PS draft - please help!

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PS draft - please help!

Postby lampshade0520 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:02 pm

i'd be willing to swap. feel free to be honest. i'd appreciate any input.

Last edited by lampshade0520 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PS draft - please help!

Postby mmbt123 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:23 pm

I think you're a good writer and this is a well written piece but it focuses too much on your uncle. I would condense the first two paragraphs into one, or a few sentences. Maybe you should re-write by re-sequencing things. See what happens if you start off with your work at the center and bring in your uncle is small glimpses/references to the past.

Good luck, think you clearly have some good material to be working w/.

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Gradvocates Editing
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Re: PS draft - please help!

Postby Gradvocates Editing » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:37 pm

The danger is that you, a law-school applicant, are presently criticizing an attorney based on impressions of your uncle's trial that you formed when you were eight years old. There are many strategic reasons why a defense, especially self defense, is not asserted at trial. Although we believe you, an admissions committee might meet your personal statement with skepticism or feel that you did not understand the trial. Therefore, it might be best to rework the beginning of the personal statement.

You are probably working within the confines of a strict word limit, but we want to hear more about you in this personal statement. Your experience with Vietnamese immigrants is fascinating; unfortunately, your uncle's story takes up the first two paragraphs. We recommend consolidating the paragraphs about your uncle and adding more in about your own thoughts and experiences.

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Re: PS draft - please help!

Postby lampshade0520 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:14 am

Thanks so much for the input. I really appreciate it, guys. It means a lot.

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Re: PS draft - please help!

Postby sabp21 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:23 pm

There are some generalizations you use in the second paragraph that undermine the credibility of your story, especially as you tell it from your experience as an eight-year-old; some examples are "However, my uncle’s attorney failed to paint this picture to the jury" and "an attorney who didn’t fully believe his story". To put bluntly, you risk sounding immature or naive. I think the best strategy here is to cut the second paragraph entirely, remember to stick to facts, and let your reader make their own determinations, as there really is enough sympathetic material in there without dramatizing. (You skillfully illustrate a lot of injustice in the first paragraph that is redundant in the second paragraph: your cousin is sixteen, family are Vietnamese immigrants, mention of an interpreter suggests that they struggle with English, the mention of a public defender suggests that finances were at issue for legal representation, etc.) From what I've read in interviews with admissions officers, criticisms of the law in the vast majority of cases are not popular among admissions committees, as applicants seldom have the knowledge or experience to make valuable criticisms, and this essay is not one I would view to be an exception.

I think you should rewrite the second paragraph to discuss how the experience serves as an inflection point for shaping your values and your commitment to your community. This would seem far more credible, as you are speaking directly to your experience (something you probably know more intimately than the legal system), which also helps the admissions commitee learn more about your thought processes, values, and ability to respond to setbacks as an applicant.

On that note, I would dedicate your third paragraph in whole to your volunteer experience, as what you've done to respond to how your uncle's sentence affected you. Speak more personally to your experience and your value-add, as again, this essay is about you.

Finally, for the fourth paragraph, I would cut your theoretical interpretations of "the law". While it's appropriate to discuss why you might want to attend law school, I would frame it more in the sense of becoming an advocate for your community, if that is what you wish.

I think that you have a lot of material to work with, but I will be direct, as that is what I would want if I were in your position. Currently, your overall thesis to the admissions committee reads "I am avenging my uncle's conviction and prison sentence for myself and family based off of likely incomplete information", whereas "I use and respond to past challenges to become a stronger advocate for my community" is the better direction to go in.
Last edited by sabp21 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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