Please critique my PS (3RD DRAFT)-- can return favor!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
jjlaw
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Please critique my PS (3RD DRAFT)-- can return favor!!

Postby jjlaw » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:57 pm

Thanks for all the feedback!
Last edited by jjlaw on Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:08 am

This is a very good personal statement in need of some minor revisions.

DELETE: "...from Day One."

CONSIDER: "Initially..." instead of "At first...".

CHANGE: "...and lived..." to "..., he lived...".

CONSIDER: changing "...before returning..." to "...was returned..." as this makes him appear as an object, thereby engendering sympathy for his plight, rather than as one in control of his own placement.

"Moses trusted almost no one." might be better as a stand-alone sentence.

jjlaw
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby jjlaw » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:47 pm

Thanks for the feedback! I would really appreciate it if anybody else could comment. It would help me tremendously, and of course, I'd be happy to return the favor. :D

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AreJay711
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:01 pm

Yours is better than mine when I first posted it here. These are just my thoughts, accept or them reject as you want. PM me if you would be willing to look at my diversity statement please.

Paragraph 1:

"and, perhaps more importantly, a cup of coffee." - I know why you did this. It parallels the wording at the end and tries to show how your experiences have changed you. The problem is the reader is going to see it too and it is a little gimmicky -- is it really more important? That it is really doubtful. The theme of caffeine addiction might give you an in with the admissions people though lol.

Paragraph 2:

"In fact, he intimidated me."- try to describe this in another way. You are saying that you were intimidated by an elementary age child -- I'm not really jumping to hire you as my lawyer lol. At the same time if you say that in another way, or really cut it out (you said that he made you especially nervous) it would be better even if you were in fact intimidated.

"Where was his sense of urgency?" - Somewhat of a canned phrase. "Why was he so apathetic" or "Where was his drive to succeed and learn" might be better.

Paragraph 3:

"Feeling slightly embarrassed and disappointed" - there are a good number of words you can cut without affecting the flow or meaning of your statement; this is an example of one such place. "disappointed and slightly embarrassed" means the same thing and idk if people "feel" disappointed - usually they either are or aren't.

"I felt slightly relieved that his attitude was not directed only at me, but I also began to understand it more." - my issue is with the "but". These aren't contradictory at all. "and" is what you need here. "and began to better understand him/it/Moses". You might want to redo the sentence in light of that. Also ditto above. "Felt slightly"= "was"

"personal encouragement" - Ditto, he mostly just lacked encouragement not that special personal kind.

Paragraph 4:

"Moses needed to feel safe when he was with me."- Most law school admissions staff will be able extrapolate this from the prior sentence.

Paragraph 5:

It is a good message though and ends on a strong note. Do drop the parallel at the end of the first paragraph though lol.

sarahh
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby sarahh » Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:28 pm

This would be a great essay if you were appplying to for an MA in education, but you don't address at all why you want to go to law school and be a lawyer.

jjlaw
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby jjlaw » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:22 pm

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Last edited by jjlaw on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jjlaw
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby jjlaw » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:28 pm

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Last edited by jjlaw on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:14 pm

jjlaw wrote:
jjlaw wrote:My original essay had a portion about why I wanted to be a lawyer and why this experience helped me decide, but my pre-law advisor told me that I should let the adcom come to this conclusion for themselves through my essay. She said that I shouldn't have to lay it out so clearly because they know what being a lawyer is all about. I should instead tell them about my thoughts going into the situation and how my insight has changed since then.

I haven't heard back from her since I wrote this updated version, but has anyone else gotten the same advice from their pre-law advisor?


I just heard back from my advisor who said that she thought the statement was more about my apprehension towards my job rather than about what I learned about myself from the experience. "What specific skills did you obtain that could translate to being a good lawyer? Show through example, don't tell."

I am really confused because I thought I had shown that I learned to slow down my pace and to listen more in order to get better results from my students. I think that the abilities to change your pace and listen to different perspectives (whether from other lawyers or clients) are valuable skills and mentalities to have as a lawyer. I am not sure how else I can show this, if not through my example of working with Moses.

Can anyone give me some advice? I am wracking my brain for answers. Thanks.


Actually, I found that the lessons came through quite clearly. I am intensely uncertain about whether it's better to play it subtle or hit the ad comms over the head with how your lessons learned relate to law school/legal practice. I think it could be very refreshing for them to read something that lets them draw their own conclusions and that doesn't recycle the same hackneyed phrases that every other PS will have tacked onto the end. However, maybe they really like to have the dots connected. Who knows. At any rate, I think you have a pretty good PS going here. I'd take the advice of the others above, especially with regard to downplaying how intimidating Moses was - even though I, for one, can definitely relate to literally being a little bit intimidated of little kids. What might be better is to insert a one-sentence anecdote of an interaction you had with him early on that epitomized his attitude toward you. This could be as simple as, "When I asked everyone to write down their name on a sheet of paper, he broke his pencil in half in defiance, placing the two pieces carefully on the ground and looking me square in the eye." Something minor but indicative.

Good luck, you're well on your way.

jjlaw
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby jjlaw » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:19 pm

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Last edited by jjlaw on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:44 pm

My interpretation of "show, don't tell" is generally about using examples/mini-stories to demonstrate your point. Like instead of saying that Moses was distrustful and defensive (or maybe in addition to it), recall an action he took that displayed this attitude.

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bk1
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby bk1 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:49 pm

Excellence = a Habit wrote:My interpretation of "show, don't tell" is generally about using examples/mini-stories to demonstrate your point. Like instead of saying that Moses was distrustful and defensive (or maybe in addition to it), recall an action he took that displayed this attitude.


Pretty much.

Telling: "He was a jackass."
Showing: "He stole candy from a baby."

Here the reader understands the implication that this person is a jackass because they stole candy from a baby. Most of the time you don't need to tell at all, in fact it is detracting. I would try to just show most of the time.

Basically, you let the content show what you are trying to tell the reader. If you want to convey being a leader you don't say "I was leader of the marching band" but instead you showcase events that display leadership qualities. You are trying to be subtle and persuade the reader, not shove their face in the conclusion and get them to see it via blunt force trauma.

jjlaw
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby jjlaw » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:08 am

bk1 wrote:
Excellence = a Habit wrote:My interpretation of "show, don't tell" is generally about using examples/mini-stories to demonstrate your point. Like instead of saying that Moses was distrustful and defensive (or maybe in addition to it), recall an action he took that displayed this attitude.


Basically, you let the content show what you are trying to tell the reader. If you want to convey being a leader you don't say "I was leader of the marching band" but instead you showcase events that display leadership qualities. You are trying to be subtle and persuade the reader, not shove their face in the conclusion and get them to see it via blunt force trauma.


Thanks for the feedback on "show, don't tell." I've tried to incorporate your advice in my second draft (see original post), especially in the second to last paragraph. Please let me know what you think, if you have a moment. Thanks!

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:03 pm

I think the changes are positive near the beginning, and maybe negative toward the end. In the last two sentences, I feel like you come off more hokey, less sincere, than before. Of course I can't remember well what it used to say... But I think you have changed it right? I think the single thing that would improve that part the most would be changing "I look forward to developing a holistic understanding of them to find a common solution." To me, it comes off a little patronizing. I would consider something like, "I now have the experience/knowledge/skills/etc. (maybe list them - patience, empathy, whatever) I need to find a common solution."

jjlaw
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby jjlaw » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:36 pm

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Last edited by jjlaw on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: Please critique my PS -- can return favor!!

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:13 pm

jjlaw wrote:I just want to express that I was able to see things from a different perspective after working with my students, who grew up in a very different environment than my own. I grew up moving to different countries, so I know what it's like to encounter different cultures, but I was always fortunate enough to have support at home for good education. I also grew up around people who had good support at home. My students didn't have this kind of support, and I had to learn what life was like from their perspective. I learned that their families didn't emphasize education like mine did, and it wasn't that they didn't want to do their homework, but that nobody was there to help them. I had to understand their perspectives so that they could trust me. I think the ability to recognize different perspectives and to learn from them is valuable in law.


This.

Just rewrite slightly and that's your conclusion. Hope that doesn't sound flippant, because I think that would legitimately be a good move.

jjlaw
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Re: Please critique my PS (3RD DRAFT)-- can return favor!!

Postby jjlaw » Fri Oct 08, 2010 2:59 pm

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Last edited by jjlaw on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kiwi917
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Re: Please critique my PS (3RD DRAFT)-- can return favor!!

Postby Kiwi917 » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:13 am

I like this conclusion much better than the previous versions. One minor thing is that the sentence "Indeed, it was not that they did not want to learn; it was that they lacked the support and resources to do so." seems unnecessary, since you demonstrate that point very clearly with your story. Otherwise, it looks really good.




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