Rough Draft..Input?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Rough Draft..Input?

Postby ag912 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:09 am

Starting from scratch, thanks guys.
Last edited by ag912 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rough Draft..Input?

Postby swoozie » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:28 pm

First suggestion: if you're going to use acronyms, introduce the acronym when you first mention what it's standing for. When I first saw "MUN" it took me a few seconds to figure out it was referring to Model UN.

My main thought though is that you're lacking details. There's a lot of different things brought up (high school Model UN, college MAL, DA internship, study abroad) and not enough elaboration on any of it. In other words, there's a lot of telling but very little showing. I think your PS could be considerably stronger if it focused more one of the topics I listed and developed it more and eliminated some of the others.

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Re: Rough Draft..Input?

Postby bhan87 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:51 pm

I moved to Huntington Beach before my first year of high school from Monterey Park, a predominantly Asian community. At the time, I was unsure of what to think of this city, nestled in the depths of Orange County. At the time I was what some people would call "Fresh off the Boat" (FOB). I was raised by a single mother who had emigrated from Hong Kong just before my birth and she had drilled me into having the constitution of a wet noodle.
Huntington Beach was a primarily Caucasian beach town and I arrived at my new high school a shy, sheltered child in an alien environment. It was by chance that I was enrolled into their nationally recognized Model United Nations program. I remember my first day in class, I was told to stand up and speak about any subject that I so desired in front of five dozen new faces. I froze for a while and managed to eek out a few words as my heart began to pound and sweat dribbled down my forehead. Before I could finish a single sentence, I was told to sit down.

The purpose of these two paragraphs is unclear to me. In general, pre-undergrad stuff is generally not very useful PS material unless they connect to some major life event that shaped what you did during and after undergrad (i.e. growing up in some African tribe -> becoming an aid worker in Africa -> want to work in legal issues pertinent to African human rights). I think your P.S. can do without these two paragraphs.

Four years later, with the help of unparalleled teachers, classmates, and many failures, I came out of this program as an infinitely more confident speaker, a successful delegate with 5 conference titles, and with love for competition.
I went on to attend UCSB as a political science major, a byproduct of my overexcitement for MUN and, subsequent, lack of excitement for many of my other classes. While I struggled in school my first two years as a result of my frequent trips home due mother’s long battle with breast cancer I found solace in extracurricular activities placing first in the regional and, later, national Model Arab League Conferences for my university.

First, this isn't the place to try to explain bad grades. Leave that to a GPA addendum that can elaborate on how your mother's battle with breast cancer affected your academic performance. For your P.S., you really need to be focusing on your experiences in the Model Arab League Conferences. Provide some context and details on some of your trips. Are there any particular stories you can tell that speak to your maturity, leadership, or communication ability? As it stands, you're just rehashing information that'll be readily available on your resume.

It really wasn’t until my sophmore and junior years that I really saw law as a career path. I loved the debate and the battle of intellects that simulations like MUN and MAL offered but I had always limited my interest to politics. In my junior year, I stumbled upon an internship at the District Attorney’s office. While most of the work was tedious, I was often sent to sit in on trials that were happening in the large Spanish style courthouse across from our office. I savored these times and when I watched the struggle of minds unfold in cases that I had helped to prepare, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to become a lawyer and I knew that I had to step up my work.

Why did you savor these times? What changed your mind that the work went from being a chore to something you'd want to do long-term? Again, some stories that illuminate your genuine interest in law would help. This paragraph, like the previous one, just repeats your resume and adds very little to helping adcomms understanding you.

This desire to pursue a legal career drove me. When I went on my study abroad program to the Univeristy(sp) of Hong Kong in the next year, I held this thought in my mind and pursued admissions into their English Debate team, which, at the time, was ranked 10th globally for British Parliamentary debate. I was the first exchange student to ever be accepted on to the team and the first exchange student to compete for the school. Following from this, I dragged my GPA up, moving from a 3.2 in my freshman year to averaging a 3.85 for both my Junior and Senior years.

By now I might sound like a broken record, but where are the details / stories? It seems you have a general theme of international experience going on (HKU, MUN, and Model Arab Leagues). Perhaps you want to intertwine these into something more coherent, instead of just list them out like you've done. Also, move the GPA stuff to a GPA addendum.

Reflecting on my past, I’ve had a fortunate life which has afford me many opportunities to learn and grow. Law, specifically litigation, is a field that I can see myself excelling in and I am more than driven to reach my goals. I know that this drive to succeed and my natural competitive spirit will help propel me to success in my endeavors. I want to bring the wealth of my experiences with me to learn and add to the academic environment of _________.

My overall impression is you mainly "say", not "show". The best personal statements don't resort to general statements like "I will excel in this field". Rather, they will show elaborated examples that demonstrate these qualities without actually saying it.

Before proceeding with a rewrite, take a look at TLS's guide to personal statements: ... ments.html

It greatly assisted me write mine, and I'm sure it'll be very valuable to you as well. The best part is by far the evaluations of example statements. Read both the good and bad ones carefully to distinguish the difference between a great PS and a mediocre PS.

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Re: Rough Draft..Input?

Postby $1.99 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:58 pm

this is utter garbage

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