First draft- Any advice would be great!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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First draft- Any advice would be great!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:54 pm

Sweat filled my brow as I ran my fingers across the red seams of the baseball. I glanced in to the catcher who has been my best friend since I was 12 to get the sign. Although his mask covered his face and I couldn’t recognize any facial expression I could tell we both felt the importance of this next pitch. As we went through the signs I couldn’t help but smirk and think about that scene from Major League when Lou Brown said “Forget about the curve ball, Ricky. Give him the heater!” So I did just that. I nodded and delivered a screaming fast ball that just caught the outside corner of home plate. The umpire reached back as if he was starting an old push lawn mower and grunted for a strike three call. It’s not until hearing the grunt of the umpire and the erupting noise in the stands that a pitcher really knows that he made the best decision on what pitch to throw. As a pitcher every time I took the mound I was given the opportunity to do something great for myself and for my team. If you possess the raw talent to pitch then the only obstacle standing in the way of becoming great is your own mindset.
I was successful as a baseball player because I had been faced with difficult obstacles my entire life. As I look back, I realize that I made the right pitch decisions on the field because of the challenges I have faced off of the field. While I am aware that everybody faces obstacles in their lives, I also believe that the success of those encounters is firmly based on the foundations on which they have walked.
I was only eight years old when I noticed that my life wasn’t exactly like the other kids I played with. My father, an alcoholic, manic depressive, abusive man never gave me the memories of fishing and camping but instead visits to the hospital to visit my mother. There’s nothing I wished for more as a child than for this man to disappear and be replaced with a father like the ones who coached my little league baseball teams. My love for baseball goes deeper than just the playing the game, for me this game was an escape from the dark life waiting for me at home. When I was at practice or at a game it was like a world where he didn’t even exist. Because of this I have many men in my life today that I would consider my dad way before I claimed my biological father. I was ten years old when my mother finally took a stand and removed me and my two sisters from his destructive reach forever. When she showed the amazing strength to get us away from him I did the same for her by promising to do my best to take care of her and my sisters. These were big words coming from a ten year olds mouth. My mom’s reaction to me when I told her this was a combination of large crocodile tears and laughter. Although I was only ten years old I meant every word and behind my mom’s disbelief that her little man just said that, I think she knew I would never break that promise.
With no father figure to provide any income my mom struggled to support us working minimum wage jobs. I can recall over a dozen occasions when my mother would drive us over twenty miles in a car that broke down on a weekly basis to our grandparents so that we could shower for school the next day. The heartbreak in her eyes was the hardest part about the situation. When I reached the right age I began the fulfillment of my promise to my family by working any job I could get. I found myself working a number of jobs ranging from plumbing to fast food. The man I did plumbing work for was my best friend’s father and one of the most caring men I have ever met. One day on the job we were on break and I told him the story about my father and the promise I made to my mom and sisters. He was a blue collar man who has worked with his hands for everything he has received in life so hard work was no stranger to him. His advice to me was not as I expected. I pictured him giving me a speech about taking a path similar to his but he shocked me when he told me that an education was my best chance at fulfilling my promise. My mother is a very smart woman but she had never emphasized the importance of an education to me or my sisters. I thought hard about what he had said to me and decided that it was worth a shot. I used the promise I made and the advice my friend’s father has given me as fuel to become the first member of my family to graduate from high school the following year.
After graduation college was on my mind but I decided to spend some time working so that I could buy a car before beginning classes in the spring. After working full time for about six months I was able to buy an old Toyota Camry for $1,000 dollars. Me and my Camry went to college that January and it was rough to say the least. I struggled to keep grades up while maintaining some sort of job to pay for gas and food. When the semester ended I was beyond disappointed in my performance and thought this was the end of my education. I was depressed most of the summer and refused to register for classes out of a fear of failure. I will never forget the day it was July 23rd when I received a phone call that changed my life; it was the baseball coach of the college I attended the last spring. He had been given my name by my high school coach as someone who could help his pitching staff. I was given a tryout in early August and he signed me on a full housing scholarship. This scholarship took a huge weight off of my shoulders and gave me the opportunity I needed to continue my pursuit to take care of my mom and sisters. Being part of that team pushed me to maintain a solid academic performance. I made it through junior college and once again did a first in my family by receiving an associate’s degree. Baseball gave me the opportunity but my promise to my mother kept me moving forward onto the next level. Admittingly I started off slow and faced a few speed bumps along the way but in the end my promise to my family is not broken. Once I made it to a four year university I took full advantage of its opportunities. I am the philanthropy chairman for my fraternity, I currently work a merit based governmental internship for the Illinois House of Representatives. My resume over the last year and a half reflects my ability to develop my blue collar work ethic into academic success. I sit here now anticipating graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science. I imagine the reaction on my mother’s face seeing me walk through the graduation line on May 4th will be very similar to the one I saw the day her ten year old boy promised to be a man for her.
My academic success although not stunning in comparison to many entering the law profession, it speaks tremendously for my ability to face challenges and overcome them. Success in academia for me is not much different from my success on the baseball field. The only thing that kept me from succeeding in college during my first semester was my mindset. “You win as a team and you lose as a team” is a phrase that a coach of mine would tell me in the bullpen before every game I threw. I volunteered to pitch for my family when I was ten years old and still today in moments like this I am determined to win.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: First draft- Any advice would be great!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:01 pm

same draft just with paragraph breaks!!!


"Sweat filled my brow as I ran my fingers across the red seams of the baseball. I glanced in to the catcher who has been my best friend since I was 12 to get the sign. Although his mask covered his face and I couldn’t recognize any facial expression I could tell we both felt the importance of this next pitch. As we went through the signs I couldn’t help but smirk and think about that scene from Major League when Lou Brown said “Forget about the curve ball, Ricky. Give him the heater!” So I did just that. I nodded and delivered a screaming fast ball that just caught the outside corner of home plate. The umpire reached back as if he was starting an old push lawn mower and grunted for a strike three call. It’s not until hearing the grunt of the umpire and the erupting noise in the stands that a pitcher really knows that he made the best decision on what pitch to throw. As a pitcher every time I took the mound I was given the opportunity to do something great for myself and for my team. If you possess the raw talent to pitch then the only obstacle standing in the way of becoming great is your own mindset.

I was successful as a baseball player because I had been faced with difficult obstacles my entire life. As I look back, I realize that I made the right pitch decisions on the field because of the challenges I have faced off of the field. While I am aware that everybody faces obstacles in their lives, I also believe that the success of those encounters is firmly based on the foundations on which they have walked.

I was only eight years old when I noticed that my life wasn’t exactly like the other kids I played with. My father, an alcoholic, manic depressive, abusive man never gave me the memories of fishing and camping but instead visits to the hospital to visit my mother. There’s nothing I wished for more as a child than for this man to disappear and be replaced with a father like the ones who coached my little league baseball teams. My love for baseball goes deeper than just the playing the game, for me this game was an escape from the dark life waiting for me at home. When I was at practice or at a game it was like a world where he didn’t even exist. Because of this I have many men in my life today that I would consider my dad way before I claimed my biological father. I was ten years old when my mother finally took a stand and removed me and my two sisters from his destructive reach forever. When she showed the amazing strength to get us away from him I did the same for her by promising to do my best to take care of her and my sisters. These were big words coming from a ten year olds mouth. My mom’s reaction to me when I told her this was a combination of large crocodile tears and laughter. Although I was only ten years old I meant every word and behind my mom’s disbelief that her little man just said that, I think she knew I would never break that promise.

With no father figure to provide any income my mom struggled to support us working minimum wage jobs. I can recall over a dozen occasions when my mother would drive us over twenty miles in a car that broke down on a weekly basis to our grandparents so that we could shower for school the next day. The heartbreak in her eyes was the hardest part about the situation. When I reached the right age I began the fulfillment of my promise to my family by working any job I could get. I found myself working a number of jobs ranging from plumbing to fast food. The man I did plumbing work for was my best friend’s father and one of the most caring men I have ever met. One day on the job we were on break and I told him the story about my father and the promise I made to my mom and sisters. He was a blue collar man who has worked with his hands for everything he has received in life so hard work was no stranger to him. His advice to me was not as I expected. I pictured him giving me a speech about taking a path similar to his but he shocked me when he told me that an education was my best chance at fulfilling my promise. My mother is a very smart woman but she had never emphasized the importance of an education to me or my sisters. I thought hard about what he had said to me and decided that it was worth a shot. I used the promise I made and the advice my friend’s father has given me as fuel to become the first member of my family to graduate from high school the following year.

After graduation college was on my mind but I decided to spend some time working so that I could buy a car before beginning classes in the spring. After working full time for about six months I was able to buy an old Toyota Camry for $1,000 dollars. Me and my Camry went to college that January and it was rough to say the least. I struggled to keep grades up while maintaining some sort of job to pay for gas and food. When the semester ended I was beyond disappointed in my performance and thought this was the end of my education. I was depressed most of the summer and refused to register for classes out of a fear of failure. I will never forget the day it was July 23rd when I received a phone call that changed my life; it was the baseball coach of the college I attended the last spring. He had been given my name by my high school coach as someone who could help his pitching staff. I was given a tryout in early August and he signed me on a full housing scholarship. This scholarship took a huge weight off of my shoulders and gave me the opportunity I needed to continue my pursuit to take care of my mom and sisters. Being part of that team pushed me to maintain a solid academic performance. I made it through junior college and once again did a first in my family by receiving an associate’s degree. Baseball gave me the opportunity but my promise to my mother kept me moving forward onto the next level. Admittingly I started off slow and faced a few speed bumps along the way but in the end my promise to my family is not broken. Once I made it to a four year university I took full advantage of its opportunities. I am the philanthropy chairman for my fraternity, I currently work a merit based governmental internship for the Illinois House of Representatives. My resume over the last year and a half reflects my ability to develop my blue collar work ethic into academic success. I sit here now anticipating graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science. I imagine the reaction on my mother’s face seeing me walk through the graduation line on May 4th will be very similar to the one I saw the day her ten year old boy promised to be a man for her.

My academic success although not stunning in comparison to many entering the law profession, speaks tremendously for my ability to face challenges and overcome them. Success in academia for me is not much different from my success on the baseball field. The only thing that kept me from succeeding in college during my first semester was my mindset. “You win as a team and you lose as a team” is a phrase that a coach of mine would tell me in the bullpen before every game I threw. I volunteered to pitch for my family when I was ten years old and still today in moments like this I am determined to win. "

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thelawschoolproject
Posts: 1364
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:58 am

Re: First draft- Any advice would be great!

Postby thelawschoolproject » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:12 pm

Here are some thoughts:

1). Overall, I feel like you have a very interesting story to tell in regard to your family life. However, I feel like your PS as a whole is just a mini-biography that kind of generalizes much of your life experience. IMO, it's better to focus your PS on one very specific situation rather than trying to discuss your entire life in two pages.

2). Although you reveal personal information, I can't say that I get a good sense of who you are. You've overcome a challenge, but I don't ever get to see how you actually changed. I know what people told you to get an education so you went to college. I know that your family needed money so you worked. The problem is there's really too much going on. Your father is an alcoholic, you have a single mother raising you, you're the only man of the house, you worked as a kid, you realized the importance of education, you bought a Camry, you struggled with grades, you played baseball, you then give us a resume dump (philanthropy chair, government internship, blue collar work). My advice is for you to really focus your PS more.

3). You have a couple lines that kind of confused me. For example "my academic success although not stunning in comparison to many entering the law profession" is...probably something you don't want to point to. Obviously they have your GPA. You don't need to highlight that you feel you're sub-par. On top of that, you then say "success in academia for me is not much different from my success on the baseball field" but you've already confessed to not being a very stellar student so...yeah. I'd consider re-writing that. I think I know what you meant as far as challenges and whatnot, but it doesn't read well.

4). I would suggest that once you get closer to a final draft you take your PS to your college writing center and have them give it a hard edit. There are a lot of grammar/syntax issues that you'll want to clean up.

5). I actually kind of like the baseball stuff, even though I didn't think I would. I do, however, think you need to use it in a more focused way. I'd let it frame your story more than I'd let it be the heart of it. I think the most compelling part of your PS is definitely your family life and you overcoming those obstacles. For that reason I could go without paragraph 5. With that said, I don't need paragraph 2 either. Show me don't tell me what you've done.

Good luck on your next draft!

pecchiord1
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:55 am

Re: First draft- Any advice would be great!

Postby pecchiord1 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:46 pm

First of all, I think there's a lotta meat here! You have pinpointed the right kind of things to talk about in here. You've obviously been through a lot and overcame it all.


I think you're essay could be SO POWERFUL if you focus on this sentence "I sit here now anticipating graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science. I imagine the reaction on my mother’s face seeing me walk through the graduation line on May 4th will be very similar to the one I saw the day her ten year old boy promised to be a man for her. " That is such a powerful thing to be able to say...so much so that I'm not even sure you need all the baseball analogies to bring out the power in that sentence (I say this as a former college baseball player too lol).

I love the way you draw back to when you were young. The reason I like it is because you show dedication to your family kind of starting from this moment on---there's no reason not to believe that you will continue to take care of your family based on the evidence you've given. This is why I think you shouldn't try to excuse some "bumpy" path of academic underachieving etc. because you ARE a person of dedication and persistence. Emphasize those awesome attributes without the occasional concession that yeah I coulda worked harder here or there etc. because there's never one point in your life when you would say that about your dedication to your family.

All in all i think it's pretty strong. A little long but pretty good!
Godd luck!

pecchiord1
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:55 am

Re: First draft- Any advice would be great!

Postby pecchiord1 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:49 pm

obviously you want your creativity to come through, but I'll say this, if I were you I would open with the scene when you tell your mom that (when you are 10) and close with your graduation the whole time showing how you overcame your situation because of your love for family, step by step




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