Diversity Statement Update: Final Draft worthy?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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hyakku
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Diversity Statement Update: Final Draft worthy?

Postby hyakku » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:02 am

. Updated version in last post, think this is close to a final draft.
Last edited by hyakku on Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:19 pm, edited 11 times in total.

VyingDestiny
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic, not sure.

Postby VyingDestiny » Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:50 am

I felt helpless. As a grown man, it had been years since I had tears welling up in my face like I did as XXX repeated what he said. “Greens? You heard me[,] man? It’s true. XXX is dead. He was just shot by the cops six times.”

My life has often been one between worlds[awkward wording]. I often struggled to find my niche, moving often as a child until high school[also awkward wording]. Starting high school, I lived in a town on the cusp of New York and a poor area of New Jersey. Despite this, I was fortunate enough to go to a rather cosmopolitan high school, experiencing a rather mixed crowd. I got to know some of the closest friends who would later fall into “the game” or “banging” (dealing and joining a gang respectively). [I do not like the use of a parenthetical here. If you think adcomms are unfamiliar with gangbanging, just use the non-colloquial terms to describe it without the parenthetical]. They would often find my mother’s kindness (and cooking) welcoming and due to spending a few years learning the intricacies of computers and cell phones to make money on the side, many of them would come to me for help [This is poorly structured. The subject of this sentence is hazy at best. Rework].

Oftentimes I’d notice the extreme difference between myself and some of my friends. When I first arrived I was a nerdy black kid studying Japanese and constantly enamored with anime. Many of them were just getting introduced to marijuana. As time progressed it was difficult to watch some of these same people who had been in my home be arrested, jumped, or injured, but it also kept me motivated to keep striving. Upon entering college, I had gone from watching to being watched; many of my friends began to question me about going to university instead of trying to solicit me to join them. [This is going to sound rude, but this paragraph invokes a childish tone with me. You do not come off as a mature intellectual here. Your language is just a bit too plain]

XXX was one of the people who arguably had changed this way the most. For many of the years I had known him, he had been consistently entangled with the law for issues ranging from drugs to weaponry. Like many in our economic position, he came from a broken home and limited resources, yet in my sophomore year of college he contacted me detailing a miraculous change. He had become a philosophy and business major, relinquished all of his previous dealing habits, and most impressively had theories and opinions that he wanted to discuss with me. Over the next year he cultivated my mind as much as I’d like to believe I cultivated his with our discussions. [An interesting paragraph, but this last sentence is poorly worded, and ruins the flow.]

Receiving that call about XXX death was not the first violent death of a friend[Rework], but I do hope that he is the last. I often wonder what occurred to bring him back to the brink so quickly, but I find it easier to focus on the future, and being an exemplar to others to avoid this. I believe that the best contribution I can give back to my community is to continue to excel, to show others in my position that there are paths not yet taken. What I wish to contribute to XXX is not just my skin color, nor simply hardship I’ve faced; I believe we all have faced significant hardships that cannot be quantified. [I'm sorry, but what does this even mean?]


What I like:
You're using a strong personal experience to show diversity; stick with this. The death of a close friend is often the catalyst to personal growth, so I can see why you would choose this topic.

What I don't like:
Unfortunately, I just do not see a cohesive story or structure here. In a way, this reads as you disconnecting from your personal experiences rather than embracing them. You've highlighted your intimate knowledge of gangbangers, but there is no real empathy here. While I can understand you being hesitant to show empathy to your gangbanging friends, I think you can definitely utilize that empathetic response to demonstrate why you bring a critical perspective to the legal profession. You hint on this when you talk about those gangbangers reforming in response to your initiative; THAT is strong subject material which should be brought to the forefront.

If your goal is to show that you've seen the other side of things, I think you've done that. But I don't think you've done it in a way that separates you from the police who regularly respond to these incidences, or county executives who just want these problematic kids to go away. Honestly, you paint yourself as a confused outsider rather than the crucial insider, and I think that is a critical dynamic you should aim to change. Best of luck to you in revising your topic, and I hope that my criticism is helpful in providing you with some direction.

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hyakku
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic, not sure.

Postby hyakku » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:57 am

Edit: Took all of vyings advice into account and tried combining some of my other drafts to provide a "draft" for this that hopefully shows the direction I'm trying to go, please let me know what you all think.

Also, while DSes generally seem to be short up here, when I look on most of my apps they say 1-4 pages on average, most saying either 1-2 or 2-4. This is roughly two and i'm sure after the help I get up here it would be a lot less, so I'm wondering if I should really even be concerned with WC at this point rather then fixing the egregious grammatical errors and whatnot.

VyingDestiny
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic. Need help handling subject.

Postby VyingDestiny » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:06 pm

Lol, idk why you put up a revised copy without bumping your original topic, so here is a bump for you. I unfortunately have an engagement to run to, so I will edit this post later with my thoughts on your revised version. Overall though, after my first read through, I think this is a much stronger statement. Detailed analysis will come later tonight.

rapstar
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic. Need help handling subject.

Postby rapstar » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:42 pm

I think you have the right sort of background to make a strong DS. However, I really think you need to work on making this a more cohesive story. I wouldn't jump around in time so much. Just give us straightforward language in chronological order. Also, don't put "blunt" and "boost" and your other words in quotes. As written, your theme is not easy to understand. It should be really simple.

I moved around as a kid a lot; my mom married when i was a young teenager; i went to a new high school; met druggies, petty crims, and gangbangers (introduce friend); they were a product of their environment and didn't have a lot guidance; it was hard for me to fit in exactly because i didn't agree with them; but, i could understand why they did the things that they did; i worked hard; went to college; kept in touch with a lot of these people because i genuinely cared about them; some changed and some didn't; tell about friend and unfortunate death; then say that you want to pursue legal education because you want to be able to provide an example and help people like those that you grew up with; you want to show them a better track; you can relate to them because of your upbringing; your experience may bring a new perspective to your law class.

Every sentence should have a reason for being included - Don't include sentences that have nothing to do with the above story.

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hyakku
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic. Need help handling subject.

Postby hyakku » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:02 pm

Thank you both for the feedback. I'm still unclear with bumping rules and im not one to spam up a forum so I appreciate the bumps. Thanks for the help as well rapstar, thats exactly the type of guidance I was hoping for.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic. Need help handling subject.

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:12 pm

This draft is a bit rough to offer for critiques. Remove the sidebar comments, proofread & correct the obvious errors & fill in the XXXXs (since there is no reason to conceal your friend's name or the name of the law school). By presenting a better draft, readers should be able to offer more insightful critiques. As presented, it is headache inducing.

P.S. There is nothing that qualifies as "extremely sensitive" in your essay, in my opinion.

VyingDestiny
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic. Need help handling subject.

Postby VyingDestiny » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:48 am

I felt helpless. As a grown man, it had been years since I had tears welling up in my face like I did as XXX repeated what he said. “Greens? You heard me man? It’s true. XXX is dead. He was just shot by the cops six times.” [I honestly don't know why people use these. It is a cheap, eye-rolling way of attempting to grab attention, at least in my opinion. Organize your next paragraph in a way that builds attention, omit this.

I often struggled to find my niche, not settling until my mother married when I was in high school [This is still awkward wording]. We moved in with my stepfather to a town on the cusp of New York and a poor area of New Jersey. [Do you mean a poor area of New Jersey on the cusp of New York?] Despite this, I was fortunate enough to go to a rather cosmopolitan high school with a rather diverse crowd. It was here that I met some of my closest friends who would later fall into “hustling” or “banging”. Having spent a few years learning the intricacies of computers and cell phones, I initially met many of them through a side venture I had running fixing these computer and cell phone devices for pocket change. Plus, They always knew felt welcome, knowing my mother would welcome them with open arms and a good meal.

I’d immediately noticed the extreme difference between myself and some of my friends these future bangers. When I first arrived I was an atypical, thirteen year old black kid studying Japanese and constantly enamored with anime; many of them were just learning how to roll their first “blunts”. Growing older I witnessed these same friends be arrested, beaten, robbed and threatened for their actions pursuing lives they believed were impossible through using their inherent abilities and perseverance that I knew they possessed [This just needs reworking, I don't really know what you're trying to say here]. But my words were insufficient to convince them of this fact; years of mere passionate rhetoric from parents and society had given them little to show and much to yearn for, how were mine any different? If I wanted to effect initiate change, I needed to show that there was an escape from our positions [our?] beyond learning to play “the game”. [You do not mention that you have gone through similar beatings, etc, so I would be hesitant about the use of 'our' here]

My chance to do so didn’t come quickly, but it did come gradually. Through Even after the arrests, the lost friends and shattered lives, my decision to persevere through my own merit has shown these people that there are alternative routes in life. Some of these same people would later tell me that my moving to XXX for university had given them the impetus to reform. XXX was one of the people who arguably had changed this ways the most. For many of the years I had known him, he had been consistently entangled with the law for issues ranging from dealing to weapon possession. Like many in our economic position, he came from a broken home and limited resources, and few thought he would make it far. I’ll admit myself; I was shocked to hear from him when he contacted me in my sophomore year of college. What followed was even more impressive: he had become a philosophy and business major, relinquished all of his previous dealing habits, and most impressively had theories and opinions that he wanted to discuss with me.


It was over the next year discussing the rich texts of Lao Tzu and mentally sparring with the same man I had known to “boost” cars and start the night looking to fight that I realized how great of an impact my decisions could have on others.. Despite the fact that XXX’s death wasn’t the first of our friend’s to die young, it was certainly one of the most difficult to digest. I often wonder what occurred to bring him back to the brink so quickly, but I find it easier to focus on the future, and being an exemplar to others to avoid this. I believe that the best contribution I can give back to my community is to continue to excel, to show others in my position that there are paths not yet taken. What I wish to contribute to XXX is not just my skin color, nor simply hardship I’ve faced. I believe that perspective I can provide is one that recognizes those that are often overlooked or cast aside by society and inspire them to rise up. [I do not like this paragraph, see 'What I don't like' for more]

End is weird.



What I like:
This is more cohesive and coherent. I suppose I might be biased because you've done exactly what I suggested, but I do honestly believe the real strength of your statement comes from your ability and desire to improve others around you who do not believe in their own capacity.

What I dislike:
The conclusion. I think you need to scrap it entirely, and begin anew. To me you could structure it such that you reveal how wounding the death of your friend was to you, and the sort of deep introspection his death provoked in you. It would make for a better sell if you can spin it such that his death hurt so much because he was such an exemplar of reform. Please don't spin it that way if that is disingenuous, but...I get the feeling that his death really impacted you and cemented in you the relevance of living by example.

The way you have it currently makes his death seem more of a surprise/shock than a catalyst. Emphasize and bring out that catalyst effect, and you will have a solid statement.

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hyakku
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic. Need help handling subject.

Postby hyakku » Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:47 pm

.
Last edited by hyakku on Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hyakku
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Re: Updated DS Statement. Appreciate any Advice

Postby hyakku » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:31 am

.

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hyakku
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic. Updated

Postby hyakku » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:51 pm

.
Last edited by hyakku on Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

VyingDestiny
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Re: Extremely Sensitive DS topic. Updated

Postby VyingDestiny » Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:57 am

I felt helpless. As a grown man, it had been years since I had tears welling up in my face like I did as Kevin repeated what he said. “Greens? You heard me man? It’s true. Mike’s dead. He was just shot by the cops six times.”

Living in Sometown, New Jersey, a small town on the outskirts of New York, I’ve sadly grown accustomed to news of this nature. [This clause seems contradictory given the nature of your conclusion. The point you're ultimately making is that this instance is special, so why start like this?] We My family moved there at the beginning of my high school career, after my mother and stepfather married. Despite its tiny size, the town is more akin to some cities in regards to its relatively diverse ethnic makeup. The surrounding area is known for particular places of endemically low socioeconomic conditions where gang violence and drug peddling have become common professions for high school kids.[Gang violence is a profession? Probably needs reworking] Though I was unaware at the time, some of these same hustlers and bangers I would meet here would irrevocably [word choice] guide me down the paths I tread daily.

Mike was one of these people. I first met him through a side venture I had customizing cell phones,. I immediately noticed the extreme difference between him and myself and our differences were glaring and significant. When I first arrived in town I was an atypical, thirteen year old gadget enthusiast studying Japanese; though only a few years older, Mike was already well established as a local dealer. As the years passed however, we developed an uncanny friendship based on a combination of his odd love of discussing political philosophy and a dearth of members in his own circle to do so with. It was in these same years that I would witness Mike be arrested, beaten, robbed and have his life threatened while playing “the game”, selling drugs, and getting involved with gangs.

It was difficult to see Mike caught up in this life while I was powerless to say anything to stop him, but at the same time, I could empathize with his frustrations. I had been blessed with a single mother willing to sacrifice a social life and her own comfort by working tirelessly to privately educate me as a child, a rarity amongst the African American community. In contrast, Mike had lost his mother at a young age and had lived on his own since his late teen years. Even in the instances that he was simply walking down the street, his reputation eventually became such that police would "find" reasons to search him. Eventually, he seemed to have resigned himself to accepting that he had been tossed aside by society, inevitably thrust into a life of crime simply to subsist. [Consider ending this with a comparison instead, i.e. "Whereas my mother's influence kept me from ever feeling consigned to a hopeless future, he never had anyone to push him to greater heights." Such a comparison keeps you in the picture, while the current paragraph focuses excessively on Mike.]

Years after our first meeting, I was therefore shocked to hear from him when he contacted me in my sophomore year of college. What followed The ensuing conversation was astonishing: he had joined the local community college, became a top philosophy and business student, and had relinquished all of his previous dealing habits. While it had not been previously apparent to me how I personally could be a catalyst to change those from my community, it was then that Mike Mike's incredible reformation made me realize just how influential my example could be to others.

As I had witnessed his transformation to become one my most intellectually respected peers intellectually, I was stunned and dismayed when I heard the news of Mike's tragic death. A cryptic, depressed Facebook status is all that is left to explain his sudden reversal before events that led regression into crime, eventually leading to a gunfight between him and the police. Despite the fact that his death was not the first of my friends or the last, witnessing such a monumental shift in his behavior has made his passing the most difficult to digest. I realize now though, that the time for reflection has passed. I look to the future daily, striving to be an example to others from my community and help prevent tragedies like Mike's story by showing that there are alternative routes to a difficult life. I wish to contribute more than simply my skin tone as an aspect of diversity [This strikes me as a random barb, as if you're trying to subtly imply that you know being black matters much more than your individual story]; it is my hope to bring my unique perspective to the classroom and inspire others from my background to strive to similar heights.


What I like:

This is a significant improvement. The language is more sophisticated, the story is more streamlined, and the structure is effective. I've noted where I think you can still improve stylistically, but as a whole, I think this is a strong statement.

What I dislike:

I will note that the one thing this statement does not effectively do is convey your character. You talk so much about your friend, he honestly sounds like the more interesting person here. We learn a bit about your background, we learn a good deal about Mike, and then we're told you want more Mikes in the world, sans regression phase.

There is a link missing here, and I think that link is you. We can INFER that you are the reason for Mike's change, but there is nothing in your writing that makes this explicit. Add that missing element, and I'd be hard pressed to find a flaw.

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hyakku
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Re: Diversity Statement Update: Did I cut too much?

Postby hyakku » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:30 am

Thanks, that's exactly what someone else has said. I'm trying to strike that balance now, i just don't want to take credit for everything he did because I definitely wasn't the sole catalyst I'm sure. I'm finding it hard to convey that without feeling like in taking too much credit. Thank you though, I'm going to work on that.

Edit: pretty sure I got it. Gonna work on this tomorrow when im fresh, but thanks so much man I really appreciate it. Getting excited to apply

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hyakku
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Re: Diversity Statement Update: Did I cut too much?

Postby hyakku » Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:17 pm

.
Last edited by hyakku on Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

VyingDestiny
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Re: Diversity Statement Update: Did I cut too much?

Postby VyingDestiny » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:23 pm

The two drafts are incomparable. The first is vastly superior to the second in terms of content, style, and delivery. I probably should have done my edits within the block quote, but my comments this time are short enough that I didn't think it was called for.

In paragraph 2, it should read "It was here that I met Mike, someone who would help shape the path I currently tread," or something similar. Invariably is a strange word choice.

In the last sentence of paragraph 3, it should be "I would witness Mike arrested..." Omit the "be".

Beyond that, I think this version is good for submission; your edits add enough character to make your conclusion convincing. I wish you luck in your cycle.




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