looking for critique of my personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
nava2011
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:09 am

looking for critique of my personal statement

Postby nava2011 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:32 am

so I know its on the long side but I want my personal statement to say where I come from, and where my interest in law comes from, and of course why I should be accepted. The conclusion needs major work but by far my greatest problem is cutting down the length while still getting my message across, any help would be appreciated!



As a first generation college student I have been on this journey of the unknown from day one of my schooling. With little guidance from my family, this journey has not been an easy one but it has shaped me into the person that I am today. I was raised in Orosi, a small rural farming community located in the center of California, known for its high teen pregnancy rates, gangs and the violence they generate, as well as its low-income residents. My parents both immigrated to California from Mexico in search of better jobs and thus better lives for their growing family, ending with me, the baby of thirteen. They quickly found a home in Orosi, with its high Mexican population, my parents never had to speak English except for rare occasions, in addition the area had plenty of jobs in the various nearby agricultural crops. I grew up bilingual, speaking Spanish with my parents and English with the rest of my siblings who had learned the new language in school [and were helping me prepare for when I would start]
When it came to my education, all my parents told me was that I should not follow in the footsteps of my siblings. Half of which married and sought employment after high school and the other half who let drugs take over their lives never finishing high school . Me, I was the oddball in the family, I would spend my days reading and doing my homework ignoring the problems my family had and creating my own little bubble. I would tell myself that one day I would make my parents proud and somehow erase the sorrows my brothers has caused them. I always excelled in school with one exception, public speaking.
In eighth grade I had to recite a poem in front of my class, when it was my turn, I was so afraid of all the faces staring back me; not a single word came out of my mouth until my teacher decided to make all of the class face the window so I could recite the poem. Never in my life had I been so embarrassed and it was right then and there I resolved that this would never happen to me again. I used beginning high school as a means to achieves my new goal. I quickly came across Mock Trial, a club where students receive a fictitious case that they argue, as lawyers, in front of a judge against other schools. This was a perfect opportunity for me to improve my public speaking skills, I liked the idea and ran with it. Having no prior experience with the legal system, Mock Trial was a whole new world and I wanted to live and breathe it. I was learning how to talk and behave like a judge, I felt as if there were strings attached to me, strings directing my actions. The strings were my coaches, directing my every move. It was the first time that someone expected more of me than just the bare minimum, my coaches believed in me and I trusted that they knew I could succeed. I was dedicated to my work and spent hours upon hours drafting my examinations and memorizing the Midlands Civil Code all in preparation for competition day.
During my first trial, I was surprised at the strength and courage that I brought out of myself. No one was there to guide me anymore—the strings had been cut and I no longer needed to rely on anyone else. I scored high marks from all the judges but, above all, I accomplished my goal and overcame my fear of public speaking. Mock Trial brought out qualities I had been trying to find within myself. The end result was rewarding and I knew then this was where I belonged.
With this newly gained confidence, I graduated with honors from high school and went onto to attend UCSB which turned out to be a tremendous difference from my past schooling. Here I learned what it really meant to be a Mexican and why everyone was so shocked when I would tell them I am the youngest of thirteen. Someone from my background was not supposed to go to college because statistics showed that this was highly unlikely however, I am not a statistic, a mere number, and I was determined to demonstrate this to others. I never saw myself as a small fish in a big pond, in my eyes we were equals pursuing our degrees—at least this is what I believed at first.
As the weeks went by I realized that we are all equals but we do not all share similar [educational backgrounds] . I was taking the easiest math course and struggling to do my homework because my professor expected me to have a calculus background, one which I had not had due to the lack of interest in Math at my high school. Nonetheless I was determined to finish the course and pushed forward keeping in mind that, “one is not finished when one loses or fails, one is finished when one quits”, and I have never been a quitter. I adapted to the situation and now as I look back at my four years of college I can proudly say that I have accomplished great things.
I continued my involvement with the legal community through Mock Trial and by becoming a member of Phi Alpha Delta, our university’s pre-law fraternity. I learned how to speak two additional languages and studied abroad to enhance my language skills. Through my participation in an immersion program in Brazil I was able to study my greatest interest International Relations, with Brazilian students in their maternal language. My experiences in Brazil were so enriching, persuading me to pick up another language, French, and now my journey has brought me to France where I am currently studying Politics and French language. Sitting here at my desk in Bordeaux, has made me realize all of the opportunities that I have had thus far and the hurtles that I crossed to get here. Growing up, never in my wildest dream did I think I would be able to study abroad in another country, much less two, because my parents could not afford it. Yet, here I am. Since day one of Mock Trial I knew that law school would be a part of my future. I have never wanted anything more in my life and I am determined to accomplish this goal, just like every other goal that I have set for myself. My future is becoming my present and I am ready to continue into the final stage of becoming a lawyer.

kublaikahn
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:47 am

Re: looking for critique of my personal statement

Postby kublaikahn » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:22 pm

As a first generation college student growing up in the rural farming community of Orosi, California, known for high teen pregnancy, gang violence, and poverty, I have always stood out. My intrepid educational journey has been difficult but has shaped me into the person that I am today. My parents immigrated to California from Mexico in search of better jobs and better lives for my siblings and me, the last of thirteen. In Orosi, with a predominantly Latino population, my parents rarely had to speak English and Spanish became the core language in our home. Speaking Spanish with my parents, I only learned English in school.

My hard-working parents, placing little emphasis on education, only instructed me that I should not follow in the footsteps of my siblings, half of whom married or had babies soon after high school and half of whom turned to drugs and crime rather than finishing secondary school. Like in my community as a whole, I was also an oddity in my family, reading and doing my homework while ignoring the turmoil in my home and community. I would motivate myself with the belief that my academic success could placate the pain my parents bore from my brothers’ struggles. School was my insulated bubble from the problems around me and my grateful contribution to my parents for working so hard on my behalf. I always excelled with one exception—public speaking.

In eighth grade, when it was my turn to recite my poem, I was so paralyzed by all the faces staring back me; not a single word came out. My teacher, in a caring attempt to help, made all of the class face the window while I spoke. Humiliated, I resolved that this would never happen to me again. Entering high school, I found Mock Trial, a perfect opportunity for me to improve my public speaking skills…..


Here's a start. Keep it concise and clean. Use the active voice. cut out redundant and superflous words.

LSATclincher
Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: looking for critique of my personal statement

Postby LSATclincher » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:28 pm

It's too long because you tell your entire life story. Mention your background, then get into college and beyond. All grade school and high school stuff is irrelevant now unless you accomplished some sort of incredible feat.

Also, eliminate all "mock trial" stuff. When I first read a PS on here, I was very intrigued by the experience. After reading 100+ PS's, the mock trial stuff is too common for a PS. Keep it in the resume and save the PS to share an original depiction of who you are.

nava2011
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:09 am

Re: looking for critique of my personal statement

Postby nava2011 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:13 pm

thanks, I really appreciate it the feedback. I'll try to change the focal point of my essay

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aguaman13
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:57 am

Re: looking for critique of my personal statement

Postby aguaman13 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:00 pm

I suggest you use a statement of diversity to discuss your background, keep the P.S. more focused on your abilities, motivation, etc..I initially tried to cram my ethnic background into the P.S. and it ended up cluttered. Most schools accept statements of diversity. Take advantage of that.

I would also recommend that you spend more time discussing your strengths. As a fellow Latino, I know you are a very motivated and bright person to have risen from your background to the position you are in today. However, I shouldn't have to rely on my ethnic background to figure that out. This is your chance to sell yourself. Do it,

grownmoxy
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:08 pm

Re: looking for critique of my personal statement

Postby grownmoxy » Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:32 am

I agree with the rest of the replies, leave the mock trial stuff out and focus on other strengths that you have! Also use the active voice. Have a professor or an attorney proof it for you, that really helped me out!

nava2011
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:09 am

Re: looking for critique of my personal statement

Postby nava2011 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:32 am

do you think I should completely leave the mock trial stuff, I want to bring it up because it helped build my character and not so much for the law aspect, I'm thinking of cutting out the law aspect and showing instead how it helped me grow as a person and later succeed in college

HopefulFish
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:27 pm

Re: looking for critique of my personal statement

Postby HopefulFish » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:30 pm

kublaikahn wrote:
As a first generation college student growing up in the rural farming community of Orosi, California, known for high teen pregnancy, gang violence, and poverty, I have always stood out. My intrepid educational journey has been difficult but has shaped me into the person that I am today. My parents immigrated to California from Mexico in search of better jobs and better lives for my siblings and me, the last of thirteen. In Orosi, with a predominantly Latino population, my parents rarely had to speak English and Spanish became the core language in our home. Speaking Spanish with my parents, I only learned English in school.

My hard-working parents, placing little emphasis on education, only instructed me that I should not follow in the footsteps of my siblings, half of whom married or had babies soon after high school and half of whom turned to drugs and crime rather than finishing secondary school. Like in my community as a whole, I was also an oddity in my family, reading and doing my homework while ignoring the turmoil in my home and community. I would motivate myself with the belief that my academic success could placate the pain my parents bore from my brothers’ struggles. School was my insulated bubble from the problems around me and my grateful contribution to my parents for working so hard on my behalf. I always excelled with one exception—public speaking.

In eighth grade, when it was my turn to recite my poem, I was so paralyzed by all the faces staring back me; not a single word came out. My teacher, in a caring attempt to help, made all of the class face the window while I spoke. Humiliated, I resolved that this would never happen to me again. Entering high school, I found Mock Trial, a perfect opportunity for me to improve my public speaking skills…..


Here's a start. Keep it concise and clean. Use the active voice. cut out redundant and superflous words.redundancy


You have grammatical problems from the get go. Get rid of unecessary helping verbs. If you want to stand out in your immigrant experience, you need to demonstrate not just that your first to go to college is important, but some kind of a resolution as to why that's important. FYI immigrant experience and helping out parents are very common in PS.

HopefulFish
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:27 pm

Re: looking for critique of my personal statement

Postby HopefulFish » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:38 pm

nava2011 wrote:do you think I should completely leave the mock trial stuff, I want to bring it up because it helped build my character and not so much for the law aspect, I'm thinking of cutting out the law aspect and showing instead how it helped me grow as a person and later succeed in college


DO NOT throw away the mock trial stuff. That is very important in your essay.

However, do condense the first two paragraphs, perhaps into 1. Your background and what unfortunate background you perceive yourself to have been born in should not take 2 full paragraphs.

Showing character is very important. Demonstrating what you've done with the little you had is better than showing what you think you can do in the future.

Overall, there are grammatical issues and awkward sentence structures that need to be addressed. This is definitely not a "Wow" experience, but after some make-over, it will be an average PS.




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