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(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
nucky thompson
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Postby nucky thompson » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:32 pm

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Last edited by nucky thompson on Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bodhi_mind
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Re: Please critique rough draft intro of my Personal Statment

Postby Bodhi_mind » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:54 pm

nucky thompson wrote:Sitting to write this personal statement prompted me to take a broad retrospective look at the person I was before college relative to the person I have become since. Each year, each semester even, I have progressed both academically and personally. The profound transformation from C student in high school to college graduate has been hidden because I have judged my growth along the way not from where I began, but from the previous stepping stone. No one in my family went to college, so I was never taught the value inherent in education or the opportunities that can be achieved through it. During senior year of high school I met with Mr. ^^^^^, my guidance counselor, to see if I had any options for college despite my C average. Knowing that I would satisfy the first-generation college student requirement, Mr. ^^^^^ mentioned the ^^^^ Scholarship program as a viable possibility. The program offered minority college applicants from ^^^^ a chance to prove their ability to succeed during a six week summer session filled with math, reading comprehension and writing courses. If students earned good grades and maintained near perfect attendance they would be admitted into the University. Excited for a clean academic slate I seized the opportunity and never looked back.

Go on to discuss leadership/academic accomplishments along the way also huge upward grade trend


I like it so far. I just edited for style and simplicity (only my opinions). I would consider not opening off by talking about taking a look at what person you are because it's not really necessary. They know you're going to talk about what kind of person you are. You could just start off by talking about your personal growth and go from there. I like where you're going, best of luck!

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Flips88
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Re: Please critique rough draft intro of my Personal Statment

Postby Flips88 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:02 am

You need to redo the intro sentence and nix the reference to writing the personal statement. Every one had to sit down and think about their personal statement and what to convey in it. Referencing that process is redundant.

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shredderrrrrr
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Re: Please critique rough draft intro of my Personal Statment

Postby shredderrrrrr » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:11 am

1. For sure eliminate the sentence about sitting down to write the paper. That is a huge "no-no" in formal writing.

2. You have some awkward sentences that could be fine-tuned a little.

3. I realize it is highly subjective, but I'm not a fan of the prose used in the beginning. To me it seems unnatural and forced. Too many superfluous adjectives (i.e. broad retrospective, profound transformation).

4. The topic could be good if you take it in a fresh and unique direction. The whole "I wasn't supposed to be a good student but I beat the odds," is, despite being noble and impressive, oft repeated and unfortunately overdone. That's not to say this start doesn't have potential. Just try to avoid cliches throughout the rest and make it your own.

nucky thompson
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Re: Please critique rough draft intro of my Personal Statment

Postby nucky thompson » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:37 am

I have made adjustments. I appreciate the commentary offered. For me, the hardest part of writing is outlining and structure which is why I am posting a draft of my intro and not a complete draft.

Each year of my undergraduate tenure, each semester even, I have progressed both academically and personally. Being raised in a family without any college experience meant that I was never taught the value inherent in education or the opportunities that can be achieved through it. My performance in the high school classroom reflected the value ascribed to education at home, translating into a C average. During senior year I met with Mr. ****, my guidance counselor, to see if I had any options for college despite my grade point average. Knowing that I would satisfy the first-generation college student requirement, Mr. **** mentioned the ****** *** ** Scholarship program as a viable possibility. The program offers minority college applicants from ***** a chance to prove their ability during a six week summer session filled with leadership seminars and prerequisite courses in math, reading comprehension and writing. Students that excel in the summer program are admitted into the University. Excited for a clean academic slate, I seized the opportunity and never looked back.
The summer program offered many practical benefits that have enabled me to succeed in ways I never thought possible. With mandatory attendance and homework policies, my best efforts were required. Such demands produced unprecedented academic results.

Included beginning of second paragraph to help show the direction - going to highlight many leadership positions on campus/academic growth - double majored and double minored, Never earned a C, straight A's by senior year (4.0 last semester)

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Moomoo2u
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Re: Please critique rough draft intro of my Personal Statment

Postby Moomoo2u » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:56 am

nucky thompson wrote:I have made adjustments. I appreciate the commentary offered. For me, the hardest part of writing is outlining and structure which is why I am posting a draft of my intro and not a complete draft.

Each year of my undergraduate tenure, each semester even, I have progressed both academically and personally. Being raised in a family without any college experience meant that I was never taught the value inherent in education or the opportunities that can be achieved through it. My performance in the high school classroom reflected the value ascribed to education at home, translating intoa C average. During senior year I met with Mr. ****, my guidance counselor, to see if I had any options for college despite my grade point average. Knowing that I would satisfy the first-generation college student requirement, Mr. **** mentioned the ****** *** ** Scholarship program as a viable possibility. The program offers minority college applicants from ***** a chance to prove their ability during a six week summer session filled with leadership seminars and prerequisite courses in math, reading comprehension and writing. Students that excel in the summer program are admitted into the University. Excited for a clean academic slate, I seized the opportunity and never looked back.
The summer program offered many practical benefits that haveenabled me to succeed in ways I never thought possible. With mandatory attendance and homework policies, my best efforts were required. Such demands produced unprecedented academic results.

I think this part is too wordy. And saying that discipline was forced upon you with mandatory attendance and home work connotes that you are/were unable to discipline yourself. Futher, those things are really trivial, this isn't Navy SEAL bootcamp, when I was 12 I had mandatory attendance and homework. I also think you focus too much on your weaknesses, the C average part already tells us you had problems at home and with school. Not a terrible intro though.

Included beginning of second paragraph to help show the direction - going to highlight many leadership positions on campus/academic growth - double majored and double minored, Never earned a C, straight A's by senior year (4.0 last semester)


If you mention this as a transformative event you should say HOW it transformed you. Specifically via what challenges, what did you do before that you no longer did because of the program that shows your success. Then mirror or expand upon the skills/abilities/drive you gained in that class and apply them to University. Finally, I think you should give us some kind of big picture during the conclusion to take this essay beyond the realm of "i started working hard, I did better, yay", something about the value of perserverance, overcoming a background that could bring you down etc etc.

MumofCad
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Re: Please critique rough draft intro of my Personal Statment

Postby MumofCad » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:57 pm

Honestly, I wonder about this approach. I sense material here that could make an effective PS, but it is being mishandled.

First, the adcoms don't know how crappy you did in high school. Why tell them? Focus on the aspects of YOU that allowed you to succeed. Since the focus is off, it sounds more like you are trying to excuse away your past rather than making it work for you.

Second, this paragraph has loads of stuff crammed in that is really unnecessary. I would say this in a few words and move on.

I don't know you so its hard for me to phrase precisely what you should do, but I would probably sell it from a setting where you are already a success at the outset and looking back. This start is not grabbing me. I would think of a compelling moment to grab my attention, then reflect briefly on your success.

Right now you are headed for a resume regurgitation. That isn't a good track.

Oh, and a GPA addendum is where your upward trend should be, not in your PS.

nucky thompson
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Re: Please critique rough draft intro of my Personal Statment

Postby nucky thompson » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:18 pm

,
Last edited by nucky thompson on Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

MumofCad
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Re: Please critique rough draft intro of my Personal Statment

Postby MumofCad » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:45 pm

No, the theme is not the problem, but it must be developed properly. See the way you are telling me, it seems a little formal, like a run-down of facts. I don't identify with you as a person so the progression comes off as trying to say you faced these really tough obstacles. In reality, you did not. You are not trying to tell an obstacle story you are trying to tell a growth story. Make it clear by making me feel where you came from instead of telling me. If I read it as an obstacle story, I get that you are a little full of excuses. If instead I read a personalized story, I get that you have grown and matured. In an addendum, the first case is probably fine, but in a PS....not so great. Instead of feeling for you, I am turned off. Hope that make sense.

I come from a similar background. Here is the intro to my PS and how I handled it (feel free to hate it, just trying to give you an idea for how I approached the task):

"Long since erased from my resume, my first employer was a solid, drill sergeant of a man. In rural Oregon seed farming, he was a legend, and not a beloved one. He was at his most belligerent and condescending when dealing with family. I called him “Uncle John,” in deference to his role as patriarch of my family; he called me “Noodle Head,” in judgment of my proclivity toward academics.

Despite this, I developed many of the embryonic skills and values that would lay the bedrock for my later success during grueling harvest days...."

Just try personalizing your narration a bit, so its not a regurgitation of your resume and gives the adcom a feel for you as a person. You don't have to say, "I was not raised in an environment that prioritized academic success" to get them to understand that. It can be subtle. What's it like to grow up with parents in construction from rural Kentucky? I don't know. Neither do they. Help them understand in your narration and it will be more convincing than simply saying it.

nucky thompson
Posts: 290
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:32 pm

Re: Please critique rough draft intro of my Personal Statment

Postby nucky thompson » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:54 pm

very helpful insight. Obviously I will be modifying what I have written - I will re-post when updated, hopefully you will be back to critique




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