be brutally honest

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Anonymous User
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be brutally honest

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:30 pm

. scrapping this shitty POS PS and writing something else. thank you all for the comments, edits, and time you took to read! I truly appreciate it, and will post my new PS once it's more refined. (:
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:45 pm

If Vanderbilt University has a writing center, then consider using that resource. Your law school PS is atrocious. It lacks clarity, organization & insights. It is neither persuasive nor interesting. You need to decide on a well defined theme, clearly share that theme with your readers, and then craft supporting paragraphs that show a logical progression in support of your theme. Try to write succinctly in crisp, clear sentences. As written, this is little more than scribbled travel notes in one's diary. There's good reason for keeping the contents of one's diary secret.

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LexLeon
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby LexLeon » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:58 pm

I would not criticize your statement as harshly as the person above me has.

It's reasonably well written--though definitely not perfect--and, as a demonstration of how an interesting and impressive experience has shaped your interests, has great potential.

The details of your trip sound great. But if someone reviewing this would like to learn a bit more, perhaps primarily, about you--and I think most people who review these do--then it would be in your best interest to cut this description down a little bit and add more personal details (like thoughts and reflections, or connections to other experiences and interests).

Don't get discouraged by the first comment. You've headed in the right direction and can definitely make this a great essay. You should probably rewrite the entire thing from scratch at least once, however.

CanadianWolf
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:06 pm

OP: Whether you are influenced by the blunt criticism of the first comment or the sugar-coated delivery of the second comment, the message is essentially the same.

P.S. OP's instructions were to "be brutally honest".

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Re: be brutally honest

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:07 pm

LexLeon wrote:I would not criticize your statement as harshly as the person above me has.

It's reasonably well written--though definitely not perfect--and, as a demonstration of how an interesting and impressive experience has shaped your interests, has great potential.

The details of your trip sound great. But if someone reviewing this would like to learn a bit more, perhaps primarily, about you--and I think most people who review these do--then it would be in your best interest to cut this description down a little bit and add more personal details (like thoughts and reflections, or connections to other experiences and interests).

Don't get discouraged by the first comment. You've headed in the right direction and can definitely make this a great essay. You should probably rewrite the entire thing from scratch at least once, however.




thanks, definitely nothing more than a VERY rough first draft at this point. my biggest fear is that it comes across as white knighting so was hesitant to do a lot of personal thoughts/perceptions. i'll retool and post again.

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TopHatToad
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby TopHatToad » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:09 pm

Few people can say they have laid in a hammock in the middle of a cloud forest [define cloud forest?], listening to the guttural communications of howler monkeys and watching the faint red glow of an active volcano. I was finally in Costa Rica, after a long semester stateside analyzing corporate social responsibility, civic engagement, and responsible tourism. I was there on the ground examining the issues firsthand. VISAGE (Vanderbilt Initiative for Scholarship and Global Engagement) was a community service study-abroad program at Vanderbilt, but more than that, it was a fascinating multi-framed [multi-faceted is a cliché term, but multi-framed just sounds weird/made-up] experience for me ; I was a college student, a tourist, but most importantly, a volunteer. Our class spent the first two weeks in Monteverde in the cloud forest. We painted aqueducts, dug out sustainable sidewalks for schoolchildren, planted over 200 seedlings, and helped a coffee co-op [cooperative?] prepare for harvest.[sentence prior- delete if i can’t tie it up to something? Well yeah, so tie it in!] I ziplined through a rainbow, held a baby sloth, and surfed the Costa Rican coast in Sámara. [delete?]

Every day, we visited a different hotel that we had researched in the previous semester and toured the facilities. We examined the “green” rankings [define this] and the requirements needed to obtain them. Some hotels were fastidious in achieving a green status- recycling everything, using efficient lights and appliances, and donating revenue to protect the forest surrounding them. One hotel even had goats and horses roaming around the property, serving as eco-friendly lawn mowers. Others hired locals as tour and adventure guides, as well as training and employing them in the hospitality business. My host mother, for instance, was training as a front desk hostess and was incredibly excited at the prospect of a new career opportunity.

Unfortunately, other resorts couldn’t care less. It was heartbreaking to see that foreign companies had come in and destroyed everything- cloud the forests[define?], the local economy, and the local culture - to build their hotel. Locals weren’t being hired to work at these hotels, depriving them of job opportunities and advancement.

Throughout Costa Rica, I continued to see this strange dichotomy between green, ecofriendly hotel and hotels who disregarded the environment completely. There was no discernable middle ground for the hospitality industry. I found this environmental and economical destruction unjust. Costa Rica and its people would be better served having a young, trained local workforce and by preserving their natural resources - not only to keep tourists coming to their country, but to protect their local culture. I was frustrated. As an idealistic young white woman in Costa Rica, what could I accomplish? I wanted to help, but my brief time in Costa Rica and [lack of tools? use a better word than tools, but yes] prevented real change.

People always claim that you learn the most outside of a classroom [would this insult adcoms? Nah]. My time in Costa Rica confirmed this claim, and the course shaped my world outlook and my career aspirations more than I ever could have imagined. My bilingualism, [years of, myriad, anything here? <- not unless you talk about them elsewhere in the PS] volunteer experiences, and love of travel have set me on a path toward law school. A legal education would allow me to effect change in a meaningful, long-lasting manner, and would permit me to begin to address (correct? Yep) the issue of responsible first world expansion [development?] into third world [say developing instead?] countries [nations?] third-world development. (Mind you, third-world is no longer the PC term, so adjust as necessary)


Your writing quality is good; it's the substance that I think is lacking. Here's what the cynic takes from this PS:
"I went on an eco-vacation (the same way Congressmen take "fact-finding trips") to a poor, developing nation where I had a lot of fun and saw some companies struggling to make the world a better place. I was inspired by them, and want to become a lawyer in order to..." what? Practice environmental law in Costa Rica?

I'm being intentionally harsh here, but at the very least this is not a PS that sets you apart from the herd. You have the skeleton components of a good PS--life event, personal transformation, future goals--but they're muddled by tales of surfing and, well, not actually doing anything there. That last point would be one of two things that would shore this up the most. Add in things you've done prior or since that demonstrate an effort toward your goals, and define your goals better. If being an American lawyer will lead you to make a difference in environmental law, tell us how or where that difference will take place. Hope this all helps, and hope it wasn't too shockingly harsh!

Anonymous User
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:13 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:OP: Whether you are influenced by the blunt criticism of the first comment or the sugar-coated delivery of the second comment, the message is essentially the same.

P.S. OP's instructions were to "be brutally honest".



yes, they were. thank you. while i appreciate your insights and the brutal honesty i requested, i'm unsure of how to proceed. my general theme is that my volunteer experience opened my eyes to the injustices of first world multinational corps devloping in third world countries, and this has spurred my interest in environmental law.

Canadian, could i PM you another PS I was working on? I'm sure you'll tear that one apart as well, but if it is a better jumping off point, maybe I'd be better working from that.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:15 pm

TopHatToad wrote:Few people can say they have laid in a hammock in the middle of a cloud forest [define cloud forest?], listening to the guttural communications of howler monkeys and watching the faint red glow of an active volcano. I was finally in Costa Rica, after a long semester stateside analyzing corporate social responsibility, civic engagement, and responsible tourism. I was there on the ground examining the issues firsthand. VISAGE (Vanderbilt Initiative for Scholarship and Global Engagement) was a community service study-abroad program at Vanderbilt, but more than that, it was a fascinating multi-framed [multi-faceted is a cliché term, but multi-framed just sounds weird/made-up] experience for me ; I was a college student, a tourist, but most importantly, a volunteer. Our class spent the first two weeks in Monteverde in the cloud forest. We painted aqueducts, dug out sustainable sidewalks for schoolchildren, planted over 200 seedlings, and helped a coffee co-op [cooperative?] prepare for harvest.[sentence prior- delete if i can’t tie it up to something? Well yeah, so tie it in!] I ziplined through a rainbow, held a baby sloth, and surfed the Costa Rican coast in Sámara. [delete?]

Every day, we visited a different hotel that we had researched in the previous semester and toured the facilities. We examined the “green” rankings [define this] and the requirements needed to obtain them. Some hotels were fastidious in achieving a green status- recycling everything, using efficient lights and appliances, and donating revenue to protect the forest surrounding them. One hotel even had goats and horses roaming around the property, serving as eco-friendly lawn mowers. Others hired locals as tour and adventure guides, as well as training and employing them in the hospitality business. My host mother, for instance, was training as a front desk hostess and was incredibly excited at the prospect of a new career opportunity.

Unfortunately, other resorts couldn’t care less. It was heartbreaking to see that foreign companies had come in and destroyed everything- cloud the forests[define?], the local economy, and the local culture - to build their hotel. Locals weren’t being hired to work at these hotels, depriving them of job opportunities and advancement.

Throughout Costa Rica, I continued to see this strange dichotomy between green, ecofriendly hotel and hotels who disregarded the environment completely. There was no discernable middle ground for the hospitality industry. I found this environmental and economical destruction unjust. Costa Rica and its people would be better served having a young, trained local workforce and by preserving their natural resources - not only to keep tourists coming to their country, but to protect their local culture. I was frustrated. As an idealistic young white woman in Costa Rica, what could I accomplish? I wanted to help, but my brief time in Costa Rica and [lack of tools? use a better word than tools, but yes] prevented real change.

People always claim that you learn the most outside of a classroom [would this insult adcoms? Nah]. My time in Costa Rica confirmed this claim, and the course shaped my world outlook and my career aspirations more than I ever could have imagined. My bilingualism, [years of, myriad, anything here? <- not unless you talk about them elsewhere in the PS] volunteer experiences, and love of travel have set me on a path toward law school. A legal education would allow me to effect change in a meaningful, long-lasting manner, and would permit me to begin to address (correct? Yep) the issue of responsible first world expansion [development?] into third world [say developing instead?] countries [nations?] third-world development. (Mind you, third-world is no longer the PC term, so adjust as necessary)


Your writing quality is good; it's the substance that I think is lacking. Here's what the cynic takes from this PS:
"I went on an eco-vacation (the same way Congressmen take "fact-finding trips") to a poor, developing nation where I had a lot of fun and saw some companies struggling to make the world a better place. I was inspired by them, and want to become a lawyer in order to..." what? Practice environmental law in Costa Rica?

I'm being intentionally harsh here, but at the very least this is not a PS that sets you apart from the herd. You have the skeleton components of a good PS--life event, personal transformation, future goals--but they're muddled by tales of surfing and, well, not actually doing anything there. That last point would be one of two things that would shore this up the most. Add in things you've done prior or since that demonstrate an effort toward your goals, and define your goals better. If being an American lawyer will lead you to make a difference in environmental law, tell us how or where that difference will take place. Hope this all helps, and hope it wasn't too shockingly harsh!



not harsh at all! i need it, adcoms will be harsher. i have another PS i've been working on, if you'd like to take a look at that as well i can PM and you can vote for one. i wrote a pretty extensive thesis detailing the issues i saw after my trip, and also went into the peace corps after this in another spanish-speaking country. i could speak to that in order to connect themes more, if you think that would help?

CanadianWolf
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:21 pm

I'll offer a brief critique if you PM your other option to me.

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kwais
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby kwais » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:23 pm

what exactly are you looking to do with a US law degree that connects to your PS?
what does being white have to do with your ability to make a difference?
you were in the Peace Corps? You should consider writing about that or at least including it.

Anonymous User
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:30 pm

kwais wrote:what exactly are you looking to do with a US law degree that connects to your PS?
what does being white have to do with your ability to make a difference?
you were in the Peace Corps? You should consider writing about that or at least including it.




i was conceding to the fact that i'm not costa rican nor have any ties to the country besides my visit that would allow me to do anything sans law degree. i like this PS less and less as i go along.


yes, i was, but had to leave due to violence/being help up at knifepoint multiple times. i thought i could include a paragraph on it to at least reinforce my commitment to volunteering with spanish speakers/abroad in spanish-speaking countries. i had another PS but it honestly just sounded like an expanded rehash of my resume.

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kwais
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby kwais » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kwais wrote:what exactly are you looking to do with a US law degree that connects to your PS?
what does being white have to do with your ability to make a difference?
you were in the Peace Corps? You should consider writing about that or at least including it.




i was conceding to the fact that i'm not costa rican nor have any ties to the country besides my visit that would allow me to do anything sans law degree. i like this PS less and less as i go along.


yes, i was, but had to leave due to violence/being help up at knifepoint multiple times. i thought i could include a paragraph on it to at least reinforce my commitment to volunteering with spanish speakers/abroad in spanish-speaking countries. i had another PS but it honestly just sounded like an expanded rehash of my resume.


fair enough. I would focus more on being non-local, as opposed to just saying white.
as for the Peace Corps thing. That story sounds more interesting to me. Perhaps you are uncomfortable writing about it, but it I think it might dig deeper than the hotel tour.

but again, what does the law degree do for you here? not saying there is not a plausible answer but it would be good for you to flesh it out a bit because you don't just want to come off as "law degree + love of under-privileged people = I can save those people"

Anonymous User
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:46 pm

kwais wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kwais wrote:what exactly are you looking to do with a US law degree that connects to your PS?
what does being white have to do with your ability to make a difference?
you were in the Peace Corps? You should consider writing about that or at least including it.




i was conceding to the fact that i'm not costa rican nor have any ties to the country besides my visit that would allow me to do anything sans law degree. i like this PS less and less as i go along.


yes, i was, but had to leave due to violence/being help up at knifepoint multiple times. i thought i could include a paragraph on it to at least reinforce my commitment to volunteering with spanish speakers/abroad in spanish-speaking countries. i had another PS but it honestly just sounded like an expanded rehash of my resume.


fair enough. I would focus more on being non-local, as opposed to just saying white.
as for the Peace Corps thing. That story sounds more interesting to me. Perhaps you are uncomfortable writing about it, but it I think it might dig deeper than the hotel tour.

but again, what does the law degree do for you here? not saying there is not a plausible answer but it would be good for you to flesh it out a bit because you don't just want to come off as "law degree + love of under-privileged people = I can save those people"


Yeah, I agree. The last part is what's really bugging me. What I really, truly want to do is work in either environmental preservation or gay equality/anti-discrimination after some biglaw to save up some $$$. When my brother came out to me was one of my defining life moments but I'm afraid to write a PS about that since it would come off as "here's all this info about him and his struggle, here I am on the sidelines writing about it"

My concern about PC is that it was 4 months. That doesn't feel like enough to write a PS about unless I write it framing it as hitting rock bottom/failure and starting over? I had never quit anything prior to that but had to since my life was actually in danger there.

CanadianWolf
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:52 pm

OP: Your other PS is a much better product than this one. Actually, in my opinion, it's excellent. I've PMed you some minor suggestions.

Anonymous User
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:02 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:OP: Your other PS is a much better product than this one. Actually, in my opinion, it's excellent. I've PMed you some minor suggestions.



Thank you so much again, canadianwolf! once i put your edits into place, i'll be posting again here. glad i seem to have found a winning combination.

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TopHatToad
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Re: be brutally honest

Postby TopHatToad » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:48 am

Glad to hear you're getting extra help from Wolf- PM me with any revisions you'd like as well

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Re: be brutally honest

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:09 am

TopHatToad wrote:Glad to hear you're getting extra help from Wolf- PM me with any revisions you'd like as well



Thanks, will PM you later today!




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