taking critiques on my personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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ttnguyen
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:06 pm

taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby ttnguyen » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:13 pm

hi everyone,

i'm a newbie. here's my first draft of my personal statement...let me know what you think please :)
and i don't know if it matters, but my stats are: 3.76 GPA 165 LSAT. Graduated 2010 from UCSB. I am hoping an excellent PS will get me into UCLA or USC [the rivalry is another matter teehee].

Many factors influence the path we choose to take in life. My father’s impact upon my life, even almost three years after his passing, still resonates. A Vietnam War refugee, he risked death to pursue one simple dream: the freedom to provide a better life for his family. I remember him as superhuman in a way, waking up at five a.m. to work overtime, and then coming home at six p.m. to eat dinner with me and to help me with my math homework. He never complained, always thankful for the opportunity to learn more and work harder. I lost my father to cancer in early 2009; it was the one thing he could not conquer. In our last conversation, he reminded me, “You have the strength to succeed in anything you pursue. Remember that determination will carry you through the hardest times.” My father’s motivation shaped the attitude with which I pursue my goals. I am determined to achieve excellence.
This inner drive to succeed proved especially useful when writing the first honors research paper of my undergraduate education. I had elected to write an analysis of how fashion plays a role in the construction of gender identity. The subject was a bit obscure, the research process still new and unfamiliar, and so my first draft was dubbed “has potential but needs work” by my Professor. Slightly disappointed, I trudged to the library and settled myself amidst a pile of books that had last seen daylight in 1994. I tabbed, I photocopied, I annotated, and I wrote. I went to office hours, and my Professor and I discussed what needed to happen to make my analysis exceptional—more depth, more cohesiveness. I walked away even more determined; I wanted to set the bar high for the rest of my undergraduate work. I wrote three more versions. In the end, I received an A+ and an honors credit. I learned an incredible amount in the course of constructing those twelve pages, not only about writing, gender roles, or my passion for learning, but also about diligence and strong work ethic and how those things can determine the measure of one’s success.
Throughout college, I learned that my success level was often positively correlated with my amount of passion for the particular subject or activity. Because I was passionate about beautiful celebrations and utterly obsessed with organization, I pursued a career in event design and planning. During my years in the creative industry, I was constantly amazed by the sheer ingenuity and creative ability of the human mind. I witnessed a bare terrace transform into breathtaking “underwater” dining room. With my imagination as my guide, I constructed dazzling environments and cultural experiences, transporting guests from a green lawn to a Moroccan palace. In the September of 2010, alongside my team, I designed and coordinated a stunning wedding. It received numerous recognitions in the press. Unfortunately, another designer, who had been brought on last minute as a helping hand, felt that she could claim the event as her own, because she was better known in the public sphere. No one questioned her, and our designs became attributed to her as the original credits became filtered and diluted through social media streams. The incredible frustration of having another person claim my creative work as their property made me realize that the ideas and products of the human mind are invaluable and must be protected. I came to recognize that intellectual property law would allow me to actively work towards protecting humanity’s most valuable asset: imagination. My time in the creative industry served to foster my respect for human creativity, and developed my passion for protecting it.
Ultimately, I believe attitude, learning experiences, and passions shape who we are and who we have the potential to become. The course of my life experience has led me to believe that I am meant to pursue, and am an excellent candidate for, the study of law. Utilizing my unique perspectives and creative background, I will engage in the study and practice of law with passion and determination, striving for excellence. It is my hope to do so at XXX Law School.

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Kess
Posts: 394
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:26 pm

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby Kess » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:15 am

You have a great story to tell, I wouldn't start it with a cliche/over general statement such as "
Many factors influence the path we choose to take in life."

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ttnguyen
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:06 pm

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby ttnguyen » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:24 pm

thank you. i HATE intros. but who doesn't? must brainstorm...

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Kess
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Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:26 pm

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby Kess » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:24 pm

Try to pull your reader in. Perhaps something you felt/experienced/learn from your father's cancer.

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

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:18 pm

The second paragraph should be divided into two paragraphs.

"...protecting humanity's most valuable asset: imagination." Few are likely to agree with this statement or else hallucinogenic drugs would be legal. Also, I cannot imagine how society would protect imagination. My impression from your essay is that one's "work product", not "imagination", is humanity's most valuable asset capable of, & worthy of, protection.

How are your perspectives "unique" ? Maybe "uncommon", but not "unique".

Overall this is a well-written & carefully woven writing that exhibits intelligence, diligence & clarity of thought among other admirable traits.

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ttnguyen
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Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:06 pm

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby ttnguyen » Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:43 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The second paragraph should be divided into two paragraphs.

"...protecting humanity's most valuable asset: imagination." Few are likely to agree with this statement or else hallucinogenic drugs would be legal. Also, I cannot imagine how society would protect imagination. My impression from your essay is that one's "work product", not "imagination", is humanity's most valuable asset capable of, & worthy of, protection.

How are your perspectives "unique" ? Maybe "uncommon", but not "unique".

Overall this is a well-written & carefully woven writing that exhibits intelligence, diligence & clarity of thought among other admirable traits.


Thank you for your excellent points! Some questions...

-Where would you suggest I divide the paragraph?
-I agree with you that my "imagination" statement is dramatic and imprecise, but I wanted to convey the idea that for me IP is way of protecting more than the product itself, but the idea and creative process behind it (which i have come to value so greatly)
-I agree that uncommon is more on point...I would like to say it more...elegantly?

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ttnguyen
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:06 pm

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby ttnguyen » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:55 am

Updated version with a new intro & some re-wording. Thoughts?

A small script on my inner wrist reads “Mạnh.” It was my father’s middle name, meaning “strong” in Vietnamese. The ink reminds me of the kind of person he was, and the person he taught me to be. A war refugee, he risked death to pursue one simple dream: the freedom to provide a better life for his family. I remember him as superhuman, waking up at five a.m. to work, and then coming home at six p.m. to eat dinner with me and to help me with my math homework. He never complained, always thankful for the opportunity to learn more and work harder. I lost my father to cancer in early 2009; it was the one thing he could not conquer. In our last conversation, he reminded me, “You have the strength to succeed in anything you pursue. Remember that determination will carry you through the hardest times.” My father’s motivation shaped the attitude with which I pursue my goals. I am determined to achieve excellence.

This inner drive to succeed proved especially useful when writing the first honors research paper of my undergraduate education. I had elected to write an analysis of how fashion plays a role in the construction of gender identity. The subject was a bit obscure, the research process still new and unfamiliar, and so my first draft was dubbed “has potential but needs work” by my professor. Slightly disappointed, I trudged to the library and settled myself amidst a pile of books that had last seen daylight in 1994. I tabbed, I photocopied, I annotated, and I wrote. I went to office hours, and my professor and I discussed what needed to happen to make my analysis exceptional—more depth, more cohesiveness. I walked away even more determined; I wanted to set the bar high for the rest of my undergraduate work. I wrote three more versions. In the end, I received an A+ and an honors credit. I learned an incredible amount in the course of constructing those twelve pages, not only about writing, gender roles, or my passion for learning, but also about diligence and strong work ethic and how those things can determine the measure of one’s success.

Throughout college, I learned that my success level was often positively correlated with my amount of passion for the particular subject or activity. Because I was passionate about beautiful celebrations and utterly obsessed with organization, I pursued a career in event design and planning. During my years in the creative industry, I was constantly amazed by the sheer ingenuity and creative ability of the human mind. I witnessed a bare terrace transform into a breathtaking “underwater” dining room. With my imagination as my guide, I constructed dazzling environments and cultural experiences, transporting guests from a green lawn to a Moroccan palace.

In the September of 2010, alongside my team, I designed and coordinated a stunning wedding. It received numerous recognitions in the press. Unfortunately, another designer, who had been brought on last minute as a helping hand, felt that she could claim the event as her own, because she was better known in the public sphere. No one questioned her, and our designs became attributed to her as the original credits became filtered and diluted through social media streams. The incredible frustration of having another person claim my creative work as their property made me realize that the ideas and products of the human mind are invaluable and must be protected. I came to recognize that intellectual property law would allow me to actively work towards protecting humanity’s most valuable assets. My time in the creative industry served to foster my respect for human innovation, and developed my passion for protecting it.

Ultimately, I believe attitude, learning experiences, and passions shape who we are and who we have the potential to become. The course of my life experience has led me to believe that I am meant to pursue, and am an excellent candidate for, the study of law. Utilizing my unique perspective and creative background, I will engage in the study and practice of law with passion and determination, striving for excellence. It is my hope to do so at XXX Law School.

lsatcrazy
Posts: 388
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 8:08 pm

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby lsatcrazy » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:16 am

Not sure that starting by mentioning a tattoo is a great idea...

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ttnguyen
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:06 pm

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby ttnguyen » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:23 am

lsatcrazy wrote:Not sure that starting by mentioning a tattoo is a great idea...


I was worried about this. but...really? are they going to judge me because i have a one two inch tattoo commemorating my dad that i lost unexpectedly the day prior to my twentieth birthday? i'd venture to say that from what follows, i am obviously not some symbol of degenerate youth.

i get your point, but...ugh. i can't believe we still hold such silly taboos in today's society.

beyond that...anything? anyone?

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Kess
Posts: 394
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:26 pm

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby Kess » Tue Nov 08, 2011 2:56 pm

lsatcrazy wrote:Not sure that starting by mentioning a tattoo is a great idea...


I, personally, like this intro, but I agree that some adcomms might not be pleased.

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ttnguyen
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:06 pm

Re: taking critiques on my personal statement

Postby ttnguyen » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:21 pm

thanks for the input everyone. i spoke with my pre-law advisor and we came to the conclusion that if they believe my tattoo is a good reason to deny me admission, i probably don't want to attend law school at the kind of institution that supports that sort of narrow minded thinking :D

i guess its a risk i'm willing to take!




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