PS First Draft Critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:26 pm

PS First Draft Critique

Postby jamrclap » Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:47 pm

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, this will be used for multiple schools. With some work hopefully it will be as good as some of the others on here.

On any given Saturday you can always find me in the same place. As the first one to arrive in the kitchen of the restaurant which I have helped open and run an expansion to, it is up to me to bring the kitchen to life. I navigate the darkened space, trying not to run into prep tables, soy sauce buckets, or other numerous obstacles as I fumble for the light switch at the back of the kitchen. The ventilation fan above the woks starts up with a groan and provides some circulation, a much appreciated breeze especially during Memphis’ sweltering summer months. Garlic needs to be chopped, sauces need to be made, and I have to decide what to do with an employee who has not shown up again today but whose assistance is needed.

As the rest of the kitchen staff arrives and the floor staff begins their own individual work to ready the restaurant, the only thing missing is customers. Fifteen minutes after the doors open, the kitchen printer starts humming with the first order of the night. The sound that a kitchen printer makes is one that always brings anticipation of the challenge ahead. It is also one that if you have ever worked in a kitchen, you never forget and get a false alarm when you hear it if sitting close enough to the kitchen at another restaurant. After the order is finished, the ticket can be checked off and moved aside but not before the printer starts humming again and I have to wonder, what’s next?

Of course, I have always known that food does not magically appear at a restaurant table, but before working in the restaurant industry, I did not understand the intricacies and work behind every order that came out of the kitchen. This same type of revelation has also been true of my understanding of the legal aspects and challenges of running a small business. Even what seemed as the simplest of issues such as signage for the expansion has had legal questions. The legal issues relevant to the hiring and terminating of employees are something that I have had to factor into my employment decisions.

I now see the real world implications of legislation that has been passed, for better or worse, by those who I campaigned alongside while working in politics. While recent changes to taxation laws concerning restaurant alcohol sales have helped on the financial end of the business, new state laws and those proposed pertaining to immigration now have a personal face and could adversely affect a small business. My experience in the restaurant industry personally underscores the need for great, well trained attorneys while also providing me with the scope and motivation to see the next three years through to the end.

This will not however be my first endeavor to earn a post graduate degree. After running my first political campaign in 2006, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Political Science. This endeavor was undertaken out of a desire to gain a better understanding of politics from an academic perspective and to pursue a curiosity for democratization that I developed while living in China. The culmination of my two years of study came with the defense and publishing of my Master’s Thesis which focused on the democratization of Hong Kong and the factors influencing it. I studied how elections have proceeded in Hong Kong and what has contributed to the dearth of more robust democratic reforms. Obtaining my M.A. was deeply rewarding and it is my hope that it has contributed to the discussion of pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and else where.

It has largely been these influences and experiences that have led me to commit myself to the lifelong study and practice of law. Attending and earning my Juris Doctor degree from ________ presents the best opportunity to realize this commitment and become a well-trained attorney. …..(include several school specific sentences)

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Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:15 pm

Re: PS First Draft Critique

Postby lcw » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:13 pm


I think you are off to a decent start with your first draft. At this point in your writing, I think what might help you improve the piece most is to search for a unifying narrative for your piece and present that clearly to your reader.

I found myself struggling to see where your piece was going. You spend the entire first two paragraphs painting a very detailed picture of working in a restaurant, but then never return to this image in the rest of your paper. While you do speak about the legal challenges that comes with being a restaurateur, the examples you bring up with ordinances and employment law feel so general that they could be equally applicable to any other business. I'm not sensing much of a payoff here as a reader.

After that, you switch gears entirely to talk about your Masters in Poly Sci. This came out of left field for me and left me really puzzled. It had nothing to do with the restaurant business in general or even your restaurant specifically. It felt as though any momentum that you may have built up earlier in the paper disappeared when you switched gears so suddenly. Additionally, this paragraph about your political experience also confuses me about who you are as a person and your career path. The way you write the statement makes it seem like you 1) ran your first political campaign (what does this mean exactly?); 2) got a masters in poly sci; and then 3) now operate a restaurant. This path doesn't make sense to me at this point. It would help if you could explain to your reader chronologically how you transitioned between these different parts in your life. It would be even better if you could explain it in a way that points you squarely towards law school.

In short, write in a way that will give your reader a single coherent impression of who you are as a person and why you would be a good candidate for law school. Each and every sentence should build upon the previous sentences, and the payoff at the end should bring everything you've written about before into clarity and focus.

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Re: PS First Draft Critique

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:21 pm

As noted in the post above, this essay needs substantial revision. The primary concern is the lack of a clear theme. Your theme should be presented in the first paragraph & it should unify all parts of your writing. In its present form, your personal statement is weak, disjointed & unconvincing.

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Re: PS First Draft Critique

Postby kublaikahn » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:27 am

This is a great resume. But it is formatted as a PS.

Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:26 pm

Re: PS First Draft Critique

Postby jamrclap » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:50 am

Thanks for the critiques. I know it needs some serious revision. Thanks again.

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