Am I on the right track? first draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
fosterp
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Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby fosterp » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:31 pm

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Last edited by fosterp on Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:40 pm

Don't write about something so negative. You don't want to remind them that you were/are a thief.

fosterp
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby fosterp » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:57 pm

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Last edited by fosterp on Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:04 pm

fosterp wrote:Well, this event was ten years ago. I focused on this event because it was a positive one for me in the end, and it heavily influenced my decision to consider a law degree. The only negativity I see is the negative connotation of having a criminal record, which they will see anyway in my application - this is my attempt to turn a negative into a positive one. Of course, looking at it from the perspective of admissions, maybe criminal records are criminals records no matter how you slice it, and the less its mentioned the better. At the least, it is something that sets me apart from the traditional applicant (...but maybe in a bad way).

I do not disagree with you though, I wish I had something better to focus on. Is there any way to focus this theme in something you would consider more positive, or should I completely scrap this idea?


I wouldn't make it the main theme of your personal statement. You want them to forget your criminal act ASAP. You are right that will see it in your disclosure, but you don't want them to see it twice.

guinness1547
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby guinness1547 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:53 pm

I know this event shaped your desire to become a lawyer, but I would highly suggest not making a criminal act(no matter how great the outcome) the focal point of your PS.

fosterp
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby fosterp » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:22 am

Ok thank you all for the responses.

bobbyh1919
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby bobbyh1919 » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:24 am

I don't think the theme is as bad as others have stated, but you have to change the focus a bit. Right now this is about 3/4 about the incident and your experiences and 1/4 about what you learned and why this makes you want to become a lawyer (which I found to be quite convincing). Try switching that up so that you briefly touch on the crime (thus taking your focus off of it more) and then talk a lot about how it turned you around.

If you have a good alternative PS, though, I would probably go with that. My above advice applies only if you think this is the only statement you can write.

kublaikahn
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby kublaikahn » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:23 am

No.

fosterp
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby fosterp » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:02 pm

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Last edited by fosterp on Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:18 pm

fosterp wrote:So I rewrote my PS from scratch, but I still felt it necessary to include a little bit of my experiences as a teenager. I realize its important not to focus on the negatives of my life, but I feel that if I were to omit my experience in a statement that is supposed to be about me, I would essentially be lying. My experience growing up is such a huge factor in my professional goals and my reasons for becoming a lawyer, I feel its absolutely necessary to include.

Any feedback would be appreciated, thank you.
------------------------
“Did you learn your lesson?” the judge asked. “Yes, your honor,” I replied in the most humble tone I could come up with. “What do you want to do when you are older?” he then asked. “I want to be a lawyer,” I replied. The light chuckle from the juvenile court staff filled the room. Morality is not something that came naturally to me growing up. As a child of a single mother raising two children, I did not have much parental guidance during my adolescent and teenage years. My mother tried her hardest, working two jobs and the night shift in order to provide financially for me and my sister. However, learning the difference between right and wrong was an endeavor not guided by the comforting nuances of parenting, but by the institutions of society. I often found myself making poor choices growing up, often with few consequences. As a teenager, I chose to align myself with a group of friends characterized by drug use, underage drinking, and contempt for the law. Ultimately, my poor decisions thrust me into the juvenile justice system.

My experience as a teenager has largely shaped my views of law in our society and the role of the juvenile courts in the lives of troubled youth. While I was fortunate to have a responsible and caring mother who did her best despite her circumstances, my friends were not so lucky. Their home lives were characterized by physically abusive parental relationships, drug addiction, and alcoholism. I was the only one of my friends who became involved in the juvenile justice system despite the problems that plagued their homes, and in retrospect this event marked the point where our paths diverged. xxx, a childhood friend who lived across the street growing up, committed suicide three years ago when he was met with the prospect of going back to jail for a third time. xxx, a high school friend who resorted to drugs and alcohol to escape the problems of a physically abusive father, today finds himself in and out of the court system as he battles his methamphetamine addiction. I cannot help but wonder how the lives of my friends might have turned out had they too been involved in the juvenile justice system at some point earlier in their lives.

My desire to become an attorney came from my experience in the justice system as a teenager. Society did not punish me for my poor choices, but instead took a chance by allowing me to amend my mistakes. As I matured during my college experience as a young adult, I realized a sense of moral responsibility to give back to society in the best way that I could, as a practitioner of law. My own experiences as well as the experiences of my childhood friends have garnered an interest in youth advocacy. My desire to explore the role of the justice system in the lives of society’s youth led me to volunteer as an intern at the Social and Health Services division of the xxx’s office where I learned the importance of early intervention in the lives of vulnerable children with parents who are unable or unwilling to provide for their best interest of their children. Perhaps if society had intervened in the lives of xxx or xxx at an early age, they might have had a better chance to overcome the obstacles that were placed before them in their childhood.

The xxx’s commitment to the Global Common Good concurs with my own personal goals of youth advocacy. As a person who grew up not always making the right choices in life, my desire is to become a capable attorney with the moral courage to do the right thing. As a student at the xxx, I would bring my experience as a young adult who has been personally affected by the juvenile justice system, and perhaps add a different perspective to the class of 2015 during my studies to become an attorney.


I think you are starting to head in the right direction. You may need a faster turn to the positive. I am not a an adcomm though.

kublaikahn
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:44 am

This is still pretty poorly done. If you are applying to UW, I would rethink using the slogan from their marketing materials as a theme of your essay. They want to hear your ideas, not their own.

fosterp
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby fosterp » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:11 am

Ok, so other than the theme, what else about the essay is poorly done?

kublaikahn
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:45 am

Well, without a solid thesis and theme you are not going to put together a solid piece no matter how solid the writing. But you need to use the active voice, select a topic, introduce that topic in the first paragraph, support it and conclude it.

Starting with dialogue or quotes is generally frowned upon, but I find it acceptable in certain circumstances. This is not one of them. You have a short dialogue with the judge but then move quickly on. Now if the judge asked you what you wanted to do with your life and you stopped and explained that you felt him reaching out to you where other marginalized you, or it made you stop and think that you really had no plan for your future, or some other point you are about to make with your essay, then it would be relevant.


fosterp wrote:“Did you learn your lesson?” the judge asked. “Yes, your honor,” I replied in the most humble tone I could come up with. “What do you want to do when you are older?” he then asked. “I want to be a lawyer,” I replied. The light chuckle from the juvenile court staff filled the room. Morality is not something that came naturally to me growing up. As a child of a single mother raising two children, I did not have much parental guidance during my adolescent and teenage years. My mother tried her hardest, working two jobs and the night shift in order to provide financially for me and my sister. However, learning the difference between right and wrong was an endeavor not guided by the comforting nuances of parenting, but by the institutions of society. I often found myself making poor choices growing up, often with few consequences. As a teenager, I chose to align myself with a group of friends characterized by drug use, underage drinking, and contempt for the law. Ultimately, my poor decisions thrust me into the juvenile justice system. I was not taken seriously, and it hurt. But later that night I stayed awake trying to answer that question, and I understood why the others thought my answer silly.

Now talk about how the judge sparked an interest in you in being a presence of kids who have none. Talk about how you will not laugh at the dreams of youthful offenders. That you will be more like the judge that lights that spark.

fosterp
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Re: Am I on the right track? first draft

Postby fosterp » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:20 am

Ok, I will try to make some changes. Thank you for the good feedback.




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