Utah-specific PS

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nickb285
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Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:37 pm

[edited, see new version below]
Last edited by nickb285 on Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:14 pm

Some thoughts:

1) It's long.

2) Obviously you've never dealt with a Parisian waiter.

3) You could delete everything except the last paragraph & be confident of likely admission.

4) Unless the length exceeds Utah Law's maximum pages allowed, your PS is fine & should help in your quest to get admitted.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:26 pm

Thanks for the quick response, I appreciate it.

1. Yeah, I may try to shorten it up a bit. Depends on the U's length requirements and how much/what I feel I can whittle down.
2. I honestly didn't think they were that bad, but to be fair I was always eating in fairly cheap places. They might be unbearably snooty in nice restaurants, but I don't have the money for nice French restaurants anyway, so it's moot.
3. That's pretty heartening.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:46 pm

Will the new law school building be ready this Fall ?

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nickb285
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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:27 pm

Don't think so, last I heard it was scheduled to open in 2014.

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CorkBoard
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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby CorkBoard » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:47 pm

Edits/comments in strike/bold.

nickb285 wrote: “River or glacier?” my dad asked, pointing to the canyon in the distance. This was a common question on family outings. Being a bit of a geology nerd thanks in part to his years working for mining and drilling companies, my father often shared his interest with us by reading to us from the Roadside Geology book series or quizzing us, as he did now, on how a particular canyon, rock, or geologic feature was formed. “River,” I answered confidently, despite not being entirely certain. I was right that time, but even at a young age, I’d seen a lot of Nevada’s roadside geology from the stretch of I-80 between Reno and Elko. This one was new, though; we were nearly to Wells, on our way to Salt Lake City.

When I was seven years old, my dad’s job brought my family to Utah, a state I’d barely heard of and never thought about. Coming from semi-rural Nevada as a young child, the Utah suburbs were pretty strange—green lawns, houses close together Just a side comment, but this makes me lol because it is SOOOO TRUE, and I had no idea what the other kids meant when they kept asking me what ward I lived in also lol. As I grew up, I remained largely ambivalent toward Utah, until about the time I finished high school and started my undergraduate studies at the University of Utah.

For one thing, I discovered that I actually enjoyed living in Salt Lake City. Unlike the suburbs, there was plenty to do, but it wasn’t overwhelming like New York or Los Angeles—densely populated metropolises that clash uncomfortably with my Great Basin upbringing Ehhhh...I am iffy about this sentence.. More importantly, I began to discover the wealth of natural wonders in the state. I’d been camping plenty with my family when I was younger, and had been a Boy Scout, but I’d never been much of an environmentalist—I had always preferred computers to camping. Taking trips with friends to Moab and Mirror Lake, looking out over mountainside clearings and red rock canyons, I began to understand why it was so important that these places be protected and cared for.

Although I believe that development can, and should be, done responsibly in many areas, there are some wild places that should be left untouched. As Wallace Stegner said in his “Wilderness Letter,” “We need wilderness preserved--as much of it as is still left, and as many kinds--because it was the challenge against which our character as a people was formed. The reminder and the reassurance that it is still there is good for our spiritual health even if we never once in ten years set foot in it. It is good for us when we are young, because of the incomparable sanity it can bring briefly, as vacation and rest, into our insane lives. It is important to us when we are old simply because it is there--important, that is, simply as an idea.” Don't like this quote.

Ironically, it was around the time that I began developing an appreciation for where I lived, that I also discovered a love of traveling to places I’d never been. After a family trip to Munich and London in spring of my freshman year, I fell in love with the history and culture of Europe, and resolved to pull up my then-underwhelming grades in order to qualify for a study abroad program. I applied for, and was accepted to, a student exchange program with the University of Essex in Colchester, England. I spent a semester studying history, exploring Essex and London, and making friendships that I hold dear even now. Before returning to Utah, I spent two weeks in Italy and the Netherlands, discovering parts of the culture that were previously unknown to me. Upon my return, I began making plans with a friend to visit Madrid, Paris, and Berlin, each of which offered a unique perspective on ways that others view daily life and the world around them. I met fascinating people in each place I went. Some of them confirmed beliefs I’d already had about a nation—it does seem, after all, that Germans tend to value efficiency and good beer. Others tore down stereotypes I’d baselessly held all my life—contrary to what I’d been told, I found Parisians to be quite friendly and welcoming. This paragraph is SUPER CLICHE.

What held true everywhere was the fact that participating in the local culture, instead of expecting it to conform to my American ideas of the proper way of doing things, resulted in more respect and a better experience all around. In order to continue the experiential learning that resulted from travel, I decided to finish my undergraduate degree with another study abroad program, this one in Oviedo, Spain, where I had the opportunity to live with a Spanish family, improve my language skills, and truly get a feel for what everyday life is like as a young person in Spain. Sounds like a resume again...

It’s these experiences, among others, that draw me to the law. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer for some time; I love reading, research, analysis of argumentation, and attempting to see all sides of any disagreement. uh, was this mentioned at any point prior to now? During my initial investigation into law school, I discovered that even aspects of the law I’d always thought of as “probably boring,” like personal injury torts, were in many ways fascinating to me.Cool. Cut this.

My ultimate goal, though, is to combine my interest in the law with my personal passions. Combining the law with my love of the environment could bring about opportunities to protect the Utah wilderness I so love—or, alternatively, to ensure that responsible development is encouraged, so that we can use Utah’s natural resources without destroying its beauty. Combining the law with my love of travel and of immersion in other cultures could lead to practices in international law, immigration law, or trade regulation. There are almost certainly areas of the law I’ve never even considered which would appeal to me as well, and I’m excited to learn what they are. I say you stick with one of these (probably environmental law, and cut the other

My passions have led me as well, to the S.J. Quinney College of Law.I’m already fond of the University of Utah, Having completed my Bachelor’s degree here, and the College of Law seems like the perfect place to continue my education. The Stegner Center would provide me with opportunities to explore environmental and natural resource law, and to learn about the ways in which I could put my skills to use for the good of all Utahns. The Global Justice Project would give me a chance to use my passion for exploring other cultures to help bring about real change internationally. Like I said earlier, I think you might just want to focus on one of these (probably the environmental law one) The clinical programs will allow me to gain valuable real-world experience in the law, while furthering my education.

PerhapsMost importantly, Utah is my home. It’s the place I want to live, study, and work, the place in which I want to practice law and raise a family and grow old. It's a place I want to protect and preserve. I’m confident that the University of Utah can help me achieve those dreams. I hope to see you next fall as a member of the S.J. Quinney College of Law Class of 2016. Add something else onto this to wrap it up. I don't think the last sentence is good for that.


This PS is REALLY long. I think you could cut out some of the stuff (like the international studying references that I already mentioned earlier) to shorten it. Stick to one topic (IMO, the environment/desire to practice environmental law is your strongest one), and go with it.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby kublaikahn » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:05 pm

This piece lacks a coherent theme. My feeling is your thesis is that you are intellectually curious and open, but each of your examples gives evidence to the contrary. First you live in Utah most of your life and only recently discover the natural wonder of the area and want to preserve it. Then you go to Paris and acknowledge some immature prejudice about Parisians. Then we hear about your love for reading, research, and analysis despite the GPA evidence to the contrary.

If I were you I'd pick one topic--the Utah environment, your travels, your intellectual curiosity, or whatever and tell a good story about it. You seemed to be on that track to begin with.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:06 pm

Going only environmental was actually my original plan; I became concerned because my two study abroads are really the only "softs" (such as they are) that I have, so I thought maybe I should work them in. I'll play with it and see if I can't get a stronger PS out of just the one topic. Thanks for the feedback guys, it's really helpful.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:36 am

[edited again, new version below]
Last edited by nickb285 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby CorkBoard » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:03 am

It is already so much better now that you have one theme going on. I still think you could edit it down for length purposes, but I think it is more coherent and unified in the second draft.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby kublaikahn » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:32 am

Much better.

Now its time to kill your baby. Find a message about yourself you really want to send, cut out as much as you can that does not support that, and add in the things that do.

You spend entire paragraphs developing very ancillary ideas. FOr example:

[for one thing this last sentence of the preceding paragraph is really your topic sentence for the following section] As I grew up, I remained largely ambivalent toward Utah, until about the time I finished high school and started my undergraduate studies at the University of Utah.

For one thing, I discovered that I actually enjoyed living in Salt Lake City. Unlike the suburbs, there was plenty to do, but it wasn’t overwhelming like New York or Los Angeles—densely populated cities whose crowded atmosphere runs contrary to my Great Basin upbringing. More importantly, I began to truly appreciate the wealth of natural beauty in the state. I had been camping quite a bit with my family and with my Boy Scout troop when I was young, and my parents' love of the land had been passed along to a degree. I remember being awed when, at the age of 14, I spent a weekend with my dad near Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Away from the harsh glare of city lights, I saw the Milky Way, in all its magnificence, for the first time on a windy desert night. On my first trip to Zion National Park, I felt a similar sense of wonder as we hiked toward the alcove behind the cascading water at Weeping Rock.

This paragraph takes a lot of real estate to only circle around the underlying idea that you are trying to convey. And I am not even sure what that idea is...maybe you want to say that as you have matured you have grown developed an ability to see the extraordinary in what others may find ordinary. At any rate, the section does not support a theme (which you still do not really have).

So, pick a theme, state a topic for each section that supports that theme, and cut all the extra stuff out. BTW, "densely populated cities whose crowded atmosphere runs contrary to my Great Basin upbringing." is a bit absurd. Use plain language to convey insightful ideas. Not fancy language to convey common ideas.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:47 am

kublaikahn wrote:This paragraph takes a lot of real estate to only circle around the underlying idea that you are trying to convey. And I am not even sure what that idea is...maybe you want to say that as you have matured you have grown developed an ability to see the extraordinary in what others may find ordinary. At any rate, the section does not support a theme (which you still do not really have).


What I'm attempting to convey is my growing awareness of both the importance of the environment and of legal/political issues surrounding it. Hence why I'm trying to single out noteworthy instances of my experiences in the wilderness. I'm not sure how else I could convey that.

kublaikahn wrote:BTW, "densely populated cities whose crowded atmosphere runs contrary to my Great Basin upbringing." is a bit absurd. Use plain language to convey insightful ideas. Not fancy language to convey common ideas.


I understand what you're saying, but to be totally fair that wasn't a "hey I don't like LA, how can I say that all fancy-like" moment; that's actually how I talk. Now, it's entirely possible that I'm insufferable, but at the same time I don't want to risk watering down my own voice and making it into a totally generic "trees are neat" PS, which I imagine they probably get a fair number of each year.

The advice you're giving is awesome, and I really appreciate you taking the time to look over my stuff. I'm just not sure how to change the things you mention without making it come across as bland and impersonal.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:59 am

CorkBoard wrote:It is already so much better now that you have one theme going on. I still think you could edit it down for length purposes, but I think it is more coherent and unified in the second draft.


Thanks. The length I'm less worried about at this point, as the U's website states "There is no page limit. Most statements, however, are generally two or three typed pages, double-spaced. An applicant should not feel confined to just two or three pages if he or she feels more space is needed to convey the information necessary to fully inform the reviewer." Given that, I figured two double-spaced pages in 12-point font is acceptable.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby CorkBoard » Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:09 pm

nickb285 wrote:
CorkBoard wrote:It is already so much better now that you have one theme going on. I still think you could edit it down for length purposes, but I think it is more coherent and unified in the second draft.


Thanks. The length I'm less worried about at this point, as the U's website states "There is no page limit. Most statements, however, are generally two or three typed pages, double-spaced. An applicant should not feel confined to just two or three pages if he or she feels more space is needed to convey the information necessary to fully inform the reviewer." Given that, I figured two double-spaced pages in 12-point font is acceptable.

Understandable. I was just saying that you could probably convey the same thing in fewer words. Keep us updated; I would love to see the progress you make and the finished draft! You're off to a great start. :)

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby kublaikahn » Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:19 pm

nickb285 wrote:
kublaikahn wrote:This paragraph takes a lot of real estate to only circle around the underlying idea that you are trying to convey. And I am not even sure what that idea is...maybe you want to say that as you have matured you have grown developed an ability to see the extraordinary in what others may find ordinary. At any rate, the section does not support a theme (which you still do not really have).


What I'm attempting to convey is my growing awareness of both the importance of the environment and of legal/political issues surrounding it. Hence why I'm trying to single out noteworthy instances of my experiences in the wilderness. I'm not sure how else I could convey that.

kublaikahn wrote:BTW, "densely populated cities whose crowded atmosphere runs contrary to my Great Basin upbringing." is a bit absurd. Use plain language to convey insightful ideas. Not fancy language to convey common ideas.


I understand what you're saying, but to be totally fair that wasn't a "hey I don't like LA, how can I say that all fancy-like" moment; that's actually how I talk. Now, it's entirely possible that I'm insufferable, but at the same time I don't want to risk watering down my own voice and making it into a totally generic "trees are neat" PS, which I imagine they probably get a fair number of each year.

The advice you're giving is awesome, and I really appreciate you taking the time to look over my stuff. I'm just not sure how to change the things you mention without making it come across as bland and impersonal.


okay, I see what you are doing now. I was thrown on a quick read by the chronological organization. I think you can make it easier to follow by doing something like this.

Still, as a teenager I tended to prefer debate and computers to hiking and camping, and However, it wasn't until college that I really fell in love with Utah. Taking trips with friends to Moab and Mirror Lake, looking out over mountainside clearings and red rock canyons, I began to understand why it was so important that these places be protected and cared for. [insert the answer, such as "The majesty of these places connects us to all of nature in a more profound and responsible way."] I believe the use of natural resources can, and should, be carried out responsibly in many areas. There are some places, however, that should be preserved as they are, sacred spaces in the wilderness providing refuge from the constant march of development.
In addition, I think you can bring symmetry to the whole piece by describing in the opening how the environment served to connect you to your father/parents, and your new home. Extend that to show the natural wonders connecting you to your future path.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:01 am

kublaikahn wrote:okay, I see what you are doing now. I was thrown on a quick read by the chronological organization. I think you can make it easier to follow by doing something like this.

Still, as a teenager I tended to prefer debate and computers to hiking and camping, and However, it wasn't until college that I really fell in love with Utah. Taking trips with friends to Moab and Mirror Lake, looking out over mountainside clearings and red rock canyons, I began to understand why it was so important that these places be protected and cared for. [insert the answer, such as "The majesty of these places connects us to all of nature in a more profound and responsible way."] I believe the use of natural resources can, and should, be carried out responsibly in many areas. There are some places, however, that should be preserved as they are, sacred spaces in the wilderness providing refuge from the constant march of development.
In addition, I think you can bring symmetry to the whole piece by describing in the opening how the environment served to connect you to your father/parents, and your new home. Extend that to show the natural wonders connecting you to your future path.


Alright, I get what you mean. I'll work on it a bit and repost.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:55 pm

Moar edits.
Last edited by nickb285 on Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby CorkBoard » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:05 am

Much better and much closer to a final draft. The progress you've made by narrowing the topic is actually pretty significant. Good work!

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby kublaikahn » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:29 pm

Much better. Get rid of the contractions. And try to avoid unneeded transitional phrases.


It’s these beliefs, among others, that have strengthened my desire to attend law school.

It is not the beliefs, but your desire to act on those belief that drive you to a legal career.


These same passions have led me to the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

I chose Quinney because... (why your passion is perfectly placed at S.J. Quinney College of Law) 1. Stegner Center, 2. Stay in Utah. 3. Prerserve Utah for Utahns. Conclusion.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:13 pm

Thanks for the feedback, I'll work on it tonight/tomorrow and see if I can't get something resembling a final draft.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:49 pm

PS baleeted. If anyone's interested in reading/critiquing a school-specific PS, feel free to PM me.
Last edited by nickb285 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby CorkBoard » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:15 pm

The contractions are fine. I think this turned out really well.

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Re: Utah-specific PS

Postby nickb285 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:05 am

Thanks. I'm much happier with it now than when I started. I appreciate the input, if anyone in this thread ever happens to be in Utah I owe you a beer.




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