Rip it up, folks!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
TennesseeJed
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:17 pm

Rip it up, folks!

Postby TennesseeJed » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:26 pm

*****Should we title???****
My high school, ____________, hosts a student body consisting almost entirely of young pupils from the upper crust of _________. As great as the school is, it places the students in a bubble, which shelters them from the oftentimes-harsh realities of urban life. Consequently, outside of summer and school year employment, I seldom spent time with people from different backgrounds until my freshman year of college. This sheltered lifestyle led to one of the reasons I transferred to Vanderbilt; I wanted to see and meet people from entirely different backgrounds, so that I could absorb the new ideas and perspectives in order help form a better, more just world.
Two experiences in my life helped cultivate this mindset: my internship with Congressman _______ in the summer of 2011 and my valuable time working as a fry cook the summer before my freshman year of college. Each day at Congressman _______'s office we read from reputable sources such as the New York Times, and after a few weeks perusing various topics, I began to focus on a subject of great concern for me – educational equality – and in the end submitted an analytical paper to ________ discussing education. This research caused me to think back to a previous summer when I interacted with my Mexican-American co-workers at a poolside cantina. My time flipping burgers alongside people from totally different backgrounds informed me of the innate disadvantages of which some people are assigned at birth. Here, the inequities in the American educational system became disturbingly apparent. My co-worker Jojo, for instance, who – just like me – made the same celebratory walk across his high school’s stage to receive his diploma a few weeks before, consistently committed grammatical errors and misspelled common English words. Being the same age and having grown up not too far apart, the dichotomous relationship between our education and upbringing really struck me – my bubble burst. If education, a likely precursor to a person’s success, becomes stratified between classes based on socioeconomic status, how can we still claim the “American Dream?”
Because of this newfound interest, I began working in addition to my internship with Preston Taylor Ministries, a service group founded to combat the complications present in the Preston Taylor housing project. Hoping it would spark an interest in reading literature, I started a Harry Potter reading class within Preston Taylor Ministries for a small group of children. In my experience, I was overjoyed by even the most basic semblances of change such as being asked upon entrance into the room: “What’s going to happen this week, Mister Joe?” Although many of the children were too young to really sharpen their reading skills, I sensed a growing excitement from week to week, which demonstrates their increased willingness to learn. My time with these children affected me greatly, as it helped engrain an interest in public justice, and has cultivated a particular interest in educational advocacy.
In law school, I will expand my knowledge of human rights and forms of educational advocacy in order to hopefully practice law in the educational realm. I want to learn what I can do, through legal action, to rectify the many injustices on a domestic, but more importantly, global scale. Through my internship with Congressman _______ and my work with Preston Taylor (in addition to subsequent volunteer activities such as "Vanderbuddies"), I have become aware of some of these breaches in equality and I have seen how they can be improved. Unlike many professions, lawyers and policy makers have the ability to produce real, tangible effects on society, and thus I will use this opportunity to cause change to help better the world in which we live.


Any advice is welcomed, but specifically:
- What do you think of length?
-Of Structure/ Content?
-Am I to title my ps?
-etc.

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Jacq2212
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:42 pm

Re: Rip it up, folks!

Postby Jacq2212 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:56 pm

One thing I would question is how much of that is on your resume. They specifically recommend not to reiterate your resume, use your personal statement to discuss the things that you have not been able to show anywhere else in your file.

TennesseeJed
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Rip it up, folks!

Postby TennesseeJed » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:09 pm

The internship and Vanderbuddies are mentioned briefly in my resume, but definitely not to this extent. And the poolside cantina job/ my experience is not mentioned at all. So, it's not really a regurgitation of my resume, but rather a fleshing out of it. Is this problematic, and do you think it (my ps) is strong at all?

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

Re: Rip it up, folks!

Postby B90 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:10 pm

Another no-no is focusing on high school, or any other time before you became an adult. It is fine to mention something that happened in high school as a point of reference, but "high school" probably shouldn't be in the first sentence. Work on another opening.

Also, write your LSAC # in the top right hand corner, just in case the page gets lost. No other "title" should be used.

User avatar
PickMe!
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:24 pm

Re: Rip it up, folks!

Postby PickMe! » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:19 pm

B90 wrote:Another no-no is focusing on high school, or any other time before you became an adult. It is fine to mention something that happened in high school as a point of reference, but "high school" probably shouldn't be in the first sentence. Work on another opening.

Also, write your LSAC # in the top right hand corner, just in case the page gets lost. No other "title" should be used.


This is not entirely true. If a significant high school event, say a mass shooting, close death, whatever, framed OP's outlook and made OP want to peruse a law degree; OP should write about that event if compelled to do so. You should be careful of "hard language" when giving your opinion.

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PickMe!
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:24 pm

Re: Rip it up, folks!

Postby PickMe! » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:34 pm

TennesseeJed wrote:*****Should we title???****
My high school, ____________, hosts a student body consisting almost entirely of young pupils from the upper crust of _________. As great as the school is, it places the students in a bubble, which shelters them from the oftentimes-harsh realities of urban life. Consequently, outside of summer and school year employment, I seldom spent time with people from different backgrounds until my freshman year of college. This sheltered lifestyle led to one of the reasons I transferred to Vanderbilt; I wanted to see and meet people from entirely different backgrounds, so that I could absorb the new ideas and perspectives in order help form a better, more just world.
Two experiences in my life helped cultivate this mindset: my internship with Congressman _______ in the summer of 2011 and my valuable time working as a fry cook the summer before my freshman year of college. Each day at Congressman _______'s office we read from reputable sources such as the New York Times, and after a few weeks perusing various topics, I began to focus on a subject of great concern for me – educational equality – and in the end submitted an analytical paper to ________ discussing education. This research caused me to think back to a previous summer when I interacted with my Mexican-American co-workers at a poolside cantina. My time flipping burgers alongside people from totally different backgrounds informed me of the innate disadvantages of which some people are assigned at birth. Here, the inequities in the American educational system became disturbingly apparent. My co-worker Jojo, for instance, who – just like me – made the same celebratory walk across his high school’s stage to receive his diploma a few weeks before, consistently committed grammatical errors and misspelled common English words. Being the same age and having grown up not too far apart, the dichotomous relationship between our education and upbringing really struck me – my bubble burst. If education, a likely precursor to a person’s success, becomes stratified between classes based on socioeconomic status, how can we still claim the “American Dream?”
Because of this newfound interest, I began working in addition to my internship with Preston Taylor Ministries, a service group founded to combat the complications present in the Preston Taylor housing project. Hoping it would spark an interest in reading literature, I started a Harry Potter reading class within Preston Taylor Ministries for a small group of children. In my experience, I was overjoyed by even the most basic semblances of change such as being asked upon entrance into the room: “What’s going to happen this week, Mister Joe?” Although many of the children were too young to really sharpen their reading skills, I sensed a growing excitement from week to week, which demonstrates their increased willingness to learn. My time with these children affected me greatly, as it helped engrain an interest in public justice, and has cultivated a particular interest in educational advocacy.
In law school, I will expand my knowledge of human rights and forms of educational advocacy in order to hopefully practice law in the educational realm. I want to learn what I can do, through legal action, to rectify the many injustices on a domestic, but more importantly, global scale. Through my internship with Congressman _______ and my work with Preston Taylor (in addition to subsequent volunteer activities such as "Vanderbuddies"), I have become aware of some of these breaches in equality and I have seen how they can be improved. Unlike many professions, lawyers and policy makers have the ability to produce real, tangible effects on society, and thus I will use this opportunity to cause change to help better the world in which we live.


Any advice is welcomed, but specifically:
- What do you think of length?
-Of Structure/ Content?
-Am I to title my ps?
-etc.



Grammatical errors aside, your narrative format is very unclear and hard to understand. It jumps around a lot. Find a central theme and stick with it. Bring in outside information only when it's necessary in supporting your larger narrative. I think you have some really good ideas, but you're giving us too much information all at once. As a result, your narrative is lost. Also, you're repeating information that's easily obtained in your resume. I think you should focus on what is not shown on your resume. Likewise, be careful of the assumptions you're presenting, and watch out for those hyperbolic statements. Someone could read this and take it the wrong way.
Last edited by PickMe! on Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Rip it up, folks!

Postby B90 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:43 pm

PickMe! wrote:
B90 wrote:Another no-no is focusing on high school, or any other time before you became an adult. It is fine to mention something that happened in high school as a point of reference, but "high school" probably shouldn't be in the first sentence. Work on another opening.

Also, write your LSAC # in the top right hand corner, just in case the page gets lost. No other "title" should be used.


This is not entirely true. If a significant high school event, say a mass shooting, close death, whatever, framed OP's outlook and made OP want to peruse a law degree; OP should write about that event if compelled to do so. You should be careful of "hard language" when giving your opinion.


RC fail. I understand what you are saying, but I used the word FOCUS. The focus of any PERSONAL statement should be the person, not the event, even if it occured yesterday. I did say that it is fine to use high school as a point of reference. :wink:

To be clear, OP, I was refering to the fact that the first three words of your PS are "My high school". It struck a negative cord with me. It may not in others. However, I believe the first sentence is vital, since it sets the tone. Given the chance that an adcom could feel the same way I did, OP may want to consider a different sentence. Or not. The point of this forum is to give people examples of how others may react. Adcoms do NOT have the time (or desire) to spend fifteen minutes with each PS. They are also human, and just as susceptible to snap judgements as anyone else.

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PickMe!
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:24 pm

Re: Rip it up, folks!

Postby PickMe! » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:51 pm

B90 wrote:
PickMe! wrote:
B90 wrote:Another no-no is focusing on high school, or any other time before you became an adult. It is fine to mention something that happened in high school as a point of reference, but "high school" probably shouldn't be in the first sentence. Work on another opening.

Also, write your LSAC # in the top right hand corner, just in case the page gets lost. No other "title" should be used.


This is not entirely true. If a significant high school event, say a mass shooting, close death, whatever, framed OP's outlook and made OP want to peruse a law degree; OP should write about that event if compelled to do so. You should be careful of "hard language" when giving your opinion.


RC fail. I understand what you are saying, but I used the word FOCUS. The focus of any PERSONAL statement should be the person, not the event, even if it occured yesterday. I did say that it is fine to use high school as a point of reference. :wink:

To be clear, OP, I was refering to the fact that the first three words of your PS are "My high school". It struck a negative cord with me. It may not in others. However, I believe the first sentence is vital, since it sets the tone. Given the chance that an adcom could feel the same way I did, OP may want to consider a different sentence. Or not. The point of this forum is to give people examples of how others may react. Adcoms do NOT have the time (or desire) to spend fifteen minutes with each PS. They are also human, and just as susceptible to snap judgements as anyone else.


You sound silly. Seriously.

hurldes
Posts: 138
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:32 pm

Re: Rip it up, folks!

Postby hurldes » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:06 pm

You use way too many words.

My high school, ____________, hosts a student body consisting almost entirely of young pupils from the upper crust of _________. As great as the school is, it places the students in a bubble, which shelters them from the oftentimes-harsh realities of urban life.


You could try: I grew up in a bubble. Until my freshman year of college, I seldom spent time with people from different backgrounds.

Also, I would cut the Congressman internship. The personal story here is cool; the internship is not. This is what grabbed me: You worked at a Cantina one summer and were shocked to learn that your classmate Jojo had the grammar skills of a fourth grader. So you decided to help people like Jojo by getting underprivileged kids interested in reading. That may have been the first time those kids in Preston Taylor had actually read a book. You sparked an interest in reading that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. That's awesome. Focus on that.

TennesseeJed
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Rip it up, folks!

Postby TennesseeJed » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:06 pm

Great! Thanks for the feedback -- it will help a lot.

The Congressional internship is of course in my resume, so I too had thoughts about cutting it.




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