PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Flett
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PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby Flett » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:59 pm

Requesting some help critiquing my PS. Back in August I attended a Pre-Law workshop for Law School applications through my alma mater. They recommended that I try to combine my strongest topics into one PS, mainly Child Abuse and my Native American background. So, here is a rough draft of my PS with that goal in mind. It is under the two page limit while double spaced. Does it work or does it try to do too much? Can it be made to work together? Also, my grammar and punctuation almost definitely have mistakes, so if you spot any mistakes I'd be happy to correct them. :oops:

Finally, I'm worried about coming across awkwardly when talking about the rez and my heritage. I grew up there, visit at least once a week, am enrolled, and now work for my tribe, but I don't want to come across as a gimmick; my great-grandma was NOT a "Cherokee Princess," she was a medicine woman who scared the crap out of her kids. :wink:

Feel free to tear it apart, I have faith in TLS. All advice is appreciated!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The lights of two XXX county sheriff police vehicles flashed red and blue against the dark line of pine trees while an intimidating black van waited in the driveway. I was twelve years old and terrified. Standing on the porch of my father’s house were a police officer, gun at his hip, and a small woman with long dark hair. Soon my two little brothers, twins, and I were huddled down in the stairwell while our step-mother argued with the police officer. Then, the dark haired social worker kneeled down with us and gave me the best news of my young life. “Go pack some clothes and then we’ll leave together,” she said. “Your mom is waiting for you.” My tears fell freely when I realized what was happening. Never again would we be thrown down staircases by our necks, choked, threatened, ridiculed, slapped or neglected. We were finally safe.

After winning custody, my mother moved us to XXX, a tiny town with one stop sign, located on the [big number] acre [tribe] Indian Reservation in eastern [state]. I was reunited with my mother, culture, and large extended family. The old wounds healed and I grew confident and excelled in school. I refused to be a victim or to be limited by my experiences. During my years of abuse, I had mistakenly believed that I was useless and worthless. Now, I began to dream big. A career assessment test pointed me toward law and politics and the idea resonated with my new world view. I worked diligently to overcome my past and create a new future for myself. However, I also began to recognize the difficulties of reservation life. Though I did not partake, many of my closest friends began drinking heavily in middle school. Others lived in homes lacking electricity and running water. I was very confused by these realities and felt the need to help my tribe create a better future for our people and give back to the community. I have been able to pursue this desire by serving the [tribe] Tribe first as a camp councilor and role model at a Native American youth summer camp and more recently as a social worker for the [tribe] Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

However, It was not until I graduated from the University of [state] and returned to the reservation to work for the TANF program that I realized how just challenging things really are for Native American families. As a child I was shielded by naivety, but as a social worker I see the ways in which transgenerational trauma (a direct result of the boarding school era) and poverty continue to directly impact generation after generation in Indian Country. My clients represent tribes from across the United States and Canada and all are in dire need of help. Landlord disputes, domestic violence, child abuse, Indian Child Welfare custody cases, alcohol and drug addiction, and legal barriers to employment are all common problems facing Indian people today in addition to Tribal sovereignty issues. There is a very real need in the Native community for skilled lawyers with ties to the culture. Indian people are suffering and I will always do everything in my power to alleviate it. Yet there is more that must be done.

One phone call from a devoted social worker, with the law on her side, was all it took to change my world for the better and start me on a path of advocacy and service to my community. The traumatic experiences of my youth and my life experiences have built the foundation of the person that I have become. I am able to draw on my own past to relate to my clients in ways that non-Natives cannot and make a positive difference in their lives. However, I do not feel that I have come full circle. There is still much suffering in the lives of children and Indian people. I am fully aware that I cannot save everyone, but I intend to do all I can. I am confident that XXX Law School will provide me with the excellent education and range of tools necessary to achieve these ideals of social justice and for that I am sincerely grateful. In the language of my people, lem-lmts (thank you).

Saltqjibo
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby Saltqjibo » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:28 pm

A well written and compelling personal statement. Still needs polish though. won't go into depth, but two things jumped out at me. one, never start an action sentence with "Then, something happened", Just say what happened. Two, you might not want to have the bracket that ties boarding schools to trans generational trauma or whatever, may be true, but it takes the focus off of the essay and more importantly makes it seem as though you think it is the single causative factor - which makes you look intellectually simplistic (not saying this is true, I'm just saying if you want to talk about that you need a separate essay) - could just be a hang up I have.

Anyway, I think its a great statement, just give it a couple of once overs before you hand it in

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:02 pm

This is one of the best personal statements that I have ever read. Genuine, compelling & inspirational, yet troubling.

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lalalawya
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby lalalawya » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:08 pm

I think this is amazing!

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:10 pm

Curious as to why you refer to this as a "rough draft" since it appears to be a fairly well polished piece ? Was it edited before ? Will this reflect the quality of writing on your LSAT writing sample ? If so, you are a very talented writer. Flows beautifully, tight, no wasted words.

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Flett
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby Flett » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:25 pm

Saltqjibo wrote:A well written and compelling personal statement. Still needs polish though. won't go into depth, but two things jumped out at me. one, never start an action sentence with "Then, something happened", Just say what happened. Two, you might not want to have the bracket that ties boarding schools to trans generational trauma or whatever, may be true, but it takes the focus off of the essay and more importantly makes it seem as though you think it is the single causative factor - which makes you look intellectually simplistic (not saying this is true, I'm just saying if you want to talk about that you need a separate essay) - could just be a hang up I have.

Anyway, I think its a great statement, just give it a couple of once overs before you hand it in


Now that I look back at it, I definitely agree about the brackets. Totally on point about how it distracts. Thank you.

As for the first point, I'm inclined to say you are correct. Could you point out which sections contain that fault? I've always had trouble noticing mistakes in my own writing. Is it the first sentence of paragraph 3?

Thank you very much Saltqjibo for your advice and thank you CanadianWolf and lalalawya for your kind words. I do appreciate all of you taking the time to read this. :D

Saltqjibo
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby Saltqjibo » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:28 pm

3rd sentence of paragraph one, though looking back at it now, I'm not sure its such a big deal, matter of style perhaps.

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Flett
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby Flett » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:29 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Curious as to why you refer to this as a "rough draft" since it appears to be a fairly well polished piece ? Was it edited before ? Will this reflect the quality of writing on your LSAT writing sample ? If so, you are a very talented writer.


I did this on Monday at work during my breaks and just got up the courage to ask for critiques today. I hovered my mouse over the "Submit" button for almost an hour this morning before I was able to click it. :oops:

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Flett
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby Flett » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:31 pm

Saltqjibo wrote:3rd sentence of paragraph one, though looking back at it now, I'm not sure its such a big deal, matter of style perhaps.


Ah! I see it now. I can probably find a better way to say that even if it's a matter of style. Thanks!

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vanwinkle
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:38 pm

Minor edits aside, this is an extremely well-written piece, and I wish you the very best of luck in your cycle.

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Flett
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Re: PS - Does this combo work? Abuse/URM/WE - Rough Draft

Postby Flett » Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:42 pm

Thank you Nightrunner! That is just what I needed as I often struggle with the particulars.

I'll be adding most, if not all, of these suggestions to my final draft.

I think I love you guys. <3
Currently blushing from all of the kind words. :oops:

I guess it's time to polish it up then. I'll post the final draft in the PS Samples Thread once it is completed.

Again, thank you all.




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