Critique my PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Critique my PS

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:46 pm

I still remember the morning I walked downstairs to find my mother in tears. Though I was young, I suspected that the constant arguments between my parents were not normal. My mother, choking back tears, finally told me, “XXX, your father and I are getting a divorce.” Though I already sensed the outcome was imminent, I still was aghast. Divorce was not common in my predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood. Mothers picked their sons up from school. They did not work two jobs, and they certainly did not hire babysitters to watch their child until after sunset. My life would never be the same again.
The next morning, I was not greeted by my mother’s face. Instead, I gazed over the railing as I walked downstairs and saw a note taped to the television screen. It was my mother’s handwriting. The note read, “XXX, I left for work. Have a good day at school. Take care of yourself.” I was nine years old and did not fully understand what had happened that morning. I felt abandoned. First by my father who abruptly departed after the divorce, and then by the face to which I was accustomed to seeing every morning–my mother. My eyes welled up with tears; school was already difficult enough being a shy kid without any friends. My body felt empty and I wanted to stay home forever.
I remember the day the feeling of emptiness dissipated from my body. I casually walked out of my last class of the day when suddenly I heard a strident voice yell, “XXX! Get over here!” It was my last period English teacher. She attempted to discipline me for my hair not adhering to the school code. We spent the next ten minutes discussing the vague definition of “unkempt hair.” My teacher, with a look of disdain, said, “I bet you would make a good lawyer.” I was a cantankerous fourteen year old that tried his best to find, twist, and exploit every loophole in the dress code policy.
The following day after class, my teacher directed me to remain. Initially, I thought to walk out the door and ignore the request, but, I remained. We walked upstairs and she introduced me to the director of the debate team, Mr. XXX. He asked about my thoughts on the War in Afghanistan. I gave him a lengthy response and he invited me back for practice the next afternoon. I finally had the father figure that I yearned for my entire life. A person to check my brazen attitude coupled with an outlet to express myself.
With one parent that studied at a community college nearly 20 years ago and another parent that barely graduated high school, my exposure to higher education was limited. When it came time to apply to colleges, I feverishly researched which schools had an option for a law major. When I had no success, I asked Mr. XXX how to pursue a career in law. He told me that I needed to learn how to think critically, so I should study engineering. I was skeptical; my research told me that political science is the most common path to law school. I decided to pursue engineering anyway, forgoing my usual stubbornness
I questioned my decision to study engineering as a precursor to law until I began my first internship with XXX Construction. I didn’t appreciate the skills I learned until I saw how their implementation affected people daily. It was an arid summer day and I finished a twelve hour day running around the construction site. As I stepped onto the train and slinked into my seat, I saw a poster and two people discussing the poster. It was an XXX advertisement of my job. I overheard the two people discuss the benefits my project had to the entire subway system. I immediately became overcome with joy. I am a realist; I never imagined that I would be satisfied by my work. I never stopped to think about the decisions and work I completed daily affected people around the big city area. I wanted to have that feeling for the rest of my life.
After nearly four years at XXX studying engineering, and working with XXX Company, I have realized there are many parallels between engineering and law. Both professions require one to assess a problem quickly, digest all information, and interpret that information to create a solution to the problem. Often times an engineer never interacts with the people their projects are meant to directly affect. A lawyer, however, is constant contact with the clients he is representing. Studying law will give me an opportunity to pursue a career that will positively affect people daily, but, satisfy my love for helping people as well.

jbrewer202
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Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:40 pm

Re: Critique my PS

Postby jbrewer202 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:21 pm

I would talk more about the parallels between Lawyers and Engineers and less about your need/want to see the people you help. Make it sound less vein and more about connecting with people in an attempt to feel gratitude for what you have done. It jumps around quite a bit and dosent flow smoothly. I would look at your transitions into the new paragraphs and elaborate more if you have the chance to. IDK your essay limits, but it would be more beneficial to talk about why you want to become a lawyer than just seeing people happy.

I do not write this to be mean. Don't use my advise if it doesn't sit well with you. Only offering my opinion.

Good Luck

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paratactical
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Re: Critique my PS

Postby paratactical » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:30 pm

I think the bit about your parents divorce comes across badly and doesn't add anything to the essay at all. I would cut that entirely and I would not include the "I bet you would be a good lawyer line." Everybody on this board has heard that from somebody. It doesn't actually say anything about you. I think it would be good to start with the 14-year-old you v. the dress code. I like the idea of hearing more about the teacher who helped you and your job.

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TX_UH
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Re: Critique my PS

Postby TX_UH » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I still remember the morning I walked downstairs to find my mother in tears. Though I was young, I suspected that the constant arguments between my parents were not normal. My mother, choking back tears, finally told me, “XXX, your father and I are getting a divorce.” Though I already sensed the outcome was imminent, I still was aghast. Divorce was not common in my predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood. Mothers picked their sons up from school. They did not work two jobs, and they certainly did not hire babysitters to watch their child until after sunset. My life would never be the same again.


This introduction is curious. The pathos is apparent throughout this first paragraph and will stir strongs emotions in the admissions officials, a good strategy. The writing is also vivid and will suck the reader into that experience. My concern is that you could still accomplish all of this in the second paragraph, with a few changes, and save the writing space to make additions elswhere. Try cutting the first paragraph and changing the second like so:

(I'm writing this quickly so bear with me on this one)
[As I made my way downstairs in the morning, I peeked] over the railing and noticed a note taped to the television screen. It was my mother’s handwriting. The note read, “XXX, I left for work. Have a good day at school. Take care of yourself.” I was nine years old and did not fully understand what had happened. [I struggled to to comprehend the implications of our conversation from the night before, when she had told me, “XXX, your father and I are getting a divorce.” Then as I read the note a second time, I came to recognize my new reality.] I felt abandoned. First by my father who abruptly departed after the divorce, and then by the face to which I was accustomed to seeing every morning–my mother. My eyes welled up with tears; school was already difficult enough being a shy kid without any friends. My body felt empty and I wanted to stay home forever.[/quote]


Also, Paratactical and jbrewer make good points as well. You could just cut the whole portion about the divorce. To that point, it would be quite beneficial for your conclusion to relate back to the begin of your statement. Essentially, bringing your statement full circle may only be possible if you change the introduction or conclusion.

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JaviSTB
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:25 pm

Re: Critique my PS

Postby JaviSTB » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I still remember the morning I walked downstairs to find my mother in tears. Though I was young, I suspected that the constant arguments between my parents were not normal. My mother, choking back tears, finally told me, “XXX, your father and I are getting a divorce.” Though I already sensed the outcome was imminent, I was still aghast. Divorce was not common in my predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood. Mothers picked their sons up from school. They did not work two jobs, and they certainly did not hire babysitters to watch their child until after sunset. My life would never be the same again.
The next morning, I was not greeted by my mother’s face. Instead, I gazed over the railing as I walked downstairs and saw a note taped to the television screen. It was my mother’s handwriting. The note read, “XXX, I left for work. Have a good day at school. Take care of yourself.” I was nine years old and did not fully understand what had happened that morning. I felt abandoned. First by my father who abruptly departed after the divorce, and then by the face to which I was accustomed to seeing every morning–my mother. My eyes welled up with tears; school was already difficult enough being a shy kid without any friends. My body felt empty and I wanted to stay home forever.
I remember the day, the feeling of emptiness dissipated from my body. I casually walked out of my last class of the daywhen suddenly I heard a strident voice yell, “XXX! Get over here!” It was my last period English teacher. She attempted to discipline me for my hair not adhering to the school code. We spent the next ten minutes discussing the vague definition of “unkempt hair.” My teacher, with a look of disdain, said, “I bet you would make a good lawyer.” I was a cantankerous fourteen year old that tried his best to find, twist, and exploit every loophole in the dress code policy.
The following day after class, my teacher directed me to remain. Initially, I thought to walk out the door and ignore the request, but, I remained. We walked upstairs and she introduced me to the director of the debate team, Mr. XXX. He asked about my thoughts on the War in Afghanistan. I gave him a lengthy response and he invited me back for practice the next afternoon. I finally had the father figure that I yearned for my entire life. A person to check my brazen attitude coupled with an outlet to express myself.
With one parent that studied at a community college nearly 20 years ago and another parent that barely graduated high school, my exposure to higher education was limited. When it came time to apply to colleges, I feverishly researched which schools had an option for a law major. When I had no success, I asked Mr. XXX how to pursue a career in law. He told me that I needed to learn how to think critically, so I should study engineering. I was skeptical; my research told me that political science is the most common path to law school. I decided to pursue engineering anyway, forgoing my usual stubbornness
I questioned my decision to study engineering as a precursor to law until I began my first internship with XXX Construction. I didn’t appreciate the skills I learned until I saw how their implementation affected people daily. It was an arid summer day and I finished a twelve hour day running around the construction site. As I stepped onto the train and slinked into my seat, I saw a poster and two people discussing the poster. It was an XXX advertisement of my job. I overheard the two people discuss the benefits my project had to the entire subway system. I immediately became overcome with joy. I am a realist; I never imagined that I would be satisfied by my work. I never stopped to think about the decisions and work I completed daily affected people around the big city area. I wanted to have that feeling for the rest of my life.
After nearly four years at XXX studying engineering, and working with XXX Company, I have realized there are many parallels between engineering and law. Both professions require one to assess a problem quickly, digest all information, and interpret that information to create a solution to the problem. Often times an engineer never interacts with the people their projects are meant to directly affect. A lawyer, however, is in constant contact with the clients he is representing. Studying law will give me an opportunity to pursue a career that will positively affect people daily, but, satisfy my love for helping people as well.


I edited somethings out that really weren't needed or added nothing to the effect of your PS. I will edit later with macro fixes.

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JaviSTB
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Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:25 pm

Re: Critique my PS

Postby JaviSTB » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:37 pm

I agree with the others that the beginning could be cut. However, if you want to keep it as a way of showing your direction, I would condense it down to a few sentences. While the pathos is great, it detracts from the message/flow of your PS. If I didn't know this was for LS, I would be wondering what this was for. If it helps, You might start out with talking about your engineering background and why you didn't pursue something post-undergrad. Then go into why law, which you could then touch briefly on the divorce and debate, and then make the parallels between engineering and law and why law made sense in the end. The last line though. It's so vague and cliche. Everyone wants to affect people and make a difference and all that stuff. What's your spin? Your unique factor. Find it and elaborate it.

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Ave
Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:00 pm

Re: Critique my PS

Postby Ave » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:46 pm

JaviSTB12 wrote:The last line though. It's so vague and cliche. Everyone wants to affect people and make a difference and all that stuff. What's your spin? Your unique factor. Find it and elaborate it.

This. It's the same for medical school: I'm sure they have heard ad nauseum about how much people want to help people. If it is true, then simply say it differently that makes it personal.

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Balthy
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Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Critique my PS

Postby Balthy » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:09 pm

TX_UH wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I still remember the morning I walked downstairs to find my mother in tears. Though I was young, I suspected that the constant arguments between my parents were not normal. My mother, choking back tears, finally told me, “XXX, your father and I are getting a divorce.” Though I already sensed the outcome was imminent, I still was aghast. Divorce was not common in my predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood. Mothers picked their sons up from school. They did not work two jobs, and they certainly did not hire babysitters to watch their child until after sunset. My life would never be the same again.


This introduction is curious. The pathos is apparent throughout this first paragraph and will stir strongs emotions in the admissions officials, a good strategy. The writing is also vivid and will suck the reader into that experience. My concern is that you could still accomplish all of this in the second paragraph, with a few changes, and save the writing space to make additions elswhere. Try cutting the first paragraph and changing the second like so:



Cutting the first paragraph (and making the proper adjustments) is such a great editing move. Seems to improve the essay 90% of the time.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273603
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Critique my PS

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 12:21 pm

JaviSTB12 wrote:I agree with the others that the beginning could be cut. However, if you want to keep it as a way of showing your direction, I would condense it down to a few sentences. While the pathos is great, it detracts from the message/flow of your PS. If I didn't know this was for LS, I would be wondering what this was for. If it helps, You might start out with talking about your engineering background and why you didn't pursue something post-undergrad. Then go into why law, which you could then touch briefly on the divorce and debate, and then make the parallels between engineering and law and why law made sense in the end. The last line though. It's so vague and cliche. Everyone wants to affect people and make a difference and all that stuff. What's your spin? Your unique factor. Find it and elaborate it.


the bolded seems like an incredibly good idea. thank you so much




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