Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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hadisious
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Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby hadisious » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:47 pm

Hey everybody. Here is my current working final draft of my PS. I would love some BRUTAL and HONEST critique. Please don't hold back! Thanks!!! I'm also willing to swap if anybody needs it, just PM.

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REVISED VERSION - SCROLL DOWN

Thanks for feedback!
Last edited by hadisious on Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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FryBreadPower
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby FryBreadPower » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:54 pm

I think you have a great writing style and the genuine story really speaks to me as a reader. My only general comment is that its a heart felt story with a sentence at the end about law school. It only slightly address why you would do well in law school and misses the point entirely on why law school in the first place. A lot of people on the forum will tell you that you don't need to include the latter, but having spoken with some AdComms I think it would be to your benefit to at least slightly describe how your study pushed you to want to study law (it honestly could probably just be a sentence or two).

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DickyBumBum
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby DickyBumBum » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm

I agree that this is very well written. My criticism is that it lacks a distinct focus. You try to provide an encompassing account of your formative experiences, and present several very compelling snapshots of your life, but don't spend enough time on any one in particular to truly draw me in. It's kind of a general biography of experiences in adversity. Maybe other folks will find this effective. To me, it feels almost rushed, as if you are trying to fit every hardship you have overcome into the span of a few pages. I think it's probably "good enough" as is, but with the material you've got here already, it could be excellent. I would also lose the italics.

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hadisious
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby hadisious » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:36 pm

Thanks for the replies. If I were to narrow down my focus, what stands out as the best material? I felt like I was talking about high school too much and had to transition to college time as soon as possible. I definitely get the "biographical overview" feel that it has right now. And i'm also torn between how much I should talk about law school specifically.

I tried to string it along something like this:
weird/hard childhood -> made me focus on independence/friendships -> experienced maturity and losing friend -> person I am now

I always feel the need for so much back story but I'm not sure what else I can cut out. At this point I feel like i'm numb to what is actually good and worth keeping versus what isn't. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks for all the help!!

Keep em coming! I need all the critique I can get!

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FryBreadPower
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby FryBreadPower » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:38 pm

hadisious wrote:Thanks for the replies. If I were to narrow down my focus, what stands out as the best material? I felt like I was talking about high school too much and had to transition to college time as soon as possible. I definitely get the "biographical overview" feel that it has right now. And i'm also torn between how much I should talk about law school specifically.

I tried to string it along something like this:
weird/hard childhood -> made me focus on independence/friendships -> experienced maturity and losing friend -> person I am now

I always feel the need for so much back story but I'm not sure what else I can cut out. At this point I feel like i'm numb to what is actually good and worth keeping versus what isn't. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks for all the help!!

Keep em coming! I need all the critique I can get!



Yeah, Paragraphs 2-4 could probably be condensed to half the length to make room for more discussion of post-college ideas.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:45 pm

This is an excellent law school personal statement essay, although I was hoping that Trey represented your split personality. Except for one minor correction--"though", not "thought"--I wouldn't change anything. This is an example of an outstanding personal statement because it reveals much about you & is written in a manner that exhibits organization, sensitivity, growth & clarity of thought.

thederangedwang
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby thederangedwang » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:31 pm

I agree that this is a strong ps...however, there is one part which throws me off just a bit

"Mingling around the uncomfortable circumstances of my life has been difficult at times, and losing a relationship because of my religion is unlikely to be the last occurrence. But I am ok with that; in fact, I embrace it.

for me, u should NOT be ok with that..and u should NOT embrace it...thats the whole point of ur ps, not settling for bigotry or not letting it get in ur way...

CanadianWolf
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:38 pm

Couldn't her point also be that she accepts reality & has learned to handle even the unattractive aspects of life ? This doesn't equate to acceptance, but to an understanding of society. It's difficult to effect change if one doesn't know & understand reality and sometimes it is better to work within a system to bring about change through understanding of alternate perspectives. In one sense, maturity is dealing with reality.

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hadisious
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby hadisious » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:32 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Couldn't her point also be that she accepts reality & has learned to handle even the unattractive aspects of life ? This doesn't equate to acceptance, but to an understanding of society. It's difficult to effect change if one doesn't know & understand reality and sometimes it is better to work within a system to bring about change through understanding of alternate perspectives. In one sense, maturity is dealing with reality.


This is exactly what I was going for with that sentence. I hope that's clear. On another note, I'm actually male, not female :lol: Was this just a simple generalization, or does my statement somehow speak to me being female? I don't want to come off that way obviously, hah. I know the first sentence is somewhat jumbled but I feel like it's clear that it was my ex-girlfriend, etc. Please let me know how you ended up there though, so I can fix it.

The criticism so far has been great. Thanks everybody very much. More critique is welcome. I'll post a revision soon!

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SA1928
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby SA1928 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:46 am

I really like it. I felt after reading it that I have a clear view of who you are as a person and where you are coming from. I also feel that I have a good idea as to what your skills are and why you could potentially be a great lawyer and how you would fit at a school.

However, what I felt I was missing (if I was the AdComm) is why law is your next step. I know you mentioned here (which I sort of took as your "why law school bit") "gave me the desire to ensure equality within our society" so maybe you could expand on that somehow. I don't think you necessarily need to say why law school in general as in what you want to do with it in the future, but more why is going to law school the next logical step in your life. I felt we received a lot of background, but the last step was missing for me.

kublaikahn
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby kublaikahn » Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:25 pm

"It’s so hard to convince yourself otherwise when in the moment, but looking back it is clear how certain trying experiences invaluably shaped my life for the better." You should rewrite this. It sounds like you are saying experiencing your friend committing suicide (prior paragraph) shaped your life for the better.

Also, it does not seem like you were trying to "convince yourself otherwise." My feeling from this read is that you were trying to convince yourself that life sucked for you. Your attitude changed with Trey and the new school. A more "mature beyond your years" (cliche) approach would be to suggest that you were reactive (to bigotry, family troubles, etc) instead of proactive. Acknowledging more specifically your own culpability and how life improved when you started taking responsibility for your success and failures would show greater maturity.

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A Swift
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby A Swift » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:06 pm

Very good essay. I think with a few minor changes you can make this thing pop. Good luck!

1) Rewrite the beginning. It's not ordered well and took me 3 readings to understand. "ex-girlfriend’s mom shouted as her daughter" "constant harassment""because I was cheap, uncaring, or treated her poorly""one of the healthiest relationships". Its all over the place. I know you are trying to hide the ball before the big reveal of getting dumped because you are Jewish, but the way it is written is not effective and I'm not sure it's a great "ah ha" moment in general. As it reads, I thought your were the one harassing her.

2) "So when he committed suicide during my sophomore year of college … stunned doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt." I imagine you added the "…" because you identified it comes out of nowhere. Get the reader ready for this reveal or you risk cheapening it. Maybe: If anything, I thought it had brought us closer as friends. But maybe not close enough. Without much warning, during sophomore year of college, Trey took his life. I was stunned and devastated.

3) I don't like the use of Jews. I would take it out.

4) This line: "So there I found myself: a confused teenager walking into my first day at a school full of people who best knew us Jews as the people that got Jesus killed. I prepared myself for all the awkward questions and lingering stares that could possibly fit into one day…" Sounds like you stereotyped them. It might be worth calling yourself out on it.

5) Your essay is about overcoming adversity. "I firmly believe that success in life is about proving yourself when things do not go your way. " But, your essay doesn't drive it home. Overcoming the adversity of Trey's death is handled in two sentences. And you transferred from public to private school. I'm not sure I would call that "proving yourself when things do not go your way" Even by your own admission, "I was welcomed with open arms and the people there were genuinely interested in me. I joined clubs, made new friends, and before I knew it, my entire demeanor had shifted. Not only were my grades improving, but Trey’s were as well. We found ourselves working enthusiastically on projects and having intellectual arguments rather than trying to find the next party and deriding our schoolwork with angst." Doesn't read that you did anything differently, only that you were at a different school where people were nice to you.

4) I agree with the other posters that after reading it, we get a sense of who you are. I think that is 99% of the battle and you could turn this essay in today (which I recommend) and it would be fine. But, this is the structure of your essay: Got dumped for being Jewish -> Did bad in public school/faced adversity -> Transferred to Private School with Trey and no longer faced adversity -> Trey commits suicide (adversity) -> Conclusion (Being jewish in the South is hard/ "success in life is about proving yourself when things do not go your way")

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hadisious
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Re: Final Draft PS - NEEDS TO BE BRUTALIZED

Postby hadisious » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:08 pm

Thanks for the feedback, everybody




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