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(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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geverett
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hmmm

Postby geverett » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:22 pm

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Last edited by geverett on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Justathought
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Re: Personal Statement - Musician from Nashville. Critique!

Postby Justathought » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:32 pm

geverett wrote:I just finished up with the 3rd revision of my personal statement. Would love to get some feedback. Feel free to be completely honest about it.





Chuk! Chuk! Chuk! The noise from the Apache helicopter heard from the hurricane seat I was strapped into roared over my head. It was September 2010, and we were beginning our descent to Forward Operating Base Marez near Mosul, Iraq on the sixth day of a two week USO tour covering over nineteen Army, Navy, and Air Force bases. For the past eight years I had earned a living as a guitar player and record producer in Nashville, Tennessee. I had achieved commercial success in the music industry, playing on nationally syndicated television shows and opening for artists whose pictures graced the cover of supermarket tabloids. However, all my prior accomplishments paled in comparison to what I was doing at that moment, playing music for U.S. troops in their dining halls, bringing hope to those who lost friends in combat or missed loved ones back home. It was a seminal moment in my life that catalyzed my desire for a future in public service.



I like this personal statement very much and believe it will serve you well in the admission process. I have one critique with regard to the bold section of text in your opening paragraph. The statement, "bringing hope" implies a knowledge of the benefit your actions would bring to a soldier. I bet you did in fact bring hope to those soldiers, but unless you were told so by them (which is unstated), this statement could be read as an inflated sense of self-worth.

Instead I would write something along the lines of, "However, all my prior accomplishments paled in comparison to what I was doing at that moment, playing music for U.S. troops in their dining halls was my effort to support those men and women who faced unimaginable trials. It was a seminal moment in my life that catalyzed my desire for a future in public service."

That may not be perfect, but something similar might be a nice way to phrase it. Or, even better, if you can imagine it, perhaps from the experiences relayed to you by your father/family, use that. It would make the link of your "I was a military brat" second paragraph even stronger than it already is.

Just my two cents. Good stuff though.

LSATclincher
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Re: Personal Statement - Musician from Nashville. Critique!

Postby LSATclincher » Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:47 pm

This is a really great story. I tweaked up the format a bit. It seemed to jump around.


I grew up a military brat, my family relocating every two years from places as varied as Omaha, Nebraska to Adana, Turkey. Almost every male member of my family served in the Armed Forces and attended one of the military academies. Thus, my decision to move to Nashville to attend Belmont University and pursue a career in the music industry naturally came as a surprise to my family. The summer before I left for college my father sat me down and told me that I would never be able to make a living as a musician. "You don't want to become another unemployed wannabe rock star," he said. It took me only a few months to prove him wrong, though my experience was short lived.

By my second semester of college, I was playing up to four nights a week at local music venues. I made connections with several music industry professionals, and through these contacts I obtained a job touring Europe with a singer/songwriter the summer after my freshman year. It was an exciting time as a 19 year old college student, and I felt incredibly fortunate. Over the course of my college career, I visited most of the lower 48 states, and toured Europe four times. The summer following graduation, I had the privilege of going on the road with XXXXX, a renowned major-label recording artist. We toured for two years, and the experience gave me the opportunity to open for acts like Sheryl Crow and John Mayer, perform on nationally syndicated television shows like "The Late Show" with David Letterman and "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, and play at The Fillmore and Madison Square Garden. Despite my father's predictions, I was earning a living playing music. Yet I still felt that something was missing.

(Insert para about what was missing and what you hoped to accomplish in life. Then transition with you joining "USO tour of Kuwait and Iraq." The middle east stuff seemed out of place.)

Chuk! Chuk! Chuk! The noise from the Apache helicopter heard from the hurricane seat I was strapped into roared over my head. It was September 2010, and we were beginning our descent to Forward Operating Base Marez near Mosul, Iraq on the sixth day of a two week USO tour covering over nineteen Army, Navy, and Air Force bases. All my prior accomplishments paled in comparison to what I was doing at that moment, playing music for U.S. troops in their dining halls, bringing hope to those who lost friends in combat or missed loved ones back home. (Continue discussing the interpersonal goals you accomplished w/ those brave troops. This is a great story, and I wanted to hear much more! Transition w/ "It was a profound moment in my life that catalyzed my desire for a future in public service.")

(Conclude with some general public interest stuff. A theme of "success and fame is nothing compared to aiding people." The IP law stuff comes out of no where.)

Plan2008
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Re: Personal Statement - Musician from Nashville. Critique!

Postby Plan2008 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:20 am

I think it is good enough for Vandy as it stands. Really easy read. I like the other advice, and would add that an area you could improve is the transitions. Also, remember, facts tell, stories sell. So when you go to Iraq, give example of some way you connected with troops. Something they said, or a smile, or whatever. make the reader feel, how good you felt doing that.

Also, I can tell there is just not enough real estate to express the whole trip through the middle east. That must have been an amazing experience.

But I would make sure it says somehow in that paragraph:
1. I took this trip to figure out what I was going to do next (law school),
2. that getting out on the economy with the locals reminded me of my deeper goals and purposes (or more mature motivations, whatever), and
3. I came home with the realization that while music let me express myself to others, the law would allow me to...(fill in the blank) (don't know if Im making sense here, but too many of these PS's have a final paragraph that is so lame...i.e. "So based on all that, I want to come to your school. Oh yeah, your school is great. Out." Hitting these three points would lead into the why Vandy part better.)

Plan2008
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Re: Personal Statement - Musician from Nashville. Critique!

Postby Plan2008 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:28 am

One more thing, you do realize your final paragraph says you are interested in IP and IP, not IP and interntional law. Just a clerical error Im sure.

Also, do you really think that IP and international together are so unique? I'm not so sure that is true. I know that many emerging markets have real problems piracy and our treaties attempt to address the IP discrepencies across borders. You might just say, that as the world goes ever more global the intersection between IP and international law intensifies.

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verklempt
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Re: Personal Statement - Musician from Nashville. Critique!

Postby verklempt » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:50 am

The third and fourth paragraphs don't do a lot for me, as they feel pretty impersonal. Others have commented on your need for stories, and I agree. Delete 3 and 4 and pump up the remainder with some anecdotes that show the reader your stellar personal characteristics. You can, for example, talk about breaking from family tradition, or maybe you can find a moment on your tour that exemplifies who you are.

A couple of other things that I noted. "Paled in comparison" and "came as a surprise" -- well-worn phrases that should be replaced with fresher language. I also got stuck on your opening sentence: "The noise from the Apache helicopter heard from the hurricane seat I was strapped into roared over my head." That's a pretzel of a line, and I encourage you to unsnarl it.

I also agree with the comments about IP and international law. I'm in Silicon Valley and the place is crawling with IP lawyers. And it's almost axiomatic that tomorrow's lawyers will be operating on a global stage. I do like the way you tie in the IP with your music career.

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geverett
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Re: Personal Statement - Musician from Nashville. Critique!

Postby geverett » Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:43 am

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