PS critique?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Die$el
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PS critique?

Postby Die$el » Sat May 21, 2011 9:18 pm

Done.
Last edited by Die$el on Mon May 23, 2011 6:35 pm, edited 16 times in total.

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Cupidity
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Re: PS critique?

Postby Cupidity » Sat May 21, 2011 9:30 pm

Too creative. Content is lovely, but try and make the format a bit more conventional.

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icecold3000
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Re: PS critique?

Postby icecold3000 » Sat May 21, 2011 10:03 pm

This statement conveys the message that you are unconventional and not afraid to show your creativity. However, I am not sure how the adcomms will receive this message. It could be a welcome relief from the standard boring PS or they could view it as an absence of professionalism. Bottom line, it is risky.

My reservation is that the end does not match the rest. It reads like you worked on this for a creative writing class assignment and then the law school pitch was an afterthought. Also, in my eyes, it seems a bit presumptuous and maybe even immature to add in the tenured law professor bit. How can you say that when you have not taken a single law class?

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fltanglab
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Re: PS critique?

Postby fltanglab » Sat May 21, 2011 10:31 pm

I agree with icecold about the afterthought part. As a fellow writer, I would err on being too run-of-the-mill rather than overly creative, particularly with your 250. Of course, I believe that doing something conventional and doing it well is the best route. Being creative and doing it well lends little to comparisons with other applicants and if you want to be creative I would say that it needs to have more substance and less fluff. You have a very flowing, calm voice and I think fleshing out your points more and adding more weight to each word is better.

Also racism is risky even when you're joking. It really depends on the reader and that is NOT a factor you can control. I'm also Asian and I can relate to your 250, but if I read that to some friends they would look at me, completely not understanding and accusing me of being an awful person. So...yeah.

blsingindisguise
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Re: PS critique?

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun May 22, 2011 12:16 am

Interestingly, both of these essays start off in a way that immediately set off alarm bells for me -- the first one with you getting rather violently arrested and involving some mental health issue (which you later reasonably claim is false, but you have to think about the first impression); the second begins with an "i'm only being racist as a joke" disclaimer -- bad, bad move. Scrap the second essay entirely -- it's crass, juvenile and doesn't get any "point" across.

Consider taking out the arrest/mental health part unless you can frame it better. I honestly wasn't sure what it was supposed to add to the essay anyway. And do away with the weird format -- the repeated words, the poem, etc. Overcoming adversity is usually a good theme. If you have the numbers for a law school otherwise, the essay is basically something you just don't want to fuck up, and at best it maybe can give you a little push. Don't write like you're gunning for the Iowa Writers' Workshop (which, frankly, is not really in your reach based on this essay anyway).

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Dany
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Re: PS critique?

Postby Dany » Sun May 22, 2011 12:26 am

nvm
Last edited by Dany on Sun May 22, 2011 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tanicius
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Re: PS critique?

Postby Tanicius » Sun May 22, 2011 12:39 am

Me: “Prove it. Go on Facebook and count how many Asian friends you have.”
Chris: “Fine…Let’s see…one…two…does being half-Asian count?”
Me: “No, Chris, half-Asians don’t count. They’re white-washed.”
Chris: “What about Filipinos?”
Me: “Nope. They’re retard-Asians.”


What in the hell? You have got to be kidding. How on Earth is this even supposed to be funny?

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Dany
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Re: PS critique?

Postby Dany » Sun May 22, 2011 12:42 am

Tanicius wrote:
Me: “Prove it. Go on Facebook and count how many Asian friends you have.”
Chris: “Fine…Let’s see…one…two…does being half-Asian count?”
Me: “No, Chris, half-Asians don’t count. They’re white-washed.”
Chris: “What about Filipinos?”
Me: “Nope. They’re retard-Asians.”


What in the hell? You have got to be kidding. How on Earth is this even supposed to be funny?

Aw damn. I didn't read the 250 and missed that it was a troll.

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Tanicius
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Re: PS critique?

Postby Tanicius » Sun May 22, 2011 12:44 am

Alright, this is obviously a flame now. :?


One month after the incident, I’ve become that man. After dealing with administrative meetings, a call home, and terrified parents, I wrote a memoir piece about the incident entitled “Emma’s Flower.” It earned me both an A in my Honesty class and the respect of my peers.

:|


The short memoir and my novella are now self-published on Amazon, not because I didn’t believe they weren’t good enough, but because I felt they were inappropriate for traditional publishing. The traditional route will be left for my future works, like my young adult fantasy novel, Folding Paper Cranes, when I finish editing it, of course.
:|




After high school, I vowed to never let accomplishments define me again.

With passion and dedication, I’ve accomplished much at Brighton University.


:x

Goddamn, I really fell for it. I take that back. This essay is brilliant because it is designed to lure your eyes to the just-not-insane-enough-to-be-trolling parts. Your eyes skip over the obvious stuff on a first read because they're not out in the open. For example:

Outward “success” embellished me throughout high school. Early graduate, twelve AP’s, top five percent of his class, math team president, advancement into regional and national math competitions, these accomplishments defined my presence in high school. So damn what? I thought. People should remember me for my defense of cynical interpretations of historical events, my edgy creative writing pieces, and my almost-successful coup for Student Council President with my uber-awesome Pokémon. Not accomplishments.


Well done, OP. ::citizen Kane clap::

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icecold3000
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Re: PS critique?

Postby icecold3000 » Sun May 22, 2011 8:53 am

When I first read this I thought it might be a flame, but I decided it could not be because no one would waste so much time writing such a long flame. It's not like its just a few lines, this probably took someone at least an hour to type up. But if it is a flame than wow, the amount of humor to the time spent ratio is funnier than the actual flame itself.

Die$el
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Re: PS critique?

Postby Die$el » Sun May 22, 2011 10:37 am

Thanks everyone for the suggestions (and no, I'm not a troll/not a flamer either).

I've got a lot of time left, so I was trying something unconventional with my PS to see what works and what doesn't work around here (hope that doesn't count as trolling). This is only my second draft, so I understand it needs major work/toning down (I usually write at least 15 drafts for these type of essays, anyways). My first attempts are usually for content, style, and mood. Structure, plot, focus and transitions are the later stages. It definitely takes more time to write this way, but the end result for me is so much better, as it doesn't lose any of my personality, but is clean and coherent. I find that starting out with a conventional essay doesn't work nearly as well with me.

And funnily, I've never taken a creative writing class, or creative writing workshops. I'm a business-econ major with a math minor (and that is all people know about me). Plus, the creative stuff I write for fun are avant-garde, so that doesn't help.

As most of my classes are economics/quantitative, I wanted to balance it out with something more personal/writing related. As for the law and economics professor, I know that I want to teach and do research, and from talking with my professors, I have a major hunch that I want to be in their shoes. I also love economic research about policy and my law-related classes. I don't want this to be the main point of my essay, though, but I definitely want to continue researching.

The first essay, I think I'm going to split into two essays. The diversity essay will be about overcoming the incident and how it relates to the recent incidents (which did happen, and I think will make a great statement about me). The personal essay will be about the many successes I've had in my life, and what success means to me. Both stories will be fleshed out and take more conventional forms. What do you guys think?

The second essay I was gonna scrap anyways. I have three different ideas, and this one is the most controversial one. It shows my personality well, but I felt it might give a wrong impression of me to the adcoms who don't get the humor. Ironically (or not really), a very good portion of my friends are half-Asian, Filipino, and Caucasian (my best friend is Caucasian). I think I'll go with the satire I used for my in-class critique of Kant freshman year. Something in the veins of Carroll's What the Tortoise Said to Achilles, but shorter.

blsingindisguise
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Re: PS critique?

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun May 22, 2011 1:03 pm

Dear OP, I didn't want to be overly mean at first, but you sound like you have a highly inflated sense of yourself. You need to tone this down. I wouldn't advise most people to write a boring essay, but for you I think it's the best approach because otherwise you're going to come across as a delusional jerk. If you have the numbers for Yale, or wherever, your essay can mostly just hurt you, and if you don't have the numbers you're wasting your time.

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esq
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Re: PS critique?

Postby esq » Sun May 22, 2011 1:25 pm

blsingindisguise wrote:Dear OP, I didn't want to be overly mean at first, but you sound like you have a highly inflated sense of yourself. You need to tone this down. I wouldn't advise most people to write a boring essay, but for you I think it's the best approach because otherwise you're going to come across as a delusional jerk retard. If you have the numbers for Yale, or wherever, your essay can mostly just hurt you, and if you don't have the numbers you're wasting your time.

+1, the wanna be novelist approach = :roll: when it gets to the adcomms. Also, not only does this effort make you seem ridiculously immature, but you absolutely suck as a creative writer. Suck.

Die$el
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Re: PS critique?

Postby Die$el » Sun May 22, 2011 2:11 pm

esq wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:Dear OP, I didn't want to be overly mean at first, but you sound like you have a highly inflated sense of yourself. You need to tone this down. I wouldn't advise most people to write a boring essay, but for you I think it's the best approach because otherwise you're going to come across as a delusional jerk retard. If you have the numbers for Yale, or wherever, your essay can mostly just hurt you, and if you don't have the numbers you're wasting your time.

+1, the wanna be novelist approach = :roll: when it gets to the adcomms. Also, not only does this effort make you seem ridiculously immature, but you absolutely suck as a creative writer. Suck.


Look, I asked for feedback on my essays, not an attack on my maturity and credentials (and guess what, I have the stats for Yale, so you can leave me alone on that front). Didn't I say that this was an experimental draft to see what works and what doesn't? I'm aware of my flaws. I realize that the structure (the thing I personally have most trouble with in writing, and no, predetermined outlines don't work for me) isn't good, and I wanted to know which parts I should keep and expand upon, which parts I should discard, and which parts I should improve on. So instead of insulting me, maybe you could help me improve, like fltanglab and icecold3000 did (thank you, by the way). Or better yet, maybe you should question your own maturity before you attack mine.

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krasivaya
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Re: PS critique?

Postby krasivaya » Sun May 22, 2011 2:37 pm

Your Yale 250 is excellent. Please send it in as is. Also, keeping the word "retarded" in there is fundamental to your successful acceptance.

I'm pretty sure Yale just loves racist, bigoted, arrogant assholes.

bmore
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Re: PS critique?

Postby bmore » Sun May 22, 2011 2:38 pm

Pretty sure it's "to death" not "to deaf". I initially was enjoying this PS but as I read on I found it confusing and contradictory. You don't want to be known by you accomopishments, but then you continue listing accomplsihments. And then you mention again not wanting to be defined by them, but your next sentence talks about how much you accomplished at BYU. A lot of these "accomplishments can be listed in your application. I don;' really think a personal statement (for someone with your interesting background) needs to really be a place to say that your TA told you to take over a class. I agree it comes across as very immature. I think it started out well and lost it's way. I am not attacking you, just giving you my opinion of the PS.

blsingindisguise
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Re: PS critique?

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun May 22, 2011 4:32 pm

Die$el wrote:
Look, I asked for feedback on my essays, not an attack on my maturity and credentials (and guess what, I have the stats for Yale, so you can leave me alone on that front). Didn't I say that this was an experimental draft to see what works and what doesn't? I'm aware of my flaws. I realize that the structure (the thing I personally have most trouble with in writing, and no, predetermined outlines don't work for me) isn't good, and I wanted to know which parts I should keep and expand upon, which parts I should discard, and which parts I should improve on. So instead of insulting me, maybe you could help me improve, like fltanglab and icecold3000 did (thank you, by the way). Or better yet, maybe you should question your own maturity before you attack mine.


All fair. I just think maybe the problem with these is your overall approach -- you seem to be treating these as creative flights of fancy instead of demonstrations that you are ready for rigorous legal study. I have no idea whether you're a mature person or not, I'm just telling you that what you wrote here does not come across as mature, and you need to write in a way that does. Maybe you ought to read one of those books of successful admissions essays. Don't reinvent the wheel or try to write the most brilliant essay ever, just write something that implies that you're a good candidate for law school.

blsingindisguise
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Re: PS critique?

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun May 22, 2011 4:42 pm

In terms of more specific suggestions, I would say (1) don't open on the arrest, even if you're going to use it -- it just makes a bad first impression (2) avoid stylized incomplete sentences -- e.g. the ones beginning with the word "success," (3) generally avoid anything that sounds more like advertising copy than essay writing (e.g. the aforementioned sentences), (4) if you're going to talk about accomplishments, narrow down what you're going to talk about and tighten it up. I don't agree that you shouldn't discuss things that are also on your resume, but it has to be more than just "here's a bunch of stuff I accomplished". To that end, I don't know if I really like the "success" theme, because it lends itself to exactly that -- a list of accomplishments already listed on your resume. (5) Also, there are just some things here that don't really sound impressive and should be left off -- e.g. professors mentioning that they enjoyed your work, an A in "Honesty class" (I have no idea what that is, but it doesn't sound good on paper), professors chatting with you about vacation plans and kids and such (so what?). (6) "my almost-successful coup for Student Council President with my uber-awesome Pokémon" -- I have no idea what this means, and it's also too cheeky. Generally your tone is too cheeky.

The thing is, you have actually done some impressive things, and those things just get watered down or lost when you feel the need to mention every tiny accomplishment you ever had in school.

kublaikahn
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Re: PS critique?

Postby kublaikahn » Sun May 22, 2011 4:50 pm

You are in your sophmore year of college, correct?

Go lay down some real accomplishments and then in a couple years write a compelling PS. Not impressed with junior high school academic awards.

In the meantime stop wasting everyone's time.

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icecold3000
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Re: PS critique?

Postby icecold3000 » Sun May 22, 2011 8:24 pm

OP, you might find this link interesting if you are now considering an "overcoming an obstacle" essay.


http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/admissi ... rt-ii.aspx

Die$el
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Re: PS critique?

Postby Die$el » Sun May 22, 2011 9:25 pm

Okay, I've revised it and taken the non-demeaning advice to heart. I think it's much better now. What do you think?

Oh, and Honesty is not the actual name of the class. The actual name would give away my identity.

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esq
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Re: PS critique?

Postby esq » Sun May 22, 2011 9:41 pm

^For the edit, replace success with winning for the Charlie Sheen effect. :lol:

spek
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Re: PS critique?

Postby spek » Sun May 22, 2011 9:47 pm

I'm not sure how reliable a source I am since I haven't applied yet but, while this was a very interesting read, it leaves me wondering why exactly you want to go to law school. If you can't see a life without writing and it is evidently your passion where does the interest in law school come from? It seems like you should be applying for a creative writing program. Also I don't know how wise it is to draw attention to concerns about your psychological stability. Just my $0.02.

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krasivaya
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Re: PS critique?

Postby krasivaya » Sun May 22, 2011 10:50 pm

For someone who fancies himself a writing genius you really can't spell or proofread for shit. Read over it again.

Also, you now come across as arrogant and creepy. I was totally picturing the vtech shooter while reading, you made it too easy. If people don't flip out over things like Saw and murder mysteries, you must have really been pushing people over the edge with your creepy shit. Seriously what were you writing about, raping babies?

If you're not a flame, tone down the freak factor. I don't even want to be in the same city as you, let alone admit you to my prestigious law school.

weejonbu
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Re: PS critique?

Postby weejonbu » Sun May 22, 2011 11:13 pm

Writing and I have been married for ten years now. Every year, that marriage grows more difficult. Still we remain, together.


I think it's time for a divorce.




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