Almost Final Draft: really need critique!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
thestillpoint
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:45 pm

Almost Final Draft: really need critique!

Postby thestillpoint » Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:08 am

Hi guys, I've been working on this PS for about a week now (maddening), but I have finally reached an almost final draft. It is just over two pages, so it's about the right length.

Mostly I'm looking for input on any awkward flow and content: is there enough of me in it? is the message coherent? I really need help with my final sentence. I am also unsure about whether my final paragraph on being a paralegal fits with the rest of the essay-- or should I throw it out and elaborate more on other points / add in another public interest-y experience.

I am more than happy to critique anyone else's essay in return

tl;dr: I have an almost final draft, I am really looking for feedback on content and the strength and coherency of my message. Will return the favor.

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down for editing
Last edited by thestillpoint on Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Almost Final Draft: really need critique!

Postby kublaikahn » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:13 am

tl;dr: I have an almost final draft, I am really looking for feedback on content and the strength and coherency of my message.


What is your message? It is difficult to discern from this piece. This is a resume regurgitation.

I get your opinion on a few minor issues but so what? I also get that you have done some public interest type work and paralegal work, but isn't that in your resume?

Also, you never really tell us why poor single immigrant moms don't breastfeed. This is the only thing from this PS I really wanted to know. Do posters in clinics really alter behavior? I would think hospital birthing centers would be a better place to start. Just curious.

auntjulia
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:31 am

Re: Almost Final Draft: really need critique!

Postby auntjulia » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:02 am

I know that personal statement guidelines that most schools put out are vague but after reading a bunch of these on this website I've come to think it's important to get to the point early and spend a decent amount of time on "why you want to go to law school/be a lawyer."
I think this PS is poorly organized because I have no idea where you're going with this until you're last sentence. It's just a bunch of non-sequitors, with a generic "this makes me want to go to law school" statement at the end.
Looking at it again- you start off by saying you could be [person x] and then never elaborate on what that means, you just go on to describe your work with the non-profit and others. So mainly, you need to focus your ps. As the poster above said, this PS needs a message, it must be more than rehashing/elaborating on resume items.
The upside, though, is that you seem to have lost of interesting work experience. You should def use some of it. Also, I think you have a good natural writing style. Your sentences are well balanced and easy to read.

thestillpoint
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:45 pm

Re: Almost Final Draft: really need critique!

Postby thestillpoint » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:24 am

Thanks so much both of you-- your advice is helpful and confirms what I suspected. I will focus on selecting a message and making it apparent from the outset.

I had hoped that it wouldn't come off as a resume rehash, so do you think I should only focus on one of the issues I mentioned? I have a lot of other volunteer / service work (years of tutoring students and also inmates for awhile, leading service trips for Habitat for Humanity, my thesis was on promoting women's participation in peacebuilding) which I didn't mention because I knew it would overcrowd the statement and would be in my resume.

Any more comments would be appreciated. I will post a revised version incorporating these suggestions.

Also, you never really tell us why poor single immigrant moms don't breastfeed. This is the only thing from this PS I really wanted to know. Do posters in clinics really alter behavior? I would think hospital birthing centers would be a better place to start. Just curious.


Kublaikhan: The reason these women were not breastfeeding was actually the main puzzle of my research. In America, Hispanic women actually have the highest rates of breastfeeding (60-70%), but for some reason these women (almost entirely Puerto Rican and 100% on Medicaid) were only breastfeeding btwn 5-10% of the time. I was an anthropology major, so that was the perspective I took. It's pretty much impossible to discern exactly why women don't breastfeed, but my qualitative and quantitative data showed a strong influence of acculturation (these women believed that to be American, you had to feed your babies formula--even though almost no women use formula in PR). There were also issues of the "sexualization" of the breast here; many of their male partners were not supportive because of how it might look BFing in public. There is also the influence of formula companies, which target hospitals (particularly in low income areas) and provide mothers with a free "gift" of formula in the beginning. It is very difficult to get a baby to breastfeed once you have started using formula--which usually costs around $1500 a year.

As for our intervention, there was a statistically significant increase in women's positive feelings towards breastfeeding. While rates of BFing rose, it was not to a significant level. However, I did find a very strong significance with the women who did choose to breastfeed doing it for longer (previously, the women who BF would do it for two or three days, but after the intervention many then continued for a month or more, a positive change- although 6 months is generally considered the optimal amount of time to BF). To me, this seemed indicative of the fact that increased education for those women inclined to breastfeed did alter their behavior in a positive way.

While posters were a part of the intervention, we also played educational DVDS (in Spanish) in the waiting area, the doctor spoke with each woman personally and provided literature (in Spanish) about the benefits of breastfeeding, and we created a breastfeeding support group that met weekly to help women with any problems they encountered. This women's clinic was an ideal place because women came here for their prenatal care, rather than just to birth the baby, and then they returned for a 6-week check up (where we were able to gauge how long they had actually breastfed).

Sorry-- super long answer, I've been working on this for three years though, so I can't help but talk about it. If you were curious, I hope this answered your question!
Last edited by thestillpoint on Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Almost Final Draft: really need critique!

Postby kublaikahn » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:08 am

thestillpoint wrote:Thanks so much both of you-- your advice is helpful and confirms what I suspected. I will focus on selecting a message and making it apparent from the outset.

I had hoped that it wouldn't come off as a resume rehash, so do you think I should only focus on one of the issues I mentioned? I have a lot of other volunteer / service work (years of tutoring students and also inmates for awhile, leading service trips for Habitat for Humanity, my thesis was on promoting women's participation in peacebuilding) which I didn't mention because I knew it would overcrowd the statement and would be in my resume.

Any more comments would be appreciated. I will post a revised version incorporating these suggestions.

Also, you never really tell us why poor single immigrant moms don't breastfeed. This is the only thing from this PS I really wanted to know. Do posters in clinics really alter behavior? I would think hospital birthing centers would be a better place to start. Just curious.


Kublaikhan: The reason these women were not breastfeeding were actually the main puzzle of my research. In America, Hispanic women actually have the highest rates of breastfeeding (60-70%), but for some reason these women (almost entirely Puerto Rican and 100% on Medicaid) were only breastfeeding btwn 5-10% of the time. I was an anthropology major, so that was the perspective I took. It's pretty much impossible to discern exactly why women don't breastfeed, but my qualitative and quantitative data showed a strong influence of acculturation (these women believed that to be American, you had to feed your babies formula--even though almost no women use formula in PR). There were also issues of the "sexualization" of the breast here; many of their male partners were not supportive because of how it might look BFing in public. There is also the influence of formula companies, which target hospitals (particularly in low income areas) and provide mothers with a free "gift" of formula in the beginning. It is very difficult to get a baby to breastfeed once you have started using formula--which usually costs around $1500 a year.

As for our intervention, there was a statistically significant increase in women's positive feelings towards breastfeeding. While rates of BFing rose, it was not to a significant level. However, I did find a very strong significance with the women who did choose to breastfeed doing it for longer (previously, the women who BF would do it for two or three days, but after the intervention many then continued for a month or more, a positive change- although 6 months is generally considered the optimal amount of time to BF). To me, this seemed indicative of the fact that increased education for those women inclined to breastfeed did alter their behavior in a positive way.

While posters were a part of the intervention, we also played educational DVDS (in Spanish) in the waiting area, the doctor spoke with each woman personally and provided literature (in Spanish) about the benefits of breastfeeding, and we created a breastfeeding support group that met weekly to help women with any problems they encountered. This women's clinic was an ideal place because women came here for their prenatal care, rather than just to birth the baby, and then they returned for a 6-week check up (where we were able to gauge how long they had actually breastfed).

Sorry-- super long answer, I've been working on this for three years though, so I can't help but talk about it. If you were curious, I hope this answered your question!


Thank you. That was my impression, although maybe a slightly different read. I think these woman who live in poverty in big affluent cities are very competitive with each other. I think they see their beauty as their best means to provide for themselves and their children. Just a theory.

This and your passion, which is obvious, is a much better basis for the PS. Focus on this get away from the idea that you every time you mention a problem you have to show the solution and the solution has to be you. This achievement mechanism over simplifies problems. I would focus in on the frustration. Dig down to the deeper issues and tie that into law school.




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