VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

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moonman157
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VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby moonman157 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:03 pm

I just finished this (actually, I just started this. That's how rough this rough draft is). Critique away, I appreciate any feedback!


“President Crease, if you don’t mind, I have something to say.”

Up until this moment I had barely spoken a word at a Franklin Park Borough council meeting. I was roughly one third of the way through my term as the Junior Councilperson, an appointed position given to a local high school student as an introduction to the functions of government at the most local level. As a junior with interest in politics, I was eager and excited about the opportunity to get real, hands-on experience serving the people of my community. What I didn’t expect, however, was a fractured council whose meetings frequently devolved into shouting matches and whose members often displayed questionable motives and tactics. Though it was disconcerting to see even the slightest bit of power corrupting my neighbors, it was also exciting and made each day on the council colorful.

At this particular meeting, the council was voting to censure Ash Marwah. Mr. Marwah had sent out an email to various employees that disparaged the women on the council and made sexist comments about them. He refused to apologize for his behavior and was being verbally berated by other members of the council and citizens in the audience. Fearing that this would quickly turn into the usual unproductive shouting match, and realizing the importance of this moment, I decided to step up and finally let my voice be heard.

“President Crease, if you don’t mind, I have something to say.” All the eyes turned to me, shocked and confused. I continued, “The citizens of this fine community deserve better. They deserve a council that treats them with respect. They deserve a council that uses their time and taxpayer dollars to their fullest advantage. They deserve better than Mr. Marwah and his emails. They deserve an apology. So if Mr. Marwah isn’t going to apologize for this email, I will. It is sad that a grown man and elected member of this council lacks the maturity that the high school appointee has, but I’m willing to do what is necessary to get this council back on track on focused again on improving this community.”

My comments were met with a burst of applause from the audience and smiles from most of the council members and borough employees. I had officially put myself on the line, voiced my opinion, and entered the battle. I was no longer the silent teenager simply taking in what was going on around me; I had become another member of council who saw his responsibility to the community and chose not to shy away from it.

It was at this moment that I realized what a power my words had. As a lifelong bookworm, I was certainly aware of the power that words have had over me. However, hearing my voice bellow out my thoughts, and seeing the way that it affected and inspired people, I knew that I had a newfound responsibility to use these skills for the betterment of society. In the short term, that meant continuing to speak up during council meetings and point out when the council was failing to live up to the expectations of the citizens who elected them. I quickly garnered a reputation for being outspoken yet thoughtful, passionate but articulate. In the long run, though, I knew that I had the responsibility to take what I had learned and experienced as the Junior Councilperson and make a career out of it. When reflecting upon which career offered me the best opportunity to use my gift of words and public speaking to create a better world, a career in law stood out to me. The feeling I got when I stood up for what was right through my words and speech is a feeling I hope to experience throughout my career; it trumps any sort of financial draw to a career. I know that if I can wake up each morning knowing that I am fighting for a cause I believe in, and maximizing my skills in the process, I will be completely satisfied.

Above all, though, from that night I remember a certain member of the audience. Sitting in the front row, as always, was my grandfather. He was the first person I turned to when I finished delivering my apology on behalf of Mr. Marwah, and from him I received a priceless wink and thumbs up. Receiving his approval brought me greater joy than anything in this world. My grandparents grew up extremely poor, and through tremendous hard work and sacrifice created the opportunities that I have before me. While I can never hope to understand the full extent to which I am indebted to them, I recognize that I have a responsibility to make the most of everything they have given me. That is why I do not want a career to make money. I want a career where I can make a difference in the world, and shape it in the way that would make my grandparents proud. I know that they won’t always be by my side, ready to give me a thumbs up, but I plan on living my life as though they did, as though each of my actions and decisions served to make them proud by making the world a better place. I know that a career in law can do this, and give me the feeling I got when, as a timid yet determined high school student, I stood up for what was right.

JetsFan1990
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby JetsFan1990 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:10 pm

Ok, so I think your topic is interesting and certainly a good venue for a "why law school" sort of PS. Buttttt, I find some of this stuff unbelievable. “The citizens of this fine community deserve better." - did you really say this??? Come on.

Also, I think it gets a bit wordy in some areas, but, like you mentioned, it's your first draft and this is bound to happen. You're on the right track. Shave the thing down, take out some of the more unbelievable (even if it is somehow true) stuff, and you should be on your way.

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moonman157
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby moonman157 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:13 pm

JetsFan1990 wrote:Ok, so I think your topic is interesting and certainly a good venue for a "why law school" sort of PS. Buttttt, I find some of this stuff unbelievable. “The citizens of this fine community deserve better." - did you really say this??? Come on.

Also, I think it gets a bit wordy in some areas, but, like you mentioned, it's your first draft and this is bound to happen. You're on the right track. Shave the thing down, take out some of the more unbelievable (even if it is somehow true) stuff, and you should be on your way.


Awesome, thanks! Part of it is actually quoted in the newspaper, and the "citizens deserve better" line is included, though I can understand how this could come across as me inflating what I said or the situation to make me look particularly heroic. I reword it to make it sound more believable.

Which brings me to another question: since there is a newspaper article about it that casts me in a pretty good light, should I make a reference to that, hoping that admissions officers will google it, or just realize that they have thousands of apps to get through and don't have time to googe me.

JetsFan1990
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby JetsFan1990 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:17 pm

moonman157 wrote:
JetsFan1990 wrote:Ok, so I think your topic is interesting and certainly a good venue for a "why law school" sort of PS. Buttttt, I find some of this stuff unbelievable. “The citizens of this fine community deserve better." - did you really say this??? Come on.

Also, I think it gets a bit wordy in some areas, but, like you mentioned, it's your first draft and this is bound to happen. You're on the right track. Shave the thing down, take out some of the more unbelievable (even if it is somehow true) stuff, and you should be on your way.


Awesome, thanks! Part of it is actually quoted in the newspaper, and the "citizens deserve better" line is included, though I can understand how this could come across as me inflating what I said or the situation to make me look particularly heroic. I reword it to make it sound more believable.

Which brings me to another question: since there is a newspaper article about it that casts me in a pretty good light, should I make a reference to that, hoping that admissions officers will google it, or just realize that they have thousands of apps to get through and don't have time to googe me.


"since there is a newspaper article about it that casts me in a pretty good light, should I make a reference to that, hoping that admissions officers will google it, or just realize that they have thousands of apps to get through and don't have time to googe me"

the latter.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby thelawschoolproject » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:28 pm

A few thoughts:

1). If you're going to start with a quote like that, at least provide some type of setting or ...something. And you especially need to add some sort of tag that says you spoke those words. I didn't make the connection that you were the speaker until later.

2). Your quote does come across as a very #humblebrag. And, it does so for a few reasons. First, it does seem a little...Matt Santos to me. Which, while entertaining isn't as believable as you might want it to be. Secondly, you come across as "Hey, look what I said to the big bad adults when I was just a highschool kid. I stood up and spoke out once so now I'm ready for law school." I'm sure that's not how you meant for it to come across, but unfortunately that's how it felt to me each time I read your PS. Try to find a way to avoid that impression.

3). I have some concerns that the issue you choose to talk about occurred in high school. Is there nothing else for you to discuss? It seems like from this experience you should have gone on to do something quite exemplary in college. Did you lead a group? Change something on campus? This one instance doesn't really show that you're a leader, simply that you spoke up once. I'm sure it was a really great moment for you, but it doesn't show any kind of long-term change or evolution of you as a person.

4). After you discuss this situation, you move onto how you like to read books and then you go on to discuss how you want to make your grandparents proud. I don't think your PS is the place to mention this information--especially the latter. And while your desire to want to change the planet is commendable, it would be more effective for you to use your PS to show how you had already changed something.

Best of luck!

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moonman157
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby moonman157 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:48 pm

thelawschoolproject wrote:A few thoughts:

1). If you're going to start with a quote like that, at least provide some type of setting or ...something. And you especially need to add some sort of tag that says you spoke those words. I didn't make the connection that you were the speaker until later.

2). Your quote does come across as a very #humblebrag. And, it does so for a few reasons. First, it does seem a little...Matt Santos to me. Which, while entertaining isn't as believable as you might want it to be. Secondly, you come across as "Hey, look what I said to the big bad adults when I was just a highschool kid. I stood up and spoke out once so now I'm ready for law school." I'm sure that's not how you meant for it to come across, but unfortunately that's how it felt to me each time I read your PS. Try to find a way to avoid that impression.

3). I have some concerns that the issue you choose to talk about occurred in high school. Is there nothing else for you to discuss? It seems like from this experience you should have gone on to do something quite exemplary in college. Did you lead a group? Change something on campus? This one instance doesn't really show that you're a leader, simply that you spoke up once. I'm sure it was a really great moment for you, but it doesn't show any kind of long-term change or evolution of you as a person.

4). After you discuss this situation, you move onto how you like to read books and then you go on to discuss how you want to make your grandparents proud. I don't think your PS is the place to mention this information--especially the latter. And while your desire to want to change the planet is commendable, it would be more effective for you to use your PS to show how you had already changed something.

Best of luck!


Thanks so much for your feedback? I was definitely concerned about the humblebrag tone. Obviously, any PS will involve some humblebrag, but i'm trying to strike a tone that establishes the significance of this moment/what I did without coming across as exaggerated. Do you have any suggestions regarding changes I could make to change this tone?

Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot of softs. I've been involved in some organizations in college, and served as an officer in some of them, but I wanted to make sure that my PS wasn't a retelling of my resume. Any way to incorporate my experiences in college without simply reiterating what they can already gather from my resume?

Oh, and congrats on Harvard!

bobbyh1919
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby bobbyh1919 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:11 am

Thelawschoolproject really hit this one on the head. The moment where you speak up and everyone starts cheering and the council starts smiling even though they were just in a screaming match and your grandfather gives you a thumbs up......I'm not even sure if it's humblebrag, and I don't completely doubt that it happened, but it's just not worth dedicating a whole PS to. It was 3 sentences you said at least 4 years ago. While I'm sure it was a great moment for you and one that you should absolutely be proud of, I don't think it has legs anymore. With that being said, I would do some heavy retooling with this PS and start from scratch.

I also would drop the part about going to law school to shape the world in a way to please your grandparents. It's a nice sentiment, and again I'm not doubting it at all, but I finish reading your PS and I'm still fuzzy on why law school is right for you. And then you conclude the whole thing by going back and again referencing something that happened in high school, and it makes the reader wonder why you haven't been replicating that experience in college.

All in all, solid start though. I would try to build it around your experience as a council person beyond this one moment and try to tie it in to things you've done in college that are somewhat similar. There is a good theme lurking in this draft, you just need to bring it to the forefront.

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Paraflam
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby Paraflam » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:12 am

I think it could be a good topic, but I didn't like the way it was written. I understand it's a rough draft though, so it's at least a good place to start.

IMO, the whole quote was pretty cheesy and cliché (rolled my eyes when I read "citizens of this fine community"), and then you overdramatize it by describing how everyone burst into applause, like you suddenly became the town hero for saying that people deserve better. And then it gets even worse when you talk about how it "inspired" people and how you have a "gift of words" (I didn't think the quote was extraordinarily eloquent or anything). Maybe you do have a knack for public speaking, but I don't think it shows from this example.

Anyway, like I said, I think this story has the potential to cast you in a good light if written correctly. But I would ease off of the "I voiced my opinion, everyone's jaws dropped, and now I want to use my gift of speaking to change the world" thing. The first draft is the hardest part, though, so it only gets better from here. Good luck with your next draft.

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moonman157
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby moonman157 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:20 am

Thanks for the feedback! Like I said, I've been struggling with a PS topic because I have very weak/pedestrian softs. This was a moment that stood out to me, because everything else is just charity organization/fraternity/etc. How would you guys recommend I incorporate what I've done in college into my PS without making it sound like I'm simply going over everything on my resume? And any suggestions on how I can incorporate "why law school" better? That's another thing I was struggling with. Thanks again!

bobbyh1919
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby bobbyh1919 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:27 am

This would be a lot easier if we knew your softs, but in general your theme should be something along the lines of:

I had the rare opportunity to be a teenage councilman (stress this, which is actually pretty cool, instead of your story) and learned how my ability to argue on behalf of my constituents benefited them. In college (hopefully) I have also managed to advocate on behalf of my peers via XYZ club.

I think from that point, the reader doesn't need to take a huge leap to understand why law school is right for you as you would like to learn how to better advocate on behalf of your clients, etc.

And if there is just nothing in your college experience that can fill in that link, I would scrap this idea and start from scratch because it's just too big of a red flag to focus on something that was solely in high school.

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moonman157
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby moonman157 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:33 am

bobbyh1919 wrote:This would be a lot easier if we knew your softs, but in general your theme should be something along the lines of:

I had the rare opportunity to be a teenage councilman (stress this, which is actually pretty cool, instead of your story) and learned how my ability to argue on behalf of my constituents benefited them. In college (hopefully) I have also managed to advocate on behalf of my peers via XYZ club.

I think from that point, the reader doesn't need to take a huge leap to understand why law school is right for you as you would like to learn how to better advocate on behalf of your clients, etc.

And if there is just nothing in your college experience that can fill in that link, I would scrap this idea and start from scratch because it's just too big of a red flag to focus on something that was solely in high school.


Exec position for my fraternity, treasurer for my school's UNICEF organization, LGBT coordinator for college democrats, study abroad program through one of the schools I'll be applying to. I definitely see the need to draw a connection between this incident, college, and my future plans for law school.

bobbyh1919
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Re: VERY Rough draft, and I would appreciate feedback

Postby bobbyh1919 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:38 am

moonman157 wrote:
bobbyh1919 wrote:This would be a lot easier if we knew your softs, but in general your theme should be something along the lines of:

I had the rare opportunity to be a teenage councilman (stress this, which is actually pretty cool, instead of your story) and learned how my ability to argue on behalf of my constituents benefited them. In college (hopefully) I have also managed to advocate on behalf of my peers via XYZ club.

I think from that point, the reader doesn't need to take a huge leap to understand why law school is right for you as you would like to learn how to better advocate on behalf of your clients, etc.

And if there is just nothing in your college experience that can fill in that link, I would scrap this idea and start from scratch because it's just too big of a red flag to focus on something that was solely in high school.


Exec position for my fraternity, treasurer for my school's UNICEF organization, LGBT coordinator for college democrats, study abroad program through one of the schools I'll be applying to. I definitely see the need to draw a connection between this incident, college, and my future plans for law school.


Those softs don't sound as bad as you were saying. I'd be surprised if you couldn't think back and discover that link that we've identified. You know what you need to do, so best of luck and keep going down this track.




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