Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
clone22
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Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:56 pm

Hey everyone, I've been lurking this forum for a long time, and finally I've decided to start posting. This is my first PS draft, so please let me know what you think, whether good or bad (although constructive criticism will be valued slightly above mere name-calling). I was thinking of adding another paragraph at the very bottom for each of the different law schools I'd be applying to (not sure yet where I'm going, PT61 determines that), to personalize it and add a little bit about whatever the particular law school has a strength in or a particular program.


“Through hard work, you can achieve anything you want in this country.” My parents have guided me with these words since I first stepped on American soil at the age of nine. True to their beliefs, my parents led by example. After spending most of their precious savings on immigration attorneys to ensure our legal stay in this country, my parents faced dire financial straights but never lost their hope or their drive to succeed. Living out of a hotel room in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I often accompanied my father, a man with three higher degrees, to home security system installations and service calls. My father’s hard work paid off, and my family soon moved into a modest townhouse. Witnessing the success of my parents’ work ethic, I adopted their attitude as my own. This mindset has allowed me to persevere and succeed in face of circumstances that could easily discourage, stagnate, and cripple others.
After my family moved to a rough neighborhood due to financial troubles, I found myself in a middle school where periodic riots required the school to go on lockdown and call police for assistance. Instead of joining my peers in a culture of petty crime, drugs, and violence, I earned a full academic scholarship to a private high school. My academic diligence finally started to pay off. I realized that I could accomplish any goal I set before myself, whether in or out of the classroom. Tired of being bullied around, I started power lifting, and by senior year of high school I was bench-pressing 365 pounds. Fully cognizant that I could not attend college without a full scholarship, I pushed myself to study harder and harder. By junior year almost all of my classes were Advanced Placement, I gave a speech at my graduation as the Salutatorian, and most of the universities I’ve applied to accepted me with generous scholarships. My parents’ mantra was coming true: through hard work I was achieving everything I wanted in this country.
I did not let my pursuit of success blind me to the needs of others, however. Throughout high school, I volunteered my time freely to the local library and Broward County State Attorney’s Office, and helped my high school raise over $100,000 for a playroom in the cancer ward of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. During my undergraduate studies I tutored students who came from disadvantaged backgrounds through a New York state program.
As a curious individual and a keen observer, I have always been fascinated by how the world worked. The fact that in a few thousand years humanity progressed from primitive hunter-gathering and small-scale agriculture into a globalized high-tech civilization that had the technology to send spacecraft to other planets has always astounded me. Before attending college, I’ve attributed this stratospheric rise in complexity and interdependence between human and human societies to economic development and the rule of law. I have chosen to study Economics in my undergraduate career to understand the former, and now I yearn to understand the latter. Permeating everyday fabric of our lives, the ubiquitous power of social rules and conventions, codified in written law, is undeniable. Law and legal regulations affect almost everything we do or touch in the modern world, and I find this omnipresence enthralling.
Given the chance to study law, I would love to devote an unlimited amount of effort to a thorough examination, analysis, comprehension and appreciation of possible applications of the multifaceted legal world. So far in my life, I have succeeded in accomplishing the vast majority of tasks I have set out for myself. With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, I know that this trend will continue, and that my legal education will be an asset to myself, my classmates, my institution, and my community.


(also, should I mention what country I'm from, or does it not really matter?)

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby CGI Fridays » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:10 am

At first I disagreed with peoples' opinions that you shouldn't start with a quote. I didn't get it. Then I started reading lots of PS'. Weeeell over 50% start with a fucking quote. I shit you not if I were an adcomm I'd start chucking every single app with a PS that started with a quote after a while.

Will not read. Lose the opening quote & repost & I'll read. Or not.

clone22
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:23 am

CGI Fridays wrote:At first I disagreed with peoples' opinions that you shouldn't start with a quote. I didn't get it. Then I started reading lots of PS'. Weeeell over 50% start with a fucking quote. I shit you not if I were an adcomm I'd start chucking every single app with a PS that started with a quote after a while.

Will not read. Lose the opening quote & repost & I'll read. Or not.


hahaha, fair enough


Ever since I stepped foot on American soil at the age of nine, my parents have told me that in this country, anything can be achieved through hard work. True to their beliefs, my parents led by example. After spending most of their precious savings on immigration attorneys to ensure our legal stay in this country, my parents faced dire financial straights but never lost their hope or their drive to succeed. Living out of a hotel room in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I often accompanied my father, a man with three higher degrees, to home security system installations and service calls. My father’s hard work paid off, and my family soon moved into a modest townhouse. Witnessing the success of my parents’ work ethic, I adopted their attitude as my own. This mindset has allowed me to persevere and succeed in face of circumstances that could easily discourage, stagnate, and cripple others.

After my family moved to a rough neighborhood due to financial troubles, I found myself in a middle school where periodic riots required the school to go on lockdown and call police for assistance. Instead of joining my peers in a culture of petty crime, drugs, and violence, I earned a full academic scholarship to a private high school. My academic diligence finally started to pay off. I realized that I could accomplish any goal I set before myself, whether in or out of the classroom. Tired of being bullied around, I started power lifting, and by senior year of high school I was bench-pressing 365 pounds. Fully cognizant that I could not attend college without a full scholarship, I pushed myself to study harder and harder. By junior year almost all of my classes were Advanced Placement, I gave a speech at my graduation as the Salutatorian, and most of the universities I’ve applied to accepted me with generous scholarships. My parents’ mantra was coming true: through hard work I was achieving everything I wanted in this country.

I did not let my pursuit of success blind me to the needs of others, however. Throughout high school, I volunteered my time freely to the local library and Broward County State Attorney’s Office, and helped my high school raise over $100,000 for a playroom in the cancer ward of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. During my undergraduate studies I tutored students who came from disadvantaged backgrounds through a New York state program.

As a curious individual and a keen observer, I have always been fascinated by how the world worked. The fact that in a few thousand years humanity progressed from primitive hunter-gathering and small-scale agriculture into a globalized high-tech civilization that had the technology to send spacecraft to other planets has always astounded me. Before attending college, I’ve attributed this stratospheric rise in complexity and interdependence between human and human societies to economic development and the rule of law. I have chosen to study Economics in my undergraduate career to understand the former, and now I yearn to understand the latter. Permeating everyday fabric of our lives, the ubiquitous power of social rules and conventions, codified in written law, is undeniable. Law and legal regulations affect almost everything we do or touch in the modern world, and I find this omnipresence enthralling.

Given the chance to study law, I would love to devote an unlimited amount of effort to a thorough examination, analysis, comprehension and appreciation of possible applications of the multifaceted legal world. So far in my life, I have succeeded in accomplishing the vast majority of tasks I have set out for myself. With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, I know that this trend will continue, and that my legal education will be an asset to myself, my classmates, my institution, and my community.

edited for paragraphs

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby CGI Fridays » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:57 am

Ever since I stepped foot on American soil at the age of nine, my parents have told me that in this country, anything can be achieved through hard work. True to their beliefs, my parents [they] led by example. After spending most of their precious savings on immigration attorneys to ensure our legal stay in this country, my parents faced dire financial straights but never lost their hope or their drive to succeed. Living out of a hotel room in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I often accompanied my father, a man with three higher (("graduate"? pick the appropriate term)) degrees, to home security system installations and service calls. My father’s hard work paid off, and my family soon moved into a modest townhouse. Witnessing the success of my parents’ work ethic, I adopted their attitude [it] as my own. This mindset has allowed me to persevere and succeed in face of circumstances that could easily discourage, stagnate, and cripple others.

After my family moved to a rough neighborhood due to financial troubles, I found myself in a middle school where periodic riots required the school to go on lockdown and call police for assistance. Instead of joining my peers in a culture of petty crime, drugs, and violence, I earned a full academic scholarship to a private high school. My academic diligence finally started to pay off. I realized that I could accomplish any goal I set before myself, whether in or out of the classroom. ((This is absolute bullshit. If the goal was to fly? Be real plz.)) Tired of being bullied around, I started power lifting, and by senior year of high school I was bench-pressing 365 pounds. Fully cognizant that I could not attend college without a full scholarship, I pushed myself to study harder and harder. By junior year almost all of my classes were Advanced Placement, I gave a speech at my graduation as the Salutatorian, and most of the universities I’ve applied to accepted me with generous scholarships. My parents’ mantra was coming true: through hard work I was achieving everything I wanted in this country.

I did not let my pursuit of success blind me to the needs of others, however. Throughout high school, I volunteered my time freely to [at] the local library and Broward County State Attorney’s Office, and helped my high school raise over $100,000 for a playroom in the cancer ward of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. During my undergraduate studies I tutored students who came from disadvantaged backgrounds through a New York state program.

As a curious individual and a keen observer, I have always been fascinated by how the world worked. ((laaaame)) The fact that in a few thousand years humanity progressed from primitive hunter-gathering and small-scale agriculture into a globalized high-tech civilization that had the technology to send spacecraft to other planets has always astounded me. Before attending college, I’ve attributed this stratospheric rise in complexity and interdependence between human and human societies to economic development and the rule of law. ((you have to use the word technology & some reference to its exponential advancement in this sentence in order for it to pass, maybe replace "stratospheric rise in complexity and interdependence between human and human societies" with "exponential technological growth". Also, please say something like "in part" to tone down your epic attribution of causality, otherwise you might be chuckled at. There are a metric shit ton of factors that go into this phenomenon, not just economics & law.)) I have chosen to study Economics in my undergraduate career to understand the former, and now I yearn to understand the latter ((Now the ludicrous causal claim makes sense. Gotta tone it down though, sorry.)) . Permeating everyday fabric of our lives, the ubiquitous power of social rules and conventions, codified in written law, is undeniable. Law and legal regulations affect almost everything we do or touch in the modern world, and I find this omnipresence enthralling. ((oh dear. If I were an adcomm I'd be sick to my stomach by now, but I'm extreeeemely judgmental, so take that with a grain of salt. I really have no idea how well these "uber law" PS' do. I really hope I just coined that phrase, BTW))

Given the chance to study law, I would love to devote an unlimited amount of effort ((the quantity of effort you can devote is limited by myriad factors)) to a thorough examination, analysis, comprehension and appreciation of possible applications of the multifaceted legal world ((please just delete this sentence)). So far in my life, I have succeeded in accomplishing the vast majority of tasks I have set out for myself. With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, I know [believe] that this trend will continue, and that my legal education will be an asset to myself, my classmates, my institution, and my community.




I liked the beginning, but I also like modesty, & you have close to none of that.

clone22
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:41 am

Fair enough, define modesty though. How does one advertise themselves without coming off as a little full of themselves?

Destined
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby Destined » Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:17 am

Im curious, are you gonna write a diversity statement too?

clone22
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:04 am

Destined wrote:Im curious, are you gonna write a diversity statement too?


I wasn't going to. Why? Should I?

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:12 am

maybe it's just because i understand how hard it would be to succeed coming out of the terror that is a public school in a lower-income neighborhood, but I really liked this PS.

it's inspiring, honest, and humble.

yes, you should say what country you're from. Why not? Makes it more personal.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby CGI Fridays » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:24 pm

clone22 wrote:Fair enough, define modesty though. How does one advertise themselves without coming off as a little full of themselves?

I can understand selling yourself. It's what ya gotta do.
You don't need to try to be humble, but rather you might consider toning down the superman image.

clone22
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:23 pm

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:maybe it's just because i understand how hard it would be to succeed coming out of the terror that is a public school in a lower-income neighborhood, but I really liked this PS.

it's inspiring, honest, and humble.

yes, you should say what country you're from. Why not? Makes it more personal.



Haha, thanks. Yea, it's fun to go to a middle school when most of your classmates deal or do drugs.

Did you go to some equally amazing public schools?

clone22
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:27 pm

CGI Fridays wrote:
clone22 wrote:Fair enough, define modesty though. How does one advertise themselves without coming off as a little full of themselves?

I can understand selling yourself. It's what ya gotta do.
You don't need to try to be humble, but rather you might consider toning down the superman image.



Also quick question: you mentioned that "three higher degrees" is not correct. So how do I express that correctly? In Russia, my father got the equivalent of 3 degrees (Bachelor's level, I want to say, but I'm not sure). How does one correctly express this concept in English?

Thanks.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby CGI Fridays » Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:30 pm

clone22 wrote:Also quick question: you mentioned that "three higher degrees" is not correct. So how do I express that correctly? In Russia, my father got the equivalent of 3 degrees (Bachelor's level, I want to say, but I'm not sure). How does one correctly express this concept in English?

I'd look into it & find out what the name of the degrees were.

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MrKappus
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby MrKappus » Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:30 pm

^ "College-educated with advanced degrees in _____." People like specifics.

You asked how to be humble. Don't say things like "in circumstances that would discourage, stagnate, and cripple others."

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:44 pm

clone22 wrote:
ShuckingNotJiving wrote:maybe it's just because i understand how hard it would be to succeed coming out of the terror that is a public school in a lower-income neighborhood, but I really liked this PS.

it's inspiring, honest, and humble.

yes, you should say what country you're from. Why not? Makes it more personal.



Haha, thanks. Yea, it's fun to go to a middle school when most of your classmates deal or do drugs.

Did you go to some equally amazing public schools?


no i teach at one. your circumstances were indeed crippling. i don't see that as overblown. instead, it might just be stating the obvious.

clone22
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:00 pm

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:
clone22 wrote:
ShuckingNotJiving wrote:maybe it's just because i understand how hard it would be to succeed coming out of the terror that is a public school in a lower-income neighborhood, but I really liked this PS.

it's inspiring, honest, and humble.

yes, you should say what country you're from. Why not? Makes it more personal.



Haha, thanks. Yea, it's fun to go to a middle school when most of your classmates deal or do drugs.

Did you go to some equally amazing public schools?


no i teach at one. your circumstances were indeed crippling. i don't see that as overblown. instead, it might just be stating the obvious.


Hmm, thanks. Now do you think the admissions committee reading these things will be more aware of urban blight, like you, or would they be more likely to chalk my essay up as me being full of myself?

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:04 pm

the former.


and, because they'll most likely be aware, i don't know if it's necessary for you to state -- "crippling, etc, etc." like i said before, i don't see that as you being full of yourself, just as you stating the obvious.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby CGI Fridays » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:14 pm

clone22 wrote:Now do you think the admissions committee reading these things will be more aware of urban blight, like you, or would they be more likely to chalk my essay up as me being full of myself?


So either people are aware of urban blight or they're more likely to chalk your essay up as you being full of yourself?

"Dudes, if you think I'm full of myself, you just don't know enough. I'm stating the obvious."

Newsflash: people have overcome more than you have.
You're in America & your health hasn't gotten in the way of your ambitions. Congratulations on being really fucking fortunate by many people's standards.

clone22
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:25 pm

CGI Fridays wrote:
clone22 wrote:Now do you think the admissions committee reading these things will be more aware of urban blight, like you, or would they be more likely to chalk my essay up as me being full of myself?


So either people are aware of urban blight or they're more likely to chalk your essay up as you being full of yourself?

"Dudes, if you think I'm full of myself, you just don't know enough. I'm stating the obvious."

Newsflash: people have overcome more than you have.
You're in America & your health hasn't gotten in the way of your ambitions. Congratulations on being really fucking fortunate by many people's standards.



Haha, i know, chill. I know I'm not a genocide survivor or anything like that. And nowhere did I say I wasn't going to remove/modify that line.
easy buddy, easy. 8)

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:the former.


and, because they'll most likely be aware, i don't know if it's necessary for you to state -- "crippling, etc, etc." like i said before, i don't see that as you being full of yourself, just as you stating the obvious.


so delete the word crippling, or the line overall?

thanks.
Last edited by clone22 on Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby CGI Fridays » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:30 pm

clone22 wrote:I know I'm not a genocide survivor or anything like that.

I knew one in UG & he didn't toot his own horn nearly as loud as you.

I'm not trying to be mean (although I'm certainly succeeding in it), I'm trying to get you to tone down the superman ego. You still haven't done so. I'm banging my head against a wall. I'm done.

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:34 pm

clone22 wrote:
CGI Fridays wrote:
clone22 wrote:Now do you think the admissions committee reading these things will be more aware of urban blight, like you, or would they be more likely to chalk my essay up as me being full of myself?


So either people are aware of urban blight or they're more likely to chalk your essay up as you being full of yourself?

"Dudes, if you think I'm full of myself, you just don't know enough. I'm stating the obvious."

Newsflash: people have overcome more than you have.
You're in America & your health hasn't gotten in the way of your ambitions. Congratulations on being really fucking fortunate by many people's standards.



Haha, i know, chill. I know I'm not a genocide survivor or anything like that. And nowhere did I say I wasn't going to remove/modify that line.
easy buddy, easy. 8)

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:the former.


and, because they'll most likely be aware, i don't know if it's necessary for you to state -- "crippling, etc, etc." like i said before, i don't see that as you being full of yourself, just as you stating the obvious.


so delete the word crippling, or the line overall?

thanks.



delete the line. that's what i meant by the "etc, etc."

CGI --

I'm not seeing a superman ego -- can you point to specific details where this is apparent?

clone22
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:34 pm

CGI Fridays wrote:
clone22 wrote:I know I'm not a genocide survivor or anything like that.

I knew one in UG & he didn't toot his own horn nearly as loud as you.

I'm not trying to be mean (although I'm certainly succeeding in it), I'm trying to get you to tone down the superman ego. You still haven't done so. I'm banging my head against a wall. I'm done.


And that's fine, you're not being, mean, I assure you. I'm just trying to understand what modifications I should make to my personal statement, and I appreciate the effort you're putting into a random stranger's application. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, just trying to highlight something different about myself that might make me stand out in the eyes of adcom.

clone22
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby clone22 » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:35 pm

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:
clone22 wrote:
CGI Fridays wrote:
clone22 wrote:Now do you think the admissions committee reading these things will be more aware of urban blight, like you, or would they be more likely to chalk my essay up as me being full of myself?


So either people are aware of urban blight or they're more likely to chalk your essay up as you being full of yourself?

"Dudes, if you think I'm full of myself, you just don't know enough. I'm stating the obvious."

Newsflash: people have overcome more than you have.
You're in America & your health hasn't gotten in the way of your ambitions. Congratulations on being really fucking fortunate by many people's standards.



Haha, i know, chill. I know I'm not a genocide survivor or anything like that. And nowhere did I say I wasn't going to remove/modify that line.
easy buddy, easy. 8)

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:the former.


and, because they'll most likely be aware, i don't know if it's necessary for you to state -- "crippling, etc, etc." like i said before, i don't see that as you being full of yourself, just as you stating the obvious.


so delete the word crippling, or the line overall?

thanks.



delete the line. that's what i meant by the "etc, etc."

CGI --

I'm not seeing a superman ego -- can you point to specific details where this is apparent?



thank you.

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CGI Fridays
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby CGI Fridays » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:42 pm

"This mindset has allowed me to persevere and succeed in face of circumstances that could easily discourage, stagnate, and cripple others."

"I realized that I could accomplish any goal I set before myself, whether in or out of the classroom."

"My parents’ mantra was coming true: through hard work [and some good fortune????? You're claiming all the responsibility] I was achieving everything I wanted in this country."


I already made my suggestions in the line edit. I don't know why I'm going through it again. Read through my line edits again for some answers to this question.

Edit: "this question being"
clone22 wrote:I'm just trying to understand what modifications I should make to my personal statement
(regarding self horn tooting)

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ShuckingNotJiving
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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby ShuckingNotJiving » Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:06 pm

CGI Fridays wrote:"This mindset has allowed me to persevere and succeed in face of circumstances that could easily discourage, stagnate, and cripple others."

"I realized that I could accomplish any goal I set before myself, whether in or out of the classroom."

"My parents’ mantra was coming true: through hard work [and some good fortune????? You're claiming all the responsibility] I was achieving everything I wanted in this country."



the first line is dramatic, too many adjectives do give the impression that the op is eager to impress, i'll give you that.

but the last two you've cited, i do not see as horn-tooting. it's the starry-eyed idealism of someone young and ambitious, sure, but to me that's more endearing than off-putting.

also, i'm not seeing anything wrong with him claiming responsibility for his success. this idea of good fortune having something to do with it, i wholeheartedly disagree with, especially given the OP's upbringing.

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Re: Yet another PS, critique away, ladies and gentlemen

Postby CGI Fridays » Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:43 pm

ShuckingNotJiving wrote:also, i'm not seeing anything wrong with him claiming responsibility for his success. this idea of good fortune having something to do with it, i wholeheartedly disagree with, especially given the OP's upbringing.


Upbringing is nothing compared to health.
Great upbringing & fucked health will lose every day to fucked upbringing & great health, assuming equal ambition & effort.




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