Personal Statement Help

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Personal Statement Help

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:00 pm

Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:19 pm

Re: Personal Statement Help

Postby nugnoy » Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:04 pm

It's really good - the best one I have read here so far (although I've been here less than a month).

1. I don't know what "technicolor brushstroke" means. Is it something that the admission officers would understand?

2. I personally would prefer a slightly different word/phrase choice in some places

Instead of "mere days," how about "a few days" or "just/only days after"? "Mere" sounds a bit too technical and clunky to me.
On the other hand, I would use "near my college's campus" instead of "just off" because I think "just off" is a phrase much better for conversation than writing.
"semblance of density" sounds too academic to me. Something like "I could not maintain the mental focus to critically read material." Or more simply, "I could not read material critically."

3. I really like the way you describe the event. You described a graphic and vulgar event without your description becoming too graphic or vulgar while giving a clear picture of the incident.


I think this serves as the ideal "standard" essay & candidate
1. You started with a sensory hook. It's not directly relevant to your main body and it focuses on personalizing you: a history/passion/pursuit that's persisted throughout your life. It makes me like you and take an interest in you as a person. In this way, EASES the reader into your body.

2. The 1st paragraph connects to 2nd paragraph by the shared idea of "mountain" - from a physical mountain to using "mountain" as an imagery to represent an obstacle. This obstacle is an ostensibly serious and a graphic one that escalates tension for the reader. As a bonus, it not only explains your taking time off concisely but also reasonably justifies it (not that taking time off is a bad thing that needs to be justified though - it paints a whole picture of you).

3. You acknowledge that you had never asked yourself seriously why you wanted to pursuit law. This is a sensitive topic to bring up, you admit that you didn't have the answer to crucially important question for application.

But you handle it well because the obstacle (making a connection to the previous paragraph) caused you emotional turmoil that led you to seriously explore this question.

4. This paragraph addresses your past weakness from the previous paragraph. It touches on your resume, but instead of restating it, this paragraph speaks about how those experiences were relevant to you. It shows that you've gained maturity, that you're committed to service, and that your specific aspiration for "why law" is solidified

5. It gives a nice touch to your transformation. It concretely summarizes and restates your desire to go to law school. It finishes by relating to the sensory hook & imagery from the intro.

Some of the things you've done that I want to restate are:
1. Whole picture of you - it's like puzzle pieces have come together into one coherent picture
2. Concisely used items in the resume as concrete supports to make this picture.
3. Ostensible conflict that leads to a self-questioning that ends in transformation/consolidation/reinforcement of why law
4. The final sentence ties back to your hook easily and in a sensory way

I think the only thing you need to do now are the more technical stuff
1. Make sure it follows Harvard's page limit. I remember reading the dean saying that H asks for 2 pages. Right now it's a 1/3 over. I could be wrong on this - I'd appreciate a confirmation/correction.
2. Have an actually good write proof it for you and give you suggestions on improving how you express some sentences (if any). I'm sure you have a friend skilled in writing. If not, then I'm sure you can find a connection to one.

I want to applaud you for your experiences - your PS makes me want to retake life.

But I should add something here: I'm not HYS material. You're competing with other people who probably have at least as good stories to tell as you do. Some of them have more story to tell because they've been working for 3+ years. To maximize your chances, I recommend you dedicate a lot of time to thinking about whether there is something that you can truly emphasize. Your overall experiences are admirable, but none of them show that you've done something outstanding in your situations. You've been a spectator - can you also be a player? Can you add this in there?

If you haven't read it already, I want to give you this link to a recent interview with Jessica Soban (Assistant Dean and Chief Admissions Officer), to give you Harvard admission representative's specific thoughts. If I were you (and you have competitive or slightly weak numbers) I'd really just get to know Harvard inside and out and write a strong APPLICATION (not necessarily PS) tailored to it. For example, does Harvard's admission faculty specifically like people who's been innovative? If so I'd somehow tie in an example of myself being innovative in what I've done - I created a new and unique program for the kids I was teaching and that's kept them intellectually challenged etc.

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