final version. pls critique.

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rachelwang712
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final version. pls critique.

Postby rachelwang712 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:16 am

I was an exchange student in Tokyo when the March 11th earthquake hit Japan this year. Fortunately, Tokyo was only briefly affected and gradually returned to normal despite occasional aftershocks. It was the panic that people went into that frightened me most; rumors spread quickly and people began to flee as fast as they could. By the end of the fifth day, all planes from Tokyo to Shanghai were fully booked. One of my friends was even too scared to leave his room after reading a post on Twitter that radioactive particles were all over Tokyo, killing every living creature.

Two weeks later, I went to the earthquake-struck area of XXX as a volunteer where I met a middle-aged woman named Mrs. Izuhara. Despite her weakness, she refused to eat the government-subsidized meal. Asked why, she said she heard the government was using food awash with radiation for preparation of those meals. She was not the only one to believe that; I found other victims vulnerable to such rumors.

To dispel these worries, my teammates and I searched the Internet daily for updated and reliable information. We relied heavily on the International Atomic Energy Agency and other academic institutions instead of sources such as the media or government announcements in our research to reduce as much bias as possible. Even with reliable information, it was rather difficult to explain complicated figures and jargon to desperate victims.

At that time, I was enrolled in a seminar on law, XXXX. Through the seminar, I learned the importance of the representation of facts as revealed by a close reading of both majority and dissenting opinions in Supreme Court decisions. Based on this knowledge, I proposed that we focus on making scientific facts interesting and understandable. On my suggestion, we tailored slides for demonstrations to different age groups, and included colored charts and vivid pictures to simplify the presentation of scientific data. After these presentations, we were relieved to learn that the attendees were calmed and assured by what they learned. I was glad that Mrs. Izuhara finally agreed to eat the subsidized meals afterwards. I was justifiably proud that my ability to research information, assess its objectivity, and present it in an accurate yet accessible manner was of enormous advantage in our volunteer work.

Not long before we left, however, discontent once again arose among the victims, this time caused by the lack of timely legal assistance. With many important documents lost or destroyed, it became difficult for people to claim compensation for their insured property. Meanwhile, for families of casualties, problems arose from inheritance issues in the absence of properly drafted wills. When the victims learned that we were law students, they asked our opinion on whether they could and should sue the government and the Tokyo Electricity Power Company for their loss. At the time, the matter was far beyond our abilities and knowledge. Still, I continued to help them with the vital issues that would restore some order in their lives. I spent hours listening to their concerns and guided them in examining their cases logically and objectively. These objective narratives gave them clearer perspectives on their loss and the available ways to claim compensation, as well as provided them with rational expectations for future negotiation with professionals. Their correspondence with me after I returned to Tokyo expressed their gratitude for my volunteer services, specifically for my efforts to aid them in analyzing and presenting their cases.

Despite these accomplishments, I believe the serious shortage of law professionals still hindered, to a large extent, actual rebuilding after that disaster. I know I could have made better practical contributions if I possessed the expertise of a legal professional. Half a year later, I still have that mixture of pride and helplessness I experienced back then. That and my strong interest in law inspired me to apply to law school and pursue a career as lawyer.

The reputation of XXX University, its stellar faculty, and its academic atmosphere make it the ideal environment in which to pursue the expertise I need to be an outstanding member of the legal profession.

lats19nys
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Re: final version. pls critique.

Postby lats19nys » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:27 am

One issue I have is that is that the transitions aren't very strong. The personal statement feels a little herky jerky. Also, this is supposed to be a very intimate story but it feels extremely detached. If anything it comes off as you're just observing these poor people rather than being directed involved in their recovery. If it was me, I would focus heavily on that lady and maybe even talk about her issues on overcoming the problems with lost documentation. There are some word choices that I would correct as well. The things you did should not be described as "accomplishments." A few word choices like that contribute to the feel of the essay as being once again very detached. You should not come off as just some "exchange student" who happened to help these people out - if you do, it can come off as if anything condescending. So really try to make it seem like you weren't just a helper but a friend.

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hyakku
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Re: final version. pls critique.

Postby hyakku » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:14 pm

Take many of my words with a grain of salt as I'm not one of the pro editors up here, but I think the content you have is solid, but the poster above is correct in some ways. It feels as though you are observing the people rather than helping them, which is understandeable; I had a similar problem on my PS. I think you should try to put some emphasize on how you were feeling / why you wanted to help, etc. For instance, instead of :
"I was justifiably proud that my ability to research information, assess its objectivity, and present it in an accurate yet accessible manner was of enormous advantage in our volunteer work."

Possibly:

"It filled me with pride to know that my ability to research information, assess it's objectivity and present it in an accurate yet accessible manner was critical in assuaging the victims' fear" Or something that shows that you were happy to be helping them,not improving the rep of the volunteer agency you were with (not that you were suggesting that).


I also feel that you should try to do the same when you talk about them coming to you for help, as well as combining the penultimate paragraph with the one before it (I've wanted to use that word for so long :mrgreen: )

"At the time, the matter was far beyond our abilities and knowledge. Still, I continued to help them with the vital issues that would restore some order in their lives. I spent hours listening to their concerns and guided them in examining their cases logically and objectively. These objective narratives gave them clearer perspectives on their loss and the available ways to claim compensation, as well as provided them with rational expectations for future negotiation with professionals. Their correspondence with me after I returned to Tokyo expressed their gratitude for my volunteer services, specifically for my efforts to aid them in analyzing and presenting their cases. "

Maybe something like

"although I recognized that litigation issues were far beyond our abilities, I still wanted to employ my legal acumen to help these victims. Spending hours at a time listening and providing as much guidance as possible to the victims, I came to realize that the dearth of legal professionals had taken a severe toll on Japanese society in wake of the earthquake. While the residents were grateful for the clarity I was able to provide Through my objective analysis, I couldn't help but feel a mixture of pride and helplessness. I recognized that pursuing a legal career would provide me the skills need to practically contribute....."



The reason I left the dots is because that was the last thing I think your statement needs to tighten up on; it's not all together clear how this serves as an impetus for going to LS. I can understand because I've read it more than once, but consider that adcomms may not do the same. I don't know if you want to use your skills for PI, environmental law, litigation, consultation, etc. While I don't think you have to make a specific mention, I do think you need to figure a way to relate the conclusion and this story better. As it stands it seems like a mixture of pride and helplessness you discovered in Tokyo, combined with prior interest in LS made you want to pursue law. You see the issue there?

Good luck brother, forgive any typos, autocorrect.

rachelwang712
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:07 am

Re: final version. pls critique.

Postby rachelwang712 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:29 pm

Thanks for the comments. They are what I am worried about. Since I am not a native speaker, picking up the right word might be a problem. I shall work on that, to make the PS more emotional.

The length of this version is exactly two-page. I think I also need to make it more concise. Any suggestion on that?

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hyakku
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Re: final version. pls critique.

Postby hyakku » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:45 pm

rachelwang712 wrote:Thanks for the comments. They are what I am worried about. Since I am not a native speaker, picking up the right word might be a problem. I shall work on that, to make the PS more emotional.

The length of this version is exactly two-page. I think I also need to make it more concise. Any suggestion on that?


WOAH, you aren't a native english speaker? This is a really great essay in that case, only because you manage to make so few, if any actual technical errors while still managing to keep a cohesive story going. For a PS 2 pages or so double spaced is ideal for many places, although some say 2-4. I don't know of a school that has one page or less as the max, so you're fine at exactly 2, above that I believe it depends on the school.

Tomorrow when I'm not drugged off my wisdom tooth medication (got all four out on friday :) ) I'm presently on, I'll try to take another look and hopefully be of some use with some more emotionally connotative language. Shoot me a pm tomorrow if I don't remember.

rachelwang712
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:07 am

Re: final version. pls critique.

Postby rachelwang712 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:24 am

hyakku wrote:
rachelwang712 wrote:Thanks for the comments. They are what I am worried about. Since I am not a native speaker, picking up the right word might be a problem. I shall work on that, to make the PS more emotional.

The length of this version is exactly two-page. I think I also need to make it more concise. Any suggestion on that?


WOAH, you aren't a native english speaker? This is a really great essay in that case, only because you manage to make so few, if any actual technical errors while still managing to keep a cohesive story going. For a PS 2 pages or so double spaced is ideal for many places, although some say 2-4. I don't know of a school that has one page or less as the max, so you're fine at exactly 2, above that I believe it depends on the school.

Tomorrow when I'm not drugged off my wisdom tooth medication (got all four out on friday :) ) I'm presently on, I'll try to take another look and hopefully be of some use with some more emotionally connotative language. Shoot me a pm tomorrow if I don't remember.


Thanks in advance.

as to the length, currently I am using font size 11 but it seems a little small to me. If I change to 12, the PS would exceed 2 pages though. Also I dont think adcomms love thick app so I really want to shorten it without losing flavor. (I am not sure if it is the right phrase to say).

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hyakku
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Re: final version. pls critique.

Postby hyakku » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:09 pm

Ok, on lunch break at work, hopefully I can still be helpful. First, have you considered opening a bit more forcefully? I like what you are talking about, but can you try to engage us a bit more from your first sentence? I'm trying to think of a good example now, but I'd rather get back to the rest of your paper before I've gotta get back to work. Just something off the top of my head, something like,

I remember the fear in people's eyes more than anything. As an exchange student in Tokyo, I was fortunate enough to avoid the devastation that engulfed Fukushima during the March 11th earthquake, yet it soon became apparent to me that the end of the earthquake was not the end of the crisis, but rather the beginning of a new one. With the lack of a cohesive message frmo the government, rumors spread quickly and panic gripped the city. By the end of the fifth day after the crisis, all planes from Tokyo to Shanghai were gone. A close friend of mine had even holed himself up in his room after reading a Twitter post detailing the extensive radiation in Tokyo that allegedly was responsible for millions of deaths"


Could be a bit better, but hopefully you get what I mean. You've got a dope story, make people want to read it.

I think something like this would also help to transition into the paragraph with Izuhara-san. You could go into how, while it initially seemed strange and kind of trivial that people would listen to rumors, you soon realized how drastically the rumor mill could affect people. Now you introduce the Izuhara's, who are afraid to eat government provided food, etc..

Now is where you want to start connecting in the paper, as I'm sure you did in real life. Depending on how you choose to revise the 2nd paragraph, you want to discuss how you realized that these intelligence (in terms of verifiable, actionable info) issues were having drastic consequences on the volunteer efforts and straining logistical resources (people not eatingng, they get sick, tension between government, etc. I don't think you have to list these, but maybe someone else can comment), and so you and your team set out to dispel these worries.

I've gotta get back to work, but quick thoughts before I leave, I'll return tonight for some more editing:

With the paragraph that starts, "At the time..", you really want to express how ecstatic you were to be helping (see the suggestion I made earlier with that sentence)

We were talking about combining some of the paragraphs "Not Long"... and "Despite these...", have you had any personal thoughts? I've got some ideas but I want to have the right time to flesh them out so hopefully I can get back to you in a few hours.

Back to work, good luck
Last edited by hyakku on Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rachelwang712
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:07 am

Re: final version. pls critique.

Postby rachelwang712 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:18 pm

I changed the final two para and combined them into one:

Not long before we left, however, discontent once again arose among the victims, this time caused by the lack of timely legal assistance. With many important documents lost or destroyed, it became difficult for people to claim compensation for their insured property. Meanwhile, for families of casualties, problems arose from inheritance issues in the absence of properly drafted wills. When the victims learned that we were university students, they asked our opinion on these issues and whether they could and should sue the government and the Tokyo Electricity Power Company for their loss. Although I recognized that litigation issues were far beyond our abilities, still, I wanted to employ my legal acumen to help these victims. Spending hours listening to their concerns and providing as much guidance as possible in examining their cases logically and objectively so that they could have clearer perspectives on their loss and the available ways to claim compensation, as well as rational expectations for future negotiation with professionals, I came to realize that the dearth of legal professionals had taken a severe toll on Japanese society and in hindered, to a large extent, actual rebuilding wake of the earthquake. While the victims were grateful for my volunteer services, specifically for my efforts to aid them in analyzing and presenting their cases, I can’t help but feel a mixture of pride and helplessness. I still regret my inability to provide more professional assistance and I recognize that pursuing a legal career would provide me with the skills needed to make practical contribution to helping not only victims of natural disasters, but also ordinary people seeking settlement of conflicts they are stuck in. This and my strong interest in law inspired me to apply to law school and pursue a career as lawyer.

i highlighted the changes.

Thank you for your advice. I see the point that I need make it more interesting to read, and the transition more smooth. I will also work on that today (it is early morning now here :wink: )

rachelwang712
Posts: 166
Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:07 am

Re: final version. pls critique.

Postby rachelwang712 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:33 pm

also I changed the Izuhara eg a little bit:

Despite her poor physical condition, she refused to eat the government-subsidized meal. Asked why, she told me she heard the government was using food awash with radiation for preparation of those meals. As time passed by, her health was declining, which worried me enormously. Besides, she was not the only one to believe that; I found other victims also vulnerable to such rumors. In fact, more and more victims followed her example and began throwing away those meals.

---------------------

I then want to talk about how we search the Internet. But that part seems to me somewhat awkward. I want to express the point that not only we collected info but also we tried to collect the unbiased info.

just a quick thought, do u think it appropriate that I begin the ps with the quotation The only thing we have to fear is fear itself?




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