Personal Statement for Revision

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Acumen
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 10:01 am

Personal Statement for Revision

Postby Acumen » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:31 am

Please read this statement and provide feedback. This is my second draft and I need someone to provide suggested improvements. positive feedback only please.

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Winners never quit and quitters never win.
- Anon

In my junior year I held the office of Vice President of Academic Affairs, the second highest office a student can hold, for my University’s SGA (Student Government Association). When our yearly election time came around many of the faculty, staff and student organization leaders encouraged me to run for the office of President of SGA. After mulling it over for a month I decided I was knowledgeable and eager enough to win and be successful in the position. My plan was to combine methods used in my campaign for Vice President of SGA and Homecoming King, which were both very successful, to win this highly coveted Presidential office. I was a political machine, spending all of my spare time attending events, rallying supporters, and taking campus campaigning to new heights. A week before the voting polls opened I suited up for my last televised debate of the campaign. As I took my place behind the podium I began to understand how Kennedy felt when he debated Nixon in the 1960 televised Presidential debate, as he watched his competitor waver under the piercing crowed and heat stroking camera lights. I laid out my accomplishments of repealing a 13 year school mandated swim test, growing campus environmental consciousness, voicing student expectations during the hiring committee meetings for the University’s new Head Master, and more. In addition, I continued to push my platform of lowering student activity fees, creating a better means of communication between the Financial Aid office and student body, and fostering a bond between the campus and neighboring businesses. After two days of voting the polls closed, and the SGA Advisor stood to announce the new SGA officers. I smiled because I was convinced my winning methods were as certain as death and taxes. Thirty minutes later I was shaking the hand of the other guy.

I began relating my experience on the SGA campaign trail to my motivations and desires on campus and in my personal life. I asked myself “why was I running for President or putting efforts into being a public servant; what was I looking to accomplish?” From this question I gathered three conclusions; 1) I was determined to leave a lasting legacy, 2) I wanted to be the leader of a people who focused on making life better for others, and 3) I wanted to achieve heights that no member of my family had ever reached. At that moment I made a promise to myself that I will meet my goals, one step at a time and be the captain of my own destiny.

That summer going into my senior year I built a base of student and faculty supporters, called upon friends from universities such as; University of Georgia, Georgia Technology University and Harvard School of Business, and drafted a detailed constitution to start a new campus organization. Two months into the Fall semester I received an official charter establishing Black Student Union (BSU) as a new organization on my campus. As President of this new organization I pushed “Eight Pillars of Unity”: self cultural awareness, effective leadership, community service, scholarship, coalition building, social awareness, political awareness, and economic empowerment. By BSU’s second semester on campus it had risen as the premier organization for minorities on campus. I utilized my organizational capacity, personal relations skills, and most of all my personal drive to build an organization that is fundamentally built to impact the lives of students long after my college days are done. Though I did not win my bid for President of SGA I was able to evaluate my motifs and successfully reach my underlying goals.

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kwais
Posts: 1683
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Personal Statement for Revision

Postby kwais » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:32 am

stopped reading at the quote

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

Re: Personal Statement for Revision

Postby thederangedwang » Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:34 am

Acumen wrote:Please read this statement and provide feedback. This is my second draft and I need someone to provide suggested improvements. positive feedback only please.



u have got to be kidding me.......how can i suggest to u improvements since technically any recommendation for change would be negative feedback?.....


fyi i went through 20+ drafts of my ps before it reached its final and present form...although i cant say my experiences are typical...i certainly would urge u to write more than just 2 drafts before calling it a day and sending, in my opinion of what would be a flawed ps, to any law school

in addition, i'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that the quote is not part of ur ps, but rather a signature that u leave after every posting..because if that quote was part of ur ps then......

dani_burhop
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:14 pm

Re: Personal Statement for Revision

Postby dani_burhop » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:03 pm

Hey! Potential here. There's still too much going on; I'm going to assume that you've got much of this listed in your CV with bullets for all of the individual accomplishments.

The main thrust is excellent - that you set a high bar, didn't quite reach it, but continued to excel in different ways. This is what law schools are looking for - personal anecdotes that illustrate that an applicant can rise to a challenge, and rise again, even in the face of defeat.

If you were to start this essay with "I was a political machine" - and continue with stronger details (for example - four hours of sleep a night; diet of cold pizza; accidentally showing up somewhere in your pajamas - give the reader specific, and possibly amusing details - if you can make an adcomm smile, you've won a point) - and you can backdrop this later with "All this work paid off in my campaigns for VPAA and HK, so why not this?" and then you're shaking the other guy's hand. (Start humble is what I'm saying. Mention your already-won offices later in the essay.)

What I want to hear more about is the BSU - how many people did you recruit? Did you groom a successor? Is it still going strong? Put on any events? Give the reader a better idea of the scope of your accomplishment, and the depth of your commitment.

There's some good stuff here - Best, Dani

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

Re: Personal Statement for Revision

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:03 pm

In my opinion, a primary purpose of a personal statement is to humanize yourself in an engaging fashion. After reading one's personal statement, the reader should understand & like the applicant. A law school application personal statement should not be written in the form of a self-centered brag sheet.

Two notes:
There is no "Georgia Technology University"; it is the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Also, it's hard to respect or like a person who considers one of his major accomplishments to be the eradication of a significant health & safety standard such as an university swimming competency requirement that has been in place for 13 years.

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

Re: Personal Statement for Revision

Postby freestallion » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:05 pm

1) It is a nice anecdote, but it sounds a bit cliche. I feel like a lot of people would write about a similar experience. It's not bad, per se, but sounds a bit formulaic as a statement.

2) Remove the quote. It's not a good idea to start with a quote, IMO.

3) "As I took my place behind the podium I began to understand how Kennedy felt when he debated Nixon in the 1960 televised Presidential debate, as he watched his competitor waver under the piercing crowed and heat stroking camera lights" --- you're comparing yourself to Kennedy and Nixon? Comes off as a bit hyperbolic and laughable, quite honestly. Don't compare yourself to presidents...

4) The ending is so abrupt. There is no discernible ending. You have to make it more poignant or perhaps, relate this to why you are applying to law school. From this statement I don't have a good sense of why law, other than maybe you want to go into politics?

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

Re: Personal Statement for Revision

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:16 pm

Another minor correction: It is not the "Harvard School of Business", it's the "Harvard Business School".

P.S. Please don't write about how many students you recruited to the BSU, as suggested by another poster, unless applying to Northwestern's law school.

dani_burhop
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:14 pm

Re: Personal Statement for Revision

Postby dani_burhop » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:51 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Another minor correction: It is not the "Harvard School of Business", it's the "Harvard Business School".

P.S. Please don't write about how many students you recruited to the BSU, as suggested by another poster, unless applying to Northwestern's law school.



Whoa, heh heh, you sure don't like me!

Quantifying accomplishments is a common way to show degree of commitment and ability to succeed. Law schools are full of ambitious folks - no reason to hide your accomplishments from the adcomms.

Best, Dani

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

Re: Personal Statement for Revision

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:53 pm

I don't like your advice; you seem fine, but heavily indoctrinated in Northwestern's philosophy. Your advice is more appropriate for one applying to college, in my opinion.

P.S. Exclamation points should be used rarely.




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