PS 1st Draft -

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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PS 1st Draft -

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:42 am

Last edited by drive4showLSAT4dough on Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 304
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Re: PS 1st Draft -

Postby drive4showLSAT4dough » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:21 pm


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Re: PS 1st Draft -

Postby canarykb » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:06 pm

At eight years old, my parents took me to a military retirement community in Virginia to meet my great-uncle, Red. On the trip down, my father excitedly recounted his uncle’s life history. “He was offered a baseball contract by the New York Giants, but he turned it down to become a war hero” my dad glowed. [I'm not sure you should make this a quote here, given that you have a quote at the end of the paragraph. It's just as easily stated.] The first phrase was all I needed to hear. When I met Red, we spent the entire afternoon talking baseball. He asked me if I knew the strike zone, and I proudly stood up to demonstrate, pointing from the letters of my chest down to my knees. Approvingly, he rewarded me with a piece of advice: “Never quit: always press on, press on.” The quote was his own and it’s now the epitaph at his grave.

I spent my childhood dreaming of being a high school baseball player and I spent high school dreaming about being a college baseball player. But as a sophomore in high school, those dreams were dealt a significant blow when I failed to make the varsity squad. It felt as though baseball had knocked down my entire world. Two years later, the hard work (and the growth spurt) paid off when I was named captain of my high school team and recruited to pitch at *College*. [Don't stick this all in one sentence! Tell us about the work you did! ]

Halfway through my college career I came moments away from giving up the game I had loved my entire life. A few of my best friends had been kicked off the team; a few others had quit. I was having a brutal season personally, and the team wasn’t doing much better as a whole. I distinctly remember the moment I made my decision. While making the long walk across campus from practice to the library, I reached into my wallet after hanging up the phone with my parents, discussing my decision on quitting the team. I pulled out a two by four note card that my grandmother (Red’s admiring younger sister) had given me years ago. It read:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is
more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded
genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated
derelicts. Persistence and determination are alone omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge [ Remove quote - it's too long and you already have a guiding quote in the first paragraph. Honestly, I would tell a little fib and say that the note card has your great-uncle's quote on it, or that she reminded you to think "What would Red do?" Oh, he would press on! It would tie in better. ]

I remember feeling extraordinarily lucky in that moment. Not only did I have the opportunity and the privilege to play the game I loved, but the game, by its very nature, had galvanized the belief that persistence reaps rewards. I redoubled my efforts after that day. Two years later, I had the privilege of captaining my college team. Baseball taught me time and time again that adversity exists to show us how badly we want something. [Again, show us the work you did to get there! Don't just tell us that you worked hard. Also - watch repetitive language]

Baseball exposed me not only to failure, but also the undeniable force of persistence. With no choice but to confront those challenges, it has also afforded me opportunities to lead – both individually and as part of a team. This past year, I took a position as the head coach of a squad of fifteen 13-year-old ballplayers. Despite losing our last game of the year, my players walked off the field as a group, already discussing their plans to come back better, faster, and stronger next year. That type of resolve and commitment is, without question, the best thing a coach can hear. When adversity appears again this spring, I’ll remind my team to press on. [good! I like this.]

Since graduating, I’ve been constantly reminded of how easily persistence and teamwork apply outside the lines of the baseball field. The most formative experiences at my law firm have been those in which a nearing deadline has pushed my group to rely on one another, working late hours, even on holidays, in order to prepare for trial. Law school, just like baseball and working in a law firm, will undoubtedly offer occasions to test my mettle. Nevertheless, I’m confident that the value of persistence, instilled by my family and tested by baseball, will continue to serve me well in the study and practice of law. [This paragraph could come off a little hokey, but honestly I like it. I work at a law firm too and totally get what you're saying about the team/deadline thing.]

Although I find baseball incredibly boring, I liked the story you're telling here, which is a pretty good sign, right? I think the biggest thing I would change is to spend more time SHOWING the hard work you did here rather than just telling us you worked hard and all of a sudden you were captain. Twice! How much time did you spend at the gym? Were there any incredibly hard days? Any huge breakthroughs at games? Were there coaches, team members, or more family members pushing you forward? I'm sure there's a lot more you can say there.

Also, I would absolutely lose the Coolidge quote. You already have Red's quote which is simple & original, and a lot better quote to guide your essay. It talks about persistence in the same way Coolidge does, so I don't think you're losing much by losing the quote.

Finally, I like your final paragraph, and I think your final sentence is a great restatement of the thesis of this essay: "Nevertheless, I’m confident that the value of persistence, instilled by my family and tested by baseball, will continue to serve me well in the study and practice of law." (Maybe add something about pressing on here too?)

If you have any qs about what I wrote just ask. And I'm looking for people to edit my PS too, by the way, PM me if you're interested.

Best of luck in your cycle!

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