Riiiiiiip into it

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boredtodeath
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Riiiiiiip into it

Postby boredtodeath » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:12 pm

EDIT: New draft pasted a few posts down.


Any help appreciated, looking to have this ready to go by this weekend when scores come out:

In my first term as Vice President of the Service Committee of my fraternity at X University, I was determined to continue making an impact not only on campus, but in the local community as well. This experience was crucial in not only aiding me to grow as both a leader and a person, but in shaping my view of the world and both my fraternity’s, and my own, role in it. I believe that this time in my undergraduate career was both the result of my continued intellectual maturation, and a catalyst for my future growth.

After spending a year as a member of the Service Committee, I had seen the possibilities of what we, as a fraternity, were capable of. We had done much work on campus, but only recently had we begun to reach out into the local community to make an impact. Our committee had held fundraisers on campus for various charitable organizations, both on our own and in tandem with other fraternities and sororities. We also had led clean-up efforts in various parts of the campus, including the gorge that ran behind our fraternity house. Towards the end of my first year on the committee, we participated in the X Town Easter Egg Hunt, an event in which brothers aided a local town committee in providing children with an easter egg hunt in downtown X. I still remember the joy on the children’s faces during that event, and the praise we received from those who attended. As Vice President, I made it my goal to expand our outreach into the X Town community at large.

As I saw it, X University and the town of X lived symbiotically with one another. The two were so intertwined that, in my mind, if you belonged to one community, you belonged to the other. As many fraternities do, ours had a longstanding commitment to both philanthropy and volunteerism. As members of the X University community however, I believed that we not only had a commitment to serve the X University campus, but the X Town community as a whole. During my term, my fraternity began a partnership with X University's EYES (Encourage Young Engineers & Scientists) Program. This program sent X University students to local elementary schools to conduct both fun, and educational, science lessons with the students in order to encourage them to pursue science when they grew older. During my first visit to one of these schools, we conducted the classic “papier-mâché volcano” experiment with the students. The sense of awe in the students’ eyes and their joy of discovery were enough to satisfy me, but the thanks we received from the teachers at the school reinforced my sense that this was truly a way to make an impact in our larger community.

Later on in my term, I organized a partnership with the X Town Land Trust to help save a local forest. The forest had been heavily polluted, needed trash cleaned from it, and needed new soil foundations put in. I provided incentives for brotherhood participation and was able to secure almost eighty percent brotherhood involvement, something that had rarely been accomplished during philanthropy events of the past. About fifty brothers took rotating shifts conducting the back-breaking work in conjunction with the Land Trust team over a weekend. I felt a great sense of pride when our work was complete, knowing that we had helped save this land for future generations to use. Both my experience with the EYES program, and with the X Town Land Trust, served to reinforce my commitment to the local community. The people that we worked with on each of these projects had nothing but praise for our efforts, and were happy to see that X University fraternities were not just throwing parties, but making a real impact in the wider X Town community.

Sometimes I look back and view my time as Vice President of the Service Committee as a success because I accomplished my own goal; that of expanding the fraternity’s involvement in the X Town community. In reality, the benchmark for my success was the satisfaction of those we worked with. My efforts would have meant nothing if we did not enrich the lives of those that we aided, but I believe that we did. My experience in this role not only expanded my leadership capabilities, but truly taught me about service, and one’s role in the world around them.

There are many ways in which society chooses to describe a lawyer. At its essence, however, lawyering is service; service to a client, service to government, service to the law itself. It is also imperative that lawyers understand their role in a larger community, whether that be a firm, a governmental organization, or a law school, and how they can impact others in that role. I believe that my time spent both serving on, and leading, the Service Committee of my fraternity, has prepared me to embrace both the study of law, and the practice of serving others as a lawyer.
Last edited by boredtodeath on Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rebexness
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby rebexness » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:57 pm

Last edited by rebexness on Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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boredtodeath
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby boredtodeath » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:57 pm

Hmm ok I'll try and replace the paragraph that mentions the second project with one that expands on the first. I struggled with how to open this PS - I wanted something that would grab attention, but I also wanted to just get right into what I was talking about. Will work on it.

Anyone also have any advice on how to transition to that final paragraph? I kinda like how it sorta comes out of nowhere, but I know a lot of people probably think its awkward.

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boredtodeath
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby boredtodeath » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:51 pm

bump

handsonthewheel
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby handsonthewheel » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:22 pm

Honest feedback:

The first paragraph has no introduction, you just jump in without context or set-up. Further, you talk around what you're really trying to set-up in the first paragraph, you repeat that your view changed. I kept thinking "what does that mean?"

Didn't really read beyond that, but my advice is to get some introductory sentence(s) and don't talk around your subject. Don't say "and this experience changed my perspective." You need to explain what happened and what the change was and then it will be apparent that your perspective has changed, but simply telling me is not convincing or substantive.

Good luck!

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RSterling
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby RSterling » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:48 pm

As many fraternities do, ours had a longstanding commitment to both philanthropy and volunteerism.


I laugh when I hear people in greek life say this as if anyone joing a frat/sorority because they're interested in volunteer work.

In all seriousness though, this PS seems like a rehashing of the volunteer portion of your resume. You're obviously committed to service and tying it back to law being a service-based profession is good. I would scrap a couple of the paragraphs where you talk about certain projects and instead try to write about things you did as the service coordinator that other had failed to do before you. Did you revamp the organization in any way? Seeing a problem and demonstrating a methodical approach to solving it will look good.

One more thing: avoid cliches. Talking about seeing "the joy on the children's faces" is overdone. Adcomms will sniff out BS. There are ways of saying that something was meaningful without having to act like it changed your life. You may have enjoyed making a paper mache volcano with a kid, but you don't need to act like it completely altered your or his life trajectory.

Sorry, I know this is all harsh, but I'm a strong proponent of the idea that a PS can really swing an application. You've got a good framework to work with, but I think you need to realize that there will likely be hundreds of applicants with a PS talking about doing service in their frat/sorority. You need to think about how yours will be memorable.

(Edited for typos)

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boredtodeath
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby boredtodeath » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:27 pm

RSterling wrote:
As many fraternities do, ours had a longstanding commitment to both philanthropy and volunteerism.


I laugh when I hear people in greek life say this as if anyone joing a frat/sorority because they're interested in volunteer work.


It's obviously not why most people join, but they do accomplish a lot of good work.

Anyway, I took your guys' advice and revamped the intro. I also changed up the fourth paragraph to include some of the changes I implemented while VP. Any advice on the new draft is appreciated:

EDIT: Replaced first two paragraphs with new intro.

What does it mean to serve? When I was elected Vice President of the Service Committee of my fraternity at X University, I began to ponder this question more seriously. From my time serving on the committee, I felt that the greek system as a whole had lost sight of the answer. X University fraternities and sororities, by nature, were highly insular institutions. While every greek chapter had a stated commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism, most often this amounted to on-campus fundraising for charitable organizations. While fundraising was noble in its own right, I felt that the greek system was lacking in its commitment to service. As members of the X University community, we also belonged to the greater Town X community, and while X University had certainly contributed much to Town X, it also owed much. I came to the realization that to truly honor our commitment to service as a fraternity, we must make an impact in the lives of those with whom we shared a home.

As I saw it, X University and the town of X lived symbiotically with one another. The two were so intertwined that, in my mind, if you belonged to one community, you belonged to the other. As many fraternities do, ours had a longstanding commitment to both philanthropy and volunteerism. As members of the X University community however, I believed that we not only had a commitment to serve the X University campus, but the Town X community as a whole. During my term, my fraternity began a partnership with X University's EYES (Encourage Young Engineers & Scientists) Program. This program sent X University students to local elementary schools to conduct both fun, and educational, science lessons with the children. The goal of the program was to spark an early interest in science in these students, in the hope that they might eventually pursue a career in a scientific or engineering field. During my first visit to one of these schools, we conducted the classic “papier-mâché volcano” experiment with the students. The sense of awe and discovery displayed by the students was satisfying in its own right, but the gratitude we received from the teachers reinforced my sense that this was truly a way to make an impact in our larger community.

Later in my term, I organized a partnership with the Town X Land Trust to help save a local forest. The project highlighted a major obstacle that the Service Committee continually faced; brotherhood participation. The forest had been heavily polluted, needed trash cleaned from it, and needed new soil foundations put in; back-breaking manual labor that many in the fraternity wished to avoid. The fraternity had in place a system where each brother was required to attend a certain number of philanthropy events each semester. However, as Vice President, I altered the structure of this requirement and the focus of our service projects to encourage brotherhood involvement. Instead of requiring brothers to attend a certain number of events, I instituted a system where brothers were required to volunteer for a certain number of hours each semester. This allowed brothers to engage in philanthropy on their own schedule; they could volunteer for many, shorter events, or commit to a few big ones. I also provided incentives for brotherhood participation in especially daunting projects, such as the forest restoration, and was able to finish my term with almost one hundred percent brotherhood fulfillment of service hours - something that had rarely been accomplished in years past.

My experience with both the EYES program, and with the Town X Land Trust, served to reinforce my commitment to the local community. The people that we worked with on each of these projects had nothing but praise for our efforts, and were glad to see that X University fraternities were not just throwing parties, but making a real impact in the wider Town X community.

Sometimes I look back and view my time as Vice President of the Service Committee as a success because I accomplished the goal I had set for my term; that of expanding the fraternity’s involvement in the Town X community. In reality, the benchmark for my success was the satisfaction of those we worked with. My efforts would have meant nothing if we did not enrich the lives of those that we aided, but I believe that we did. My experience in this role not only expanded my leadership capabilities, but truly taught me about service, and one’s role in the world around them. I also believe that it prepared me for both my future in law school, and my life as a lawyer.

There are many ways in which society chooses to describe a lawyer. At its essence, however, lawyering is service; service to a client, service to government, service to the law itself. It is also imperative that lawyers understand their role in a larger community, whether that be a firm, a governmental organization, or a law school, and how they can impact others in that role. I believe that my time spent both serving on, and leading, the Service Committee of my fraternity, has prepared me to embrace both the study of law, and the practice of serving others as a lawyer.
Last edited by boredtodeath on Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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boredtodeath
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby boredtodeath » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:25 pm

anyone on the new revision?

handsonthewheel
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby handsonthewheel » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:51 pm

I think the semi-colon should be a colon. I still think you are trying to telling me instead of illustrating, which is boring and frustrating as a reader with limited time or particular interest (you have to realize that people reading this have to read many of these, and they get boring and monotonous - you need to give them a reason to care right off the bat).

As much as the volunteer and leadership stuff is great, I just don't find the story compelling. I am also someone who is particularly dubious of the "fraternities do so much great stuff" line, not because they don't, but because it rings hollow for me.

I just didn't really get the feeling that you had much of a transformation, it just seems like you matured through college like everyone should.

To be honest, from the perspective of someone who read quickly and didn't really care (since I think this will be the review's angle), I just dont't find things compelling.

This is harsh on purpose. I think you could benefit from taking a step back to think about other angles or more granular experiences that you can draw-upon that will be more specific, illustrative, and engaging.

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boredtodeath
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby boredtodeath » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:27 pm

handsonthewheel wrote:I think the semi-colon should be a colon. I still think you are trying to telling me instead of illustrating, which is boring and frustrating as a reader with limited time or particular interest (you have to realize that people reading this have to read many of these, and they get boring and monotonous - you need to give them a reason to care right off the bat).

As much as the volunteer and leadership stuff is great, I just don't find the story compelling. I am also someone who is particularly dubious of the "fraternities do so much great stuff" line, not because they don't, but because it rings hollow for me.

I just didn't really get the feeling that you had much of a transformation, it just seems like you matured through college like everyone should.

To be honest, from the perspective of someone who read quickly and didn't really care (since I think this will be the review's angle), I just dont't find things compelling.

This is harsh on purpose. I think you could benefit from taking a step back to think about other angles or more granular experiences that you can draw-upon that will be more specific, illustrative, and engaging.


To be honest I'm finding it hard to understand what you mean by the whole, "you are telling me instead of illustrating" comment. Do you mean just in the intro? Because I think I have it set up where I describe what the experience did for me and then illustrate it by describing the work I did throughout the PS.

I tried to take the advice of RSterling and focus a bit on a problem I solved in my leadership position. I don't really know how to make any of this "compelling" without sounding over-the-top and grandiose. For instance, if I simply focus the whole PS on one event I participated in as VP and try to act like that one event really changed me, I feel like it comes off as disingenuous. As someone stated above, making paper mache volcanoes with the kids was cool, but it wasn't really life changing. I also don't really understand what more I can say to demonstrate a "transformation". I think laying out things I did in the position shows leadership ability and commitment to service, the two themes I lay out in the beginning.

Your advice makes me want to scrap what I have and attempt to tell the story of one singular experience I had as VP. Not only do I not have a singular experience worth telling, but I've heard from other people that this sort of route in the PS sounds overblown.

I guess I don't understand how I go from what I have to "compelling" without being disingenuous. If I'm misinterpreting your advice let me know.

handsonthewheel
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby handsonthewheel » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:44 pm

"My personal growth was heavily influenced during this time by my term as Vice President of the Service Committee of my fraternity at X University. My experiences in this position were crucial to both my growth as a leader, and to my understanding of what it means to serve a greater good."

Those two sentences, especially in the first paragraph, do not tell me anything. Tell me something concrete, because when you start a personal statement like that, you've already lost the reader. You have to give me a reason to care to read on.

I say that you're not illustrating because you tell me the things that you did, and it just doesn't really seem like you describe how any transformation happens. You're giving me the thesis and not really providing the illustration of what actually happened, and I'm left to try to figure out how your attitudes or beliefs or understandings changed while you engaged in the activities you talk about. I still don't really know what changed or what was important.

Honestly, I think you are better off finding a different approach. There just doesn't seem to be a compelling story in your fraternity experience, unless of course you can develop something more. You are using a transformational narrative, but there just doesn't seem to be much there. You also talk about leadership and service, but it doesn't really land as important - you just say broadly that being a lawyer is service to the law. What does that mean? If you could connect your experience with public service into a commitment to advocacy in education law, or something, then it would make more sense.

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boredtodeath
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby boredtodeath » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:17 pm

I'm honestly burnt out by this shit and don't feel like writing a whole new PS, especially with scores coming out any day now. So I took out the first two paragraphs and re-wrote the intro. I think it frames the PS more as, "how I applied my idea of service while in a leadership position" than "how I underwent a personal transformation". Hopefully that makes the whole PS feel a little more cohesive.

Here's the new intro:

What does it mean to serve? When I was elected Vice President of the Service Committee of my fraternity at X University, I began to ponder this question more seriously. From my time serving on the committee, I felt that the greek system as a whole had lost sight of the answer. X University fraternities and sororities, by nature, were highly insular institutions. While every greek chapter had a stated commitment to philanthropy and volunteerism, most often this amounted to on-campus fundraising for charitable organizations. While fundraising was noble in its own right, I felt that the greek system was lacking in its commitment to service. As members of the X University community, we also belonged to the greater Town X community, and while X University had certainly contributed much to Town X, it also owed much. I came to the realization that to truly honor our commitment to service as a fraternity, we must make an impact in the lives of those with whom we shared a home.

handsonthewheel
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby handsonthewheel » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:02 pm

Haha, I know how it feels. Personally, I sat down and wrote the thing out once and moved on (after starting law school I later went back and re-read it, only to find some gross grammatical and spelling errors).

Anyhow, I like the intro better. It definitely frames the PS more as moralizing, which I think it is. You discuss institutional direction and how, although it can be beneficial, that there sometimes needs to be a change in focus and striving to do more. I think you can even bring that idea back around at the end and discuss a view of, what you understand to be, the legal profession's analogous situation.

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boredtodeath
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Re: Riiiiiiip into it

Postby boredtodeath » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:19 am

Thanks for your input hands, you've been a big help.




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