PS rough draft- please critique

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powerscore
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:14 am

PS rough draft- please critique

Postby powerscore » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:18 am

I have gone through several drafts of my personal statement, but I am not happy with any of them. If anyone could please critique my essay I would really appreciate it. I don't mind if it is mean, as long as it helps me in the long run.

As I stared out of the unsteady plane window, hoping that we would land safely in the Miami airport, I watched the island of Cuba slowly disappear below me. I contemplated how in a short thirty-five minute plane ride you could arrive in a completely different world. A world stuck in the past and stricken by poverty, yet beautiful in its own way. This was my parents’ world, where they grew up and lived for a substantial portion of their lives. My parents constantly remind me of the struggles and difficulties of living in Cuba, and they have strived to provide a better life for my brother and me. Although I will never be able to tell my children of having to go get water in a bucket in order to shower, or how I was placed in a boarding school at the age of 11, I will be able to tell a different story of my own experiences and challenges.
Throughout my life, I have moved several times, but no move was more impacting than the transatlantic flight from Madrid, Spain to the United States. As a seven year old the English language came naturally to me, and after a short six months I was able to thrive in the American school system. My teacher informed my parents that very few children were able to complete the ESOL program and fully immerse themselves in the language in such a short period of time. After living in Florida for three years, we moved two more times within the U.S. finally settling on Georgia.
Although I have lived in the United States for several years, I still visit Spain frequently. Every time I visit, I encounter differences that make me realize the variations between my cultures. Oftentimes I find myself staring at signs that read “cerrado” “closed” in the middle of the day. This often shocks me, because my American upbringing has instilled in me a sense of capitalism and industrialization. My cousin and I have several spirited debates about the American system verses the Spanish system, where I proudly defend our way of life. However, after these debates I always acknowledge her side, and think of it as a unique difference between us, instead of a reason to fight. The Spanish people are accustomed to this way of life; their goal is not to climb the ladder of success or reach the status quo, but to enjoy life in different ways such as celebrating more often, taking more breaks, and having longer vacation times. Honestly, I feel that our way of life is better; I enjoy the idea of climbing the ladder of success, of reaching a high place in society and accomplishing things through hard work and dedication. In one of our many debates my cousin told me, I would much rather sit in the corner of my shabby apartment than have to feel like I need to live up to these high expectations. I respectfully disagree.
Although the Spanish culture has had its influences on me, the Cuban culture has been deeply ingrained in me by my parents throughout my life. My parents have always emphasized the importance of families staying together. They tell me stories of their entire extended families living together under one roof. Of course, in some cases, these types of situations arise out of economic necessity. Why does everyone live in the same home? It is the only one they have. I believe that these situations create strong ties between families, and even if they are able to escape Cuba and form new lives abroad Cubans always try to remain together and help each other whenever possible.
I feel that throughout my life I have had to play a balancing game between my Cuban roots and my American upbringing. Although my parents did not want me to move away to college, I felt it was a necessary step to take towards my independence. Yet I still feel a strong responsibility to my family and to satiate their need for family togetherness. I have constant struggles with my dad because he does not understand why I would want to stay at college instead of making the two hour drive home every weekend. I try to explain to him that most college students do not see their families nearly as often as I see mine. This makes little to no difference to him, because he believes that families should stay together, no matter what. Having these two cultural differences in my life has taught me many lessons on reconciliation.
Despite the fact that I have lived in the United States for the majority of my life, I always carry with me understandings of other cultures and ways of life. These understandings give me the power to see things from different perspectives, as well as the capacity to put myself in other people’s positions. My aptitude for learning languages and my ability to speak two languages fluently also opens many doors in terms of my capability to help others. I know xxx of Law prides itself on being diverse; I believe I will be able to add to that diversity in a positive and unique way.

horrorbusiness
Posts: 669
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:49 pm

Re: PS rough draft- please critique

Postby horrorbusiness » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:21 am

Grammar/style/syntax grade: "B"
Content/message grade: "D-"

Hardly any redeeming qualities about this essay, honestly. I'm not sure what this essay is supposed to be telling the adcomm. You seem to be hoping that going to spain frequently makes you a wordly person. To the limited extent that that may be true, it still says nothing about why you want to go to law school and it only gives a very weak reason of why you might succeed there.

Also, any hopes you have of coming off as cultured are completely shattered when you say super ignorant things like this:

"The Spanish people are accustomed to this way of life; their goal is not to climb the ladder of success or reach the status quo, but to enjoy life in different ways such as celebrating more often, taking more breaks, and having longer vacation times. Honestly, I feel that our way of life is better; I enjoy the idea of climbing the ladder of success, of reaching a high place in society and accomplishing things through hard work and dedication."


I'm not spanish, but even i am still offended at how presumptuous and naive this sounds.

Sorry to be harsh, but this essay needs serious work. You seem like you're really trying to play the diversity card because you have nothing more substantive to talk about. I mean, arguing with your dad about coming home for the weekend? that has no place in a personal statement of an aspiring law student. You can put that in your diary. It doesn't prove you're some great diplomatic figure - it proves you have parents that care about you. You should be so lucky.

Anyway, you do have some material you can work with, but please cut the BS in here and add in some additional substantive material that will do a better job of convincing us that you belong in law school.

thederangedwang
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:44 pm

Re: PS rough draft- please critique

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:42 am

wow...this is a pompous, snobbish, and naive sounding statement....fully agree with the above poster.....the message you communicate is horrible....

powerscore
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:14 am

Re: PS rough draft- please critique

Postby powerscore » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:29 am

Ok, I agree with both of you, now is there any specific ideas that you guys would have that would make the content better? Honestly, I am really struggling to find a good PS topic. I haven't had many hardships in my life, and I also haven't had any good internship experience. The one thing that I do have is diversity, but as you guys have pointed out, I am having a hard time expressing that in a good way. Any other ideas would be extremely helpful.

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

Re: PS rough draft- please critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:44 am

I enjoyed reading your essay & agree with your observations about Spain. Nothing in your writing strikes me as snobbish or aloof; in fact, your insights are comparative & respectful.
The content of your PS is interesting & revealing. This essay allows the reader to know & understand you in ways that would not be evident from your resume or from a typical law school application.

REWRITE: "In one of our debates.... I respectfully disagree." These two sentences are awkward & could be written in a clearer fashion.

kublaikahn
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:47 am

Re: PS rough draft- please critique

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:00 pm

You are not pompous, you are ignorant. So that's good. I would be careful about making a statement that says, I understand other cultures...and they suck.




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