(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Postby sn20 » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:37 pm

Last edited by sn20 on Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Richie Tenenbaum

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Re: PS Final Draft....need last minute edits/advice

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:48 pm

Only significant thing I noticed when reading through this was the big paragraphs. Breaking down long paragraphs goes a long way in increasing readability. I thought it was a good PS. The first sentence of the last paragraph was a tad corny, but overall I think the tone was good all the way through.

sn20 wrote:Undergrad background is economics, sports management and a business minor. I've been working on this for a while and believe this is the PS I will submit. Thanks ahead of time for any last minute editing/advice!


“[Last name]! Are you ******* kidding me? That’s all you got? Are you here to play football or are you here to raise the team GPA?” spewed the strength coach in my face—the standard hazing accompanied by a jab at my Asian-American heritage.
[New Paragraph]
I walked-on to […] Division-1 football team in January 2010. I was a sophomore, and a year and a half had passed since my high school varsity football experience. Typical of a college lifestyle, this time period did not include particularly strenuous exercise. and a As a result, the next ten weeks of off-season strength and conditioning training marked the single most challenging period in my life.
[New paragraph]
I found myself running sprints across football fields, straining to make the required time; before, I would be running to class after hitting the occasional snooze button. Instead of lifting chips to my mouth while watching late night TV, I was now lifting four hundred pounds on my back at five o’clock in the morning. The hardest part was going to the workout sessions knowing that I would be pushed to quit. I awoke everyday with stiff muscles and raw calluses, struggling to walk pain-free. Thankfully, I persevered and regained my former strength and speed by the time the team started spring football practices. Strapping on pads and stepping onto the practice field was an unbelievable feeling, but I only made it three weeks before I dislocated and broke my foot.

Due to surgeries in April and July 2010, I learned that I would not be able run again until September. Doubt and uncertainty gripped my thoughts. Why had I walked-on to the football team? I arrived at […] planning on graduating early, but after committing to football, I made the sacrifice to stay an additional year. Athletically, I was limited, which was the reason I was not recruited in high school. Rehab would be long and arduous; I would spend May and June on crutches and full recovery would take an entire year.
[New paragraph]
Moreover, I was struggling with the social stigma of an Asian-American “trying” to play football. The first week after walking-on, a teammate came up to me and asked if I had joined the team to help my job prospects post-graduation—as if the only thing Asian-Americans had our sights on were schoolwork and jobs. It was absolutely infuriating to see that teammates and coaches did not understand the passion I had for football and take my aspirations to play Division-1 football seriously. Back home, my parents were the same way, stereotypically upset at me for wasting time that could be spent on school. The injury only added fuel to the fire, reassuring my family, teammates and coaches that I did not belong.

Today, despite the adversity, I am the only football player at […] in the last six years to walk-on during college and to finish what he started. As the third-string safety on defense and the starting safety on the scout-team, my team clinched a win against […] this season. It was our first win against a […] team since 1997 and helped validate the hardships of the journey I undertook. When I recall the disheartening situation I had been in just over a year ago, it evokes tremendous pride for the character, determination and discipline I displayed. I fought self-doubt and continued to chase my dream. I worked tirelessly at each and every rehab, workout and practice, to gradually overcome racial stereotypes and earn respect and acceptance from my teammates and coaches. Even my parents came on board; they have been to every game this season. Short on talent and long on heart, I found a way to finish something special and become a minority Division-1 football player.

My aspirations in life are diverse, from wanting to become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the Commissioner of the NFL or the lawyer to finance the next Google or negotiate a multi-billion dollar merger. A legal education will assist me in pursuing these dreams. My unique college experience has given me something far beyond a degree or strong GPA; it has assured me that whichever path I choose, through any and all types of adversity, I will succeed.

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Re: PS Final Draft....need last minute edits/advice

Postby fltanglab » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:34 pm

"Hazing" is not strong enough for the situation. Your coach was doing his job...and the yelling was justified. I would know because I've actually been hazed and study it pretty consistently now.

I kind of read your statement and think "who cares?" I honestly think most of this subject would work better in a diversity statement. You say too little about what you have learned through the experience and expect it to be self-explanatory when, quite frankly, it's not. The people reading this statement don't understand being a minority necessarily and honestly what are the chances they'll be Asian?

You have to focus on why you're doing football. Why are you doing football? Why break the stereotype? Also, why law school if your priority isn't academics? I mean don't shoot yourself in the foot by claiming to break away from caring about your future job prospects and then wanting to go to law school. You're saying too much without showing enough in general, also.

Your conclusion is really confusing. Why so many lofty goals? Where is the realism? Also these goals are not really parallel with your undergrad football performance...sorry :/

Sorry that was really harsh. I'm a strong believer in straightforward critique. And I like being stereotypically tough...you know, like Asians are :P

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Re: PS Final Draft....need last minute edits/advice

Postby so_fetch » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:51 pm

I don't think you should include the part about being a "minority" football player. It's technically true but it is a little whiny and it makes us think your main goal in all of this was to prove people wrong and prove that you can be an asian football player. That is immature compared to your real goal which was to follow your passion and make the team... all the while overcoming obstacles such as your injury, your parents' discouragement, and people making fun of your ethnicity.

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Re: PS Final Draft....need last minute edits/advice

Postby cutecarmel » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:12 pm

I honestly don't like it. I imagine that being an Asian-American football player may be difficult, but I"m sure there is more to your life than that.

Some general suggestions:
1. Cut the curse word in the first sentence. Just say "are you kidding me". Its just too much for a professional writing sample

2. The "play-by-play" of your life gets pretty boring. Law school admissions are probably not concerned with how you used to eat chips all night and hit the snooze button in the morning. We've all been to college, we've all done that...changing from that doesn't really make you special.

3. In the last paragraph or so, you talked about how you perservered, but most of your PS was about the struggle, and not how you overcame the struggle.

4. In the final sentences, you wrote about how your aspirations are diverse, but the whole PS was about football. If you aspirations are diverse, you should talk about what they are.

I would cut out the majority of the football things. Talk about the stereotypes and how you overcame them and move on. Your dreams (being a CEO, lawyer, multimillion...) appear kind of overambitious, like what a kid in middle school would say before the encountered the real world. Pick one thing that is really important to you and emphasize HOW and WHY law school would help you accomplish that. I would say at least a half a page should be dedicated to why you should be accepted into law school, and specifically, what qualities you should bring to the field.

Right now, the essay seems like your applying to be "America's Next Top Football Player" and not a law student. Give it a little more work.

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