Comments / suggestions

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
play2win
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:27 pm

Comments / suggestions

Postby play2win » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:29 am

I will post the first paragraph of what will be my PS. The idea is to compare to chess to law (there are SO many similarities), particularly my legitimate interest in both. What do I put next....

"I stared my opponent directly in the eyes, mere feet apart. As a drop of sweat fell from my brow, I reminded myself of the countless hours I had spent practicing, and steadied myself against the butterflies, whose presence would be much more appreciated outside on a spring afternoon. The clock started, and for the next hour my opponent and I did battle, exchanging combinations and maneuvering for superior position. I fought hard, remaining ever-focused and a step ahead as I accumulated a small but clear advantage. The pressure grew concurrently with the crowd around us, until finally, a blunder! I capitalized instantly and laid waste to my opponent’s defensive fortress with a tactical blow. My sweaty hands snatched up his final defender, as I uttered the triumphant phrase, “check-mate.” We shook hands, and I basked in the knowledge that I had just defeated the head of my chess club for the first time."

antonin
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Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby antonin » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:52 am

As someone that plays chess, I find you repulsive. You are not supposed to say "check-mate," that is plain rude, and which opponent waits until "check-mate" before they give up.
On a less joking note: it is hard to tell from this paragraph, it can go either way. I do think it is a little bit too poetic at times, but the fat can better be cut at the end, when the page limits also force you. What do I mean about poetic? Well, what's up with the flies of butter, we get it you were nervous, say that you were nervous and call it a day. Why do I care about spring when chess and law are both very non-spring subjects.

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The Gentleman
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Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby The Gentleman » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:55 am

I'll pop in to comment. (and to avoid working on my own PS!)

- Great job of building tension throughout the intro.
- The second paragraph should discuss how you first became interested in chess.
- Eliminate this phrase. It interrupts the flow and just doesn't work.
play2win wrote:whose presence would be much more appreciated outside on a spring afternoon

- I see two possible ways to go with this essay. You could try something about how the mental battle in chess is similar to the mental battle in court/litigation. (that's cheesy though) Or you could highlight the dedication you've had to honing your chess skills and say you will bring that same attitude to law school. (this is what I would do with it.)

Overall, this is very well written and has a ton of potential.

play2win
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:27 pm

Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby play2win » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:02 am

antonin wrote:As someone that plays chess, I find you repulsive. You are not supposed to say "check-mate," that is plain rude, and which opponent waits until "check-mate" before they give up.
On a less joking note: it is hard to tell from this paragraph, it can go either way. I do think it is a little bit too poetic at times, but the fat can better be cut at the end, when the page limits also force you. What do I mean about poetic? Well, what's up with the flies of butter, we get it you were nervous, say that you were nervous and call it a day. Why do I care about spring when chess and law are both very non-spring subjects.


Ah, some criticism, excellent. Much better than hearing ma and pa gush over my every word.

To the charges:
1) You are correct - but in all seriousness this guy played to the bitter end every time. It was rude on his part. One time I mated him without saying anything and he proceeded to consider the position for a moment before "informing" me that it was in fact mate. I could omit that line but it was not clear, I think, that I was speaking about chess until that "revelation." Also, I do not anticipate a GM or so reading my PS, so the admissions dude may not pick up on this fact.

2) You're right again about being "poetic" - I'm trying to be interesting here, and I really do believe that this paragraph is a bit different from the norm. The question is how to proceed from here. I need to establish, without bragging, my interest and subsequent proficiency in chess, and then liken it to law to suggest my interest in it will lead to proficiency.

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2807
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Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby 2807 » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:03 am

That is well written. The challenge will be to parlay that voice and that scene into a fully nuanced and declarative "personal" statement. What will that statement be?

Give me the next paragraph where you establish how that chess victory is relevant to the statement you are about to make.

Then give me a few more on how that will make you a good candidate for a law school and a legal career.

Then one last one that wraps it all up.

Uh, then you're done. Good job.

**edit** oh, haha.. I just read your post. I see that you are looking for advice on the next paragraph, sorry.
Let me think about it..
Last edited by 2807 on Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

play2win
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:27 pm

Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby play2win » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:05 am

The Gentleman wrote:I'll pop in to comment. (and to avoid working on my own PS!)

- Great job of building tension throughout the intro.
- The second paragraph should discuss how you first became interested in chess.
- Eliminate this phrase. It interrupts the flow and just doesn't work.
play2win wrote:whose presence would be much more appreciated outside on a spring afternoon

- I see two possible ways to go with this essay. You could try something about how the mental battle in chess is similar to the mental battle in court/litigation. (that's cheesy though) Or you could highlight the dedication you've had to honing your chess skills and say you will bring that same attitude to law school. (this is what I would do with it.)

Overall, this is very well written and has a ton of potential.


Hi Gent, thanks for weighing in. I will consider all of your suggestions.

Ideally, my essay would somehow incorporate the two "ways to go." I agree with you that the latter of your suggestions should dictate the direction of my essay, but it would be nice to draw the obvious comparison between the two fields.

play2win
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:27 pm

Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby play2win » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:07 am

2807 wrote:That is well written. The challenge will be to parlay that voice and that scene into a fully nuanced and declarative "personal" statement. What will that statement be?

Give me the next paragraph where you establish how that chess victory is relevant to the statement you are about to make.

Then give me a few more on how that will make you a good candidate for a law school and a legal career.

Then one last one that wraps it all up.

Uh, then you're done. Good job.


I will do so tonight. Thank you for the comments and criticisms. What will my statement be? I'll work on generating a definite and clear idea.

play2win
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:27 pm

Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby play2win » Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:18 am

2807 no worries my friend. I don't expect anybody to necessarily write my PS for me - I'm glad for the suggestion of what you think I need to do...

play2win
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:27 pm

Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby play2win » Wed Nov 10, 2010 4:11 pm

I'd like to post the next few paragraphs. Listen...you may not understand completely where I am going with this. But please let me know what you think. Comments so far have been more helpful than you may have realized!

"I was, and am, very proud of myself for what I accomplished on that day. It was back in my Junior year of high school, before I was sure of my proficiency in chess. Winning match after match against intoxicated family members at holiday parties was enjoyable, but it lacked the stamp of authenticity. This match – against the head of my school’s chess club, Mr. Weber – was a true litmus test of my playing strength.
How I came to defeat Mr. Weber is no mystery. It was not a fluke, as I would later prove time and time again, nor was it the effortless doings of a chess prodigy, destined to one day compete for the World Chess Championship. Instead, it was the fruits of a labor that I began at an early age and continue this very day. A labor that I undertook not because it was demanded of me, but because of an unexplained yet undeniable and legitimate fascination with the game of chess. Indeed, it was hardly a labor at all.
This “unhealthy” interest started with the Tuesday chess puzzle in my local paper. It continued with me checking out books from my local library, where I would play out important games and consider complex variations alone in my room on an old chess set that my parents gave to me. It has led to paying memberships at the “Internet Chess Club,” “Chessgames.com,” and “Letsplaychess.com,” at each of which I am an active member of the community. I have even made use of youtube.com, where chess masters post videos along with commentary and computer analysis of top level games. And finally, a recent chess tournament was recently held in Nanjing, China. Given the exact 12 hour time difference from where I live, it required me to wake up at 2:30 AM to view the start of the live games online. Is there any question that I set my alarm clock for 2:25 each night, much to the dismay of my roommate?"

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2807
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Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby 2807 » Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:53 am

hmmm... I am not liking the second act. Your first paragraph was awesome. Now, ...eh, not so much. That is an awful lot of detail on precious space in a PS. You can say "I am very involved in numerous chess clubs and activites" and get the point across good enough to the reader. I assure you, we believe you.

But then what? is the goal to explain your dedication, analytical maneuvering, hard work, complex decision process...??? You may want to get to it, these 2 paged PS's go quick!

I'll keep watching.... I like your style and your chess topic. I just think you may want a lot of that space back for your actual "statement" in the personal statement.

play2win
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:27 pm

Re: Comments / suggestions

Postby play2win » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:25 am

Thanks...hmm. Perhaps it is best that I post the completed work so that you can fully understand my direction in the paper, though the fact that you are still unclear about it after 3 or 4 paragraphs is slightly worrisome to me. I'll get back later...




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