PS - First draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Yuting
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:15 pm

PS - First draft

Postby Yuting » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:01 am

.
Last edited by Yuting on Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

freestallion
Posts: 944
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:17 pm

Re: PS - First draft

Postby freestallion » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:08 am

I think you have a pretty good draft for the most part, and I like it so far.

More broadly, I think the ending could be more powerful if you focus on an interest in immigration law and in helping other immigrants. Also, what have you done to prove your interest in this field? A LOT of people study things like political science, "society, ethics" philosophy, social policy, etc but they do not actually end up pursuing this type of work in law school. How are you different? Have you actually worked with other immigrants or made a difference in people's lives before? SHOW, don't tell. You just tell us that you have a determination to make a difference, but you should SHOW how you did that a bit. Of course, don't recapitulate your resume, but a bit more detail would be helpful.

Also, the language could be improved in a couple of places.

In the 2nd paragraph:
For an hour each day, Mondays through Fridays, I attended ESL (English as a Second Language) during school hours. The program was provided by selected public schools to teach English to students who do not speak English as their native language. For the next two years, I was enrolled in this program. Learning the ABCs at the age of ten while the majority of my peers were starting to read novels made me feel extremely embarrassed. At times, I wished ESL classes lasted all day so I could somehow escape feeling inferior next to the rest of my classmates. However, my refusal to let discouragement consume me, along with my determination to succeed I was determined to succeed and worked even harder to learn motivated me to work harder at learningthe English language. (what motivated you? did you want to succeed in a new country?) Due to the financial strain my family was experiencing, private tutoring and expensive learning supplies were out of the question. I started creating flashcards from note cards, with Chinese characters written on one side, and the English vocabulary on the other. I started (you say "I started" twice. start this sentence in a different way.) spending the majority of my lunch breaks in the school library, reading books that were ranked the lowest, in terms of reading level, and slowly moving my way up. Each day, I also wrote and memorized one passagepassages from the English and Chinese translation Bible that my father owned, slowly working my way through the book of Genesis to the book of Revelations. I did this for the next couple of years and saw incredible results.


Ironically, English became my favorite subject over time. The same thing that I once feared and felt extremely uneasy about had my full interest and attention. I was particularly fascinated with how powerful the English language is, and how it can be used as a tool in various ways. (how is this different from any other language? all languages can be extremely powerful and used as a tool in various ways. this is too general.) The passion I have for reading and writing My passion for reading and reading prompted pushedme to seek foran area of study that would include my area of interest (this is so vague. almost all liberal arts majors in the US involve reading and writing. what was your interest & area of study?). As the summer of my junior year in high school came around, I found the perfect opportunity. A program called “Running Start,” offered by Bellevue College, granted high school students the option of enrolling and graduating from college early, under the condition of passing a college provided exam;, which I later on passed. Prior to my decision to enroll in “Running Start,” a school advisor kindly explained to me that “by going to college, you will probably have a better idea of what you want to pursue.”I recall sitting in her my advisor's office awkwardly that day, asking her what I should do after high school. I told her that college was not something I had thought about, due to the fact that higher education in Taiwan was usually a privilege given to men. I explained nervously to my advisorthat both my grandmother and mother worked at the local street market, cutting meat and selling trinkets. To follow their footsteps would have been expected if I still lived in Taiwan, or if there were such things as street markets in Washington. The state of confusion I was in, in regards toMy state of confusion regarding my career plans slowly subsided as I began taking college courses at Bellevue College. It was during that period of time when I realized the difference I want to make in the lives of others through my own personal experience, interest and passion. (this is too general. what made you want to make a difference?)


Also, there are a bunch of grammatical errors throughout your draft...

After my two years of study at Bellevue College, I soon transferred to the University of Washington to pursue my bachelor’s degree. The courses that naturally caught my attention, and never failed to leave endless questions on my mind were areas of study that focused on human rights and social problems. (<--too wordy) This resulted in my decision to select” Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior” as my undergraduate major. My determination to make a difference, even the slightest difference (don't repeat, just simplify this) in the lives of others who receive unfair and/or inhumane treatment due to their ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or something as simple as one’s personal belief has led me to where I am today. My decision to pursue law school in order to be educated and qualified in areas regarding human rights and immigration law stems from my own personal experience, passion, and interest. Being bilingual, both fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) and English, I hope to represent the voices of others, and use language as a powerful tool to make a difference, for the better.(as I mentioned above, it might be more powerful to focus on your desire to work w/ immigrants. have you taken classes on immigration law or anything relevant? have you helped or worked w/ immigrants through volunteer work or internships?)

kublaikahn
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:47 am

Re: PS - First draft

Postby kublaikahn » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:47 am

So what? You moved here, learned English, graduated college. What is your point? This is nothing more the a brief chronology with a tiny sympathy play.

Find a theme and build on it. I like the idea of English becoming your favorite subject. We can turn our weaknesses into strengths with hard work and perseverence. You can build a solid PS around this. Add in the new culture and separation from you mom as catalysts (you have to get out of your comfort zone to grow and you know how to do that now). Also, talk about how we value the things that don't come easy more than the things that do.

But the way you have this now is not very strong.

thederangedwang
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: PS - First draft

Postby thederangedwang » Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:02 pm

kublaikahn wrote:So what? You moved here, learned English, graduated college. What is your point? This is nothing more the a brief chronology with a tiny sympathy play.

Find a theme and build on it. I like the idea of English becoming your favorite subject. We can turn our weaknesses into strengths with hard work and perseverence. You can build a solid PS around this. Add in the new culture and separation from you mom as catalysts (you have to get out of your comfort zone to grow and you know how to do that now). Also, talk about how we value the things that don't come easy more than the things that do.

But the way you have this now is not very strong.


Im gonna have to disagree. I think it's a GOOD statement so far. The theme is adaptability and, to borrow from Lockheed martin, "forever new frontiers". it shows how the OP's life was filled with challenges and new environments and how she adapted and succeeded. Her closing paragraph basically metaphorically states how law school is her next frontier....I dont think its an amazing statement, but certainly a good first draft

User avatar
JordynAsh
Posts: 370
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:20 pm

Re: PS - First draft

Postby JordynAsh » Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:14 pm

I'll take a look at it and PM you my suggestions in a bit!

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: PS - First draft

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:20 pm

I really enjoyed reading your law school personal statement. I am amazed at your skill in writing in English.

One suggestion, however. I found the following sentence to be a bit awkward:
"I was particularly fascinated with how powerful the English language is, and how it can be used as a tool in various ways."

CONSIDER: I became fascinated with the power of the English language when used for various purposes.

OR: I became fascinated with the power and versatility of the English language.

Overall, this is an excellent essay that shares much about your development & inner thoughts. The use of language is a significant part of the practice of law, and your writing demonstrates fluency of the English language.

User avatar
annyong
Posts: 317
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:17 am

Re: PS - First draft

Postby annyong » Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:23 pm

I think this is a good first draft. I like that you develop and clearly demonstrate why you're interested in immigration - your heritage is interesting and your passion is clear. You state towards the end: "My decision to pursue law school in order to be educated and qualified in areas regarding human rights and immigration law stems from my own personal experience, passion, and interest" but I don't think this is shown as well in the statement as simply your background is developed, which is a start, but not quite there. I think figuring out how to really argue that sentence throughout the whole statement will make a much more powerful argument. Also, there are some grammatical and structural errors, but those can be corrected in further drafts.
Last edited by annyong on Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kublaikahn
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:47 am

Re: PS - First draft

Postby kublaikahn » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:21 pm

Yuting wrote: With both hands clenched firmly around my tattered green , medium sized suitcase, my father and I slowly followed my father started to the airport exit the airport. It was June 27, 1999, just three days prior to my tenth birthday, when my father and I immigrated to the United States. The explanation given to me behind the drastic move was hard for me to comprehend at the time. I can still recall sitting on the floor of our one bedroom apartment in Taipei, Taiwan, with both my parents and younger sister when my father shared his finalized decision on immigrating. With confidence, Though while sitting on the floor of our tiny Taipai apartment, my father assured us my mom, little sister and me that this is was for the better, and “America will provide us with many opportunities Taiwan cannot,” I struggled to understand the reasoning for this drastic change. My father and I left for Seattle, while my mother and younger sister stayed behind. The four of us will would reunite when after my father finds found a stable job. For the next year, my uncle welcomed us into his home. He helped us a great deal, financially, and did the best he could to ease the culture shock I was experiencing. The journey of making a foreign country “home,” while encountering obstacles likeeconomic hardships, language barriers, and the temporary absence of a motherly figure extended separation from my mother has not only taught me how to truly endure and persevere, but it and has indirectly lighted my career path. also contributed greatly to my career goals.

At school, An hour each day, Monday through Fridays I attended ESL (English as a Second Language) for an hour each Monday through Friday during school hours. The program was provided by selected public schools to teach English to students who do not speak English as their native language. For the next two years, I was enrolled in this program. I was embarassed to be learning the ABCs alphabet at the age of ten while the majority of my peers were starting to read novels made me feel extremely embarrassed. At times, I wished ESL classes lasted all day so I could somehow escape feeling inferior next to the rest of my classmates hide my feelings of inferiority. However, my refusal to let discouragement consume me, along with my determination to succeed Despite my discouragement, and perhaps bexause of it, I motivated me to worked harder at learning the English language. Due to the financial strain my family was experiencing, Financially unable to get private tutoring and expensive learning supplies were out of the question. I started creating flashcards from note cards, with Chinese characters written on one side, and the English vocabulary on the other. I started spending spent the majority of my lunch breaks in the school library, reading books, starting with the lowest ranked that were ranked the lowest, in terms of reading level, and slowly moving steadfastly working my way up. Utilizing any tool at my disposal, Each day, I also wrote and memorized one passage from the English-Chinese translation Bible that my father owned, slowly working grinding my way through from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelations. Two years after arrving, my mom joiined us and was astonished with my I did this for the next couple of years and saw incredible results.

Ironically, English became my favorite subject over time. The same thing that I once feared and felt extremely uneasy about had my full interest and attention. I was particularly fascinated with how powerful the English language is, and how it can be used as a tool in various ways [rephrase, this is a useless descriptor].

[This part adds little value to your piece]
The passion I have for reading and writing pushed me to seek for an area of study that would include my area of interest. As the summer of my junior year in high school came around, I found the perfect opportunity. A program called “Running Start,” offered by Bellevue College granted high school students the option of enrolling and graduating from college early, under the condition of passing a college provided exam; which I later on passed. Prior to my decision to enroll in “Running Start,” a school advisor kindly explained to me that “by going to college, you will probably have a better idea of what you want to pursue.” I recall sitting in her office awkwardly that day, asking her what I should do after high school. I told her that college was not something I had thought about, due to the fact that higher education in Taiwan was usually a privilege given to men. I explained nervously to my advisor that both my grandmother and mother worked at the local street market, cutting meat and selling trinkets. To follow their footsteps would have been expected if I still lived in Taiwan, or if there were such things as street markets in Washington. The state of confusion I was in, in regards to my career plans slowly subsided as I began taking college courses at Bellevue College. It was during that period of time when I realized the difference I want to make in the lives of others through my own personal experience, interest and passion.

After my two year study at Bellevue College, I soon transferred to the University of Washington to pursue my bachelor’s degree. The courses that naturally caught my attention, and never failed to leave endless questions on my mind were areas of study that focused on human rights and social problems. This resulted in my decision to select” Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior” as my undergraduate major. [So what?]

My determination to make a difference, even the slightest difference in the lives of others who receive unfair and/or inhumane treatment due to their ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or something as simple as one’s personal belief has led me to where I am today. [Really why?] My decision to pursue law school in order to be educated and qualified in areas regarding human rights and immigration law stems from my own personal experience, passion, and interest. [This is a whole new thesis, and is unsupported] Being bilingual, both fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) and English, I hope to represent the voices of others, and use language as a powerful tool to make a difference, for the better. [Again this is a whole new thesis, and is unsupported. If you want to use your experience as an immigrant to tie into your decision to go to law school, you can do that, but you will need to build an argument to tie the two together.]


If I were you, I would drop the last two paragraphs and continue building what you started in the first two. From what you have you can express your lessons learned about language, yourself, facing trials, or any other thing. But the payoff cannot be, okay I did this so now I want to be a lawyer. You need the lesson learned to tie it together.


ETA: Not to diminish what you have done, but I don't think learning to speak English is a sufficient accomplishment to reach your goals. I would expect to be judged by the same standards as every other candidate. To this end, I think some of the above advice is patronizing. if a native language speaker would have posted the same quality PS, I don't thing you would see such positive responses. But I could be wrong.

Also, work hard to use the active voice more. Get away from the verb "to be"

flexityflex86
Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:06 pm

Re: PS - First draft

Postby flexityflex86 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:07 pm

it is beautiful.

Yuting
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:15 pm

Re: PS - First draft

Postby Yuting » Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:48 pm

Thank you all so much for taking your time to read my personal statement, and for your honest input. I really, really appreciate it :)

Freestallion & kublaikahn, I especially appreciate both of you for helping me realize all the grammatical errors/awkward sentence structures and useless information I have in my PS. Even to this day, I still struggle a lot with writing.

Time to edit now...thank you for all your advice, again!

User avatar
JordynAsh
Posts: 370
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:20 pm

Re: PS - First draft

Postby JordynAsh » Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:52 pm

I reworked it a bit to make it an appropriate length and cut out unnecessary details. I think it's a decent start, but you might want to add a bit more about how your experience relates to a career in law/why it will make you a better lawyer.

Both of my hands firmly clenched my suitcase as my father and I anxiously exited the airport. It was June 1999, three days before my tenth birthday, when my father and I immigrated to the United States. The reason for the drastic move was difficult for me to comprehend at the time. I still vividly remember sitting on the floor of my family’s one-bedroom apartment in Taiwan when my father told my mother, my sister and me of his final decision to immigrate. He assured us that immigrating was for the best, and that America would provide us with many opportunities that Taiwan could not. And so my father and I left for Seattle, my mother and sister staying behind, and planned to reunite when my father found a stable job. For the next year, my uncle gave us a home, helped us financially, and did his best to ease our culture shock. This journey of making a foreign country a “home," while dealing with obstacles of economic hardship, the language barrier, and absence of my mother, taught me to endure and persevere and contributed greatly to my career goals.

For the next two years, I attended English Second Language (ESL) classes for an hour every school day. I felt embarrassed to be learning my ABCs at the age of ten while my peers were reading novels. I sometimes wished ESL classes lasted all day so I could escape feeling inferior next to every one of my classmates. But I refused to succumb to discouragement and was determined to master English despite being unable to afford any private tutoring or learning materials. I began spending most of my lunch breaks in the library, working my way through books of increasing reading levels. Every day, I copied and memorized a passage from both the English and Chinese Bibles, eventually completing the entire Bible. English eventually became my favorite subject. I was particularly fascinated with how powerful the language is and how it can be used. My passion for reading and writing pushed me to seek an area of study that would incorporate these interests.

My junior year of high school, I met with my advisor to discuss my plans for the future. I told her I had not seriously considered going to college because in Taiwan, higher education is usually a male privilege. I explained how both my grandmother and mother worked in a local street market cutting meats and selling trinkets, and how in Taiwan I would have been expected to follow in their footsteps. During the meeting, I realized that I wanted to make footsteps of my own and pursue a college career. I enrolled a program offered by a local college that allowed high school students to start and graduate from college early. My fears and anxiety about college evaporated when I began taking the college courses, and I came to understand that I wanted to use my passions and personal experience to make a difference in the lives of others.

After transferring to the University of Washington, human rights and social issues courses enthralled me and led me to select Society, Ethics, and Human Behavior as my major. I developed a determination to help those who are treated unfairly or inhumanely due to their ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or personal beliefs. I believe an education and career in law will give me the skills necessary to effectively represent the voices of those in need of aid and to use language as a tool to make a difference in their lives.

[Be sure to note your bi-lingual status on your resume.]

sparty99
Posts: 1433
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:41 pm

Re: PS - First draft

Postby sparty99 » Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:04 pm

A decent start, but the last two paragraphs need to go. Additionally, you need to go to the writing center and have your essay reviewed by an expert. You have several words/phrases that can be omitted.

Learning a new language at the age of 10 is difficult, but you need to do a better job showing that you mastered English as one of my first impressions that I had (based on your awkward phrases) was English is not her native language, so will she be able to succeed in law school where writing is IMPERATIVE? Don't give me any reason to doubt that you cannot succeed.

You might also discuss how that struggle translated to your life in America? How did you start liking immigration law ? Etc.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.