critique my new PS!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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ryanshep
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 2:58 pm

critique my new PS!

Postby ryanshep » Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:05 pm

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Last edited by ryanshep on Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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NorCalBruin
Posts: 591
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:58 pm

Re: critique my new PS!

Postby NorCalBruin » Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:58 pm

The Good: You spelling is fine, and everything is pretty grammatical. There’s some evidence that you’ve learned to work hard and follow through.

The Bad: A lot of sentences are awkward. Some sentences are too long and need to be broken up. Other sentences have an awkward ordering of phrases. Think to yourself, “How can I make this simpler?” Or rather, “How can I say what I want to say in the least amount of words?”

The Ugly: You have a good start here with some potentially interesting stories (climbing Mr. Rainer and flying a helicopter). These are unique experiences. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that you changed from an entitled, over confident individual (for lack of a better word) into a person who understands the value of hard-work and perseverance. A lot of that is because you transition so quickly from bad to good. One minute you’re failing to climb a mountain, the next you’re talking about cancer, and then suddenly, in a matter of two or three sentences, you’ve realized the error of your ways.

I don’t think you have to scrap this whole essay, but I do think you need some serious revisions. Consider focusing on one story, such as climbing Rainer, and evaluating how that particular experience helped you grow as a person. Think about starting your essay from the point of failure, and then writing the rest of your essay on how you eventually overcame it. But hey, I’m just making suggestions. Also, I apologize if I at all sound rude, I’m just trying to be helpful by giving you my honest evaluation.

Below you’ll find my notes in brackets. [[ ]]

The coordination required to keep a helicopter in flight is by far the most un-natural combination of movements that I had ever experienced. To maintain a hover, I would have to coordinate the controls, [[you use the word coordinate twice in two sentences. Revise.]] delicately manipulating them in unison so [[that]] the helicopter would stay in one place. To say this coordination [[again, use another word beside coordination]] didn’t come naturally to me would be an understatement. [[Slightly awkward. Maybe: “Least to say, piloting didn’t come naturally.” Not sure. This is nitpicky though.]] For many of the first few lessons the instructor would say, [[slightly awkward, too uncertain. Maybe: “During my first few lessons my instructor would say…”] “You have the controls,” and the helicopter would go from a placid, steady hover to an egg beater in the sky. The goal I had set for myself seemed to be falling apart in my hands. [[you haven’t told us what your goal is yet, so I don’t know what’s falling apart. It’s obvious from the context that your goal is learning to fly a helicopter, but it might be helpful to give us one sentence in the very beginning like “I had always dreamed of flying.”]]

I began to lose motivation, for the first time in my life something didn’t come naturally, [[really? Sorry, but this sounds arrogant. You’re not Superman.]] something wasn’t easy for me. I hadn’t given up on the dream of becoming a pilot, but I was definitely discouraged. The winter rolled around and the weather was less than ideal, as a result, flights were few and far between.

It was about this time that my dad proposed he fulfill a promise he had made to me when I was a boy, [[boy:]] climb Mt. Rainier. [[this could be better worded. Maybe: “Later that winter my father sat me down with a proposition he’d been dwelling on for years: climb Mt. Rainer.”]] Inspired by the idea, flying drifted even further from my mind. Naïvely, I assumed climbing a mountain would come easy to me. I was in pretty decent shape, [[so]] how hard could it be? A month before our scheduled summit attempt my climbing team; consisting of my brother, my dad and I, [[I’m not an expert at grammar, but I think that semicolon would be better as a comma. Also, it should be “consisting of my brother, my, and me.”]] decided to attempt a hike up to the base camp from which, we would begin our summit attempt in less than four weeks. [[this sentence is too long and needs to be broken up.]] The hike was less than reassuring. We weren’t carrying equivalent [[equal is a better word here]] weight on our backs as would be necessary on the real thing and in spite of this we severely struggled throughout the hike. [[Wrong, you struggled because of this, not in spite of it. At least, that’s what it seems like you meant to say.]] We finally made it to Camp Muir, and as we were trying to catch our breaths we asked someone who had clearly just came from the summit, “how tough is it to the top?” [[Nitpicky, but “tough” sounds odd. Maybe: “how hard is the rest of the climb?’]] He looked us over, as we were gasping for air and sucking water from our Nalgene like it was going out of style [[weak, you can come up with a better simile than this]] and said, “You have no chance.” [[need a sentence here saying that you turned around.]] I don’t think there was a single word spoken between any of us on the entire hike down or the [[two-hour]] car ride home. I felt defeated. [[Maybe: “We turned around, defeated. The

When we finally got back home, I plopped in front of the computer and began to cruise the internet. I instinctively opened my e-mail and opened one that was forwarded from my mom; she would always send me these e-mails and ask me about them later in the day. [[Cut this down. Maybe: I plopped in front of the computer and opened my email. Like always, my mom had sent me a message. I had to open it, lest she quiz me on it later.”]] If I wasn’t prepared to discuss how cute that kitten wearing a top hat was, she would get upset. I don’t remember what this specific e-mail was about but I do remember that in the original sender’s signature, there was a quote, “Carpe diem.” I read the quote and sat there staring at it. I couldn’t help but think of a classmate of mine that died from a cancerous tumor that had spread into her brain. [[this comes out of nowhere.]] I only knew her as the girl who wore bandanas to cover her balding head in my algebra class, she was nice, but I just never really knew her. [[Needs to be revised. We already know you never really knew her. Maybe: “I only knew here as the nice, balding, girl who wore bandanas in Algebra class.”]] To commemorate her life, they put a bench outside my school with her favorite quote, “Carpe diem.”

For too long had I taken a passive approach to my life, taking life as it came, relying on my innate abilities and assuming that was sufficient to get me wherever I wanted to go. [[Cut out “and assuming that was sufficient to get me wherever I…”, maybe just, “relying on my innate abilities to get me what I wanted.”]] The next morning I went for a run, and that afternoon I strapped iron plates to my back and went for a hike. This routine continued until we climbed, and summited Mt. Rainier. Within 6 months, [[better: “Six months later”]] I was a licensed helicopter pilot missing only a single question on the written exam. [[The last part about the exam in irrelevant and borind. Maybe just: “Six months later, I was a licensed helicopter pilot.” We can assume that you had to pass some test to get there.]]

I always had the perception that law school was exclusively for the smartest people. These experiences however, made me realize that I too can be counted among these individuals not through intelligence alone, but through the hard work and seizing the day. [[This last sentence doesn’t make sense. Needs to be rewritten.]]

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ryanshep
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 2:58 pm

Re: critique my new PS!

Postby ryanshep » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:26 pm

I really appreciate the frank and honest advice. I don't find that rude at all and will be heeding your advice, back to the drawing board.




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