DS: Advice and critiques wanted

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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Ohiobumpkin
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DS: Advice and critiques wanted

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:23 pm

Here is my DS. It is one and a half pages long in 12 point font. Hopefully that is ok. I will greatly appreciate any suggestions on spelling, grammar, and flow.

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Look to my second post for my revised DS.
Last edited by Ohiobumpkin on Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: DS: Advice and critiques wanted

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:28 pm

Here is my revised DS. I edited with a little help from my English major brother, and English major girlfriend. Here again, is my DS.

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In the summer of 2011, I attended a friend’s twenty-first birthday party in Nameless Town, Ohio. As I was mingling with the other guests, smelling the bison burgers on the grill and enjoying the beautiful weather, I struck up a conversation with my host’s mother, a substitute teacher. She lamented the school district’s financial troubles, and how a recently failed school levy would force financial cut-backs affecting the football team.

“Why don’t they cut other programs instead, like special education! Those kids cost so much money and never end up doing anything with their lives anyway!” she said.

I bore this comment in uncomfortable silence, unwilling to start a fight with my hosts. Having gone through the special education system, I knew all too well that special education programs are always in desperate need for more funds and teachers. Furthermore, I also knew that these programs were the only educational lifeline these students had. I expressed polite disagreement, and excused myself to try and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Throughout high school and college, I encountered many biases and misconceptions about myself as a cognitively disabled student. I ran up against this confusion not only in dealing with professors and classmates, but also with my fellow cognitively disabled students. For my teachers, I was somebody who frustrated their expectations for what a learning disabled student could achieve. I outperformed many non-disabled students, and yet I was still in need of academic accommodations. To my non-disabled classmates, I came off as disingenuous. Many refused to believe that I could have a serious disability and still be able to academically perform at a high level. Those students with disabilities of their own treated me with a mixture of envy and distrust. They were either jealous of my success or flat out refused to believe that I could also be disabled.

I cannot blame people like my friend’s mother or my professors and classmates for their views on cognitive disabilities. Our country’s special education system does little to dispel these preconceptions about the disabled. Students who go through the special education program typically cannot adequately function at the higher education level, and many lead lives of limited professional and academic achievement. Our current educational system is more effective at wasting human potential than at unleashing it.

My case is not typical of the special education system. Results like mine should be the rule, not the exception. I believe that with the proper public policy and resource commitment levels, the special education system can be made to unleash the hidden potential of tens of thousands of students. Right now, that potential is being wasted due to a lack of vision on the part of America’s educators. I believe that my experience in successfully navigating the special education system will allow me to approach the law in a unique way, and add to the diversity of the conversation at (insert law school).

kublaikahn
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Re: DS: Advice and critiques wanted

Postby kublaikahn » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:56 pm

What preconceptions? What was different about you than all the other special education students that never excel? You seem too opinionated in this piece.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: DS: Advice and critiques wanted

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:44 pm

kublaikahn wrote:What preconceptions? What was different about you than all the other special education students that never excel? You seem too opinionated in this piece.


I'm refering to the negative view expressed by many people I have met regarding special education students I'm talking about my experience here, so of course it will be subjective to a point. I talk more specifically about what I accomplished during my life in my PS, which I haven't posted the revised copy. The intent was for the two to complement each other. Also, I would like to know how exactly this is too opinionated. In addition, are you suggesting that there are not preconceptions of what special education students are like?

lsatcrazy
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Re: DS: Advice and critiques wanted

Postby lsatcrazy » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:59 pm

Ohiobumpkin wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:What preconceptions? What was different about you than all the other special education students that never excel? You seem too opinionated in this piece.


I'm refering to the negative view expressed by many people I have met regarding special education students I'm talking about my experience here, so of course it will be subjective to a point. I talk more specifically about what I accomplished during my life in my PS, which I haven't posted the revised copy. The intent was for the two to complement each other. Also, I would like to know how exactly this is too opinionated. In addition, are you suggesting that there are not preconceptions of what special education students are like?


Did you need extra LSAT time, which is why you are writing the addendum? If this an attempt to explain a poor LSAT/GPA? That's kind of important. Also, what special-eductaion-requiring issue do you have? You don't need to say here, but unless it's somewhere else on your app LS AdComms will assume the worst..

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: DS: Advice and critiques wanted

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:01 am

lsatcrazy wrote:Did you need extra LSAT time, which is why you are writing the addendum? If this an attempt to explain a poor LSAT/GPA? That's kind of important. Also, what special-eductaion-requiring issue do you have? You don't need to say here, but unless it's somewhere else on your app LS AdComms will assume the worst..


Yes, I received 50% more time. I am writing this diversity statement to hopefully give me somewhat of an edge in admissions. I am not trying to explain away a bad GPA/LSAT, because I receive accommodations to compensate for any disability, so I deserve whatever grades/scores I receive usually.

I have a specific learning disorder (technical name) that is the product of childhood onset of epilepsy. I have separate disorders in reading, math, writing, and processing speed. I was functionally illiterate until roughly 16 years old, but then overcame my disability with mind numbing hard work over a decade long period. Also, I believe all documents used by LSAC to determine my eligibility for LSAT accommodations are sent to law schools that I apply to, so they should know exactly what my pychoeducational background holds.

lsatcrazy, do you agree with the former poster about the tone of the DS? I am trying not to come off as sound like an ass. Thank you for any input.

kublaikahn
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Re: DS: Advice and critiques wanted

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:11 pm

Ohiobumpkin wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:What preconceptions? What was different about you than all the other special education students that never excel? You seem too opinionated in this piece.


I'm refering to the negative view expressed by many people I have met regarding special education students I'm talking about my experience here, so of course it will be subjective to a point. I talk more specifically about what I accomplished during my life in my PS, which I haven't posted the revised copy. The intent was for the two to complement each other. Also, I would like to know how exactly this is too opinionated. In addition, are you suggesting that there are not preconceptions of what special education students are like?


You may be referring to a negative view but you do not state what that view is. I think you make a blanket statement that offers little insight. On the other hand you do assign negative motives to the people that disagree.

By too opinionated I mean you make superlative statements like "always underfunded." You state that talent is being wasted because of a "lack of vision". These are normative statements without much support. You assign motives to others like jealousy and frustration. Do you really feel like the teachers were frustrated with your success? Even if that were true, you seem to place the worst motives upon those who don't hold you in the most heroic light. But by all means send it.

Law schools are looking for people that can articulate a disparate position without marginalizing their opposition.

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Ohiobumpkin
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Re: DS: Advice and critiques wanted

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:33 pm

kublaikahn wrote:
Ohiobumpkin wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:What preconceptions? What was different about you than all the other special education students that never excel? You seem too opinionated in this piece.


I'm refering to the negative view expressed by many people I have met regarding special education students I'm talking about my experience here, so of course it will be subjective to a point. I talk more specifically about what I accomplished during my life in my PS, which I haven't posted the revised copy. The intent was for the two to complement each other. Also, I would like to know how exactly this is too opinionated. In addition, are you suggesting that there are not preconceptions of what special education students are like?


You may be referring to a negative view but you do not state what that view is. I think you make a blanket statement that offers little insight. On the other hand you do assign negative motives to the people that disagree.

By too opinionated I mean you make superlative statements like "always underfunded." You state that talent is being wasted because of a "lack of vision". These are normative statements without much support. You assign motives to others like jealousy and frustration. Do you really feel like the teachers were frustrated with your success? Even if that were true, you seem to place the worst motives upon those who don't hold you in the most heroic light. But by all means send it.

Law schools are looking for people that can articulate a disparate position without marginalizing their opposition.


I get the impression you do not understand the exact meaning of what I am saying. Also, you miss the fact that much of what I say is related to personal experience, not outside observation. I do not say all teachers, all non-disabled students, or all disabled students. I don't even say all teachers I have met. I can see where perhaps greater qualifying needs to be placed though. Furthermore, in my PS I do cite research and statistics. Again, this DS complements my PS. It is not meant to stand by itself. Besides this fact, a DS and PS are very subjective types of writing. You talk of normative statements as if this needs statistical backing for it to be a proper DS. This is not a social science research paper. It is me talking about my social experience of being a cognitively disabled student who had to struggle to succeed in a failing system.

When I used the term frustrated, the meaning is not that I made my teachers angry, but rather my performance went against their expectations. That is how "frustrated their expectations" was used. But I see why you might have been confused as to the exact meaning of that word.

I'll go back and better qualify some of the statements that could be seen as too encompassing. On a final note though, no need to be rude kublaikahn. I'm just looking for advice on how to better my DS. I wasn't looking to prove anything or to start any fights. So please, keep the smart ass comments to yourself. It makes you look immature and annoying. Thank you for your more constructive comments.

kublaikahn
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Re: DS: Advice and critiques wanted

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:47 pm

Ohiobumpkin wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:
Ohiobumpkin wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:What preconceptions? What was different about you than all the other special education students that never excel? You seem too opinionated in this piece.


I'm refering to the negative view expressed by many people I have met regarding special education students I'm talking about my experience here, so of course it will be subjective to a point. I talk more specifically about what I accomplished during my life in my PS, which I haven't posted the revised copy. The intent was for the two to complement each other. Also, I would like to know how exactly this is too opinionated. In addition, are you suggesting that there are not preconceptions of what special education students are like?


You may be referring to a negative view but you do not state what that view is. I think you make a blanket statement that offers little insight. On the other hand you do assign negative motives to the people that disagree.

By too opinionated I mean you make superlative statements like "always underfunded." You state that talent is being wasted because of a "lack of vision". These are normative statements without much support. You assign motives to others like jealousy and frustration. Do you really feel like the teachers were frustrated with your success? Even if that were true, you seem to place the worst motives upon those who don't hold you in the most heroic light. But by all means send it.

Law schools are looking for people that can articulate a disparate position without marginalizing their opposition.


I get the impression you do not understand the exact meaning of what I am saying. Also, you miss the fact that much of what I say is related to personal experience, not outside observation. I do not say all teachers, all non-disabled students, or all disabled students. I don't even say all teachers I have met. I can see where perhaps greater qualifying needs to be placed though. Furthermore, in my PS I do cite research and statistics. Again, this DS complements my PS. It is not meant to stand by itself. Besides this fact, a DS and PS are very subjective types of writing. You talk of normative statements as if this needs statistical backing for it to be a proper DS. This is not a social science research paper. It is me talking about my social experience of being a cognitively disabled student who had to struggle to succeed in a failing system.

When I used the term frustrated, the meaning is not that I made my teachers angry, but rather my performance went against their expectations. That is how "frustrated their expectations" was used. But I see why you might have been confused as to the exact meaning of that word.

I'll go back and better qualify some of the statements that could be seen as too encompassing. On a final note though, no need to be rude kublaikahn. I'm just looking for advice on how to better my DS. I wasn't looking to prove anything or to start any fights. So please, keep the smart ass comments to yourself. It makes you look immature and annoying. Thank you for your more constructive comments.



Oh, I get what you are saying. I was trying to warn you that some may read this differently that you intend. When one reads between the lines, she gets the impression that you judge others rather harshly and judge yourself in too glowing a light. Go ahead and send this out and see what happens.

This is the last time I try and help:
For my teachers, I was somebody who frustrated their expectations for what a learning disabled student could achieve.
"My teachers were often confounded by the disconnect between my cognitive disability and relative success. Their preconceptions held that only underachieving students faced learning difficulties." It is all in the tone. And your tone indicates that your teachers were idiots and you are some superstar carrying this extra load.




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