PS uber rought draft.

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
denbar
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PS uber rought draft.

Postby denbar » Wed May 18, 2011 7:39 am

Hey all... just looking for some imput is all. Is it just me, or am I trying to take too much advice and employ too many strategies from what I read in the TLS book?
__________________________________________________

To begin where the Italian rhetorician Giambattista Vico once ended a chapter in his treatise entitled, On the Study Methods of Our Time:

“In conclusion: whosoever intends to devote his efforts, not to physics or mathematics, but to a political career, whether as a civil servant or as a member of the legal profession or of the judiciary, a political speaker or a pulpit orator, should not waste too much time , in his adolescence, on those subjects which are taught by abstract geometry. Let him, instead, cultivate his mind with an ingenious method; let him study topics, and defend both sides of a controversy, be it on nature, man, or politics, in a freer and brighter style of expression.”

I feel that the personal statement you are reading now will equate to one of the more intriguing narratives you will come across in your review process, if only because it has been written by a formerly homeless veteran who personifies that which was detailed by the above enlightened individual.

To this very day I am uncertain as to how it all occurred, all I am sure of is it started with the desire to just give up and go for an overly long walk with just enough possessions on my back to survive. I was tired of feeling like I had no future to look forward toward, no employment prospects… no hope. I had only a G.E.D. and a few community college credits to my name at the age of thirty, and for no valid reason, I was angry at everyone and everything other than myself and my own choices. For I had, at that time, felt I had done nothing wrong. Certainly I was conscious of the fact I had done little right, in the orthodox sense, but my efforts had always been pure and well intended. I had served twice in the U.S. Army infantry, enlisting for three years at the age of seventeen and again shortly after September Eleventh. I had sought out an education in the high tech industry and had luck gaining work as a computer operator and help desk specialist for a major hospital even before having really started on my degree at a reputable institution. I had spent some time, almost two years in fact, living abroad as an English teacher in Asia. All this, and still I was seemingly unable to ‘advance’ in life.

Now, with regards to that last point, I was positive the only thing which ever really held me back was the ignorance of others (oh, what an arrogant decade my twenties were)! Having been told my whole life by teachers how much smarter I was than my fellow classmates, it must have been the lack of intellect in others which ‘kept me down’. Having been reading philosophy, theology and history since my early teens (when I finally gave up on fantasy and science fiction), why, it must be the unenlightened masses who were at fault for all of my problems. I had not made poor choices; rather, I must have been forced down this path of consummate ne’er-do-wellery because of all the obstacles others had placed in my path.

So there I was, thirty years old and living on the streets as I was too proud to continue living with my parents. Thirty years old, and for all the potential everyone had told me I possessed, I was begging for change. I had lost the motivation enough to even go for that long walk I had planned, the journey that I was so certain would have helped me find the inner peace and strength to finally get my ship righted once and for all! Then one night, having finally hitting rock bottom and abandoned all hope in the same manner Dante once informed us we should do upon our entry into Hell, I followed some of my “comrades in urban camping” to a shelter service they said had beds specifically for veterans.

It was then the journey I had been longing for began. I met a group of homeless veterans who had, through their own grass roots efforts, created a peer run action committee they had named the Madison Street Veterans Association (MSVA). The purpose of which was (and still is) to give aid, advice and a safe place to sleep for homeless veterans and is sponsored by both the V.A. and Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS). After listening to these men, their stories and goals, their desire to change the lives of others even if they were past the point of changing their own… I cried. It was then, and only then, I realized how horrid of a person I had been; how absolutely selfish and arrogant I had always been toward others. In a few moments I came to realize it was no one’s fault other than my own that I was living on the streets, and though I of course knew that at the time (recall how I had just walked away from everything), it was only that night I saw the big picture and interconnectivity of it all.

During my time in the shelter program, I started to find some direction. It took some time, years in fact, to put my life in order. I tried community college again with the hope of becoming a social worker, and found myself filled with the same arrogance toward those who were there only to help me learn and grow. I tried working ‘dead end’ jobs and found myself quitting time and time again. I tried getting involved in sales and marketing, only to find myself hating the ethical compromises such a career often requires. Finally, right around my thirty-third birthday, I decided the only thing a man such as myself might be good for in this world was a career in law, as I felt such a thing was the only way I could ever find happiness and start to give back to my family, community - and above all - those I know deserve my help more than any others… the homeless in and around Phoenix, Arizona.

Since then, I have honestly tried. I have put forth the effort required to make it to the places I have always wanted to be; to become the man I have always imaged I might. I took up classes at a real university, and though you may say what you like about Arizona State or a history degree, please understand that necessity is the mother of invention and time and geography were the two primary factors which determined my choices. My intellect, the very thing which I now see as having been my own private curse for so many years, has finally been put to good use with the hope I might continue onward and upward by actually using it to better myself with it secure in the knowledge I will be able to help others as well, as opposed to judging others from said imagined lofty heights. My LSAT score is not perfect, but I am proud of my score of___, especially considering that I am a high school dropout. My GPA too is imperfect, but my grades in university I feel reflect my level of effort post being over myself.

I admit to still being selfish and arrogant in many ways. I do long for the prestige of becoming an attorney who graduated from a top law school. I do hope to find a career in a private law firm as a trial attorney as I am certain I have some small gift for oratory. Yet do not think I am filled with the dreams and desires of a young man seeking a place in the world of legal affairs. I desire to neither live the high life in New York high rise nor become an agent to the stars in Hollywood, for I have in all honestly already lived a life filed with adventures which span continents. No, my big dream is to return to Phoenix as a prodigal son. A man my parents can finally be proud of and who can immediately start giving back to the people who have touched, taught and changed me throughout the years.

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 18, 2011 9:42 am

Too much on which to comment so I'll just offer some impressions formed after one quick read. Overall, your personal statement is interesting but it raises concerns about maturity & work ethic. Law school is three years of focused, often intense work which requires dedicated discipline. The practice of law requires maturity & compassion to recognize the needs of others. Obsessive self reflection is a luxury few productive attorneys can afford. Maybe you just have too much time & too few responsibilities, and maybe the demands & direction of law school will redirect your attention---or maybe the rigors of law school will cause you to see the failings of law students, law professors & the legal system. Regardless, your 3.85 GPA & 167 LSAT score will get you admitted to many Tier One law schools with scholarship money.

P.S. In short, you are your own worst enemy. Cleary, you have the intellectual ability to succeed in law school, but your mental framework may be self-defeating. The hope is that you are a late-bloomer in terms of finding your path & that law school & the practice of law will offer a satisfactory degree of self respect that enables you to realize your potential while employing your talents.

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loblaw
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby loblaw » Wed May 18, 2011 10:17 am

I like your writing style, and I think you're on your way to a really unique PS. I don't have time to do a line-by-line, but:

denbar wrote: My intellect, the very thing which I now see as having been my own private curse for so many years, has finally been put to good use with the hope I might continue onward and upward by actually using it to better myself with it secure in the knowledge I will be able to help others as well, as opposed to judging others from said imagined lofty heights.


I wouldn't write this. You begin by assessing your supreme intellect you "now see" as a source of your turmoil. You were in a bad situation despite your intellect because of your attitude and arrogance. You hit on this earlier, but lose me with statements like this and similar ones in the final paragraph.

Also, do not apologize for your undergrad institution or your degree. That also makes you seem arrogant. I'm reading, "I was too smart to go there, but it was my only option." Also, don't apologize for your GPA...it's next to perfect. Why would write that? Plus, you should know there are many history degrees in law school. This whole paragraph could easily rub a reader the wrong way.

Also, you say you want a career in law to help the homeless in Arizona, but you also say you want to be a trial attorney at a private firm. Where's the connection?

denbar wrote:my big dream is to return to Phoenix as a prodigal son


^ I wouldn't go there.

As poster above said, your stats will get you into some good schools. You have some time to put some good work into this statement. Cool story (actually), and good luck!

denbar
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby denbar » Wed May 18, 2011 10:25 am

Thank you for the input thus far! It's one thing to tell a story... another to come off as a jackhole in the process. The very things the second replier touched on were some of the very things in which I knew I was "pushing it".

Like I said.... uber rough draft. That's what I get for writing this out at 3AM with no outline. Good to know I am moving in the right direction, though.

Also, if there is anyone who might wish to critique my 250, please PM me as I just finished that up.

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memphisbelle
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby memphisbelle » Wed May 18, 2011 11:33 am

You write very well. I think that the other posters comments reflect the majority of the issue with your PS. While I fully understand your point regarding your intellect and the feeling of arrogance that comes with that, I think the lower half of the statement brings back the overtone of self aggrandizement that you claim to have overcome. It might be improved by toning down some of the phrasing such as 'prodigal son' and also expanding on how you were humbled by the other veterans' experiences.

I think this is an excellent start and I like the idea. I wish you the best of luck. :)

MB

weejonbu
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby weejonbu » Wed May 18, 2011 11:49 am

denbar wrote:Also, if there is anyone who might wish to critique my 250, please PM me as I just finished that up.


Are you URM? If not, with a 167/3.85, I'm afraid you don't have much of a shot at Yale. Just sayin...

bmore
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby bmore » Wed May 18, 2011 12:03 pm

To begin where the Italian rhetorician Giambattista Vico once ended a chapter in his treatise entitled, On the Study Methods of Our Time:

“In conclusion: whosoever intends to devote his efforts, not to physics or mathematics, but to a political career, whether as a civil servant or as a member of the legal profession or of the judiciary, a political speaker or a pulpit orator, should not waste too much time , in his adolescence, on those subjects which are taught by abstract geometry. Let him, instead, cultivate his mind with an ingenious method; let him study topics, and defend both sides of a controversy, be it on nature, man, or politics, in a freer and brighter style of expression.”

I feel that the personal statement you are reading now will equate to one of the more intriguing narratives you will come across in your review process, if only because it has been written by a formerly homeless veteran who personifies that which was detailed by the above enlightened individual.

I didn't get too far. Don't tell them what they will think. Let them come to their own conclusions. Don't start with a quote.

denbar
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby denbar » Wed May 18, 2011 12:20 pm

weejonbu wrote:
denbar wrote:Also, if there is anyone who might wish to critique my 250, please PM me as I just finished that up.


Are you URM? If not, with a 167/3.85, I'm afraid you don't have much of a shot at Yale. Just sayin...



Shooting for most any T10, and I have taken to heart earlier advice about an LSAT retake. I figure go for the gold, right?

Now you nickname... is that a take on Uijeongbu, SK?

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memphisbelle
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby memphisbelle » Wed May 18, 2011 5:24 pm

Go for the gold. If your numbers aren't excellent, getting into HYS is improbable. If you don't apply, it's impossible.

That's what I'm going with anyway. At the very least, I'll have a nice rejection letter as proof that I tried. :)

kublaikahn
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby kublaikahn » Wed May 18, 2011 5:56 pm

.

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Tanicius
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby Tanicius » Sun May 22, 2011 4:44 am

To begin where the Italian rhetorician Giambattista Vico once ended a chapter in his treatise entitled, On the Study Methods of Our Time:

“In conclusion: whosoever intends to devote his efforts, not to physics or mathematics, but to a political career, whether as a civil servant or as a member of the legal profession or of the judiciary, a political speaker or a pulpit orator, should not waste too much time , in his adolescence, on those subjects which are taught by abstract geometry. Let him, instead, cultivate his mind with an ingenious method; let him study topics, and defend both sides of a controversy, be it on nature, man, or politics, in a freer and brighter style of expression.”


Nope. Never begin with a quote, ever, unless it's something short and super fucking hilarious/ironic from your grandpa while fishing.

thecynic69
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Re: PS uber rought draft.

Postby thecynic69 » Sun May 22, 2011 6:56 am

Awesome story. Won't sugarcoat my comments--sorry if anything comes across harsh:

denbar wrote:Hey all... just looking for some imput is all. Is it just me, or am I trying to take too much advice and employ too many strategies from what I read in the TLS book?
__________________________________________________

To begin where the Italian rhetorician Giambattista Vico once ended a chapter in his treatise entitled, On the Study Methods of Our Time:

“In conclusion: whosoever intends to devote his efforts, not to physics or mathematics, but to a political career, whether as a civil servant or as a member of the legal profession or of the judiciary, a political speaker or a pulpit orator, should not waste too much time , in his adolescence, on those subjects which are taught by abstract geometry. Let him, instead, cultivate his mind with an ingenious method; let him study topics, and defend both sides of a controversy, be it on nature, man, or politics, in a freer and brighter style of expression.”

Hard to pull of a quote, and this PS doesn't do it IMO, so I vote scrap it.

I feel that the personal statement you are reading now will equate to one of the more intriguing narratives you will come across in your review process

sounds pompous; if it is the one of the more intriguing (i'm inclined to agree, it is going to be up there), let them draw that conclusion

, if only because it has been written by a formerly homeless veteran who personifies that which was detailed by the above enlightened individual.
part of the reason the quote driven PS doesn't work here is you don't explicitly flesh this out--also, I vote get homeless veteran earlier, like first sentence, and ideally in the first clause. quote doesn't get the reader's attention so much; this will.

To this very day I am uncertain as to how it all occurred, all I am sure of [certain is better than sure, here--keep clauses parallel not only grammatically, but w.r.t vocab--alternatively, use unsure instead of uncertain before.is it started began with the desire to just give up and go for an overly long walk with just use the word 'only', 'just' has already been used this sentenceenough possessions on my back to survive. I was tired of feeling like I had no future to look forward toward to (I vote it is okay to end with a preposition here, but in any event, you need the preposition somewhere, no employment prospects… no hope. I hadonly had only is an adverb here modifying the verb, not an adjective modifying GEDa G.E.D. and a few community college credits to my name at the age of thirty, and for no valid reason, I was angry at everyone and everything other than myself and my own choices. For I had, at that time, felt I had done nothing wrong. Certainly I was conscious of the fact I had done little right, in the orthodox sense, but my efforts had always been pure and well intended. flow problem--you are talking about things that are wrong, only a little right, and well intended, and joining the army doesn't seem to be any of those except the lastI had served twice in the U.S. Army infantry, enlisting for three years at the age of seventeen and again shortly after September Eleventh. again, flow. you are teetering on the boundary of resume dump here; I think you are trying to say something about these experiences, but I didn't quite get it--be more explicit, is this something wrong, one of the sort of right things, or what?I had sought out an education in the high tech industry and had luck gaining work as a computer operator and help desk specialist for a major hospital even before having really started on my degree at a reputable institution. I had spent some time, almost two years in fact, living abroad as an English teacher in Asia. All this, and still I was seemingly unable to ‘advance’ in life.

Now, with regards regard to that last point I suggest rewriting, uses of the demonstrative to refer to something in other paragraphs are confusing--here I think it is clear enough that you are referring to an inability to advance in life, but there are ways to restate this point to improve continuity (repeating the point in different words makes it so the reader doesn't have to think/look back at the end of the last paragraph), I was positive the only thing which use 'that', this is a restrictive clauseever really held me back was the ignorance of others (oh, what an arrogant decade my twenties were)! other people's ignorance, this way of writing it is ambiguous between object and subject gentive, and I accidentally read it as the wrong one, forcing me to re-read the sentence, this rewrite improves clarity (i.e., I read it to mean you lacked knowledge about other people, until I got to the parenthetical piece, became confused, and re-read) Having been told my whole life by teachers how much smarter I was than my fellow classmates the verb tense and mood combination you chose here is awkward, it must have been the lack of intellect in others which ‘kept me down’. perhaps better--I concluded that it must have been. maybe consider a more radical rewrite--this at least gets rid of the problem with the bare modal in the second clause Having been reading philosophy, theology and history since my early teens repeats the same [bad] phrasing as the last sentence, even if it were a good way to express your thoughts, it would, here, be redundant(when I finally gave up on fantasy and science fiction), why, it must be the 'unenlightened masses' def put this in quoteswho were at fault for all of my problems. I had not made poor choices; rather, I must have been forced down this path of consummate ne’er-do-wellery don't make up words unless no English equivalent exists. if your reader knows a real English word that would have done the trick, the assumption is that you didn't know that word, which is obviously good--also, made up words are inherently unclear, since there is necessarily no official definition for such words. think about what you want to say, then use a real word, if at all possiblebecause of all the obstacles others had placed in my path.

So there I was, thirty years old and living on the streets make more clear how this came to be, this is where the interesting story is. did you quite your job, get fired, etc.as I was too proud to continue living with my parents hollywood edit, this is unnecessary, and detracts from the story. Thirty years old, and for all the potential everyone had told me I possessed, I was begging for change. I had lost the motivation enough to even go for that long walk I had planned, the journey that I was so certain would have helped me find the inner peace and strength to finally get my ship righted once and for all the passive here is awkward, and culminates in the most awkward PPP I have ever seen--rewrite this, even if it means dropping the reference to your 'ship'! Then one night, having finally hitting rock bottom and abandoned all hope in the same manner Dante once informed us we should do upon our entry into Hell over the top, I followed some of my “comrades in urban camping” to a shelter service they said had beds specifically for veterans.

It was then the journey I had been longing for began. I met a group of homeless veterans who had, through their own grass roots efforts, created a peer run action committee they had named the Madison Street Veterans Association (MSVA). The purpose of which was (and still is) is to give aid, advice and a safe place to sleep for homeless veterans and is sponsored by both the V.A. and Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) run on sentence, find a way to make this a relative clause [might be too awkward to do], say it in a different sentence [might not be important enough to warrant its own sentence], think of a third option, or drop it. After listening to these men don't use demonstratives between paragraphs, or between non-adjacent sentences--again, pretty sure 'these' refers to the veterans, but I had to break my reading and think about it, and even now, I'm not sure--it could refer to the homeless people set up the action committee, the people the committee helps, the specific comrades in urban camping, etc., their stories and goals, their desire to change the lives of others even if they were past the point of changing their own… I cried I don't like cry in the perfect tense, but this is probably one of my own idiosyncracies; consider "I began to cry, it moved me to tears, I wept, etc.. It was then, and only then,that I realized how horrid of a person I had been was, or had become, the pluperfect tense is inappropriate here, I think; how absolutely selfish and arrogant I had always been toward others see previous comment on the pluperfect--at best, it suggests you think you changed who you were instantly. In a few moments I came to realize it was no one’s fault other than my own that I was living on the streets, and though I of course knew that at the time (recall how I had just walked away from everything), it was only that night I saw the big picture and interconnectivity again, on making up wordsof it all.

During my time in the shelter program, I started to find some direction. It took some time, years in fact, to put my life in order. I tried community college again with the hope of becoming a social worker, and found myself filled with the same arrogance toward those who were there only to help me learn and grow. leave this commentary out, by this point in the story, the reader wants you to have turned a corner, and this makes you seem like a dead end person I tried working ‘dead end’ jobs and found myself quitting time and time again. I tried getting involved in sales and marketing, only to find myself hating the ethical compromises such a career often requires. Finally, right around my thirty-third birthday, I decided the only thing a man such as myself might be good for in this world was a career in law, as I felt such a thing was the only way I could ever find happiness and start to give back to my family, community - and above all - those I know deserve my help more than any others… the homeless in and around Phoenix, Arizona.you have a good line here, but you bury it in a sentence that makes it sound like law is your last ditch effort, stick to the I want to help people thread--say it loud and clear, and edit out all this background noise

Since then, I have honestly tried been trying (my hardest, etc.), perfect tense makes it sound like you no longer try, or like you have tried to do something (i.e., that your forgot the object infinitive). I realized that Ihave put forth the effort required needed, necessaryto make it to the places I have always wanted to be; to become the man I have always imaged I might could--alternatively, rewrite to use can--the modal 'can' is probably best here, followed by the conditional 'could', the modal might is awkward, doesn't seem to talk about potential in the way you want to. I took up classes at a real university say this differently, all universities are real, don't down talk down on your community college experience, and though you may say what you like about Arizona State or a history degree, please understand that necessity is the mother of invention and time and geography were the two primary factors which determined my choices. don't apologize for these things, edit out this sentence, you come off very bad My intellect, the very thing which [/s ]use 'that', this is another restrictive clauseI now see as having been my own private curse for so many years, has finally been put to good use with the hope I might continue onward and upward by actually using it to better myself with it secure in the knowledge I will be able to help others as well, as opposed to judging others from said imagined lofty heights. run on sentence [s]My LSAT score is not perfect, but I am proud of my score of___, especially considering that I am a high school dropout. My GPA too is imperfect, but my grades in university I feel reflect my level of effort post being over myself. don't apologize for your stats

I admit to still being selfish and arrogant in many ways. No, only say bad things about yourself in your PS if (1) it is about your past self, (2) you have changed, and (3) you have learned something as a result that is relative to your desire to go to law school or your ability to succeed there I do long for the prestige of becoming an attorney who graduated from a top law school. Not what you want to be focusing on here I dohope to find a career in a private law firm as a trial attorney as I am certain I have some small gift for oratory No, you don't do it because you are good at it, you do it because you enjoy it (and perhaps you are good at it because you enjoy it). Yet I do not think I am filled with the dreams and desires of a young man seeking a place in the world of legal affairs. I desire to neither live the high life in New York high rise nor become an agent to the stars in Hollywood, for I have in all honestly already lived a life filed with adventures, which span continents. see my comma edit, you need a comma before introducing a non-restrictive clause No, my big dream is to return to Phoenix as a prodigal son. No, your big dream is to return to Phoneix to help your fellow veterans, or else you should not spend so much time telling your reader about them A man my parents can finally be proud of and who can immediately start giving back to the people who have touched, taught and changed me throughout the years. sentence fragment, if this is an intentional style thing, consider joining this sentence with the last one with a double dash, or a semi colon



You have an awesome story, and if you can organize your thoughts, make your points more clearly, and edit out some the stuff that puts you in a bad light/makes you sound arrogant/pompous, you'll have a killer PS, and, I think, a strong cycle. Your PS is one that seeks to tell a story (as opposed to a snapshot PS, that focuses on a specific event)--focus on giving that story a clear beginning, middle, and end, with a clear lesson, and lucid development. Best of luck, feel free to ask me about my edits (I know I use some grammar terms that are not in common use).

ETA: I don't usually do line by lines, but this story deserves to be told right...




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