Please help critique!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:56 pm

Please help critique!

Postby greenclaw » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:43 pm

My first PS was four pages long and growing. This is now two pages double spaced. Did I cut too much? What can I add or edit to make this stronger?
Any advice is welcomed with open arms.


My job is to enhance my caseload of ten ELL students’ literacy capabilities. For each of my individual students this goal necessitates a different approach. Each child brings their own strengths and interests coupled with a uniquely overwhelming set of obstacles that they must overcome in order to be successful in the classroom.

“Kevin”, a student of mine has spent half his life in Ecuador. His social English is excellent but his academic knowledge is tremendously lacking in every one of his core content classes. Finding ways to relate with this eleven-year-old Latino boy on his terms has been one of my greatest challenges and most rewarding experiences. Each day forces me to creatively discover new ways to connect with him.
On especially difficult days the stress of ensuring that his five younger siblings get to school has him angry before he even enters the building. During one of these moments frustrated by my own inability to articulate my intense empathy I brought him to my office and asked him to open the very top drawer.

Inside he found pictures of and letters from my own family. We went through my litany of siblings. The oldest girl of eight children also left me with the weight of inappropriate responsibility at a young age. The pressures of ensuring that a brother or sister are safe coupled with the frightening environment that middle school has a tendency to foster is a difficult place to learn in and an even more challenging space to feel secure in.
I showed him on the map where Jamaica, Nigeria and Guam are. I traced the trajectory of my own family, their journey to the Southern United States, their endurance in the face of slavery and their current struggle against systematic racism and societal discrimination. I was able to show him that I too understand the challenges and setbacks that he is facing not only as a sibling, but also as a child from an impoverished multiracial and multilingual household.

Every day with Kevin is not easy and more than likely the hardest part is just ahead. I have hesitantly begun to piece together small fragments of his life. What had started out as small concerns have developed into what I now believe to be his reality. Kevin’s escalating degradation has necessitated the involvement of other adults. Talking with the social services attorney and the other professionals within the school system has glaringly highlighted my lack of knowledge and training. I feel powerless in my own capabilities to help Kevin navigate the next steps in his life and must trust that these professionals will put forth the same quality of effort that I wish I were able to do.

The debilitating lack in my own training has fueled my desire to obtain a law degree. Assisting children in a classroom only aids them in one capacity of their lives. With a law degree I will be able to better guide their course from home to the classroom through the social services system and support them throughout the court process. While I personally am not able to provide all of this for Kevin I have faith that law school will provide me with the solid foundation necessary to afford these services to other struggling and underprivileged children.

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Odd Future Wolf Gang
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Re: Please help critique!

Postby Odd Future Wolf Gang » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:48 pm

Last edited by Odd Future Wolf Gang on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Please help critique!

Postby greenclaw » Thu Sep 29, 2011 5:36 pm

After reading your response I reread that sentence and thought the exact same way. I too easily drift towards lengthy sentences that end up being cumbersome. That will definitely be the focus of my next revision.

Also one of my huge weaknesses in my writing is appearing too impersonal which often comes off as disingenuous, I was hoping that this PS didn't seem that way.

Thanks for pointing it out, I am going to have to put a lot of thought into how to revise this or maybe scratching it altogether.

I really appreciate your response, it has given me a lot to consider!

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Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:47 am

Re: Please help critique!

Postby kublaikahn » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:13 pm

Your first three sentences are in the wrong order and the first has a dangling modifier. Try, "I work for AmeriCorp as a bridge builder. I manage a caseload of children, each possessing their own strengths and interests coupled with a sometimes overwhelming set of challenges and deficiencies. My job is to enhance their literacy capabilities, and for each student I must take a different approach."

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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:56 pm

Re: Please help critique!

Postby greenclaw » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:55 am

Thanks kublaikan for the advice. I agree that the first sentence is all weird, I really like the term 'bridge builder'.
I'm working on revising that now.

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