Davis Personal Statement resubmit + addendum question

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m dot m
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Davis Personal Statement resubmit + addendum question

Postby m dot m » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:31 pm

So I put a slightly modified version up for some feedback a couple months ago. After letting it marinate for a while, I am hoping for any sort of comments on any finishing touches that should be made. The main things I want to try and do are cut what I can and still distinguish my PS from the typical "I taught in an urban area and now realize I can help these kids as a lawyer more than as a teacher" PS, since I've seen at least a few posted already.

Also, is it worth submitting an addendum explaining that my course load was minimal and mostly pass/no pass in my senior year because I took a coaching job on top of my regular job for most of the year? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Finally, if you would like me to take a look at your PS and give my humble opinion, go for it.

This is it. This is what I have prepared for. Time for one last run through before the bell rings. Name written on the board? Check. Lesson plans committed to memory? Check. I’m ready to go. Or so I thought. The bell rings and throngs of students stream into the classroom. Before I can even introduce myself, it happens. A crash just inside the doorway is followed by a string of expletives. I look up to see a boy I would later know as Andre hovering over another student, begging him to stand up and fight. I quickly realized teaching was going to be the biggest challenge of my life. What I didn’t realize until much later was that students like Andre would inspire me to become a lawyer.
Over the course of that first school year, and more than a handful of detentions later, I came to know that tall, scrawny kid I first met in my doorway. He was still growing into his lanky body, and, despite his claims and outward appearance, was still very much a boy. In mere seconds, he would breathlessly brag to me, in a voice already nearing my own pitch, about how he wore the same shoe size as his older brother and how he could beat me at anything from a foot race to a rap battle. He was leery of me when I told him that I didn’t skateboard, loved soccer, and hadn’t been in a fight. But he opened up after an in-depth discussion about his favorite basketball team, The Lakers. During these exchanges, I also learned about Andre’s life outside of school. It was through these conversations that I became painfully aware of how inadequately prepared I was to fully help him. Although I provided tutoring and served as a role model, Andre also needed someone that could help him improve his life outside of school. This pained me because, like many new teachers, I entered the profession with the fantasy of saving the world one child at a time.
Before long, it was obvious that I couldn’t be a super hero to every student that walked through my door, nor did they need me to be. What Andre needed was someone that could help provide a more stable home environment. His father was long gone, and his mother, Nicole, spent most of her time “out,” as Andre put it. So Andre went home after school being looked after by his older brother, Marcus, who Andre modeled both his style and behavior after. However, Marcus was only himself in eighth grade and spent more time in On Camus Suspension than in class. All the while, their Grandmother, Shawna, who represented Andre at our parent-teacher conferences, felt like her home was the stable environment Andre needed. She explained to me how she wanted Andre and Marcus to live with her on the other side of town, but didn’t know how to make it happen. Like any Grandmother, she wanted the best for her grandchildren, and felt like if the boys were removed, albeit slightly, from their current environment, then they would prosper. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help her with this, or even lead her to someone that could.
Dismayed as I was that first year, I have continuously worked hard to help my students reach their fullest potential. Over the last three years I have established a school newspaper, started an intramural sports program, organized field trips, reached out to community leaders and brought them in as guest speakers, sponsored clubs on campus, tutored, and coached soccer. These things weren’t easy, especially during a time when all school districts have had an extremely limited budget. However, I took it upon myself to provide learning experiences that would be beneficial at no cost to the district or the students. Teaching hasn’t been easy or what I expected, far from it in fact, but it’s been a worthwhile learning experience that has led me to believe my talents are better afforded in the legal profession.
Two years later, I learned that Andre had been shot in the stomach while trying to help Marcus out in a fight at their neighborhood park. He was no longer a student of mine, or even attending the same school, but it pained me to find out what had happened to him. Not because Andre was such a promising student with a bright future, but because his story has become far too familiar. If I were an attorney, I could have helped Andre and his Grandmother by fighting to help her gain custody of him and Marcus. I could have helped take Andre out of the environment, which I believe, was the source of his troubles.
From the time I was a student-teacher, I have spent my career doing everything I can to help the students that walk into my class. I know that with a law degree I can help even more. Although I assisted Andre with his academics, I wasn’t able to help him in all the ways he needed. Andre didn’t need a super hero, but he did need more than a caring teacher. I fought to teach him about Mesopotamia, but he also needed someone fighting to grant his Grandmother custody of him. I know that an education at King Hall will allow me to provide the additional aid that Andre needed by preparing me for a career in public interest and family law. A law degree will allow me to work with someone like Shawna to obtain custody of children that would be better off outside of their home. It’s important to me to learn how to provide this kind of assistance at a school that emphasizes public interest. UC Davis has impressed me as such a school, as evidenced by its strong clinical program, notably the Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic. I look forward to employing my talents to serve in an alternative fashion outside the classroom, where I first met Andre.

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Re: Davis Personal Statement resubmit + addendum question

Postby bk1 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:38 pm

I would not write that addendum.

As for the PS, it seems a bit unbelievable to me. You say that your experience with Andre is what drove you to become a lawyer, but logically it would make more sense for the experience to make you want to be a social worker. Had you seen a protracted legal battle between his parents and grandmother, maybe it would have made sense, but as it stands it was merely a desire on the part of the grandmother and that does not seem to parlay into wanting to be a lawyer in my eyes.

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Re: Davis Personal Statement resubmit + addendum question

Postby Kchuck » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:48 pm

Maybe this is going to sound really picky, and in no way am I submitting that I am an expert at personal statements, but after reading a fair amount of them on these boards, I feel that I am at least qualified to give my own opinion.

I only read about half of the statement, that's as long as my attention span was kept. It seemed like you had a really interesting story, but I thought your delivery of it was typical and tired. I feel that I have read your statement somewhere else before, meaning if I feel that way then surely those who read thousands of these things will likely feel that way too.

I think that you do something that a majority of other applicants do when writing these statements, and that is overload the statement with uselessness. Too many damn adjectives, adverbs, hyperbole, etc.

Find another way to say that you opened a door quickly, or that he was lanky. All that just seems to bore me. Reread your statement, I think you'll find that there are many situations where you can either remove a word without affecting the entire statement, or say it in a way that will have a more profound impact.

All in all, I think the potential is there.

m dot m
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Re: Davis Personal Statement resubmit + addendum question

Postby m dot m » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:57 pm

Thank you both for the feedback. I will definitely keep those things in mind when reworking this.

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Re: Davis Personal Statement resubmit + addendum question

Postby McNulty » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:43 am


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