Submitting soon.. Please critique [Updated draft]

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Submitting soon.. Please critique [Updated draft]

Postby SnoDog » Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:11 pm

Last edited by SnoDog on Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Very rough, rough draft.. Please tear it apart and criticize

Postby imjustjoking22 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:51 pm

I think you have some good material, but there is a lot of unnecessary stuff. The first two paragraphs should just be thrown out, imo... they sound whiny and overdramatic. Lots of people grow up not being able to afford tons of toys and new clothes.

I think the bullying bit could be good, but again, it's too much "woe is me" - I want to read about how your experiences made you stronger/more determined/better in some way, not just feel sorry for you. I'd suggest focusing in more on a later part of your life and letting the background be your attention-grabber/set context without overwhelming how you come across in your PS.

Hope that helps!

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Re: Very rough, rough draft.. Please tear it apart and criticize

Postby imjustjoking22 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:58 pm

SnoDog wrote:Hey guys, my first go at my PS... I know it is extremely long... I've been trying to find good ways to shorten it; trying to see what parts I should keep/toss out, etc. but am just stuck. :cry: Please be completely honest and provide any criticisms and advice you can give. Many thanks in advance!

I soon became the prey of bullies who found entertainment and pleasure in physically beating me in the locker rooms nearly every day. My lunch money would be stolen from me and the few friends I had were in situations not too unlike mine to be able to help. I didn’t tell anybody because I was frightened that things would become worse.

I started to skip school a few days here and there to alleviate the frequency of the pain. But these few days would soon turn into weeks, and before I knew it, during my junior year, I was sitting in the counselor’s office, with my counselor informing me that given the circumstances I won’t be able to graduate if I stayed, and that I will be transferred to _____ High, a “continuation high school”.

bad grammar in this last part

It was at this school that I began to take a new perspective on my life, and what I wanted to do with it.

The majority of students at _____ High were gang-affiliated, for which many of whom violence and drugs was a daily ingredient in their lives. I have been told that many of these students would never graduate. Some of the students will end up in prison.

Upon finally graduating high school, I began to work part time jobs to help my mother with bills, but wanted to achieve more and considered college. I soon submitted to my curiosity and the potential a college education can bring, and in the next few weeks, found myself sitting in a community college classroom. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled to be back in an environment that I had for so long despised, but noted one key difference: I was here on my own accord.

Progress wasn’t immediate, but gradual; I still had to fight the uphill battle of barely graduating high school without having learned nearly as much as some of my peers have. Academically, almost everything was a challenge for me, but I persevered with my new-found motivation to succeed, and most importantly, the inspiration my mother has given me.

After my parents’ marriage ended in divorce shortly after I was born, she raised both me and my sister alone, operating a dry cleaning business not too far from our home in ______, CA. While my mother struggled to make ends meet for me and my sister, she never complained. While raising two children and taking care of my ailing grandmother who was fighting cancer and had recently come to join us from Croatia, she still managed to put food on the table for all of us. I remember she would bring home dinner after work and I would ask her in Croatian: “Why aren’t you eating, mom? Aren’t you hungry?” She would reply “No, I don’t like pizza. You guys go ahead.” I was too young then to understand why she would always buy food she didn’t like to eat, but now I realize why so often she would pretend she wasn’t hungry.

It was this strength and sacrifice in my mother that I was finally able to see and draw upon when I was in college. For so long I had taken my mother’s struggles for granted, but with maturity came understanding, and with understanding came wisdom. I knew now what it meant to truly work hard for something, and to sacrifice your own comfort for others.

this reads as cheesy

I had then started to put my efforts into my studies in college, while simultaneously working to help my mother with the bills, and even utilizing my experiences of overcoming struggles by volunteering at a non-profit summer camp organization called Camp Fire USA. I was able to work with elementary school kids from a low socioeconomic neighborhood, who were growing up with many of the same challenges I faced when I was their age. Though I was I was only with them for a summer, I feel like I have been able to instill in them ways to learn from my mistakes.

I think you could integrate your volunteering into the whole essay to try to give it the unifying theme of wanting to go to law school for public service - you could incorporate bullying and your mother's sacrifices.

During my senior year of college, I had the opportunity to intern as a counselor assistant at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation counseling center, where again I was able to work with individuals who struggled from the grim nature of a harsh socioeconomic atmosphere. Here I was able to put my interpersonal skills and knowledge of psychological subject matter to use by helping patients address their problems. I was also able to speak in front of a group of troubled youths, to teach them about the values of education and the importance of staying in school, and away from gangs, drugs, and violence.

I also began attending church after finding a passion for spirituality, and a desire for helping others. It was here that I was able to become an active member of the church, by being a part of the college group ministry, and eventually being appointed the lead of hospitality for the Sunday services at church, where I still volunteer to this day. It is from these experiences that I have learned the value of compassion and helping others through difficult times. I believe I have a talent of doing so,
What makes you think you have this talent? I need to read something more to support that aside from you "believing it" and the simple fact that you volunteer.

and I believe that as a lawyer, there is much I can do to continue helping others less fortunate than me. I plan to work in the non-profit sector of law, providing legal assistance to those who come from meager socioeconomic backgrounds and are unable to afford legal services. While life has not always dealt me the highest hand, it has taught me ways to learn, persevere and use my weaknesses as strengths to rise above any challenges that may come my way.

Hope that helps as well. I deleted all of the stuff I think you should definitely not have in there, although it should all be seriously revised.

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Re: Very rough, rough draft.. Please tear it apart and criticize

Postby rinkrat19 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:02 pm

Agree with imjustjoking... in addition, you have quite a few grammatical errors. Verb tenses and verb/subject agreement seem to be particular issues, and your syntax is sometimes pretty awkward.

A couple of examples:
As a child, I’ve always been told that you can do anything you put your mind to.
You are not currently a child. "I've" is present tense and doesn't make sense here. Use "I had." (Contractions should also be avoided in more formal writing such as this.)

Everyone behaved and interacted in new ways that waswere difficult for me to understand.
"ways" is plural. The verb should match.

I don't have time to really tear into it, and if you're going to re-write there's no point in doing a detailed edit yet. But make sure it gets done at some point.

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Re: Very rough, rough draft.. Please tear it apart and criticize

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:32 pm

The content of your personal statement essay is sincere & persuasive. As an early draft of your PS, this essay has great potential.

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Re: Very rough, rough draft.. Please tear it apart and criticize

Postby SnoDog » Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:16 pm

Thank you guys so much for your input. All of the suggestions you guys have provided are incredibly helpful and I'm now hard at work on my revision/editing.

I'll post up a re-worked version soon!

In the meantime, if anybody else has any more advice for me, I'd gladly appreciate them!

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Re: Submitting soon.. Please critique [Updated draft]

Postby SnoDog » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:02 pm

**Updated original post with new draft, please critique, thanks** :mrgreen:

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