First draft of PS(165, 3.5, Hispanic)... would love feedback

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Zarathustraspoke
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First draft of PS(165, 3.5, Hispanic)... would love feedback

Postby Zarathustraspoke » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:16 pm

At the age of 4 I lost vision from my left eye due to an accident while playing with a brother of mine. At the age of 14 I saw what would come to be the saddest moment in my life-- my mother was beaten to a pulp by an ex-boyfriend of hers while my brother and I were staying at my fathers home. Throughout most of my childhood I faced obstacles, fears, and even discrimination from those who thought having a classmate with one functional eye was a source of entertainment for them. Today, as I sit here, I can confidently say that all my past experiences, many of which, quiet horrifying as they may be, have made me into a man. A man who believes in justice and sees injustice, a man who wants to see justice.
That happened and I did not really know how to react to it. I was angry. I was frustrated. And I felt useless. I was only 14 so I did what most kids I grew up with did when they felt hopeless-- I began hanging around the wrong people. What proceeded from this was a few years of me trying to convince myself that if I stuck it out long enough-- acted tough, fight when I had to fight, and pretend to like these kids-- I would be able to do something about what happened to my mother. I soon realized that was not going to happen. I graduated high school, with intentions of going to college so as to get away from the crowd of kids I was associated with but no interest in the actual schooling. That soon changed.
During the weeks leading up to graduation from XXX College I spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on how fortunate I was on being able to graduate with such honors that five years prior seemed only slightly obtainable. I concluded that the foundation of my success lied primarily in the unfolding of two events: the first event was during the first semester of my freshmen year in college. The second event was the following year early in the spring semester.
Going into college I had a peculiar perspective on what college life was going to be like due most likely to my youthful ignorance. My first year at Iona was probably the biggest life changing experience I have encountered thus far. My first year suite mates provided me with the bulwark this experience. Unlike many of the kids and friends I grew up with, my college roommates treated me in a way I was not accustomed to. With respect and admiration. I learned after my tumultuous high school years filled with contemptible rumors of why I was cursed with a lazy eye, hence why I assumed the tough guy role throughout those years, to end the puzzlement before it begins. So, as we all sat in the common room that very first night, after all the parents had gone, leaving us with amounts of food to feed a needy village in Africa, I garnered the courage to speak up in front of them of my traumatic experience that beautiful summer morning when I was only four years-old. Their response amazed me. I was shocked. I could not believe how intrigued they were by everything that I had been through and how I stood there in front of them courageously stumbling across sentences attempting to justify why I was telling them such a horrid story on such a joyful occasion. What amazed them even more was that not only was I an athlete-- I played baseball throughout junior high and high school-- but that I danced on a professional salsa dance team.
What emerged from the conversations that proceeded my brief speech was a sense of connectedness and belonging that I had never felt before. Despite that I had plenty of friends throughout all my years before college, and that many of my newly-met roommates came from a very different cultural background than did I, and that none of them knew what it was like growing up in East New York, Brooklyn, never did I feel that I had gained the respect and admiration of friends as I had done at that moment. What the conversation with my college roommates did to me was astounding. It help me realize that life is not only about the physical appearances and how someone is perceived but more of who you truly are as an individual. Since then, I have strove to be an individual. An individual that displays intelligence, thoughtfulness, creativity, and sympathy towards others.
Although I have my character flaws, I have exhibited these admirable traits and have made them an inherent part of who I am as person, as an individual. Whether it was an organizing a voter drive, participating in a debate, raising awareness of inequality on campus, or holding a food drive for the needy I have always felt a strong sense of urgency in providing for or standing up for those in need. This is due not only to the many years of hardships I had to withstand but also to a new found attraction I possess for learning and challenging myself intellectually.
The second event that widely impacted my growth as an individual and I accrue much of my accomplishments to is my cousin, Joe, also my best friend, success in gaining admission into Yale Law School. Joe was raised in very similar situations as myself but he had one advantage over me. He was about 50 times smarter than me. Joe has been my mentor, friend, teacher, and much more ever since I can remember. What his admission into Yale did for me was the only thing missing from the equation. It gave me hope. Hope that I can be just like him or even better. Joe has always been a successful challenger to me in every aspect of my life and has been one of the biggest contributors to my development as an individual-- intellectually and socially. Now with hope, determination, and will coupled with a yearning to serve a system whose foundations and principles I deeply believe in, I believe I possess many of the qualities of an ideal law school candidate.

bjc314
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Re: First draft of PS(165, 3.5, Hispanic)... would love feedback

Postby bjc314 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 12:01 am

Overall, I think this is a very good essay. You discuss obstacles that you have faced and overcome, and I think it gives the reader a good sense of who you are and where you want to go. Given the adversity you faced as a young person and your strong credentials, you seem to be an incredibly driven person.

My only criticisms would be that your essay seems to jump around at times, and many sentences seem "wordy" (this is something I struggle with as well). I think that if you spend some time cutting out unnecessary sentences and words and restructure your essay so it has a better flow, it will be truly outstanding.

Hope this helps.

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Zarathustraspoke
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Re: First draft of PS(165, 3.5, Hispanic)... would love feedback

Postby Zarathustraspoke » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:21 am

TY! I'll post an update version soon :)

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plenipotentiary
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Re: First draft of PS(165, 3.5, Hispanic)... would love feedback

Postby plenipotentiary » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:35 am

Your PS is all over the place and kind of a pity party. You talk too much about your feelings. You use positive adjectives to describe yourself but never show why they apply to you. The second paragraph is too much about someone else and too much about other law schools (I'm presuming that you're not just applying to Yale).

WayBryson
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Re: First draft of PS(165, 3.5, Hispanic)... would love feedback

Postby WayBryson » Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:30 pm

I agree with the previous comment. Your essay lacks direction, and it does read a bit like a pitty party. I share some of these same experiences, and I know that such things can be difficult to write about. I would (and did) focus more on my triumphs--a 3.5 GPA and 165 LSAT is certainly such an achievment considering your background. Speaking of Yale, you ought to go check out their admissions blog-- http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/admissions/default.aspx --and read the two posts on "overcoming obstacles." They should help you find some direction and focus. If you find a good structure to wrap this essay around and make the tone a little more forward looking then I think your essay might be able to go very far. Good luck and I dig the screen name!

One more suggestion: Your cousin as an inspiration is a nice touch. Perhaps move that up earlier in the essay and use it jumping off point for a personal becoming narrative.

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Zarathustraspoke
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Re: First draft of PS(165, 3.5, Hispanic)... would love feedback

Postby Zarathustraspoke » Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:48 am

Ok. So I appreciate the shellacking as our President recently put it. I gave it another try but made it much more focused on a particular part of my life. This is still a very rough draft so I will continue on working on it but please feel free to keep the comments coming, they are very much appreciated!

Thank you


In the summer of 1994, on a beautiful summer morning, while pretending to be pirates in an exaggerated sword fight my older brother accidentally struck me across my left eye. That day, I lost my vision from my left eye but never did I lose the ingenuous courage and passion I have perpetually possessed-- despite even when some considered it stubborn naiveté. Throughout most of my childhood I faced obstacles, fears, and even discrimination from those who thought having a classmate with one functional eye was a source of entertainment for them. However, I am going to take this time, not to sadden you with a pity story in hope of leaving you heart-broken, but to lift your spirits with a story of inspiration and courage.
Have you ever tried play baseball, or even football, with one eyed covered? I have. I’ve been doing it all my life. At first, my father put me in a baseball team more to get me going again after my accident, then it became an obsession. My first year’s playing baseball were not too bad. I never really had much problem playing the sport mainly because I was not receiving much playing time. In the following years I was put in a particularly commendable organization. This is when I first realized that I was at a disadvantage. The coach had me starting in right field, he was not aware, and I did not bother to disclose, that I could not see from my left eye. During one of our very first practices the coach ordered me to take a few fly ball in the outfield. Seemed simple. He would hit them and I would catch them. Unfortunately, the lack of sight meant that my perception of the ball was severely limited. I remember this day as if it happened yesterday. Out of thirty balls that were hit in the air to me I only caught two. I did not start a single game that season; instead, during practice-- the days the team did not practice I would go to park and train with my cousin-- I worked on every aspect of of playing the outfield. I soon came to realization that if the ball was hit in a certain direction I would have to take an angle that would make seeing the ball impossible. I practiced and I practiced until I became accustomed to the general direction the ball would travel in. That allowed me to run without necessarily looking at the ball while occasionally turning my head completely around so as to make sure I did not overrun the ball. My game improved dramatically.
With regard to hitting the ball it was the same old story-- swing and miss. So I decided that if I were to be any good at this game I needed to make up for my “disability” somehow. What ensued was day in and day out of practice-- at the batting cage if it was too cold, or hitting balls at the park where I ended up hitting a few cars along the way. At the start of the season I was the best defensive outfielder on the team so the coach put me to start. I remained a starter for the whole season but only got two hits and struck nine out every ten times I went up to bat.
This life long struggle to excel in something that I am truly passionate about transcends sports, it touches on every aspect of my life. In all, success is not measured by the amount of wealth you accumulate, or by how high up the social ladder you climb but true success lies in the struggles one has to overcome to achieve a desired end. Right now my desired end is to get into law school and I have struggled all my life to get to the position I am in now. So, make this quote mean something, make this story successful.

bjc314
Posts: 65
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:20 pm

Re: First draft of PS(165, 3.5, Hispanic)... would love feedback

Postby bjc314 » Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:30 pm

I think this draft is much better. I like how you connect your story to something greater than yourself. It's very good. However, I have a few suggestions:

I think it would be useful to discuss more how you applied the determination you acquired from your impairment to other challenges, like say college. Specific examples would be helpful. I also think it would be helpful to mention at some point specifically why you want to go to law school. I think you probably have compelling reasons, and it's important to emphasize these.

I agree with some of the previous posts, that you sometimes sound as if you're seeking sympathy. I too have had to overcome a significant amount of adversity to get where I'm at today, and I discussed this in my essay. It was difficult to do, and required a lot of introspection, but I cut out any sentence that was written from self-pity. Your ability to transcend obstacles speaks for itself, and mentioning it explicitly actually diminishes the significance of your story.

Hope this helps.

Zarathustraspoke wrote:Ok. So I appreciate the shellacking as our President recently put it. I gave it another try but made it much more focused on a particular part of my life. This is still a very rough draft so I will continue on working on it but please feel free to keep the comments coming, they are very much appreciated!

Thank you


In the summer of 1994, on a beautiful summer morning, while pretending to be pirates in an exaggerated sword fight my older brother accidentally struck me across my left eye. That day, I lost my vision from my left eye but never did I lose the ingenuous courage and passion I have perpetually possessed-- despite even when some considered it stubborn naiveté. Throughout most of my childhood I faced obstacles, fears, and even discrimination from those who thought having a classmate with one functional eye was a source of entertainment for them. However, I am going to take this time, not to sadden you with a pity story in hope of leaving you heart-broken, but to lift your spirits with a story of inspiration and courage.I would omit this sentence or change it significantly. I think it has the opposite of the intended effect. It is much more persuasive to show than to tell. In other words, don't tell them your story is inspirational, but make the story inspirational.
Have you ever tried play baseball, or even football, with one eyed covered? I have. I’ve been doing it all my life. At first, my father put me in a baseball team more to get me going again after my accident, then it became an obsession. My first year’s playing baseball were not too bad. I never really had much problem playing the sport mainly because I was not receiving much playing time. In the following years I was put in a particularly commendable organization. This is when I first realized that I was at a disadvantage. The coach had me starting in right field, he was not aware, and I did not bother to disclose, that I could not see from my left eye. During one of our very first practices the coach ordered me to take a few fly ball in the outfield. Seemed simple. He would hit them and I would catch them. Unfortunately, the lack of sight meant that my perception of the ball was severely limited. I remember this day as if it happened yesterday. Out of thirty balls that were hit in the air to me I only caught two. I did not start a single game that season; instead, during practice-- the days the team did not practice I would go to park and train with my cousin-- I worked on every aspect of of playing the outfield. I soon came to realization that if the ball was hit in a certain direction I would have to take an angle that would make seeing the ball impossible. I practiced and I practiced until I became accustomed to the general direction the ball would travel in. That allowed me to run without necessarily looking at the ball while occasionally turning my head completely around so as to make sure I did not overrun the ball. My game improved dramatically.
With regard to hitting the ball it was the same old story-- swing and miss. So I decided that if I were to be any good at this game I needed to make up for my “disability” somehow. What ensued was day in and day out of practice-- at the batting cage if it was too cold, or hitting balls at the park where I ended up hitting a few cars along the way. At the start of the season I was the best defensive outfielder on the team so the coach put me to start. I remained a starter for the whole season but only got two hits and struck nine out every ten times I went up to bat.
This life long struggle to excel in something that I am truly passionate about transcends sports, it touches on every aspect of my life. In all, success is not measured by the amount of wealth you accumulate, or by how high up the social ladder you climb but true success lies in the struggles one has to overcome to achieve a desired endI agree with this statement, but I think it is somewhat cliche.. Right now my desired end is to get into law school and I have struggled all my life to get to the position I am in now. So, make this quote mean something, make this story successful.
I don't like this sentence, I think it is much to forward. I think the final paragraph would be a good place to discuss specifically why you wish to be a lawyer. In your previous draft you mentioned seeking justice.




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