Revised Personal Statement... Please Critique

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scgirl
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:37 pm

Revised Personal Statement... Please Critique

Postby scgirl » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:18 pm

This is a revised version of my personal statement. I added a few lines... please let me know what ya'll think. Thank you!



As I make my way to the swings converging between the old gray house and the little yellow trailer, I stop a moment to take in my surroundings. There is the sound of children joking and laughing, a soft tuned out humming coming from the old patriarch perched in the middle swing, the chattering of the ladies sitting around talking about the latest community happenings and, of course, the sound of a roaring tractor as it treks through the field desperately searching for just one more soybean. I look around at my home. It has taken me a lifetime to get here.
I grew up here. The people I love most in the world are in this small community called Barrineau but I’ve never felt at home until recently. I had to learn to accept myself before I could accept my home and family. I grew up thinking it was somehow deficient because we didn’t have big buildings, stop lights, grocery stores or anything else I considered to be important. In my community, education is not considered a top priority. In my family, high school diplomas are rare and college degrees are unheard of. Despite this, the beauty I failed to see is so obvious to me now. It is the sense of pride someone has after picking a bucket full of butterbeans or showing up at your door with your favorite dish. It is the sense of community that drives people to place a jar at all the little country stores for a sick child or start a community wide clothes drive for the family who has lost their home to fire. While the lack of desire for education is troubling, it has made me appreciate the opportunity to continue my education all the more. Looking back, I see now that it is the experience of growing up in this atmosphere that has made me the person I am today.
I tried to fight the knowledge that my community and the people surrounding me where just as good as everyone else but I couldn’t escape the idea that they were closed minded, ignorant of the outside world. I’m glad I’ve come to realize that I was the one who was ignorant. The journey to this realization was a long one, a necessary one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Straight out of high school I applied to one college. It was the closest to my home at about 35 minutes away. I wanted to get away from my community and to me that school 35 minutes away was a different world. I wasn’t yet brave enough to explore the larger world. It wasn’t until two years later that I decided to transfer to my dream school. I submitted my transfer application to the University of South Carolina in secret. I told no one. I didn’t know what my parents would say about me moving so far away from home. When I received my acceptance letter, I nervously approached them and explained that I was transferring. This was a large step for me. My college roommate for my first two years in college had been my childhood best friend. Although I was away from home and my parents I wasn’t alone.
When I moved to Columbia, I knew no one. I had to exit my comfort zone and meet new people. I’ve always been shy so this wasn’t easy. I started participating in on campus organizations. This provided a framework for meeting new people and socializing with like minded people. For the first time in my life I felt like I belonged somewhere. I’ve always had a burning interest in international relations and studies. While at the University of South Carolina, I began to take Russian language classes and get involved in the Russian program. This was a great experience that introduced me to a completely different culture. While in my first Russian class, my professor introduced the Russian study abroad program in Taganrog, Russia. My heart fluttered. I wanted to go so bad but I knew there would be now way to convince my parents. Maybe I knew I couldn’t convince myself either at the moment. I had never been away from home for five weeks, which was the length of the program. I had never flown on an airplane before and I was terrified at the idea of flying.
It wasn’t until the next year, my senior year, when the study abroad trip came up again that I decided I was going. I told my parents that this was a great opportunity that I had to take. Outwardly, I appeared confident. Inwardly, I was terrified. The same fears that plagued me the year before were still there. I decided that I could not let fear determine my life. I signed up for the trip and never looked back. I boarded the plane and went six thousand miles to Russia. If I stepped out of my comfort zone when I transferred schools, my comfort zone was shattered when I landed in Russia. I was left alone with a host family where my host sister was the only person around who spoke a little bit of English. I learned to adjust out of necessity and it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences in my life.
When I returned from Russia, it was time for me to graduate and move back home. Instead of dreading this return like I would have before, I looked forward to the opportunity to see my hometown through different eyes. I was not disappointed. The large cities and educated majorities are great but in my mind they are in no way better than my little piece of earth and the people that populate it.

scgirl
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:37 pm

Re: Revised Personal Statement... Please Critique

Postby scgirl » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:19 pm

Also, when I submit my personal statement... do I just submit the text or do I need to date, title, etc it?

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

Re: Revised Personal Statement... Please Critique

Postby samsonyte16 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:20 pm

I'll be completely honest with you - I think this needs a lot of work. I had trouble understanding where you were going with the essay. You alternate between idyllic descriptions of your hometown and a burning desire to get out. After reading the whole essay, I get that you were trying to show how time in the wider world helped you appreciate your hometown, but I never understood that transition. What was it about USC and Russia that made you appreciate Barrineau?

Another point. I'm concerned some of your descriptions make you sound a bit..sheltered. Your sentences about wanting to meet "like-minded people" at college, having never flown on an airplane, and being terrified about visiting Russia on a study trip all bothered me. I kept thinking, "how does somebody who claims to have always had a 'burning interest' in international relations feel so terrified by the prospect of going to another country?"

I've also made grammatical and stylistic comments and changes in-text. Most of these are pretty self-explanatory. The main point - be more succinct and less cliche. Go through your text later, look at each sentence, and ask yourself "how can I make this tighter?" Let me know if you have any specific questions. I hope this helps.


As I make my way to the swings convergingbetween the old gray house and the little yellow trailer, I stopa momentto take in my surroundings. There is the sound of are children joking and laughing,a soft tuned outhummingcoming from the old patriarch (don't use patriarch - it's unnecessarily complicated and awkward) manperched in the middle swing, the chattering of the ladies gossiping sitting around talking about the latest community happenings and, of course, the sound of aroaringtractor in as it treks throughthe fielddesperately searching for just one more soybean (try to avoid exaggerating for poetic effect. Be precise.) I look around at my home. It has taken me a lifetime to get here.

I grew up here. The people I love most in the world are inthis small community calledBarrineau but I’ve never felt at home until recently. I had to learn to accept myself before I could accept my home and family (this sentence is cliche). I grew up thinking it was somehowdeficient becausewe it didn’t have big buildings, stop lights, grocery stores or anything else I consideredto beimportant. In my community, education is notconsidered a top priority (this sentence is passive voice. Maybe change to "My family does not consider education a top priority.). In my family, high school diplomas are rare and college degrees are unheard of. Despite this, the beauty I failed to see is so obvious to me now (cliche). It is the sense of pride someone has after picking a bucket full of butterbeans or showing up at your door with your favorite dish (I don't understand this sentence). It is the sense of community that drives people to place ajars at all the little country stores for a sick child sick children or start a community wide clothes drive for the family who has lost their home to fire (OK, but I don't understand how this is beauty). While the lack of desire for education is troubling, it has made me appreciate the opportunity to continue my education all the more. Looking back, I seenowthatit is the experience ofgrowing up in this atmospherethat hasmade me the person I am today.

I tried to fight the knowledge that my community and the people surrounding me where just as good as everyone else but I couldn’t escape the idea that they were closed minded, ignorant of the outside world (this sentence is really clunky. I think you should break it into two). I’m gladI’ve come torealized thatI was the one who was ignorant. The journey to this realization wasa longone, a necessary one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Straight out of high school I applied to one college. It was the closest to my home at about 35 minutes away. I wanted to get away from my community and to me that school 35 minutes away was a different world. I wasn’t yetbrave enough to explore the larger world. It wasn’t untiltwo years later that I decided to transfer to my dream school. I submitted my transfer application to the University of South Carolina in secret. I told no one (redundant). I didn’t know what my parents would say about me moving so far away from home. When I received my acceptance letter, I nervously approached them and explained that I was transferring.
This was a large step for me. My college roommate for my first two years in college had been my childhood best friend. Although I was away from home and my parents I wasn’t alone.

When I moved to Columbia, I knew no one. I had toexit my comfort zone andmeet new people. I’ve always been shy so this wasn’t easy. I started participating joined in on-campus organizations to meet new people. This provided a framework formeeting new people and socializing with like minded people (this "meeting like minded people" phrase is bad. It makes you sound closed off to meeting people different from yourself). For the first time in my life I felt like I belonged somewhere. I’ve always (Always? Again, make sure you are precise.) had a burning interest in international relations and studies. While at the University of South Carolina, I began to take Russian language classesand get involved in the Russian program. This was a great experience that introduced me to a completely different culture.While in my first Russian class, my professor introduced the Russian study abroad program in Taganrog, Russia. My heart fluttered (cliche). I wanted to go so bad butIknew there would be now way to convince my parents. Maybe I knew I couldn’t convince myself eitherat the moment. I had never been away from home for five weeks, which was the length of the program. I had never flown on an airplane before and I was terrified at the idea of flying.

It wasn’t until the next year, my senior year,when the study abroad trip came up againthat I decided I was going. I told my parents that this was a great opportunity that I had to take. Outwardly, I appeared confident. Inwardly, I was terrified. The same fears that plagued me the year before were still there. I decided that I could not let fear determine my life. I signed up for the trip and never looked back (cliche). I boarded the plane and went six thousand miles to Russia. If I stepped out of my comfort zone when I transferred schools, my comfort zone was shattered when I landed in Russia. I was left alone with a host family where my host sister was the only person around who spoke a little bit of English. I learned to adjustout of necessity and it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences in my life.

When I returned from Russia, it was time for me to graduate and move back return home. Instead of dreading this returnlike I would have before, I looked forward tothe opportunity toseeing my hometown through different eyes. I was not disappointed. Thelarge cities and educated majorities are great but in my mind they are inno way better than my little piece of earth and the people that populate it.

tgedamu
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:59 pm

Re: Revised Personal Statement... Please Critique

Postby tgedamu » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:48 pm

Too vast




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