*Udated* PS involving VIOLENCE and DEATH (last draft)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

Would/could this be an EFFECTIVE personal statement?

Yes
8
80%
No
2
20%
 
Total votes: 10

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3v3ryth1ng
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*Udated* PS involving VIOLENCE and DEATH (last draft)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:51 am

The newest drafts is at the bottom. Please comment!!!

Please let me know:
- Do you think it would stand out from other PS's?
- Is there any part of it that is "too much," off-putting, or offensive?
- Does it paint a compelling picture of me as a person?
- Do I sound genuine? (I'm only interested in PI law, though I know many adcomms doubt "PI gunners.")
- What parts are good/great?
- What parts would you cut/revise?
- Did you notice any mundane errors?
- Is there anything you'd condense? (I need to cut about 80 words to make it 500- a requirement at some schools I'm applying to).

(scroll down)
VVVVVV
VVVVVV
VVVVVV
VVVVVV
VVVVVV
VVVVVV
Last edited by 3v3ryth1ng on Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

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fashiongirl
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby fashiongirl » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:19 pm

- Do you think it would stand out from other PS's?
Sort of. Great story but would like to know more about you and what you did. I get a lot about Robert but I think the focus needs to bring the story back to YOU.

- Is there any part of it that is "too much," off-putting, or offensive?
Not to me. But I'm not an adcomm. I did read the entire thing though.

- Does it paint a compelling picture of me as a person?
It sort of does, but I would like to know more in detail. Besides statistics, what did you DO? HOW did you do it? What did you learn from this event?

- Do I sound genuine? (I'm only interested in PI law, though I know many adcomms doubt "PI gunners.")
You do.

- What parts are good/great?
The story is great and your passion shows.

- What parts would you cut/revise?
There were a lot of times where you listed things. Not sure if that makes sense but I noticed that.

- Did you notice any mundane errors?
Not really.

- Is there anything you'd condense? (I need to cut about 80 words to make it 500- a requirement at some schools I'm applying to).
I would cut the part about a friend telling you the key to happiness is to love what you do. It would be more powerful if YOU somehow realized that.

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icecold3000
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby icecold3000 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:47 pm

I liked it alot. You put alot of effort into this and it shows.

delusional
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby delusional » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:15 pm

I thought it was excellent. The one way that it could be improved is by being a little less general and more specific. How did you increase the performance? What was the plan and what was your role in it?

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:19 pm

delusional wrote:I thought it was excellent. The one way that it could be improved is by being a little less general and more specific. How did you increase the performance? What was the plan and what was your role in it?


So, my role in the whole thing is basically designing the literacy plans and strategies that boosted our little "mini-academy's" (the larger school is divided into smaller academies) reading/writing scores to the highest level of any other academy in this project. That, and of course, teaching every day, and later interviewing/hiring awesome teachers as the English department chair.

My rationale for leaving those out is a) I was limited for space, and b) I was concerned that it would sound like a narrative of my resume.

My resume mentions these things (designing schoolwide literacy plans, department chair, teaching, hiring), but only as bullets. The LOR from my boss (which will hopefully be processed before the LSAC holiday :( ) may also mention specific accomplishments, but I haven't seen it. Given these other factors, do you still think I need to get more specific? I do kind of allude to them...

delusional
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby delusional » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:59 pm

3v3ryth1ng wrote:
delusional wrote:I thought it was excellent. The one way that it could be improved is by being a little less general and more specific. How did you increase the performance? What was the plan and what was your role in it?


So, my role in the whole thing is basically designing the literacy plans and strategies that boosted our little "mini-academy's" (the larger school is divided into smaller academies) reading/writing scores to the highest level of any other academy in this project. That, and of course, teaching every day, and later interviewing/hiring awesome teachers as the English department chair.

My rationale for leaving those out is a) I was limited for space, and b) I was concerned that it would sound like a narrative of my resume.

My resume mentions these things (designing schoolwide literacy plans, department chair, teaching, hiring), but only as bullets. The LOR from my boss (which will hopefully be processed before the LSAC holiday :( ) may also mention specific accomplishments, but I haven't seen it. Given these other factors, do you still think I need to get more specific? I do kind of allude to them...
I would say definitely add more detail of how you did it and how you were personally invested in it. Taking stuff out is not easy, but maybe you can steal a few words and sneakily lower the font size and cheat on the margins. But it can't be noticeable.

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Nancy_Botwin
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby Nancy_Botwin » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:19 am

You really helped me with my PS, so I hope this helps with yours!

- Do you think it would stand out from other PS's?
Yes. You seem to have lived an extraordinary life. I find myself skimming over most PS's but I read yours from top to bottom.
- Is there any part of it that is "too much," off-putting, or offensive?
No.
- Does it paint a compelling picture of me as a person?
Focus more on you. The way you tell the story about your student is incredibly compelling, but I'm left thinking more about him than about you. Talk about how you turned your school around. Don't just say you did it, tell us how you did it.
- Do I sound genuine? (I'm only interested in PI law, though I know many adcomms doubt "PI gunners.")
Yes.
- What parts are good/great?
Your ability to paint a picture with words. I was able to see your school in LA, your classroom, etc.
- What parts would you cut/revise?
(See above about focusing on you.)
- Did you notice any mundane errors?
You're the English teacher, but I have one small issue: Contractions. "Don't" and "won't" are too informal, IMHO.
- Is there anything you'd condense? (I need to cut about 80 words to make it 500- a requirement at some schools I'm applying to).
I'm long-winded so I'm the wrong person to ask. If you cut some about your student, you need to add something about you so I'm not entirely sure what part to condense.

I'm on Draft #5 at the moment so I know how you feel! Take a 15 minute mental health break then get back to it :)

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:02 am

Nancy_Botwin wrote:You really helped me with my PS, so I hope this helps with yours!

- Do you think it would stand out from other PS's?
Yes. You seem to have lived an extraordinary life. I find myself skimming over most PS's but I read yours from top to bottom.
- Is there any part of it that is "too much," off-putting, or offensive?
No.
- Does it paint a compelling picture of me as a person?
Focus more on you. The way you tell the story about your student is incredibly compelling, but I'm left thinking more about him than about you. Talk about how you turned your school around. Don't just say you did it, tell us how you did it.
- Do I sound genuine? (I'm only interested in PI law, though I know many adcomms doubt "PI gunners.")
Yes.
- What parts are good/great?
Your ability to paint a picture with words. I was able to see your school in LA, your classroom, etc.
- What parts would you cut/revise?
(See above about focusing on you.)
- Did you notice any mundane errors?
You're the English teacher, but I have one small issue: Contractions. "Don't" and "won't" are too informal, IMHO.
- Is there anything you'd condense? (I need to cut about 80 words to make it 500- a requirement at some schools I'm applying to).
I'm long-winded so I'm the wrong person to ask. If you cut some about your student, you need to add something about you so I'm not entirely sure what part to condense.

I'm on Draft #5 at the moment so I know how you feel! Take a 15 minute mental health break then get back to it :)


I appreciate the input :)
I'm actually not sure about whether using contractions in a law school PS is advisable. They've certainly been helpful in keeping my word count down though. I'm going read around a little bit and see if it's been addressed before.
Best of luck!

Edit: This appears to be a major point of contention not only for TLS posters, but professional LS advisors, and even adcomms. I suppose it just depends on the school, but I'm going to be safe and edit contractions out. Thanks!

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:42 am

4th draft (edited out)
Last edited by 3v3ryth1ng on Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby Elston Gunn » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:57 am

Based on the title I was expecting something more like this:

Cormac McCarthy wrote:Glanton turned his horse. The dead lay awash in the shallows like the victims of some
disaster at sea and they were strewn along the salt foreshore in a havoc of blood and entrails. Riders were towing bodies out of the bloody waters of the lake and the froth that rode lightly on the beach was a pale pink in the rising light. They moved among the dead harvesting the long black locks with their knives and leaving their victims rawskulled and strange in their bloody cauls. The loosed horses from the remuda came pounding down the reeking strand and disappeared in the smoke and after a while they came pounding back. Men were wading about in the red waters hacking aimlessly at the dead and some lay coupled to the bludgeoned bodies of young women dead or dying on the beach. One of the Delawares passed with a collection of heads like some strange vendor bound for market, the hair twisted about his wrist and the heads dangling and turning together. Glanton knew that every moment on this ground must be contested later in the desert and he rode among the men and urged them on.


But seriously, it is quite a good story and well-written. I do think it could be improved by focusing a little more on some specific ways you were helpful (though you get a little of that with Robert). Good luck!

CanadianWolf
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby CanadianWolf » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:52 am

You write well. This personal statement is a much better effort than your last try since you focus on yourself & not on a particular law school.
It is important to adhere to word limit guidelines, however. The transition from the student's death to interviewing for the public defender's office is a bit awkward.

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Nancy_Botwin
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby Nancy_Botwin » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:23 pm

Two more teeny things -- You use the passive voice quite a bit. Using it once in a while is ok but from what I've heard, adcomms generally don't like it. Also, I'm not sure if
“one of the most dangerous”
needs to be in quotations since you don't cite a specific newspaper, magazine, etc.

I still love this PS, though. Your experiences and abilities will get you very far in life!!
All the best!
Melissa

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:11 pm

Nancy_Botwin wrote:Two more teeny things -- You use the passive voice quite a bit. Using it once in a while is ok but from what I've heard, adcomms generally don't like it. Also, I'm not sure if
“one of the most dangerous”
needs to be in quotations since you don't cite a specific newspaper, magazine, etc.

I still love this PS, though. Your experiences and abilities will get you very far in life!!
All the best!
Melissa


Good point! I actually quoted the LA Times, but I took it out to save space :P
You've been a great help and I appreciate it immensely.

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:21 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:You write well. This personal statement is a much better effort than your last try since you focus on yourself & not on a particular law school.
It is important to adhere to word limit guidelines, however. The transition from the student's death to interviewing for the public defender's office is a bit awkward.


Well thanks Wolfy! This review was much nicer than your last.
I'm still not sure if you noticed that the other essay you're referring to was a "Why X?" essay, with a completely different prompt.

About this one though:

-I'm very concerned that my discussion of a former deceased student could come off as exploitative. Does it? Also, do you have any suggestions for the transition to my PD experience? I think it's important to have in there, but I only have 500 words, and I'm 25 words over!

-Speaking of word limit guidelines, I think I'm literally going to be squeezing in just under 500. I'm cutting to the bone on what I believe are essential ideas. Each word counts. With that said, do you think the title, my name, or other non-content characters (like the section break ***) count?

-What's your opinion on the section break (***)? I have it there to add emphasis on the turn of events, and also to justify the shift from a specific situation to a circumspect reflection. I saw some samples do this, but I don't know if it is generally advisable.

-Lastly, what's your opinion on contractions? Applicants, experts, and adcomms are all divided on this topic. Some say they detract from the formality of the essay, other's say that formality itself misses the point of the essay (which I tend to agree with, to a point). By using contractions, I could cut down the length by about 10-13 words. What do you think?

Thanks!

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (4th draft)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:29 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:Based on the title I was expecting something more like this:

Cormac McCarthy wrote:Glanton turned his horse. The dead lay awash in the shallows like the victims of some
disaster at sea and they were strewn along the salt foreshore in a havoc of blood and entrails. Riders were towing bodies out of the bloody waters of the lake and the froth that rode lightly on the beach was a pale pink in the rising light. They moved among the dead harvesting the long black locks with their knives and leaving their victims rawskulled and strange in their bloody cauls. The loosed horses from the remuda came pounding down the reeking strand and disappeared in the smoke and after a while they came pounding back. Men were wading about in the red waters hacking aimlessly at the dead and some lay coupled to the bludgeoned bodies of young women dead or dying on the beach. One of the Delawares passed with a collection of heads like some strange vendor bound for market, the hair twisted about his wrist and the heads dangling and turning together. Glanton knew that every moment on this ground must be contested later in the desert and he rode among the men and urged them on.


But seriously, it is quite a good story and well-written. I do think it could be improved by focusing a little more on some specific ways you were helpful (though you get a little of that with Robert). Good luck!


Lol! Yeah I had more sensory details, but I had to cut them to shrink my word count, and too much of them evokes the "oh brother, here we go again" response from adcomms, based on the interviews I read.

That said, what kind of specifics do you think would help?
-I have OUR accomplishments (meant to show my ability to work effectively with a team)
-The literacy strategies I developed (led to the HIGHEST scores)
-The tutoring hours I spent with Robert.
-My role doing doing investigations interviews for the PD.
-I allude to doing interviews/hiring for my present job, though it's not explicit.

Your criticism is echoed by others, and I take it seriously. I'm struggling with it. There other things I could list (like designing and teaching an elective course) but I also want to avoid the "narrative of resume" mistake. What types of specifics do you think would help?

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: PS involving VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and DEATH- (last draft)

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:15 am

This is my 98% final draft. Anything nitpicky would help (within reason of course).
I'm not overhauling it at this point. I'd rather just know if anything was unclear, or if you think there's a better way to phrase something. I also want to know if there's anything you'd ABSOLUTELY take out.

Thanks guys!



-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Years of chronic student underachievement and a massive racially charged fight fueled Los Angeles residents’ demands for reform at Locke High School. My colleagues and I assumed control of Locke in 2008 as part of a coordinated effort to redefine the school and its surrounding Watts neighborhood.

In the four years since, we have increased literacy 74%, student retention 31%, and, God willing, when the class of 2012 walks the stage this year, we will have significantly increased the graduation rate. I was particularly proud when our students, after employing literacy intervention strategies I designed, returned the highest high school exit exam pass rates in Locke’s history. The community, politicians and media have praised our successes, and I feel fortunate to have played such an active role in this transformation.

While these statistics are encouraging, the individuals I served, not numbers, were always the focus my efforts. Numbers cannot describe achievements like those of Robert Nelson, who earned his first “A” in my English class. I identified with Robert, a self-described “bad kid,” because I too bore that label for many years. His grade represented more than the broken pencils, tears of frustration, and hours we spent in tutoring; it represented a defiant reaffirmation of his potential as a human being.

Burned into my memory is Robert’s glowing smile on the last day of class when he proclaimed a desire to change his life. I briefly saw my reflection in his hopeful eyes as he left school for the last time.

The next time I saw Robert, his eyes were closed. One bullet reduced his entire life to a statistic. Seeing his motionless body, I felt as though a part of me had died too.

Often only after such tragedies do we realize how inextricably interwoven our narratives are. Following his death, months of somber reflection ultimately yielded a familiar conclusion: the relationships we build are ends in themselves. Despite superficial differences, people are fundamentally similar. That is why I cried when Robert Nelson died.

I learned this lesson previously during my internship with the Public Defender’s office. Members of the public sometimes caricatured our mission as “defending the scum of the Earth.” Though some of the hundreds of defendants I interviewed may have been guilty, none qualified as scum. I met only humans like myself. Society suffers when it denies the inherent value in each one of its members. I too feel the urge to condemn, but if I am to improve our society, my capacity to empathize must be stronger than this urge.

Conventional wisdom regarding happiness is to “love what you do,” and I agree. Whether conducting interviews for the Public Defender, hiring quality candidates as an English department chair, or one day researching precedents as a defense attorney, my love for humanity will always compel me to serve. Though we are all sinners, I believe our society is worth saving. This is why, regardless of today’s missteps, I can faithfully resume building tomorrow.




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