1st draft - some critique please?

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Anonymous User
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1st draft - some critique please?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:18 pm

First draft below, opinions? I'll be spending some time reading others on this board and giving some feedback, so would appreciate it. Comments on everything from topic to writing style. Not much editing done yet on this...



Before getting on an airplane and leaving the country I was born in, I remember my grandmother telling me to make her proud. Moving to America often comes with expectations of riches but I know she just wanted one of her own to go above and beyond what being born into less than ideal circumstances could bring. I would go back to those comments often as I reached new milestones in my life and so it seems appropriate to begin with them because in my life they have exemplified not only where I come from but where I am and where I plan to go.

I was born and raised in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of ____; the streets weren't paved and crime was rampant. Fortunately my parents’ sacrifice in uprooting their lives made it so that the rough life handed to their children wouldn't come to define us like it did for them. My father didn't want me to have to drop out of school in the 4th grade like he did and my mother didn't want me to have children at the age of 18 because college was not even a remote possibility.

Coming from that place and accomplishing academic and professional success made me realize how much equality of opportunity means; with the right opportunities and drive your background doesn't have to limit you in life. When I became just the second person in my family to graduate college and was able to do with a Cum Laude distinction despite having to work full time or when I became the youngest manager at the company I currently work for I realized the importance of simply having had opportunity.

Moving to America helped me achieve a life I couldn’t have without the opportunity to attend college and pursue a professional career and I hope in taking advantage of that opportunity I have paid back some of the sacrifices made on my behalf, and I want to keep going.

Working for the same company for the last 8 years and succeeding within it has been a great experience. I've been able to go from an entry level position to one of the highest in the company based on accomplishments that have now led to me being in charge of a global social networking brand in 8 countries while maintaining a dual role as a manager for all search marketing campaigns for the company. I believe both these roles would benefit me greatly in a career in law; the former has led to new unique experiences traveling the world and working with people in countries as varied as Taiwan and South Africa while the latter required an ever increasing sharpening of my analytical skills; an absolute requirement to be successful in search marketing.

Having been given the discretion to hire my own staff and subsequently working with them in various different countries has become a norm for me. In under a year I went from managing 1 market and 2 people to 8 and 12, respectively. I believe my superiors saw in me an ability to learn and adapt quickly, and that no matter how much they kept adding to my workload the quality of my work did not suffer and in fact, improved. Time management skills under a heavy workload was possibly the greatest thing to have come out of working full time through all 4 years of undergraduate, an experience that was as tough as it was necessary.

These accomplishments have made me proud but I now strive for a role that would combine all of my passions and allow me to have an impact by bringing my unique perspective. That perspective includes my professional career and more importantly to what shapes me as a person; where I came from. I've been passionate about issues like education and equality of opportunity because I have seen the importance those values carry in progressing the human condition. I am especially interested in how politics shapes our discussion and advancement of those causes and in pursuing a degree in law I hope to draw on my background to have an influence in this discussion.

So that is my story, from an upbringing in poverty to the benefits of a new life earned by sacrifices I didn’t have to make but that I plan to honor. The issues I have come to care about were certainly shaped by my life experiences and led me to the decision that a career in law would be the best way to encompass my desires for success and meaning. CLOSE BY APPEALING TO SPECIFIC SCHOOL

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joshhoward
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby joshhoward » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:29 pm

you have lots to work with here. and amazing accomplishments despite harsh upbringing. you just need to sell it more as a neatly packaged narrative.

areas to improve:

lots of run-on sentences makes it hard to read through.

make it more vivid; real. e.g. "Make me proud, young man." Tears welling in her eyes, those were the last words my grandma said me as I...

you were born in a poor neigbhorhood etc. bring us there. give us a (brief) mental tour of your house of area etc.

told tell us what your superiors think. that is for them to say in their LORs.

Anonymous User
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:24 am

Thanks, any more advice anyone? Run-ons definitely my no.1 weakness in writing, but haven't done much editing so hopefully that will take care of itself. Is it too long? and if so where do you think I can cut down and/or tighten narrative?

Also willing to swap if anyone interested I'll PM you.

sabp21
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby sabp21 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:19 am

Personally, I don't think you need to go through and add meaningless adjectives for the sake of it, though I would be interested in a second opinion for this piece of advice. I enjoy your voice throughout the piece and I've read enough essays where the attempts at overly descriptive prose read as desperate.

Content and structure are good; you read as accomplished, ambitious, and intelligent through a narrative that flows seamlessly. Biggest overall issue are that there are some unnecessary words; you could use some clean-up on your sentences and vary their structures somewhat. I also feel strongly that you cut the last paragraph altogether; states the obvious and doesn't have the grace that the rest of your piece does. I would love to swap my statement with you, if you're interested, though I need a little more time to work on it. Let me know if you would be up for it.

wifeofsamseaborn
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby wifeofsamseaborn » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:19 pm

Hi OP,

To push your PS to the next level, I think you can try and pinpoint more specifically why you have chosen law as your career path. As other posters have pointed out, you succeed in showing that you are a driven, motivated person who can overcome less-than-ideal circumstances. As I read it, however, I wondered how you made the leap from a clearly successful career in marketing to the law. Without that connection, I find myself less than fully convinced about your desire to go to law school. As it reads now, I think it seems like an MBA would be suitable as well. After all, you could very well have an influence on politics as a powerful business person. Also, I would try to highlight the issues that you mentioned -- education, equality of opportunity -- more clearly throughout the essay, rather than raising them at the end. I want to see that your interest in those issues was the driving force behind your decision to attend law school, rather than feeling like they were added on as an afterthought.

Hope that helps!

sabp21
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby sabp21 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:00 pm

wifeofsamseaborn wrote:Hi OP,

To push your PS to the next level, I think you can try and pinpoint more specifically why you have chosen law as your career path. As other posters have pointed out, you succeed in showing that you are a driven, motivated person who can overcome less-than-ideal circumstances. As I read it, however, I wondered how you made the leap from a clearly successful career in marketing to the law. Without that connection, I find myself less than fully convinced about your desire to go to law school. As it reads now, I think it seems like an MBA would be suitable as well. After all, you could very well have an influence on politics as a powerful business person. Also, I would try to highlight the issues that you mentioned -- education, equality of opportunity -- more clearly throughout the essay, rather than raising them at the end. I want to see that your interest in those issues was the driving force behind your decision to attend law school, rather than feeling like they were added on as an afterthought.

Hope that helps!


+1. I'll admit I glossed over it somewhat the first time, but this is the weakest part of your essay from a content perspective, though I caught it when I did a second edit. You have shown that you've overcome adversity, but wanting a law degree to pursue issues pertaining to access to opportunity seems vague and unfortunately, somewhat disingenuous given your extensive experience in the private sector. I think some feel pressured to state their interests in PI; if that's what you want, I would develop your statement to discuss exactly what you see yourself doing in regards to education and law. I would imagine there would also be questions as to why you would be making this shift in career focus, where it is likely you would be earning less as a PI attorney than you are now. Further, law is not exactly the most obvious path for educational equity work- degrees in school leadership or public policy are less expensive and generally have more access points to make an impact. If you don't want PI, it's fine to be honest about that as well.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby thelawschoolproject » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:31 pm

Here are a few thoughts:

1). Get rid of that first paragraph.

2). Also cut paragraphs 2 and 3. You're giving us too much background information. I'm three paragraphs in and know things about your grandmother and your parents and where you're from, but I know nothing about you. You have 2 pages to tell the adcomm why you're going to add to their law program. This information is all superfluous. Focus on you.

3). You go on by mentioning accomplishments and experiences that you've had, yet you don't tell us what those are. Don't give us generalities. Dig down and actually tell us what about you makes you worthy of being a law student. You go on to say what your employers liked about you, or what you thought they liked about you. But, this is irrelevant. I'm assuming you used one of them to write you a LOR. The adcomm will know precisely what they liked about you because your employer will tell them. Don't waste space guessing at their thoughts.

4). There's nothing in your PS that really focuses on you. When learn things about you, but we don't know who you are as a person. This is a PERSONAL statement. As such, it's important that you make it as personal as you possibly can. Right now you seem to be glazing over things in a kind of sentimental way, but it isn't working--at least not for me.

5). The best advice one can have when writing the PS is to show how they changed/how they grew. Show the adcomm how you handled one finite situation. Show how the skills you developed during that time will benefit the legal community (either implicitly or explicitly).

Best of luck.

Anonymous User
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:34 pm

I wonder how much of this can be tightened up by expanding on the fact that I do actually plan to pursue a career in PI - type law, I don't want to tie myself down but I'm definitely interested in working for government, or non-profits or on behalf of the less fortunate in whatever capacity in law, I'm just not ready to say "I want to focus on immigration law and work for a immigrant rights NGO", for example but what draws me to law is that sort of thing. I see all of your point and so hopefully this would be a way to bridge that a bit and something I've already started to put in to latest drafts.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby thelawschoolproject » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I wonder how much of this can be tightened up by expanding on the fact that I do actually plan to pursue a career in PI - type law, I don't want to tie myself down but I'm definitely interested in working for government, or non-profits or on behalf of the less fortunate in whatever capacity in law, I'm just not ready to say "I want to focus on immigration law and work for a immigrant rights NGO", for example but what draws me to law is that sort of thing. I see all of your point and so hopefully this would be a way to bridge that a bit and something I've already started to put in to latest drafts.



Tbh, most adcomms don't care what your "plan" is prior to law school for two reasons. First, it's a personal statement and they'd rather learn about who you are instead of what you want to do with yourself. Second, most people come into law school thinking they know what they want, but they don't. No one takes an 0L seriously in regard to their "plans" unless there's significant work experience to back it up.

sabp21
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby sabp21 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:24 pm

Fair enough, but unfortunately, as it stands, I don't think it reads as very sincere (and admissions officers hear the claim often.) I also think it will raise questions of why law, as opposed to another public interest track.

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overperformer
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby overperformer » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:First draft below, opinions? I'll be spending some time reading others on this board and giving some feedback, so would appreciate it. Comments on everything from topic to writing style. Not much editing done yet on this...



Before getting on an airplane and leaving the country I was born in, I remember my grandmother telling me to make her proud. Moving to America often comes with expectations of riches but I know she just wanted one of her own to go above and beyond what being born into less than ideal circumstances could bring. I would go back to those comments often as I reached new milestones in my life and so it seems appropriate to begin with them because in my life they have exemplified not only where I come from but where I am and where I plan to go.

I was born and raised in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of ____; the streets weren't paved and crime was rampant. Fortunately my parents’ sacrifice in uprooting their lives made it so that the rough life handed to their children wouldn't come to define us like it did for them. My father didn't want me to have to drop out of school in the 4th grade like he did and my mother didn't want me to have children at the age of 18 because college was not even a remote possibility.

Coming from that place and accomplishing academic and professional success made me realize how much equality of opportunity means; with the right opportunities and drive your background doesn't have to limit you in life. When I became just the second person in my family to graduate college and was able to do with a Cum Laude distinction despite having to work full time or when I became the youngest manager at the company I currently work for I realized the importance of simply having had opportunity.

Moving to America helped me achieve a life I couldn’t have without the opportunity to attend college and pursue a professional career and I hope in taking advantage of that opportunity I have paid back some of the sacrifices made on my behalf, and I want to keep going.

Working for the same company for the last 8 years and succeeding within it has been a great experience. I've been able to go from an entry level position to one of the highest in the company based on accomplishments that have now led to me being in charge of a global social networking brand in 8 countries while maintaining a dual role as a manager for all search marketing campaigns for the company. I believe both these roles would benefit me greatly in a career in law; the former has led to new unique experiences traveling the world and working with people in countries as varied as Taiwan and South Africa while the latter required an ever increasing sharpening of my analytical skills; an absolute requirement to be successful in search marketing.

Having been given the discretion to hire my own staff and subsequently working with them in various different countries has become a norm for me. In under a year I went from managing 1 market and 2 people to 8 and 12, respectively. I believe my superiors saw in me an ability to learn and adapt quickly, and that no matter how much they kept adding to my workload the quality of my work did not suffer and in fact, improved. Time management skills under a heavy workload was possibly the greatest thing to have come out of working full time through all 4 years of undergraduate, an experience that was as tough as it was necessary.

These accomplishments have made me proud but I now strive for a role that would combine all of my passions and allow me to have an impact by bringing my unique perspective. That perspective includes my professional career and more importantly to what shapes me as a person; where I came from. I've been passionate about issues like education and equality of opportunity because I have seen the importance those values carry in progressing the human condition. I am especially interested in how politics shapes our discussion and advancement of those causes and in pursuing a degree in law I hope to draw on my background to have an influence in this discussion.

So that is my story, from an upbringing in poverty to the benefits of a new life earned by sacrifices I didn’t have to make but that I plan to honor. The issues I have come to care about were certainly shaped by my life experiences and led me to the decision that a career in law would be the best way to encompass my desires for success and meaning. CLOSE BY APPEALING TO SPECIFIC SCHOOL


after the second sentence i lost all interest because it is so horrific. overall good story, with very very bad word economy

"so that is my story" bad

Anonymous User
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Re: 1st draft - some critique please?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:36 pm

Horrific? I knew this was my biggest weakness in writing but ouch! I'm mostly kidding because I do actually appreciate the feedback. I've edited this a lot since posting originally and made improvements in this area and in tightening the story a bit any more feedback is welcome though because many sections are still similar.




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