PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Cricha11
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PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby Cricha11 » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:26 pm

Second draft of my PS, any input would be greatly appreciated!

edit.
Last edited by Cricha11 on Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

horrorbusiness
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby horrorbusiness » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:46 pm

Cool structure. Really creative, I felt like your past/present/future being analogous to your progress in the race works well rhetorically.

One thing I'd reconsider is your talk about "founding principles". First of all, in what way were those principles "founding"? Seems like "guiding principles" might be more appropriate. Second, I don't see how not giving up/in relates to your mother's alcoholism or coming out. Two experiences that are definitely worth talking about, but I don't think you made a clear connection between those principles and those two experiences. (Keep in mind, saying that you live by certain principles is a very strong statement. You need to justify it well.)

vkgarrett
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby vkgarrett » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:55 pm

Cricha11 wrote:
At mile twenty, the race began to take a noticeable turn. No longer was I running for myself alone, I was running for my past, perhaps even from it. I reflected on the memories that had brought me here and the obstacles that I had already surmounted. In life, and in this race, I had applied two founding principles: one, never give in and two, never give up.

Applying these principles proved challenging: at twelve, when I had given a speech to a group of twenty alcoholic’s, including my mother, and their families on how my mother’s alcoholism had impacted my childhood, I remained steadfast in my approach realizing failure was not an option: I was there to save my mother. At sixteen, when I packed my belongings and left mother’s apartment after her having been so intoxicated that she could no longer form sentences, I remained strong pushed toward the future, maintained my composure and finished out high-school as an all-conference cross country runner. Or at twenty, when I finally allowed myself to accept myself for who I was: a gay male.



You are a very talented writer, very impressive. I get a great image of you from this essay. One thing that really stands out is your determination. I like the idea that I have quoted above. I feel like that's a really great theme that really helps to describe who you are. I'd make that into one paragraph because to follow along with the structure of the rest of the essay you begin all the paragraphs the same except for the one "applying these principles...."

My other thought is, I almost want you to get to more detail about yourself in the first and second paragraph. While I appreciate the story about your grandmother and how that must have been a difficult experience, it doesn't really leave me feeling any specific traits about you as a person. IMO i feel as though a personal statement should create an image of a person. Hope this helps :)

Cricha11
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby Cricha11 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:44 am

One thing I'd reconsider is your talk about "founding principles". First of all, in what way were those principles "founding"? Seems like "guiding principles" might be more appropriate. Second, I don't see how not giving up/in relates to your mother's alcoholism or coming out.


I agree, this should be clearer. Thanks for the input.

My other thought is, I almost want you to get to more detail about yourself in the first and second paragraph.


I'll do some brainstorming and see if I can't include more initially, thank you for the advice.

ArmyVet07
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby ArmyVet07 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:11 am

These are just a couple of grammatical issues that jumped out at me (which means there could be more -- I didn't go through it with a fine-tooth comb):

Paragraph 3: no apostrophe in "its' limits"

Paragraph 5: "alcoholics" (plural) instead of "alcoholic's" (possessive) and try a comma after "strong"

princeofegypt
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby princeofegypt » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:15 pm

This is an impressive personal statement. I feel like you have a strong mastery of imagery and your vivid descriptions demonstrate that. One question I have: are you going to add a little paragraph at the end about how these traits will translate into success in law school, and why you want to attend X school? Just a thought.

vkgarrett
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby vkgarrett » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:23 pm

princeofegypt wrote:This is an impressive personal statement. I feel like you have a strong mastery of imagery and your vivid descriptions demonstrate that. One question I have: are you going to add a little paragraph at the end about how these traits will translate into success in law school, and why you want to attend X school? Just a thought.


+1

Cricha11
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby Cricha11 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:55 pm

One question I have: are you going to add a little paragraph at the end about how these traits will translate into success in law school, and why you want to attend X school? Just a thought.


I've thought a lot about this but I feel like it comes off as cliche.. I'm just worried it will sound really blah and generic.

With a renewed vision I looked past the race into my future, I realized I was ready for the next race with my shoes tightly laced, my mind and spirit ready: I was truly ready for the next obstacle.


I thought that this line alluded to the idea that the "next obstacle" was law school, maybe I could try and make that more prominent? Or would you say just add in that paragraph specificially spelling out X law school?

princeofegypt
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby princeofegypt » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:32 pm

Cricha11 wrote:
One question I have: are you going to add a little paragraph at the end about how these traits will translate into success in law school, and why you want to attend X school? Just a thought.


I've thought a lot about this but I feel like it comes off as cliche.. I'm just worried it will sound really blah and generic.

Yeah I agree if you suddenly jump to "And this is why I would make a good lawyer" it might seem contrived, not to mention it would probably be a jarring transition. Still, I feel like you could at least throw in a part about why you want to go to law school. Based on everything I have read and the people with whom I spoke, Law schools want to see an expressed interest in their specific campus. So unless you are writing a Why X School? statement, you should probably have a brief paragraph on why you want to attend law school.

vkgarrett
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby vkgarrett » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:57 pm

One POV on including the "why law school" paragraph at the end is... maybe don't include it. You are obviously writing this essay because you want to go to law school, and won't the admissions committee be reading your essay to already try and pick out characteristics that will make you successful and in law school? Maybe think about your concluding paragraph/why law school paragraph that way. The admissions people are reading your essay already trying to estimate if you will succeed, why need to point out "this is why I will make a good lawyer"...

That being said, I don't think its wrong to include one. I'm just similar to you - I feel like putting a "why law" paragraph in my PS is too cliche for me. I know if it sounds cliche while writing it its going to come across like that too.

Keep in mind that if you don't include "why law school" maybe look into relating your qualities to a little bit more law school specific, that way your kind of secretly showing them you are going to be a good candidate. Sorry if this doesn't make much sense. You are a good writer, trust your instincts. I think you'd be able to include that subtle message without a "why law school" paragraph.

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Rawlberto
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby Rawlberto » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:15 pm

Like most of those here I like it. You have a lot of run on sentences though. Otherwise it's pretty solid.

JCOHEN
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby JCOHEN » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:27 pm

The marathon works as an extended metaphor for the grind of law school. However, the connection between the two is not explicit until the end of the fourth paragraph. I think that you should more clearly explicate how your 'never give in, never give up' attitude applies to your marathon, speech, move-out, and coming-out.

Cricha11
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby Cricha11 » Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:55 pm

edit.

What do you guys think about this revised version of the last couple paragraphs? I tried to tie in law school, as well as the "guiding principles"...
Last edited by Cricha11 on Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

vkgarrett
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby vkgarrett » Sat Oct 08, 2011 1:03 pm

Cricha11 wrote:Closing in on mile twenty-four, memories were coursing through my veins. I had been reflecting on everything I had tried for so long to forget, using my past to propel my future had never occurred to me. No longer would I be ashamed of my obstacles, it was these obstacles that shaped my success not hindered it. I began to realize that my true strength in life lay not in a simple path but in the unknown, the uncomfortable, and the uncharted. We all have our own races, some with more obstacles than others but we learn to live by principles that enable us to continue forward with our past supporting our future: we never give up on the race.


By mile twenty-five, I had replayed all of the pent up emotions contained within me. The last eight miles had quickly become a spiritual awakening, purging my body of any doubts I had. With a renewed vision I looked past the race into my future, I realized I was ready for the next uncharted territory, of which I hope to be law school. I believe with my determination and will to succeed I will successfully complete law school with all of its uncharted territory. With all of these races behind me, my heightened sense of determination intact, I will be able to assist those who perhaps, like me, began their race running from their past instead of running with it.

Coming up on mile 26.2, my head started pounding again, my body numb but with a renewed strength: I looked up at the large, red, numbers above me – ‘3:04’.


What do you guys think about this revised version of the last couple paragraphs? I tried to tie in law school, as well as the "guiding principles"...



I think its good, as long as you were really thinking about that in the race? It seems a little like.... "okay really they were thinking about law school in the final leg of the race??" I like how you tried to tie it in... but it seems a little forced.

Splitter12
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby Splitter12 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:48 pm

Great PS.

The addition of the 'why law' does make the end of the PS a bit awkward. As someone already commented, the adcoms know that you're interested in attending law school, no need to explicitly mention it.

Just my two cents.

nmare
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby nmare » Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:31 am

As others stated, good job and very creative. My only quirk is this sentence at the very beginning of the PS:

"I began to focus my attention on an almost incoherent noise, it started softly and suddenly the tune became the center of my mind."

Fix the run-on sentence.

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YoungProfessional
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby YoungProfessional » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:37 pm

I like it.

yu9ePUsw
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby yu9ePUsw » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:55 pm

Nice, I'm not sure I got the "Why Law School?" out of it.

Are you interested in a specific aspect of law?

kublaikahn
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Re: PS Second Draft, Please Critique!

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:21 am

I began to focus my attention on an almost incoherent noise, it started softly and suddenly the tune became the center of my mind. As it grew louder, it revealed itself: a bagpipe, extraneously placed mid-marathon in Duluth, Minnesota.

Through the fog of pain and exhaustion, I picked up a nearly inaudible but familiar sound. I thought I might be imagining it, but as my feet pounded the pavement the sound grew more distinct. Not belonging in this time and place, my focus was drawn to the somber sound of the distant bagpipe playing Amazing Grace, and as I recognized the tune my whole body went numb.




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