Please Give Me Feedback on my PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
princeofegypt
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:11 pm

Please Give Me Feedback on my PS

Postby princeofegypt » Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:17 pm

This is the first draft of my personal statement. I would appreciate any feedback, thanks guys!



The tattered hemline of his faded jeans grazed the welcome mat as Heriberto entered my classroom for the first time. He brushed aside the hair obscuring his face and trudged silently to his seat. The detached look on his face said everything that his silence withheld. For the next two months, Heriberto suffered from chronic truancy, and on those rare occasions when he showed up to class, he took his customary seat in the back of the room and quietly went about producing minimal work. That all changed the day Heriberto forgot his notebook in class. I opened the notebook and witnessed the most impressive array of drawings I had ever seen from an adolescent. Heriberto was talented. From that day, he and I started gradually building a relationship, and I encouraged him to apply to a local magnet high school. I tutored him after school, met with him on Saturdays to assist him in compiling a portfolio, and coached him through his magnet school interview. Heriberto became more invested in his education and began purposefully planning for his future. As a Teach For America corps member, I knew I could influence my students on a local scale; however, the resounding change I witnessed in Heriberto’s habits and ambition propelled me to extend my impact to a larger scale.

I decided to create a student organization with the sole purpose of tutoring and mentoring struggling students throughout underprivileged communities in Las Vegas. In order to create the most effective organization, I devoted myself to an entire semester of research and consultations. During the fall 2010 semester, I spent my spare time burrowed deep in the abyss of UNLV’s library, the contents of my briefcase spilling over the mahogany tables as I meticulously consulted hundreds of research reports and studies attesting to the efficacy and detailing the structure of various tutoring programs. A large portion of my time was allocated to consulting with community leaders who had walked this path before me. By semester’s end, I had produced a 20-page research proposal for an organization to be named Life Line.

In the spring of 2011, I was ready to launch Life Line. I was mired in the work; my venue for engagement was constantly shifting from massive lecture halls densely packed with blinding fluorescent lights to the serene grass center of UNLV in the evening. I formulated a convincing message and maximized my opportunities for recruitment around campus. After weeks of posting flyers on overflowing bulletin boards, conferring with student leaders at local coffee shops, and compiling massive mailing lists for potential candidates, I was able to form a team of 18 committed tutors. These zealous individuals infused passion into my classroom for the next 3 months as they tutored and mentored 40 of my struggling students. Throughout this time I was busy petitioning various donors for funds to maintain the organization. I raised over a thousand dollars for supplies, activities, and a culminating banquet. At the end of year celebration, I stood back by the blaring speakers and witnessed as my students and mentors roamed and mingled between tables laden with ice cream and gift bags. On average the students in the program had seen a 20% increase in their test scores. These students had overcome the overwhelming tide of failure that plagued our district; they were anomalies serving as a constant reminder that tenacity can overcome any odds.

Fueled by our success as an organization and the rewarding experience of building Life Line, I am interested in pursuing public interest law. I am convinced that X school is the ideal place to pursue my passion. Specifically, I would relish an opportunity to study under professor X whose work in public interest law intrigues me. In addition, I am interested in the public interest program due to the unique, hands-on approach and practical perspectives offered. I have visited the campus and spoken with admissions staff and students, which has convinced me further that X school is the perfect place to contribute my community-building experience and intellectual ability for the next three years.

Cricha11
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:12 am

Re: Please Give Me Feedback on my PS

Postby Cricha11 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:30 am

Okay, overall I thought the idea was a good one and I like the narrative in the beginning. That being said, I lost the sense of you in the essay. After the opening it faded into a description of Life Line, which is fine but I still don't get much about you besides the fact that you created this organization. I think you are a good writer and it's obvious you are dedicated to this cause, helping these children succeed in their studies. But what I want to know is WHY? Why do you like helping them? Why did you do all of this? Did you feel a particular kinship to them? Was there something from your past that initiated you to want to become a member of Teach For America? I think this is a great start and no doubt your Teach For America experience will be great to include but go into more detail about yourself. You need to let the admissions committee know who you are. With some revision and additions tailored to you and your interest in this overarching theme of helping these students succeed it will be a great essay. I hope this helps!

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

Re: Please Give Me Feedback on my PS

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:58 am

Teach For America experience & starting your own charitable organization to further pursue the goal of helping disadvantaged students to succeed in America's classrooms should earn you a spot at NYU, Northwestern and/or Chicago among many others.

This is an excellent PS, in my opinion. Some word choices, however, could be better. For example, "...said everything..." lacks credibility; I think that "...revealed much..." is more appropriate.

"Heriberto was talented." or "Heriberto has talent." ?

"...the most effective..." or "...an effective organization..." ?



"attesting to the efficacy" or "measuring the efficacy" ?

"Consulted research reports" or "reviewed research reports" ? (Especially since you use "consulting" in the next sentence.)

"...burrowed deep in the abyss of UNLV's library..." might be a touch too dramatic.

The second sentence of the fourth paragraph needs to be revised. ("lecture halls densely packed with blinding flourescent lights...".)

princeofegypt
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:11 pm

Re: Please Give Me Feedback on my PS

Postby princeofegypt » Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:41 pm

Thanks so much for the feedback!

@ CanadianWolf: Your edits are much appreciated, I do have a penchant for flowery language, but that could obscure the flow and meaning of the piece.

@ Cricha11: Honestly, there is a very personal reason for my passion in this work. I was the son of immigrants who attended underperforming schools with no direction, until a teacher in 7th grade saw potential in me and worked to chart a path to college with my parents. I agree it's important to add this, but with some schools' 2-page limit it can be very difficult. Thanks for the advice!

princeofegypt
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:11 pm

Re: Please Give Me Feedback on my PS

Postby princeofegypt » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:07 pm

Ok, this is a much more polished, edited draft with more information about me as an applicant and the factors that drive me forward in this work. Once again, I really value any and all input.


The tattered hemline of his faded jeans grazed the welcome mat as Heriberto entered my classroom for the first time. He brushed aside the hair obscuring his face and trudged silently to his seat. The detached look on his face revealed much that his silence withheld. For the next two months, Heriberto suffered from chronic truancy, and on those rare occasions when he showed up to class, he took his customary seat in the back of the room and quietly went about producing minimal work. That all changed the day Heriberto forgot his notebook in class. I opened the notebook and witnessed the most impressive array of drawings I had ever seen from an adolescent. Heriberto was talented. From that day, he and I started gradually building a relationship, and I encouraged him to apply to a local magnet high school. I tutored him after school, met with him on Saturdays to assist him in compiling a portfolio, and coached him through his magnet school interview. Heriberto became more invested in his education and began purposefully planning for his future. As a Teach For America corps member, I knew I could influence my students on a local scale; however, the resounding change I witnessed in Heriberto’s habits and ambition propelled me to extend my impact to a larger scale.

I decided to create a student organization with the sole purpose of tutoring and mentoring struggling students throughout underprivileged communities in Las Vegas. This cause was immensely dear to my heart because I had been in a position very similar to the students I was now teaching. As an immigrant to America, I had grown up in a low socioeconomic neighborhood and attended low performing schools. My parents knew nothing of college or postsecondary options. It wasn’t until a middle school teacher saw potential in me, and began working with my family to chart a path for after graduation. The efforts of this teacher completely altered my life trajectory for the better. I wished to extend the same opportunities to all my students as well. In order to create an effective organization, I devoted myself to an entire semester of research and consultations. During the fall 2010 semester, I spent my spare time burrowed deep inside the UNLV library, the contents of my briefcase spilling over the mahogany tables as I meticulously reviewed hundreds of research reports and studies. A large portion of my time was allocated to consulting with community leaders who had walked this path before me. At the end of the semester, I had produced a 20-page research proposal, and I was prepared to launch the movement.

In the spring of 2011, I was mired in the work. My venue for engagement was constantly shifting from massive, densely packed lecture halls to the serene grass center of the university with students milling about in the evening. I formulated a convincing message and maximized my opportunities for recruitment around campus. After weeks of posting flyers on overflowing bulletin boards, conferring with student leaders at local coffee shops, and compiling massive mailing lists for potential candidates, I was able to form a team of 18 committed tutors. These zealous individuals infused passion into my classroom for the next 3 months as they tutored and mentored 40 of my struggling students. Throughout this time I was busy petitioning various donors for funds to maintain the organization. I raised over a thousand dollars for supplies, activities, and a culminating banquet.

At the end of year celebration, I witnessed as my students and mentors roamed and mingled between tables laden with ice cream and gift bags. Tucked away in a small Las Vegas public school classroom, these students and their tutors had engaged in a social protest against a system that accepted mediocrity, against statistics that had predicted failure at birth, and against the low expectations that confined their futures and shackled their dreams. As I beheld their progress I was inspired by their efforts and reminded of myself 10 years prior, laboring relentlessly to improve my own station in life. On average the students in the program achieved a 20% increase in their test scores. My students had overcome the overwhelming tide of failure that plagued our district; they were anomalies serving as a constant reminder that tenacity could overcome any impediment to success.

Fueled by the rewarding experience of creating Life Line, I am interested in pursuing a career in public interest law. I am convinced that X Law School is the ideal place to pursue my career. X is my first choice as much for their impressive faculty and program as for their mission statement centered on service and moral responsibility. I believe I will find my niche within the budding public interest community at X Law School. I have visited the campus and spoken with admissions staff and students, which has cemented my conviction that X Law School is the perfect place to contribute my passion and experience advocating for marginalized communities and my intellectual ability for the next three years.

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

Re: Please Give Me Feedback on my PS

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:21 pm

CONSIDER: "...a persuasive message..." rather than "...a convincing message...".

CONSIDER: "properly directed tenacity" or "well guided tenacity" rather than just "tenacity".

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Lady in Red
Posts: 116
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Please Give Me Feedback on my PS

Postby Lady in Red » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:52 am

I know that praise isn't particularly helpful, but I think this is an amazing essay! Congrats on writing a wonderful essay about wonderful accomplishments! :)

shmoo597
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:31 pm

Re: Please Give Me Feedback on my PS

Postby shmoo597 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:40 am

I think this is very good. The only thing I would say would be to add more specific details, especially re the drawings you found and the student you tutored. Add some meat to an otherwise very strong structure.




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