Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

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paulkemp
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Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby paulkemp » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:39 pm

Hello,

This is my personal statement..if anyone out there could possibly read and offer some brutal or helpful edits it'd be much appreciated. I'm willing to swap as well.


The law library on the third floor of the Newport county courthouse was about 500 square feet with only four rows of book cases and three wooden circular tables for guests. My attention immediately drew to the water stain on the dropped ceiling above the doorway, the result of a leaky pipe. I’ve grown accustomed to looking for structural details such as this because while growing up my Mom passed onto me an attention for detail that I used to help her assess commercial real estate.
While in high school I helped my mom with mapping analyses on commercial properties as often as I could to ensure we had enough income to afford a decent living. My mom has been supporting my sister and me for eighteen years without any assistance; she passed on a philosophy to us that emphasized hard work and a competitive spirit. My sister and I were given a solid foundation to grow from and we excelled in school and developed as morally responsible adults because we had her as a role model.
An economic recession took my mom’s career in 2008, and the loss forced me to pay for my tuition costs and living expenses in college. I was already working for my University computer labs installing software and fixing student laptops, and serving at a restaurant downtown on the weekends. My weekly income wasn’t large enough to cover my costs, so after meeting a local real estate broker I became licensed and started working for him by renting out apartments to college students in Newport.
Salve Regina is a small catholic school that enrolls only 2,500 full time students. Available housing is only guaranteed to freshman and sophomores so most of the juniors and seniors move into apartments off campus. The local residents of Newport are not very welcoming to the college students, in fact some of the real estate agents and property managers in Newport had gained a reputation for taking advantage of Salve students by using unethical tactics, exaggerating the supply of available apartments and creating convoluted contracts, so I quickly gained the trust of many students who had housing needs in the spring of my sophomore year.
I helped Tom Shumway, a Salve student, move into an apartment downtown, and I was in the law library of the local courthouse that afternoon because of his property manager. Tom had neglected to take pictures of his property before he signed his lease and his property manager refused to send him his security deposit back while wrongly accusing him of property damage that existed before he moved in. The blatant unethical behavior of the manager encouraged me to find a solution for Tom so I attempted to communicate with the owner and spent my time in that library familiarizing myself with the details of his lease. I became more aware of the intricacies of Rhode Island tenant/landlord law after applying the same detail I used for assessing properties. By the time I had scrutinized every angle of Tom’s possible solutions I discovered an issue with the landlord’s paperwork that the owner incorrectly filed with the county. After helping Tom explain the situation to the owner it became apparent that this issue highlighted the managers neglect and was valuable enough for him to return Tom’s security deposit and avoid small claims court while firmly cementing my determination to pursue a career in law.
After graduation I worked for a title agency as a crisis coordinator helping borrowers’ refinance on home loans and then for a law firm as a mediator for borrowers with Freddie Mac loans facing foreclosure. After the struggle of working three part-time jobs while attending school and then witnessing firsthand the struggle of millions of homeowners lose their mortgage, I’m committing myself to learning the complicacy of real estate contracts so I can actively help those that are disadvantaged because of their misunderstanding.
The amount of detail that borders perfectionism that I gained from writing property reports, the hard work ethic I derived from my mother’s habits, and the pleasure I get of actively helping people with housing needs will assist me in my legal studies and the reason why I would like to further my studies
Last edited by paulkemp on Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lsatcrazy
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby lsatcrazy » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:44 pm

You are applying to FSU, not to use their library, yes? Change the last sentence, way cheesy...

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JoeMo
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby JoeMo » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:49 pm

paulkemp wrote:Hello,

This is my personal statement..if anyone out there could possibly read and offer some brutal or helpful edits it'd be much appreciated. I'm willing to swap as well.


The law library on the third floor of the Newport county courthouse was about 500 square feet with only four rows of book cases and three wooden circular tables for guests. My attention immediately drew to the water stain on the dropped ceiling above the doorway, the result of a leaky pipe. I’ve grown accustomed to looking for structural details such as this because while growing up my Mom passed onto me an attention for detail that I used to help her assess commercial real estate.
While in high school I helped my mom with mapping analyses on commercial properties as often as I could to ensure we had enough income to afford a decent living. My mom has been supporting my sister and me for eighteen years without any assistance; she passed on a philosophy to us that emphasized hard work and a competitive spirit. My sister and I were given a solid foundation to grow from and we excelled in school and developed as morally responsible adults because we had her as a role model.
An economic recession took my mom’s career in 2008, and the loss forced me to pay for my tuition costs and living expenses in college. I was already working for my University computer labs installing software and fixing student laptops, and serving at a restaurant downtown on the weekends. My weekly income wasn’t large enough to cover my costs, so after meeting a local real estate broker I became licensed and started working for him by renting out apartments to college students in Newport.
Salve Regina is a small catholic school that enrolls only 2,500 full time students. Available housing is only guaranteed to freshman and sophomores so most of the juniors and seniors move into apartments off campus. The local residents of Newport are not very welcoming to the college students, in fact some of the real estate agents and property managers in Newport had gained a reputation for taking advantage of Salve students by using unethical tactics, exaggerating the supply of available apartments and creating convoluted contracts, so I quickly gained the trust of many students who had housing needs in the spring of my sophomore year.
I helped Tom Shumway, a Salve student, move into an apartment downtown, and I was in the law library of the local courthouse that afternoon because of his property manager. Tom had neglected to take pictures of his property before he signed his lease and his property manager refused to send him his security deposit back while wrongly accusing him of property damage that existed before he moved in. The blatant unethical behavior of the manager encouraged me to find a solution for Tom so I attempted to communicate with the owner and spent my time in that library familiarizing myself with the details of his lease. I became more aware of the intricacies of Rhode Island tenant/landlord law after applying the same detail I used for assessing properties. By the time I had scrutinized every angle of Tom’s possible solutions I discovered an issue with the landlord’s paperwork that the owner incorrectly filed with the county. After helping Tom explain the situation to the owner it became apparent that this issue highlighted the managers neglect and was valuable enough for him to return Tom’s security deposit and avoid small claims court while firmly cementing my determination to pursue a career in law.
After graduation I worked for a title agency as a crisis coordinator helping borrowers’ refinance on home loans and then for a law firm as a mediator for borrowers with Freddie Mac loans facing foreclosure. After the struggle of working three part-time jobs while attending school and then witnessing firsthand the struggle of millions of homeowners lose their mortgage, I’m committing myself to learning the complicacy of real estate contracts so I can actively help those that are disadvantaged because of their misunderstanding.
The amount of detail that borders perfectionism that I gained from writing property reports, the hard work ethic I derived from my mother’s habits, and the pleasure I get of actively helping people with housing needs will assist me in my legal studies and the reason why I would like to further my studies in the FSU Law library instead of the third floor of the Newport County courthouse.


I don't like it... Libraries are impressive but your PS should not revolve around them.

also... if you're going to keep it. and the reason why I would like to further my studies in the FSU Law library should be "are the reasons"

paulkemp
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby paulkemp » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:05 pm

haha good call lsatcrazy

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JoeMo
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby JoeMo » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:13 pm

I re-read your PS and I think you have the makings of a good PS but it's just not written in a way that captivates the reader.

I would make it less detailed about the actual proceedings and talk more about the fact that you had to pay for your own school, that you did this by working three jobs while attending school (full-time), that one of those jobs was helping other college students find property without becoming victims to the predatory nature of the Newport real estate market. Etc...

Good luck.

paulkemp
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby paulkemp » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:19 pm

Thanks...appreciate it..I'll change it around

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A Swift
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby A Swift » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:41 pm

Took a stab at your essay. You have a great story. I may have revolved the whole thing around helping Tom, but anytime you mention someone else in an essay you risk making it about them. The mom stuff was way too much. Try to say "mom" less than three times, if at all. You worked with your family doing commercial real estate evaluation. Something vague enough that we are not thinking of your mom taking you to work on days you had off from school. I did not proof it with a fine touch comb, but I think this is a good start.

Good luck!


On the third floor of the Newport Country Courthouse, in the court’s five hundred square foot law library, the leg of an old oak table rest on a piece of water stained carpet. The sparsely furnished room and harsh florescent lights did little to hide the brown and black result of a leaky pipe-- beyond someone’s attempt to cover it with the oak table—but I imagine countless people noticed the stain and did not give it a second thought. I, however, could not stop looking; a (frustrating) consequence of focusing on minute structural details after working in commercial real estate and helping renters avoid the tactics of unethical landlords.

[While in high school I helped my mom with mapping analyses on commercial properties as where i learned hard work and attention to detail.] [Show this, don’t tell it. Go easy on the my mom, my sister. Say family. But make it about you. This isn’t as essay about them, or Tom.]

After the Great Recession put financial pressure on our family, I worked hard to alleviate the burden of my continuing education and began to pay for my tuition and living expenses in college. First as technician at the University Computer Labs, I later found work with a local realtor and became a licensed real estate broker. As a real estate broker, I employed the skills I learned while working with my family in high school, and began helping fellow Salve students find housing in Newport.

Though the national housing economy struggled, rental housing for college students in Newport was a sellers market. Guaranteed housing was limited to first and second year students, and many landlords were hesitant, or outright refused, renting to young adults. In fact, real estate agents and property managers in Newport gained a reputation for taking advantage of Salve students by using unethical tactics, exaggerating the supply of available apartments, and creating convoluted contracts. As a student myself, I gained the trust of my clients and worked hard to honor their trust.

I noticed the water stain in Newport Country Courthouse law library while helping one of my clients. Tom, a Salve student, moved into an apartment downtown, but did not take pictures of his property before he signed his lease. After moving out, Tom’s landlord refused to refund his security deposit and accused him of causing previously existing property damage. Understanding that I could use my experience to advocate for Tom, and encouraged by my belief that the landlord was acting unethically, I spent my free time in the courthouse's law library familiarizing myself with the details of his lease and the intricacies of Rhode Island tenant/landlord law. Sure enough, I discovered an issue with the landlord’s paperwork that the owner incorrectly filed with the county. The small error was enough to compel the landlord to return Tom’s security deposit and avoid small claims court.

After graduation, [chasing] the sense of gratification I felt after telling Tom the good news, I worked as a crisis coordinator to help borrowers’ refinance home loans and then as a mediator for borrowers with Freddie Mac loans facing foreclosure. Witnessing firsthand the struggle of millions of homeowners lose their family home, I committing myself to learning the intricacies of real estate contracts so I can advocate for homeowners burdened by the complexity of contracts they played little to no part in drafting. The attention to detail I gained from my experience in the real estate industry and the hard work ethic I derived from working at a young age will prove invaluable as a law student and a lawyer. And the the satisfaction I received from advocating for struggling homeowners and renters such as Tom are the reason why I want to attend FSU Law and continue the legal education I began in law library of the Newport County Courthouse.

paulkemp
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby paulkemp » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:54 pm

Wow..all really good points. Thank you!

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JoeMo
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby JoeMo » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:58 pm

Wait... the Great Depression? you were not alive in the 1920's. If you were, then you're an auto-admit.

paulkemp
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby paulkemp » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:03 pm

He wrote, The Great Recession, but good point...it stands out and I'm not going to include that word.

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JoeMo
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby JoeMo » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:07 pm

paulkemp wrote:He wrote, The Great Recession, but good point...it stands out and I'm not going to include that word.


Oh wow... that shows you how much our brains are accustomed to seeing two words together. I read it as the great depression more than once.

paulkemp
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby paulkemp » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:17 pm

JoMo...what are your thoughts? I thought he had an excellent point about the overuse of the word "mom"..Should I include more detail in my opening paragraph and try to put the reader in my setting?

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JoeMo
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby JoeMo » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:23 pm

paulkemp wrote:JoMo...what are your thoughts? I thought he had an excellent point about the overuse of the word "mom"..Should I include more detail in my opening paragraph and try to put the reader in my setting?


I say start over. Make it more about you and less about your surroundings, your mom, and that kid from Salve. (as a Rhode Islander, I have to say I love the Salve campus but that's totally off-topic)

I really do think you should build on the fact that you had to work three jobs to help your family by paying for your own tuition and that you accomplished good grades while you did this. Talk about the fact that it might have been difficult at times but you got it done and you feel that the influences of your mother were what helped you in this respect.

Once you've established that, I would then go into how one of those jobs was helping students that were being taken advantage of in Newport find suitable housing.

And then with a solid conclusion I think you've got a pretty solid PS.

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A Swift
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby A Swift » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:29 pm

Disagree. This essay is workable. Fix it now, don't start over. Your apps are already late.

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JoeMo
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby JoeMo » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:31 pm

A Swift wrote:Disagree. This essay is workable. Fix it now, don't start over. Your apps are already late.


The amount of time he could spend fixing it, is the same amount of time it would take to write a better one. There's no point in submitting an essay that is filled with talk about oak tables and water stains. They want to hear all about YOU. 2 pages about you. That's all you have, do you really want to spend half a page on tables, libraries, water stains, campuses, and people that are not you?

I think not.

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A Swift
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby A Swift » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:05 pm

The difference between this essay and the best written essay they have ever seen will not affect his admission chances at all. The difference in admission chances between turning in this essay now and any other essay later is huge.


YOU ED'ed UVA. They did not read your PS. And you are on TLS telling an applicant to delay his applications and take more time to write a better PS. That is bad advice.

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Strange
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby Strange » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:18 pm

A Swift wrote:Disagree. This essay is workable. Fix it now, don't start over. Your apps are already late.


Isnt this language a little strong? On the TLS applicant FAQ they are saying before Thanksgiving is still early.

Just trying to comfort myself like that other guy :D

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JoeMo
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby JoeMo » Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:17 pm

A Swift wrote:The difference between this essay and the best written essay they have ever seen will not affect his admission chances at all. The difference in admission chances between turning in this essay now and any other essay later is huge.


YOU ED'ed UVA. They did not read your PS. And you are on TLS telling an applicant to delay his applications and take more time to write a better PS. That is bad advice.


Then why care at all? The OP was asking for advice on the PS he had written, which if I were reading it (and under the assumption that the adcom is reading it) would not impress me. But I feel he has the makings of a great essay.

Now if the OP were asking "what are the chances that an adcom will overlook the flaws in this essay because my numbers are strong?" then my answer might've been different.

And yes I ED'd because I really want to go there. I realize they probably didn't read my PS but I still made sure to send in a piece of writing that I would stand behind.

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sumtimesuwonder
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby sumtimesuwonder » Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:56 am

i think you should talk in more detail about how working those three jobs and how the nature of those jobs made you develop tools that will allow you ot succeed in a law-oriented environment. i think you go too far in describing the story of Tom, when that space could be used for describing yourself. Its a good start, and you have material, its just it needs to be refocused.

paulkemp
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby paulkemp » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:23 pm

sumtimesuwonder wrote:i think you should talk in more detail about how working those three jobs and how the nature of those jobs made you develop tools that will allow you ot succeed in a law-oriented environment. i think you go too far in describing the story of Tom, when that space could be used for describing yourself. Its a good start, and you have material, its just it needs to be refocused.


I agree. A good point. I made some edits last night. I kept the first two paragraphs but took out most of the instances where I used the word mom. Everything else I altered a bit to change the impression, and focus more of the attention on what qualities might make that situation applicable to a good career in law school. I don't want to start over entirely because I think the central idea and flow of my PS can hold up...unless you guys think otherwise, I'd love to hear comments/complaints...but I'm worried that I might just be scratching the surface.


The law library on the third floor of the Newport county courthouse was about 500 square feet with only four rows of book cases and three wooden circular tables for guests. My attention immediately drew to the water stain on the dropped ceiling above the doorway, the result of a leaky pipe. I’ve grown accustomed to looking for structural details such as this because while growing up I developed a knack for an attention to detail that I used to help assess commercial real estate property.
While in high school I helped my mom with mapping analyses on commercial properties as often as I could to ensure we had enough income to afford a decent living. She supported my sister and me for eighteen years without any assistance, passing on a philosophy to us that emphasized hard work and a competitive spirit. My sister and I were given a solid foundation to grow from and we excelled in school and developed as morally responsible adults because we had her as a role model.
An economic recession ended my mom’s career in 2008 though, and the loss forced me to pay for my tuition costs and living expenses in college. I worked for the University computer labs installing software and fixing student laptops and I served at a restaurant downtown on the weekends, but my weekly income wasn’t large enough to cover my costs. Therefore, I became licensed in real estate and started working for a local broker by helping him rent out apartments to college students in Newport.
Salve Regina is a small catholic school with available housing only guaranteed to freshman and sophomores, most of the juniors and seniors move into apartments off campus. The local residents of Newport are not very welcoming to college students. Some of the property managers in Newport have gained a reputation for taking advantage of Salve students by using unethical tactics, exaggerating the supply of available apartments and creating convoluted contracts, so I quickly gained the trust of many students who had housing needs in the spring of my sophomore year.
I walked into the law library of the local courthouse that afternoon because a property manager refused to send a client I referred their security deposit while wrongly accusing him of property damage that existed before he moved in. The blatant unethical behavior of the manager encouraged me to search for a solution and since I was accustomed to managing my time effectively with part time employment and full time classes, I found time to put effort into familiarizing myself with the details of this lease. I persevered by meticulously combing through the intricacies of tenant law and after an unhealthy attention to detail I discovered an issue with the landlord’s paperwork that the owner incorrectly filed with the county. This issue highlighted the manager’s neglect so I used the persuasive demeanor I obtained from my experiences in the restaurant industry to convince him to return the security deposit in order to avoid small claims court. I used the research skills I gained from class to analyze a contract and I helped a fellow student reclaim his security deposit while the success of this experience created more opportunities for me to assist students with housing needs. The predatory nature of the Newport real estate market cemented my determination to pursue a career in law.
After graduation I worked for a title agency as a crisis coordinator helping borrowers’ refinance on home loans and then for a law firm as a mediator for borrowers with Freddie Mac loans facing foreclosure. After the struggle of working three part-time jobs while attending school and then witnessing firsthand the struggle of millions of homeowners lose their mortgage I’ve become acutely aware of the pessimism resulting from the housing recession. I’m committing myself to learning the complicacy of real estate contracts so I can actively help those that are disadvantaged because of their misunderstanding.
My determination is derived from the diligence I’ve fostered since college and the opportunities I made for myself. The amount of detail that borders perfectionism that I gained from writing property reports, the hard work ethic I derived from my mother’s habits, and the pleasure I get of actively helping people with housing needs will assist me in furthering my legal studies
Last edited by paulkemp on Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JoeMo
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby JoeMo » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:09 pm

If you think it's good then go with it. What are we but a bunch of people on the same boat? Good luck.

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aarias11
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Re: Hoping for some tough love...personal statement..3rd edit

Postby aarias11 » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:18 am

Strong on detail, weak on SOUL. Less of being technical more of being real.
Just my take, although take what i say with a grain of salt because.. wel just cause




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