Rough draft, please critique!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
kwwill3
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:39 pm

Rough draft, please critique!

Postby kwwill3 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:36 pm

2nd year tfa corps member. Applying ED to Michigan. Statement is slightly tailored for UM. Please tear it apart. Thanks!


“I know its too late, and its not that I started caring in the end. It’s just that we don’t think about the future how we should. I want to thank you because I know that you are here for me.” These were the words one of my 9th grade math students wrote in a note to me during the last few weeks of the school year. This student had undergone tremendous personal growth; he had transformed from an angry and disinterested 9th grader to a mature 10th grader who was invested in his future. I have the copy of the note by my desk and have read it hundreds of times since I received it. One word in particular always causes me to pause for a second before I continue reading. The word is we.

We does not simply represent my student who wrote the note or his peers. To me, we represents those who were not afforded the guidance or opportunities that help to facilitate success. During my 1st year as a Teach For America corps member, this was a recurring theme within the lives of my students. Many of them did not view themselves as having a future in which they were the orchestrator. As a teacher, I hold the unique ability to introduce a child to the information they can use to alter their future. When students walked into my class for the first time, algebra was a foreign language to them. As the year came to a close, they were able to use algebra in a practical context that will set them up for future academic successes.

My student’s lack of foresight in considering his future was not derived from a lack of effort or will; he had not yet obtained the knowledge necessary to envision the possibilities for his future. The process of opening my student’s eyes to the wealth of opportunity their futures held for them helped further clarify the type of career I wanted. Initially I thought that I would pursue a career in financial services after my tenure with Teach For America. I envision a legal career where I can share legal knowledge and expertise to those whom the law is intimidating and not easily accessible. I imagine serving future clients much like I served my students—allowing them to interact and use knowledge that was once complex to their benefit.

I believe my experience with Teach For America has provided an excellent foundation to begin my career in the law. Knowledge can be a powerful tool for anyone regardless of background or status. It is not only something for the privileged; knowledge especially legal knowledge is to be made available to all citizens It is my belief that the University of Michigan Law School holds that ideal true as evidenced by the Pro Bono Pledge. I believe Michigan Law’s values are congruent with those of myself.

A legal degree is a unique assortment of knowledge that is not easily obtained. I look forward to a career where I am able to use this to demonstrate to future clients how the law affords them rights and benefits and is not an obstacle to their success.

kwwill3
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:39 pm

Re: Rough draft, please critique!

Postby kwwill3 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:31 pm

bump?

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BlaqBella
Posts: 869
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:41 am

Re: Rough draft, please critique!

Postby BlaqBella » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:29 pm

Mark up below.

“I know its too late, and its not that I started caring in the end. It’s just that we don’t think about the future like we should. I want to thank you because I know that you are here for me.”

Those were the words directed to me in a note penned by one of my 9th grade math students prior to the completion of the school year. This student had undergone tremendous personal growth: he had transformed from an angry and dispassionate 9th grader to a mature 10th grader who was invested in his future. I have a copy of this note on my desk and have read it numerous times since receiving it. One word in particular always causes me to pause for a second before I continue reading; that word is “we”.

“We” does not simply represent my student or his peers. It is my understanding that it also represents those not afforded the guidance or opportunities to help facilitate success. During my first year as a Teach for America corps member, this was a recurring theme within the lives of my students. Many of them did not view themselves as having a future in which they were the orchestrator. As a teacher, I held [changed to past tense as your following sentence indicates something of past] the unique responsibility to introduce a child to the information they can use to alter their future. When students walked into my classroom for the first time, Algebra was a foreign language to them. However, by the end of the school year they were able to use Algebra in a practical context that will propel them for future academic successes.

My student’s lack of foresight in considering his future was not derived from a lack of effort or will. Rather, he had yet to obtain the knowledge necessary to envision the possibilities for his future. The process of opening my student’s world to the wealth of opportunity his future held helped further clarify the type of career I wanted. Initially, I thought that I would pursue a career in financial services after my tenure with Teach for America [need to explain transition. How did you go from financial services to legal career?]. I envision a legal career where I can share legal knowledge and expertise to those whom the law is intimidating and not easily accessible. I imagine serving future clients much like I served my students—allowing them to interact and use knowledge that was once complex to their benefit.

I believe my experience with Teach for America has provided an excellent foundation to begin my career in the law. Knowledge can be a powerful tool for anyone regardless of background or status. It is not only something for the privileged; To the contrary, knowledge, especially that of legal knowledge should be made available to all citizens. It is my belief that the The University of Michigan Law School holds this ideal true as is evidenced by the Pro Bono Pledge. I believe your institute's values are congruent with those of my own.

canarykb
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:56 am

Re: Rough draft, please critique!

Postby canarykb » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:47 am

“I know its too late, and its not that I started caring in the end. It’s just that we don’t think about the future how we should. I want to thank you because I know that you are here for me.”

These were the words one of my 9th grade math students wrote [to me] in a note during the last few weeks of the school year. This student had undergone tremendous personal growth; he had transformed from an angry and disinterested 9th grader to a mature 10th grader who was invested in his future. I have the copy of the note by my desk and have read it hundreds of times since I received it. One word in particular always causes me to pause for a second before I continue reading. The word is we. [I like this as a focus of the statement. ]

"We" does not simply represent my student who wrote the note or his peers. To me, we represents those who were not afforded the guidance or opportunities that help to facilitate success. [I think you can expand this more. Use it as a guiding sentiment for the essay.] During my 1st year as a Teach For America corps member, this was a recurring theme within the lives of my students. Many of them did not view themselves as having a future in which they were the orchestrator. As a teacher, I hold the unique ability to introduce a child to the information they can use to alter their future. When students walked into my class for the first time, algebra was a foreign language to them. As the year came to a close, they were able to use algebra in a practical context that will set them up for future academic successes.

My student’s lack of foresight in considering his future was not derived from a lack of effort or will; he had not yet obtained the knowledge necessary to envision the possibilities for his future. The process of opening my student’s eyes to the wealth of opportunity their futures held for them helped further clarify the type of career I wanted. Initially I thought that I would pursue a career in financial services after my tenure with Teach For America.[This is interesting, expand more?] [Instead,] I envision a legal career where I can share legal knowledge and expertise to those whom the law is intimidating and not easily accessible. I imagine serving future clients much like I served my students—allowing them to interact and use knowledge that was once complex to their benefit.

I believe my experience with Teach For America has provided an excellent foundation to begin my career in the law. Knowledge can be a powerful tool for anyone regardless of background or status. It is not only something for the privileged; knowledge especially legal knowledge is to be made available to all citizens It is my belief that the University of Michigan Law School holds that ideal true as evidenced by the Pro Bono Pledge. I believe Michigan Law’s values are congruent with those of myself. [This summary paragraph sounds like it was ripped straight from a cover letter, not a personal statement. Is there a different way you can conclude this statement? Maybe coming back to the quote in the beginning? Coming back to "we"?]

A legal degree is a unique assortment of knowledge that is not easily obtained. I look forward to a career where I am able to use this to demonstrate to future clients how the law affords them rights and benefits and is not an obstacle to their success. [Take this whole paragraph out - too generic!]

This is just one gal's opinion, but I really liked the opening of your essay, the note, and that word "we" you highlighted. But the rest of the essay starts to feel very generic. Especially considering how broad the TfA program is and other similar programs like City Corps & Admission Possible, you have to imagine that there will be a fair amount of other applicants with these similar credentials. That's not to say its a bad topic, because if this is your motivation, it's what you should be writing about! Think about what made your experience with TfA most meaningful to YOU, to make this statement more personal and more engaging.

One idea I have is to keep the focus on "we" and why that word is important to you. You have a quote at the beginning, so shouldn't that quote be guiding your essay?

My other idea is to talk more specifically about how your goals were changed from finance to law school. You mention it, but don't explain why! I think that would add an interesting component.

Good luck!

canarykb
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:56 am

Re: Rough draft, please critique!

Postby canarykb » Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:02 am

By the way, if you're interested in editing other people's PSs, PM me and I'll send you mine. :D

WhiskeynCoke
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:12 am

Re: Rough draft, please critique!

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:27 pm

Holy tense shifts, batman. You need some consistency here. Addcoms won't even notice the content of your PS if every other sentence changes from past to present tense and back. Pick a tense and stick to it. I suggest the past tense as all of this stuff has presumably already happened to you.

WhiskeynCoke
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:12 am

Re: Rough draft, please critique!

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:36 pm

Also, to further comment, you should focus less on generalities and go more into a specifics. Your topic has great potential but you are in danger of coming off as too-cliche. As my 10th grade English teacher used to grunt as she pounded on her desk, "show, not tell." For example, tell more of the student's story who wrote the quote. Let the adcomms figure out for themselves that, because of your help, this student experienced "tremendous personal growth." If you just say it, it cheapens the whole thing.




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