Very Very Rough Draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
HeavenWood
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Very Very Rough Draft

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:14 pm

Thanks!
Last edited by HeavenWood on Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JennBNYC
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Re: Very Very Rough Draft

Postby JennBNYC » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:20 pm

HeavenWood wrote:Please be kind, I just fleshed it out, and I know it has a ways to go :mrgreen:

Seriously tough, I appreciate any and all constructive criticism. Is this a good start, do I need to make significant changes, or should I scrap this entirely?

Also, this draft comes out at 1.5 pages, double-spaced. Is that long enough?

Anyway, here it is:

My mother sits in her wheelchair, struggling to move a computer mouse. Its cursor drags across the monitor’s screen, making successive stops on a clickable QWERTY keyboard. Several clicks and minutes go by, the final click triggering a synthesized female voice to say “water.” I open the refrigerator, fill a plastic cup, and hold it to my mother’s lips. Several more minutes pass before I hear a “thank you.”

According to our insurance provider, this is justice. Although my mother would greatly benefit from eye-tracking mouse technology, her $7,000 claim remains in dispute. Because her case of Lou Gehrig’s Disease has progressed from acute to terminal, easing her suffering makes no economic sense from our provider’s perspective. Unfortunately, this is standard industry practice. Health insurance companies regularly refuse such claims to dying clients, shattering their final hopes for effective communication.

My mother is fortunate. Even if her claim is denied, my family can manage the out-of-pocket expenses. Not everyone is so lucky. In an ideal world, quality hospice care would be a given. But in the present reality, all too many terminally-ill Americans are held hostage by their insurance providers, having to fight for even the most basic of services.

Seeing my mother’s struggle has reinforced my aspirations to be an attorney, giving them newfound meaning. I now envision myself working as a healthcare or public policy lawyer. When I see my mother, I see hope. Her illness is more than a family tragedy. It is a personal inspiration, pushing me to work as an activist on behalf of the voiceless, the defenseless, the despondent.

Activism is as spontaneous as staging a rally and as deliberate as lobbying on Capitol Hill. It is informing the masses and engaging the elites. When immediate gratification is infeasible, an activist pushes for long-term goals. Lasting change comes slowly, but when properly pursued, it can endure for generations. As a pro-Israel activist, I relish every opportunity to communicate with my political opponents. Through open and respectful dialogue, I remind myself that no issue is one-sided. Passion is important, but without a level head, activism can quickly decay into destruction.

As a law student, I hope to supplement my prior political experiences, giving myself the necessary tools to fight for change in the healthcare sector. I can work as an attorney, practice as a lobbyist, or even someday run for public office. Law is more than profit margins and corporate interests. It is a vehicle through which we can help the downtrodden and right prior wrongs. Whatever I choose to do, a degree from XXXXX Law School will enable me to work on behalf of the public. More importantly, it will allow me to make a difference.


Unfortunately, I don't have the time to comment extensively, but I just wanted to say that I think this is a great start. I'm sorry to hear about your mother's condition and the effect it has on your family, but I think it's a moving topic that effectively demonstrates a reason for your interest in the law. I think an honest, heartfelt personal statement is the best way to go. Best of luck.

HeavenWood
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Re: Very Very Rough Draft

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:34 pm

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Last edited by HeavenWood on Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: Very Very Rough Draft

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:48 pm

I really dig the first half of your statement. Your description of your mother's and your family's position is well-written and you relate it decently to the "why law" question. But you sort of lose me on the second half. The pro-Israel lobbying thing comes out of nowhere. Granted, the adcomms will have your resume and will know your professional background, but a sentence of context, explaining what your position was, maybe why you chose it. The transition from talking about your mom and health care law is also pretty abrupt, and it's not clear how it relates to your last two paragraphs. Perhaps a sentence or two stating that you want to use what you've learned as a pro-Israel activist to succeed in a new field of political activism would be helpful. Also (and I'm not really sure on this), you may want to consider the liberal/presumably pro-Palestine views that predominate at many law school faculties when writing this. You may have put way more thought into this and know way more than me, so it's really up to you, but calling yourself a "Middle East peace activist," while extremely euphemistic, may be more diplomatic here? I really don't know but you may want to think about the question.

Also, the length will not be an issue; they will probably find a shorter one refreshing.

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JennBNYC
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Re: Very Very Rough Draft

Postby JennBNYC » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:49 pm

HeavenWood wrote:One more thing:

My dad and grandfather are ABSOLUTELY PARANOID about me mentioning my work as a pro-Israel activist. I have it in my resume, but they think putting in a sentence about it in my personal statement is "rubbing people's noses in it." I'm only glossing over my work in the field. I'm not trying to politicize my statement or offend anybody. But given the recent intensification of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is there some truth to their fears?


It's funny you pointed that out because as I was reading it that really stuck out, not necessarily in a good or bad way, just definitely caught my attention. I'd probably lean toward saying something like "political activist," but if that's a cause that's very important to you then I don't think you should hide that.I don't know...it just seems to be thrown in there abruptly. Like I said, to me it's not really an issue of what you're an activist for, it's more that statement doesn't seem integrated well. BTW, for w/e reason I don't really like the use of "relish," but that's just me :-).

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Excellence = a Habit
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Re: Very Very Rough Draft

Postby Excellence = a Habit » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:50 pm

HeavenWood wrote:One more thing:

My dad and grandfather are ABSOLUTELY PARANOID about me mentioning my work as a pro-Israel activist. I have it in my resume, but they think putting in a sentence about it in my personal statement is "rubbing people's noses in it." I'm only glossing over my work in the field. I'm not trying to politicize my statement or offend anybody. But given the recent intensification of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is there some truth to their fears?


Ooops, I started composing my reply before you posted this. Anyway, as you can see in my main post, I agree - not necessarily about the "rubbing people's noses in it" part, but that you could acknowledge the controversy either implicitly through euphemistic language or through flat-out saying that it's an extremely divisive issue, etc., etc (which feeds into what you're saying about the importance of listening to other viewpoints anyway). It sounds like your work as a pro-Israel activist has been important to your professional development, and if this is so, you shouldn't delete mention of it from your statement by any means.
Last edited by Excellence = a Habit on Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sarahh
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Re: Very Very Rough Draft

Postby sarahh » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:51 pm

Yes, I would take out the pro-Israel reference. I felt it came out of left field because most of the essay is on healthcare. And of course, it is a very controversial issue. (I might even think about removing it from your resume if you have other activities.) Along those lines, I would also tone down your statements about healthcare. The reader may not agree with you or think your view is simplistic. I am talking about things like "Because her case of Lou Gehrig’s Disease has progressed from acute to terminal, easing her suffering makes no economic sense from our provider’s perspective. Unfortunately, this is standard industry practice. Health insurance companies regularly refuse such claims to dying clients, shattering their final hopes for effective communication."

You can make it more nuanced - something along the lines of "It can be difficult for dying patients to get care that would improve their quality of life" or "It can be difficult to navigate the health care system." Also, try to make it more personal. Discuss how you helped your mother fill out forms or contact the health insurance company. If you have been involved with any health support groups, talk about that. The personal statement is about you!

HeavenWood
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Re: Very Very Rough Draft

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:54 pm

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Last edited by HeavenWood on Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sarahh
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Re: Very Very Rough Draft

Postby sarahh » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:59 pm

It probably won't be an issue, but what if the person reading it feels differently about it than you? Maybe it could have a subconcious effect? I was also involved with my school's ____ Students for Israel, but I felt it was safer to leave it off. Then again, I have been out of school for a few years and have other activities that are more important to me.
Last edited by sarahh on Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

HeavenWood
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Re: Very Very Rough Draft

Postby HeavenWood » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:02 pm

.




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