Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Jack86
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby Jack86 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:04 pm

We all face challenges. While they can often appear insurmountable and unjust in the moment; I have come to realize that facing and overcoming the challenges in our lives ultimately defines our character.

“No matter what I do, you’re not going to be happy” the surgeon told me. He paused before continuing, “When you look in the mirror, you’re not going to like what you see.”

Two weeks earlier, I had awoke in an apartment fire that left third degree burns covering twenty percent of my body, mostly on my neck and face. The burns were too severe for the skin to heal and required multiple skin graft surgeries; the aesthetic results of which the surgeon was certain would leave me unhappy.

Everything in life is relative, and unbeknownst to the surgeon, in a case of eerily tragic irony, my ex-girlfriend and good friend had passed away in a house fire earlier that year. She had been asleep when the fire started, and because she never woke up, she passed away from smoke inhalation. In this sense, although it may be hard to comprehend for some, I came to view the fire as a type of blessing. If I hadn’t literally been awoken from the pain of the burns, I too may have likely passed away. Instead I did wake up, and in doing so I was given a second chance.

Having never been fond of asking for help, this experience was humbling and changed my worldview completely. I could no longer ignore the interconnectedness and interdependence that characterizes life, as now I was unable to do anything on my own, and relied on the expertise of doctors, and benevolence of family and friends. It was during this time that I realized that helping one another is not simply a nice idea, but it is vital to our very survival. Upon realizing this I decided that I wanted to use my second chance to help others.

As an undergraduate I was very interested in civil liberties, with a focus on their dilution in the past two decades and especially in the aftermath of the terror attacks of 9/11. I had enjoyed researching, and writing papers on various aspects of civil liberties, most notably on the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping, data mining, and the then most recent installation of body scanners at airports, which conducted virtual strip searches (through the use of radiation), without probable cause, and whose long term health effects had not, and still have not to this day, been determined. I had developed an infatuation with the concept of the right to privacy, often spending whole nights researching different facets of domestic surveillance programs such as Trailblazer and ADVISE, and their questionable constitutionality.

During my twenty-two days in the ICU Burn Unit, and for several months after, I was practically bedridden, able to walk only a few feet each day. The recovery process was painstakingly slow and agonizing, and to cope I found solace in keeping myself occupied. It was during this time that I rediscovered my interest in civil liberties and started thinking about pursuing a career in law. I had previously considered a law career while I was writing my senior thesis on the causes, effects, and politics of global plastic pollution. I had quickly realized that the only catalyst for substantial change was law. By using the law to hold moneyed interests accountable for their actions, advocates have been able to reduce environmentally-detrimental practices, most notably the off shore dumping of garbage and toxic waste. I realized the same applied to defending civil liberties. Instead of just reading about the various civil liberty issues and their consequent court cases for entertainment, I realized that in order to effect as much change as possible, I would have to get my law degree and take up the cause. I spent countless days and nights researching the intricacies and progress of civil liberty cases, most often lawsuits filed by the ACLU. I have always had an analytical outlook and immensely enjoy finding the inconsistencies in stories, logic, explanations and arguments. This, combined with my desire to help others and my passion for defending our civil liberties, is what will help me to succeed in law school and as an attorney.

From the moment that surgeon assured me that I would never be happy when I looked into a mirror, it became my goal to prove him wrong. Although I will obviously never have the same appearance that I had before the fire, when I look in the mirror today, I see a man with more direction and confidence - someone who has dealt with the tragedies of death, and in doing so has learned to appreciate the value of life. I see a man who, with the help of others has faced and overcome what he once deemed to be insurmountable obstacles, and in doing so has developed a desire to help others. Despite the man in the mirror having considerable scars and missing half an ear, I’m well on my way to proving that surgeon wrong.

meimei32
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:37 pm

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby meimei32 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:01 pm

I would cut the first sentence.

Jack86 wrote: Everything in life is relative, and unbeknownst to the surgeon, in a case of eerily tragic irony, my ex-girlfriend and good friend had passed away in a house fire earlier that year. She had been asleep when the fire started, and because she never woke up, she passed away from smoke inhalation. In this sense, although it may be hard to comprehend for some, I came to view the fire as a type of blessing. If I hadn’t literally been awoken from the pain of the burns, I too may have likely passed away. Instead I did wake up, and in doing so I was given a second chance.


What is the irony here? I would call it a tragic coincidence. It is not clear who "she" is referring to, could be either your ex or your good friend. To call the entire fire a blessing doesn't sound right, I think maybe you mean to say the burns?

Jack86 wrote: Having never been fond of asking for help, this experience was humbling and changed my worldview completely. I could no longer ignore the interconnectedness and interdependence that characterizes life, as now I was unable to do anything on my own, and relied on the expertise of doctors, and benevolence of family and friends. It was during this time that I realized that helping one another is not simply a nice idea, but it is vital to our very survival. Upon realizing this I decided that I wanted to use my second chance to help others.


I think by "this experience", you mean to refer to your entire stay in the ICU burn unit, but that isnt clear because you've only talked about the plastic surgery conversation and the fire itself up to this point.

Jack86 wrote: As an undergraduate I was very interested in civil liberties, with a focus on their dilution in the past two decades and especially in the aftermath of the terror attacks of 9/11. I had enjoyed researching, and writing papers on various aspects of civil liberties, most notably on the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping, data mining, and the then most recent installation of body scanners at airports, which conducted virtual strip searches (through the use of radiation), without probable cause, and whose long term health effects had not, and still have not to this day, been determined. I had developed an infatuation with the concept of the right to privacy, often spending whole nights researching different facets of domestic surveillance programs such as Trailblazer and ADVISE, and their questionable constitutionality.


This paragraph seems very disjointed to me. Maybe if you moved the first two sentences of the next paragraph to before this one and change "...rediscovered the interest in civil liberties that I developed as an undergraduate." Then go on to talk about your fascination with the Patriot act, etc., as you do in the above paragraph. Then I'd start the next paragraph with something introducing your decision to pursue law.

Jack86 wrote: Despite the man in the mirror having considerable scars and missing half an ear, I’m well on my way to proving that surgeon wrong.

I think this has potential to be a strong ending, but this last sentence sounds disjointed to me. I would reword it to just "despite MY/THE considerable scars and half-missing ear, I am well...."

I would look over the whole thing for tenses: particularly in the penultimate paragraph you switch back and forth between "I had realized" and "I realized" - you should take the had's out. And you should find a synomyn for realized.

I hope that helps!

Jack86
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby Jack86 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:50 pm

Thank you so much for your help! I'll post my reworked PS soon! It's really touching to have complete strangers, who have no personal gain at stake, go out of their way to help others! Thanks Again!

Jack86
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby Jack86 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:58 pm

Also, if I cut out the first sentence, I would be starting with the surgeons quote, which was my original plan but quite a few people on this forum said that starting with a quote was never a good idea - do you think this is an exception?

meimei32
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:37 pm

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby meimei32 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:14 pm

hmm i guess I always thought when they were saying to not start with a quote, they meant like a winston churchill quote.

If you wanted to avoid the first sentence being a quote in this sense of the word, I would probably start by describing the scene? And then the surgeon's comment.

Jack86
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby Jack86 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:24 pm

I think you're right, they probably were talking about quoting a famous person and I just took the advice too literally. Do you think the first sentence is cliche, and do you think the surgeons quote would be a better way to start? I also agree with the ending and have changed it per your advice, thanks again!

meimei32
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:37 pm

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby meimei32 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:30 pm

yes cliche and feels like you threw it in after writing the rest, and yes I think the surgeon's quote is a better way to start :) Happy to help!

User avatar
ManOfTheMinute
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:54 am

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:37 pm

meimei32 wrote:yes cliche and feels like you threw it in after writing the rest, and yes I think the surgeon's quote is a better way to start :) Happy to help!


+1... there's no need for it. I feel more hooked reading from the surgeon's quote -- although you might want to consider phrasing it from your point of view (I knew that no matter what I chose to do...) but only because I am never a fan of opening a PS with a quote. Unless you said it. In which case, it would be kinda self aggrandizing to put it in there.

Jack86
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby Jack86 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:59 pm

I definitely wrote it after writing the rest, to avoid starting out with quote! But I think the never start with a quote rule applies more to say, a Churchill, or Mark Twain quote and not so much dialogue, hopefully!

Jack86
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby Jack86 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:07 pm

Here is the newest edited version with all of the corrections you all suggested, tear it apart some more! And Again, Thank You!

Personal Statement

“No matter what I do, you’re not going to be happy” the surgeon told me. He paused before continuing, “When you look in the mirror, you’re not going to like what you see.”

Two weeks earlier, I awoke in an apartment fire that left third degree burns covering twenty percent of my body, mostly on my neck and face. The burns were too severe for the skin to heal and required multiple skin graft surgeries; the aesthetic results of which the surgeon was certain would leave me unhappy.

Everything in life is relative, and unbeknownst to the surgeon, in a tragic coincidence, my ex-girlfriend and good friend had passed away in a house fire earlier that year. She had been asleep when the fire started, and because she never woke up, she passed away from smoke inhalation. In this sense, although it may be hard to comprehend for some, I came to think of my burns as a type of blessing. If I hadn’t literally been awoken from the pain of them, there’s a good chance I would have died in that fire. Instead I did wake up, and in doing so I was given a second chance.

During my twenty-two days in the ICU Burn Unit, and for several months after, I was practically bedridden, able to walk only a few feet each day. The recovery process was painstakingly slow and agonizing, and to cope I found solace in keeping myself occupied. It was during this time that I rediscovered my interest in civil liberties that I developed as an undergraduate. While in college I became fascinated by civil liberties with a focus on their dilution in the past two decades, and especially in the aftermath of the terror attacks of 9/11. I had enjoyed researching, and writing papers on various aspects of this topic, most notably on the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping, data mining, and the then most recent installation of body scanners at airports, which conducted virtual strip searches (through the use of radiation), without probable cause, and whose long term health effects had not, and still have not been determined. I developed an appetite for information about infringements on the right to privacy, often spending whole nights researching different facets of domestic surveillance programs such as Trailblazer and ADVISE, and their questionable constitutionality. In addition to enriching my knowledge, reading and learning about this helped me to not fixate on my bleak and painful reality, and instead helped me look forward to helping others; in doing so it helped to get me through the darkest time of my life,

Having never been fond of asking for help, this experience was humbling and changed my worldview completely. I could no longer ignore the interconnectedness and interdependence that characterizes life, as now I was unable to do anything on my own, and relied on the expertise of doctors, and benevolence of family and friends. It was during this time that I realized that helping one another is not simply a nice idea, but it is vital to our very survival. Upon realizing this I decided that I wanted to use my second chance to help others.

Wanting to help others, coupled with my inherently analytical mindset, and my interest in civil liberties made me really start thinking about pursuing a career in law. I previously considered a law career while I was writing my senior thesis on the causes, effects, and politics of global plastic pollution. I recognized that the only catalyst for substantial change was law. By using the law to hold moneyed interests accountable for their actions, advocates have been able to reduce environmentally-detrimental practices, most notably the off shore dumping of garbage and toxic waste. I realized the same applied to defending the civil liberties that are so often taken for granted. Instead of just reading about civil liberty issues and their consequent court cases, I would have to get my law degree and take up the cause if I were to effect real change and help others. I spent countless days and nights researching the intricacies and progress of civil liberty cases, most often lawsuits filed by the ACLU. I have always questioned everything, and immensely enjoy finding the inconsistencies in stories, logic, explanations and arguments. This, combined with my desire to help others and my passion for defending our civil liberties, is what will help me to succeed in law school and as an attorney.

From the moment that surgeon assured me that I would never be happy when I looked into a mirror, it became my goal to prove him wrong. Although I will obviously never have the same appearance that I had before the fire, when I look in the mirror today, I see a man with more direction and confidence - someone who has dealt with the tragedies of death, and in doing so has learned to appreciate the value of life. I see a man who, with the help of others has faced and overcome what he once deemed to be insurmountable obstacles, and in doing so has developed a desire to help others. Despite my considerable scars and half-missing ear, I’m well on my way to proving that surgeon wrong.

meimei32
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:37 pm

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby meimei32 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:03 pm

I bolded things i didn't like and in some cases wrote in red what i thought it should be. I would remove the contractions, I;m not sure if they actually care about those, but just in case...

“No matter what I do, you’re not going to be happy” the surgeon told me. He paused before continuing, “When you look in the mirror, you’re not going to like what you see.”

Two weeks earlier, I awoke in an apartment fire that left third degree burns covering twenty percent of my body, mostly on my neck and face. The burns were too severe for the skin to heal and required multiple skin graft surgeries; the aesthetic results of which the surgeon was certain would leave me unhappy. I'm not sure about this semi colon, the second half doesn't seem like it could be its own sentence. Maybe if you put a coma after the "which"

Everything in life is relative, and in a tragic coincidence, my ex-girlfriend, who remained a good friend, had passed away in a house fire earlier that year. She had been change to "was"asleep when the fire started, and because she never woke up, she passed away from smoke inhalation. In this sense, although it may be hard to comprehend for some, I came to think of my burns as a type of blessing. If I hadn’t literally been awoken from their pain, there is a good chance I would have died in that fire. Instead I did wake up, and in doing so I was given a second chance.

During my twenty-two days in the ICU Burn Unit, and for several months after, I was practically bedridden, able to walk only a few feet each day. Especially since/Considering that I have never been fond of asking for help, this experience was humbling and changed my worldview completely. I could no longer ignore the interconnectedness and interdependence that characterizes life, as now I was unable to do anything on my own, and relied on the expertise of doctors, and benevolence of family and friends. It was during this time that I realized that helping one another is not simply a nice idea, but it is vital to our very survival. Upon realizing this I decided that I wanted to use my second chance to help others.

The recovery process was painstakingly slow and agonizing, and to cope I fo Ound solace in keeping myself occupied. It was during this time that I rediscovered my the interest in civil liberties that I developed as an undergraduate. While in college I became fascinated by civil liberties with a focus on their dilution in the past two decades, and especially in the aftermath of the terror attacks of 9/11. I had enjoyed researching, and writing papers on various aspects of this topic, most notably on the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping, data mining, and the then most recent installation of body scanners at airports, which conducted virtual strip searches (through the use of radiation), without probable cause, and whose long term health effects had not, and still have not been determined. I developed an appetite for information about infringements on the right to privacy, often spending whole nights researching different facets of domestic surveillance programs such as Trailblazer and ADVISE, and their questionable constitutionality. In addition to enriching my knowledge, reading and learning about this helped me to not fixate on my bleak and painful reality, and instead helped me look forward to helping others; in doing so it helped to get me through the darkest time of my life,.

Wanting My desire to help others, coupled with my inherently analytical mindset, and my interest in civil liberties made me really start thinking about pursuing a career in law. I previously considered a law career while I was writing my senior thesis on the causes, effects, and politics of global plastic pollution. I recognized that the only catalyst for substantial change was law. By using the law to hold moneyed interests accountable for their actions, advocates have been able to reduce environmentally-detrimental practices, most notably the off shore dumping of garbage and toxic waste. I realized the same applieds (?) to defending the civil liberties that are so often taken for granted. Instead of just reading about civil liberty issues and their consequent court cases, I would have I became determined to get my law degree and take up the cause if I were to eaffect real change and help others. I spent countless days and nights researching the intricacies and progress of civil liberty cases, most often lawsuits filed by the ACLU. I have always questioned everything, and immensely enjoy finding the inconsistencies in stories, logic, explanations and arguments. This, combined with my desire to help others and my passion for defending our civil liberties, is what will help me to succeed in law school and as an attorney.

From the moment that surgeon assured me that I would never be happy when I looked into a mirror, it became my goal to prove him wrong. Although I will obviously never have the same appearance that I had before the fire, when I look in the mirror today, I see a man with more direction and confidence - someone who has dealt with the tragedies of death, and in doing so has learned to appreciate the value of life. I see a man who, with the help of others, has faced and overcome what he once deemed to be insurmountable obstacles, and in doing so has developed a desire to help others. Despite my considerable scars and half-missing ear, I’m well on my way to proving that surgeon wrong.

Jack86
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby Jack86 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:15 am

thank you for your helpful edits, it seems every time i go through it I still miss something. I really appreciate the help!

Jack86
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby Jack86 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:43 am

* Extremely helpful edits

Jack86
Posts: 23
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Edited&submitting in the next day, Please Give Feedback!!

Postby Jack86 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:30 am

Any last minute thoughts? Thank you all for the help and advice, I'm submitting it tonight, please let me know if you see anything!


“No matter what I do, you’re not going to be happy,” the surgeon told me. He paused before continuing, “When you look in the mirror, you’re not going to like what you see.”

Two weeks earlier, I awoke in an apartment fire that left third degree burns covering twenty percent of my body, mostly on my neck and face. The burns were too severe for the skin to heal and required multiple skin graft surgeries, the results of which the surgeon was certain would leave me unhappy.

Everything in life is relative, and in a tragic coincidence, my ex-girlfriend, who remained a good friend, passed away in an electrical house fire earlier that year. She was asleep when the fire started, and because she never woke up, she passed away from smoke inhalation. In this sense, although it may be hard to comprehend for some, I came to think of my burns as a type of blessing. If I had not literally awoken from their pain, there is a good chance I would have died in that fire. Instead I did wake up, and in doing so I was given a second chance.

During my twenty-two days in the ICU Burn Unit, and for several months after, I was practically bedridden, able to walk only a few feet each day. Especially since I have never been fond of asking for help, this experience was humbling and changed my worldview completely. I could no longer ignore the interconnectedness and interdependence that characterizes life, as now I was unable to do anything on my own, and relied on the expertise of doctors, and benevolence of family and friends. It was during this time that I realized that helping one another is not simply a nice idea, but it is vital to our very survival. Upon realizing this I decided that I wanted to use my second chance to help others.

The recovery process was painstakingly slow and agonizing, and to cope I solace in keeping myself occupied. It was during this time that I rediscovered the interest in civil liberties that I developed as an undergraduate. While I was researching the different provisions of the PATRIOT Act for my presentation in my Law and Society class, I became fascinated by civil liberties and how they had been diluted in the past two decades, especially after the attacks of 9/11. I became consumed with researching and writing about infringements on civil liberties, most notably on “dragnet” surveillance, warrantless wiretapping, data mining, and the then most recent installation of body scanners at airports, which conducted virtual strip searches (through the use of radiation), without probable cause, and whose long term health effects had not, and still have not been determined. I developed an appetite for information about infringements on the right to privacy, often spending whole nights researching different facets of domestic surveillance programs such as Trailblazer and ADVISE, and their questionable constitutionality. In addition to enriching my knowledge, reading and learning about this helped me to not fixate on my bleak and painful reality, and instead helped me look forward to helping others; in doing so it helped to get me through the darkest time of my life.

My desire to help others, coupled with my inherently analytical mindset, and my interest in civil liberties made me really start thinking about pursuing a career in law. I previously considered a law career while I was writing my senior thesis on the causes, effects, and politics of global plastic pollution. I recognized that the only catalyst for substantial change was law. By using the law to hold moneyed interests accountable for their actions, advocates have been able to reduce environmentally-detrimental practices, most notably the off shore dumping of garbage and toxic waste. I realized the same applies to defending the civil liberties that are so often taken for granted. Instead of just reading about civil liberty issues and their consequent court cases, I became determined to get my law degree and take up the cause to affect real change and help others. I spent countless days and nights researching the intricacies and progress of civil liberty cases, most often lawsuits filed by the ACLU. I have always questioned everything, and immensely enjoy finding the inconsistencies in stories, logic, explanations and arguments. This, combined with my desire to help others and my passion for defending our civil liberties, is what will help me to succeed in law school and as an attorney.

From the moment that surgeon assured me that I would never be happy when I looked into a mirror, it became my goal to prove him wrong. Although I will obviously never have the same appearance that I had before the fire, when I look in the mirror today, I see a man with more direction. I see a man who, with the help of others, has faced and overcome what he once deemed to be insurmountable obstacles, and in doing so has developed a desire to help others. Despite my considerable scars and half-missing ear, I’m well on my way to proving that surgeon wrong.




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