Personal statement, please smash this one to the floor

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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Personal statement, please smash this one to the floor

Postby anthony1104 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:25 pm

With only couple seconds left on the game, I had the ball in my hand. I had a chance to beat Ayala High School at their own gym and their resolute hecklers who continuously degraded at me and even dared me to do things on the court that I was not capable of doing. I dribbled to the left and made a quick cross-over to bring the ball back to my strong hand. Within a split second I was in front of my defender, the one who was also mocking me the entire night. As I was preparing myself for the lay-up, another defender ran towards me, I had a chance to pass the ball to my teammate, but I did not. I knew I was going to score and I wanted the entire spotlight.
I took two more steps for the easy lay-up, but my defender pulled my jersey and I could not score the basket. Luckily, the referee blew the whistle and I had one more shot at gaining the spotlight. The hecklers and the avid fans started chanting disturbing words in unison as I got to the free throw line to shoot my two free throws. Making two was for the win and making one was for overtime, I missed both. I should have been sad that our team lost the game, but I was more disappointed that I blew my chance of being a hero.
I was not always so selfish on the basketball court. I was taught that basketball is a quintessential team-oriented basketball in which all the players needed to contribute in order to win, but the continuous negative feedbacks distorted my vision of basketball. I just wanted to prove doubters wrong. Even though no one ever mentioned it openly, I knew playing basketball was going beyond the norm. Within the Sierra League of the Los Angeles District, I was one of the very few Asian American players who played amongst abundant African-American and Hispanic players. I did not mind because I enjoyed interacting with a community that was wholeheartedly different than the one I was accustomed to at home, but the basketball community was reluctant to accept me and I was hesitant to contribute, as well. Being the only Asian player in the team wasn’t much different at Hampshire College, but at the college level, with my mediocre athleticism, it was nearly impossible to play one-on-one basketball. At our first away game against the New Hampshire Technical Institute, I was devastated because I could not score. More so, I could not even get near the basket. The opposing players were not only bigger and faster, but they played disciplined defense and structured offense. While I was on the bench, I saw the opposing players execute a well coordinated offensive play called the motion, a continuous movement of the ball and the players in order to find either a mismatch or an open man. The way I played basketball, it was extremely difficult for me to get an open shot because I had to create my own shot, but they made it seem so easy. They utilized the entire half of the court and once their offense began, someone on their team was always open for either a jump shot or a quick lay-up. At this game, I saw the importance of team-oriented basketball and I realized that I was foolish for isolating myself from the most essential aspect of basketball.
I was ready to change and although I was not the most valuable player on the team or the official captain of the team, I became the starting small forward of the team in my second year and I became a verbal leader. Ever since I started basketball, I was always known as the loudest one in the gym whether I was playing on the court, goofing off during practice, or drinking a Gatorade on the bench. I already had the tendency to communicate with my teammates and by refining my talent; I was able to lead the team in various ways. Leaders are not necessarily the best players; they just have the ability to lead others that are better and the knack to motivate others that are not. As a starting small forward, I narrowed the gap between the older players and the younger players. I reminded the captains to start a certain warm-up drill when there was only five minutes left before the game. My leadership was not noticeably visible, but it kept the team intact and we won games. We had an outstanding record of 11-7 during our season compared to our first year’s dreadful record of 3-15. As a basketball player, I’ve learned that when there is a common goal of winning within a group of individuals, all other personal factors are digressed. Even more, although people still ask me if I am the Asian guy on the team, I simply take that as a perk of being in the basketball team.


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Re: Personal statement, please smash this one to the floor

Postby bjc314 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:15 pm

In my humble opinion, you should consider another topic or at least tie your basketball experience into something more relevant to law school. After reading your statement, I have no idea why you want to go to law school, nor why you would succeed there. The paragraph about leadership was good, but it seems as if it is almost an afterthought in the context of the essay.

"I was taught that basketball is a quintessential team-oriented basketball..." needs revision.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Personal statement, please smash this one to the floor

Postby NorCalBruin » Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:37 pm

This is what I felt you meant to get across: You learned the value of sportsmanship, altruism, and working together through the sport of basketball, and as a result, you became a leader amongst your peers. I think you can still get this across if you restructure and rewrite your essay a fair amount.

This is what the essay felt like it was saying, at least until the last paragraph:
I'm selfish, I want the spotlight, but I don't live up to my expectations because I'm Asian.

Don't start the second paragraph with "I was not always so selfish on the basketball court." Then it sounds like you were originally generous and thoughtful, but somehow transformed into a callous selfish player in high school. What's to say you won't turn that direction again? If you want to show a change, start with being selfish, end with being altruistic.

I didn't love the third paragraph. At times, it seems like your writing a diversity statement. I wouldn't focus on being Asian. To be brutally honest, it makes me want to say "so? who cares? stop feeling sorry for yourself!". Also, we all know how many excellent black basketball players there are, and how few great asians play the sport--but I didn't feel convinced that this was extremely out of the norm. Nor did I feel like I should feel sympathy for you (if thats what you were aiming for) for you playing against African Americans and Hispanics.

I understand that you watched the other team and saw how they worked together and that their "togetherness" made you want to change. But we don't hear enough about how you made that change. It seems like you go right from a desire to results in last paragraph without really explaining how you got there.

Lastly, the first paragraph is alllllll about action. It should read almost as fast as it happened in real life. If you were a really great writer (i'm not) you could even do it in fragmented sentences. Example:

Dribble. Dribble. Right. I glance at the clock. Five seconds. Dribble. Forward. Left. Now two. Hands on the ball. I pull for the shot. Release. Freeze--

This was the moment: my moment. This was the moment to beat Alaya High at their own damn game. This was the moment to prove that I, _____ _____, was better than everyone else; to show the naysayers who's boss; to be the hero. This was the game winning shot.

CLUNK. Back to reality.

That was pretty bad, but you get the idea. Anyway, I do like the idea of using basketball to tell a story of personal growth. I think this is a good start. These are all just some ideas to think about.

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Re: Personal statement, please smash this one to the floor

Postby $1.99 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:05 pm

summary: "I choke at critical moments and my basketball team sucks at basketball, but please let me into law school because I feel like I am a good teammate".

not good enough bud. you spent half the essay describing a scene from a bad disney sports movie and the latter half talking about why your team sucked.

scrap it and talk about something else. if you can't think of anything go with the traditional "i am asian american so i had to live within two cultures" theme.

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