First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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NorCalBruin
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First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby NorCalBruin » Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:23 pm

removed.
Last edited by NorCalBruin on Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NorCalBruin
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Re: First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby NorCalBruin » Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:15 am

...anyone?

Bankhead
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Re: First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby Bankhead » Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:47 am

What school range are you applying to?

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NorCalBruin
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Re: First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby NorCalBruin » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:18 am

T10 ish-T25 ish

So...

Michigan
Duke
Cornell
Georgetown
UCLA
Texas
Vanderbilt
USC
GW
Notre Dame

Hedwig
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Re: First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby Hedwig » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:23 am

I was eight years old when I first heard our motto. It was summer and I had just read a book on soap. Suddenly convinced that hygiene was awesome, I was determined to make some myself. My parents were happy to help, glad that I was interested in anything other than Ninja Turtles. We went to the store, picked out the ingredients, and brought them home to be cooked. But almost as soon as we started, I yawned with the symptoms of boredom, [Awkward. You say you yawn with the symptoms of boredom - isn't yawning the symptom of boredom you're referring to? Maybe just, I yawned, quickly bored,] and skipped away towards my toys. “Hey! I thought you wanted to make soap?” my father asked. “Well, yeah,” I returned. He leaned to my level. “Well, if you’re going to do something, then do it.” This was the phrase that I would hear a thousand times. [Awkward, again. This was the phrase I would end up hearing a thousand times. This was the phrase I would hear a thousand times over. Needs something to make it flow better.] For now I just stared back at him, blank. “I mean, if you do something, “ he explained, “then you ‘gotta give it your all ‘til it’s done. You can’t just start something, then quit.” He grabbed my hand and I grabbed his and we sauntered back to the kitchen. [Awkward sentence! Maybe re-phrase? Something like -->] "Two hours later we had soap. Despite the fact that it looked eerily like scabs, we were proud of the work we had done. "

Five years later I was a full-blown teenager. Nascar, monster trucks, and football were the gruff, manly, hair-growing things that I loved. By thirteen I had almost four thousand baseball cards, six football jerseys, and a penchant for everything “meat." You can imagine my shock on the first day of high school when I looked down at my schedule and saw “Beginning Choir." “Choir?” I sputtered. “Choir?!” There had to be a mistake. Choir was the most gut-wrenching womanly embarrassment that I could think of. Choir was for sissies and pansies or worse—girls. I marched straight to the counselor and demanded to be switched. “I’m sorry Mr. McNeill,” he snorted [best way to phrase this?], “but all other electives are full.” So. Not. Cool. [I respect what you're trying to do here, but I'm not sure if the emphasis is worth breaking the rules of grammar.] I fumbled for my brick-sized Nokia and dialed. “Mom,” I said. “They signed me up for choir.” “Can you switch?” she asked. “No,” I replied. “Well, you remember our motto, don’t you?” By now, this was rhetorical. Of course I remembered our motto. “If you’re going to do something,” we said in unison, “then do it.” Begrudgingly, I lugged myself to the music building.

“Oh Shenandoah” was the first song. “Does anyone want the solo?” my teacher inquired, his face like a sagging Liberace. “I do,” I said, with fictional enthusiasm. After all, I thought, if I was going to do choir, then I was going to do choir. When the right moment came, I lurched forward and full-heartedly garbled, “OHhhh SHHhennanndoohhhh!!!!” The sound fumbled out of me like a cat caught in a cheese grater. It was so tremendously bad [Awk.] that my teacher actually covered his ears. The next day I tried it again. This time it was like a tornado dismantling a kazoo factory. Sadly, I didn’t get the solo—that time. Eleven years and six choirs later, I’ve kept on singing, I’m happy to say that I do it today. --> Maybe just change to "I'm still singing."

By the time I reached college, my motto was firmly ingrained in me. By then it had come to mean a lot of things: perseverance, gusto, and tenacity. But more than anything it always meant giving it your all till the finish. [You really randomly start talking about this. Maybe add a transitional sentence in here.] During my senior year I was the victim of a simple clerical mistake: my lender had accidently sent my financial aid to CSU, Los Angeles instead of to UCLA. I didn’t realize the error until my classes were suddenly dropped, three weeks into the quarter. By the time the mistake was corrected, all but one of my four classes were full. I had to start over in new classes almost half way into the term. Rather than dwell on my misfortune, I remembered my simple saying: “If you’re going to do something, then do it”. Even though I started behind, I was going to take on my classes head on until every final was finished. And with as much gusto and gung-ho as I could muster, I saved my GPA from disaster.

Now I’m headed to law school, an adventure infinitely more complex than making soap, singing songs, or catching up in classes. I don’t know what answers I’ll need there. I don’t even know the questions yet. But I do know that every task I face, I will face with unbridled resolve, and that every challenge I tackle, I will tackle until it’s done. [Your tackle... tackle construction seems a little off. Maybe "every challenge I MEET, I will tackle (with something?) until it's done."] I will remember a saying, taught to me by my parents long ago: “If you’re going to do something, do it.” I’m going to law school, and I will.

[I think the "I will" ends on a weak note. The subject without the object just... eh. It doesn't seem right to me? and I'm going to do it or something. I'm going to law school and I will - even though it's referring to the previous sentence, it seems like its left dangling.

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1republic
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Re: First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby 1republic » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:24 am

Saying the motto in unison with your parents sounds too cheesy for my taste. Did you really do that? I think you already got the point across about taking that motto with you for the rest of your life, no need to beat the adcomms on the head with a stick.

I liked the soap anecdote/intro, though it ends on a somewhat lackluster note. To echo what eit said, I think it is trying to be powerful, but just seems unsupported. Not sure how I would change it though, but just an observation I made.

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NorCalBruin
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Re: First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby NorCalBruin » Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:22 am

hmmm maybe:

I will remember a saying, taught to me by my parents long ago: “If you’re going to do something, do it.” Now I’m going to law school, and I won’t let my motto down.

CanadianWolf
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Re: First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:43 am

Great essay ! I really enjoyed reading your gently humorous, yet insightful, personal statement. This should help your law school applications.

jhspaybar
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Re: First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby jhspaybar » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:08 am

My tip would be to remove some abstractions in the work. It could really suck a reader in much faster if in the first paragraph instead of "hygiene was awesome" just show us what awesome is, give us something concrete there. I would have the same advice for "yawned with the symptoms of boredom". If you can take a piece of scratch paper and just start writing something, just for 2 or 3 minutes that is a concrete description of each of those abstractions and then edit your half page down to a short line you could really improve your "hook" at the beginning.

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crysmissmichelle
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Re: First Draft--Please Be Brutal!

Postby crysmissmichelle » Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:42 pm

I enjoyed reading this.




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