HELP Critique My PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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HELP Critique My PS

Postby odela » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:09 pm

Anyone willing to help with my PS?
I finished editing my rough draft and would appreciate feedback on it.

Thank you

As the first-born child of teenage parents who separated around my birth, I grew up seeing my parents work unyieldingly through jobs and college. My persistence to learn at school and from my parents’ experiences was instrumental to not making the same decisions they did.

My father did not wish for the same difficulty of responsibilities and was at odds with the poor living conditions under my mother. As an adolescent, I did not perceive or treat my status as a hindrance toward success. The roots of my family stem from Jalisco, Mexico, where my grandparents left their adobe home and their culture, for better opportunities to provide for themselves and their children. The jobs my grandparents worked were physically demanding of them but they were a source of dignity and pride. The extent of their strong work-ethic and accomplishment is an example to me of what can be sacrificed and achieved as long an opportunity, even if small, is present.

Early in high school, I became intrigued by the legal issues my family experienced. The labor and trust of my grandfather and other immigrants like him were exploited by their employer for financial gain. As much as it troubled him, he had no knowledge of legally advancing his claims or of his individual rights. Most stress for me, though, was in my own home, where my mother faced domestic issues, creating a constant state of fear. Through discussions with law enforcement and my mother, I quickly realized how little could be done for us with no financial resources to proceed legally with our problems and the disadvantage we had with the inability to afford a lawyer. Learning from law enforcement about the procedures and importance of evidence, I took charge for what I could in the situation, adapting my home life to record crucial information that could help my mother in court.

When it was time to apply for colleges, my fondness on the subjects of politics, law, and history had stemmed from being engaged about the effects of legal and institutional forces on societies and on individuals’ ability to live their lives, leading me to select Political Science as a major. Fortunately, I was admitted to UC Merced, located in the San Joaquin Valley, a region known for high economic deprivation.

At UC Merced, I was privileged with receiving full-tuition and other scholarships, giving me the ability to pursue and focus on my education, without the stress of finances or my troubled home. Settling in my dorm for the first time, I could remember the day vividly. It was a Saturday night and through the thick, dormitory doors, I could hear the chattering of students, whose voices were filled with liveliness and excitement, bringing upon me feelings of curiosity for what I could experience in an unfamiliar setting.

A new perspective in college, which I adhere to this day, is to not learn for the sake of succeeding in classes but rather, to comprehend information to improve my understanding of a variety of discourses, all of which I believe can be interlinked to relate to politics and law. I made it a mission to be fruitful of the resources that were at my disposal.

Outside my major, I took many courses in Sociology because I was interested in learning about the effects of communities comprised of different traits and the forces that molded individuals in them. My Spanish courses helped me expand a language that allows me to connect to family and other Spanish-speakers and Archeology courses focused my studying on the development of communities and power differentials inside and between them.

Departing from my studies, I joined different clubs, and I also set my efforts to join Alpha Phi Omega, a fraternity characterized by national service for our local, university, and national community. In its infancy at my university, Alpha Phi Omega was still forming its presence and identity. I took on the role of leadership positions, serving as a Sergeant-At-Arms and in a financial committee, in which I pioneered and helped execute the idea of starting a marketplace, which rose over five-hundred dollars in one month to provide funding for our expenses.

While in law school, I wish to foster a legal education that I can later use to advocate for those who do not have the financial resources or the knowledge to protect or express their rights. Given my background, I believe that my participation in legal discourse, particularly concerning race and class, will supplement the cultural and intellectual diversity of my university colleagues.

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Re: HELP Critique My PS

Postby Gradvocates Editing » Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:57 pm

It's a good start, but you cover too many subjects. As a result, your personal statement lacks cohesion and loses its effectiveness.

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Re: HELP Critique My PS

Postby atcushman » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:30 pm

needs some more structure and organization you jump around a lot from being a first born, to coming from a broken home, to your grandparedents, to imigration and labor issues, to what sounds like domestic violence issues, to your scholarship to your what you learned in college...your writing could be a little more concise. I will have some more time tomorow once christmas activities have calmed down and will give you more specific advice then. Good start though.

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Re: HELP Critique My PS

Postby odela » Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:01 pm

Thank you guys so far.
Any more critiques/suggestions would be welcomed.

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Re: HELP Critique My PS

Postby macattaq » Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:18 pm

Couple of things:

First, there are some grammar errors that should be fixed. You're a bit verbose, so try to be more succinct.

Second, you're selling yourself. Every paragraph should make a point about why School X should admit you, even if it's a small point. You want to write such that the readers will nod their heads in agreement, without skipping a beat. You don't want them stopping to think, "How is this relevant to being a law student?", or "How is this relevant to the issue being discussed?" More cynically, you don't want them stopping to think, "What would admitting this person to our school do to our demographics?" Try to anticipate these attitudes, and address them in your writing.

When you're editing, every time you do a read through, try to stay objective. Ask yourself what questions are raised with each statement and clause. For example, where you say (paragraph 2), "My father did not wish for the same difficulty of responsibilities and was at odds with the poor living conditions under my mother.", these are the questions that immediately spring to my mind:

1) What responsibilities?
2) Poor living conditions? So? Many applicants come from "poor living conditions", how do those conditions make you a good candidate for a highly contested seat at School X?
3) So there is tension between your parents over your living situation, why is that relevant to making you a good candidate? What does that mean about you as a prospective law student? Did one parent push you in one direction (education, etc.) and the other encourage you to keep to the status quo?

In the sentence immediately following the one I quoted, the use of the term "status" is ambiguous. Because the sentence immediately after talks about where you are from, and the sentence directly preceding mentions socioeconomic status, it's unclear to which one you are referring.

Let me know if this helps.

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