Good luck .

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blackwater88
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking (Second Draft)

Postby blackwater88 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:15 pm

esq wrote:
Sorry if there are any typos, or mistakes, I am too tired tired to go back and proof what I have done here. This is just an example of how I would approach your topic. I think it makes it flow, and connects your background with your desire for law school a bit more. I cut some things out, because they seemed to distract from the desired topic, for grammar reasons, and because some of it would lose its focus - you - by talking too much about your family's perceptions, etc. Use this how you want, but I think that this might give you at least a little more direction. Good luck .


I think this is great Esq, really appreciate you taking the time and providing great ideas. I'll incorporate "why law school" and see how it goes. You're too good at this, might ask you for help (if you don't mind) with my DS also :D

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esq
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Re: Personal Statement on Drug Trafficking (Second Draft)

Postby esq » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:37 pm

If you don't mind some serious lag time - I'm working on apps now - sure I'd be happy to help you out.

PM it to me.




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