Reallly in need of critiquing

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Reallly in need of critiquing

Postby dprincess » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:29 am

I've been working on my PS for awhile now and just feel so cluttered in my thoughts, I was wondering if anyone could help me out.

EDIT: took the second PS off


The letter began “Please help”. Although the letter was not addressed to me, I felt a deep urge to intervene. It was from a naturalized American citizen trying to bring his family to the States because he feared for his wife and children safety in their country of origin. I often read letters asking for help in different capacities while interning at the Congressional office. Even though I did get satisfaction in knowing something was being done to help these people, I felt frustrated in my limitations as an intern in what I could do to help them. I did not just want to try and alleviate their problems; I wanted to help prevent them.
It is this desire to help others that has developed my interest in law. Through it, I see the potential to impact people in a positive way on a large scale. Volunteering has been one way for me to make a difference in people’s lives. In volunteering through different outlets, I have been able to assist people of various backgrounds while discovering myself in the process. Since the age of fourteen, I volunteered with the American Red Cross at Winn’s Army Community hospital. I volunteered there until I started my undergraduate career, even though after the first day on site, I knew a medical career was not for me. A nurse showed me my first epidermal needle while we were stocking an inventory room. I fainted. Although I had to get an MRI, my passion to help others was not deterred. I continued to volunteer in different roles in my undergraduate career at Mercer University, from starting a successful recycling program on campus and presenting it to our school’s president and local companies to creating food packages weekly at a local food bank. I was able to make a small difference; however, what impacted me the most through volunteering has been people that I have met.
My culture is an important part of who I am. I have a nontraditional background in that I am a West Indian with an East Indian lineage who was born in Belgium, but raised in America. I consider myself to have two homes, one in America and one in Trinidad where my parents are from. My personal attributes help me better relate to people of other cultures and backgrounds. The people I have met from around the world are not only a privilege, but the influencing factor of my career path. I am, what some may call, a military brat. I grew up with my father being a veteran in the military and know personally the toil this background can have. I have been fortunate in the opportunity to make friends with people from around the world and share together the pains and joys of our similar lifestyles; however, the feeling of having a loved one away to war is incomparable. Personally knowing the sacrifices made by our men and women challenges me to think of alternative actions to lessen the hardships they and their families must endure.
Growing up, the question posed in my head was always “why?” Why did conflict occur, why did people have to suffer, and why were more peaceful resolutions not attempted? I have realized in my educational career that I was asking the wrong question. What I needed to ask myself was “how?” Studying abroad at the University of Oxford this past year has broadened my perspective and provoked a deeper interest in foreign policy through the courses of independent research I chose. Having the opportunity to dig deeper into the text available about past wars, conflicts, and resolutions, I believe overwhelmingly in the strength of law. While at Oxford I was committed to writing my senior thesis, in which I wrote a dissertation on the impact of globalization on India. I discovered how significant treaties, specifically the law, had in developing India and affirmed my beliefs in how our world is becoming more global and interconnected. It is to my understanding that with countries becoming more involved with one another, the necessity of international law will only be pronounced further. My sense of awareness has developed through my travels throughout Europe and my stay in Oxford. Away from comfort, I was able to learn from global matters from diverse, and often non-American, points of view. It was communication that allowed me to connect, and I believe it is this understanding that will create strong international laws.
In my years, I have accumulated a variety of experiences; as a volunteer, student, friend, and many more roles. These experiences, as well as the people I have met, are etched in my being. I am inspired by the stories of people around me, their passion and struggles. I know that positive change is possible, because I have seen it happen. My parents who came from poverty in Trinidad and Tobago, my great grandparents who were indentured servants from India, my best friend from Ethiopia who is studying pharmaceuticals in America to make medication affordable in her country, and my peer from Palestine who educates people about his country’s political issues have all overcome obstacles to reach where they are today, impacting people like me along the way. However, while the people I have met spanned generations, ethnicities, and classes, they all share a basic humanity that everybody in the world possess, regardless of categories. I realized the significance of language barriers, citizenship, and religions melt away and that I do have the ability and the burning passion to help people around the world. I choose to pursue law because I see the endless possibilities and its potential to make the world we live in a better place for all of us. I hope to one day help write international laws and treaties that incorporate American ideals of fairness and justice. My education and experiences have prepared me to endeavor on this journey, and a legal education at BLANK LAW will further aid me in achieving these goals. I can think of no greater service than to fight for those for whom no one will fight.

Thank you so much in advanced if you can help me or give me any words of advice
Last edited by dprincess on Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Reallly in need of critiquing

Postby purplechowder » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:27 am

Here's my take:

1) Your first opening is WAY better than your second. Finding yourself in a bad part in Paris doesn't really tell me anything great about you, especially because you didn't do anything special to get yourself out of the situation.

2) It's a bit too resume-ish. It sounds like you have a wealth of experiences to draw from - Congressional internship, multinational non-traditional background, veteran father, campus volunteering, study abroad at Oxford (I'm almost jealous) - but you don't really go deep enough into what you learned from any of these and how they made you want to study law. Pick two or three at the most and figure out a theme that can connect them together and to international law.

3) Some of your sentences are just too vague and fluffy. I'm sorry but I couldn't help rolling my eyes at lines like "I believe overwhelmingly in the strength of law" and "they all share a basic humanity that everybody in the world possess, regardless of categories" and "I choose to pursue law because I see the endless possibilities and its potential to make the world we live in a better place for all of us." I think you just need to get more specific. How exactly will you as a lawyer make the world a better place? The I-will-use-law-to-save-the-world argument is comes up A LOT so if you're going to take that route, you need to distinguish yourself with details and specifics.

4) Don't use the word "endeavor" in your second-to-last sentence. It's *really* overused and adcomms hate it. Maybe 'persevere'?

Take my comments with a grain of salt, of course. But I think you have a lot to work with here. Just refocus and get more specific. Hope this helps! :)

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Re: Reallly in need of critiquing

Postby dprincess » Sat Jan 08, 2011 5:04 am

thanks for the advice!

I was trying to go with the theme of personal development, but I guess I went a little too broad and too vague.

I'll rework and repost, but any other criticism is appreciated!

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Re: Reallly in need of critiquing

Postby LSATclincher » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:37 pm

I definitely felt you conveyed passion in the PS. But it seemed disorganized like you said. I'd offer up a radical changed outline:

Para 1 is too political. Stay away from the issue of immigration. Though, I like your idea of opening with a nice anecdote from your internship experience. I'm sure you can find something a bit more general, but still powerful. Then, create a clever transition to your up-ringing.

Para 2 should be one para one your background/culture. Transition into how your family built you and inspired you to volunteer.

Para 3 should be about all volunteer work. You have a bunch. Focus on what you accomplished, and what skills you built. Eliminate your study abroad experience. It's not a differentiator.

Transition into how your volunteer experience translated into a "real world" Congressional internship. This format might seem odd since your reverting "back" back to para 1. It will work out fine.

Para 4 should be all about the internship. Focus on what you accomplished and the skills developed. Tell how this matured you.

Para 5 summarize your foundation. all of the characteristics you built and the fact that you believe you bring a lot to the world in general. Forget trying to save the world. And even forget mentioning why law or "x" law school.

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