First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please *Updated 12/22

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
taylorcarr
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First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please *Updated 12/22

Postby taylorcarr » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:14 pm

Removed for re-write.
Last edited by taylorcarr on Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

kublaikahn
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:39 am

You came out. Fought with your parents, and split. You got poor grades and a poor LSAT. Nothing to see here, move along.

What does the South have to do with your story?

The Adcoms know your grades and your score. Why dwell on that here?

Are you saying you are average and that's what makes you special? Your PS has no point. I don't think your experience is unique, even for a straight person. You fought with your folks and took off. Who hasn't?

taylorcarr
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

Postby taylorcarr » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:50 am

kublaikahn wrote:You came out. Fought with your parents, and split. You got poor grades and a poor LSAT. Nothing to see here, move along.

What does the South have to do with your story?

The Adcoms know your grades and your score. Why dwell on that here?

Are you saying you are average and that's what makes you special? Your PS has no point. I don't think your experience is unique, even for a straight person. You fought with your folks and took off. Who hasn't?


Thanks for your opinion. Is it your position to ditch the concept altogether then? I realize that it's a common situation, but on a personal level, it is significant to my life.

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NomNom
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

Postby NomNom » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:21 am

You came out. Fought with your parents, and split. You got poor grades and a poor LSAT. Nothing to see here, move along.


there was probably a more constructive way of saying that.

Taylor, I understand where you are coming from. You have the general idea down - I would add in how your experiences helped you progress in life and go into some more detail. Work on your flow and connecting your thoughts.

Alan
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

Postby Alan » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:37 am

Perhaps you could replace the last paragraph about grades and LSAT with another paragraph discussing why you want to practice law. Also, and this is just personal preference, I would ditch the parenthesis and just structure the thoughts into sentences. Finally, the date followed by your age at the time seems repetitive. Ideally your ps is as concise as possible. Choose one or the other (in month year or when I was 19...)

jadoreGLACE
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

Postby jadoreGLACE » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:04 am

you probably do not want to point out your "mediocrity" (i.e.: mentioning your lsat score or grades in such a fashion)...from what ive heard from very reliable admissions sources, is that you do not want to play the "pity card" (about the grades/lsat) or the "superwoman" role (you are going to save your family from x, y, and z) because it makes you seem rather unstable to admissions committees. While i was reading your story, i thought that it would prob serve better as a diversity statement. you should use the personal statement to address your interest in law. From this statement so far, nothing really jumps across the screen saying "this woman REALLY wants to practice law" but I think if you just sit down and draft a few more copies, it'll come to you!

BTW, kudos to you for being comfortable enough with yourself to expose your vulnerability on paper, to an admissions committee, and to TLS readers.

best of luck!!!

kublaikahn
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

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

taylorcarr wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:You came out. Fought with your parents, and split. You got poor grades and a poor LSAT. Nothing to see here, move along.

What does the South have to do with your story?

The Adcoms know your grades and your score. Why dwell on that here?

Are you saying you are average and that's what makes you special? Your PS has no point. I don't think your experience is unique, even for a straight person. You fought with your folks and took off. Who hasn't?


Thanks for your opinion. Is it your position to ditch the concept altogether then? I realize that it's a common situation, but on a personal level, it is significant to my life.


No. I think it is a great topic. But I think you can tell us more about yourself and your experience. I find there is a commonality about coming out that all people can relate to. We all have this disconnected feeling at times when we have to choose between being ourselves and belonging. No one should feel rejected by their community and especially their family, but we all feel that way at one time or another. The experience of gay people is often a prime example of that aloneness we all go through as we grow up and put our flag in the ground. So I feel it is a great topic, if you can capture the essence of it.

But self acceptance and being comfortable as mediocre are not the same thing. I think you should talk about acceptance as finding your value in less measurable ways. In your attitude toward others, you approach to liviing your life out loud, and things like an ability to be forgiving or open to others changes of heart.

I take it that in coming home you have reconnected with at least some of the people you left? Can you explore that a bit more?

taylorcarr
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

Postby taylorcarr » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:17 pm

Thank you everyone so much for the feedback. I know that this needs A LOT of work, and I guess putting such a poor draft out there was my way of seeing if the concept, at its core, could fly. I'm relieved to see that it may, and will hopefully have a re-write done in the next day or two.

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hypothalamus
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

Postby hypothalamus » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:33 pm

I know a lot of people already commented on this, but I would stay away from mentioning your grades and LSAT score. It's not the place to do that in a personal statement.

Overall, there seems to be too much going on in this essay. I don't see a clear thread that carries the reader through. You mention a lot of different things, but don't take us into any of the experiences in depth.

A personal statement can be a story, but it needs to make a certain, even if implicit, point. If you choose to focus on the experience of coming out, scrap the whole part about your "mediocrity." If you think various factors in your life have made your stronger/more hard-working/simply more awesome, try to show that rather than telling your reader.

CanadianWolf
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:08 pm

Try to eliminate use of parentheses in your personal statement.

taylorcarr
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please

Postby taylorcarr » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:33 pm

Here is my second draft. My own personal notes are at the end of each paragraph, so if anyone feels inclined to comment on my comments, that would be great too. Any and all constructive input is welcome. Thank you SO much in advance.

---

“You should leave,” my father suggested sternly. My mother paced out in the yard, sobbing, and I stood in the kitchen, reeling from the amount of expletives that had been screamed in my direction seconds earlier. I retired silently to my room to pack a bag. My father stepped outside to console my mother, but her cries grew louder still. Their backs were to me when I left. Although I had not expected my parents to welcome my sexuality with open arms, I never expected to be disowned either. I was nineteen and homeless. [Para notes: too many commas? mom/dad vs. mother/father]

I was born and raised in Orange County, California. My mother is a teacher and my father is a police officer. No one in my family has successfully pursued an education beyond high school. In hopes that I would be the first, my parents enrolled me into private Catholic schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. I was instilled with a very strict set of morals at home and in school. Eventually these morals came to clash with my personal identity, and the inner conflict that resulted created a silent havoc in my life. There was no time to experience relief or solace after coming out to my family. Other problems presented themselves quickly, such as where I would live. The options were sparse. At the time, I was in a long distance relationship with a girl I had met online. She had flown out to see me a few weeks earlier but otherwise lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In a moment of complete impulse, I booked a one way flight. For better or worse, I soon found myself living in a strange place with a person I barely knew. [Para notes: too much disclosure? too many clauses?]

The progress I made those first few months living in Louisiana was minimal. I could not afford to go to school. I worked part time at a local restaurant and resisted any social interaction. I held strained phone conversations with my family every few days. They offered me the opportunity to come home. I was too hurt, too proud, or too scared to accept. I began to regret my decision to come out. My life in California had been dishonest and that was difficult, but the isolation I was experiencing in Louisiana was no easier to bear. For the first time in my life, there was no one to tell/remind [pick one] me who I was, and against all reason, I missed that. [Para notes: rewrite the California/Louisiana sentence?]

I can say now, without pause or hesitation, that an opportunity at a clean slate was the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself. That brand new environment was imperative to my development into the person I am today. As trivial as it may seem, my single greatest accomplishment during the latter part of my time time there was creating and maintaining relationships with people as my true self. My falling out with my family had left me distrustful, but slowly overcoming that sparked a new sense of purpose in my life. The desire to return to my education became undeniable, and I was able to save up enough money to attend a semester at the local community college. I achieved a 4.0 that semester, while working simultaneously, and it was only then that I realized I was ready to return home. [Para notes: pivotal paragraph, needs to be reworked/expanded on. Ideas?]

After being away for a little less than two years, I returned to California and began the process of mending ties with my family. I am incredibly grateful that there was a willingness to do so on both sides, and my relationship with them has never been stronger or more honest than it is today. I immediately enrolled in school, and had another 4.0 semester [too casual?]. Shortly afterwards I made a successful transfer to California State University Long Beach, where I was able to take advantage of the many opportunities that their political science department has to provide. I have been an active participant in the CSULB Moot Court program, and was granted the honor of seventh speaker out of eighty or so participants in this fall’s Western Regional Tournament. Next semester I will take part in a judicial internship at the Long Beach Courthouse, and I look forward to taking what I have learned from both of these programs into my future study of law. [Para notes: whether to address ‘why law’]

***Final paragraph to touch on qualities of the specific school, plus conclusion. Something like: I hope in concluding this statement that I have provided you with enough convincing evidence of my will and my intellectual hunger to offer me the opportunity to study law at _____________.

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NomNom
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please *Updated 12/22

Postby NomNom » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:21 am

Taylor, how long is your statement with 1 inch margins and 12 pt font?

It is MUCH MUCH better this time. Has some things that can be tweaked but my first question is length.

CanadianWolf
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please *Updated 12/22

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:54 am

The bracketed [para notes] are annoying & distracting. Nevertheless, the first paragraph is strong until the bracketed notes which ruin the flow of the essay.

taylorcarr
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please *Updated 12/22

Postby taylorcarr » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:31 pm

With one inch margins and a 12 pt font (and also including the unwritten final paragraph) the finished result as is would end up being about a page and a half. Approximately 850-900 words. Too long?

As far as the notes at the end of each paragraph, those are for my own reference for my next draft, and for people here to consider.

CanadianWolf
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please *Updated 12/22

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:38 pm

I understand, but they are still distracting to the reader. Plus, why influence others' opinions before receiving a critique ?

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NomNom
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Re: First Draft - Constructive Criticism, Please *Updated 12/22

Postby NomNom » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:36 pm

taylorcarr wrote:With one inch margins and a 12 pt font (and also including the unwritten final paragraph) the finished result as is would end up being about a page and a half. Approximately 850-900 words. Too long?

As far as the notes at the end of each paragraph, those are for my own reference for my next draft, and for people here to consider.

Is it double spaced? Shoot for two pages but my opinion. Look at school requirements.




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