Advice on my PS?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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ALgooner
Posts: 163
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Advice on my PS?

Postby ALgooner » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:16 am

Hi, guys! Relatively new to the forum (well, posting at least--been lurking for a while), thought I see if anyone is willing to help me with my PS. I am applying to a couple of schools that extended their deadline this cycle. But I'm not expecting much considering how late it is. I figure I can use this PS for next cycle if I decide to wait it out. I know it is pretty long, so I need help determining which parts should be edited out. Also, this is a very early draft, I just want to get some input to see if I'm headed in the right direction. Thanks!


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” I remember studying Emma Lazarus’ famous sonnet back in my seventh grade Civics class. Although it did not mean much to me at the time, this line has come to define much of my life. Etched into a plaque on the Statue of Liberty, those words serve as a beacon of hope to the downtrodden all across the world; a promise of freedom. Immigrants on their way to Ellis Island often broke down in tears at the sight of the Statue, saying it represented everything they had dreamed about America. It certainly did for my family.

My childhood was different than most kids’ in the U.S.. My father migrated here from Iran when he was seventeen, making me half Persian. My father fled to the U.S. to escape the violent monarch ruling Iran, the Shah Reza Pahlavi. Ghosts of the secret police, SAVAK, ransacking houses in search for political dissidents to torture still haunt my father. Despite this, my dad has always been proud of his heritage. His face lights up as he tells anyone who will listen about the history of Ancient Persia. Growing up, I was always more interested in toys and the Pink Panther. My Persian heritage is very much a part of who I am, even if I rejected it for a large part of my life due to intense bullying. As I’ve gotten older, my background has led me to crave the knowledge of other cultures. I want to get past stereotypes and stigmas, and discover the nuances and subtleties that different cultures have to offer.

In the summer of 2010 my cousins from Iran decided that they wanted to come to the U.S. to pursue a collegiate education. Fighting an oppressive government of their own, they dreamed of living in a truly free society. They were “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. I desperately wanted my cousins to have the same opportunities that I had, so I took it upon myself to intervene on their behalf. The U.S.’s system of granting student visas can be arduous at the best of times, but it is nearly impossible when dealing with an enemy of the USA, like Iran. My parents and I worked for months; writing letters, dealing with lawyers, and contacting embassies, until finally, my cousins were granted visas to come to the U.S. to study.

The exhausting process that my family and I went through for my two teenage cousins to study in the Unites States sparked a passion in me to work on the behalf of those whose voices are silenced by their own governments. What’s more, if my cousins had not had family here in the U.S., it would be difficult to imagine how they would have been allowed to come. I want to make it easier for citizens of other countries to access the wonderful resources that the U.S. has to offer. For years I had been searching for my purpose in life, grabbing at straws like some real life Inspector Clouseau; And yet here was my purpose, unfolding before my very eyes, clear as the sun on a hot Alabama day.

My thirst for cultural understanding led me to apply for a summer 2011 Study Abroad trip in Greece, based on ancient Greek civilization. Although none of the credits applied to my Economics major, I went, deciding that to truly understand other cultures, I needed to get out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in another country.

My time in Greece was like a dream. I gazed in wonder as we walked through the hallowed ground of the Agora of Athens, the scent of freshly baked pitas sending my senses into overdrive, and my mind into reverie. I closed my eyes and managed to picture with immense clarity the Apostle Paul giving speeches on the very ground I stood. My professor told about Draco and how he had established the first ever written laws in Ancient Greece, and how these “axones” had been a key to Athenian democracy. It was in this moment that I experienced what I imagine was an epiphany—that curious second when a combination of insight and intuition seem to meld together to form a seemingly new thought: I wanted to be a lawyer.

It was not as if I had never considered being a lawyer, but somehow, it was just a word before, with no real meaning attached to it. It was as if all of a sudden I understood the significance of the profession. Although Draco’s laws were notoriously harsh, they laid the groundwork for democracy through his Council of Four Hundred. I realized that being a lawyer would be the best vehicle for me to bring about change in the field of immigration.

I want to enter into a profession where I can use my passion to positively influence the world around me. With a solid education backing me up and real passion lighting the fire in my belly, I know I will be a successful immigration lawyer. I know I can excel at XXX law school because I have a thirst for knowledge, demonstrated throughout my life. My strong GPA in a challenging major, all the while taking Honors courses and juggling extracurricular activities, shows that I have the intellectual fortitude to succeed. My work ethic is corroborated by being chosen by faculty members to receive the Faculty Excellence in Economics award for 2011-2012.

What stand above the rest of my strengths, however, is my passion. I have a cause-- I know exactly what I want to accomplish with my degree, and why. I know I am not going to change the world by myself, but I do know that if I can help even a couple of those tired and poor, those huddled masses yearning to breathe free, I will count myself successful.

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ALgooner
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Re: Advice on my PS?

Postby ALgooner » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:28 pm

I'm thinking the best part to edit out would be the Greece stuff. Please help!

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WannaGo
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Re: Advice on my PS?

Postby WannaGo » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:14 am

I'm pretty tired so this is a really sloppy chop. Fair warning - some of these edits might suck.

I edited a bunch of things out - not because they took away from your essay but because it seems a tad lengthy. It will still need smoothing but this should give you a little direction with what you could remove. Also, I shifted a couple sentences into different paragraphs. There's some parts that I've left in that should probably be elaborated on but when you come back with a second draft, you'll probably get more than just my input.

I hope you find it helpful.



srkhalilian wrote:Hi, guys! Relatively new to the forum (well, posting at least--been lurking for a while), thought I see if anyone is willing to help me with my PS. I am applying to a couple of schools that extended their deadline this cycle. But I'm not expecting much considering how late it is. I figure I can use this PS for next cycle if I decide to wait it out. I know it is pretty long, so I need help determining which parts should be edited out. Also, this is a very early draft, I just want to get some input to see if I'm headed in the right direction. Thanks!


"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” I remember studying Emma Lazarus’ famous sonnet back in my seventh grade Civics class. [s]Although it did not mean much to me at the time, this line has come to define much of my life.etched into a plaque on the Statue of Liberty, those wordsserves as a beacon of hope to the downtrodden all across the world; a promise of freedom. Immigrants on their way to Ellis Island often broke break down in tears at the sight of the Statue, saying it representeds everything they had dreamed about America. It certainly did for my family.

My childhood was different than most kids’ in the U.S.My father migrated here from Iran when he was seventeen, making me half Persian. My father fled to the U.S. to escape the violent monarch ruling Iran, the Shah Reza Pahlavi. Ghosts of the secret police, SAVAK, ransacking houses in search for political dissidents to torture still haunt my father. Despite this, my dad has always been proud of his heritage. His face lights up as he tells anyone who will listen about the history of Ancient Persia. Growing up, I was always more interested in toys and the Pink Panther.

In the summer of 2010 When my cousins from Iran decided that theywanted to come to the U.S. to pursue a collegiate education in the summer of 2010, that changed. Fighting an oppressive government of their own, they dreamed of living in a truly free society. They were “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. The U.S.’s system of granting student visas can be arduous at thebest of times, but it is nearly impossible when dealing with an enemy of the USA, like Iran. I desperately wanted my cousins to have the same opportunities that I had, so my parents and I worked for months; writing letters, dealing with lawyers, and contacting embassies, until finally, my cousins were granted visas to come to the U.S. to study. I took it upon myself to intervene on their behalf.What’s more, if my cousins had not had family here in the U.S., it would be difficult to imagine how they would have been allowed to come at all.

The exhausting process that my family and I went through for my two teenage cousins to study in the Unites Statessparked a passion in me to work on the behalf of those whose voices are silenced by their own governments. I want to make it easier for citizens of other countries to access the wonderful resources that the U.S. has to offer. [s]For years I had been searching for my purpose in life, grabbing at straws like some real life Inspector Clouseau; And yet here was my purpose, unfolding before my very eyes, clear as the sun on a hot Alabama day. My Persian heritage is very much a part of who I am, even if I rejected it for a large part of my life due to intense bullying. But in embracing it, I have discovered a special talent that could help give families like mine the opportunity to experience the American Dream. (or something)

My thirst for cultural understanding led me to apply for a summer 2011 Study Abroad trip in Greece, based on ancient Greek civilization. Although none of the credits applied to my Economics major, I went, deciding that to truly understand other cultures, I needed to get out of my comfort zone and immerse myself in another country.

My time in Greece was like a dream. I gazed in wonder as we walked through the hallowed ground of the Agora of Athens, the scent of freshly baked pitas sending my senses into overdrive, and my mind into reverie. I closed my eyes and managed to picture with immense clarity the Apostle Paul giving speeches on the very ground I stood. My professor told about Draco and how he had established the first ever written laws in Ancient Greece, and how these “axones” had been a key to Athenian democracy. It was in this moment that I experienced what I imagine was an epiphany—that curious second when a combination of insight and intuition seem to meld together to form a seemingly new thought: I wanted to be a lawyer.

It was not as if I had never considered being a lawyer, but somehow, it was just a word before, with no real meaning attached to it. It was as if all of a sudden I understood the significance of the profession. Although Draco’s laws were notoriously harsh, they laid the groundwork for democracy through his Council of Four Hundred. I realized that Being a lawyer would be the best vehicle for me to bring about change in the field of immigration.

As I’ve gotten older, my background has led me to crave the knowledge of other cultures. I want to get pastbreak through stereotypes and stigmas, and discover the nuances and subtleties that different cultures have to offer. I want to enter into a profession where I can use my passion to positively influence the world around me. With a solid education backing me up and real passion lighting the fire in my belly, I know I will be a successful immigration lawyer. I know I can excel at XXX law school because I have a thirst for knowledge, demonstrated throughout my life. My strong GPA in a challenging major, all the while taking Honors courses and juggling extracurricular activities, shows that I have the intellectual fortitude to succeed. My work ethic is corroborated by being chosen by faculty members to receive the Faculty Excellence in Economics award for 2011-2012.

What stand above the rest of my strengths, however, is my passion. I have a cause-- I know exactly what I want to accomplish with my degree, and why. I know I am not going to change the world by myself, but I do know that if I can help even a couple of those tired and poor, those huddled masses yearning to breathe free, I will count myself successful.

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ALgooner
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:23 am

Re: Advice on my PS?

Postby ALgooner » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:02 pm

Thanks WannaGo! I took most of your suggestions. I wasn't sure about changing the Ellis Island bit to present tense--I was mainly referring to when immigrants came over on ships. Also, what do you think about the PS in general? Will the topic work? Am I on the right track?

Here is the 2nd draft. It's a bit short now, so I am looking for some places to expand. Just thought I'd go ahead and put it up to get some more advice while I'm working on it.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Emma Lazarus’ famous sonnet, etched into a plaque on the Statue of Liberty, serves as a beacon of hope to the downtrodden all across the world; a promise of freedom. Immigrants on their way to Ellis Island often broke down in tears at the sight of the Statue, saying it represented everything they had dreamed about America. It certainly did for my family.

My father migrated here from Iran when he was seventeen. He came to the U.S. to escape the violent monarch, the Shah Reza Pahlavi. Ghosts of the secret police, SAVAK, ransacking houses in search for political dissidents to torture still haunt my father. Despite this, my dad has always been proud of his heritage. His face lights up as he tells anyone who will listen about the history of Ancient Persia. Growing up, I was more interested in friends and sports.

In the summer of 2010, that changed for good. My cousins from Iran decided that they wanted to come to the U.S. to pursue a collegiate education. Fighting an oppressive government of their own, they dreamed of living in a truly free society. I desperately wanted my cousins to have the same opportunities that I had, so I took it upon myself to intervene on their behalf. The U.S.’s system of granting student visas can be arduous at best, but it is nearly impossible when dealing with an enemy of the USA, like Iran. My parents and I worked for months; writing letters, dealing with lawyers, and contacting embassies, until finally, my cousins were granted visas to come to the U.S. to study.

The exhausting process that my family and I went through for my two teenage cousins to study in the Unites States sparked a passion in me to work on the behalf of those whose voices are silenced by their own governments. My Persian heritage is very much a part of who I am, even if I rejected it for a large part of my life due to intense bullying. By embracing it, I have discovered a passion that could help give families like mine the opportunity to experience the American Dream.
As I have gotten older, my background has led me to crave the knowledge of other cultures. I want to break through stereotypes and stigmas, and discover the nuances and subtleties that different cultures have to offer. I want to enter into a profession where I can use my passion to positively influence the world around me. With a solid education backing me up and real passion lighting the fire in my belly, I know I will be a successful immigration lawyer. I know I can excel at XXX law school because I have a thirst for knowledge, demonstrated throughout my life. My strong GPA in a challenging major, all the while taking Honors courses and juggling extra-curricular activities, shows that I have the intellectual fortitude to succeed. My work ethic is corroborated by being chosen by faculty members to receive the Faculty Excellence in Economics award for 2011-2012.

What stand above the rest of my strengths, however, is my passion. I have a cause-- I know exactly what I want to accomplish with my degree, and why. I know I am not going to change the world by myself, but I do know that if I can help even a couple of those tired and poor, those huddled masses yearning to breathe free, I will count myself successful.

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WannaGo
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:12 pm

Re: Advice on my PS?

Postby WannaGo » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:46 pm

Hi Srkhalilian,

Happy to help. I think the topic definitely works. IMHO - your PS talks about how your background will contribute to a diverse student body and how it will help you succeed in law school. I hope you will get more feedback than just mine...there are a few folks I've seen on this forum who are quite good at improving PSes.

Also, if you haven't yet, you should look at the PS example thread....there's some good examples.

I understand your point with the Ellis Island description. It works the way you have it. I would caution though, and this could be because I was tired - but the way I read it, in past tense, it sounds as if those emotions are no longer evolked from the Statue of Liberty....which I don't think is the case. You can consider rewording or leaving as is - just some food for thought.


srkhalilian wrote:Thanks WannaGo! I took most of your suggestions. I wasn't sure about changing the Ellis Island bit to present tense--I was mainly referring to when immigrants came over on ships. Also, what do you think about the PS in general? Will the topic work? Am I on the right track?

Here is the 2nd draft. It's a bit short now, so I am looking for some places to expand. Just thought I'd go ahead and put it up to get some more advice while I'm working on it.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Emma Lazarus’ famous sonnet, etched into a plaque on the Statue of Liberty, serves as a beacon of hope to the downtrodden all across the world; a promise of freedom. Immigrants on their way to Ellis Island often broke down in tears at the sight of the Statue, saying it represented everything they had dreamed about America. It certainly did for my family.

My father migrated here from Iran when he was seventeen. He came to the United States or America...whichever one you think sounds better. I only made this recommendation because you abbreviated U.S. and wrote it out later.to escape the violent monarch, the Shah Reza Pahlavi. Ghosts of the secret police, SAVAK, ransacking houses in search for political dissidents to torture still haunt my father. Despite this, my dad has always been proud of his heritage. His face lights up as he tells anyone who will listen about the history of Ancient Persia. Growing up, I was more interested in friends and sports. Now that you have more space, I would consider expanding on an example of your childhood that caused you to shy away from your heritage...in a short, meaningful example that paints the picture for the reader. If I knew nothing about the friction between US and Iran, and the subsequent backlash of those who migrated here, what story would you tell me?

In the summer of 2010, that changed for good. "That changed for good" reads funny to me. Try to get a second opinion. My cousins from Iran decided that they wanted to come to the U.S. to pursue a collegiate education. Fighting an oppressive government of their own, they dreamed of living in a truly free society. I desperately wanted my cousins to have the same opportunities that I had, so I took it upon myselfto intervened on their behalf. The U.S.’s Words that end in "s" generally get only an '.system of granting student visas can be arduous at best, but it is nearly impossible when dealing with an enemy of the USA, like Iran. My parents and I worked for months; writing letters, dealing Suggestion - working instead of dealing..."dealing" has a bit of a negative connotation. with lawyers, and contacting embassies, until finally, my cousins were granted visas to come to the U.S. to study.

The exhausting process that my family and I went through for my two teenage cousins to study in the U.S. sparked a passion in me to work on the behalf of those whose voices are silenced by their own governments. My Persian heritage is very much a part of who I am, even if I rejected it for a large part of my life due to intense bullying. By embracing it, I have discovered a passion that could help give families like mine the opportunity to experience the American Dream. You tell us that your experience with your cousins made you embrace who you are but then you never tell us why. Also, how has your original aversion to your heritage and current acceptance of it make you especially capable in immigration law?

As I have gotten older, my background has led me to crave the knowledge of other cultures. I want to break through stereotypes and stigmas, and discover the nuances and subtleties that different cultures have to offer. I want to enter into a profession where I can use my passion to positively influence the world around me.

"My unquenchable thirst for knowledge and proven ability to navigate the complex immigration system as a lay person, will serve as strengths to excel at XXX law school. My natural intellectual curiosity and desire to advocate for others, coupled with a solid education from XXX law school, will enable me to bring positive change to immigration law.”

I’m not saying use my wording – create your own…but I would make sure you tie in that XXX law school is not just where you want to go, but is essential for creating –you- the catalyst for positive change on behalf of those who need it the most.


With a solid education backing me up and areal passion lighting the fire in my belly, I know I will be a successful immigration lawyer. I know I can excel at XXX law school because I have a thirst for knowledge, demonstrated throughout my life.


My strong GPA in a challenging major, all the while taking Honors courses and juggling extra-curricular activities, shows that I have the intellectual fortitude to succeed. My work ethic is corroborated by being chosen by faculty members to receive the Faculty Excellence in Economics award for 2011-2012.

What stand above the rest of my strengths, however, is my passion. I have a cause-- I know exactly what I want to accomplish with my degree, and why. I know I am not going to change the world by myself, but I do know that if I can help even a couple of those tired and poor, those huddled masses yearning to breathe free, I will count myself successful.

lilmissallyful
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:54 am

Re: Advice on my PS?

Postby lilmissallyful » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:01 pm

Hi! Sorry I don't have time to work through the whole thing but I did want to pop in and say that I've always been told not to start out with a quote. Perhaps move some of your own words for the introductory sentences and then work up to the quote?

Istayedhere
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:44 pm

Re: Advice on my PS?

Postby Istayedhere » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:03 am

I'd cut the intro paragraph. The Ellis Island bit has been done before by so many immigrants.

Try reading from "My father..." To the point, personal...

The reference to the cousins' visa needs elaboration. That's where the meat of this essay should be.

I find the explanation of your motivation to be too simplistic, even contrived. I don't buy that writing letters really made you want to become a lawyer (is getting a student visa that hard?). Also, "my background has led me to crave the knowledge of other cultures" just doesn't work. Led you how? Why? You are a minority so you would naturally be interested in other cultures?




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