First/Rough Draft - Need Brutal Critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Rawlberto
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First/Rough Draft - Need Brutal Critique

Postby Rawlberto » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:55 pm

Down for second draft.
Last edited by Rawlberto on Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

horrorbusiness
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Re: First/Rough Draft - Need Brutal Critique

Postby horrorbusiness » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:17 pm

Rawlberto wrote:I want brutal honesty. I frankly do consider this a very rough draft but I want to make sure that my thinking and theme are at least on solid ground. I'm mostly looking for suggestions on what needs to be corrected from the expectations of an ad com. I believe it mostly sounds whiney, the reason for going into the legal profession sounds naive, and it seems to focus more on the realities of others more so than my experiences. It also feels somewhat disjointed. Those are the major things I could really use some advice on and what can ultimately be cut. Thanks ahead of time.


Living in a small town that relied heavily on agriculture production for its economic base my mother worked various jobs picking fruits and vegetables through the harvest seasons. In these jobs my mother would often find herself being cheated by employers who refused to pay for labor rendered due to her undocumented status. Such experiences while dishearteningly routine in our family life never dulled in the bitterness they were capable of instilling. My mother never wore any looks of disappointment after these occurrences around my sister and I. She seemed dead set in teaching us that “la cosa es que segir adelante” (the thing is to keep moving forward) anytime that something that would reasonably dispirit a person occurred to her. I vividly recall sitting with my mother in a stream of different law offices as I translated my mother’s situation to lawyers with the awkward stammering of a young boy who was working through his ESL classes. The moment it was revealed that my mother and by extension her co-workers were undocumented the perspective lawyers face would turn into a look of apathy that was desperate for the time sink to vacate their presence.

The repeated acts by employers became a vicious cycle in which every year or two my mother would be taken advantage of and we would seek legal assistance that never materialized. My family was very fortunate in that the cycle would largely end once my family was finally able to establish U.S. residency. Nonetheless, we still lived in a community that was largely composed of undocumented workers who were not as fortunate to gather the monetary resources required for the legalization process. The experiences of our neighbors continued to serve as a reminder of the distinction an intangible status of “legal have and have nots.” It was not uncommon to have our community life be wrapped in a thick sense of dread as news trickled of neighbors being raided by I.C.E. Agents at work. Friends could easily find themselves living with neighbors due to deportation proceedings or preparing to return to their country of origin to be again with family.

On the precipice of beginning what I hope will be a long legal career I do not view my chosen profession as a panacea for societal failings. Yet my experiences have shaped my belief that access to legal services and the security of having confidence in one’s legal rights can have an enormous effect on the life of a family. The amount of change an individual can have on an institution such as a profession is often very limited. Nonetheless I believe the pursuit of a legal education will allow me to make a contribution, however small it may be, to help those who find themselves in the perilous status of being undocumented and without legal recourse.


I think this is a very strong start, and you clearly have all the material you'll need to write a winning PS.

I wish I could load up a shotgun with commas and shoot your essay with it- you have way too many long winded sentences that just go on, and could really benefit from a little variation in sentence length here and there.

Material-wise, I'm actually pretty convinced by your essay. Keep in mind that there are people writing essays about how exploring Paris or London on their daddy's dime gave them the "worldly perspective" to practice law - your essay utterly crushes those.

There's a few wordings that are pretty awkward:
"an institution such as a profession" has got to go - that's garbage.
"perspective lawyers" should be "prospective lawyers"
"desperate for the time sink to vacate" - reword this, doesn't make sense at all, though I get what you're trying to say.

Another thing, don't sell yourself short. Look at your very last sentence. Not only are you diminutive about your potential to help people, but you also confine yourself to the VERY narrow legal scope of helping "undocumented" people. You could be a little more broad and say you want to help disenfranchised people of any type..

side note: this seems really short. if you have length, you might want to explain the challenges you overcame to get to undergrad in the first place, as well as why you don't make any mention of your (missing?) father.

blsingindisguise
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Re: First/Rough Draft - Need Brutal Critique

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:11 pm

Personalize the voice more and make it a little less formal (not too much -- it's a delicate balance). Look for places where you can say the same thing in fewer words. E.g.

"Living in a small town that relied heavily on agriculture production for its economic base my mother worked various jobs picking fruits and vegetables through the harvest seasons."

You could say "I grew up in a farm town, and my mother supported us by working as a fruit and vegetable picker." Or "In the small town where I grew up, agriculture was the only industry, so my mother supported us through farm labor." Or something like that that sounds a little more like a person talking and less like a report.

Similarly:

"The moment it was revealed that my mother and by extension her co-workers were undocumented the perspective lawyers face would turn into a look of apathy that was desperate for the time sink to vacate their presence."

I'm not even exactly sure what you're trying to say, but maybe something more like "The moment I revealed that my mother and her co-workers were undocumented, the lawyer would become visibly uncomfortable and cold to our plight."

CanadianWolf
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Re: First/Rough Draft - Need Brutal Critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:24 am

I think OP means:

"The moment it was revealed that my mother, and, by extension, her co-workers, were undocumented, the prospective lawyers' faces would turn into a look of apathy anxiously waiting for us to leave."

The other sentence is fine, but in need of a comma after "agriculture production,".

"Living in a small town that relied heavily on agriculture production, my mother worked various jobs picking fruits & vegetables throughout the harvest season."

shmoo597
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Re: First/Rough Draft - Need Brutal Critique

Postby shmoo597 » Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:38 pm

Minor syntax issues aside, this is a very, very good PS. I've read a lot on TLS, and most are really terrible. This reads as very genuine. My main advice would be to expand it, to make it more personal, to throw in more of your life story. It's quite short. But otherwise, you have a winner here.

kublaikahn
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Re: First/Rough Draft - Need Brutal Critique

Postby kublaikahn » Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:16 pm

Where is your dad? That is an important part of the story, I would think.

On the precipice of beginning what I hope will be a long legal career I do not view my chosen profession as a panacea for societal failings. Yet my experiences have shaped my belief that access to legal services and the security of having confidence in one’s legal rights can have an enormous effect on the life of a family. The amount of change an individual can have on an institution such as a profession is often very limited. Nonetheless I believe the pursuit of a legal education will allow me to make a contribution, however small it may be, to help those who find themselves in the perilous status of being undocumented and without legal recourse. Becoming a lawyer may not by itself resolve all the immigration problems for all the people like my mother. However, I know I will not turn away from those who have a valid connection to this country simply because helping is unprofitable or an administrative headache. If I can help everyone I will. Short of that, I will keep moving forward.

This close is inadequate. You add needless verbage to fill in for not saying much substantively. What point do you make when you add the clause "however small it may be?' Cut this stuff from all your writing. You make a huge leap in generalization from the immigration issue to "access to legal services and the security of having confidence in one’s legal rights can have an enormous effect on the life of a family." This actually dilutes your message.

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Rawlberto
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Re: First/Rough Draft - Need Brutal Critique

Postby Rawlberto » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:21 am

kublaikahn wrote:Where is your dad? That is an important part of the story, I would think.

On the precipice of beginning what I hope will be a long legal career I do not view my chosen profession as a panacea for societal failings. Yet my experiences have shaped my belief that access to legal services and the security of having confidence in one’s legal rights can have an enormous effect on the life of a family. The amount of change an individual can have on an institution such as a profession is often very limited. Nonetheless I believe the pursuit of a legal education will allow me to make a contribution, however small it may be, to help those who find themselves in the perilous status of being undocumented and without legal recourse. Becoming a lawyer may not by itself resolve all the immigration problems for all the people like my mother. However, I know I will not turn away from those who have a valid connection to this country simply because helping is unprofitable or an administrative headache. If I can help everyone I will. Short of that, I will keep moving forward.

This close is inadequate. You add needless verbage to fill in for not saying much substantively. What point do you make when you add the clause "however small it may be?' Cut this stuff from all your writing. You make a huge leap in generalization from the immigration issue to "access to legal services and the security of having confidence in one’s legal rights can have an enormous effect on the life of a family." This actually dilutes your message.


Thank You, this is actually what I was looking for. I understand my dad not being around is lacking I am just having a difficult time working it in.




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