First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
jjlaw
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First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

Postby jjlaw » Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:30 pm

Still re-working the third draft... PM me if you want to swap PS/DS in the meantime...
Last edited by jjlaw on Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:37 pm, edited 6 times in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly!

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 17, 2010 7:54 pm

Clever & very good, but not quite as good as it should be. You have a solid theme & strong writing skills. You can do better.

P.S. Applesauce & ham !

jjlaw
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly!

Postby jjlaw » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:03 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Clever & very good, but not quite as good as it should be. You have a solid theme & strong writing skills. You can do better.

P.S. Applesauce & ham !


Thanks, CanadianWolf! I always appreciate your insights. I am having a really hard time with the third paragraph. I want to add some "pizazz," but I'm not sure how. The limited space of a DS has really presented a challenge for me to express my ideas in their entirety. I want to talk about how learning each language has exposed to me a new culture every time, but I can't figure out how to without sounding cheesy and cliché. Any thoughts?

trudat15
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly!

Postby trudat15 » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:46 pm

jjlaw wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Clever & very good, but not quite as good as it should be. You have a solid theme & strong writing skills. You can do better.

P.S. Applesauce & ham !


Thanks, CanadianWolf! I always appreciate your insights. I am having a really hard time with the third paragraph. I want to add some "pizazz," but I'm not sure how. The limited space of a DS has really presented a challenge for me to express my ideas in their entirety. I want to talk about how learning each language has exposed to me a new culture every time, but I can't figure out how to without sounding cheesy and cliché. Any thoughts?


Maybe try writing your ideas in their entirety, seeing how long it is, then scaling it back to the appropriate length? Just a thought.

jjlaw
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly!

Postby jjlaw » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:14 am

trudat15 wrote:Maybe try writing your ideas in their entirety, seeing how long it is, then scaling it back to the appropriate length? Just a thought.


Thanks for the thought! I am definitely trying that. I have sentence fragments all over my Word document right now. :) I really need to think of a better ending though.... :|

jjlaw
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

Postby jjlaw » Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:18 pm

If anyone could help me out, I'd really appreciate it. I can definitely return the favor. Please be harsh, and let me know if the topic is mature enough and conveys the idea that I could bring diversity to the student body. Thank you!

volcom_sig
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

Postby volcom_sig » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:16 am

I think this is good. You have a good story that resonates with the reader and is easily relatable.

What I think you could work on is your word choice. While your overall story is relatable, there is something about some of the words you use that distracts from the ethos you are trying to get across.

I also don't feel like you tied it together at the end as well as you can. I like that you point out the qualities you have/have gained and the connection to law, but the first sentence of that last paragraph feels like "fluff". I think you can do a better job of explaining some more of the specific lessons you have learned.

Good luck and thanks for the suggestions on mine!

jjlaw
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

Postby jjlaw » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:02 am

volcom_sig wrote:I think this is good. You have a good story that resonates with the reader and is easily relatable.

What I think you could work on is your word choice. While your overall story is relatable, there is something about some of the words you use that distracts from the ethos you are trying to get across.

I also don't feel like you tied it together at the end as well as you can. I like that you point out the qualities you have/have gained and the connection to law, but the first sentence of that last paragraph feels like "fluff". I think you can do a better job of explaining some more of the specific lessons you have learned.

Good luck and thanks for the suggestions on mine!


Thanks for the feedback! Can you elaborate on this part? For example, the word choice you found that was distracting from the ethos. Do you think that my message is blurred by my word choice?

volcom_sig
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

Postby volcom_sig » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:04 am

Entering the cafeteria with my Second Grade class, I detected the smell of chicken nuggets with a hint of lemon dish sanitizer.


I think a better word/phrase would be "Entering the cafeteria with my Second Grade class, I was greeted by the smell of chicken nuggets..."
I might be over thinking it, but "detected" sounds a bit analytical where your intent seems to be more conversational, I also think this is an opportunity to include more "show, not tell", by adding a third detail, whether it be the noise in the room, the unfamiliar scents/sounds (as set up for your later point about English being your second language and the food/language sounding foreign).

I think I misspoke when I mentioned your word choice, what I was picking up on was more of what I mentioned above. I feel like your transition between telling your personal anecdotes and the lessons you've learned could be streamlined and better integrated. Again though, I like the realization and qualities you gained through your study of language so if you can think of ways to keep the well thought out analysis while adding your own personality, I think you've got a really strong DS here.

As an aside, I see a connection between your French potato description and the Chinese language. Aren't Chinese characters (i studied Japanese as a kid so I'm assuming similarities) amalgamations of simple characters to describe more complex concepts? I think this is just another way to highlight your "language/perception" study and how you understand and have experience with the importance and meaning of languages.

jamiLAW
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

Postby jamiLAW » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:45 am

In my opinion, I think the intro of "the smell of" or "I can still remember the sound" is total overkill.

More than half of the essays I have seen on this site begin in that manner, and everyone who critiques them totally eats it up, saying it's a great intro.

Try to think outside the box and think of a better introductory sentence.

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Shooter
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

Postby Shooter » Tue Oct 19, 2010 11:48 am

I really like the language motif. Cool idea.

Overall I think your writing is great, so I'll just point out a few things I noticed (take them for what they're worth).

"Coarse textured" might be redudant since coarse is obviously a texture. So "coarse, yellowish slop" might be sufficient.

"Although born in California, I didn't not live in America or speak English until I was seven." sounds a little awkward to me. You might change it to something like "Although I was born in California, I didn't live in America or speak English until I was seven." to make it more clear.

Also, you might want to change the way the sentences are ordered in that paragraph to make it more cohesive. Something like...

"Although I was born in California, I did not live in America or speak English until I was seven. My mother insisted upon speaking Mandarin and learning to read and write in Chinese, which made assimilation into American culture difficult. Fortunately, the time I spent at school and watching Nickelodeon with closed captioning dramatically improved my English-speaking skills. This dual..."

Not sure if that's what you're looking for, but I figured I'd add my 2c.
*I love Nickelodeon*

jjlaw
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

Postby jjlaw » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:25 pm

Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. I'm wondering whether I should keep this essay at all though? Other DS's I've read have elaborated more on the difficulties of assimilating into culture and struggling with culture and language in general, but I don't really do this, even though I can identify with this. Instead of talking about my fascination with languages, would it be a better idea to talk more about how, for years, I was the so-called "bridge" between my family and America, since I was always a translator for my mother and grandmother? I basically learned English out of necessity and having to help my family with daily tasks, and I was/still am the person they asked about American culture.

I want to keep the DS at one page, so I'm not sure how I can elaborate on my family and also talk about my fascination with foreign languages? Should I even keep the French potato example? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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Shooter
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Re: First Draft DS -- Please critique honestly! Can return favor

Postby Shooter » Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:44 pm

Whoah... strange.

My original comment was going to say "Try to embellish the 'bridge' aspect of your statement, and talk about how your unique situation forced you to adapt to make things more compelling. Use words like 'foundation' to enhance the bridge metaphor."

But I left all that out because I didn't want to be too intrusive.

So yeah, go with your gut.




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