Please critique my PS!! **EDITED** with a second PS :)

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Please critique my PS!! **EDITED** with a second PS :)

Postby fearlessly » Wed Jan 02, 2013 6:35 am

With reflection on comments left by the wonderful Bfalcoln, I have decided to take another look at my PS, and start anew. This time, I focused more on what brought me specifically to law, and I really wanted to answer some of the questions posed at the end of his response. I just drafted this, so it's clearly not perfect - but does this look more appropriate for a PS? As a side note, can my old PS be spun a different way in the last three paragraphs and turn into a diversity statement?

I looked anxiously out at my audience, everyone’s eyes on me. For nearly a week, I had been putting together this presentation, representing the Student Senate of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) of mycollege. I was sitting at the head of a large mahogany roundtable, surrounded by my USG peers, the President of my college, and an assortment of other administrators and students interested in the day’s topic. I pushed the main button on the clicker, and my presentation began.

As I worked through the 32 slides, reciting penal codes and summarizing complaints, policies, and procedures from college and university bylaws, I came to feel at ease. For months, USG had been receiving complaints about public safety officers on campus, which was quickly when they responded very harshly to a peaceful protest in the library. I was tasked with representing the outraged students to administration, and by the end of my presentation, my effort was met with negotiations that quickly led to the internalized hiring of the entire public safety department. Up until that point, many peace officers and public safety officers had been contracted from the outside, so my school had little say in how they fulfilled their duties - or how they were disciplined for not doing so.

The decision to go to law school and pursue a career in the legal field was not a sudden a-ha! moment for me. A type-A Capricorn by most definitions, I have a tendency to pre-meditate and rationalize, whether it’s a daily reflection or concerning significant matters in my life. Being a lawyer or judge was an idea I always toyed with throughout adolescence, but it was not until I found myself as a legislative intern with the State General Assembly for six months in 2011 that the prospect truly started to materialize. I spent a significant amount of time representing my assigned legislator through working with the Legislative Commissioners’ Office (LCO), whose services were primarily legal counseling, regulation review, and bill drafting. My intrigue in law started here, and my course load gradually shifted to include more policy work.

Before leaving the 2011-2012 school year, my college held its yearly 3-day elections, and I soon found myself sworn in at Commencement as Vice President of Community Affairs. My specific ares of concern in this new role are three-fold: public safety, community outreach, and communications. I have spent my time thus far as VP of Community Affairs surpassing both predecessors and expectations in every area of duty [does this come off as super douchey?, but I have been most excited following the line of work that I began in the Senate. With 16,000 students at my college depending on me, whether they know it or not, I feel innately compelled to see my legacy through. I have chartered a college-wide committee on campus safety that will be in effect for years to come, ensuring that students and faculty as well as administrators have a voice to ensure they are being protected. This, along with the internalization of the public safety department, the new hiring of lieutenants, and a re-worked curriculum for new/old officer training, is what I am proudest of in undergrad.

When my family or friends ask me what I’m up to in New York, it is hard sometimes trying to convey the hours, thought, and passion that goes into my life as a student leader. While these people often think of student government as an overgrown high schooler’s student council, I have come to value the effort each and every one of our leaders puts into making the community a better place - whether that community is a building on campus, all of NYC, or the entire country in some capacity - every precedent, every guideline, every piece of the giant puzzle that makes up the minute possibilities of our lives has a meaning often more significant than we may realize. Assembling, shaping, and effecting these puzzle pieces on the larger scale is my calling, be it as a lawyer or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

-----------HERE IS THE ORIGINAL POST-----------

I've taken a break from freaking out about the LSAT to freaking out about my PS. Here's the most recent one. I'm honestly lost about what to write on. I appreciate any and ALL critique you can possibly muster - the more (& more truthful), the better.


Peanut butter. As the realization poured into my head, I screamed it. “Peanut butter?!” Returning to my boarding school dorm room after a weekend with my parents, it looked as if somebody legitimately tried to make a sandwich on my laptop. Further, my nickname - BGD - was traced above my desk with the same brown goop, spattered with some other substance I still cannot recall. My schoolbooks, my photos, and my clothes were scattered all over the floor, crumpled, destroyed, and covered in food. I felt violated; terrorized; and that is how my life in boarding school began.

Looking back at it, I guess most of my adolescence was marked with feelings of being an outsider anyways; my childhood persona could best be described as a mixture of introverted and old-soul, and I always had a mental wanderlust that left me curious to know more. Perhaps this was one of the more compelling reasons I decided to go to boarding school when I was fourteen. My craving for diversity and new experiences obliged me to enter a new stage of life, and not only pursue studies at a much more advanced level than my then-average public high school could allow, but to be around people like myself: young men and women from different countries and backgrounds who sought out their purpose in life.

I started fifth form (sophomore year) at **name of boarding school** with a full music scholarship, having been a moderately accomplished professional singer since I was about nine with superior grades and countless softs to boot. To my surprise, I was an immediate curiosity. My roommates - **name**, **name**, and the other **name** - immediately dubbed me BGD, or Big Gay Dave. The name never went away. It caught on like wildfire, and before I knew it, the entire floor of North Dorm, my classmates, and even some of the guys in a capella knew me only as BGD.

Now, I don’t walk around with an open-face locket with Barbra Streisand’s picture or anything, but I have also never been one to hide who I am - for me, that would innately imply shame. I guess one of the privileges of being born and raised amongst the East Coast liberal society which I felt so alienated from was that my sexuality never mattered. Yes, everyone around me was an upper-middle, middle-upper white liberal elite, but I guess that meant that nobody batted an eyelash at a gay preteen in their midst. I have come to realize that in that sense, most are not as fortunate as I.

I was convinced that the peanut butter incident would break me, but the fear and outrage I felt that day brought about a turning point in my life. Always searching for myself, at this point I found solace in my own identity. It was this small-scale personal tragedy eight years ago that has guided my values and ethics to this day. The momentary terror instilled in me by a group of people who acronymed my name inspired me to stop being that passive, pensive, prudent boy that meandered through life. It awakened a dormant leadership quality in me that inspired me to spend the rest of my high school career peer mentoring, tutoring, and exploring a limitless future.

As I entered my undergraduate studies, I immediately was drawn to student government. Going to a school that is truly diverse in any and every sense possible, I have had the opportunity at **name of my undergrad** to not just plan parties and community service outings as my duties are expressed in the constitution, but to truly represent people. While some students seek out a behind-the-scenes guy to help them resolve a problem in the registrar’s office, there are entire groups of students, faculty, and members of the community who rely on myself and my colleagues to bring about lasting change. Through creativity, leadership, the ability to research and learn, and an abiding commitment to my community, I have been able to bring about positive changes - not just for individuals, and not just in certain circumstances, but often through rules and policy that shape the future. This is my calling.

Every year, I take off a month of my summer to pack a 28-liter North Face bag and backpack through a foreign country or two - hostels, third-class trains, and all. Perhaps it’s appropriately coincidental that I collect maps, because I know exactly where my destination is in life.


I don't even know if this is a good enough topic in the first place. I'm also worried that it jumps from gay to leadership too much, and that further the leadership bit is all space-filling mumbo-jumbo trying to sell myself. Does it come across like that? Again, I appreciate annnny input. Thank you all in advance!!
Last edited by fearlessly on Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Please critique my PS as much as possible!

Postby Bfalcon » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:58 am

Alrighty, my thoughts. I'm not going to do any grammatical editing yet as this is (hopefully) and early draft, and there needs to be a lot of editing for content and flow.

a) First half has a flow, the last third is far too jumpy. You neglect to mention your leadership position (title, organization, specific examples of what you've accomplished). What the heck is that last para about? Also I'm not at all convinced by your 3rd last para (see point b below)

b) Lots of talk, little action. You say you've done learned many things, grown in many ways, but you haven't given specific examples which prove this. I'm a recruiter, and I am used to reading resumes and profiles heavy on the adjectives, but light on the details (the "proof" behind the adjectives).

c) Content. You spend the first 2/3s of the PS setting up the actual content. The story is ok, but it's not going to convince the adcomms. Flip it around. Every word in every sentence has to count. Every sentence in every paragraph has to count.

d) The topic is ok, but I hope you realize that you're using a story set pre your university time to convince adcoms that you would make a great law student. In general, it's best to keep discussions of your pre-adulthood years to a minimum.

e) Remember these 8 points. Think long and hard and ask yourself if you fulfil all or most of them.

1. Will you be a good lawyer? Not convinced yet. You have drive and you had success before you reached adulthood
2. What was your tangible impact on an institution, an organization, or individuals? You had some, I'm guessing at uni. Outside of that? Unknown. Even at uni I'm not convinced.
3. Have you reached beyond the safety net of college into the real world? Not demonstrated
4. Do you have a plan for your goals, or are you a dreamer? Not really demonstrated
5. Can you put yourself in another subject position in order to see all sides of an issue? Yes
6. What will you bring to our law school? Diversity, ish?
7. Have you been a pro-active starter in the past? hmm
Do you know how to organize? Do you follow through on what you began? Yes
8. Have you demonstrated your ability both to work with a team and to delegate? No

ps, I wouldn't discuss being a moderately accomplished professional singer since the age of nine with "superior grades" and countless "softs to boot". Softs?? This isn't TLS mate.

If you have any further questions, let me know!

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Re: Please critique my PS!! **EDITED** with a second PS :)

Postby fearlessly » Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:12 pm

Edited with a new PS - it's the first one in the main topic.

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