PS for critique, need to apply ASAP

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
dali
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:07 pm

PS for critique, need to apply ASAP

Postby dali » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:38 pm

“when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Sometimes what many would consider to be a misfortune in life can be a blessing in disguise. When I was eight years old Susan sat me down on her lap and told me that I was special, and that I had two mommies. What she meant by this was that she was in fact my grandmother, and I had been adopted as a baby. I can remember fantasizing about my other family, a mixture of excitement at the possibilities of having parents the same age as my friends’, and double Christmases. It wasn’t until I tried explaining my situation to my teachers and classmates that I realized how truly confusing something as supposedly simple as referencing my closest relative as either brother or uncle had become.
My adoptive parents, Susan and Ed, always loved to retell the way I would argue “I want to do it myself” in any situation from climbing the slide at the playground to choosing the classes I would take. Perhaps due to the betrayal I experienced by them at such a young age, I never would give much weight to what they had to say. However, this memory was triggered when my favorite teacher in high school, Mrs. Atwood, dubbed me with the superlative “most likely to challenge the status quo” that I really began to analyze my thought processes, and how I compared in this way to my peers. I have since realized that experiencing such a rude awakening has led me to question everything, from my true identity to why things are the way they are.
One question which will likely always remain in the back of my mind is what similarities I may have had with my biological father. I remember the rush, and then the disappointment, as I sat on the plush couch of my sorority house and read the first email with a cliché apology for his absence the first 22 years of my life. A few months later I found out from his sister’s Facebook status update that he had taken his own life. It’s hard for me to understand how I really feel about him now, but throughout my childhood and young adulthood his absence allowed me to fantasize about the mystery of the other half of my DNA and prevented me from being too strongly influenced by the family that I did know. My role models became scholars and authors, providing me with a blend of dreams of inspirational achievement and a firm grounding in concrete facts.
In this way, I feel blessed. The personality traits that I admire about myself the most are my open-mindedness and my desire to continuously challenge myself intellectually by looking at any given problem or circumstance from all possible angles. Complex problem solving and gaining new insight on an issue has become a passion of mine which I can derive great pride from, and I owe at least a portion of that drive to my early childhood experience with adoption.
I never make an important decision without doing significant research and introspection. Aside from the many law students I have spoken with and statistics I have analyzed, I also have 7 months of full-time work experience as a legislative aide to an elected official. Taking a year off of school has only solidified my long term ambitions. Law school would provide me with the continuous challenge and intellectual stimulation that I crave, as well as the ability to think independently. It would bring me no greater joy than to not simply question the status quo, but to effectively argue for or against it.


Addendum
By excluding the Fall of 2009 my GPA would become a 3.01. On July 27th of 2009 Sarah, my adoptive sister and biological aunt with whom I am very close, was involved in a head on collision. Going 60mph in her Jetta she collided with an oil truck. Neither party was charged as they were both in the middle of the road. Sarah was flown by helicopter to Fairfax Hospital where she remained in a coma for 38 days with virtually all of her bones broken, and a traumatic brain injury. She was expected to die or to remain in a vegetative state for the rest of her life, and was in need of intensive long term nursing and care.
Miraculously she has slowly recovered and although she is still in a wheelchair and continues to face difficulties from her brain damage she now is able to fold laundry and carry on a conversation. I believe the emotional stress and regularly travelling back home from school led to my low GPA the Fall after her accident, 2009. In the spring of 2010 I withdrew from classes in what was supposed to be my graduating semester and I returned home to help my family care for Sarah.

Medical documentation available upon request

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JCFindley
Posts: 1283
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:19 pm

Re: PS for critique, need to apply ASAP

Postby JCFindley » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:57 am

“when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Sometimes what many would consider to be a misfortune in life can be a blessing in disguise. When I was eight years old Susan sat me down on her lap and told me that I was special, and that I had two mommies. What she meant by this was that she was in fact my grandmother, and I had been adopted as a baby. I can remember fantasizing about my other family, a mixture of excitement_____a mixture of excitement and what other feeling?______ at the possibilities of having parents the same age as my friends’, and double Christmases. It wasn’t until I tried explaining my situation to my teachers and classmates that I realized how truly confusing something as supposedly simple as referencing my closest relative as either brother or uncle had become.
My adoptive parents, Susan and Ed, always loved to retell the way I would argue “I want to do it myself” in any situation from climbing the slide at the playground to choosing the classes I would take. Perhaps due to the betrayal I experienced by them at such a young age, I never would give much weight to what they had to say._____ I am confused here as to what the betrayal was. To this point I only know that they adopted you; is that a betrayal?______ However, this memory was triggered when my favorite teacher in high school, Mrs. Atwood, dubbed me with the superlative “most likely to challenge the status quo” that I really began to analyze my thought processes, and how I compared in this way to my peers._____This is a run on sentence and doesn’t make sense as written-Perhaps end the sentence after - status quo. That is when______ I have since realized that experiencing such a rude awakening has led me to question everything, from my true identity to why things are the way they are.
One question which will likely always remain in the back of my mind is what similarities I may have had with my biological father.___The question of what similarities I may have had with my biological father will likely always remain in the back of my mind.____ I remember the rush, and then the disappointment, as I sat on the plush couch of my sorority house and read the first email with a cliché apology for his absence the first 22 years of my life. A few months later I found out from his sister’s Facebook status update that he had taken his own life.It’s hard for me to understand how I really feel about him now, but throughout my childhood and young adulthood his absence allowed me to fantasize about the mystery of the other half of my DNA and prevented me from being too strongly influenced by the family that I did know. My role models became scholars and authors, providing me with a blend of dreams of inspirational achievement and a firm grounding in concrete facts.
In this way, I feel blessed. The personality traits that I admire about myself the most are my open-mindedness and my desire to continuously challenge myself intellectually by looking at any given problem or circumstance from all possible angles. Complex problem solving and gaining new insight on an issue has become a passion of mine which I can derive great pride from, and I owe at least a portion of that drive to my early childhood experience with adoption.
I never make an important decision without doing significant research and introspection. Aside from the many law students I have spoken with and statistics I have analyzed, I also have 7 months of full-time work experience as a legislative aide to an elected official. Taking a year off of school has only solidified my long term ambitions. Law school would provide me with the continuous challenge and intellectual stimulation that I crave, as well as the ability to think independently. It would bring me no greater joy than to not simply question the status quo, but to effectively argue for or against it.
_________________________________________________________

I am figuring out what makes a good personal statement myself so can't critique the message in the PS but put on a few suggestions that made it flow a little better for me.

dali
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:07 pm

Re: PS for critique, need to apply ASAP

Postby dali » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:00 pm

thanks so much :)

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lizaregina
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:29 pm

Re: PS for critique, need to apply ASAP

Postby lizaregina » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:04 pm

I think the theme about challenging the status quo is good but I feel like you're trying to cover too much at once. It seems like you're trying to cover a lifetime in 2 pages where you might be better served by picking a moment (such as the betrayal, the suicide, etc.) and framing this theme around that. I just feel otherwise it requires too much explanation everywhere to go from one event to another and loses its cohesiveness.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: PS for critique, need to apply ASAP

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:30 pm

A confusing mess. In my opinion, this essay is more reflective of meandering backyard gossip then a well thought out personal statement.

P.S. Your story has substance, but you need to be more effective in sharing your message. Try to develop a more precise theme that directs your thoughts in a more coherent fashion.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rinkrat19
Posts: 13915
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:35 am

Re: PS for critique, need to apply ASAP

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:33 pm

Lose the quote. Starting with a quote is incredibly overdone, and yours doesn't really add anything to the essay.

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ix88
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:24 pm

Re: PS for critique, need to apply ASAP

Postby ix88 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:51 pm

"Complex problem solving and gaining new insight on an issue has become a passion of mine which I can derive great pride from, and I owe at least a portion of that drive to my early childhood experience with adoption.
I never make an important decision without doing significant research and introspection. Aside from the many law students I have spoken with and statistics I have analyzed, I also have 7 months of full-time work experience as a legislative aide to an elected official."

This might need revision. Some of it smells like puffery/opinion. If you have these abilities and propensities, show the admissions committee with perhaps: achievements, rewards, publications, community service etc - otherwise these comments are just self-glorifications without substantiation. Show us, don't tell us.

" Taking a year off of school has only solidified my long term ambitions."
How would taking a year off do that? Why were you unable to find employment or contribute meaningfully to your community? If you don't have good answers, I'd suggest you remove this from your PS. It probably should be removed even if you do have good answers.

"Law school would provide me with the continuous challenge and intellectual stimulation that I crave, as well as the ability to think independently. It would bring me no greater joy than to not simply question the status quo, but to effectively argue for or against it."

You don't need a legal education to question the status quo or to argue for or against it. A masters program or phd program can also provide a continuous challenge and intellectual stimulation.

This begs the question, which your PS does not address, why law school specifically and nothing else?




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