Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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anteater1
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Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby anteater1 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:05 am

It was my first year in Bellflower. At 15 years of age I was a naïve and had ambitions to enact the kind of hands on change I’d read about; to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks. Her name was Deja Stevens, she was 12, and she was a blind pianist. In my ambivalence to start volunteering I’d failed to consider exactly how difficult the job would be and what exactly it would entail. It’s been seven years and thousands of students since I met Deja, but her mark on my life has been incalculable.

Before I could legally work, I volunteered my time tutoring students my age and instructing the middle-school drumline. It was during this period that I met Deja, a quiet young African-American girl, trying out for lead snare and captain. I had no doubts that Deja was incredibly talented as a pianist, she had received multiple accolades, but the position of drumline captain was not just about musical talent but leadership as well. Needless to say I had my doubts. How could a quiet and humble young girl lead a group of rambunctious hormone enraged teenagers? For my own sake, how could I teach percussion to a girl only 3 years my junior who could not read the music I was writing for her?

Looking back seven years it’s difficult for me to recall why I’d ever had doubts in the first place. Deja was clearly one of the most talented percussionists I’d ever seen, her disability in one facility had only served to improve her in others; even when I played some of the most complex rudiments I knew she was able to recall and recite them with remarkable accuracy. More importantly, she had gained the respect of every single student in the drumline. When she ordered push-ups for tardiness it was the word of law, whether they were given to one of my shy 11 year old students or my 260 pound bass drum player who practiced football with the varsity squad as a 7th grader. Even as I instructed the twenty plus students in drumline I found myself learning far more than I was teaching. A number of the leadership skills I saw Deja use, I still practice to this day.

Throughout my working career, I have become an integral part of the community and expanded my role to teaching both middle and high school. The people of Bellflower have become much more to me than just students, peers and mentors; they have become my family. My experiences in Bellflower are marked by great joys and great sadnesses. I’ve seen students completely turn their lives around and others who were not so fortunate. Deja, the blind pianist I taught some seven years ago, was recently admitted into a conservatory for music. Zymira, whom I tutored in 7th and 8th grade, became the first in her family to go to a university. Unfortunately, not all stories turned out so well. Jarrad, a student I had the privilege of teaching from 7th to 12th grade, was struck down by a reckless drunk driver. Jarrad unfortunately met a similar fate to Michael, my former student gunned down in a drive by shooting; or Karl, who overdosed on drugs. All died far too young, victims of circumstance and a socio-economic system which made their childhood and teen years much more difficult than need be.

These triumphs and tribulations are the largest factors in my decision to go to law school. As an attorney I will have the tools to advocate for the changes necessary to improve the circumstances of children like my students. Resources currently provided to Bellflower schools are both scarce and poorly allocated. The few success stories I cherish are outweighed by the substantial amount of students who fail to finish high school. One of my deepest desires is to shape Bellflower and other similar cities through legal advocacy that meets the needs of the underprivileged. Not all my students can have the same success as Deja, but my goal in life is to make it so every child has an equal opportunity to.

mmbt123
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby mmbt123 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:26 pm

good flow & content but the introduction confused me. i think you could do a better job of introducing us to the first student.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:33 pm

This is an above average law school PS---although you forgot the last word = "succeed".

Your message seems sincere & convincing, but could be expressed in a more succinct fashion.

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anteater1
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby anteater1 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:12 pm

mmbt123 wrote:good flow & content but the introduction confused me. i think you could do a better job of introducing us to the first student.


Any specific tips? I get exactly what your saying but I don't know how to change it further...

CanadianWolf wrote:This is an above average law school PS---although you forgot the last word = "succeed".

Your message seems sincere & convincing, but could be expressed in a more succinct fashion.


Anything specifically I should cut out?

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby fruitoftheloom » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:44 pm

It was my first year in Bellflower. At 15 years of age I was a naïve and had ambitions to enact the kind of hands on change I’d read about; to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks. Her name was Deja Stevens, she was 12, and she was a blind pianist. In my ambivalence to start volunteering I’d failed to consider exactly how difficult the job would be and what exactly it would entail. It’s been seven years and thousands of students since I met Deja, but her mark on my life has been incalculable.



1) I don't like "in my ambivalence to start volunteering" - I think it's really inconsistent. I was a teenager who was excited to work at soup kitchens before work, but I mean, I was still kinda on the fence about being a good human. That's the message I get. Change ambivalence to enthusiasm or another synonym.

2) Okay - I figured out the confusion. In the first paragraph I can't keep the time straight. It took 3 reads to realize you were in high school (15) when you began teaching Deja.

Are you a teacher now? I feel like it's implied that you are. I think you need to smooth out the time frame to make it less confusing.

OKAY two edits in - I think you can fix by changing a couple of small things!!
instead of "at 15 years old" something like "As a 15 year old tutor, musical prodigy, band leader.. SOMETHING" I was naive.. etc
"It's NOW been seven years.."

I think that will help the timing issues smooth out.

Tell me if you want me to edit this out later.

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anteater1
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby anteater1 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:17 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
It was my first year in Bellflower. At 15 years of age I was a naïve and had ambitions to enact the kind of hands on change I’d read about; to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks. Her name was Deja Stevens, she was 12, and she was a blind pianist. In my ambivalence to start volunteering I’d failed to consider exactly how difficult the job would be and what exactly it would entail. It’s been seven years and thousands of students since I met Deja, but her mark on my life has been incalculable.



1) I don't like "in my ambivalence to start volunteering" - I think it's really inconsistent. I was a teenager who was excited to work at soup kitchens before work, but I mean, I was still kinda on the fence about being a good human. That's the message I get. Change ambivalence to enthusiasm or another synonym.

2) Okay - I figured out the confusion. In the first paragraph I can't keep the time straight. It took 3 reads to realize you were in high school (15) when you began teaching Deja.

Are you a teacher now? I feel like it's implied that you are. I think you need to smooth out the time frame to make it less confusing.

OKAY two edits in - I think you can fix by changing a couple of small things!!
instead of "at 15 years old" something like "As a 15 year old tutor, musical prodigy, band leader.. SOMETHING" I was naive.. etc
"It's NOW been seven years.."

I think that will help the timing issues smooth out.

Tell me if you want me to edit this out later.


Put both of those suggestions in my final draft, much appreciated.

Anything else?

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby fruitoftheloom » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:46 pm

Jarrad unfortunately met a similar fate to Michael, my former student gunned down in a drive by shooting;


Reword this sentence to Michael met a similar unfortunate fate or something like that, it doesn't make sense to mention Jarod in the prior sentence and then mention him again like this.

Also:

position of drumline captain was not just about musical talent but leadership as well. Needless to say I had my doubts. How could a quiet and humble young girl lead a group of rambunctious hormone enraged teenagers?


I feel like here, spell it out. I mean, really - it seems like your doubts should be that other immature high schoolers won't follow a blind kid. It feels like you're dancing around it / being too PC.

Just FYI - I do like your statement, I think overall it's strong. You could maybe retool it a little more (if you want) to show WHAT leadership lessons you learned from Deja or what you did (besides teach music) to positively influence your students. The last part might be out of the scope.

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LexLeon
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby LexLeon » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:33 am

Everyone reads these things differently, and thus harbors different opinions. [Prepare grain of salt to be taken.]

That being said, I'm fairly certain I saw an amount of Deja that rivals the amount I saw of you. That is a problem.

If someone reading this statement is looking only for a piece of writing that is at least good, then you're not in bad shape.

I suggest that you rewrite it--sorry, no one likes to hear that--and emphasize yourself a lot more.

WhiskeynCoke
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby WhiskeynCoke » Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:44 pm

It's decent, though it needs some polish. For example, you have a typo in your very second sentence (ouch.. really?).

At 15 years of age I was a naïve and had ambitions to enact the kind of hands on change I’d read about;


With that out of the way, Ill move on and echo what everyone above me is saying - You need make this more about you and your personal journey. As it stands it's more about your students. There are too many specifics about them and not enough about you. Let me explain.

Even as I instructed the twenty plus students in drumline I found myself learning far more than I was teaching.


THIS! You need to go much further with this theme. SHOW the reader how your students changed the way you thought. SHOW how Deja, in shattering your pre-conceived notion of what it took to be a"drum captain," opened your eyes and inspired you. The reader needs to be able to see your journey more clearly, since this is obviously the theme you're going for. Sure, Deja is super interesting, but she's not the one applying to law school.

Another point I'd like to make concerns these two sentences:

At 15 years of age I was a naïve and had ambitions to enact the kind of hands on change I’d read about; to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks.


vs.

Not all my students can have the same success as Deja, but my goal in life is to make it so every child has an equal opportunity to.


To start out, you explicitly state that your "save the world" ambitions at the age of 15 were based on naivety. This implies that you are about to show us a personal journey, in which you demonstrate the shedding of this naivety, finally seeing and accepting the harsher realities of life. However, your very last sentence seems to repeat the exact same "save the world" ambitions. Based on these two sentences (your intro and conclusion) the naivety you had at 15 seems to still be present which begs the question, "where was the journey?"

Most of the pieces of a great PS are here, you just need to tweak them to highlight your personal journey. You can still talk about the kids but you must place their descriptions into the frame of how these experiences have shaped you a little more coherently. You can still want to save the world, but to demonstrate the shedding of your naivety you must qualify this statement.

Also, your first paragraph as a whole is very choppy. The intro needs to be very crisp or you'll immediately lose the reader. Incorporate my above comments into a new version, and I'll be happy to help you smooth out the intro.

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anteater1
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby anteater1 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:58 pm

Thank you all very much, ill take your considerations into mind Whiskey and ill repost my corrected copy tonight or tomorrow morning. If you'd be so kind to read it again that would be extremely beneficial.

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CorkBoard
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby CorkBoard » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:00 am

anteater1 wrote:It was my first year in Bellflower. At 15 years of ageold, I was anaïve and had ambitions to enact the kind of hands-on change I’d read about; to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks hm...okay..

This is a really weird way to start this intro to this girlHer name was Deja Stevens, she was 12, and she was a blind pianist maybe say "12 year-old blind pianist". In my ambivalence to start volunteering, I’d failed to consider exactly how difficult the job would be and what exactly it would entail what job? Ugh way too vague. Please bring in whatever job this was here instead of trying to reach for some bizarrely vague paragraph that sounds good. It’s been seven years and thousands of students since I met Deja, but her mark on my life has been incalculable.

Actually, looking back at this 2nd paragraph, I think you would be wise to cut the first one entirely.

Before I could legally work, I volunteered my time tutoring students my age and instructing the middle-school drumline. Okay, this is probably a better starting point than the previous two paragraphs It was during this period that I met Deja, a quiet young African-American girl why is her race relevant??? srsly?, trying out for lead snare and captain. I had no doubts that Deja was incredibly talented as a pianist, asshe had received multiple accolades, but the position of drumline captain was not just about musical talent, but about leadership as well. Needless to say, I had my doubts. This is probably where I'd put in the fact that this girl was blind How could a quiet and humble young girl lead a group of rambunctious hormone enraged teenagers? For my own sake, how could I teach percussion to a girl only 3 years my junior who could not read the music I was writing for her?

Looking back seven years, it’s difficult for me to recall why I’d ever had doubts in the first place. Deja was clearly one of the most talented percussionists I’d ever seen. Her disability in one facility had only served to improve her in others. Even when I played some of the most complex rudiments, I knew she was able to recall and recite them with remarkable accuracy. More importantly, she had gained the respect of every single student in the drumline.

Paragraph break

When she ordered push-ups for tardiness, it was the word of law, whether they were given to one of my shy 11 year-old students or my 260 pound bass drum player who practiced football with the varsity squad as a 7th grader. Even as I instructed the twenty plus students in drumline, I found myself learning far more than I was teaching. A number of the leadership skills I saw Deja use,To this day, I still practiceto this day a number of the leadership skills I saw Deja use.

Throughout my working career, I have become an integral part of the community and expanded my role to teaching both middle and high school. The people of "my hometown or whatever Bellflower is to you" Bellflower have become much more to me than just students, peers and mentorsput an em dash here they have become my family. My experiences in Bellflower are marked by great joys and great sadnesses. I’ve seen students completely turn their lives around and others who were not so fortunate. Deja, the blind pianist I taught some seven years ago, was recently admitted into a conservatory for music. Zymira, whom I tutored in 7th and 8th grade, became the first in her family to go to a university. Unfortunately, not all stories turned out so well. Jarrad, a student I had the privilege of teaching from 7th to 12th grade, was struck down by a reckless drunk driver. Jarrad unfortunately met a similar fate to Michael, my former student gunned down in a drive by shooting; or Karl, who overdosed on drugs. All died far too young, victims of circumstance and a socio-economic system which made their childhood and teen years much more difficult than need be. What? No offense, but bringing this in at the very end is an awful way to say "oh and because of this, which I just introduced in the very end of my SECOND TO LAST PARAGRAPH, is why I want to go to law school!"

These triumphs and tribulations are the largest factors in my decision to go to law school. As an attorney, I will have the tools to advocate for the changes necessary to improve the circumstances of children like my students. Resources currently provided to Bellflower schools are both scarce and poorly allocated. The few success stories I cherish are outweighed by the substantial amount of students who fail to finish high school. Again, you basically NEVER brought this up until the end of this PS, so it probably needs to be cut. One of my deepest desires is to shape Bellflower and other similar cities through legal advocacy that meets the needs of the underprivileged. Not all my students can have the same success as Deja, but my goal in life is to make it so every child has an equal opportunity to do so. Don't end sentences w/ prepositions.


Holy Jesus, this PS has terrible grammatical errors. Please pay attention to commas and punctuation, because it doesn't flow well without them. I put in a lot of commas here. Your strongest idea/main subject, Deja, will probably need to be contrasted with other students earlier on in your PS. Right now these other examples are brought in at the very end and it seems pretty haphazardly placed.

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anteater1
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby anteater1 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:36 pm

Thanks Cork, ill fix all that grammatical stuff. I'm by no means an expert so I appreciate your help.

I'm working on it as we speak so ill post an updated copy tonight.

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anteater1
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby anteater1 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:59 am

UPDATED COPY: Still working on some of your suggestions but I thought I'd show you guys some of the progress I'd made... I still have about 1/3 a page of space to talk more about myself, still working on it...


It was my first year in Bellflower. At 15 years of age, I was naïve with ambitions to enact the kind of hands-on change I had read about; to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks. In my enthusiasm to start volunteering, I had failed to consider exactly how difficult teaching would be, what it would entail, and the impact it would have on me. It has now been seven years and thousands of students since I met a 12-year-old blind pianist named Deja, but her mark on my life has been immeasurable.

Before I could legally work, I volunteered my time by tutoring my peers and instructing the middle-school drumline. It was during this period that I met Deja, a quiet young African-American girl who was trying out for lead snare and captain. I had no doubts that Deja was incredibly talented as a pianist, as she had received multiple accolades, but the position of drumline captain was not just about musical talent; it required leadership as well. Needless to say, I was concerned. How could a quiet and humble young girl lead a group of rambunctious teenagers? Would they respect or antagonize her? How could I teach percussion to a girl only 3 years my junior who could not read the music I was writing for her? Ultimately I knew I had to give her the chance to succeed.

Looking back, it is difficult for me to recall why I ever worried. Deja was one of the most talented percussionists I had ever seen. Her disability in one aspect had only served to improve her in others; even when I played some of the most complex rudiments I knew, she was able to recall and recite them with remarkable accuracy. More importantly, she earned the respect of every single student in the drumline. When she ordered push-ups for tardiness it was the word of law. Even as I instructed the twenty plus students in drumline I found myself learning far more than I was teaching. To this day, I still practice a number of leadership skills I saw Deja use. In the two years she was captain I never once saw Deja criticize a member of the line; she always managed to make her peers feel important whether their task was small or large. Both of these skills I have adopted as my own, with great success. My preconceived notion of what it took to be a leader was shattered, and I was made a better teacher for it. When it came time for Deja to move onto high school she gave me a small hug and left me with words I’ll remember my entire life, “Your belief in me made me believe in myself.”

Throughout my working career, I have become an integral part of the community and expanded my role to teaching both middle and high school. The people of Bellflower have become much more to me than just students, peers and mentors- they have become my family. My experiences in Bellflower are marked by great joys and great sadnesses. I have seen students who completely turned their lives around and others who were not so fortunate. Deja was recently admitted into a conservatory for music. Zymira, whom I tutored in 7th and 8th grade, became the first in her family to go to a university. Unfortunately, not all stories turned out so well. Jarrad, a student I had the privilege of teaching from 7th to 12th grade, was killed by a reckless drunk driver. Michael, my former student gunned down in a drive by shooting. Karl, an immensely talented vocalist, overdosed on drugs. All died far too young, victims of circumstance and a socio-economic system that made their childhood and teen years much more difficult than need be.

These experiences are the largest factors in my decision to go to law school. As an attorney, I will have the tools to advocate for the changes necessary to improve the circumstances of children like my students. Resources currently provided to Bellflower schools are both scarce and poorly allocated. The hundreds of students who fail to finish high school outnumber the few success stories I cherish. Although I am no longer naïve enough to believe that I alone can reform the world, I am optimistic that I can affect meaningful change if given the opportunity. One of my deepest desires is to shape Bellflower and other similar cities through legal advocacy that meets the needs of the underprivileged. Not all of my students can have the same success as Deja, but my ultimate goal in life is to make it so that every child has an equal opportunity to do so.

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bitsy
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby bitsy » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:20 pm

anteater1 wrote:UPDATED COPY: Still working on some of your suggestions but I thought I'd show you guys some of the progress I'd made... I still have about 1/3 a page of space to talk more about myself, still working on it...


It was my first year in Bellflower. At 15 years of age, I was naïve with ambitions to enact the kind of hands-on change I had read about; to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks. In my enthusiasm to start volunteering, I had failed to consider exactly how difficult teaching would be, what it would entail, and the impact it would have on me. It has now been seven years and thousands of students since I met a 12-year-old blind pianist named Deja, but her mark on my life has been immeasurable indelible?.

i could use some sense of your musical accomplishments in the first two paragraphs, since its not clear what your role is as a volunteer/not legally a teacher

Before I could legally work, I volunteered my time by tutoring my peers and instructing the middle-school drumline. It was during this period that I met Deja, a quiet young African-American girl who was trying out for lead snare and captain. I had no doubts that Deja was incredibly talented as a pianist, as she had received multiple accolades, but the position of drumline captain was not just about musical talent; it required leadership as well. Needless to say, I was concerned. How could a quiet and humble young girl lead a group of rambunctious teenagers? Would they respect or antagonize her? How could I teach percussion to a girl only 3 years my junior who could not read the music I was writing for her? Ultimately I knew I had to give her the chance to succeed.

Looking back, it is difficult for me to recall why I ever worried. you just recalled why you were worried in the previous paragraph, maybe use different phrasing? Deja was one of the most talented percussionists I had ever seen. Her disability in one aspect had only served to improve her in others; even when I played some of the most complex rudiments I knew, she was able to recall and recite them with remarkable accuracy. More importantly, she earned the respect of every single student in the drumline. When she ordered push-ups for tardiness it was the word of law. Even as I instructed the twenty plus students in drumline I found myself learning far more than I was teaching. To this day, I still practice a number of leadership skills I saw Deja use. In the two years she was captain I never once saw Deja criticize a member of the line; she always managed to make her peers feel important whether their task was small or large. Both of these skills I have adopted as my own, with great success. My preconceived notion of what it took to be a leader was shattered, and I was made a better teacher for it. When it came time for Deja to move onto high school she gave me a small hug and left me with words I’ll remember my entire life, “Your belief in me made me believe in myself.” awww

Throughout my working career, I have become an integral part of the community and expanded my role to teaching both middle and high school. in an official capacity? i think i remember this being your job, but thats not clear here The people of Bellflower have become much more to me than just students, peers and mentors- they have become my family. My experiences in Bellflower are marked by great joys and great sadnesses. I have seen students who completely turned their lives around and others who were not so fortunate. Deja was recently admitted into a conservatory for music. Zymira, whom I tutored in 7th and 8th grade, became the first in her family to go to a university. Unfortunately, not all stories turned out so well. Jarrad, a student I had the privilege of teaching from 7th to 12th grade, was killed by a reckless drunk driver. Michael, my former student gunned down in a drive by shooting. Karl, an immensely talented vocalist, overdosed on drugs. All died far too young, victims of circumstance and a socio-economic system that made their childhood and teen years much more difficult than need be. you could probably use a sentence here that ties the paragraph together-- maybe summing up the net impact of your teaching experience?

These experiences are the largest factors in my decision to go to law school. As an attorney, I will have the tools to advocate for the changes necessary to improve the circumstances of children like my students. Resources currently provided to Bellflower schools are both scarce and poorly allocated. The hundreds of students who fail to finish high school outnumber the few success stories I cherish. Although I am no longer naïve enough to believe that I alone can reform the world, I am optimistic that I can affect i think its "effect" meaningful change if given the opportunity. One of my deepest desires is to shape Bellflower and other similar cities through legal advocacy that meets the needs of the underprivileged. Not all of my students can have the same success as Deja, but my ultimate goal in life is to make it so that every child has an equal opportunity to do so.


hey ant, this is pretty good stuff. i like the volunteering aspect, and deja is a strong character. your ps communicates your reasons for choosing law school, and they come off as genuine. i think this version is still missing logical flow, though.

im getting a success story that is fleshed out, then a handful of sentences about students who died too young. your final paragraph is about the rule, not the exception that you spent half your PS detailing. it might make more sense if you could isolate what is special about deja's case that helped her to succeed, and argue for making that available to all disadvantaged students. however, as it stands, the focus on deja doesn't make much sense in the overall narrative if you want to keep that last paragraph.

you're close to something great! the changes youve made seem effective. keep at it bro.

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby fruitoftheloom » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:40 pm

Ant - I think the changes really helped your personal statement. I agree with most of what Bitsy, above, wrote. Where I really would make the change is use the additional 1/3 of a page that you have after the second to last paragraph (or in it) to talk about how the stories - positive and negative - have affected you.

I also think that in either the 2nd or 3rd paragraph, when you talk about Deja saying "your belief in me made me believe in myself" you say you've applied that, but talk about what you DID to apply that. Did you have another student that you had reservations about, but instead you threw yourself into tutoring that student because he culd turn out to be another Deja? You could also just add a sentence like "Deja's impact on me was that I decided to believe in my students. I would help them become the best that they could be, and my commitment to them would help them achieve that goal." IDK - that sounds corny but maybe you can take it somewhere?

My guess is that after the deaths, you were probably left to counsel the remaining students in band. How did that affect you/them? Were you able to build a more cohesive team? I think if you can add in something like that, you've taken your statement to the next level.

What you have here is good, and you could submit it. I'd give it 8/10. If you can tie together something about how you really grew as a person through tutoring/teaching, I think you take it to a 10/10.

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CorkBoard
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby CorkBoard » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:26 am

anteater1 wrote:It was my first year in Bellflower. At 15 yearsof agethis wording is REALLY fucking awkward. Say 15 years old, I was naïve with ambitions to enact the kind of hands-on change I had read about; to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks fragment...semicolons are supposed to separate independent clauses (complete sentences that can stand alone) and this doesn't fit. In my enthusiasm to start volunteering to do what? Tutor? Because it's pretty unclear right now, I had failed to consider exactly how difficult teaching would be, what it would entail, and the impact it would have on me. It has now been seven years and thousands of students since I met a 12-year-old blind pianist named Deja, but her mark on my life has been immeasurable.

Before I could legally work, I volunteered my time by tutoring my peers and instructing the middle-school drumline. Bring this in earlier where I said your volunteering was vague It was during this period that I met Deja, a quiet young African-American girl Why is this an important detail??? who was trying out for lead snare and captain. I had no doubts that Deja was incredibly talented as a pianist, as she had received multiple accolades, but the position of drumline captain was not just about musical talent; it required leadership as well. Needless to say, I was concerned. How could a quiet might want to pick another adjective because you already described her that way earlier, but it isn't totally necessary and humble young girl lead a group of rambunctious teenagers? Would they respect or antagonize her? How could I teach percussion to a girl only 3 years my junior who could not read the music I was writing for her? Ultimately I knew I had to give her the chance to succeed.

Looking back, it is difficult for me to recall why I ever worried. Deja was one of the most talented percussionists I had ever seen. Her disability in one aspect had only served to improve her in others; even when I played some of the most complex rudiments I knew, she was able to recall and recite them with remarkable accuracy. More importantly, she earned the respect of every single student in the drumline. When she ordered push-ups for tardiness it was the word of law. Even as I instructed the twenty plus students in drumline I found myself learning far more than I was teaching. To this day, I still practice a number of leadership skills I saw Deja use Sentence sounds much better. In the two years she was captain, (inserted comma) I never once saw Deja criticize a member of the line;Removed semicolon. Use a period. She always managed to make her peers feel important, whether their task was small or large. Both of these skills I have adopted as my own, with great success. My preconceived notion of what it took to be a leader was shattered what? Because they can actually be kind? Explain a bit, and I was made a better teacher for it. This whole deeper meaning part should probably be brought in after Deja giving you a hug When it came time for Deja to move onto high school she gave me a small hug and left me with wordstold me something I’ll remember my entire life: “Your belief in me made me believe in myself.”

Throughout my working career, I have become an integral part of the community and expanded my role to teaching both middle and high school. The people of Bellflower have become much more to me than just students, peers and mentors- they have become my family. My experiences in Bellflower are marked by great joys and great sadnesses. I have seen students who completely turned their lives around and others who were not so fortunate. Deja was recently admitted into a conservatory for music. Zymira, whom I tutored in 7th and 8th grade, became the first in her family to go to a university. Unfortunately, not all stories turned out so well. Jarrad, a student I had the privilege of teaching from 7th to 12th grade, was killed by a reckless drunk driver. Michael, my former student gunned down in a drive by shooting. Karl, an immensely talented vocalist, overdosed on drugs. All died far too young, victims of circumstance and a socio-economic system that made their childhood and teen years much more difficult than need be. Really weird paragraph...it needs to be placed somewhere else.

These experiences are the largest factors in my decision to go to law school. As an attorney, I will have the tools to advocate for the changes necessary to improve the circumstances of children like my students Okay, this definitely needs to be brought in at an earlier point, because the transition is still abrupt. You basically talked about something else the entire time and then brought in these other students, and it just seems too random. Resources currently provided to Bellflower schools are both scarce and poorly allocated. The hundreds of students who fail to finish high school outnumber the few success stories I cherish. Although I am no longer naïve enough to believe that I alone can reform the world, I am optimistic that I can affect meaningful change if given the opportunity. One of my deepest desires is to shape Bellflower and other similar cities through legal advocacy that meets the needs of the underprivileged. Not all of my students can have the same success as Deja, but my ultimate goal in life is to make it so that every child has an equal opportunity to do so.


This is better, but that second to last paragraph really needs to be placed earlier. The ending doesn't flow well with it where it is now.

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anteater1
Posts: 610
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby anteater1 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:47 am

Alright guys hoping to submit before the 15th, is this done?.... I tried to heed all of your guys advice.


It was my first year in Bellflower. At 15 years old I was naïve with ambitions to enact the kind of hands-on change I had read about, to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks. As a high school drumline captain I was certain I could guide percussionists younger than myself, but in my enthusiasm to start volunteering I had failed to consider exactly how difficult teaching would be, what it would entail, and the impact it would have on me. It has now been seven years and thousands of students since I met a 12-year-old blind pianist named Deja, but her mark on my life has been immeasurable.

Before I could legally work, I volunteered my time by tutoring my peers and instructing the middle-school drumline. It was during this period that I met Deja, a quiet young African-American girl who was trying out for lead snare and captain. I had no doubts that Deja was incredibly talented as a pianist, as she had received multiple accolades, but the position of drumline captain was not just about musical talent; it required leadership as well. Needless to say, I was concerned. How could a reserved and humble young girl lead a group of rambunctious teenagers? Would they respect or antagonize her? How could I teach percussion to a girl only 3 years my junior who could not read the music I was writing for her? Ultimately I knew I had to give her the chance to succeed.

In only a matter of days, nearly all of my worries were wiped away. Deja was one of the most talented percussionists I had ever seen. Her disability in one aspect had only served to improve her in others; even when I played some of the most complex rudiments I knew, she was able to recall and recite them with remarkable accuracy. More importantly, she earned the respect of every single student in the drumline. When she ordered push-ups for tardiness it was the word of law. Even as I instructed the twenty plus students in drumline I found myself learning far more than I was teaching. To this day, I still practice a number of leadership skills I saw Deja use. In the two years she was captain, I never once saw Deja criticize a member of the line. She always managed to make her peers feel important whether their task was small or large. Both of these skills I have adopted as my own, with great success. My preconceived notion of what it took to be a leader was shattered, and I was made a better teacher for it. Since then I have taught with the core principle that hard work can accomplish anything and leaders come in all shapes and forms; my own students have repeatedly proven this. When it came time for Deja to move onto high school she gave me a small hug and told me something I’ll remember my entire life, “Your belief in me made me believe in myself.”

Throughout my working career, I have become an integral part of the community and expanded my role to teaching both middle and high school. The people of Bellflower have become much more to me than just students, peers and mentors- they have become my family. My experiences at Bellflower are the largest factors in my decision to go to law school. Resources currently provided to Bellflower schools are both scarce and poorly allocated. Unfortunately the music, arts, and college preparatory programs are often the first on the chopping block when purse strings are tightened. The college preparatory program I currently tutor for has already been cancelled next year due to budgetary issues. Last year the music classroom was broken into, and thousands of dollars in instruments were stolen, because the school refused to approve $500 for new locking cabinets. Deja, who was recently admitted into a conservatory for music, has readily admitted that she owes a lot of her success to her experiences in music classes and yet funding has decreased year by year. As an attorney, I will have the tools to advocate for the changes necessary to improve the circumstances of children like my students and to fight for improved funding of beneficial programs. Although I am no longer naïve enough to believe that I alone can reform the world, I am optimistic that I can effect meaningful change if given the opportunity. One of my deepest desires is to shape Bellflower and other similar cities through legal advocacy that meets the needs of the underprivileged. Not all of my students can have the same success as Deja, but my ultimate goal in life is to make it so that every child has an equal opportunity to do so.

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fruitoftheloom
Posts: 395
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby fruitoftheloom » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:20 pm

I think it's ready to submit Ant. I didn't see any grammatical errors or anything that I'd ask you to change. I sort of miss the part about the students who weren't success stories, but I would ONLY tie those in if you can add some sort of positive lesson (these studets died/failed, and I did XXX because of that). Overall - I think it's a great statement. It lets the reader get to know you and paints a picture.

I put my statement up - if you have a chance to review, I'd appreciate it.

GOOD LUCK

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CorkBoard
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Re: Near Final Draft... Any help would be appreciated; swap?

Postby CorkBoard » Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:10 pm

anteater1 wrote:Alright guys hoping to submit before the 15th, is this done?.... I tried to heed all of your guys advice.


It was my first year in Bellflower. At 15 years old I was naïve with ambitions to enact the kind of hands-on change I had read about, to be like the people who woke at 4am to open soup kitchens before working 40-hour weeks. As a high school drumline captain I was certain I could guide percussionists younger than myself, but in my enthusiasm to start volunteering I had failed to consider exactly how difficult teaching would be, what it would entail, and the impact it would have on me. It has now been seven years and thousands of students since I met a 12-year-old blind pianist named Deja, but her mark on my life has been immeasurable.

Before I could legally work, I volunteered my time by tutoring my peers and instructing the middle-school drumline. It was during this period that I met Deja, a quiet young African-American girl who was trying out for lead snare and captain. I had no doubts that Deja was incredibly talented as a pianist, as she had received multiple accolades, but the position of drumline captain was not just about musical talent; it required leadership as well. Needless to say, I was concerned. How could a reserved and humble young girl lead a group of rambunctious teenagers? Would they respect heror would they antagonize her? How could I teach percussion to a girl only 3 years my junior who could not read the music I was writing for her? Ultimately knew I had to give her the chance to succeed.

In only a matter of days, nearly all of my worries were wiped away. Deja was one of the most talented percussionists I had ever seen. Her disability in one aspect had only served to improve her in others; even when I played some of the most complex rudiments I knew, she was able to recall and recite them with remarkable accuracy. More importantly, she earned the respect of every single student in the drumline. When she ordered push-ups for tardiness it was the word of law. Even as I instructed the twenty plus students in drumline I found myself learning far more than I was teaching. To this day, I still practice a number of leadership skills I saw Deja use.

PARAGRAPH BREAK
In the two years she was captain, I never once saw Deja criticize a member of the line. She always managed to make her peers feel important whether their task was small or large. Both of these skills I have adopted as my own, with great success. My preconceived notion of what it took to be a leader was shattered, and I was made a better teacher for it. Since then I have taught with the core principle that hard work can accomplish anything and leaders come in all shapes and forms; my own students have repeatedly proven this. When it came time for Deja to move onto high school she gave me a small hug and told me something I’ll remember my entire lifesemicolon: “Your belief in me made me believe in myself.”

Throughout my working career, I have become an integral part of the community and expanded my role to teaching both middle and high school. The people of Bellflower have become much more to me than just students, peers and mentors- they have become my family. My experiences at Bellflower are the largest factors in my decision to go to law school. Resources currently provided to Bellflower schools are both scarce and poorly allocated. Unfortunately comma the music, arts, and college preparatory programs are often the first on the chopping block when purse strings are tightened. The college preparatory program I currently tutor for has already been cancelled next year due to budgetary issues. Last year the music classroom was broken into, and thousands of dollars in instruments were stolen, because the school refused to approve $500 for new locking cabinets.


PARAGRAPH BREAK
Deja, who was recently admitted into a conservatory for music, has readily admitted that she owes a lot of her success to her experiences in music classes and yet funding has decreased year by year. As an attorney, I will have the tools to advocate for the changes necessary to improve the circumstances of children like my students and to fight for improved funding of beneficial programs. Although I am no longer naïve enough to believe that I alone can reform the world, I am optimistic that I can effect meaningful change if given the opportunity. One of my deepest desires is to shape Bellflower and other similar cities through legal advocacy that meets the needs of the underprivileged. Not all of my students can have the same success as Deja, but my ultimate goal in life is to make it so that every child has an equal opportunity to do so.



Small edits, nothing big. It sounds a lot better than it did in the beginning.




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