PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
mwu
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:45 pm

PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

Postby mwu » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:13 am

As a first generation American citizen and the first member of my family to graduate from college, I have developed a unique perspective of the world that I can only attribute to my parents and their hardships and struggle to achieve what many call American dream. Their journey began in the one of the poorest parts of the world, an apartment complex in the northern part of Kolkata, India. They immigrated to the United States in the 70’s in hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty and create a better environment to raise a family in.
My father was the first to immigrate to the U.S., with 50 dollars to his name and the sponsorship of a family friend he worked tirelessly in order to raise enough money to afford my mother’s immigration expenses. He was forced to work tiresome blue collar jobs since he possessed the education level equivalent to the junior high school. My mother entered the work force armed with a high school education and the determination to succeed in the new environment. Together they scrimped out a living and eventually saved enough to start a family and send me and my 2 brothers to college in hopes that we would not have to face the same hardships they had experienced throughout the years.
Their journey has been a constant reminder to me that through hard work and determination that anything is possible. All throughout my life my parents had instilled in me that same blue collar principle of hard work and the view that nothing in this world comes without sacrifice.
Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to travel back to the country where their journey began. Through my mother’s employer my family has traveled to India for the past 24 years. With these travels I have witnessed the extreme poverty and suffering that is life for people like my parents in the slums of India. Staying with relatives that still reside in that country I have experienced a way of life that some would consider intolerable. It was until after my first semester at college where I was able to in some way help these people. One of the ways in which I tried to was by volunteering my time with the Sisters of the Poor in Kolkata. Granted the only thing I really could do is carry countless jugs of water up from the street level to where they needed it as well as use my broken understanding of Hindi to teach English to a few individuals.
Last edited by mwu on Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ix88
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Re: PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

Postby ix88 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:43 am

Needs improvement.

There are various syntax and grammatical issues. For example, your opening sentence is a run-on.

Regarding substantive issues: 40 percent into your PS and you are still talking about your parents.

The rest of your PS is about you mixed in with your parents.

I think I might have learned more about your parents than I did about you from this PS. I think you need to orient the focus of your PS on you more.

Your story regarding what you learned from visiting the impoverished parts of India is superficial and needs further development. I think you need to elaborate more and explain specifically how and in what ways the experience transformed you.

Also, I suggest you think of a word other than "believe." Beliefs are tenuous.

Furthermore, your conclusion seems trite and you mention human rights - but what does human rights have to do with poverty?

How specifically would NSU's int. law program help you? Your conclusion is too vague, casts a broad stroke and provides an unsupported opinion (the "frivolously" comment).

mwu
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:45 pm

Re: PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

Postby mwu » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:28 am

Thank you for taking the time to read my statement. Should I just cut out the part about my parents?

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ix88
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Re: PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

Postby ix88 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:39 am

You are welcome.

I wouldn't totally cut them out, but reduce the amount of space they take in your PS or rearrange your PS's presentation.

Think of your PS as an upside-down pyramid. You want the most important stuff on the top or higher up in your PS.

Yes your parents are important and they played a major role in your life and upbringing, however the ad com wants to learn the most it can, as soon as it can, about YOU.

mwu
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:45 pm

Re: PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

Postby mwu » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:50 am

I made some additions that I had neglected in the first draft please tell me what you think and what I can do to improve thank you so much for all your help
As a first generation American citizen and the first member of my family to graduate from college, I have developed a unique perspective of the world. I can attribute part of this to my parents and their immigration to the United States. Their journey began in the one of the poorest parts of the world, an apartment complex in the northern part of Kolkata, India. They immigrated to the United States in the 70’s in hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty. Together they scrimped out a living enduring many hardships and sacrificing much. Eventually they saved enough to start a family and send me and my 2 brothers to college in hopes that we would not have to face the same hardships they had experienced throughout the years.
Growing up in this environment, I have been instilled with the same determination and perseverance that my family brought to this country. This determination and perseverance has gotten me through the hardest times of my life during my undergrad at Catholic University. I started out at Catholic as a hungry and motivated student athlete. I was determined to make a name for myself on the football team. However two season ending knee injuries derailed my aspirations for football glory. The second injury proved to be the one that ended my career. I was forced to make a decision, either give up and go home, or use this opportunity to better myself and grow as an individual. I decided if I could no longer be an athlete, I was going to be the best student I could be.
My career had so abruptly ended but had left me with a new sense of clarity. I realized that with the current path that I was on, the goal of attending law school, my original goal when enrolling at Catholic University and their pre-law program, was going to be virtually unattainable. I was determined to improve my academic standing with the university. This goal sounded simple enough but proved to be an uphill battle. The first difficulty I had to overcome was the physical limitations that the injury had left me. The injury had made my right leg useless and so at first I was bound to a wheelchair for a large part of the semester. Normally one would opt to have incapacitating surgery and take the rest of the semester off. I was determined not to waste any more time and fight through the pain. I regained my mobility and finished the semester.
The second battle proved to be the one that I would fight with the remainder of the time at Catholic. Between athletics, college life outside of academics, and medical procedures, my standing with the university was not up to my standards. With a clear goal in mind I set out to achieve higher academic standards and ended my last semester at Catholic University on the fall 2009 Dean’s List. I had come a long way when compared to the first 2 years at Catholic. The injury that had seemed like such a tragedy had helped me reevaluate my goals and achieve something that I thought was unattainable. I am determined to strive for continued academic excellence in your upcoming law school class.

jtweissbrot
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Re: PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

Postby jtweissbrot » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:10 pm

Intriguing story. I don't know much about "good" PS content, but I have a couple of style suggestions -- take 'em or leave 'em.

mwu wrote:Their journey began in the one of the poorest parts of the world, an apartment complex in the northern part of Kolkata, India.

An apartment complex is too small a thing to be a "part of the world". Try: Their journey began in a/an [adjective -- dirty/run-down/overcrowded] apartment complex in one of the poorest spots on the globe, the northern part of Kolkata, India.
mwu wrote:send me and my 2 brothers to college in hopes

Numbers under 10 (some say under 20 (some say under 100)) should be spelled out, i.e. "two", not "2".
mwu wrote:Growing up in this environment, I have been instilled with the same determination and perseverance that my family brought to this country. This determination and perseverance has gotten me through

In the second sentence, you make "determination and perseverance" into an active subject; do it in the first, too: "...instilled with the same determination and perseverance that brought my family to this country."
mwu wrote:My career had so abruptly ended but had left me with a new sense of clarity.

Not a grammatical sentence. Some don't like this structure but I do: "That my career had so abruptly ended left me with a new sense of clarity." More traditional structure: "My career ended so abruptly that it left me with a new sense of clarity." Less emphatic but also less awkward: "My career ended abruptly, but that actually left me with a new sense of clarity"
mwu wrote:I realized that with the current path that I was on,

While correct within the tense you're using, this is horribly awkward. The current path that I was on back then is not the current path that I later was on, and is different than the current path that I currently am on. Ick. "...with the path that I was then on,..."
mwu wrote: my standing with the university was not up to my standards. With a clear goal in mind I set out to achieve higher academic standards and ended my last semester

"Standards" used twice. Maybe "...achieve greater academic success" or something. not a biggie.
mwu wrote:excellence in your upcoming law school class.

Try: as I work towards my law degree (or something like that). "upcoming law school class" really falls flat in encapsulating a JD program, I think.

hope any of this is helpful

jw

llachans
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Re: PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

Postby llachans » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:16 pm

Add WAY more about you. Law schools aren't admitting your parents.

Ronburgandy2468
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Re: PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

Postby Ronburgandy2468 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:42 pm

jtweissbrot gave you some good advice. You shoiuld write a personal statement that talks elaborates further on your intellectual qualities etc. Your focus is strayed a bit, in the sense that you want admissions to sort of give you points for being a first generation in the U.S. Unfortunately, they won't (at least not as much as you think).
Also, I'd recommend you not to disclose the name of the school you are sending this to.

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fashiongirl
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Re: PS critique Yay or nay? and what can i do to improve?

Postby fashiongirl » Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:08 pm

llachans wrote:Add WAY more about you. Law schools aren't admitting your parents.

+1




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