Come take a gander at my personal statement

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
californiauser
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Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby californiauser » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:24 pm

old
Last edited by californiauser on Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CorkBoard
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby CorkBoard » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:28 pm

This is all over the place, almost so much that it's incoherent.

californiauser
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby californiauser » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:31 pm

CorkBoard wrote:This is all over the place, almost so much that it's incoherent.


Seriously? It's chronological. The progression is logical.

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CorkBoard
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby CorkBoard » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:49 pm

californiauser wrote:
CorkBoard wrote:This is all over the place, almost so much that it's incoherent.


Seriously? It's chronological. The progression is logical.

Your topics are all over the place (and very vague), which leads me to this very important question that you should also ask yourself: what in the world are you trying to write about?
Last edited by CorkBoard on Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

californiauser
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby californiauser » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:51 pm

CorkBoard wrote:
californiauser wrote:
CorkBoard wrote:This is all over the place, almost so much that it's incoherent.


Seriously? It's chronological. The progression is logical.

Your topics are all over the place, which leads me to this very important question that you should also ask yourself: what in the world are you trying to write about?


In short, the adversity I've faced in my life.

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CorkBoard
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby CorkBoard » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:54 pm

californiauser wrote:
CorkBoard wrote:
californiauser wrote:
CorkBoard wrote:This is all over the place, almost so much that it's incoherent.


Seriously? It's chronological. The progression is logical.

Your topics are all over the place, which leads me to this very important question that you should also ask yourself: what in the world are you trying to write about?


In short, the adversity I've faced in my life.

Well, I'll be honest with you: you have too much going on in this PS. There are too many topics, and you don't actually explore any of them to an extent where this statement is compelling and/or interesting. You scratch the surface and move straight onto the next. This is bad.

You could probably pick one of these topics and write about it more extensively, but yeah, this needs some narrowing down.

thederangedwang
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby thederangedwang » Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:56 pm

CorkBoard wrote:This is all over the place, almost so much that it's incoherent.

this...its all over the place and you focus on your mother too much...its simply not well put together

californiauser
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby californiauser » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:21 pm

Thanks for the commentary.

How is my prose? I haven't been doing a ton of writing this summer, I feel a bit rusty.

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indigomachine
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby indigomachine » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:28 pm

Kind of with other posters on here.

It sounds like you have certainly encountered a fair amount of adversity growing up, but you have to pick something to focus on or more cogently get all of your experiences to fit together.
The latter is tough for several reasons:

1) Going through every significant instance of diversity in your life (especially if it involves focusing extensively on other family members) eats up space that could/should be spent talking more about how this relates back to you and how you dealt with / grew from your experiences.

2) It can come off as incoherent when trying to hit upon too many individual topics and subtopics in limited space (which is what other posters have been pointing out).

3) In focusing on too wide a range of topics (even if they have a common element of adversity) risks treating each individual topic too superficially. It makes the PS feel more like a rushed list of tough situations / experiences you've encountered (albeit a chronological, rushed list) than an actual statement.

Feel free to keep the overarching topic of adversity, but I'd make your individual examples more targeted and succinct to leave more room for focusing on how this shaped your life and experiences and how, specifically, what personal qualities / strengths you have developed through these experiences.

My only other comment is that some word choice seems overly dramatic and awkwardly used (some that come to mind: 'enigmatic' 'solstice' (did you mean solace here?), 'circumvent'; there are a few others). Most of these technically make sense in that I basically know what you're saying, but the tone of the words don't entirely fit with what I interpreted as the tone of the overall statement. (for example: if you mean to say that the disease your mother had was uncommon or rare, say that it's uncommon or rare. Enigmatic suggests that it's somehow mysterious or inscrutable, and although I suppose a disease could be "mysterious," it's hard to see how that fits here.)

Anyone else feel free to jump in if I'm somehow way off on the word choice stuff too... Just seemed that way to me.

Hope this helps! GL!

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rinkrat19
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby rinkrat19 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:04 pm

Out of breath, I rounded the corner into my court. What's a court? Courtroom, tennis court, residential cul de sac...?

I felt shaken and disheveled, but the only tangible feeling I had was total numbness. No, 'shaken' and 'disheveled' are also tangible feelings.

It would be a farce to say I didn’t have a normal family. We went to baseball games, ate out at restaurants, and watched fireworks together on the 4th of July. So... you did have a normal family? I don't think 'farce' is the best word. That implies a joke, not just an inaccuracy.

It would be deceitful to say my sister was an active part of our family. Stints in the mental hospital were normalized; continuation school was progress, and vocal and physical self-degradation became commonplace. I naturally avoided being at home to circumvent the inevitable tumult. Too many big words. And I don't really get what you're trying to say. Your family grew accustomed to the tumult surrounding your sister? Just say that, with fewer syllables.

Instead, I found my solstice (definitely use a different word--do you mean solace? Solstice has to do with the sun's distance from the equator) in sports—a convenient distraction from the calamity and toxicity at home. Football became a way for me to express myself, to channel my pent up energy and learn to work in coordination with a team. (what sports taught me and how they helped me)

I knew it had nothing to do with me, but I felt responsible for my mother losing her job. I was sixteen. It was two weeks before summer football camp officially started, my second and final season on varsity. I was the first one my mother told—while she sobbed in my arms—that she had been laid off. We weren’t poor, but with the economic uncertainty, my family had no idea how long it would take for my mother to find gainful employment. I walked away from my senior of football, opting instead to work—it was the only way I felt I could do my part and contribute to the betterment of our family. It was the hardest decision I had made up until that point in my life, and to this day I know it was the right one. There is absolutely no explanation of WHY you felt like her job loss was your fault. Explain why, or don't mention that bit.

My first two years of college were exhilarating. Being over five hundred miles from home represented a fresh start, for the first time in my life I felt that I finally had true stability. After the first semester of my second year, I was hitting my full-on academic stride. I was building personal relationships with my professors, had budding friendships, and was pleased to have earned my highest GPA in college, thus far. Things changed my second semester.

My mother started experiencing severe vertigo—an effect of Meniere’s disease, an enigmatic disease she had contracted. My mother became bed-ridden, sporadically, for up to ten days at a time and we were losing our house to foreclosure. To my dismay, it was no longer practical for me to attend an out-of-state college. The decision to move back home wasn’t difficult; I knew what had to be done.

The adjustment wasn’t easy, but it became manageable. I was fortunate enough to receive a partial academic scholarship, and by coupling that with living at home, continuing my education became feasible. The forty-minute commute, to and from home each way, became a way for me to self-reflect on my goals and ambitions. Working twenty plus hours, and at times two jobs, helped me learn to prioritize and maximize my efficiencies with my studies. Adversity hasn’t plagued my life; on the contrary, it has enriched it.


There are grammatical issues (missing hyphens and a semicolon, for instance), but it needs a broader re-write before worrying about the nitpicks. The language also veers from overly formal (big vocab words and awkward phrasing to too informal ("full on," "twenty plus," etc.)

Overall I agree that the topic needs to be tightened up a little. You clearly have plenty of topics to work with, but trying to cram it all in will make it less effective.

californiauser
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby californiauser » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:01 pm

Do you guys think I can work with the bulk of this, or would I be better off rewriting?


Thanks a ton for the edits and comments you guys are helping more than you know!

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indigomachine
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby indigomachine » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:27 pm

I think you could keep the same general structure if you fixed some word choice / grammar issues (the ones rinkrat pointed out would definitely be a good start) and if you could trim back the focus on your mom / sister.

However, I think you'd probably be better served (and end up with a better overall end product) by rewriting. This would give you more flexibility to get a better sense of how you want to tie this all back to you and elaborate upon that as your main message while also allowing you to play around with how you want to integrate the examples mentioned here (or any others that may fit better with a more cohesive statement). If you rewrite the PS with a more directed idea of what you want to say about yourself as an applicant and how you want to convey that message (through the examples of adversity), I think it will come out better than just editing what you have now.

If you do rewrite, try to avoid excessively flowery language the second time around. If you're not sure that a certain word fits contextually / tonally, have someone else check over it or use simpler language.

Also, seriously consider outlining the main structure of your PS before writing the details. If you put real effort into outlining beforehand and stick to your outline, this can do wonders for keeping your message on track and prevent you from devoting excessive time and space to supporting details.

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Eichörnchen
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Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby Eichörnchen » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:57 am

rinkrat19 wrote:
Out of breath, I rounded the corner into my court. What's a court? Courtroom, tennis court, residential cul de sac...?

I felt shaken and disheveled, but the only tangible feeling I had was total numbness. No, 'shaken' and 'disheveled' are also tangible feelings.

It would be a farce to say I didn’t have a normal family. We went to baseball games, ate out at restaurants, and watched fireworks together on the 4th of July. So... you did have a normal family? I don't think 'farce' is the best word. That implies a joke, not just an inaccuracy.

It would be deceitful to say my sister was an active part of our family. Stints in the mental hospital were normalized; continuation school was progress, and vocal and physical self-degradation became commonplace. I naturally avoided being at home to circumvent the inevitable tumult. Too many big words. And I don't really get what you're trying to say. Your family grew accustomed to the tumult surrounding your sister? Just say that, with fewer syllables.

Instead, I found my solstice (definitely use a different word--do you mean solace? Solstice has to do with the sun's distance from the equator) in sports—a convenient distraction from the calamity and toxicity at home. Football became a way for me to express myself, to channel my pent up energy and learn to work in coordination with a team. (what sports taught me and how they helped me)

I knew it had nothing to do with me, but I felt responsible for my mother losing her job. I was sixteen. It was two weeks before summer football camp officially started, my second and final season on varsity. I was the first one my mother told—while she sobbed in my arms—that she had been laid off. We weren’t poor, but with the economic uncertainty, my family had no idea how long it would take for my mother to find gainful employment. I walked away from my senior of football, opting instead to work—it was the only way I felt I could do my part and contribute to the betterment of our family. It was the hardest decision I had made up until that point in my life, and to this day I know it was the right one. There is absolutely no explanation of WHY you felt like her job loss was your fault. Explain why, or don't mention that bit.

My first two years of college were exhilarating. Being over five hundred miles from home represented a fresh start, for the first time in my life I felt that I finally had true stability. After the first semester of my second year, I was hitting my full-on academic stride. I was building personal relationships with my professors, had budding friendships, and was pleased to have earned my highest GPA in college, thus far. Things changed my second semester.

My mother started experiencing severe vertigo—an effect of Meniere’s disease, an enigmatic disease she had contracted. My mother became bed-ridden, sporadically, for up to ten days at a time and we were losing our house to foreclosure. To my dismay, it was no longer practical for me to attend an out-of-state college. The decision to move back home wasn’t difficult; I knew what had to be done.

The adjustment wasn’t easy, but it became manageable. I was fortunate enough to receive a partial academic scholarship, and by coupling that with living at home, continuing my education became feasible. The forty-minute commute, to and from home each way, became a way for me to self-reflect on my goals and ambitions. Working twenty plus hours, and at times two jobs, helped me learn to prioritize and maximize my efficiencies with my studies. Adversity hasn’t plagued my life; on the contrary, it has enriched it.


There are grammatical issues (missing hyphens and a semicolon, for instance), but it needs a broader re-write before worrying about the nitpicks. The language also veers from overly formal (big vocab words and awkward phrasing to too informal ("full on," "twenty plus," etc.)

Overall I agree that the topic needs to be tightened up a little. You clearly have plenty of topics to work with, but trying to cram it all in will make it less effective.

This critique says everything I was going to. Spot on rinkrat. I also agree with the others who say that you have too much going on. Be more selective, dig deeper and remember to relate back to you.

californiauser
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:10 am

Re: Come take a gander at my personal statement

Postby californiauser » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:31 pm

Eichörnchen wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
Out of breath, I rounded the corner into my court. What's a court? Courtroom, tennis court, residential cul de sac...?

I felt shaken and disheveled, but the only tangible feeling I had was total numbness. No, 'shaken' and 'disheveled' are also tangible feelings.

It would be a farce to say I didn’t have a normal family. We went to baseball games, ate out at restaurants, and watched fireworks together on the 4th of July. So... you did have a normal family? I don't think 'farce' is the best word. That implies a joke, not just an inaccuracy.

It would be deceitful to say my sister was an active part of our family. Stints in the mental hospital were normalized; continuation school was progress, and vocal and physical self-degradation became commonplace. I naturally avoided being at home to circumvent the inevitable tumult. Too many big words. And I don't really get what you're trying to say. Your family grew accustomed to the tumult surrounding your sister? Just say that, with fewer syllables.

Instead, I found my solstice (definitely use a different word--do you mean solace? Solstice has to do with the sun's distance from the equator) in sports—a convenient distraction from the calamity and toxicity at home. Football became a way for me to express myself, to channel my pent up energy and learn to work in coordination with a team. (what sports taught me and how they helped me)

I knew it had nothing to do with me, but I felt responsible for my mother losing her job. I was sixteen. It was two weeks before summer football camp officially started, my second and final season on varsity. I was the first one my mother told—while she sobbed in my arms—that she had been laid off. We weren’t poor, but with the economic uncertainty, my family had no idea how long it would take for my mother to find gainful employment. I walked away from my senior of football, opting instead to work—it was the only way I felt I could do my part and contribute to the betterment of our family. It was the hardest decision I had made up until that point in my life, and to this day I know it was the right one. There is absolutely no explanation of WHY you felt like her job loss was your fault. Explain why, or don't mention that bit.

My first two years of college were exhilarating. Being over five hundred miles from home represented a fresh start, for the first time in my life I felt that I finally had true stability. After the first semester of my second year, I was hitting my full-on academic stride. I was building personal relationships with my professors, had budding friendships, and was pleased to have earned my highest GPA in college, thus far. Things changed my second semester.

My mother started experiencing severe vertigo—an effect of Meniere’s disease, an enigmatic disease she had contracted. My mother became bed-ridden, sporadically, for up to ten days at a time and we were losing our house to foreclosure. To my dismay, it was no longer practical for me to attend an out-of-state college. The decision to move back home wasn’t difficult; I knew what had to be done.

The adjustment wasn’t easy, but it became manageable. I was fortunate enough to receive a partial academic scholarship, and by coupling that with living at home, continuing my education became feasible. The forty-minute commute, to and from home each way, became a way for me to self-reflect on my goals and ambitions. Working twenty plus hours, and at times two jobs, helped me learn to prioritize and maximize my efficiencies with my studies. Adversity hasn’t plagued my life; on the contrary, it has enriched it.


There are grammatical issues (missing hyphens and a semicolon, for instance), but it needs a broader re-write before worrying about the nitpicks. The language also veers from overly formal (big vocab words and awkward phrasing to too informal ("full on," "twenty plus," etc.)

Overall I agree that the topic needs to be tightened up a little. You clearly have plenty of topics to work with, but trying to cram it all in will make it less effective.

This critique says everything I was going to. Spot on rinkrat. I also agree with the others who say that you have too much going on. Be more selective, dig deeper and remember to relate back to you.


I have a newer draft on the first page, if you wouldn't mind checking it out, that'd be cool.




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