Revising my PS. Any takers???

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Successful24
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Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Mon May 30, 2011 10:18 pm

Okay so I am currently taking LSAT courses and working on my PS, Please be brutally honest! I am an English Minor and I am no stranger to "constructive" critiques of my writing so HAVE A BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Thanks!

*Keep in mind I am already aware of the risks involved in the subject I mention, please let me know how I can make it work best for me! Thanks!

Rough Draft #1:

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 quite 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 one’s 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 use 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 lead 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. 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, ages 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 Client’s had come into contact with the Justice System at some point in their young lives. Reading the files of these Clients’s 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 Client’s 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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icecold3000
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby icecold3000 » Tue May 31, 2011 8:57 am

In paragraph 4 you do a mini resume drop.
I have taken on voluntary internships all while being a fulltime student and maintaining an admirable, well respected GPA


Scratch out the stuff about full time student and gpa. The adcomm will know about this by your application. Instead, try to write more actively about volunteering. Don't write "I volunteer." Write "While volunteering . . . "

Overall, I like it. The analogy was creative and personal. It is risky, but you acknowledge that. Work a little more on the why x law school transition. In fact, it might be appropriate to simply drop the why x law school part. You don't want to end on a generic note.

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Paraflam
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Paraflam » Tue May 31, 2011 9:04 am

Although I had many things to say in response,but I decided tojust listenkeep them to myself instead.
To me, saying you decided to "just listen" implies that your friend continued speaking after that first sentence. If that's all he/she said, you've already "just listened"
forced to keep quite quiet

I use used to be one of these,

has lead led me toward

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.
Awkward. Rephrase.
all while being a fulltime student and maintaining an admirable, well respected GPA.
Lol. Respected by who? Also, "fulltime" is not one word, and "well respected" should be hyphenated. In any event, ditch this part altogether.
traumatized girls, ages aged twelve to twenty-one.

Reading the files of these Clients’s
Dear lord...
self harming
Hyphenate.
How can the law impact these Client’s lives
You capitalize "law" in some instances, but not others. Speaking of which, you unnecessarily capitalize a lot of things throughout the PS. Why? Also, do you understand how to use apostrophes correctly?
I have found that an impact can be made best, in first listening to those you wish to impact.
Horribly phrased. I cringed.


Overall, very poorly written. Makes me wonder how you're an English minor. This PS does not demonstrate strong writing ability, and the way you've phrased most of the sentences is just as distracting as the typos and grammatical errors. Could be a good topic for a PS if written correctly (someone posted a 250 on this topic in a sticky, I believe), but I suggest shitcanning this and starting over.
Last edited by Paraflam on Tue May 31, 2011 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Successful24
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 9:51 am

Thanks Ice and Paraflam for your honesty. English minors usually have rough copies before they hand in the final draft, hence the point of having people revise it. Very useful information though, I appreciate it!

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Paraflam
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Paraflam » Tue May 31, 2011 9:55 am

Successful24 wrote:Thanks Ice and Paraflam for your honesty. English minors usually have rough copies before they hand in the final draft, hence the point of having people revise it. Very useful information though, I appreciate it!


Everyone has rough drafts of written work. I meant that a college student - especially an English minor - should have apostrophe use and capitalization figured out by now.

Successful24
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 11:37 am

Yes I know this, and if I would have made corrections to it, I would have changed all of that as (admittedly) these are mistakes I make often before handing in a final draft. However, I posted the bare bones of this thing. But when I asked for "brutal" honesty, I guess I should expect "brutal" honesty huh? Thank you...

Successful24
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 11:39 am

Hey Ice, what if I moved the Why X paragraph up some, so that the PS wouldn't end generically?

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icecold3000
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby icecold3000 » Tue May 31, 2011 1:05 pm

I do not think the "Why X law school paragraph" is really necessary at all in this personal statement. It might work if you are going to write something that is real specific to you and the school. For example, "I want to go to x law school because Professor Y is a leading scholar for juvenile justice." However, a "why law school in general paragraph" would probably make sense. You touch on this briefly in paragraphs 3 and 5.

Consider scratching paragraph 6 and then ending (or maybe expanding) on paragraph 5.

Also, I do not think you should "shitcan" this. The content is good, just work on the grammar and sentence structure.

Successful24
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 1:10 pm

Oh I do not intend on "shitcanning" this. Thank you so much for your time! I will rework it and re-post what I come up with once my professors get to revising.

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Tanicius
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Tanicius » Tue May 31, 2011 1:20 pm

Your beginning is very confusing and the quote is not helpful. At first I thought it was a joke PS by a dude bragging. In other words, I agree completely with Crumps when she said she at first thought your PS was a troll/flame. If you were raped or abused in some way and you feel this is important enough to make a central part of the PS, it should be made clear from the very outset. It's a serious enough subject that is talked about so rarely that there is really no need to get creative with the beginning. This doesn't mean you have to go into any kind of graphic or disturbing details, either. "I was __ years old" is a perfectly fine starting sentence that encapsulates most of what you are trying to say in the first few sentences.

I also don't like the virginity theme you keep up for the second paragraph. In fact I don't like that entire paragraph. It doesn't actually say anything but a bunch of confusing metaphors. It could be erased wholesale and the PS would make more sense, IMO.

Part of the problem is that you talk a lot about having grown past the incident and developed and changed and such, but we have no real way of knowing this. It's not that you should be required to prove such a development in PS, but that if you're going to try to convince us of this, you need to show it rather than tell it. We need some kind of demonstration of this growth.

Successful24
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 2:21 pm

Tanicius wrote:Your beginning is very confusing and the quote is not helpful. At first I thought it was a joke PS by a dude bragging. In other words, I agree completely with Crumps when she said she at first thought your PS was a troll/flame. If you were raped or abused in some way and you feel this is important enough to make a central part of the PS, it should be made clear from the very outset. It's a serious enough subject that is talked about so rarely that there is really no need to get creative with the beginning. This doesn't mean you have to go into any kind of graphic or disturbing details, either. "I was __ years old" is a perfectly fine starting sentence that encapsulates most of what you are trying to say in the first few sentences.

I also don't like the virginity theme you keep up for the second paragraph. In fact I don't like that entire paragraph. It doesn't actually say anything but a bunch of confusing metaphors. It could be erased wholesale and the PS would make more sense, IMO.

Part of the problem is that you talk a lot about having grown past the incident and developed and changed and such, but we have no real way of knowing this. It's not that you should be required to prove such a development in PS, but that if you're going to try to convince us of this, you need to show it rather than tell it. We need some kind of demonstration of this growth.


Thanks for your comments. In including the second paragraph, I figured my ability to write indirectly about it would show that I have grown from it. But I absolutely get what you are saying. I knew I'd have to change the beginning, but I do not know how to transition into the metaphor paragraph. I want to keep the second par. because this is one of the main reasons why I could relate to my clients, because I too was a victim. How can I better portray that if you guys did not get that?

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Tanicius
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Tanicius » Tue May 31, 2011 2:34 pm

Successful24 wrote:
Tanicius wrote:Your beginning is very confusing and the quote is not helpful. At first I thought it was a joke PS by a dude bragging. In other words, I agree completely with Crumps when she said she at first thought your PS was a troll/flame. If you were raped or abused in some way and you feel this is important enough to make a central part of the PS, it should be made clear from the very outset. It's a serious enough subject that is talked about so rarely that there is really no need to get creative with the beginning. This doesn't mean you have to go into any kind of graphic or disturbing details, either. "I was __ years old" is a perfectly fine starting sentence that encapsulates most of what you are trying to say in the first few sentences.

I also don't like the virginity theme you keep up for the second paragraph. In fact I don't like that entire paragraph. It doesn't actually say anything but a bunch of confusing metaphors. It could be erased wholesale and the PS would make more sense, IMO.

Part of the problem is that you talk a lot about having grown past the incident and developed and changed and such, but we have no real way of knowing this. It's not that you should be required to prove such a development in PS, but that if you're going to try to convince us of this, you need to show it rather than tell it. We need some kind of demonstration of this growth.


Thanks for your comments. In including the second paragraph, I figured my ability to write indirectly about it would show that I have grown from it. But I absolutely get what you are saying. I knew I'd have to change the beginning, but I do not know how to transition into the metaphor paragraph. I want to keep the second par. because this is one of the main reasons why I could relate to my clients, because I too was a victim. How can I better portray that if you guys did not get that?


The concept of a victim is a fine starting point for a transition to law school. You don't need to entangle it in the idea of virginity.

With that said, I wouldn't be so worried about tying it back to law school so constantly or quickly. I think I said the word "law school" one time throughout my PS. Instead my focus was on what I wanted to do. A friend of mine who wrote an absolutely fantastic PS (about being sexually victimized, coincidentally, and how she turned her life around) mentioned law school only in passing when talking about how before the incident occurred she had had a then-dead dream of attending. The point is, adcomms are good at connecting the dots. They don't need to hear people say, "I want to attend law school -- YOUR law school!! -- because of X and Y and Z, which I've already explained to you, and I think your law school will turn me into the best lawyer at blah blah blah..."

Successful24
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 2:56 pm

Tanicius wrote:
Successful24 wrote:
Tanicius wrote:Your beginning is very confusing and the quote is not helpful. At first I thought it was a joke PS by a dude bragging. In other words, I agree completely with Crumps when she said she at first thought your PS was a troll/flame. If you were raped or abused in some way and you feel this is important enough to make a central part of the PS, it should be made clear from the very outset. It's a serious enough subject that is talked about so rarely that there is really no need to get creative with the beginning. This doesn't mean you have to go into any kind of graphic or disturbing details, either. "I was __ years old" is a perfectly fine starting sentence that encapsulates most of what you are trying to say in the first few sentences.

I also don't like the virginity theme you keep up for the second paragraph. In fact I don't like that entire paragraph. It doesn't actually say anything but a bunch of confusing metaphors. It could be erased wholesale and the PS would make more sense, IMO.

Part of the problem is that you talk a lot about having grown past the incident and developed and changed and such, but we have no real way of knowing this. It's not that you should be required to prove such a development in PS, but that if you're going to try to convince us of this, you need to show it rather than tell it. We need some kind of demonstration of this growth.


Thanks for your comments. In including the second paragraph, I figured my ability to write indirectly about it would show that I have grown from it. But I absolutely get what you are saying. I knew I'd have to change the beginning, but I do not know how to transition into the metaphor paragraph. I want to keep the second par. because this is one of the main reasons why I could relate to my clients, because I too was a victim. How can I better portray that if you guys did not get that?


The concept of a victim is a fine starting point for a transition to law school. You don't need to entangle it in the idea of virginity.

With that said, I wouldn't be so worried about tying it back to law school so constantly or quickly. I think I said the word "law school" one time throughout my PS. Instead my focus was on what I wanted to do. A friend of mine who wrote an absolutely fantastic PS (about being sexually victimized, coincidentally, and how she turned her life around) mentioned law school only in passing when talking about how before the incident occurred she had had a then-dead dream of attending. The point is, adcomms are good at connecting the dots. They don't need to hear people say, "I want to attend law school -- YOUR law school!! -- because of X and Y and Z, which I've already explained to you, and I think your law school will turn me into the best lawyer at blah blah blah..."

I got you. I am working on it now, I look forward to hearing from you when I post the 2nd draft :)

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby crumpetsandtea » Tue May 31, 2011 3:32 pm

Successful24 wrote:Thanks for your comments. In including the second paragraph, I figured my ability to write indirectly about it would show that I have grown from it. But I absolutely get what you are saying. I knew I'd have to change the beginning, but I do not know how to transition into the metaphor paragraph. I want to keep the second par. because this is one of the main reasons why I could relate to my clients, because I too was a victim. How can I better portray that if you guys did not get that?

Hey! I see you made your own thread for this. I just wanted to comment because your 2nd paragraph actually gave me the impression that you were not quite over it, because it so heavily emphasized a sort of introspective concern over it that I guess I associate with people who are still dealing with their trauma. I honestly think (as I said before) you can make your point clearer by using more concrete examples, i.e. 'showing' and not just 'telling'.

Successful24
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 4:21 pm

DRAFT #2: A little better I think, still would love feedback! Thanks!


I was once made a victim in my own body. Violated and invaded against my will, exploited for parts I did not even understand yet. I had been captured and trapped at the age of six, 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. I still had time left to be naïve of the winds, sheltered in my protective shell. But I was required to shed that cocoon as a defense against my capturer. For fear of being seen as a victim I changed my outer appearance, to prove I could still control something. Yet even after being released, I was always in some way at the mercy of the person who owned the jar. There is freedom in attaining justice, and I’d like to be a part of the mechanism that contributes to the “real release” emotion found in that justice.

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’s the ideal 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 those who deserve that much. Ultimately, I yearn to make an impact, one that is bigger than me and my trauma. I can make a profound difference through understanding and applying the law. 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. While mentoring and volunteering, I witnessed firsthand what the system can do for a child who feels they have nothing left to lose but life itself. Because of the justice system, my Mentee was removed from a home where she was constantly captured in a jar I am all too familiar with. Her grades improved, she was happier, and she was given a second chance to enjoy being the caterpillar she never got to be. I smile every time I think about the possibilities returned to her, when she regained some remnants of the childhood that was stolen from her through the justice system. I recognize that our system cannot always free every one. However, there is much to be cherished in a system that offers the possibility, the chance to be freed.

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. I could never forget one client, E. She had witnessed her mother commit a drug overdose suicide and had subsequently began using an array of over the counter drugs herself. E, was fifteen years old. She told me how all her life she was taken from and returned to her mother’s custody. Her mother had been on probation for drug charges when she killed herself. Speaking to and forming close bonds with clients 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 children like E, 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 found that initially, impact can be made through listening to those you wish to impact. I vow to never forget this on my journey to make an impact by way of law. I wish I knew and understood the extent of the answers. Even so, I know that the law, and the way it works is ever changing. Because of this I am always analyzing, considering all aspects of a question or an answer, thinking critically, and 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 the issues I value most, based on those answers.

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Paraflam
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Paraflam » Tue May 31, 2011 4:48 pm

Successful24 wrote:Reading the files of these clients’ clients (no apostrophe)

If the sentence read "Reading these clients' files.." then you would use an apostrophe after clients. Since it is structured this way, you don't need an apostrophe.

Still contains a lot of grammatical (mostly comma usage) errors, don't have time to point them out.

Overall, doesn't seem very structured. More awkward phrasing, such as "How can I be a necessary force within the entirety of that impact?" The caterpillar metaphor doesn't do much for me, personally I would scratch it. Adds unnecessary confusion at the beginning for someone who doesn't know what you're writing about. The rhetorical questions also don't add anything to it for me.

Also, in addition to unnecessarily capitalizing random words (like "justice System"), you switch between saying "law" and "the law" throughout the essay. I believe people on here will tell you that saying "the law" is incorrect, but in any case, pick one.

EDIT: FWIW, you don't need to concurrently post your PS in three separate threads.

Successful24
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Tue May 31, 2011 4:55 pm

Paraflam wrote:
Successful24 wrote:Reading the files of these clients’ clients (no apostrophe)

If the sentence read "Reading these clients' files.." then you would use an apostrophe after clients. Since it is structured this way, you don't need an apostrophe.

Still contains a lot of grammatical (mostly comma usage) errors, don't have time to point them out.

Overall, doesn't seem very structured. More awkward phrasing, such as "How can I be a necessary force within the entirety of that impact?" The caterpillar metaphor doesn't do much for me, personally I would scratch it. Adds unnecessary confusion at the beginning for someone who doesn't know what you're writing about. The rhetorical questions also don't add anything to it for me.

Also, in addition to unnecessarily capitalizing random words (like "justice System"), you switch between saying "law" and "the law" throughout the essay. I believe people on here will tell you that saying "the law" is incorrect, but in any case, pick one.

EDIT: FWIW, you don't need to concurrently post your PS in three separate threads.


Thank you Paraflam. I will continue to make improvements.

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crumpetsandtea
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby crumpetsandtea » Tue May 31, 2011 6:12 pm

I'm going to repeat an earlier critique of mine and second paraflam's latest - the extended cocoon metaphor does NOT work, IMO. It makes things convoluted and you use it in instances where omitting it would make a better impact. The use of quotations makes it seem sort of juvenile, and it just generally isn't brought in seamlessly enough for it to work. Phrases like "she was given a second chance to enjoy being the caterpillar she never got to be." come off as vaguely hokey and could easily be phrased as "she was given a second chance to enjoy being the carefree child she never had the chance to be." Basically, the metaphor does nothing but detract from your PS.

Also, P2 line 1, don't use a contraction there, it isn't formal enough for a PS. And try to minimize rhetorical questions like this section -- "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?" -- it isn't the purpose of your PS to pose philosophical questions. Unless you have an answer for these Qs, don't bother bringing them up. It's like filler language, it gives us no sense of your own opinions about the answers to the questions and it wastes space in your PS. Remember, a PS is a personal statement. We care less about what the system might be lacking, and more about what you think can be done, or what you have personally experienced.

And finally, there are (as paraflam said) still some awkward phrases, most notably "I found that initially, impact can be made through listening to those you wish to impact. I vow to never forget this on my journey to make an impact by way of law. I wish I knew and understood the extent of the answers." 1) You use the word 'impact' 3 times in 2 sentences. 2) I have no idea what "the extent of the answers" means, it seems like more filler language. Also, I don't believe that "learn[ing] how to best act on the issues I value most, based on those answers." is actually what you will be doing in LS. You might be more interested in some form of social work...law =/= reform, per se.

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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:46 pm

IMO, this is a good obstacles statement because it shows a very difficult obstacle that you have overcome. Beyond that it does not say much about you. To this end, I have edited it to show it as such. I think you should consider using this as an obstacles statement and finding a new topic for your PS.

Successful24 wrote:A friend of mine once told me My friend tilted her head quizzically and said, “You either know when you lost your virginity or you do not, there is no not knowing!” I had many things to say in response, but I decided to just listen instead remain silent. Is it possible for a girl to not know when she lost her virginity? If I voiced my opinion pain, I would have said yes, not knowing it is possible. People often do not acknowledge thoughts they are afraid of. I use to be one of these, a suppresser. Often, I would let secrets manifest within the very depths of my soul, and this secret I still kept hidden.

Or else wThe grown woman who replaced that hurt girl would ask, "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 quite or get “in trouble.” Is this a her first time? No." Girls who have been entered penetrated in the prime innocence of their early development, with no hips, breasts, period, or sense of self, can’t cannot lose their virginity. In this case, virginity is stolen, not lost. The child is 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 one’s she controls. Here, the caterpillar was not yet ready to transform into an adult in her silk cocoon the butterfly. She still had time left to be naïve of the winds, sheltered in her protective shell. But she was required , forced However, she to sheds 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 trapped in the jar. That is, unless the justice system intervenes.

I have always seenLaw School in my future. It seems to be offers the perfect way for me to express the pain I have about the innocence lost. I am motivated by my own trials to delve into Juvenile Justice Policy, speak for children, and protect 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 use the law so that I might specifically help victims of sexual abuse. 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. I perform volunteer, and I have taken on voluntary internships all while being a fulltime student and maintaining an admirable, well respected GPA. I also worked work 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’s clients had come into contact with the Justice System at some point in their young lives. Reading the files of these Clients’s only told half their story. Their files tell the story of their downward cycle of self-harming and criminality. However, only by 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 did I understand the missed opportunities to reach these girls. I began to question things about the system and how the system 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 Client’s 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. mirrored my early experience of keeping the secrets hidden. I learned by listening that these girls needed ways to express their pain that the system finds uncomfortable. I want to help these children by creating a justice and child welfare system that gives brings their voices out of the darkness. I seek to become an attorney so that I can help these girls become the butterflies they were born to be. While doing so, I have found that an impact can be made best, in first listening to those you wish to impact.


Successful24
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:27 pm

Thanks to all who took the time. I am going back to the drawing board. I have plenty of time to get it down pack, and I have no doubts that I will write a winner eventually. For now, I will continue to brainstorm!

Successful24
Posts: 31
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:16 pm

Okay all, if you are still willing to revise and offer feedback what are your thoughts on this one?
Round 2:

I was once made a victim in my own body. Violated and invaded against my will, exploited for parts I did not even understand yet. I had been captured and trapped by a familiar captor, at a tender age. I was 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.

The same feeling of entrapment must have engulfed my clients during restraints. Working at a residential facility for abused, mentally ill and traumatized girls was an abstruse antagonist for me. I had ventured into residential work intending to better acquaint myself with children who had entered the juvenile justice system at some point in their young lives. My interests in juvenile and family law motivated me to pay closer attention than most to the criminal history and backgrounds of my clients and their guardians. When I left this residential facility, moving on to another facility for younger boys with similar issues a year later, I left with so much more than just awareness.

My teeth were clenched as I tried my best not to react to the warm saliva that slid down my calf muscle as I restrained a struggling, sixteen-year-old Meagan. While I was only three years older than Meagan at the time, self restraint was an imperative asset to a job like this. I still recall my heart pounding, palms sweating, arms anxiously quivering. Meagan continued to curse me during my attempt to protect her from harming herself or others. She fought me, her spitting evolved into attempts to bite a chunk of my wrist, and in a burst of energy she struggled free for a long second. My adrenaline pumped as I finally managed to secure her.

The whole incident couldn’t have been more than a few minutes before her breathing slowed. Her heart rate had regulated, and I knew she was ready to talk to me. As I processed with Meagan, she explained that she was trying to run away from the facility because she just didn’t feel safe anywhere. She cried as she expounded how every person who should have kept her safe had betrayed her. Moments like this always challenged my ability to remain neutral, at least externally. I could never tell a client just how much I could relate to them. Meanwhile, my inevitable identification with her situation and her pain caused me to remain apprehensive even after talking her into a state of comfort, endurance.
I wanted to do more for Meagan and others like her. She had come to the facility after witnessing and experiencing five years of violence and sexual abuse. The legal system rescued her from what she had convinced herself would be an infinite fate. Lawyers worked in Meagan’s best interest to regain remnants of the justice stolen from her every time her step-father hit her mother, or every time he violated and invaded her against their will, raping her of innocence she barely got to know. Meagan once admitted how happy she was that her step-dad “couldn’t hurt them anymore.” I constantly pondered why he was able to continue the hurt for so long.

Something could have been done differently. Based on stories Meagan used to tell me, she had been to juvenile court many times because of her school records and attendance. There were signs of the abuse. Still, she had only been placed into foster care just recently before coming to my program. Her mother had been to court several times in attempts to press charges against her step-father for the abuse, however her mother never went through with the charges and nothing else was investigated subsequent to this.

I yearn to make an impact. One that is bigger than me and my trauma. I can make a profound difference through understanding and applying law. I’d like to learn what it takes to serve people like Meagan. I am quite aware that I can make an impact through listening to those I wish to impact, but listening is not enough. I wish to act. As a law student, I can offer a sensitivity to understand people. More importantly, I come with a persistence and determination to work with under served and underrepresented populations. I am accomplished in speaking to people, specifically children who have been victimized, or feel they have been slighted or saved by the justice system.

In furthering my ability and education, I’d like to learn how to speak to the guardian ad litem, the judge, the probation officer, the school counselor and anyone else directly involved in the success of a child caught in the juvenile justice system. I am always analyzing the details of a situation, considering all aspects of a question or an answer, thinking critically, and factually. These habits will only mature in a law school environment where I can develop the tools needed to act. Then, I can serve youth and people who deserve to experience what justice can do for them.

Successful24
Posts: 31
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:33 pm

IGNORE THE PREVIOUS POST! This version is the one that needs revision, please & thanks!

New draft:

I was once made a victim in my own body. Violated and invaded, exploited for parts I did not yet understand. I had been captured by a familiar hand at the age of six, secluded and observed then overcome, like a cocooned caterpillar, trapped in a pickle jar with one hole poked in the cover for air. I still had time left to be naïve, sheltered in my protective shell. But I chose to shed that cocoon, to become a butterfly. The metamorphosis allowed me to regain some of the control my captor stole from me. After being released, I was often in some way at the mercy of the person who owned the jar. That has changed for me.

A similar feeling of entrapment must have engulfed my clients. I began working at a residential facility for abused, mentally ill and traumatized girls. I wanted to learn more about the role of the criminal justice system in the lives of young abuse victims. The facility treated girls from a variety of backgrounds, but they were all caterpillars in some way. This made me particularly sensitive to their ordeals and perhaps unsurprisingly, has manifested in an interest in criminal, juvenile and family law.

One client, Meagan, had come to us after five years of violence and sexual abuse at the hands of her step-father. She told me how all her life, everyone who should have protected her had eventually betrayed her. Stories like Meagan’s tested my ability to remain dispassionate, at least externally. As a Clinical Counselor, I could never tell a client just how much I could relate to them. I reassured her, telling her she was a survivor who could only heal from her tribulations. For a while, my inevitable identification with clients’ pain made me uneasy.

Lawyers worked in Meagan’s best interest to regain remnants of the security stolen from her. Prosecutors were able to win their case against Meagan’s father and he was incarcerated for his crimes. Those representing Meagan made a strong enough case to have her removed from her mother’s custody, considering her mother a secondary abuser. Because of the legal system, Meagan was able to receive treatment at the residential facility. While she was not allowed visits from her mother, Meagan told me how happy she was that her step-dad “couldn’t hurt them anymore.”

Client’s like Meagan reminded me that one can only fly, once they get their wings. There is no going back or crawling. There is only moving forward, shedding the cocoon and flying. I have healed in watching others heal. They have given me hope and my wings are stronger than ever. So strong that I want to help children through legal means to bring forth the happiness Meagan spoke of.

In that jar, my imagination could not fathom fluttering wings. Now, whilst I fly, I maintain compassion for children caught in the juvenile justice system because of abuse. Many roles are essential in saving an abused child and leading them toward a successful future, from a guardian ad litem and probation officer, to a social worker, school counselor or judge.

I may represent underserved populations in family courts, to help remove children like Meagan from the custody of whoever is harming their progress. In the form of criminal law, I might prosecute predators and offenders who cause harm unto others. Maybe in juvenile courts, I will act as the juvenile defender, advising the judge on how next to proceed with a youthful or status offender’s case. I am no superhero, but I have experienced working the treatment aspect of the system and I can honestly say lives have impacted me, while I have impacted lives. I believe legal advocacy and law is where I am destined to make and receive a more profound impact.

Successful24
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 10:10 pm

Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Successful24 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:34 pm

crumpetsandtea wrote:I'm going to repeat an earlier critique of mine and second paraflam's latest - the extended cocoon metaphor does NOT work, IMO. It makes things convoluted and you use it in instances where omitting it would make a better impact. The use of quotations makes it seem sort of juvenile, and it just generally isn't brought in seamlessly enough for it to work. Phrases like "she was given a second chance to enjoy being the caterpillar she never got to be." come off as vaguely hokey and could easily be phrased as "she was given a second chance to enjoy being the carefree child she never had the chance to be." Basically, the metaphor does nothing but detract from your PS.

Also, P2 line 1, don't use a contraction there, it isn't formal enough for a PS. And try to minimize rhetorical questions like this section -- "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?" -- it isn't the purpose of your PS to pose philosophical questions. Unless you have an answer for these Qs, don't bother bringing them up. It's like filler language, it gives us no sense of your own opinions about the answers to the questions and it wastes space in your PS. Remember, a PS is a personal statement. We care less about what the system might be lacking, and more about what you think can be done, or what you have personally experienced.

And finally, there are (as paraflam said) still some awkward phrases, most notably "I found that initially, impact can be made through listening to those you wish to impact. I vow to never forget this on my journey to make an impact by way of law. I wish I knew and understood the extent of the answers." 1) You use the word 'impact' 3 times in 2 sentences. 2) I have no idea what "the extent of the answers" means, it seems like more filler language. Also, I don't believe that "learn[ing] how to best act on the issues I value most, based on those answers." is actually what you will be doing in LS. You might be more interested in some form of social work...law =/= reform, per se.

I' like to hear your thoughts and revisions please

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Michaela
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Michaela » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:09 pm

Successful24 wrote:IGNORE THE PREVIOUS POST! This version is the one that needs revision, please & thanks!

New draft:

Violated and invaded, exploited for parts I did not yet understand- probably best not to begin your PS with a fragment.

I had been captured- this is passive, try "was captured".....


I agree that this topic has the potential to be a compelling PS, but your writing has to improve drastically. Right now it is entirely too colloquial and poorly constructed. You're sure you're an English minor?!

Edited for so much spelling fail.
Last edited by Michaela on Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Paraflam
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Re: Revising my PS. Any takers???

Postby Paraflam » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:11 pm

Again, I would lose the butterfly metaphor.




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