Very rough draft-- critique please??

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xodaryll
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:25 am

Very rough draft-- critique please??

Postby xodaryll » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:05 pm

This is a very rough draft, written in 20 minutes, but I was hoping for some critique/direction? Thanks!

Fighting for the underdog—it sounds cliché, and worse, derogatory, but I can think of nothing else that I feel as passionate about. As paradoxical as it sounds, my mother is the strongest underdog I know, ironic because her favorite childhood cartoon was in fact Underdog, the unlikely superhero. My father is what may be called a functioning alcoholic, although I see nothing functional about my family situation. As an intuitive and frankly nosy child, I have always known that they had problems; I was one of the few children who actually wished her parents would get divorced. However, I was quick to realize that loveless marriage does not always lead to divorce, as factors such as lack of money and resources can keep a “family” together longer than it should be.
Growing up, I had friends whose parents were going through a divorce, and I could see how difficult it was for them. I always seemed to become the impromptu therapist because I was one of the few with parents still together, but little did my friends know that I was going through the same situation. Thinking back on the range of emotions I encountered with friends and within myself, I began to agree with Leo Tolstoy, who wrote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” or at least with the second half of his quote. My definition of family began to change, growing to include the less than favorable aspects that I lived with every day.
I felt an immense sense of guilt when I moved an hour and a half away from home for college because I knew I was leaving my mother and brothers alone with my father. However, I could not let this stop me; in fact, it propelled me to succeed. I had always had good grades and an interest in law school, but once I got to college I threw myself into my studies. I came in as an English major, and did well enough my first semester to be invited to interview for the Honors Program. When I was granted acceptance, the reduced core curriculum allowed me to add another major, Philosophy. My philosophy classes allowed me to think deeper about my own ideas of family, justice, and responsibility, not only as they apply to me, but to others as well.
Along with maintaining my grades, I decided to devote my spare time to service. I traveled to New Orleans to interview Hurricane Katrina survivors, and again the word “family” rang in my ears constantly. Some had lost family members, others were involved in legal battles with siblings over property and insurance, some turned to lives of crime at a young age to support their families when they had lost everything. While each of these families had been torn apart in a separate way, they had one thing in common—they needed an advocate, someone with the resources they did not have, someone to stand up for them when they did not have the strength to.
This is the person I aspire to be—the unlikely superhero, the one who fights for the underdogs. Family Law has a reputation for being cold and heartless, but I know I can bring a passion and empathy to it that will be invaluable to those who needs someone who understands their position. My family situation may be unique in Tolstoy’s eyes, but we are not alone in needing help. While I trust my mother will find her strength long before I have the resources to be able to help her, there will be countless others, needing someone in their own ways, and when I complete my legal education, I will be that person they need.

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

Re: Very rough draft-- critique please??

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:26 pm

I think this is well-written but, as much as I see it isn't your intention, your PS still uses a lot of cliches. I love how you want to be a champion for the "underdogs" and I love how you have experience to back it up but is there any possible way you could make the first and last paragraphs a little bit more grounded? A cynical adcomm may read your first few sentences and roll their eyes (I must admit, I did, until I read the rest of it), and you don't want a negative first impression to tarnish the rest of the statement.

That being said, I genuinely believe the things you've said in this statement because you've written it all out so well. Good job for that! :) Just make sure everything you say is straight-forward and doesn't come off as "overly idealistic." You never know what kind of person will be reading your statement.

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stuckinthemiddle
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Re: Very rough draft-- critique please??

Postby stuckinthemiddle » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:27 pm

That being said, I genuinely believe the things you've said in this statement because you've written it all out so well. :D Good job for that! Just make sure everything you say is straight-forward and doesn't come off as "overly idealistic." You never know what kind of person will be reading your statement.
Last edited by stuckinthemiddle on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

melo13
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Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:02 pm

Re: Very rough draft-- critique please??

Postby melo13 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:33 pm

good opening and good closing, a little too much on the family situation IMO, you went a little deep and repeated it a few too many times. Whend descring a unpleasant situation, you only need to mention a little for someone to get the point, such as somene getting beat up, they only need to describe the pain of the first few blows for someone to get the picture, much more than that a reader will tune out

xodaryll
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:25 am

Re: Very rough draft-- critique please??

Postby xodaryll » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:40 pm

Thank you for these replies, both of you! I do want to work to make it stronger/use less cliches. Are there any specific parts that are "too much" and should be deleted/changed?

melo13
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:02 pm

Re: Very rough draft-- critique please??

Postby melo13 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 4:20 pm

I think it's great they way you tied this together, and the reason you want to practice family law, this is very compelling, I would just remove one or two of the sentences about your dad and family.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: Very rough draft-- critique please??

Postby thelawschoolproject » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:10 pm

Some thoughts:

1). It seems like you have too many issues going on here. My advice is to pick one of them and really focus on it. You have the alcoholic father, the divorce, interviewing Katrina victims, caring for the siblings . . . any one of these issues would make a strong PS, but by throwing them all into one I feel like I'm not really getting to see who you are.

2). On that note, I don't feel like I get to know you at all. Show me who you are, not what your family is or what family law is. Show me something about you that makes me want you to be my lawyer, or that makes me want you in my law school. I kind of empathize with your situation, but I need to know more about you and less about the things surrounding your life. Focusing on one issue, as mentioned before, will help with this.

3). Some posters mentioned that you use too many cliches. I agree. I also don't think that as a child you were reading Anna Karenina. That seems like something that would come along when you were in high school/middle school. Using it as you do comes across as disingenuous, at least for me. Another concern is that you say family law is a cold place. I don't know what your experience with the family law system is, but I haven't found it to be cold. Either elaborate on that or maybe reference a specific experience you had (this would help with your personal development that the PS needs).

4). Overall, I think you have a lot of material to work with, but I don't think that you're there just yet. There's a lot of editing that you should work through before sending this out.

Hope this helps!




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