PS First Draft - Pls Critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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ConTiger
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PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby ConTiger » Tue May 17, 2011 1:30 pm

Deleted and starting over....Thank you for all who helped
Last edited by ConTiger on Tue May 17, 2011 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 17, 2011 1:45 pm

Too long, too detailed & too boring. On the positive side, however, your theme is clear & consistent.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Tue May 17, 2011 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BlueDiamond
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby BlueDiamond » Tue May 17, 2011 1:46 pm

dont start with a quote

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ConTiger
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby ConTiger » Tue May 17, 2011 1:55 pm

Thank you for your replies so far...It is long, no doubt about that.

So possibly a condensed version, not beginning with a quote? Or does the whole story suck as a whole? Trying to use my work experience to my advantage here...

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 17, 2011 2:03 pm

Unfortunately, the repeated use of "XXXXXX" is distracting & a touch confusing. The best part of your essay was xxxxxx, whereas you need to revise xxxxxx.

BlueDiamond
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby BlueDiamond » Tue May 17, 2011 2:07 pm

well.. i didnt read it all.. and honestly CanadianWolf is much better at this than I am (in fact he helped me edit my PS when i wrote it)

but as an example, this entire paragraph fails to say a single thing about you and why you will do well in law school:

"The office was clean and organized when I arrived that morning. Everyone appeared to be on their best behavior as I was introduced to the project team. However, it wasn’t much longer until the office manager provided me with the real history of the project. The job had seen delays on behalf of the Owner, the Architect, and in some part due to the mismanagement of those I replaced. The school had become fodder for several local newspapers as parents continued to criticize the School Board for making their kids eat lunch under a tent in the hot XXXXXX heat. The School Board had become embroiled in a finger pointing contest with the Architect over whose fault it was and we were caught in the middle. In the few months that the project had been underway before I got there, our company had not been paid for any work. Thus, the Subcontractors had not been paid either. We were fast approaching the next school year, with a must –meet deadline looming over our heads. The atmosphere surrounding the job could not have been any more volatile."
Last edited by BlueDiamond on Tue May 17, 2011 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wojo96
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby wojo96 » Tue May 17, 2011 2:09 pm

BlueDiamond wrote:dont start with a quote


Was the quote a prompt? It reads as if you lifted it from a personal statement template.

Retake.

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ConTiger
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby ConTiger » Tue May 17, 2011 2:14 pm

I see your point Blue Diamond. I guess I got to much into trying to tell a story...

Canadian wolf - can I Pm you a complete copy to critique?

Wojo, I'm not sure what u meant but no I did not take that from anywhere

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TommyK
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby TommyK » Tue May 17, 2011 2:17 pm

I guess I have trouble identifying what you're really trying to say.

What I'm getting so far is that:

-you have an overarching philosophy of self-reliance that several people in your life have fostered in you
-you worked hard to learn something outside of your area of expertise and impressed people with your resolve
-you're ready to do the next thing

And I guess this next thing is law school. You're coming from a compeletely unrelated field. You run the risk of coming off as directionless and using law school as an escape hatch. Not that all PS's should be "why I want to go to law school", but I think you would be better off showing me the passion to study or practice law as opposed to saying "I always wanted to go".

I don't think the PS is to the point where I can provide stylistic suggestions that would be helpful, but if you're truly committed to this format:
-I'm not a huge fan of your word choice and the sentence structure seems repetitive and dull.
-I echo the concerns of starting it with a quote, but if you change the theme, this would fix that problem as well.
-You used too when you meant to.
-The intro grates on me, beyond just the quote. I thought the asking a pretty girl out thing was weird and forced.
-You spend a lot of time building up to the challenge and not enough time talking about what you did and the effect it had on you. The PS gives you 2 pages to let the audience understand who you are. You spend so much explaining who other people are.

My suggestion would be scrap it and ask yourself this question... The PS gives me the opportunity to get 2, maybe 3 points across to my audience. What do I want them to be? What makes the most persuasive case for admitting me? Ethos, pathos, mentos, logos, mentos... choose one, or two strategies and go for it. Good luck.

BlueDiamond
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby BlueDiamond » Tue May 17, 2011 2:23 pm

"Law School has always been a goal of mine to attend."

I keep coming back I know, but I figure it all helps. This reads poorly because it isn't properly structured. Regardless, it should be taken out. Applying tells them that attending law school is your goal.

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 17, 2011 2:24 pm

"Attending law school...".

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ConTiger
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby ConTiger » Tue May 17, 2011 2:38 pm

TommyK wrote:I guess I have trouble identifying what you're really trying to say.

What I'm getting so far is that:

-you have an overarching philosophy of self-reliance that several people in your life have fostered in you
-you worked hard to learn something outside of your area of expertise and impressed people with your resolve
-you're ready to do the next thing

And I guess this next thing is law school. You're coming from a compeletely unrelated field. You run the risk of coming off as directionless and using law school as an escape hatch. Not that all PS's should be "why I want to go to law school", but I think you would be better off showing me the passion to study or practice law as opposed to saying "I always wanted to go".

I don't think the PS is to the point where I can provide stylistic suggestions that would be helpful, but if you're truly committed to this format:
-I'm not a huge fan of your word choice and the sentence structure seems repetitive and dull.
-I echo the concerns of starting it with a quote, but if you change the theme, this would fix that problem as well.
-You used too when you meant to.
-The intro grates on me, beyond just the quote. I thought the asking a pretty girl out thing was weird and forced.
-You spend a lot of time building up to the challenge and not enough time talking about what you did and the effect it had on you. The PS gives you 2 pages to let the audience understand who you are. You spend so much explaining who other people are.

My suggestion would be scrap it and ask yourself this question... The PS gives me the opportunity to get 2, maybe 3 points across to my audience. What do I want them to be? What makes the most persuasive case for admitting me? Ethos, pathos, mentos, logos, mentos... choose one, or two strategies and go for it. Good luck.


Thank you Tommy...I think I'm going to take your advice and move towards a personal statement that will explain my "passion to study or practice law." It's been a long time since I've wrote something like this, so I really do appreciate all that you said. I agree with your statement, "You run the risk of coming off as directionless and using law school as an escape hatch." So perhaps writing about my passion for practicing law is the right route to take...

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Magnolia
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby Magnolia » Tue May 17, 2011 3:22 pm

“Nobody is going to make it happen but you.” I have heard these words spoken before. They were first bestowed upon me by my father, just before our soccer team competed in the State Championship match in high school. Again they were provided by a college roommate as I was trying muster up enough courage to ask the pretty girl with the blue eyes out on a date. And I would hear them again… This entire paragraph is one extended, terrible cliche. It seriously made me dread reading the rest of the essay.

Faced with the prospect of leaving my hometown and a decent job for a career nearly a thousand miles away, I turned to my father, the purveyor of great advice, for his help on this matter. I already knew I was taking the latter The latter of what? as my previous study abroad in XXXXXXX left me with a thirst for venturing out of my comfort zone, trying something new, and challenging myself in an uncertain atmosphere. If studying abroad changed your outlook on life, then tell me how and why. I don't believe that 3 months in Rome made you a different person. So moving to XXXXX I hope this is Ecquador and not California seemed aligned right with my risk-taker’s mindset. I only came to my father this time for help with convincing my mother this was the best decision for my personal and professional development. This paragraph isn't helping you. It's also cliche and somewhat immature.

At the time, XXXXX was the epitome of a boomtown in the height of the bull market before the recession, and I looked to take advantage of it. The skyline was littered with tower cranes as I made my approach into XXXXX Airport., and aAs a Construction major, beginning my first career out of college as a Project Engineer, there could be no better sight. Admittedly, I was anxious and excited to begin building, but was eager to learn. My previous internships in college were with a road construction company in XXXXX. I could get that from your resume. All that experience, while valuable, could not entirely prepare me for employment in a vertical construction market. So I knew the only way to learn was to get in, question everything, and pick the brains of my experienced superiors. But I bounced around a few projects with minimal direction my first 6 months while they tried to find a project I could call home. Seemed everything was completely staffed, and I was becoming more and more anxious to begin. And then, Cut because it's uncessary and doesn't reflect well on you. They finally assigned me to a project at XXXXXXX. XXXXXX was my first real, and most challenging, project from a lot of perspectives. On the surface, it was a $14-million, two-story cafeteria project that had been underway for about five months prior to my arrival. But I soon came to find that there was more than meets the eye.

The office was clean and organized when I arrived that morning. Everyone appeared to be on their best behavior as I was introduced to the project team. However, it wasn’t much longer until the office manager provided me with the real history of the project. The job had seen delays on behalf of the Owner, the Architect, and in some part due to the mismanagement of those I replaced. The school had become fodder for several local newspapers as parents continued to criticize the School Board for making their kids eat lunch under a tent in the hot XXXXXX heat. The School Board had become embroiled in a finger pointing contest with the Architect over whose fault it was and we were caught in the middle. In the few months that the project had been underway before I got there, our company had not been paid for any work. Thus, the Subcontractors had not been paid either. We were fast approaching the next school year, with a must –meet deadline looming over our heads. The atmosphere surrounding the job could not have been any more volatile. Most of this is completely irrelevant. Find away to explain the deadline and the volatile atmosphere in 2 sentences or less.

I was assigned to run the build-out of the 2nd floor of the cafeteria and to oversee the Indoor Air Quality improvements on-going in a few existing buildings on-site as well. Given my relative inexperience with building construction, I was looking for any direction or assistance to find my bearings and work effectively to the task at hand. However, due to the state of the project, none was provided.This sounds whiny. Rephrase or cut. I began to struggle with the accelerated schedule and began doing work out of sequence to the displeasure of the workers. I found myself being taken advantage of by the skilled workers who recognized my inexperience and soon became engaged in daily battles with my Superintendent. Too make matters worse, the School Board then slammed the Architect with a $7-million lawsuit in the heat of the job. The project was becoming worse and worse each day, and the prospect of a long career in construction management became dimmer.

Then, I received some familiar advice in the form of a stern lecture from my Superintendent. “Nobody is going to make it happen but you.” Those familiar words of wisdom were spoken at a time when I need them most. They couldn’t be any more right. No one has the time to help me do my job. No one is going to assist me and guide me at this point. I took those words for everything they were worth. That night, I studied the floor plans, the mechanical drawings, and the system plans, and tried to extract every piece of information I needed to run my areas effectively. I re-assessed my schedule and made it more realistic with input from the trades. I became more engaged on my walkthroughs with the inspectors, and instead of just trying to pass the inspections, I tried to learn and understand how the building components came together and how the systems operated. I soon gained the respect of the subcontractors with my newfound knowledge of their professions and we began working toward a common goal.

By the end of the project, other staff members looked to me for help with the mechanical and electrical trades as well as input on the logic in their schedules. I had become known for scheduling and an understanding of complex building processes. In spite of all the difficulties we face on that job, XXXXXX was finished on-time and just under budget. But it would not be the last time I was presented with challenging obstacles in my construction management career that I had to overcome. And I know I face more to come in the future. It is up to me to make myself successful, and I am determined to do just exactly that. As William Ernest Henley wrote in Invictus, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

I am ready for the next chapter of my life. I have worked more than five years in a competitive industry in a recession-stricken area for the same company. I know what it takes, and what it means to succeed. Law School has always been a goal of mine to attend. Now that I have some real world, work experience, I know that I am more than ready to pursue my passion and achieve it. I don't understand why you want to go to law school or how those goals at all relate to the story I just read.


My basic impression of your story went something like this: you were chomping at the bit to jump into work and prove yourself, got thrown into the deep end and couldn't swim, received a motivational pep talk from your supervisor, and then pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and suceeded at your job. See, basically every sports movie ever made. I'm sure this was an extremely challenging job, but they way you're telling it makes it sound like one drawn out cliche. Other than being a hard worker, I have no sense of who you are as a person and even less sense of why you want to be a lawyer.

Overall, there are a lot of extraneous details and descriptions here. You don't need to enumerate every problem the project encountered or all of the ways that your coworkers and bosses criticized your work. Eliminate a lot of that useless material (and the quotes, the motivational pep talk, etc). Maybe use that space to explain why you want to be a lawyer and how your background relates/will help you. Or don't mention law at all. Just don't conclude your essay with a sweeping statement about law being your life-long goal without anything else in the essay to back it up.

I have absolutely no idea how the paragraph about studying abroad relates to this story or what purpose it serves.

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ConTiger
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby ConTiger » Tue May 17, 2011 3:52 pm

Thanks Magnolia for the time you spent on this. I think I'm going to start totally over. You and Tommy are exactly right. What does this have to do why I want to go to law school? Nothing. Looking back on it, it just looks terrible...I need to just put it down and move on.

Successful24
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 12:08 pm

Can anyone edit my PS please??? The cross outs are additions made based on other peoples critiques..

A friend of mine once told me, “You either know when you lost your virginity or not, there is no not knowing!” I had many things to say in response, but I decided to just listen instead.

Is it possible for a girl to not know when she lost her virginity? If I voiced my opinion, I would have said yes, it is possible. Or else what is there to be said of young girls who lie in bed at night and are awakened by a predator they should call uncle, friend, brother, father, cousin? Should we expect this young girl to refer to her first “experience” as her first time? Violated and invaded against her will, exploited for parts she did not even understand yet, forced to keep quiet or get “in trouble.” Is this a first time? No. Girls who have been entered in the prime of development, with no hips, breasts, period, or sense of self, can’t lose their virginity. In this case, virginity is stolen, not lost. Captured and trapped, secluded and observed then overcome and conquered, like a caught cocooned caterpillar turned butterfly, trapped in a pickle jar with one hole poked in the cover for air. No. Here, virginity is not something within ones control. Here, the caterpillar was not yet ready to transform into an adult in her silk cocoon. She still had time left to be naïve of the winds, sheltered in her protective shell. But she was required to shed that cocoon as a defense against her capturer. For fear of being seen as a victim she changed her outer appearance, to prove she could still control something. Yet even after being released, she’s always in some way at the mercy of who ever owned the jar. That is, unless the justice system intervenes.

Humans often do not acknowledge thoughts they are afraid of. I used to be one of these, a suppresser. Often, I would let secrets manifest within the very depths of my soul. I have long since grown from my experiences as a butterfly, a victim. I do not mean to be abrupt in this personal statement, nor do I wish to offend anyone in my acknowledgment of this growth. I can relate to the butterfly above, but I don’t mention it for sympathy. Honestly, the reason I resolved to share is because the trauma I experienced as a “caterpillar” has led me toward my interests and passion for Criminal and Juvenile Law. I have always seen Law School in my future. It seems to be the perfect way for me to delve into Juvenile Justice Policy, speak for children and their rights, affect lives and play a vital role in a system known for seeking and attaining Justice for all who deserve that much. Ultimately, I yearn to make an impact. One that is bigger than me and my trauma. The only way I can truly make such a profound and yet subtle difference would be to understand the law so that I might apply it to accomplish that impact. As a Law student, I know that I can continue my efforts toward making an impact, whether it is in a classroom during a discussion or in the world, during the clinics I look forward to partaking in.

In the mean time, I continue to acquaint myself with the law beyond my undergraduate studies, and make an impact in other forms. (In volunteering….)I volunteer, and I have taken on voluntary internships all while being a fulltime student and maintaining an admirable, well respected GPA. I also worked at a residential facility for abused and traumatized girls, aged twelve to twenty-one. Whether from the Department of Youth Services, Department of Mental Health Services, or Department of Children and Families, all of my Clients had come into contact with the Justice System at some point in their young lives. Reading the files of these Clients only told half their story. It was speaking to and forming close bonds with the girls that revealed a curious tale about the cycle of criminality and self-harming that had engulfed so many of them. I began to question things about the system and how it relates to the unfortunate events these children survived. How could our system have intervened more effectively? Sooner? How has our system helped or hurt this child? How can the law impact these Clients lives as well as the lives of children not yet in this predicament? How can I be a necessary force within the entirety of that impact? I have heard many Clients offer opinions about the answers to these questions as well as others. While doing so, I have found that an impact can be made best, in first listening to those you wish to impact.
At times, I’d wish I knew and understood the extent of the answers. I am always analyzing, considering all aspects of a question or an answer, thinking compulsively. These habits will only mature in a Law School environment, where I can not only learn how to find answers to my inquiries, but learn how to best act on my interests based on those answers.

_____Law School appeals to me because I feel it will guide me into becoming a Lawyer who never ceases to make the most effective choices and efforts in order to achieve the greatest impact on a Client, a life, a decision, a case, the law or whatever it may be. ______ Law School has a reputation for ________, and with my reputation for ________, I feel ______Law School and I will benefit from each other. With my intelligence, drive, passion, resilience capability, and sincerity I know that _____ Law School will value my presence as a student. I need to attend a Law School that is going to prepare me to be a successful, impactful lawyer. I know that _______ Law School is that place.

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Paraflam
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby Paraflam » Tue May 31, 2011 12:37 pm

Successful24 wrote:How can the law impact these Clients lives


Your apostrophe use is still wrong...

Successful24
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Re: PS First Draft - Pls Critique

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 1:16 pm

Paraflam wrote:
Successful24 wrote:How can the law impact these Clients lives


Your apostrophe use is still wrong...


By all means, I am asking for help because I want it. If the use is still wrong, please feel free to offer what is right.




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