PS Draft 1. Please critique..thanks! :)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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PS Draft 1. Please critique..thanks! :)

Postby mrick101 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:31 pm

Albeit beginning very sluggishly and rather clueless, I have finally finished the first draft of my personal statement. I'm concerned about length (1,050 words) and perhaps what could be perceived as a sudden jump from the beginning story to my "why I have what it takes" paragraph. Names in my PS have been replaced by fictional names. Any and all forms of critique/response are very much appreciated and would more than gladly offer to return a response to somebody else's personal statement. Feel free to rip to shreds!

Vividly I recall holding a fragile yet wailing blanket-wrapped bundle in June of 1998—a bundle I would eventually call Stewie as a smile crept across my face with the realization I was cradling my first nephew. Being only nine-years-old at the time, I had never felt so grown up. I was the youngest in a family of four older sisters so never before had I an opportunity to have someone look up to me.

Proud as those moments were, the reality of the marriage between Stewie’s father Peter and my sister Lois soon spilled forward and the glowing uncle-nephew relationship image I had painted in my mind began to deteriorate. Peter would charm anyone to a smile, but behind closed doors would riddle my sister with bullets of contempt, vulgarities, and threats. Lois spiraled into depression, followed by anorexia and attempted suicide whilst the hateful strings-of-words from Peter continued to strip away any self-confidence or ray of hope, with Stewie caught in the middle for every single moment.

I witnessed all from afar until finally my sister sought a divorce three years after the birth of my nephew. The divorce spurred forth a legal battle almost as bitter as the marriage it was ending. Stewie again lay in the middle as both Peter and my sister fought for custody. Both pumped thousands of dollars into various attorneys in which nothing constructive for the sake of Stewie seemed to be accomplished. At only twelve-years-old, I didn’t understand the exact procedure of the ensuing divorce, but a spark was lit inside of me in which I yearned to jump in and do something, no matter how vague the meaning of ‘something. After the divorce was finally settled, Peter emerged with full custody of Stewie and my sister moved to California and sees Stewie three to four times a year.
After the divorce, Peter sat atop a mountain of excuses and refusals, doing little to allow us to see Stewie. This past summer marks the first opportunity I had to see Stewie in two years. He was twelve years old and looked like the average twelve year old boy, but soon I realized there was much more beneath his seemingly normal appearance. He was quiet, and although content, had more of a sullen aura about him than the happy-go-lucky nature I hoped he would have. There are no doubts that the conflicts he experienced through his parents’ marriage and the handling of the divorce at a young age directly impacted his personality and maturity as a twelve-year-old boy. I still feel the same spark I felt before when thinking of Stewie’s life in wishing I could have made a difference in the outcome of the divorce. Throughout the divorce, Stewie was touted in the middle as a trophy to be won as sort of materialistic possession rather than a little boy who needed caring parents, separate or apart-- a quality held in vain by both the parents and their representing attorneys.

Realizing that Stewie’s experience is not unique has shown me that I can take the spark originally developed for my nephew and make a difference by concentrating on any of the thousands of similar cases happening across the nation. Today, that spark is the source of my drive to practice family law. The legal system is rigid, but family law cases involving juveniles introduce a third party contained in the middle between the two arguing parties, adding another level of complexity and what I believe to be a moral obligation to maintain the absolute best interests for the child. The best interest of the juvenile is sometimes forgotten about in the pursuit of self-interest of each arguing party. I hope to one day specialize in divorce and custody conflicts and take a direct role in preventing the objectification of juveniles as mere items fought over within a court room and guide towards the best interest of the juvenile rather than the self-interest of the client.

Since long before I first entered college, law school has always been the ultimate destination in my academic pursuits and practicing law the ultimate destination in my career pursuit. The drive I possess to attend law school is directly supported by the culmination of my academic achievement thus far as a result of my dedication, prioritization, and hard work. Growing up on our family farm, I have always excelled academically and had my heart set on college rather than continuing farming. Through a strong dedication and interest in everything I was learning, I graduated top of my class in high school and went on to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on a full-tuition scholarship, becoming the first in male in my family not go back to the farm. Today I work nearly full-time, have not once let my GPA slip below a 3.8, and allow myself to enjoy family and friends when I am able. This requires me to have a perfect grasp on what actions need to be done and when, and to work hard to not just be finished with them, but to ensure they are completed with the quality I have grown to expect of myself. It is this internalized mindset that makes me confident for law school and the challenges each year will present. I have been goal oriented towards law school up through this point in my life and will exhibit the same mindset in law school with my ultimate goal of practicing family law.

The simple, perhaps aimless spark lit inside of me nearly ten years ago has today matured into a fiery, well-guided passion to practice family law. I have always remained dedicated towards my goal of attending law school and my day by day decisions have so far paved the path up to this destination. I bring to the University of Nebraska College of Law a persistent work ethic and an undeterred drive to succeed fuelled by a specific purpose. I never would have suspected that wailing bundle of blankets to inspire me as I stand today, but my nephew’s indirect impact on my motivations are larger than he will ever know. But for what I do know, I will make a difference in lives of juveniles in the legal system, and I will succeed in law school.

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Re: PS Draft 1. Please critique..thanks! :)

Postby mrick101 » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:02 pm

Daily bump..

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Re: PS Draft 1. Please critique..thanks! :)

Postby jj821 » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:26 am

Sorry, I just couldn't get past the Family Guy names you gave everyone.

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Re: PS Draft 1. Please critique..thanks! :)

Postby sophia.olive » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:48 am

jj821 wrote:Sorry, I just couldn't get past the Family Guy names you gave everyone.


You really need to use a better mix of sentence lengths. I think you need to read some of those sentences to someone and then have them repeat back the meaning.
Some of the descriptions are bromidic. And your style often makes the story hard to follow.
Subject matter wise, I think it is ok. Boring. But ok. You can make it more interesting be experimenting with what you describe in detail and what you just use to carry the story.
There are a lot of grammatical errors but this is a first
It might be too long. 2-pages double spaced is what they normally ask for...
Personally I dislike PSs that give a overview of your life. I think resumes, DSs, and applications are better for that. I also would not talk about full-scholarships/first in class in high school. If you do mention things like this use them to carry on the story, yours are too isolated.

I would use the farmer angle with a good description of what that life is like, instead of just stating it. Giving a description that only people who do it would be able to give will make the story more interesting to the reader and will make you more personable.

Sorry, this does not apply IMHO if this ps is only for nebraska law.
Last edited by sophia.olive on Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: PS Draft 1. Please critique..thanks! :)

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:51 am

The sixth paragraph needs to be refined & condensed.
Your writing confuses the reader as to whether you are male or female--which is relevant only because you refer to being the youngest in a family of four sisters, then later refer to yourself as a male.

Overall I found your personal statement to be an interesting offering of maturing observations presented in a convincing fashion--which is very good.

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