Critique updated PS?

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jtweissbrot
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:52 pm

Critique updated PS?

Postby jtweissbrot » Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Howdy. I felt like it was too short and incomplete. Now I feel like it's too long, and still weak. Down to the wire, I realize... Any critique will be much welcomed. thanks!

Oh, and PS -- where the heck could I insert the fact that a class project turned into an audio electronics patent??

What’s next? Law School!
“What’s Next?” is something I’ve come to anticipate, and mostly enjoy, along the path which has turned the 17-year-old confident music conservatory violist and confirmed future bachelor I was into the 33-year-old father, husband, award-winning radio journalist, and confident law student I intend to be this fall.
I believe in planning; I believe in examining all available evidence, figuring out a solution, and following the “best” course to that solution. “Best” is in quotes because I’ve put many miles on some good cars over the past 17 years, and I know that there isn’t one right way to get from point A to point B. From construction, rush-hour delays, and holiday traffic to clean rest-stops, family-friendly diners, and scenery, even Google Maps and its real-time traffic overlay can’t match what I know about traveling the northeastern seaboard. I-95 is no analogy for life, but it’s a good endorsement for keeping options open.
I also believe that the “best” course requires a detailed inspection now and then. When that 17-year-old sure-fingered conservatory violist found out he had osteoarthritis, his plan to take the symphonic world by storm needed some short-range tweaking and a long-range overhaul. That first “What’s Next?” luckily happened to be sharing a room with me: when I was a freshman, my roommate was a sophomore in a remarkable 5-year degree program combining music, math, science, and engineering classes at multiple Johns Hopkins University campuses into a high-tech artistic career path in Recording Arts/Audio Engineering. All it required was hard work (an average of 21.5 credits per semester for the first four years) and dedication (my class graduated six of the original thirteen matriculated students), and convincing two professors who expected excellence that neither my viola playing, nor my academics, would suffer for the other.
I convinced them; I made my own arrangements to catch up on academic prerequisites for the double major program, I made arrangements with the Recording Arts professor to take the first two years of his classes concurrently, and I made arrangements with my pillow for us to see a lot less of each other (but our time together was of very good quality). I saw more sunrises than I would have liked to during the early years of my undergrad; thankfully many were shared, sometimes with late-night friends, but more often with late-night study partners or early-morning inter-campus shuttle bus riders. Classes, routine, friends, and a co-principal orchestra chair were in place for the short-term, world domination of Audio Engineering Technique was planned for the long-term, so What’s Next?
The next “What’s Next?” was driven by a fairly common concern: money. Between my second and third academic years, circumstances made my family’s budget tight. I worried about having to leave school; I lobbied my professors for support; they came through, including with additional work-study money. I spent those extra work-study hours behind the recording console, getting hands-on training recording live events like symphony concerts, chamber music, and student recitals, and running studio sessions for international competition audition tapes, student bands, a Lilith Fair Talent Search finalist, and an up-and-coming R&B/Jazz trumpeter/rapper.
Those extra studio hours not only laid the groundwork for my final three years of school, they established an entire decade of a bachelor’s life. I wound up working closely with the music agent who promoted that trumpeter/rapper, as studio engineer, live-sound engineer, violinist/violist, and sometime bookkeeper. My versatility in recording such varied performers and performances helped me land a fascinating job post-graduation as audio engineer/sound designer/radio journalist for the longest running documentary series on public radio. On June 28th, 2008 I was a weekend gigging musician/sound-guy/violin teacher with a journalism day-job that had sent me to Antarctica, was about to send me to Siberia, and was sniffing possibilities in Zambia. Ahh, the single life.
On June 29th, 2008, a brand new “What’s Next?” walked into my life; on March 21st, 2010 I married her; on February 7th, 2011 our pearl of light was born. No more trips to isolated scientific outposts in uninhabitable climates, and no virus-hunting expeditions to the Congo for this family man, thank-you-very-much, so, “What’s Next?” I’m technically oriented; I’m artistically inclined; I’m an experienced researcher; I have the engineer’s drive to find facts and develop solutions. While I enjoy sharing knowledge through journalism and teaching, I prefer to use it; knowledge is not facts, but a tool of achievement. To me, the legal profession seems an ideal fit for my mindset and skills, and I am excited at the prospect of studying and practicing law.

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CorkBoard
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Re: Critique updated PS?

Postby CorkBoard » Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:02 pm

Stop switching from third person to first person.

Also, this is all over the place. You talk about way too many things. Cut it down or scrap it entirely and focus on something specific. I'm not a fan of the repetitive "what's next" thing. It sounds like a speech.

jtweissbrot
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:52 pm

Re: Critique updated PS?

Postby jtweissbrot » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:49 am

CorkBoard wrote:Stop switching from third person to first person.

Changing 1 sentence -- "When I was a 17-year-old sure-fingered conservatory violist, I found out that I have degenerative osteoarthritis; obviously, my plan to take the symphonic world by storm needed some short-range tweaking and a long-range overhaul."

Thanks for that, I thought I had removed them all. Did I miss any other third-persons? ("This family man" gets a pass for vernacular.)

CorkBoard wrote:Also, this is all over the place. You talk about way too many things. Cut it down or scrap it entirely and focus on something specific. I'm not a fan of the repetitive "what's next" thing. It sounds like a speech.

Any specific recommendation on a line or section to axe? I'm trying to explain how a guy with such a varied background who is once again switching careers (from a pretty damn cool one) isn't a total flake and will be a dedicated student (especially an old fart like myself). As far as the speech thing, that's intentional, so, sorry ya don't like it but it was the best way I could write it. Thanks, again, for the feedback CorkBoard.

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ix88
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Re: Critique updated PS?

Postby ix88 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:49 pm

I like how this PS has an overarching theme of "What's Next?"

But other than that, I think this PS needs a lot of work and revision.

The PS seems unfocused and does not tie the story to its conclusion of "why law school?"

What I am reading is: a brief life story followed by a belief that law school is next in your journey b/c, as you said, you think you have the mind-set and skills required to be a lawyer. Nearly everyone who applies to law school thinks they have the mind-set and skills to be a lawyer. Why would you be any different? The ad com can and will determine this from your LSAT, Ugrad GPA and work experience. It goes without being said, and I think is a waste of space to include in your PS.

But because your mind-set and skills point is your primary and only reason for why law school - there is a serious problem. The PS's conclusion hardly provides a convincing argument for "why law school?" and it shows a lack of forethought. It shows you haven't meaningfully considered "why law school?" and that you haven't exhausted every other possibility. Why not something else with your skill-set?


Also, the PS uses too many adjectives and opinions. Instead of telling us something is remarkable, show us that it is remarkable. Instead of labeling yourself as versatile, show us that you are versatile.

The tone of this PS seems off-putting. It sounds more like you are giving an awkward oral presentation. You are writing as if you were speaking.

The PS seems too informal to me. Remove the slashes. Remove the slang ie: "thank-you-very-much" and "17-year-old sure-fingered."

The PS uses far too many semicolons. Instead of a long-drawn out sentence with semicolons and commas, why not chop it into 2-3 concise, focused sentences?

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Shooter
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Re: Critique updated PS?

Postby Shooter » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:57 pm

This PS makes you seem very self-absorbed. I know that you are trying to pack all of your accomplishments into one short story, but don't. That is what your resume is for. Pick one attribute that a good lawyer would possess, and stop referring to yourself as "the awesome violist," "the brilliant teenager," and "the award winning broadcaster."

jtweissbrot
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:52 pm

Re: Critique updated PS?

Postby jtweissbrot » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:07 pm

THANK you ix88 for a very helpful critique!

ix88 wrote:The PS seems unfocused and does not tie the story to its conclusion of "why law school?"

What I am reading is: a brief life story followed by a belief that law school is next in your journey b/c, as you said, you think you have the mind-set and skills required to be a lawyer. Nearly everyone who applies to law school thinks they have the mind-set and skills to be a lawyer. Why would you be any different? The ad com can and will determine this from your LSAT, Ugrad GPA and work experience. It goes without being said, and I think is a waste of space to include in your PS.

But because your mind-set and skills point is your primary and only reason for why law school - there is a serious problem. The PS's conclusion hardly provides a convincing argument for "why law school?" and it shows a lack of forethought. It shows you haven't meaningfully considered "why law school?" and that you haven't exhausted every other possibility. Why not something else with your skill-set?

This is the most helpful response I've gotten. You're totally right. Will chop more middle & add more end.
ix88 wrote:The tone of this PS seems off-putting. It sounds more like you are giving an awkward oral presentation. You are writing as if you were speaking.
The PS seems too informal to me. Remove the slashes. Remove the slang ie: "thank-you-very-much" and "17-year-old sure-fingered."
The PS uses far too many semicolons. Instead of a long-drawn out sentence with semicolons and commas, why not chop it into 2-3 concise, focused sentences?

Ouch, only for the "awkward" comment...:) This is the only type of writing I really know (and my results are, pardon a lack of humility, generally highly regarded -- I know I'm telling you instead of showing you, but I'm not about to upload a picture of the awards shelf...), so I have to stick with it. I'll try to de-slang it a bit.

jtweissbrot
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:52 pm

Re: Critique updated PS?

Postby jtweissbrot » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:15 pm

Thanks shooter for the comments.

Shooter wrote:This PS makes you seem very self-absorbed.

damn. I was hoping that the fact that I was willing to switch up when things went wrong would absolve me of that... Good to know.
Shooter wrote:I know that you are trying to pack all of your accomplishments into one short story, but don't. That is what your resume is for.

Hell, I left a lot out. I'm 11 years out of school... I have trouble with a 2-page resume limit. (That's not boasting, it's just variety.)
Shooter wrote:Pick one attribute that a good lawyer would possess, and stop referring to yourself as "the awesome violist," "the brilliant teenager," and "the award winning broadcaster."

To be fair, I don't think I used either of those first two references. I was definitely once cocksure, and I intended to portray that I was so, but also that I realize now that it was silly to be so. That didn't come through I guess?
As far as the attribute, it's supposed to be that ... boy, I don't know what to call it (that could be the problem!)... The drive to attain a solution. Flop.

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luuma
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Re: Critique updated PS?

Postby luuma » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:11 pm

All in all I see you have great potential for a good story to deliver in your personal statement. However, I think you need to be a bit more modest (doesn't mean you don't tell them you're great, just not in an over zealous kind of way, otherwise each time you mention your great attributes they won't consider them as much as they would if it were dropped more subtly)


I am by no means good at grammar. But I have intuition for content and style. The first sentence should get cut down and the quotations for me personally, I would get rid of. It's uncommon for them to be used in that context for Personal Statements unless they are used to quote something someone said in a story.


How about something like this..

Moving forward is a particular aspect of life that I’ve come to anticipate, and mostly enjoy. By embracing it, I’ve grown from a 17-year-old confident music conservatory violist to a 33-year-old proud father, husband, and award-winning radio journalist.

[Not sure about the age grammar]

The second sentence is a bit overcrowded and dragged out.. how about something like..

I believe in the importance of planning; I believe in examining all available evidence needed to figure out the solution that is best suited.

And instead of talking about why "best" is in quotations.. continuing on along the lines of:

To me, the best suited application is subjective

I will continue reading this, but I have an assignment due in a couple hours. Let me know your thoughts on this sort of editing I'll come back to this tonight!




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