PS critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 273498
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

PS critique

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:04 pm

Any comments/edits/suggestions welcome. Thanx!

Shortly after Halloween my freshman year in college, people began to ask the question, "Are you going home for Thanksgiving?" I didn't know how to respond. First, it had never occured to me that the dorms would close for the weekend, forcing me to find temporary housing. Secondly, I didn't know how to explain that I didn't have a home. The people I had lived with most recently, who let me call them "Mom" and "Dad" so I wouldn't feel awkward around new friends, were my foster parents. The day I graduated from high school was the day I legally ceased to have parents.
My first few days as a foster child were spent in the County Shelter. This facility housed teens who were waiting for placement with a foster family or in a group home. It also housed teens deemed juvenile delinquents for such behavior as drug abuse, truancy, or theft. Many had run away, sometimes multiple times. Because of this, those children would likely never be placed with a family. Of the dozen or so girls with whom I shared a room, three were visibly pregnant. There was a classroom in the building where we were required to "go to school" during the week. Those actually enrolled in a school could arrange to have their assignments sent over weekly, and others could study for their GED.
Nothing was really structured, and we could pretty much do what we wanted, as long as we didn't cause any trouble. I tried to talk to as many of the girls as I could. I didn't expect anyone to discuss anything which was very personal. Children from our background learn quickly not to talk about home life; others just don't understand. However, there seemed to be an instant bond, as if the fact that none of us had families somehow made us part of an extended family. In fact, family was exactly what we were all seeking. It struck me that this was the reason why so many of the girls were pregnant. At this point in their lives, having a child of their own was the only way to guarantee being part of a family.
Fortunately, I was placed with a family and attended a high school where the majority of its graduates went to college. At a college fair, I spoke to a financial aid representative. When I mentioned I was in foster care, he told me I had two choices: community college or ivy league; either go to the cheapest school I could find or the most expensive, because they will have the money to give sufficient financial aid. Ironically, the "cheaper" option wasn't financially viable. At the time, children in foster care were not allowed to have more than a thousand dollars in savings, so I would be graduating from high school without even enough money to rent an apartment. Sadly, according to the California Department of Social Services, sixty-five percent of those who age out of foster care do so without housing. Many end up homeless, on welfare, or in prison. Having already beaten the odds by graduating from high school, I was determined to be part of the two percent of foster children who graduate from college.
Four years later, my foster parents flew from [state] to watch me receive my diploma from [university]. Now they look forward to returning to [city] to watch me receive a law degree. My motivation to attend law school comes from my experiences in foster care. The statistics regarding foster children and the criminal justice system are staggering. According to the Midwest Study, which followed a group of seventeen-year-olds as they aged out of foster care, 79.4% of males and 56.7% of females reported being arrested at least once. I want to represent children like these as a criminal defense attorney, and fight to keep them from becoming part of the seventy percent of prison inmates who have spent time in foster care. With a law degree, I will stand as an example that foster kids can grow up to be self-supporting adults, attend the college of their choice, and pursue a career through graduate school and beyond.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

jjrialva
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:59 pm

Re: PS critique

Postby jjrialva » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:41 pm

I would lose the percentages if it was me and talk about 3 quarters.. or t least round up the numbers. I don't have time now to fully review it but the subject is solid. Although, I would try to justify a bit more the connection between you being a foster kid and defending other foster kids. Maybe you could claim, if it's true, that your experience provides motivation to work (I think it sounds less naive than defend) with minors in general. Good Luck.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273498
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: PS critique

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:21 pm

Thank you for your response. Two questions:

What are the "3 quarters" you refer to?

Do you think saying I want to "work with" minors sounds like I want to be a social worker?
I used the term "defend" literally, because I want to be a criminal defense attorney. Would saying "I want to defend children like these who are accused of crimes" sound better?

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

Re: PS critique

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:53 pm

You have incredible potential with this topic, if you execute it properly. This is the kind of stuff that can help you outperform your numbers. Unfortunately, as it stands it desperately needs a rewrite, starting with your very first sentence.

"Shortly after my freshman year in college, people began to ask the question, "Are you going home for Thanksgiving?"

Saying "shortly after my freshman year" implies that your freshman year has just ended, and you are now in the summer before your sophomore year. Im sure you meant to say "shortly after my freshman year BEGAN" (which would be during your first fall in college, an appropriate time to be realizing these things about thanksgiving and "home").

In my opinion, rather than fixing this sentence you should just delete it and instead start with your quote. Here's an idea of what I mean.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Are you going home for Thanksgiving?" For most freshman in their first semester of college, it was a simple enough question. In my case, it wasn't. I didn't have a home. The people I had lived with most recently, who let me call them "Mom" and "Dad" so I wouldn't feel awkward around new friends, were my foster parents. The day I graduated from high school, thus aging out of the foster care system, was the day I legally ceased to have parents. Unlike the other freshman, I would be on my own and have to find temporary housing when the dorms closed for Thanksgiving. Rather than discouraging me, these hard facts of my upbringing have driven me ever further. Having already beaten the odds by graduating from high school, I was determined to be part of the two percent of foster children who graduate from college.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I also deleted the word "last" from the sentence that says "The day I graduated from high school was the last day I legally ceased to have parents." the words "last" and "ceased" clash in meaning in this context. As a would be lawyer, a profession in which attention to detail is paramount, you should be able to see this.

I think the paragraph above is a good start. Make sure your first paragraph sets a clear direction for the statement as a whole. In other words, it should contain your thesis (I have and will continue to overcome the barriers placed on me by growing up in the foster care system to achieve success).

Have as many highly educated people edit this as possible. You have a potential gold mine here. Don't waste it through choppy and unvarnished writing.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273498
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: PS critique

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:55 pm

Thank you! I'm sure it's obvious that this is a first draft. I'll continue work on it over the weekend. Any other comments are very welcome, particularly "negative" ones. I really want to know how it comes across to people who don't know me.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273498
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: PS critique

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:58 pm

I revised the OP. Comments are much appreciated.




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