Constructive Criticism Please!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Constructive Criticism Please!

Postby pnt07 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:40 am

I want to have this in by this week and would greatly appreciate feedback (theme issues, flow issues, grammar problems, etc). I posted my last PS and the general consensus was that I needed to rethink my topic, so I re-wrote it and here I am again. I definitely take everyone's comments into consideration. On that note here it is...

The small wooden bookshelf sags under the weight of its burden; books of varying sizes line the thin slats. Even more books are stacked around it, cluttering the floor near the twin size bed. Some books are old, cracked spines barely holding on after years of continual stress. Others are new, recently purchased and waiting to be explored. My appetite for reading is voracious; I devour at least a book per day, often times two or three. My mother is complicit in my gluttony; we have a standing date to go to the public library, where I check out as many as thirty books at a time to tide me over until the next visit. This is how I spend my childhood, escaping into distant worlds of magic and adventure in fictional works or experiencing the triumphs and defeats of real individuals through their biographies.
My need to retreat into books was not a product of a bad outer environment. I did not have to contend with an unstable home; abuse, disease or poverty did not stain the pages of my life. My love of reading instead came as a result of inner forces. I was not naturally inclined to be socially active and instead sought the company of literary characters. At the time I had some regrets about my lack of social competency, although in hindsight I have come to appreciate the benefits that my alternative time usage bestowed upon me. It was the foundation which underlay my academic success throughout my educational career. The reading comprehension skills that I cultivated early on were central to my inclusion in the gifted program in elementary and middle schools, and my success in advanced placement classes in high school. It is the reason that I was able to place in approximately the 99th percentile on the reading portion of the PSAT’s and go on to become a National Achievement Scholar.
In high school I found a different sort of escape, shifting from the world of words to that of inner contemplation. I spent hours alone formulating hypothetical questions and situations to mull over. I pondered the connection between mind and body. I wondered whether the body is an integral part of a person or whether the mind can exist within a different body and still be considered the same person. I examined my stance on the death penalty, conjuring scenarios in which a member of my family was victimized to see if emotion would outweigh reason. I thought about the Epicurean paradox, or the problem of evil’s existence in a world which was supposedly created by an omni-benevolent God. Upon entering [X] University I came to the realization that there were entire disciplines devoted to the questions that I had raised. The topics of my philosophical inquiries in high school soon became the focus of my degree.
I decided early on in my college career to minor in Religion. Although I find the study of religions to be fascinating and have devoted more time to reflecting on religious matters than any other, I did not want to have religion be my academic primary focus. I felt that the types of religious questions to which I sought answers were better suited to personal contemplation rather than to scholastic analysis. Also, though I would not mind becoming more versed in religious issues just for the sake of knowledge, I did not want to go into a religiously based career. As that was the case, I felt that it would be prudent to take courses on the subject as my schedule would permit, while concentrating of other subjects.
I soon fixed my attention on the study of Criminology. I had long been fascinated with criminals, specifically in learning about their internal and external motivating factors. Criminology afforded me the opportunity to study these factors and also the mechanisms that our society has in place to deal with these individuals. With the decision to study Criminology complete my next course of action was to join Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminology honor society, and Lambda Alpha Epsilon, the Criminology fraternity. As secretary of the fledgling honor society I gained leadership experience while planning various community service events. My membership in Lambda Alpha Epsilon gave me the opportunity to network with like minded individuals within my desired field. Although it remains true that I am not the most socially gregarious individual, with time I came to recognize the necessity and advantages of such interactions. My involvement with the study of Criminology and with both organizations reinforced my desire to work in the criminal justice field in some capacity. However, as I did not yet know what capacity that should be, I decided to keep my mind open to different prospects.
Following the urgings of one of my ethics professors I contemplated a degree in Philosophy. Though I initially found Philosophy classes intellectually stimulating I was hesitant to select it as a major due to a perceived lack of employment options. After a good deal time spent researching I came across information about Philosophy majors and law school. Specifically, the field of criminal law piqued my interest. Criminal law would give me an opportunity to blend both areas of my interest. I would be able to use the logic based skill set I developed as a Philosophy major, and see the theories that I learned as a Criminology major in action. With the goal of law school in mind, I made the decision to double major in Criminology and Philosophy and minor in Religion.
Once I set the objective of law school to mind I immediately began preparations. I started by searching for schools with a strong criminal law program. Another important feature that I looked for was whether there were clinics in both criminal prosecution and defense. Although I know that I want to go into criminal law I am not yet sure which role I will someday fill. Therefore, I want to leave the option open to gain experience in either position.
The small wooden bookshelf sags under the weight of its burden. Books of varying sizes, which fostered academic excellence in an introverted young girl, line the thin slats. This foundation followed me to high school, where I passed the time contemplating ideas which I would later study in depth. Upon entering [X] University I had little idea of what career path I should follow. By focusing on my interests I was able to come up with a course of study that both fulfilled my desire for knowledge and set me on the path to law school. The past four years of college has been spent nurturing my intellectual and career based interest in Criminology and Philosophy. Once my primary goal of admittance to law school has been achieved I hope to accomplish my secondary goal, participation in a criminal law clinic. I wish to utilize the opportunity that a clinic affords to gain real life experience while still under the purview of an academically sanctioned situation.

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Re: Constructive Criticism Please!

Postby esq » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:23 pm

I forced myself to read through it, but I have to say that this PS seems to be guarded. Sure, I understand that you've liked to read since childhood, were good at school, and the rational reasons behind your choice to study criminology, but I think that this PS still only scratches the surface of who you are. Certainly there are more personal experiences in your life that would give an adcomm a better window into seeing who you are. As is, this PS is very dull, and feels too calculated. I think that you need to find a defining moment in your life that you can share, and steer away from adulating your childhood (when you congratulated yourself for reading a book a day I wasn't initially thinking children's books). Because of the esteem you hold for your early development you raise expectations. I find myself a bit disappointed when I read about someone who ultimately gets a BS, and serves as secretary for a honors society, when I was expecting the works of a literary genius.

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Re: Constructive Criticism Please!

Postby LSATclincher » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:32 pm

This needs a re-write. All we learn about you is that you seem smart, but perhaps a bit isolated. Your transcripts and LSAT score are proof of your intellect. Now you need to tell a story about how you're more than just books.

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Re: Constructive Criticism Please!

Postby Master Tofu » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:58 am

It was hard for me to stay interested... I think I stopped reading after the first paragraph. You need to find a way to make this more engaging. Your PS doesn't have to be your life story.

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Re: Constructive Criticism Please!

Postby StillHerexxx » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:27 am

I struggled to read the intro without wanting to be finished. It seemed like you are simply trying to tell the adcomms how much of an intellectual you are. Unfortunately, law school isn't a big intellectual gathering, it is a hell of a lot more practical. Explaining how intellectual you believe you are might be very off putting. Especially, as others noted, with how you seem very isolated in it.

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Re: Constructive Criticism Please!

Postby pnt07 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:57 pm

thanks for the comments, i'll take what you all had to say into considerations as i continue to edit/work on my PS.

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