3rd draft of my Personal Statement, looking for critiques!!

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Anonymous User
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3rd draft of my Personal Statement, looking for critiques!!

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:33 pm

First off: Thank you so much for reading this

Please feel free to tear this thing apart. I want it to be the best it can possibly be so being critical is a good thing. Thanks to anyone that can help!

Henry Ford once stated that, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it”. In June of 2009, before making the daunting transition to higher education, these words could not have been any more appropriate.
Earlier that year, I had joined a death metal band with similarly aged musicians from the area and we had risen to prominence in the local music scene. With a rapidly growing fan base, owners of local venues often gave us the opportunity to perform with some of our favorite nationally touring artists. The events after a performance in June of 2009, however, changed my life.
The show went well, and we were excited to have had the opportunity to play with the touring musicians. As I was loading my amplifier cabinet into my father’s truck, I felt a warm, sticky feeling in my right pant leg, just under my knee cap. Knowing exactly what it was, I quickly lowered my sweatpants to reveal a blood drenched leg. I sat down, applied pressure to the area, and waited for the father of my band mate to arrive with first-aid materials.
Since birth, I have lived with a growth on my right leg just slightly under my knee-cap. Once incorrectly diagnosed as a hemangioma or, vascular birthmark, it is actually known as an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM). It is a large cluster of arteries and veins that have grown together on my femoral artery and resemble a tumor. While a portion of it is exposed, most of it lies within my leg and is intertwined with the muscle tissue. Months before that June, I had experienced minor episodes of bleeding, but none severe enough to warrant serious medical attention.
The June episode was different, however, as the bleeding was increasingly difficult to manage. After another particularly severe incident days later, I was checked into a hospital and the idea of removing the growth was explored. It was at this point that the AVM was correctly diagnosed as such, as opposed to a hemangioma, and any consideration of immediate removal was abandoned. Due to its connection to the femoral artery, removal of the AVM could not be performed safely without first blocking all connections between it and the artery.
My doctors in Fairfax, Virginia, recommended visiting a surgeon in New York City who pioneered a procedure that would help to reduce the blood flow to my AVM, thus helping to control the bleeding. After a consultation visit, I underwent a procedure where a type of glue and coils were used to block the blood flow between my AVM and femoral artery. The procedure was a success; however, the surgeon warned that in the coming months, as the AVM began to break down, I could possibly experience more bleeding. Unfortunately, he was correct, as I experienced heavy bleeding at the start of my freshman year of college. The stress associated with the fear of having a bleeding episode at an inopportune time as I began a new chapter of my life in an unfamiliar place made home seem even farther away.
With time, the bleeding diminished and I returned to a somewhat normal life. The following winter, I had another procedure to block off more passageways between the AVM and my femoral artery. The experience of those two years was draining both physically and emotionally, yet it carried with it a valuable lesson about life, and more importantly, about me.
I learned that I have the devotion and perseverance to accomplish anything I set out to do. Before any of my bleeding episodes, I played numerous sports during my childhood and adolescence without any problems. Knowing I had participated all these years in physical activity with the potential for disastrous consequences gave me the courage to continue those pursuits without trepidation. During my collegiate experience alone, I have participated in intramural soccer and softball, rock climbing, and I will receive my SCUBA diving certification upon successful completion of a class this fall semester.
As a lawyer, confidence and perseverance are two invaluable and necessary qualities if one wishes to succeed. Through my experiences with difficulties, I have gained tremendous insight into what it really means to persevere and to have confidence. Armed with these qualities and a sound legal education, I will continue to rise above the ever-growing challenges faced by the legal world.


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Re: 3rd draft of my Personal Statement, looking for critiques!!

Postby fallen_frames » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:41 pm

Hey. The theme of your paper was not clear until the end - the quote at the beginning didn't help. (From what I understand, people generally don't like it when you use a quote from a person you don't know at the start of your essay...but i digress). The only two paragraphs that I like are the last two. I was a little confused reading all of the medical history...there was no real purpose.
Cut most of the doctor stuff. Cut most of the band stuff... just jump right into being excited to play and the problem that happened.

(( After reading this again I am confused. You say that you played sports when you were young and you did so with courage knowing that you had a problem... but you didn't know your true diagnosis until later. Personally, I would tweak with the truth and say you've known about this ... you've gone through your life without letting it slow you down which has developed your courage. And EXPAND on this point. THIS is what matters. Not the medical mumbo-jumbo. ))

So from this rambling here is my main thought: I seems that you had this experience and you wanted to use it in an 'overcoming adversity' style. It came across, but the emphasis is not in the right place. I would focus LESS on your condition and MORE on (a) how it affected you (SPECIFICALLY) and (b) how you not only overcame the problem, but almost challenged the issue with the risky behavior (SPECIFICALLY). From here you can spend a little more time linking these qualities an characteristics you have obtained to law school.


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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:46 pm

Re: 3rd draft of my Personal Statement, looking for critiques!!

Postby jgconte » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:46 pm

This statement needs a lot of work and to be trimmed. The best way to do this is to ask yourself 'so what' after every paragraph- how does this tie into a general theme or relate to why you are a good applicant.

Look at the paragraph about you being in a metal band. I thought this was going to be a big part, but really had nothing to do with anything.

You describe in length your medical procedures. This can be cut down to a paragraph or two. Concentrate about overcoming it if you want that to be your theme, but be ware that many people will say ok he recieved medical treament, what did he really overcome? Im not trying to attack you here, I am sure the treatment was taxing, but people get treated for medical problems everyday, does that mean they will be good lawyers too?

I would consider writing about a different theme, or talk about more how your condition was an obstacle that you overcame (though this is going to be hard to create into a compelling statement)

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