Rough Draft PS

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

Rough Draft PS

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:38 pm

“Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

This simple question surprisingly caught me off guard. I had applied for an incredibly competitive leadership position during my sophomore year of college, and this was the first sentence spoken to me by my interviewer. No hello, no remarks about the blizzard outside- just straight to business. At the time, I could not think of anything that was important or relevant enough to use as a response to such an unexpectedly broad inquiry. Blushing, I stumbled my way through an, apparently, effective answer—I was subsequently awarded the position. Ironically, it was this very position as an Off-Campus Community Leader that told me 'a little bit about myself'. I am a leader, problem-solver, and tireless community advocate.

Working for Off-Campus Student Services for two years helped me cultivate the ability to lead a group of people effectively and efficiently. This position required that I cooperate with five colleagues to plan large-scale, bi-weekly events for off-campus students. Each of us had to lead the group in at least one event, but my effectiveness in organizing and delegating tasks during the very first event resulted in my promotion to leading two subsequent events. I also had to liaise with off-campus students one-on-one to establish rapport and assess their satisfaction with off-campus quality of life. I was expected to analyze these interactions to decide what the theme or message of our next event would be. For example, when most students expressed a concern about a lack of recycling, my colleagues and I organized a can collection. The flexibility and interpersonal skills I developed proved a useful foundation in dealing with the unexpected complications of this job.

One such complication arose upon my initial face-to-face meetings with the off-campus residents. I found that most of them were living in conditions bordering on squalor. There were apartments infested with snakes, crawling with mice, and overrun with spiders so large they looked like they crawled straight out of Jumanji. Further, the apartments’ designated parking spots violated the town’s parking ordinances and, being that the street was considered town property, students were continuously ticketed for parking at their own homes. To make matters worse, the management company of this complex was not taking any measures to rectify these issues, despite innumerable complaints. I was personally outraged at this disconnect between management and residents. I took it upon myself to research and learn town ordinances and tenant rights per state laws. I then compiled a list of town resources, such as the building inspector and fire marshal. Under the supervision of the Director of Off-Campus Student Services, I synthesized the relevant information and distributed it to off-campus students.

Thereafter, students held the information necessary to defend themselves against further encroachment on their rights by management. I heard of one story where an apartment building had so many mice in their walls that they were audible at all hours of the day and night. Using the information I had provided to them, they filed a complaint with the town inspector and had him perform a thorough walkthrough of their building. In addition to this formal complaint, they made a case to management that they were in violation of their lease agreement because management was notified about the infestation but did nothing to exterminate the pests. In an unprecedented action, management granted the residents the amount of half a month’s rent in compensation and promptly sent over an extermination service to clear up the problem. This series of events made me proud to have been part of the driving force behind restoring peace of mind and quality of life to these residents and made me eager to continue this line of work— though the mice I could do without.

While my work with Off-Campus Student Services yielded great results for many residents, it also served as the basis for one of my proudest moments as an undergrad. I was honored to earn a Distinguished Student Service Award in April of 2012. The Mayor of my college town awarded me this recognition for my efforts as an Off-Campus Community Leader. These experiences have driven me to consistently exercise and hone my abilities in leadership, problem solving, and advocacy. The analytical and interpersonal skills required by this leadership position, coupled with the passionate dedication, self-direction and dogged determination necessary to achieve real, tangible and beneficial results for those whose cause I advocated for are a reflection of who I am. It is now effortless to answer the question posed to me three years ago – I am someone who excels at leading others and adapting to challenges. I am eager to learn more about the law, in order to effectively and practically advocate for people who, like those residents, are unaware of their rights. I am someone who will continue to make a difference.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated and thank you for taking the time to help out!

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fltanglab
Posts: 555
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:44 pm

Re: Rough Draft PS

Postby fltanglab » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:“Tell me a little bit about yourself.”

This simple question surprisingly caught me off guard. I had applied for an incredibly competitive leadership position during my sophomore year of college, and this was the first sentence spoken to me by my interviewer. No hello, no remarks about the blizzard outside- just straight to business. At the time, I could not think of anything that was important or relevant enough to use as a response to such an unexpectedly broad inquiry. Blushing, I stumbled my way through an, apparently, effective answer—I was subsequently awarded the position. Ironically, it was this very position as an Off-Campus Community Leader that told me 'a little bit about myself'. I am a leader, problem-solver, and tireless community advocate.

Working for Off-Campus Student Services for two years helped me cultivate the ability to lead a group of people effectively and efficiently. This position required that I cooperate with five colleagues to plan large-scale, bi-weekly events for off-campus students. Each of us had to lead the group in at least one event, but my effectiveness in organizing and delegating tasks during the very first event resulted in my promotion to leading two subsequent events. I also had to liaise with off-campus students one-on-one to establish rapport and assess their satisfaction with off-campus quality of life. I was expected to analyze these interactions to decide what the theme or message of our next event would be. For example, when most students expressed a concern about a lack of recycling, my colleagues and I organized a can collection. The flexibility and interpersonal skills I developed proved a useful foundation in dealing with the unexpected complications of this job.

One such complication arose upon my initial face-to-face meetings with the off-campus residents. I found that most of them were living in conditions bordering on squalor. There were apartments infested with snakes, crawling with mice, and overrun with spiders so large they looked like they crawled straight out of Jumanji. Further, the apartments’ designated parking spots violated the town’s parking ordinances and, being that the street was considered town property, students were continuously ticketed for parking at their own homes. To make matters worse, the management company of this complex was not taking any measures to rectify these issues, despite innumerable complaints. I was personally outraged at this disconnect between management and residents. I took it upon myself to research and learn town ordinances and tenant rights per state laws. I then compiled a list of town resources, such as the building inspector and fire marshal. Under the supervision of the Director of Off-Campus Student Services, I synthesized the relevant information and distributed it to off-campus students.

Thereafter, students held the information necessary to defend themselves against further encroachment on their rights by management. I heard of one story where an apartment building had so many mice in their walls that they were audible at all hours of the day and night. Using the information I had provided to them, they filed a complaint with the town inspector and had him perform a thorough walkthrough of their building. In addition to this formal complaint, they made a case to management that they were in violation of their lease agreement because management was notified about the infestation but did nothing to exterminate the pests. In an unprecedented action, management granted the residents the amount of half a month’s rent in compensation and promptly sent over an extermination service to clear up the problem. This series of events made me proud to have been part of the driving force behind restoring peace of mind and quality of life to these residents and made me eager to continue this line of work— though the mice I could do without.

While my work with Off-Campus Student Services yielded great results for many residents, it also served as the basis for one of my proudest moments as an undergrad. I was honored to earn a Distinguished Student Service Award in April of 2012. The Mayor of my college town awarded me this recognition for my efforts as an Off-Campus Community Leader. These experiences have driven me to consistently exercise and hone my abilities in leadership, problem solving, and advocacy. The analytical and interpersonal skills required by this leadership position, coupled with the passionate dedication, self-direction and dogged determination necessary to achieve real, tangible and beneficial results for those whose cause I advocated for are a reflection of who I am. It is now effortless to answer the question posed to me three years ago – I am someone who excels at leading others and adapting to challenges. I am eager to learn more about the law, in order to effectively and practically advocate for people who, like those residents, are unaware of their rights. I am someone who will continue to make a difference.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated and thank you for taking the time to help out!


Your PS sounds more like a cover letter than a PS. There's no depth. I can read this statement and go "so what?" and move on to the next applicant. You need to find a way to make the reader care about what you're saying. Always show and not tell. The very first paragraph you flatly state "I am a leader, problem-solver, and tireless community advocate." Such a bold statement cannot be backed up well enough without knowing you as a person, in person. No PS is going to satisfy that threshold, so do not make that statement.

The best part about a PS is that you get to use language to evoke a response out of the reader, whereas in other forms of writing you can't. You have hints of things like when you're "blushing," but do you really want an admissions officer to cherry-pick among your few interesting adjectives and make those descriptions into a canvas of who you are?

If you gave me your PS and I had the task of rewriting it, I would start with the poor living conditions and get rid of the entire unnecessary intro. At the conclusion, I would bring up the interview question and then be like you know, I guess I didn't know that much about myself until AFTER this experience. This way, you also sound like you've really grown and the reader can follow that growth without looking through a retrospective lens. Speaking of which, you should use present tense, not past tense for the majority of your writing. It is much more powerful and compelling to read.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273599
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Rough Draft PS

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:04 pm

Great feedback, that makes a lot of sense. I will get on that right now. Thanks!




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