Could this be my final draft?

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Steve2207
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Could this be my final draft?

Postby Steve2207 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:07 pm

Was hoping to get one last lookover of this PS (how would you rate it, 1 through 10?) Criticism is welcomed, Thanks for looking!

I have never allowed myself to believe that anything is unattainable. Struggles have certainly come and gone throughout my life, but I have remained faithful that believing in myself and overcoming life’s tragedies is the only key to success that I have. Even upon reflection of the awkward moments I had growing up in a poor neighborhood, wearing clothes that weren’t “in style”, or riding the school bus all four years of high school because I had no other means of transportation, I still cannot recall one instance in which I doubted my worth. I convinced myself early on in life that being poor did not make me stupid, or dirty, or any less capable of becoming a success. By the time I was twenty-one years old I felt fairly accomplished in life. I had managed to be the first in my family to graduate high school, and I had successfully served my country as a United States Marine. Afterward, I obtained employment with a very successful local business, which paid generously and allowed for me to live comfortably with my wife and newborn child. It became very important for me as a new father to protect my child from the disadvantages that I experienced, but at the same time provide him with an example that hard work and determination will lead a person to success.

Sadly, a new chapter of my life began at this time that presented another struggle we all must overcome eventually. Within a few short years, a total of ten of my very close friends and family passed away in separate instances. I began to look at life differently after this traumatic string of deaths, and reexamine what I wanted out of it. I began to realize that perhaps my “good job” within the community was actually pretty mediocre, and I began to wonder what I would be remembered for when my life came to an end. Going to the same job day after day and providing for my family would certainly be commendable, but was I capable of more? Should I dare leave the safety of a successful business that pays well in a failing economy to pursue an education? I was very fearful to make such a bold decision, but my instinct kept insisting that I could accomplish more, and that I would spend the rest of my life regretting it if I didn’t pursue something better for my family and myself.

Taking a leap of faith, I gave a month’s notice with my employer and began working toward an associate degree in paralegal studies. The introductions into the separate areas of the law left me both excited and curious to learn more. The same instinct that insisted I pursue an education was beginning to suggest that I embark on a journey to become a practicing attorney. By the time I graduated magna cum laude with my associate’s degree I had already decided that I would pursue a juris doctorate. I then enrolled in a joint Homeland Security & Public Safety program at my university that excited me because it explained more about the judicial process. In addition, the program encouraged public speaking and open discussion or debate within the classroom which have helped to improve my speaking skills, and I expect will assist me in my legal education. Above all, the program presented an opportunity for me to serve an internship under a local Judge at the [OMMITTED] Court in [OMMITTED], Indiana. This experience allowed me to witness two hundred hours of court proceedings which added to my excitement about the law, but also lead to a realization. The intuition that had gotten me this far in my education was leading me to this, and I knew it then more than ever.

Sadly, tragedy struck my life again in the fall of 2012 with the unexpected death of my mother, and I am reminded again of how short life is and how important it is for a person to pursue what is important to them. My journey hasn’t been an easy one up to this point, and I expect a legal education will have its challenges as well. However, the best way I know to honor the ones I love who are gone today is to pursue my dreams, and become the success that I know I can be. I have never doubted my worth, but now is the time for me to prove my true value.

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Cobretti
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby Cobretti » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:59 pm

I like it, it does a great job of describing you as a person. I will say the comment about wearing clothes that weren't "in style" made me roll my eyes, so I might take that out. Other than that its well written and will make adcoms connect with you as a person, which is the ultimate goal of a PS.

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Steve2207
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby Steve2207 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:01 pm

mrizza wrote:I like it, it does a great job of describing you as a person. I will say the comment about wearing clothes that weren't "in style" made me roll my eyes, so I might take that out. Other than that its well written and will make adcoms connect with you as a person, which is the ultimate goal of a PS.


Thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to look at it, I dont feel completly comfortable with the "in style" comment either but Im having trouble thinking of a way to word that better.

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BlueJeanBaby
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby BlueJeanBaby » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:04 pm

mrizza wrote:I like it, it does a great job of describing you as a person. I will say the comment about wearing clothes that weren't "in style" made me roll my eyes, so I might take that out. Other than that its well written and will make adcoms connect with you as a person, which is the ultimate goal of a PS.


Agreed. I don't think having out-of-style clothes and riding a bus are overly characteristic of being poor. Maybe you can think of another visual that would be more striking?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:20 pm

Not good, in my opinion. Lacks depth, offers scant insight into your thoughts & development, and overuses the pronoun "I". A law school PS should not be a resume regurgitation (as in "I did this, I did that, I thought this, etc.). Try to develop a theme which shows depth of analytical thought & maturity. Then communicate that theme succinctly using crisp, clear sentences. As written, your essay is boring & shallow. One of your age, experience & presumed maturity should be able to offer much more.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Steve2207
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby Steve2207 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:23 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Not good, in my opinion. Lacks depth, offers scant insight into your thoughts & development, and overuses the pronoun "I".


Thanks for the input, are there things I could do to improve it, or do I just need to scrap the whole thing in your opinion?

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Steve2207
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby Steve2207 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:27 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Not good, in my opinion. Lacks depth, offers scant insight into your thoughts & development, and overuses the pronoun "I". A law school PS should not be a resume regurgitation (as in "I did this, I did that, I thought this, etc.). Try to develop a theme which shows depth of analytical thought & maturity. Then communicate that theme succinctly using crisp, clear sentences. As written, your essay is boring & shallow. One of your age, experience & presumed maturity should be able to offer much more.


Thanks! Im torn because some say its good, and others say its bad. I can tell its not as creative as some of the others Ive read, but I will admit I have trouble writing in that style. I do better with formal essays, a PS is pretty new to me, and I dont even know where to start on a academic resume.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:42 pm

Early on your PS tricks the reader into expecting an analysis with depth and insights explaining your change of direction; instead, all you offer are statements that folks passed away so you quit your job & went to paralegal school while regurgitating your resume.

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Cobretti
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby Cobretti » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:58 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Early on your PS tricks the reader into expecting an analysis with depth and insights explaining your change of direction; instead, all you offer are statements that folks passed away so you quit your job & went to paralegal school while regurgitating your resume.


I disagree. He drops a few bullets from his resume that help explain why he wants to be an attorney, and I think its done in a tasteful way. He doesn't come off as bragging, which is the biggest downfall of the failed "humble brags". Also, I think in general the statement does a good job of following his development as a person and gives the reader a really good idea of where he's coming from.

This PS is not a cliche "random out of context story followed by profound effect on life", and I think that's fine. It comes off as very open and honest, which is exactly the emotions you want to portray to get an adcom on your side to get you out of the "maybe" pile.

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Steve2207
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby Steve2207 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:53 pm

mrizza wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Early on your PS tricks the reader into expecting an analysis with depth and insights explaining your change of direction; instead, all you offer are statements that folks passed away so you quit your job & went to paralegal school while regurgitating your resume.


I disagree. He drops a few bullets from his resume that help explain why he wants to be an attorney, and I think its done in a tasteful way. He doesn't come off as bragging, which is the biggest downfall of the failed "humble brags". Also, I think in general the statement does a good job of following his development as a person and gives the reader a really good idea of where he's coming from.

This PS is not a cliche "random out of context story followed by profound effect on life", and I think that's fine. It comes off as very open and honest, which is exactly the emotions you want to portray to get an adcom on your side to get you out of the "maybe" pile.


Thanks for standing up for it bro! Im open to and all criticism however. Your PS was great btw, atleast ithought so! (though im obviously no expert).

CanadianWolf
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:32 am

Another way to share my view is that the first two paragraphs promise much more than the final two paragraphs deliver. The final paragraph is weak & disappointing, in my opinion; for example, I simply don't believe, based on the content of this essay, that your life has been hard up to this point. Regardless, your PS is good enough to satisfy the requirement, but unlikely to have a substantial impact on any admission decision.

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BlueJeanBaby
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby BlueJeanBaby » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:41 am

I was a creative writing major so I have a strange bias. In other words, feel free to ignore me. Anyways, I think it is a little dry. It isn't bad by any means, but I feel like there is much more you could do. You say that you were raised poor. You say you were a Marine. These details offer you a plethora of vivid visuals to give your readers. You could really spice up your paper and grasp the readers' attention with just a few added sentences. Feel free to PM me and I can give you more insight of what I am talking about.

canarykb
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Re: Could this be my final draft?

Postby canarykb » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:56 am

I have never allowed myself to believe that anything is unattainable. Struggles have [del.] come and gone throughout my life, but I have remained faithful that believing in myself and overcoming life’s tragedies is the only key to success that I have. [awkward sentence structure here. Reword.] Even upon reflection of the awkward moments I had growing up in a poor neighborhood, wearing clothes that weren’t “in style”, or riding the school bus all four years of high school because I had no other means of transportation, I still cannot recall one instance in which I doubted my worth. ["Awkward" is a weird way to define these moments. I also think you can't assume the reader will understand why these are instances that would make you doubt your worth. I mean, all my clothes growing up were from garage sales and I rode the school bus through most of high school - and I grew up middle class. I don't really associate these things as very negative, or necessarily with being incredibly poor. If YOU felt embarrassed or were made to feel like you were an outcast for wearing out of style clothes and taking the bus, then that should explained.]

I convinced myself early on in life that being poor did not make me stupid, or dirty, or any less capable of becoming a success. [I like this.] By the time I was twenty-one years old I felt fairly accomplished in life. I [del.]managed to be the first in my family to graduate high school, and I [del.] successfully served my country as a United States Marine. Afterward, I obtained employment with a very successful local business, which paid generously and allowed for me to live comfortably with my wife and newborn child. It became very important for me as a new father to protect my child from the disadvantages that I experienced, but at the same time provide him with an example that hard work and determination will lead a person to success. [http://thesaurus.com/browse/success]

Sadly, a new chapter of my life began at this time that presented another struggle [del.]. Within a few short years, a total of ten of my very close friends and family passed away in separate instances. [hmmm... I'm not sure about a tally here. I know you want to get across how much you had to deal with. But I'm not sure being quantitative works here. Maybe just say "multiple"?] I began to look at life differently after this traumatic string of deaths, and reexamine what I wanted out of it. I began to realize that perhaps my “good job” within the community was actually pretty mediocre, and I began to wonder what I would be remembered for when my life came to an end. Going to the same job day after day and providing for my family would certainly be commendable, but was I capable of more? Should I dare leave the safety of a successful business that pays well in a failing economy to pursue an education? [I don't really like the posing questions here. I know that you are trying to set-up tension by showing how much you had to consider for this decision, but the questions don't work very well, IMO. This paragraph is the big turning point in your essay, and I don't think it's written in the most effective way. I think an insightful anecdote might work here? You need something to draw the reader in and make them really care about this decision, and feel the weight of it.] I was very fearful to make such a bold decision, but my instinct kept insisting that I could accomplish more, and that I would spend the rest of my life regretting it if I didn’t pursue something better for my family and myself.

I took a leap of faith. I gave my employer one month's notice and began working toward an associate degree in paralegal studies. [You don't explain why paralegal studies. Or why the local business you worked for wasn't fulfilling. You set up why this decision was a difficult one, but not why it was right for you to make it.] The introductions into the separate areas of the law left me both excited and curious to learn more. The same instinct that insisted I pursue an education was beginning to suggest that I embark on a journey to become a practicing attorney. [I still don't know what that instinct is!] By the time I graduated magna cum laude with my associate’s degree I had already decided that I would pursue a juris doctorate. I then enrolled in a joint Homeland Security & Public Safety program at my university that excited me because it explained more about the judicial process. In addition, the program encouraged public speaking and open discussion or debate within the classroom which have helped to improve my speaking skills, and I expect will assist me in my legal education. Above all, the program presented an opportunity for me to serve an internship under a local Judge at the [OMITTED] Court in [OMITTED], Indiana. This experience allowed me to witness two hundred hours of court proceedings which added to my excitement about the law, but also lead to a realization. [I think this bit about interning with a local judge and witnessing hearings is the most interesting part of your essay, or, rather, the area that I want to hear more about.] The intuition that had gotten me this far in my education was leading me to this, and I knew it then more than ever. [You've already said this.]

Sadly, tragedy struck my life again in the fall of 2012 [Hey, sorry to hear that :(]with the unexpected death of my mother, and I am reminded again of how short life is and how important it is for a person to pursue what is important to them. My journey hasn’t been an easy one up to this point, and I expect a legal education will have its challenges as well. However, the best way I know to honor the ones I love who are gone today is to pursue my dreams, and become the success that I know I can be. [You haven't brought up this idea of honoring those who have passed away yet. It feels stuck on to this conclusion, because although you have mentioned friends/family passing, you haven't really dwelt on it or discussed needing to honor them?] I have never doubted my worth, but now is the time for me to prove my true value.




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