Tear this thing apart please

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Anonymous User
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Tear this thing apart please

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:47 pm

I'm close to a finished draft of my personal statement, but can't figure out anywhere else to edit things down and out. It's not the best right now and I know there's a lot of room for improvement, I'm just stuck.

Can someone take a look and help me out?

I need to trim down some fat, the length limit is three pages, with at least 10 pt font, but I'm using 11 and it's at 3.5 pages.

I can send the statement through pm or email.

edit. Maybe posting it would get a better reply?

Having a college degree, being a Marine Corps Veteran, and the ability to read and write Korean were the three things I knew would guarantee me a position in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). It was a simple formula, and relatively easy to achieve. I knew that there was nothing that could stop me from completing those “pre-requisites”, and so I proceeded to embark on my journey to becoming an LAPD officer in the fall of 2000.
As long as I can remember I always wanted to be a police officer. Whenever someone would ask, my response was always the same, “I want to join the LAPD and eventually become part of the SWAT Team”. To many, my dream wasn’t to be taken seriously. To them, it was an immature remnant of childhood games of cops and robbers, and too many episodes of “Adam-12”. It wasn’t a serious life’s goal, especially not for the son of a prominent, well-educated, Korean American Methodist Pastor. Everyone always envisioned a bigger better plan for me, but I couldn’t see it. My view was too short and narrow and I was too stubborn to try to look through other’s eyes; to see what they saw for me.
At the beginning of my third quarter of my freshman year at UC Irvine, I learned that a large percentage of LAPD officers were Marine Corps veterans and that being a Marine was a surefire way of getting into the department. After as much thoughtful consideration an 18 year old is capable of having, I decided I would put school on hold and join the Marine Corps to pursue my dream of becoming a police officer. I had no motivation at school, and I felt as though my time and my parent’s money were being wasted. Having no major decided, and no actual direction to follow, I felt that four years in the Marine Corps would give me a better outlook for my life, and that I would learn essential skills to make me a better person. I knew that the discipline and life lessons I could learn in the real world through the Marine Corps would be far more valuable to me than the basic information I would learn from general education classes I would have to endure for at least another year in school. College would always be waiting for me, but the Marine Corps required my youth, which I was more than eager to give.
During my four years in the Marine Corps, I experienced some of the toughest times in my life, but some of the greatest times in my life as well. My four years as a Marine molded and defined me as a person far more than the other 27 years spent elsewhere. My job in the Marine Corps was as a fire support man/ artillery forward observer. Essentially a “grunt (infantryman) with brains”, as my recruiter so eloquently put it. My job duties were to coordinate multiple fire support agencies, such as artillery, mortars, and close air support, and to use them quickly and effectively to support our ground troop’s safe movement under fire. Surprisingly, my job as an artillery forward observer attached to the infantry, would require a lot of critical thinking and mathematical skills, which many years of tutoring forced on me by my parents had well prepared me for.
I was attached to Alpha Company in the 1st Battalion of the 7th Marine Regiment. I worked very closely with the Company Commander and the Battalion Commander, planning, advising, and controlling the fire agencies under my reach. After the world changing events of 9/11, we were eventually deployed with the entire 7th Marine Regiment to Kuwait in January of 2003, to prepare for the invasion of Iraq under the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom campaigns. Needless to say, we were successful in our mission to “free” the Iraqi people. The invasion began on March 20, 2003 and we pushed up to Baghdad in less than a month, at which point the war, as we knew it, was over. Mostly everyone was safe, and we were all ready to go home. Everyone in our company was surprised; war was easy. The years of training and stress had paid off. The phrase we had all heard throughout our careers that “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in war” was true. We had all trained so hard, and endured so many hours, days and months of grueling mental and physical training that this war was easy. War was easy; coming home was the hard part.
After I returned from Iraq and completed my contractual obligation to the Marine Corps, I started noticing some signs of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We were all briefed on the condition, and told what to look for, but it didn’t really seem like an issue since most of the symptoms of this “disorder” just made you a better, more vigilant individual. Things like not wanting to sit with your back facing a door, being aware of your surroundings at all times, generally not fitting into civilian life after the Marine Corps were all symptoms of PTSD. I thought these issues were more from the transition from military life to civilian life, but the psychologist at the Veteran’s Affairs hospital felt otherwise. I was diagnosed with PTSD following my release from active duty, which officially labeled me as a “disabled veteran”. I would later find out that I was misdiagnosed, but the damage had already been done. The history of PTSD and being labeled a disabled veteran would later prevent me from gaining employment in police departments that I would receive conditional job offers from. My entire Marine Corps career and college education, essentially my adult life, was planned step by step with the ultimate goal of joining a police department, but in a weird twist of fate, that could never come to be. I had received conditional job offers from three separate departments who were all very excited to take me on as one of their own, but as a result of my previously misdiagnosed PTSD, all of those offers were retracted at the last minute.
So now what was I supposed to do? I had spent the past seven years of my life building up my resume for eventual employment in a police department, but due to a technicality, became blacklisted. It seemed that everything I had accomplished up to that point was for naught. A B.S. in Criminal Justice and four years in the Marine Corps as a glorified grunt aren’t exactly easily translated into other careers.
As devastated as I was at the realization that, for me, the door to becoming a police officer was officially shut, I began to see other better doors open. These new doors aren’t as wide or as easy to get through, but like with the Marine Corps, are definitely worth stepping through.
I began working at my current firm in 2005 shortly after my separation from the Marine Corps. I started full-time as an entry level tax consultant while attending school to complete my bachelor’s degree. When I started, I had no knowledge of taxes or tax credits, but in 8 years through hard work and a lot of studying, have worked my way up to become the Director of Operations and “second in command” of our firm. Through opportunities that have been graciously presented to me while working, I have completed my undergraduate studies, received my Enrolled Agent’s certification, and am now offered a chance to pursue a law degree to eventually become a tax lawyer.
Four years of attending law school in the evening while working full-time through multiple tax “busy seasons” will not be easy. It will probably be the longest and toughest test of sustained mental and physical stress I will endure, but much like the other challenges I have faced and overcome, I am confident in my abilities, and am excited for the formidable years ahead. The education from [redacted] will help me to expand and grow both personally and professionally. It will keep me at the top of my field, and will allow me to increase our company’s reach into new markets of tax consulting. In addition to learning from the top-level staff at [redacted], interacting with the students and learning from each other’s experiences will help me to broaden my mindset and widen my view for the future. I’ve always felt that in order to be successful, one must surround themselves with successful people, which is why I hope to attend [redacted].

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Re: Tear this thing apart please

Postby cgw » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:10 pm

In terms of reducing length, I think its going to require very targeted cuts throughout. There are places where you might be able to express the same idea in fewer words or, in the areas involving your military experience, remove some of the unnecessary details. I don't think we need to know how quickly you moved into Baghdad.

However, I do feel that you spend too much time expressing your passion and dedication to becoming a police officer. It makes your ultimate career seem like a let down. Why did you become a tax consultant? How is this a "better door"? As it is, it seems like you just took the job to have a job, excelled, and now a law degree is the next perfunctory step in the process. If this is the case, I think it would be more effective if you eliminated your initial desire to become a police officer and instead focus solely on your experience in the marines and how it shaped you. I don't think it is necessary to include why you joined the marines or the issue surrounding your PTSD misdiagnosis. This seems like the most interesting angle, to me, but you could probably also write an effective essay solely about your time at the tax firm.

The more I think about it, the more I don't like the police officer angle at all. If you had decided police work just wasn't for you, that would be one thing, but you had the decision taken away from you, so emphasizing your original dream only makes tax law appear your second choice. This may be the case, and that's totally fine, but I don't think its something you should spend time focusing on in your PS.

On the grammar side, I would advise eliminating the contractions in your essay as well as your penchant for ending in a preposition.

Anonymous User
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Re: Tear this thing apart please

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:43 am

Thanks for the feedback. I was feeling the same thing for the Marine and cop thing
being too much in the wrong direction, but because it is such an important part of how I got here,i wanted to keep it in.

Gotta figure out a better way to word things to get away from the feeling of law school being a consolation prize.

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Re: Tear this thing apart please

Postby luuma » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:10 pm

I think putting quotes about prerequisites looks weird.

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Re: Tear this thing apart please

Postby Jack86 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:33 am

I agree. It's a great essay, but if you take out the part about wanting to be a police officer, it will not only meet the length requirement but I think it will also give the whole PS a more positive feeling, and as you put it, make it seem like less of a consolation prize. Good Luck!

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