Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
ducky
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Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:05 pm

I am applying to a Texas Law school. My gpa is very low a 2.5 but my lsat is quite high for the law school I am applying to, 159, Texas Tech Law school. So I really need my personal statement to be very strong. Please let me know if this is an excellent personal statment and if it is not in what ways can I make it a strong personal statement. I need brutally honest critique. I have a lot of experience in a lot of things so I can add pretty much whatever element you all feel is missing in this essay. So here it is.


My goal in becoming a lawyer is to work for an organization such as UNHCR or the Red Cross. I want to use my position as a lawyer to help people in any way I can. As a Christian I believe it is my duty to love my neighbor as myself and I believe that working in a large charitable organization will give me the best opportunity to do so. In fact, my own life was saved by large charitable organizations.
I was born in Kuwait. When I was just one and a half years old, Iraq invaded Kuwait. There were rumors of violence and poisonous gas being poured on the streets, and my parents were terrified and decided to take us three kids and flee for our lives. We fled Kuwait with nothing but our clothes because all the banks were frozen and my parents were unable to withdraw their savings.
We were at the mercy of others. But this is when God intervened using charitable organizations as a tool. United Nations HCR set up refugee camps for all the refugees who were fleeing. The Red Cross provided us with food. However, the conditions were terrible and it was no place for three young children. My youngest sister almost died one time but God miraculously saved her life. Then finally a UNHCR worker decided to give us free tickets to India, my parents’ country of origin, because my family had three very young children. If it were not for those tickets, we could have died in the refugee camps. I know that it is God who intervened in our lives that day, but he used a large macro level organization to do so. I would love to work in such an organization as a lawyer.
I took three social work classes in college, to see if social work was right for me. What I discovered was that although social workers did indeed help people, I wanted to make a much more large-scale impact on people’s lives. I feel that as a lawyer I will have the opportunity to help people receive justice, and in a large charitable organization I will have the opportunity to ensure that more people get help.
My true motivation to help people comes from my desire to serve and love God. God has been my strength all my life. Even though I was saved at a young age, I truly got close to God after coming to college. In college I faced extreme culture shock and loneliness, but in the midst of my pain I cried out to God and he intervened in mighty ways. And I have a peace and joy in my heart that I have never, ever felt before in my life. He has also worked many miracles in terms of my family’s financial situation.
Many times the only way I could help others has been through giving money. I have sponsored a little girl named Kakii from Kenya for about five years now. I also sponsor a little boy named Fredy from Honduras. I am also a member of Amnesty International. Whenever I hear about how people's rights are being violated around the world my heart breaks. When I become a lawyer I hope to do more to ensure that everyone gets justice. I have also volunteered at organizations on campus. I have volunteered with the organization Invisible Children and I have also volunteered at the Texas Boys Ranch. I truly love helping others because it gives me such a unique sense of fulfillment and joy. I hope to do whatever it takes to help others as a lawyer to both feel joy and to serve God.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:06 pm

I need this essay to be excellent, so please let me know if what ways I can make it excellent.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:12 pm

This is not a well done personal statement. The writing skills displayed are not those of a college student. The concluding paragraph introduces several new facts that are better suited for placement in the body of the text. If your college or university has a writing center, seek their assisstance.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:18 pm

Ok thank you so much! I will seek to improve this. Other than the concluding paragraph. What other things specifically needs to be addressed? Do I need to make it more emotional, more details, exactly what specific problems do I need to address?

anti-phronimos
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby anti-phronimos » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:21 pm

You're not a native speaker and that's going to make writing an excellent essay very difficult. Your writing skills are quite poor, and that's unfortunate because you probably cannot overcome that limitation. However, I see everything you need [content-wise] is already present--compelling story, experiences, etc., but I would set aside the God talk. Even though you may feel this way, unless you're a Christian and applying to Regents or Liberty, it's going to come across as detached and crazy. Talk about what you want to do, i.e. UNHCR [although, if you're really looking to help people, UNHCR is not the place to start], Red Cross [better] or something.

Make it concrete and motivated by your brain and heart, not the magic hand of fate or God. Your writing is bad, but schools don't really give a crap if you have the numbers...ah, and you don't really have them do you? Well, that's too bad.

Throw down some pathos and pray for a miracle.

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esq
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby esq » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:31 pm

If you are serious about this PS, you need to focus on more human explanations. Mentioning your Christian faith is fine, but instead of explaining what occurred, you tend to lazily use "God" as a dumping ground to get out of explaining (e.g. "But this is when God intervened using charitable organizations as a tool, My youngest sister almost died one time but God miraculously saved her life." etc.) You can believe that God intervened, but if you state it then you need to have a good description about how he/she/it did so - stick with human explanations. Also, you miss a good opportunity to talk about how your volunteer experiences have shaped you into someone who values PI. I would like to see more than a quick last minute paragraph about this in your PS.

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TommyK
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby TommyK » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:52 pm

The way this PS is framed could be better. It comes off as having the main theme of "Why God is swell".

FWIW, I agree. God does seem like a pretty swell guy.

But this doesn't present a compelling case on why you should be admitted into the law program.

My quick thoughts:
-Delete the intro. Start it off with emigrating out of Kuwait and your life as a refugee. That's powerful shit, right there.
-Transition into your deep gratitude for these charitable organizations' work. You can even talk about a feeling of being spiritually or morally called to serve in a similar organization.
-Talk about how the law school experience will help you serve in this capacity.
-cap it all off with a compelling reason why they should admit you - something beyond your desire to serve.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:37 pm

Thank you so much you'll. I appreciate it a lot!!! I am going to take everything you all said into consideration and I am definitely going to revise my paper. I am definitely going to keep the part about God, but I am going to revise based on you all's critique. I was wondering how I could keep God in my personal statement and you all gave me really good suggestions on how to do so. So thank you. I will be posting a dramatically changed essay soon, and please brutally critique that also. I can do whatever you all need help with also, thank you!!!

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TommyK
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby TommyK » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:46 pm

ducky wrote:Thank you so much you'll. I appreciate it a lot!!! I am going to take everything you all said into consideration and I am definitely going to revise my paper. I am definitely going to keep the part about God, but I am going to revise based on you all's critique. I was wondering how I could keep God in my personal statement and you all gave me really good suggestions on how to do so. So thank you. I will be posting a dramatically changed essay soon, and please brutally critique that also. I can do whatever you all need help with also, thank you!!!


Keeping God in your PS is fine. It's a more authentic reflection of who you are and what drives you. But the way you're framing it right now, it reads like, "god did this for me, and god did this for me, and god did this too", which says more about God being awesome than you being worthy of admission.

You can talk about how you've felt blessed and through your faith, you feel that you would be a strong asset to a charitable organization serving in a legal capacity. Right now it seems like a sloppily written theology school admission statement and it needs to be more on-point for law school.

Only semi-related: you sure law school is the right path for you? Lawyers can do good, but your path you have seems like it could be more easily accomplished not by law school, but just being involved in those organizations.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:51 pm

TommyK wrote:
ducky wrote:Thank you so much you'll. I appreciate it a lot!!! I am going to take everything you all said into consideration and I am definitely going to revise my paper. I am definitely going to keep the part about God, but I am going to revise based on you all's critique. I was wondering how I could keep God in my personal statement and you all gave me really good suggestions on how to do so. So thank you. I will be posting a dramatically changed essay soon, and please brutally critique that also. I can do whatever you all need help with also, thank you!!!


Keeping God in your PS is fine. It's a more authentic reflection of who you are and what drives you. But the way you're framing it right now, it reads like, "god did this for me, and god did this for me, and god did this too", which says more about God being awesome than you being worthy of admission.

You can talk about how you've felt blessed and through your faith, you feel that you would be a strong asset to a charitable organization serving in a legal capacity. Right now it seems like a sloppily written theology school admission statement and it needs to be more on-point for law school.

Only semi-related: you sure law school is the right path for you? Lawyers can do good, but your path you have seems like it could be more easily accomplished not by law school, but just being involved in those organizations.



Well I only decided law school after a loootttt of praying by a lot of people. I really feel led to do Law and I too agree that law at first glance does not seem like the best way in which I can serve and help people. However, this is more like an act of faith for me, I know that there is a purpose in me doing law. As you can tell I love Jesus a lot and I know I probably come off as crazy to a lot of people. But this is what I feel is the right thing to do and I am going to do it. I greatly appreciate your critique on how I can better incorporate my faith into my personal statement.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:55 pm

Also, I have one more question. I don't if it is best to post it here or as a new topic, so I will do both. I read somewhere that it is best to keep your personal statement to two pages double spaced. However, I am having a difficult time incorporating all I want to say in to two pages. All the schools that I want to apply to so far say that the personal statement should be three pages. I don't know if I should make it three pages or if having it that long would hurt my chances in any way.

kublaikahn
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby kublaikahn » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:04 pm

Your most important writing will be your UGPA addendum, unless you have been out of school for 10 years or so. So lets hear that story.

Although your theme is deeply concealed by your poor writing style, you could get help writing your PS from a skilled writer (you are not one) and this theme would work.


I hear Americans speak of miracles like lights turning green for them as they head to an important job interview. Usually things that can be explained logically, but seem fortuitous. On the other hand, I have heard people from the third world (India and such) express miracles that can not be explained naturally. It seems the greater your life struggles the more "involved" God becomes, at least in the perspective of those receiving the miracle. I think you should culture your PS around this idea. You have been is some tough spots in your life, and when odds seemed insurmountable, you felt the hand of God intervening. But then pivot to say, God helped through the caring hands of others, and now, guess what, I want to be those caring hands.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:12 pm

thanks!!! The UGPA addendum is it required by schools??? None of the schools I am applying to require it so I don't know whether I should attach it the personal statement?? Thank you for your critique I greatly appreciate it.

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esq
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby esq » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:12 pm

ducky wrote:Also, I have one more question. I don't if it is best to post it here or as a new topic, so I will do both. I read somewhere that it is best to keep your personal statement to two pages double spaced. However, I am having a difficult time incorporating all I want to say in to two pages. All the schools that I want to apply to so far say that the personal statement should be three pages. I don't know if I should make it three pages or if having it that long would hurt my chances in any way.

Do whatever they prefer. You are going to have to learn to be concise throughout your legal career, so however difficult it is, there really aren't any good excuses for writing more than the school requires. And since I'm commenting again, I really think that issues of religious faith should be limited in a PS. You might be OK tactfully mentioning that your Christian faith partially defines you, but you should really define yourself by something else (e.g. your volunteer work, your immigration experience, etc.) Your faith in God is a personal thing. For the most part you should leave it out of your PS and opt for a more human explanation of events and how you learned from them.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:29 pm

esq wrote:
ducky wrote:Also, I have one more question. I don't if it is best to post it here or as a new topic, so I will do both. I read somewhere that it is best to keep your personal statement to two pages double spaced. However, I am having a difficult time incorporating all I want to say in to two pages. All the schools that I want to apply to so far say that the personal statement should be three pages. I don't know if I should make it three pages or if having it that long would hurt my chances in any way.

Do whatever they prefer. You are going to have to learn to be concise throughout your legal career, so however difficult it is, there really aren't any good excuses for writing more than the school requires. And since I'm commenting again, I really think that issues of religious faith should be limited in a PS. You might be OK tactfully mentioning that your Christian faith partially defines you, but you should really define yourself by something else (e.g. your volunteer work, your immigration experience, etc.) Your faith in God is a personal thing. For the most part you should leave it out of your PS and opt for a more human explanation of events and how you learned from them.


thank you for your advice. I am going to take all the advice you all have given me and I am going to still keep God in my PS, because it is very important to me. However, I am going to do it in a more wise and tactful manner.

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Michaela
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby Michaela » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:27 pm

ducky wrote:I am applying to a Texas Law school. My gpa is very low a 2.5 but my lsat is quite high for the law school I am applying to, 159, Texas Tech Law school.


Not trying to be a dick, but LSP has you as a deny for TX Tech.

http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com

delusional
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby delusional » Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:51 pm

ducky wrote:

I was born in Kuwait. When I was just one and a half years old, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Amid the violence , there were rumors of poisonous gas being poured on the streets. The banks were frozen, and My parents were terrified. and decided to take us three kids and flee for our lives. We fled Kuwait with whatever we could carry.
We were at the mercy of others. But charitable organizations intervened to help. United Nations HCR set up refugee camps for all the refugees who were fleeingpeople in our situation. The Red Cross provided us with food. However, the conditions were terrible and it was no place for three young children. My youngest sister almost died one time but God miraculously saved her life.Eventually, a UNHCR worker decided to givegave us free tickets to India, my parents’ country of origin, because my family had three very young children. If it were not for those tickets, we could have died in the refugee camps. I know that it is God who intervened in our lives that day, but he used a large macro level organization to do sohe worked through humans who answered his call. I want to be such a person - and I want to accomplish that in the field of law.
I took three social work classes in college, to see if social work was right for me. What I discovered was that although social workers did indeed help people,Wonderful people saved my family individually; I want to impact society in broader way. I feel that as a lawyer I will have the opportunity to help people receive justice, and in a large charitable organization I will have the opportunity to ensure that more people get help.
My true motivation to help people comes from my desire to serve and love God. God has been my strength all my life. Even though I was saved at a young age, I truly got close to God after coming to college. In college I faced extreme culture shock and loneliness, but in the midst of my pain I cried out to God and he intervened in mighty ways. And I have a peace and joy in my heart that I have never, ever felt before in my life. He has also worked many miracles in terms of my family’s financial situation.
Many times the only way I could help others has been through giving money. I have sponsored a little girl named Kakii from Kenya for about five years now. I also sponsor a little boy named Fredy from Honduras. I am also a member of Amnesty International. Whenever I hear about how people's rights are being violated around the world my heart breaks. When I become a lawyer I hope to do more to ensure that everyone gets justice. I have also volunteered at organizations on campus. I have volunteered with the organization Invisible Children and I have also volunteered at the Texas Boys Ranch. I truly love helping others because it gives me such a unique sense of fulfillment and joy. I hope to do whatever it takes to help others as a lawyer to both feel joy and to serve God.
My goal in becoming a lawyer is to work for an organization such as UNHCR or the Red Cross. I want to use my position as a lawyer to help people in any way I can. As a Christian I believe it is my duty to love my neighbor as myself and I believe that working in a large charitable organization will give me the best opportunity to do so.

FTFY :)
If possible, you can work God in subtly. The paragraph about how you helped people financially can be contrasted with the way you hope to help them personally, when you have your legal credentials. The rest of the paragraph about helping people at the end is redundant.

halostarbucks
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby halostarbucks » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:04 pm

Who is applying for admission? You or God?

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:26 am

Michaela wrote:
ducky wrote:I am applying to a Texas Law school. My gpa is very low a 2.5 but my lsat is quite high for the law school I am applying to, 159, Texas Tech Law school.


Not trying to be a dick, but LSP has you as a deny for TX Tech.

http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com


Yikes that gave me a mild heart attack, but I will still apply by faith. Also the ABA booklet says that 10 people with my same or lower gpa and lsat combination got in last year. So I might still have a chance. I am still going to apply to a lot of other schools, but texas tech is my top pick. This is all the more reason why my personal statement is so important. I appreciate your honest critique, I know you were not trying to be rude. I wrote a revised personal statement and I would greatly appreciate if you could critique it. But even if you don't thank you for taking the time to go look up my chances.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:29 am

delusional wrote:
ducky wrote:

I was born in Kuwait. When I was just one and a half years old, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Amid the violence , there were rumors of poisonous gas being poured on the streets. The banks were frozen, and My parents were terrified. and decided to take us three kids and flee for our lives. We fled Kuwait with whatever we could carry.
We were at the mercy of others. But charitable organizations intervened to help. United Nations HCR set up refugee camps for all the refugees who were fleeingpeople in our situation. The Red Cross provided us with food. However, the conditions were terrible and it was no place for three young children. My youngest sister almost died one time but God miraculously saved her life.Eventually, a UNHCR worker decided to givegave us free tickets to India, my parents’ country of origin, because my family had three very young children. If it were not for those tickets, we could have died in the refugee camps. I know that it is God who intervened in our lives that day, but he used a large macro level organization to do sohe worked through humans who answered his call. I want to be such a person - and I want to accomplish that in the field of law.
I took three social work classes in college, to see if social work was right for me. What I discovered was that although social workers did indeed help people,Wonderful people saved my family individually; I want to impact society in broader way. I feel that as a lawyer I will have the opportunity to help people receive justice, and in a large charitable organization I will have the opportunity to ensure that more people get help.
My true motivation to help people comes from my desire to serve and love God. God has been my strength all my life. Even though I was saved at a young age, I truly got close to God after coming to college. In college I faced extreme culture shock and loneliness, but in the midst of my pain I cried out to God and he intervened in mighty ways. And I have a peace and joy in my heart that I have never, ever felt before in my life. He has also worked many miracles in terms of my family’s financial situation.
Many times the only way I could help others has been through giving money. I have sponsored a little girl named Kakii from Kenya for about five years now. I also sponsor a little boy named Fredy from Honduras. I am also a member of Amnesty International. Whenever I hear about how people's rights are being violated around the world my heart breaks. When I become a lawyer I hope to do more to ensure that everyone gets justice. I have also volunteered at organizations on campus. I have volunteered with the organization Invisible Children and I have also volunteered at the Texas Boys Ranch. I truly love helping others because it gives me such a unique sense of fulfillment and joy. I hope to do whatever it takes to help others as a lawyer to both feel joy and to serve God.
My goal in becoming a lawyer is to work for an organization such as UNHCR or the Red Cross. I want to use my position as a lawyer to help people in any way I can. As a Christian I believe it is my duty to love my neighbor as myself and I believe that working in a large charitable organization will give me the best opportunity to do so.

FTFY :)
If possible, you can work God in subtly. The paragraph about how you helped people financially can be contrasted with the way you hope to help them personally, when you have your legal credentials. The rest of the paragraph about helping people at the end is redundant.


Thank you for your critique, and thanks for taking all that time to cross all that out and stuff. I have wrote a revised PS and I have talked about how I can help people on a much grander scale if become a lawyer. I might incorporate your suggestion into my final draft, thank you for putting so much effort.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:31 am

halostarbucks wrote:Who is applying for admission? You or God?


lol me, but I gotta glorify Jesus anyway I can anywhere I can. I wouldn't be alive here today if it weren't for him. My ultimate goal in life is not to become a lawyer but to give glory to God any way I can. I have a revised version with only mention of God, but I might go back and change it to wisely and gracefully more mention of God into my essay.

ducky
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby ducky » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:32 am

ducky wrote:
halostarbucks wrote:Who is applying for admission? You or God?


lol me, but I gotta glorify Jesus anyway I can anywhere I can. I wouldn't be alive here today if it weren't for him. My ultimate goal in life is not to become a lawyer but to give glory to God any way I can. I have a revised version with only mention of God, but I might go back and change it to wisely and gracefully more mention of God into my essay.


please brutally edit that revised version if you ever get the chance.

Klogon
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby Klogon » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:13 pm

Quick comment after just skimming through it was that I saw a lot of "I did this, I did that, I was this, I.. I... I..." mixed it up a little.

Also, as a Christian I understand that God is a big part of who you are and shapes your life views, but there are ways you can explain WHAT that view is without blanket statements about what and who God is. You can mention it once or twice to tell us where your inspiration comes from, but I would argue that to make it the centerpiece of your personal statement would be a mistake.

For undergrad, my essay was all about my relationship-based philosophy that derived from my religion. In fact, anybody with a critical eye could clearly see my faith in the essay as I did mention it subtly once, but I did not hit them over the head with it. And I got into several top 10 schools. I know that's an undergrad example, but I'm just sharing that to say its not necessarily a mistake to mention religion in these types of admissions essays, but I think it could be done much more subtly to make the essay more about you as a person than being a testimony about how God has affected your life. Make the former the focus, not the second. There will be many opportunities in the future to glorify His name - getting into Law School and gaining meaningful employment may be the first step to get to these opportunities.

So be wise.

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canes
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Re: Please give me the most brutally honest critique possible

Postby canes » Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:35 pm

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