Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
GatorGirl89
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Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby GatorGirl89 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:13 pm

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

I struggled to hold back my tears as the victim’s mother spoke about her son. She was filled with grief as she explained the circumstances surrounding his death. This case was not the typical drug deal gone wrong or domestic violence dispute. An unarmed 17 year old boy had been shot and killed while breaking into a house. He and his family were illegal immigrants, and were about to be evicted from their residence. In a moment of desperation, the young man broke into a house to try to obtain money for his family.

I spent my days helping the prosecutors gather the facts of the case and prepare their arguments. As I sifted through the information, I thought about the larger problem behind this crime. The young man’s inability to obtain legitimate employment made him feel like he had no option other than to steal. A young man’s death may have been prevented had the family been able to get the paperwork necessary to get a job. This issue hit close to home since my father is a Cuban immigrant.

My father spent years toiling over rolls of fabric and slaving away over steaming irons in a sewing factory. One of my favorite childhood memories is riding around on the forklift with his co-worker Jorge-Luis. My father’s status as a citizen put him at an advantage over his coworkers. As I grew up, I saw him transform from a factory worker who would leave before sunrise each morning to a successful businessman with awards lining the walls of his office.

The circumstances have changed, but I still on occasion accompany my father to business meetings. A few years ago, on the way back from a meeting, we stopped for lunch at a small restaurant by my father’s old factory. I was thrilled to run into Jorge-Luis. The encounter turned bittersweet as I discovered that he was still a factory worker living paycheck to paycheck. The only difference between my father and his friend was citizenship. My father was able to improve his standard of living, while Jorge-Luis could not.

Around the same time, I went to the nearby town of Immokalee to work with Habitat for Humanity. I laid sod alongside a family who would be receiving a home and they told me about friends of theirs who were illegal farm workers in the area. The family felt terrible that they would receive a new home while their friends struggled to feed their children. The story reminded me of my father’s friend Jorge-Luis. I became intrigued and did some research on Immokalee. I was astonished when I realized that the area was known to contain slavery rings made up of immigrant workers who could not obtain legitimate employment due to their status as illegal immigrants.

It became my mission to help immigrants escape these cruel conditions. I learned that produce from these farms is distributed to the supermarkets in the area and that an increase in the price supermarkets pay for the produce would directly increase the wages of these workers. I formed a volunteer group to pressure local supermarkets to pay higher rates for produce. We wrote letters to store owners and handed out flyers to shoppers. While I felt accomplished in raising awareness to this issue, I knew I wanted to address the root of the problem rather than just the side effects.

I continued to follow news about the farm workers. After reading an article discussing the state attorney prosecuting the leaders of the local slavery rings, I pursued an internship with the State Attorney’s office. I observed many cases concerning illegal immigrants. Some were minor violations such as driving without a driver’s license and some were tragic such as the death of the 17 year old boy. They all however, shared a common thread; they were preventable in nature. For the most part, these people weren’t criminals that needed to be punished, they were trying to survive in a country where their presence is not legally recognized, making things as simple as acquiring a driver’s license impossible. Technicalities such as this lead to an overloaded and inefficient court system. The disconnect affects the lives of immigrants daily but also affects society at large through these avenues.

I believe that a degree in law would give me the tools to help bridge this gap. I have seen firsthand the impact of citizenship through witnessing my father overcome the obstacles in his life while his friend could not. My experiences have led me to law, which I believe will be the most effective way to make a difference. I believe the education I would attain at _____ Law School would provide me with an excellent foundation to act as an advocate for those in need.

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chihuahua12
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby chihuahua12 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:02 pm

I think the theme you have is interesting and relevant and your reasons for pursuing law are clear. However, your first two paragraphs are really dramatic. I think you could include the story about the 17 year old, but don't play out your emotions too much - this didn't happen to a member of your family. Also, be careful when talking about the "inefficiency" of the legal system. It comes off presumptuous. Instead, I would talk about how you want to study the intricacies of the system and learn how to use it to accomplish x, y and z. Finally, be careful not to sound too partisan on the political issue of illegal immigrants. You can't overlook the fact that what the 17 year old did was a crime. He wasn't killed because he had 'illegal immigrant' written on his forehead. Perhaps the circumstances surrounding his immigrant status contributed to his decision to perform the criminal act, but that's saying something different. Pull back your emotions here.

Overall it's a good PS. Just needs a bit of tidying.

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gdane
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby gdane » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:06 pm

There are certain parts of this statement that are very strong, but there are also things that need to go.

The story at the beginning is a little risky to include. Many people may not agree with your viewpoint, especially with all the current anti immigrant sentiment.

For the most part, these people weren’t criminals that needed to be punished, they were trying to survive in a country where their presence is not legally recognized, making things as simple as acquiring a driver’s license impossible. Technicalities such as this lead to an overloaded and inefficient court system. The disconnect affects the lives of immigrants daily but also affects society at large through these avenues


Again, this is too controversial to mention. To you the people mentioned werent criminals, but to other's they definitely are. Also, how do you know that these technicalities lead to an overloaded and inefficient court system? This needs to go.

It became my mission to help immigrants escape these cruel conditions. I learned that produce from these farms is distributed to the supermarkets in the area and that an increase in the price supermarkets pay for the produce would directly increase the wages of these workers. I formed a volunteer group to pressure local supermarkets to pay higher rates for produce. We wrote letters to store owners and handed out flyers to shoppers. While I felt accomplished in raising awareness to this issue, I knew I wanted to address the root of the problem rather than just the side effects.


This is great to mention because it speaks to your maturity and dedication to a cause. Hell, I think it's awesome. However, modify the last sentence. Instead of side effects you could say consequences.

Your mention of jorge luis becomes redundant.

The story reminded me of my father’s friend Jorge-Luis.

You dont have to keep informing us that he was your fathers friend, we know that.

The last paragraph feels really forced. It's very noble, but naive because there are wayyy more and better ways for you to accomplish your goals other than law school. Be more specific. Tell us specifically how and why law school is the path that will help you attain your goals. Dont just tell us that X school will help you attain your goals, explain why.

There's a lot of potential in this statement, but you need to remove the "controversial" parts.

Good luck!

CanadianWolf
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:10 pm

Your personal statement is ineffective because you are unable to defend your position in a convincing manner. It is more important to recognize issues than it is to choose sides based on little more than one's emotions. This essay may raise maturity issues.

dddhhh
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby dddhhh » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:50 pm

Beautiful. Compelling. Do not change a thing.
You have a clear point of view, unique experiences, and although not specifically stated perceivable goals.

Good luck!

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gdane
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby gdane » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:59 pm

dddhhh wrote:Beautiful. Compelling. Do not change a thing.
You have a clear point of view, unique experiences, and although not specifically stated perceivable goals.

Good luck!


No. If you want a good personal statement, disregard dddhhh.

dddhhh
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby dddhhh » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:31 pm

gdane5 wrote:
dddhhh wrote:Beautiful. Compelling. Do not change a thing.
You have a clear point of view, unique experiences, and although not specifically stated perceivable goals.

Good luck!


No. If you want a good personal statement, disregard dddhhh.



This is not a controversial issue to be discussed if part of the hispanic community, it is an issue that significantly affects your life and everyone in this community is going to have a point of view on the matter and it is not going to be DRY. Nothing in this PS is dramatized or exaggerated. It is what it is and is expressed in this PS in a personal and honest way.

Even if your opinion is the opposite of what is expressed the PS is not to take points away from a candidate because they do not share your views. Diversity and distinct points of views are what make the classroom stimulating.

gdane thinks that we should all think the same way and never bring up a topic that is "controversial" but i think that these topics need to be spoken about and the whole point of a PS is to let them know what perspective you can bring to the table and what you can add to a discussion. You have unique experiences and I think you tell your story well in your PS.

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chihuahua12
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby chihuahua12 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:40 pm

dddhhh wrote:
gdane5 wrote:
dddhhh wrote:Beautiful. Compelling. Do not change a thing.
You have a clear point of view, unique experiences, and although not specifically stated perceivable goals.

Good luck!


No. If you want a good personal statement, disregard dddhhh.



This is not a controversial issue to be discussed if part of the hispanic community, it is an issue that significantly affects your life and everyone in this community is going to have a point of view on the matter and it is not going to be DRY. Nothing in this PS is dramatized or exaggerated. It is what it is and is expressed in this PS in a personal and honest way.

Even if your opinion is the opposite of what is expressed the PS is not to take points away from a candidate because they do not share your views. Diversity and distinct points of views are what make the classroom stimulating.

gdane thinks that we should all think the same way and never bring up a topic that is "controversial" but i think that these topics need to be spoken about and the whole point of a PS is to let them know what perspective you can bring to the table and what you can add to a discussion. You have unique experiences and I think you tell your story well in your PS.


I think you're misinterpreting what gdane is saying. The PS is not a soapbox for you to spew your opinions, especially when they are emotionally based. The PS is meant for you to describe why you are pursuing law. OP's anecdotes are O.K. as long as she focuses on rationality and maturity. As her PS stands now, her emotions and personal opinions on her anecdotes overwhelm her logical reasons for pursuing law - the reasons adcomms wanna read about.

(edit) In my opinion. I think gdane might disagree on whether OP should include the part about the 17 year old.

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ads222
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby ads222 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:52 pm

dddhhh wrote:This is not a controversial issue to be discussed if part of the hispanic community, it is an issue that significantly affects your life and everyone in this community is going to have a point of view on the matter and it is not going to be DRY. Nothing in this PS is dramatized or exaggerated. It is what it is and is expressed in this PS in a personal and honest way.

Even if your opinion is the opposite of what is expressed the PS is not to take points away from a candidate because they do not share your views. Diversity and distinct points of views are what make the classroom stimulating.

gdane thinks that we should all think the same way and never bring up a topic that is "controversial" but i think that these topics need to be spoken about and the whole point of a PS is to let them know what perspective you can bring to the table and what you can add to a discussion. You have unique experiences and I think you tell your story well in your PS.


Wait, what? My dad -- who's an immigrant -- is completely against amnesty plans/anything "good" for undocumented immigrants. I think he holds a reprehensible view, but he is one of quite a few people in the Hispanic community who oppose amnesty. To treat the issue as a non-controversy and to describe the Latino community in this country as a monolith is a little irresponsible, as is the advice you gave the OP.

As for the OP, what you did in Immokalee/with farmworkers is great. I think the strength of your essay is within that, not within Jorge-Luis or your emotions re the boy's death. While you obviously display connections to and knowledge of the immigrant community, you're trying to squeeze in too much here, and you should have enough solid stuff to work with from the Immokalee experience (or any of the other things mentioned if you choose to narrow it to one of the other topics) to craft a great essay.

You need to keep in mind, however, that this is your personal statement and write about your own experiences and feelings instead of trying to persuade or prove a point (besides, of course, letting you in to X law school). Some of the essay feels like it's trying to prove a point that the adcomms likely know; other sentences, like "Technicalities…system" and "This…avenues," are written like misplaced thesis statements and should just be written out, and you can use those 40 or whatever words to write something better.

ETA: I agree with chihuahua to a point, but I don't think writing about emotions is taboo. Much of my PS was about my feelings, so don't feel like you need entirely to eliminate your emotions from your PS.

dddhhh
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby dddhhh » Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:26 pm

Yes, I've heard both sides from immigrants I just meant that it's talked about within the community and not a controversial topic that is taboo and not talked about because it affects too many people in one way or another.

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gdane
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby gdane » Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:39 pm

Here's the deal. My issue with this personal statement isn't Gatorgirls opinions regarding immigration. The general issue of immigration isn't controversial. I'm hispanic, pro immigrant and I like what she strives to do in the future. My issue with this statement is that Gatorgirl's opinion's regarding the 17 year old and our inefficient court system are certainly controversial and have no place in this statement. In regards to the 17 year old, while I feel for him, he committed a crime and that cannot be ignored. I suspect many of the legal minds on schools' admissions committees will agree with me. The same applies to Gatorgirls statement that courts are inefficient.

ads222 did a nice job of explaining what I meant and what Gatorgirl should do to her statement.

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RMUDelicious
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Re: Can someoone please give me feedback on my draft?

Postby RMUDelicious » Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:25 pm

I read this over a couple of times and it still sits funny with me. I think the theme of the PS is good, it is a little unusual which I am a fan of. The beginning was strong and it started to hook me (dealing with the break-in) and then it lost steam. I felt it devolved into a series of stories about people who didn't get their citizenship and their subsequent struggles. Maybe try to put some more emotion into it, or rather how this all truly affected you / changed your life. The bit at the end with the "degree from X school" is a little flimsy. Are any of the schools you applying to strong in immigration law? Maybe tie that in, or are you saving that for a "Why ___" essay?

Your PS is getting there it just needs some work.




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