Revised draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
DarkPhantom
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Revised draft

Postby DarkPhantom » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:06 pm

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Last edited by DarkPhantom on Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:25 pm, edited 9 times in total.

flepper
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Re: How's the intro?

Postby flepper » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:23 pm

I'm going to post awkward senteces you should revise, since I don't have much time:


- The apathetic lifestyle of the city hasn’t changed much, not where I grew up anyways.

Not sure what an apathetic lifestyle is. Plus, the second clause is a fragment. Use a dash, or rephrase.

- However, regardless of the years between visits

There's got to be a better, more direct way to rephrase this.

- the infrastructure is quite lacking

Weak statement, make stronger

- live a better life

same - very generic, weak.

- During my years as a teen, I had the good fortune of visiting my relatives back home

Weird transition, especially after the rough picture you painted before. It's also abrupt, and not obvious what you're getting at until you read the rest of the paragraph. I'd simply state what's going on now that you've intrigued the reader - "This is Pakistan during my annual visit to see my relatives," basically.

OK start, though - the setting is a great mental picture. Just start tightening it up.

DarkPhantom
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Re: How's the intro?

Postby DarkPhantom » Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:42 pm

Roger that, appreciate the commentary. Will post with revised intro plus some body

sparty99
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Re: How's the intro?

Postby sparty99 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:55 am

This is a horrible read.

Quit trying to be the next Jane Austen. This isn't fictional writing 101.

"a buss filled with countrymen passed by", "bumpily" - what the hell does that mean? "A woman clamping her barely clothed child..." , "Spewing liquid and waste....", "From the cracked walls," "breathe a long sigh of sympathy," "the apathetic lifestyle...", "guarded by twin sentry guards holding Kalashikovs" - what the hell is a kalashikovs?! "minarets loomed over" - what the hell is a minaret?!

"these people did not have the opportunity to know what a good education meant" - WHAT?!

You need to come correct. You have a college degree and are applying to a professional program. You need to use simple and succinct language. Your flowery prose gets you no where. Keep it simple.

DarkPhantom
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Re: How's the intro?

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:58 am

I know it was a bit over the top with imagery, but isn't the goal to allow the reader to get in your head, and see what direction you're coming from?

I'll tone it down because I too think it is a bit too "fluffy." However, I won't be using that type of language throughout the PS...it was just an attention grabber. Thanks though, it's always good to get different perspectives.

p.s. what makes you think this is fictional? this is a very vivid picture of my visit...

sparty99
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Re: How's the intro?

Postby sparty99 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:09 am

The goal is to write a statement that will help you get into law school. Your flowery description does quite the opposite.

The only direction that I sensed was that you are claiming "they don't know what a good education meant," but yet, I wondered if you know what one means as well. If you're going to make such a statement, you better be damn sure your essay is a smooth read.

You need to keep it simple. I'm not sure why a lot of people on this board post such descriptive essays, filled with imagery. If someone told you that's what makes a good statement, it is not. Can it make your statement good? Yes. Did I get that sense with your statement? No.

I don't think it's fictional. I think you try to write as if you were a fictional writer. Don't try to be something you aren't. Just keep it simple. Tell your story. You don't need to impress the reader with imagery and words you would never use in public. I think if you remember this, then you will start to craft a stronger essay.

DarkPhantom
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Re: How's the intro?

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:32 am

Thanks, that helps alot.

One thing I've heard is to NOT regurgitate the resume, right?

dakatz
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Re: How's the intro?

Postby dakatz » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:37 am

DarkPhantom wrote:So i'm writing...rewriting, again...I've trashed 2 attempts thus far, trying again - let me know how this intro feels?

June, 2004, a bus cram filled with countrymen passed by, leaving a trail of dust as it bumpily made its way across a stretch of dirt. Across the street, a woman clamping her barely clothed child lodged a bag full of trash, spewing liquid and waste onto the makeshift sidewalk. Watching silently from the cracked walls of my uncle’s second floor balcony, I tried to breathe a long sigh of sympathy, trying not to choke on the exhaust fumes from Karachi’s dense traffic.Not much has changed since I moved.The apathetic lifestyle of the city hasn’t changed much, not where I grew up anyways. I looked across the skyline; minarets loomed over the tall walls of apartment divisions, guarded by twin sentry guards holding Kalashnikovs. My family had moved to give me a better education, a future; these people did not have the opportunity to know what a good education meant.
During my years as a teen, I had the good fortune of visiting my relatives back home. However, regardless of the years between visits, nothing ever seemed to change. Even though Karachi is one of Pakistan’s largest cities, the infrastructure is quite lacking. Corruption seems to overcast all the triumphs of those willing to change for the better. As an aspiring economist, I had to figure out a way to help my family and my community live a better life; a life where education was in sight.

Maybe I need to assimilate the first and second paragraphs? what i'll be adding:

my wanting to help those in need (referencing intro, then adding my experiences in teaching, tutoring...)
my experiences working with my father allowing me insight to the legal profession, (reading contracts,leases,etc)

Still a ways to go, but I think I should have something concrete tonight or tomorrow for sure.

Thanks in advanced!


--Cram filled? You can definitely think of a better way to phrase it than that.

--I know someone else mentioned it, but "bumpily" has to go.

--"..lodged a bag full of trash" - I don't even know what that means. Lodged?

--I don't know what the apathetic lifestyle of the city is. I sort of have a feeling about what you are hinting at, but it isnt clear

--The word "anyways" comes off as too informal

--Someone else mentioned this one as well, but "not where I grew up" is a fragment. Your writing style is too disjointed with all the unnecessary commas and semicolons that kill the flow. You should try and get some more flowing sentences and structure in there. Pretty much every sentence is chopped into pieces with those semicolons and commas.

--"Guarded by twin sentry guards" - I know they are used in different parts of speech, but it sounds weird to use the word "guard" twice in such close proximity

--"There people did not know what a good education meant" - Again, I know what you mean, but you need to be more clear. You can definitely think of a better way to say this

--You are far too wordy in your phrasing. Half the phrases in here can be more concise, and it would give the whole thing a better flow. For example "during my years as a teen" can easily become "As a teenager, I had...". Don't be too wordy when you don't have to. Choose your words carefully.

-"regardless of the years between visits" - This is a mid-sentence parenthetical (when you block off a chunk of a sentence with commas and stick it into what would otherwise be a flowing sentence). By just putting this part of the sentence last, you avoid the need to kill the flow (Ex. "However, nothing ever seemed to change regardless of the years between visits)

--"all those willing to change for the better" - Wait, so you are referring to people who themselves change for the better? Or did you mean to refer to those who try and create change for the better in the city? If you mean the latter, you need to rephrase


Before I conclude, I'd like to point out the positives. You can certainly craft an interesting PS out of this set up. You obviously paint a pretty vivid picture of your surroundings and it sounds authentic. But your writing needs a lot of improvement. Your style is WAY too choppy and broken with the needless semicolons and commas. This was a constant problem in that it doesn't allow the reader to continue moving on without being forced to stop all the time. The phrasing is far too wordy and can easily be made more concise. And some of the word choice and structure is a bit odd and out of place. I suggest you take the same idea you have right now (as it is a good one) but rewrite this by addressing the biggest issues you get feedback on.

DarkPhantom
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Re: How's the intro?

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:44 am

lol, ok, I got it. It was too wordy and didn't flow. I'm trying to re-write it with the same ideas.

DarkPhantom
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Re: How's the intro?

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:29 am

revised with the advice from the thread...

DarkPhantom
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Re: Revised draft

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:49 pm

Good, bad? Any comments would be appreciated.

sparty99
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Re: Revised draft

Postby sparty99 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:41 pm

Honestly, this is horribly written. Did you read this to yourself? You need to. You jump around too much.

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esq
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Re: Revised draft

Postby esq » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:14 pm

DarkPhantom wrote:My visits to Pakistan involved me staying at my uncle’s apartment. It was surrounded by an impoverish environment similar to where I grew up. My family had (passive voice)moved to give me a better education and a future. When visiting, I would alwaysask why the streets are still dirt roads or why there are still security guards with weapons walking around shopping plazas. Their responseTheywould blame a corrupt government and the lack of education. The environment looked the same each visit, right down to the graffiti on the building I had growngrew up in. I had to figure out a way to help my family and community live a better life.

Life in the United States allowed me to cherish and value everything I had; (Semicolons separate two closely related complete sentences), from the simple meals at McDonalds, to the conveniently located Wal-Mart. Themajority of thepeople took these conveniences for granted. I looked back at all my visits and remembered that things people in the States take for granted like access to an education is for them a passage to a real future, not filled with waiting to be opened(so many things wrong with the structure of this sentence). During my years at college, I taught eighth graders every weekend. On my daysWhen I wasn’t working, teaching or going to school, I was helping my father with his business. Initially starting with financial work (who started with financial work, your father or you? You don't make this clear.), he soon began asking me to provide him with leases for businesses. Being unskilled in the field of contract making, I began emailing a few of his business attorneys. After much deliberation and conversations back and forth, the lawyers sparked my interest in the legal career. While all my colleagues enjoyed themselves on the weekends, I would either be working with my father reviewing contracts and leases, or teaching. It dawned on me that with a law degree,I would be able to help my community, more sothan I would be able to with just an economics degree. My quest to further my education propelled with the thought of helping others in mind(Not a very good sentence).


------------------

I see where you are trying to go with this, and it is a bit better than your first go around, but it still needs quite a bit of help. I was hesitant to comment on your first try because there were so many things wrong with it, and frankly it is hard to help someone with their PS until it is finished, but I think you need some help to get going in the right direction.

Because of the way it's written, the theme of your PS ("I want to help others") is not clear. You need to spend more time developing your story. You start by trying to outline your family's impoverished background, and then quickly jump into working with your father, and end with a statement about wanting to help others. Because you spend no time founding your altruistic claims, I have a hard time buying that you understand the needs of the community you saw in Pakistan, and your inclusion of it in your story seems rather gimmicky. You then jump into working for your father, and at this time because I don't feel a connection between you and the poor folks that you saw in Pakistan, I feel that this is further proof that you are removed from their problems - most people (even Americans) don't have fathers who give them jobs. Finally, because you have built no foundation to show how you relate to the underprivileged, your unsubstantiated claim about wanting to help others again comes off as dishonest.

I do think that this perception can be corrected. Here's what you need to do. If you are going to start out with Pakistan is impoverished, "I had to figure out a way to help my family members in Pakistanand theircommunity live a better life," then you need to show how your actions corresponded to this realization. Your next paragraph should be about the volunteer or professional work that you did to work towards this goal. Because your next paragraph is about how wonderful it is to have a Big Mac and a father who supplies you with a job, there is a logical disconnect in the theme of your PS, and your altruistic claims ring hollow. You need to help me, the reader, understand that your insights into the needs of Pakistanis are more than just a ploy to get into law school, and that you have actually though of and worked towards the kinds of solutions you think are needed (whether it's with the Pakistanis, or an organization that helps other people who face similar circumstances). You then need to show me how a legal education can help you further this goal. Maybe your experience volunteering as an middle school teacher could lend you some of the material you need here.

If you are going to go with the "I was a hard working professional" bit, then tailor your PS around this. If not, leave it in your resume, or dedicate a paragraph to how on top of all your professional work you found ways to work around it and contribute to your community - contributing to the community should be the focus though, not your professional work.

DarkPhantom
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Re: Revised draft

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:32 pm

Thank you for all the positive criticism. Will redo with more focus. Will post when it is complete.

DarkPhantom
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Re: Revised draft

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:12 pm

ok, a revised draft, more closely resembling something complete.

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esq
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Re: Revised draft

Postby esq » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:39 pm

This is much better. I will try to help you out a bit more with this as soon as I get more free time, but honestly I think that there only a few grammatical and structural errors that need to be corrected. Good job with this one.

DarkPhantom
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Re: Revised draft

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:55 pm

Thanks, I took out the fluff and honed in on just writing as if talking to someone. That really helps. will post up the final revision soon.

DarkPhantom
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Re: Revised draft

Postby DarkPhantom » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:51 pm

thanks for all the help!




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