PS help

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odoylerules
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PS help

Postby odoylerules » Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:53 am

So it definitely needs to be trimmed a bit, and I'm not yet satisfied, but I'm going to have to send it to some LOR's today. I'd appreciate any thoughtful insights and criticisms.

“Catch at the shadow, and lose the substance” –Korean proverb

I traveled to South Korea in the fall of 2009 to teach English. I had been too focused on athletics during college to study abroad, and I have been fascinated with Asian cultures ever since taking an East Asian history course my first year at _______. I have also always wanted to learn another language besides English, and my attempts to study Spanish in high school and college proved fruitless. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of language learning. Upon arriving, I became utterly devoted to the Korean language, studying 5-6 hours a day on top of my 10-6pm work schedule. I completely immersed myself, replacing all my English language music and media with Korean entertainment. Within 2 months, my Korean skills had eclipsed my Spanish, and within 6 months I was carrying on conversations with cab drivers, texting, doing banking and taking care of most necessities, and I even wrote several instructional articles for a budding language company. Although I know it would require several more years of intensive study to achieve fluency, I had achieved no small degree of success. So why was I successful, where I had failed before?

Although I believe there are structural problems in the way foreign language instruction is conducted in both the high school and collegiate levels, my inconsistent academic performance was my responsibility. Having been awarded a large scholarship, much of the pressure I had felt in high school to excel had dissipated. Though I found my classes interesting, fascinating even, I only did enough work to narrowly maintain my 3.25 GPA requirement. When pressured, I came through with excellent work, but largely my work was highly inconsistent. And in swimming, a sport that I had been an All-State selection in high school, I coasted through most of the practices. I still loved the competition at meets, but during most of the training sessions I was merely going through the motions.

While my first couple of years at my university were relaxing, they were also increasingly unfulfilling. Towards my junior year, I started to realize my competitive career as a swimmer was nearly over, and this dose of mortality precipitated a change in the way I approached my training. Even in high school, I’d viewed practices as a chore, as a necessary evil that I had to surpass to get to the reward of competition. But no matter how much I improved each year, I never felt satisfied. Beginning at the end of sophomore year, I started to appreciate the intensity of the workouts, the camaraderie fostered through training together with my team, and the pure sense of joy that I felt at inspiring my both myself and my teammates to improve. Whereas I may have once been frustrated by the limits of my natural ability, I began to take pride in these very limits. And it was in this way I discovered the true substance of athletic training, and by extension any worthwhile endeavor that requires consistent hard work. The external motivations are shadows, and thought they can help, they cannot be enough to create success. There has to be a joy in the work itself.

To a certain extent, this process paralleled my academic growth as well. While I could rightly be accused of dilettantism in my studies, having earned a double major and double minor, it was this divergence of interests that has led me to the law. I was not born with an indelible love of all things legal, instead, my passion for a law grew out of fascination with history, economics, philosophy, and the study of human society. The study of judicial opinions represents to me the distillation of the complex ideas of the time, and it is the format in which the often abstract ideas of economics and philosophy can find applicable meaning. I feel that law is the most substantive and pragmatic of any humanistic discipline, and it unifies everything I have studied. It is at _____ law school next fall that I seek to continue to develop and complicate my understanding of the substance of law.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: PS help

Postby CGI Fridays » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:00 pm

“Catch at the shadow, and lose the substance” –Korean proverb

I traveled to South Korea in the fall of 2009 to teach English. I had been too focused on athletics during college to study abroad, and [but] I have been fascinated with Asian cultures ever since taking an East Asian history course my first year at _______. I have also always wanted to learn another language besides English, and my attempts to study Spanish in high school and college proved fruitless. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of language learning.

Upon arriving, I became utterly devoted to the Korean language, studying 5-6 hours a day on top of my 10-6pm work schedule. I completely immersed myself, replacing all my English language music and media with Korean entertainment. Within 2 months, my Korean skills had eclipsed my Spanish, and within 6 months I was carrying on conversations with cab drivers, texting, doing banking and taking care of most necessities, and ((period)) I even wrote several instructional articles for a budding language company. Although I know it would require several more years of intensive study to achieve fluency, I had achieved no small degree of success. So why was I successful, where I had failed before?

Although I believe there are structural problems in the way foreign language instruction is conducted in both the high school and collegiate levels, my inconsistent academic performance was my responsibility. Having been awarded a large scholarship, much of the pressure I had felt in high school to excel had dissipated. Though I found my classes interesting, fascinating even, I only did [only] enough work to narrowly maintain my 3.25 GPA requirement. When pressured ((drop comma)) I came through with excellent ((maybe avoid calling your own work "excellent" and find a new adjective?)) work, but largely my work was highly inconsistent. And in swimming, a sport that [in which] I had been an All-State selection in [during] high school, I coasted through most of the practices. I still loved the competition at meets, but during most of the training sessions I was merely going through the motions.

(((You're losin' me. Why do I want to read about glorified excuses? This subject matter of "how/why I stopped slacking off" for a PS is my pet peeve though, so I dunno if I'm in the minority.))

While my first couple of years at my university [X (name of your university] were relaxing, they were also increasingly unfulfilling. Towards my junior year, I started to realize my competitive career as a swimmer was nearly over, and this dose of mortality precipitated a change in the way I approached my training. Even in high school, I’d viewed practices as a chore, as a necessary evil that I had to surpass to get to the reward of competition. But no matter how much I improved each year, I never felt satisfied.

Beginning at the end of sophomore year, I started to appreciate the intensity of the workouts, the camaraderie fostered through training together with my team, and the pure sense of joy that I felt at [in] inspiring my both myself and my teammates to improve. Whereas [once] I may have once been frustrated by the limits of my natural ability, I began to take pride in these very limits [them]. And it was in this way [Thus] I discovered the true substance of athletic training, and by extension any worthwhile endeavor that requires consistent hard work ((switch this period to a colon?)) The external motivations are shadows, and thought they can help, they cannot be enough to create success. ((If you go with the colon, switch this period to a semi colon & lower-case the following T)) There has to [must] be a joy in the work itself.

To a certain extent, this process paralleled my academic growth as well. While I could rightly be accused of dilettantism in my studies, having earned a double major and double minor, it was this divergence of interests that has led me to the law. I was not born with an indelible love of all things legal ((semi colon?)) instead ((drop this comma)) my passion for a law grew out of fascination with history, economics, philosophy, and the study of human society. The study of judicial opinions represents to me the distillation of the complex ideas of the time, and it is the format in which the often abstract ideas of economics and philosophy can find applicable meaning. I feel that law is the most substantive and pragmatic of any humanistic discipline, and it unifies everything I have studied. It is at _____ law school next fall that I seek to continue to develop and complicate my understanding of the substance of law.


The last paragraph is not convincing.
This PS seems like you're taking what could be a GPA addendum & turning it into the main act, then plowing your way through why you wanna practice law. Sorry to be negative, but I recommend a new topic (again, glorified GPA addenda are my PS pet peeve though, so take this with a large tablespoon of salt).


Bear in mind that your big push here is "I slacked off. Then I discovered that motivation is not enough; ya gotta find joy in the work itself. Alsohere'swhyIwannapracticelaw...atyourschoolkthxbye."

The middle part? Your big revelation? That is not a big revelation.

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kalvano
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Re: PS help

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:04 pm

Don't start with a quote or proverb. It's generally a no-no.

escapefrom
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Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:57 am

Re: PS help

Postby escapefrom » Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:17 pm

I am finding myself wishing that your first graf started with an applicable anecdote from your teachings.

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odoylerules
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Re: PS help

Postby odoylerules » Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:53 am

Thank you everyone for the feedback.

CGI Fridays wrote:The last paragraph is not convincing.
This PS seems like you're taking what could be a GPA addendum & turning it into the main act, then plowing your way through why you wanna practice law. Sorry to be negative, but I recommend a new topic (again, glorified GPA addenda are my PS pet peeve though, so take this with a large tablespoon of salt).

Bear in mind that your big push here is "I slacked off. Then I discovered that motivation is not enough; ya gotta find joy in the work itself. Alsohere'swhyIwannapracticelaw...atyourschoolkthxbye."

The middle part? Your big revelation? That is not a big revelation.


Agreed, and I can easily see glorified GPA addendums being a pet peeve of an adcom, who has to read hundreds of these. I'm going to rewrite it. The last paragraph I intend to develop and make school specific.

kalvano wrote:Don't start with a quote or proverb. It's generally a no-no.


Why? Is it because it is generally difficult to pull off? the example at the bottom of this page begins with a quote, and the editor seems to think it has potential as a sort of rhetorical device, but criticizes the follow through. http://www.top-law-schools.com/statement.html Anyway, I think I'm going to avoid quotes on the next one.

escapefrom wrote:I am finding myself wishing that your first graf started with an applicable anecdote from your teachings.


I think my rewrite will focus more on my experience in Korea.

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kalvano
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Re: PS help

Postby kalvano » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:31 am

odoylerules wrote:
kalvano wrote:Don't start with a quote or proverb. It's generally a no-no.


Why? Is it because it is generally difficult to pull off? the example at the bottom of this page begins with a quote, and the editor seems to think it has potential as a sort of rhetorical device, but criticizes the follow through. http://www.top-law-schools.com/statement.html Anyway, I think I'm going to avoid quotes on the next one.



Because it's overdone and, most of the time, done very poorly. You're wasting valuable page space on something someone else said, when the schools are interested in hearing what you have to say.

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odoylerules
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Re: PS help

Postby odoylerules » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:29 am

kalvano wrote:
odoylerules wrote:
kalvano wrote:Don't start with a quote or proverb. It's generally a no-no.


Why? Is it because it is generally difficult to pull off? the example at the bottom of this page begins with a quote, and the editor seems to think it has potential as a sort of rhetorical device, but criticizes the follow through. http://www.top-law-schools.com/statement.html Anyway, I think I'm going to avoid quotes on the next one.



Because it's overdone and, most of the time, done very poorly. You're wasting valuable page space on something someone else said, when the schools are interested in hearing what you have to say.


Fair enough.




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