Second draft of my PS statement. PLease Critique..

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Second draft of my PS statement. PLease Critique..

Postby paulshortys10 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:22 pm

Once again. I appreciate any criticisms I receive whether it be a spelling mistake, or a major change in a paragraph/sentece. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my essay.

The audacity of hope is a phrase popularized by President Barack Obama during his successful
presidential campaign. This quote summarizes the way I have lived life. How
dare I dream of law school when I'm the son of parents that immigrated illegally from Mexico.
How dare I dream when I grew up in one of the worst and most dangerous areas of the country.
How dare I dream when I grew up poor and was raised by a single mother. Tabulate the
probability of someone like myself successfully graduating from law school and you get a very
small percentile. So why do I dare to dream of law school?

Up until the age of eight, I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, a neighborhood
notorious for it's high crime rate where drugs, gangs, and violence run rampant. Memories of
my family’s home being broken into and my dog beaten half to death by thieves are still vivid
and embedded in my mind. I had front row seats from my bedroom window during the Rodney
King riots and witnessed the assaulting and looting occurring. I had become impervious to gun
shots being fired; it became background noise when I slept. Although my parents tried to teach
me that education was the key to success, the environment I grew up in made it difficult to
value education the way my parents had held in mind. Neither of my parents had the
opportunity to graduate high school , thus when they came to this country illegally and without
speaking English, they had no other option but to find employment in garment factories. Since
early childhood, I noticed how hard my parents worked in order for my siblings and I not to
undergo the same hardships. Only a decision to leave that area made by my parents helped
prevent my siblings and I from ending up on the wrong road. Although this decision was met
with many hardships and obstacles, it was a decision that would shape the man I have become.

Through hard work, my parent's had moved us out of the often glamourized ghetto of
South Central Los Angeles, into a nice primarily Caucasian suburb. On the first day at my new
school, I was faced with new obstacles. In my old school bilingual education was required, but
definitely not enforced. Since Spanish was the only language spoken at home, I didn’t know
how to speak English until I arrived at my new school at eight years old. As a young child, I
didn't understand what my classmates meant when they called me a "wetback" and a "beaner.".
I was later challenged by an even greater obstacle; my parents' separation. Although they both
remained cordial with each other, this separation brought a multitude of changes and hardships
in my life. My mother was now in charge of raising three young boys and my ailing
grandmother, while often working weekends and overtime. My mother would often come
home tired past 10pm, so I took on the responsibilities of taking care of my younger brother
and my grandmother. My father took on a new job, and although it kept him away from us, it
was able to put food on our plates and clothes on our backs. Both my parents repeatedly
stressed the importance of education and I learned from their repetition that I could strive and
succeed to be something better through education. These experiences made me vow to go to
college and make my parents proud with my educational achievements.

Throughout my life my parents have been an example that it's not too audacious to
hope for better when you have nothing. Although I know my intellectual and analytic abilities
will get me into law school, I believe the hard work ethic I learned through my parents, will
successfully get me out of law school and into a career where I can give back to my family. My
ambitions for law school have been cultivated by this vision of making my dreams and hopes
happen, not only for myself but also for the sake of my family, to give them something to cheer
for. Through my struggles in life, I have learned how to endure and work towards an end goal
As with my previous challenges, I am ready to accept the challenge of law school and work
hard to achieve that dream.


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Re: Second draft of my PS statement. PLease Critique..

Postby doing_it_in_a_car » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:33 am

A fine essay - here's some criticism because you asked for it :p

As I see it, law schools look for ambitious people who have big goals and will go on to do great things. However, it seems like your PS mostly talks about going to law school and succeeding in law school. I recommend that instead of saying your dream is to go to law school, talk more about why you want to become a lawyer - or whatever career you want to pursue that requires a J.D. Do some research and talk more specifically about why you want/need the degree - instead of generically saying you want "a career where I can give back to my family.' Maybe you want to run for public office someday - like Obama, or maybe you want to focus on civil rights and help immigrant communities. Don't worry, talking about practicing a specific field of law won't commit you to it - but I think it will make you look more focused and serious.

Also, give preference to the active voice over the passive voice, unless you aim to capture a particular style.
Instead of "The audacity of hope is a phrase popularized by President Barack Obama during his successful
presidential campaign." Try "Barack Obama often talked about "the audacity of hope" in his presidential speeches. This phrase captures my approach to life as well."

I would also use question marks instead of periods at the end your rhetorical exclamations e.g. "How dare I....illegally from Mexico?"

Keep working at it, and you'll be fine. Good luck with your apps!

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Re: Second draft of my PS statement. PLease Critique..

Postby paulshortys10 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:50 am

Yea couple other people have suggested I pit something about y I want law school..I need to think of a good sentence to add

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Re: Second draft of my PS statement. PLease Critique..

Postby TR Fan » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:39 am

I agree with the previous comments. Good overall, though at times it felt more like a diversity statement than a personal statement (realizing of course there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to these things).

I will say however that the first paragraph came off as a tad melodramatic to me, what with all the "how dare I" remarks. It wasn't until the 2nd paragraph that I really began to feel engaged with your story. Perhaps your intro could toned down a bit and you could capture more of the that later dynamic? Just my two cents.

Best of luck!

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