PS FINAL DRAFT - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Nicolena.
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:44 am

PS FINAL DRAFT - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED

Postby Nicolena. » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:29 am

It was my junior year in college, and by the time I arrived to the scene, the fire trucks were already there. The flames that had engulfed our small family business were nearly extinguished. It took less than an hour for a decade of my parents hard work and dedication to be reduced to nothing but a pile of embers. I remember finding my father, normally a proud and strong willed man, broken and defeated standing in front of the smoldering rubble. Unexpectedly, their insurance would not provide compensation for the repairs, and it has since taken my parents years to rebuild just a portion of what was lost. The fire may have taken my family’s livelihood but it couldn’t take our spirit, and it was this unfortunate experience that accelerated my decision to pursue my interest in law.
Although my parents never attended college, they always associated my future with law school. My parents told me that my love for education and my compassion to help people were aspects attorneys possess. However, I was still undecided. Truly, education had been the most important and fulfilling part of my life. Sometimes, my passion for learning made me an outcast in school, but academically, I flourished in my classes and extracurricular activities. Growing up, I enjoyed attending classes and lectures, and occupying the remainder of my personal time helping people. During high school, I was an active member in my school’s Teen Advisory Council (TAC) and Teen Court. Both clubs allowed students to counsel troubled juveniles. Students in Teen Court worked closely under local attorneys’ supervision; students would act the roles of defense, prosecutor, and jurors. This work created a foundation for my desire to advise individuals and to participate as an advocate for justice.
During college, my parents’ aspirations about law school settled into the back of my mind. Saint Petersburg offered new opportunities as well as familiar ones. I continued serving the community by volunteering at facilities like children’s preschools and centers for battered women. I deemed my major as political science, because I found myself inspired by the refreshing, yet comprehensive research. Eckerd College’s programs were rewarding, because the students and the community were dedicated to both cultural and creative learning. For example, during my winter term in Manhattan, I was able to attend lectures presented by the Human Rights Council and members of UNICEF at the United Nations. Still, in that same instance, I was also involved in many programs in the theatre department. Some of the projects included building sets, constructing costumes, and creating props for plays. The professors at Eckerd College were innovative and encouraging, because they instilled obstacles and challenges I never thought I could reach. A combination of my experiences with college and my family’s misfortune left a bitter taste in my mouth; I finally agreed with my parents’ ruling about law school, but I couldn’t pursue it just yet.
After graduation, I decided it would be more beneficial to help my family and expand my work experience. My main concern was to alleviate some of the stress surrounding my parents’ lives. They supported me financially my entire college career, so getting a job would eliminate my financial dependency. Each position I obtained taught me new, important characteristics that would be relevant to my future; I gained communication and customer service skills, reviewed and drafted detailed documents, and confronted unexpected challenges. After resigning from my position at the law firm, I found myself relentlessly daydreaming about my newfound knowledge about the legal system and the manner in which I assisted less fortunate individuals. In retrospect, these experiences reassured me that I wanted to pursue law school. My work experience and my maturity blossomed over these past few years, and now, I am determined more than ever to start what my parents had always knew I would accomplish.

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stuckinthemiddle
Posts: 312
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:24 am

Re: PS FINAL DRAFT - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:48 am

Are you sure this is a final draft? I mean, I am very impressed by everything you've done, but isn't your resume enough to encompass all these things? Wouldn't it be a little redundant to waste your PS on listing down your accomplishments again? I just remember that the number 2 most common advice given to PS-writers is not to just list down one's accomplishments in a resume rehash.

I guess I see a lot of breadth, but not a lot of depth. You've done so much, but I feel you touch everything superficially. I'm not an expert so please take my recommendation with a grain of salt, but I would much rather you choose the one life experience that meant the most to you or pushed you towards law most strongly, and do an in-depth analysis of your growth and triumph from this opportunity. That would give me a MUCH better idea of who you are, and what you would offer as a law student. It would also help me see what you stand for, how your personality is like, and give me a much warmer impression of you than a cold list of accomplishments.

Good luck! :)

B90
Posts: 264
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:08 pm

Re: PS FINAL DRAFT - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED

Postby B90 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 1:38 pm

May I be blunt? You sound like you swallowed a thesaurus and then vomited it back up. This style of writing MIGHT be impressive as a junior high student, passable at best as a high school student, and laughable as a college student.
I appreciate your attempt to use active, as opposed to passive, words. You appear to be either naive or a giant, arrogant douche. I am going to assume the former.
I was also a polisci major; although I am undoubtedly older than you, I assure you the field is neither "refreshing" nor "comprehensive." I used to be a writing TA, and you remind me of one of my high school students I still remember for her excessive use of "teacher-pleasing words."
I know that was harsh. I am sorry. I just wanted to describe the thoughts that are likely to go through adcoms' heads if you submit this as is. I do understand how very difficult this whole process is. The hardest part is just getting SOMETHING down on paper. Keep going, and honestly, best of luck to you.

brittanynicole_4
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:53 am

Re: PS FINAL DRAFT - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED

Postby brittanynicole_4 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:50 pm

I do agree with the first poster, it does seem to rehash too many points that would probably be made on a resume or evident in a transcript. However, I have not seen either so I can not say for sure. I could be mistaken, but I believe I read your ps previously in an earlier post…it seems you may have deleted it. I remember it being a better foundation than this current revision. I could be mistaken, but the beginning sounded so familiar, did you change the body a lot?

May I be blunt? You sound like you swallowed a thesaurus and then vomited it back up. This style of writing MIGHT be impressive as a junior high student, passable at best as a high school student, and laughable as a college student.
I appreciate your attempt to use active, as opposed to passive, words. You appear to be either naive or a giant, arrogant douche. I am going to assume the former.
I was also a polisci major; although I am undoubtedly older than you, I assure you the field is neither "refreshing" nor "comprehensive." I used to be a writing TA, and you remind me of one of my high school students I still remember for her excessive use of "teacher-pleasing words."
I know that was harsh. I am sorry. I just wanted to describe the thoughts that are likely to go through adcoms' heads if you submit this as is. I do understand how very difficult this whole process is. The hardest part is just getting SOMETHING down on paper. Keep going, and honestly, best of luck to you.

^
I am not sure if this poster is reading the same thing I am, but in my opinion I do not see this at all. I do not see that you are using “teacher-pleasing words” or maybe I just do not understand what this poster means by the term “teacher-pleasing.” If it is concerning large, thesaurus-type words…I have to disagree.

Please check my ps out username: brittanynicole_4
:D

B90
Posts: 264
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:08 pm

Re: PS FINAL DRAFT - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED

Postby B90 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:38 pm

Ok, let me try to clarify. The tone of the PS is very formal. It is supposed to be a PERSONAL statement. The tone of it is actually impersonal. I took the time to critique it because I think it has incredible potential. I want to see this person succeed in his career.
"teacher-pleasing" is an inside joke amongst the English and creative writing teachers I know, particularly my high school English teachers who greatly helped me hone my writing skills. I understand the confusion, but I don't mean large words exclusively. I mean adjectives that are chosen to impress teachers. They can be large words. For example, one student used the word "interloculation" in the first sentence of his creative writing assignment. He used it correctly, but it clashed with the overall tone he was trying to establish.
Conversely, smaller words can be "teacher-pleasing" meaning they are designed to impress a teacher. Let's face it, the goal of a PS is to impress adcoms. OP was wisely using smaller words for this purpose. However, the overall tone, in my opinion, makes him seem either naive or arrogant. To be fair, if he is like most applicants, he is in his early twenties and by definition, young and a little green. I don't know OP's numbers, nor where he is applying. If he is a 179/4.0 by all means, hit send now. In that case, a PS is just a formality. If however OP intends to use this for reach schools, the tone needs to be adjusted. This is my opinion and just an opinion. As an older applicant, I have a background similar to many adcoms, and I am trying to offer a different perspective.
tl/dr: this is not a PERSONAL statement, it is a resume dump. It is an excellent starting point, but as is wastes one of the only opportunities an applicant has to to SHOW, not tell who he really is.

Nicolena.
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:44 am

Re: PS FINAL DRAFT - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED

Postby Nicolena. » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:06 am

I appreciate all of your feedback. I did revise once more. I left out all of my work experience and I think my conclusion is much stronger. I have had four jobs, and I did not really mention any of those at all. I did change some of the "teacher pleasing" words and changed the focus for the body paragraphs.

Again, thank you for you guys for all of your constructive criticism. It was helpful.

B90
Posts: 264
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:08 pm

Re: PS FINAL DRAFT - FEEDBACK APPRECIATED

Postby B90 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:15 am

This is better. There are a couple minor edits I would make. I still strongly advise to remove the sentence where you "deem" polisci as your major and find it "refreshing and comprehensive". It makes you sound ridiculous. It is also unnecessary. They have your transcript. They know you majored in Political Science.
If you haven't sent this yet, I will edit it tomorrow.




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