Please be harsh - first draft!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
mich08
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:27 am

Please be harsh - first draft!

Postby mich08 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:42 am

The topic for the PS is diversity, and I added somewhat of an addendum in the last paragraph stating why I want to go to this school specifically (the admissions office recommended doing this since I'm applying late and retaking the lsat in Feb).

I may not be an underrepresented minority, but I’m certainly not the majority. My parents came to America from Greece in 1972, when a military junta ran Greece and stripped citizens of many of their civil liberties and freedoms. At the time, ordinary citizens could be surveilled for any reason, and voicing one’s opinions could lead to arrest and torture. Although my parents at first found it difficult to adjust to life in the U.S., being so far away from their traditional customs, family and friends, they were able to enjoy opportunities and advancements they wouldn’t have dreamed of in Greece under a military regime. My dad earned several master’s degrees and advanced his career at Chrysler, while my mom settled into her new community and raised her children using a fine balance of American and Greek traditions. She taught my siblings and me to speak Greek at an early age, and alongside playing with Barbies and having sleepovers with my “American” friends, I went to Greek Orthodox Church services, Greek camp, and of course, Greek language school. Growing up, I never felt fully American or fully Greek, but I think I’m pretty lucky to be able to say that. I enjoyed the best of both worlds.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been raised in a bicultural environment by hardworking, selfless parents who had to give up their existing lives in order to enjoy the rights and opportunities available in America. My parents worked hard not only to ensure we had a comfortable life in the U.S., but they also scrimped and saved all year so that we could visit Greece almost every summer. Years before my friends would spend college summers in Europe studying abroad, my parents took me overseas and we had our own study abroad sessions, visiting the ruins of Ephesus, the Acropolis in Athens, and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. I saw more archaeological ruins, monasteries, and monuments than I cared to at twelve years old. Yet even then, I knew how lucky I was. I loved my life in Michigan, but my summers abroad, visiting extended family, swimming in the Aegean, and yes, even visiting ruins, made for quite a singular childhood. In high school, I still went to Greece almost every summer, but my parents encouraged me to broaden my horizons even wider. Since I was studying French, I participated in a student exchange program with a French family one summer, and spent almost a month in Sevres, a small town outside Paris. Had my parents stayed in Greece to raise their family, it’s arguable whether I would have had the same opportunities for cultural immersion I have had as a citizen of the U.S. and a visitor to Europe.

My unique upbringing sparked my interest in other cultures, and I incorporated this interest into my undergraduate education. When it came time to choose a concentration, history was a natural choice. I could learn about places all over the world and earn credit for it! I incorporated courses that sounded most intriguing; histories we didn’t get to learn about in high school. I took classes on the Pacific Islands, Vietnam, the Ottoman Empire, heresies in Medieval Europe, European Integration, and of course, Greece.

I fit in well with the Greek community on campus, but not as a sorority member. The Hellenic Student Association was comprised of Greek, Greek American, and philhellene students on campus, and I served as its Social Chair for a year. When planning activities and social gatherings, I often collaborated with other cultural groups on campus so that our events incorporated members of the Arab and Armenian student groups, among others. Most of the students in these groups were first and second generation immigrants as well, so our dinner gatherings were a far cry from the usual undergrad get together. A melee of spoken languages could be heard reminiscing about trips taken to Greece or Lebanon the summer prior or about familial quirks.

When I interned at the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC in the summer of 2007, my favorite part of the job was working in a city where diversity of cultures was not only accepted, it was the norm. On the metro to work, it wasn’t uncommon to hear four different languages in a twenty minute time span. For dining options, one could find an Afghan restaurant, a Lebanese taverna, and a South American empanada stand in the same half mile radius. As diverse as Ann Arbor is, DC’s cultural heterogeneity blew my college town right out of the water. I loved it. The best day of work at the embassy was on May 1st, when all the embassies were open to the public for the “Around the World Embassy Tour.” It was truly magnificent to see the multitude of people that came to Embassy Row to spend their Saturday afternoons visiting so many different embassies, all of whose cultural wares were proudly on display. Although I do not myself represent a minority group, I very much value diversity in my life. As an admitted student to XX College of Law, I will bring my unique background and experiences to the mix of students in my class.

XX has many attributes that make it a highly desirable law program. The relatively small class size is very appealing, as it will afford me the opportunity to really get to know my professors and classmates, something that wasn’t possible in most of my undergraduate career at XX. I am very also interested in the institutes XX Law offers, particularly the XX Institute for Human Rights. For students interested in supplementing their legal education with additional research and service opportunities in the human rights arena, the institute is incomparable. The military junta in Greece was a relatively minor example of human rights infringement, as the military rule lasted only seven years, and most citizens, even those who stayed in Greece, escaped unscathed. However, I still consider my parents fortunate to have left and come to a country with, at the time, greater respect for human and civil rights. They were able to build a life and raise a family with far greater advantages than would have been possible under such a strict regime. In even the smallest way I can, I want to fight to ensure that more people can enjoy the basic rights and opportunity for advancement my parents were able to find when they came to America. Additionally, I am very excited about the prospect of serving on the staff of the Human Rights Quarterly. My work experience in several editorial functions in and after college will allow me to positively contribute to the publication of international law and human rights articles while maximizing the full potential of my legal education. Lastly, the school’s location is ideal. Although I am a Michigan native, and would like to move closer to my family at some point, I now consider XX my home and have established a life here that I’d like to continue for at least the next several years. If admitted, I very much look forward to studying law at the XX.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Please be harsh - first draft!

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:47 am

I only read the first paragraph & skimmed the rest. Consider deleting the word "unique". This essay is too long, too repetitious & needs to be more concise.

mich08
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:27 am

Re: Please be harsh - first draft!

Postby mich08 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:11 pm

Thanks for your feedback. Can you be more specific on how it is repetitious? Also, the page limit is 3 double-spaced pages, so I'm not worried about the length.

I'm more concerned about the topic itself...I feel like my writing is very generic and vague and I'm not really voicing what I would bring to law school. I'm writing a concurrent statement on my work experience in publishing since undergrad and explaining why I now want a career in law...not sure if that would be more interesting/relevant. I'm trying to figure out which statement to use or whether there's a way to shorten each one and combine them.

Any thoughts?

boushi
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:06 am

Re: Please be harsh - first draft!

Postby boushi » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:15 pm

I don't have time to get too in depth, unfortunately, but I'd suggest really thinking about that first sentence. I take it that is what you want the adcoms to think by reading your PS, but I wonder if putting it there won't just pigeonhole your essay from the get-go and make them then critically weigh the following content against that claim. I think a good way to edit this particular essay (which is pretty well written) would be to just have a goal in mind of making the reader come away with that first sentence as their conclusion without explicitly saying it. I could be wrong...

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verklempt
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Re: Please be harsh - first draft!

Postby verklempt » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:18 pm

Yes, the writing is generic and vague. An adcomm is not going to be able to get through this. Can you find a topic that you care about? You don't have to provide your autobio, just find something that you feel passionate about so that you can write about it in a compelling manner.

mich08
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:27 am

Re: Please be harsh - first draft!

Postby mich08 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:40 pm

Thanks for the tips...I just started both of the essays, so I know they need a lot of work. Would you mind giving this one a quick read through (it's shorter)? I'm not sure where I'm going with it, but from what little I have, can you recommend which essay I should focus on? I don't really want to work on two at the same time, but I'm not sure which one would be a better fit for a PS.

I am a self-professed bookworm. I’ve loved reading since the first grade, where I first learned the skill through the help of my teacher and the Boxcar Children series. In the fourth grade, I lost myself in the March sisters’ world in Little Women, and in middle school, I powered through the arduous but satisfying Les Miserables. In college, I chose to triple major in three reading-heavy concentrations: History, English, and Modern Greek. A career in book publishing upon graduation was a natural choice.
Fast forward two and a half years. After two successive positions at XX, one of the nation’s leading educational publishers, I have done very little work involving actual books. The work has mainly involved project management and sales support, and the company’s executives nurture a culture of high sales performance over quality text development. Needless to say, I do most of my reading outside of work.
One of my current duties as a client manager/solutions specialist is to check with our rights and permissions department whenever an account requests a book in electronic format. The department and I are responsible for ensuring that nothing that could infringe copyright law ends up in an ebook. The more recently published a book is, the greater the chance that its content doesn’t have to be removed for copyright reasons. With the growing popularity of ebooks, editors now tend to choose features and photos that have the rights and permissions to be reprinted in an electronic format, so that nothing has to be removed from the delivered ebook. Just over two years ago, when I first started with the company, the question of whether certain features of a book would make it into electronic format was rarely mentioned, if at all. The main focus of production was on hardcopy books. Editors only checked rights on a book’s pictures and captions during initial development to make sure they could be included at a low or, preferably, nonexistent royalty fee. It is amazing to me that in a period of so little time, an entire job function has been created to ensure that the rapidly growing demand for electronic media is fulfilled legally.
Although I very much enjoy the fast paced nature of my job, especially with the onset of digital media, I desire a career that isn’t as mundane as checking whether textbooks can be electronically printed in their entirety. In my two-plus years of work, I have sorely missed the intellectual stimulation I thrived on in college. There’s more to me than checking rights and supporting sales and I want a career that reflects that.
I very much look forward to studying and practicing law, as it will still be fast paced while providing intellectual stimulation, heavy reading, and critical thinking and analysis.

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Michaela
Posts: 183
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:20 am

Re: Please be harsh - first draft!

Postby Michaela » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:24 am

mich08 wrote:Thanks for the tips...I just started both of the essays, so I know they need a lot of work. Would you mind giving this one a quick read through (it's shorter)? I'm not sure where I'm going with it, but from what little I have, can you recommend which essay I should focus on? I don't really want to work on two at the same time, but I'm not sure which one would be a better fit for a PS.

I am a self-professed bookworm. I’ve loved reading since the first grade, where I first learned the skill through the help of my teacher and the Boxcar Children series. In the fourth grade, I lost myself in the March sisters’ world in Little Women, and in middle school, I powered through the arduous but satisfying Les Miserables. In college, I chose to triple major in three reading-heavy concentrations: History, English, and Modern Greek. A career in book publishing upon graduation was a natural choice.
Fast forward two and a half years. After two successive positions at XX, one of the nation’s leading educational publishers, I have done very little work involving actual books. The work has mainly involved project management and sales support, and the company’s executives nurture a culture of high sales performance over quality text development. Needless to say, I do most of my reading outside of work.
One of my current duties as a client manager/solutions specialist is to check with our rights and permissions department whenever an account requests a book in electronic format. The department and I are responsible for ensuring that nothing that could infringe copyright law ends up in an ebook. The more recently published a book is, the greater the chance that its content doesn’t have to be removed for copyright reasons. With the growing popularity of ebooks, editors now tend to choose features and photos that have the rights and permissions to be reprinted in an electronic format, so that nothing has to be removed from the delivered ebook. Just over two years ago, when I first started with the company, the question of whether certain features of a book would make it into electronic format was rarely mentioned, if at all. The main focus of production was on hardcopy books. Editors only checked rights on a book’s pictures and captions during initial development to make sure they could be included at a low or, preferably, nonexistent royalty fee. It is amazing to me that in a period of so little time, an entire job function has been created to ensure that the rapidly growing demand for electronic media is fulfilled legally.
Although I very much enjoy the fast paced nature of my job, especially with the onset of digital media, I desire a career that isn’t as mundane as checking whether textbooks can be electronically printed in their entirety. In my two-plus years of work, I have sorely missed the intellectual stimulation I thrived on in college. There’s more to me than checking rights and supporting sales and I want a career that reflects that.
I very much look forward to studying and practicing law, as it will still be fast paced while providing intellectual stimulation, heavy reading, and critical thinking and analysis.


While I think this copyright to legal route is good, you sound too negative in discussing your current job. There is a way to say why you want to change careers without sounding like you're above the job you already have.




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