Starting Out....Looking for Macro Level Critiques

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

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Starting Out....Looking for Macro Level Critiques

Postby PersStateHelp » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:56 pm

Regular poster here.. changed name for anonymity. Happy to receive any and all comments, but especially just wondering if I am on the right track here regarding structure and topic. Names of schools, people, organizations etc altered for anonymity.

Thanks all!


[Removed. New Draft below.]
Last edited by PersStateHelp on Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Starting Out....Looking for Macro Level Critiques

Postby mnindc » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:19 am

From what I understand about PS, I would say this reads too much like a resume. You definitely have a lot of experiences to draw from, why not focus on one and flesh it out?

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Re: Starting Out....Looking for Macro Level Critiques

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:28 am

Macro level - start over by picking one (or maybe two) experiences that you can really talk about how they shaped you and what not... and make this whole interweaving web of amalgamated wonder a much less important part of the PS. It honestly feels a little forced... at least how you threw it into a couple of the paragraphs.

Adcoms want to get to know you, all this does it tell me that you might like knitting and know how to write a long-form resume.


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Re: Starting Out....Looking for Macro Level Critiques

Postby vzapana » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:45 am

agreed with all said above

Here's a quote from Berkeley's admissions website:

"The statement should avoid simply summarizing what is in the resume. It should avoid simply asserting how able, accomplished, and well suited for law school the applicant is."

Also, don't philosophize; redo the first paragraph.

erik the viking

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Re: Starting Out....Looking for Macro Level Critiques

Postby erik the viking » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:42 am

The part about mentoring disadvantaged youths is really powerful. Maybe write an essay just about that. If you can figure out a way to tie in your NGO or your business experience and such in a sensible way that's fine, but this seems really forced. The philosophical metaphor is not interesting or useful. Ctrl + X it and forget about Ctrl + V.

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Re: Starting Out....Looking for Macro Level Critiques

Postby gonewiththewind » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:43 pm

What everyone else said. Tell a story. Remember, the adcomms are reading hundreds of these and they want to know you and they want to be kept entertained. Any one of these experiences can be turned into its own story (emphasis added) if you choose to do so.

Remember, you want them to know about you. They want to see you struggle, they want to see you triumph, they want to see you as a person.

Ti Malice

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Re: Starting Out....Looking for Macro Level Critiques

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:28 pm

Agree with all of the other critiques. Too much of a formulaic résumé dump, and the fabric metaphor is tortured/forced and needs to go. Adcomms want a window into what drives you, what makes you tick, how you think. Also, show, don't tell. For instance, don't tell adcomms that you have "a sharp business acumen." Recognition of your strengths should naturally emerge from the process of reading your story.

Just start writing free-form and play around with a few different ideas/stories that illustrate who you are in a way that isn't apparent in the rest of your application. Stay away from the abstract stuff. Just write some separate, disconnected paragraphs and see what you start generating. You'll come up with plenty of stuff to purge, some ideas that point you toward other ideas, and some material that will directly go into your eventual PS.


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Re: Starting Out....Looking for Macro Level Critiques

Postby PersStateHelp » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:02 pm

Thanks for the help all- all the comments make a lot of sense.

I got rid of the analogy and focused more on one of the experiences. Here is a new draft. Same deal, just looking for comments on structure and if I'm heading in the right direction. All comments welcome. Thanks again!


“I’m going to college!” Jawan’s words dramatically altered my priorities and purpose.

I had met Jawan eight months earlier, in a graffiti-stained cafeteria at Jawan’s school, XYZ High School. Searching online for directions to the school, I was surprised to find “XYZ High School stabbing” among the first search results. Within 30 minutes of first meeting Jawan, I could tell that he was an intelligent person, full of potential, but also a victim of the low expectations placed on him. Outside of the ACT exam that all XYZ students were required to take, Jawan had yet to give the possibility of attending college a second thought.

During my time as Jawan’s volunteer ACT tutor, we poured over practice drills and bonded over stories of Jawan’s football prowess and my own unparalleled athletic mediocrity. Jawan’s practice test scores continually inched up. The hours in that cafeteria paid off for both of us when Jawan emerged from his ACT exam, knowing that he had done well enough to make it to college. Today, Jawan is on an academic scholarship to a four year college.

The sense of worth and ability that ran through my veins after helping Jawan reach college led me to re-asses my professional and leisurely pursuits. Suddenly, my classwork and extracurricular pursuits were imbued with a stark purpose. I needed more of that feeling. I traded in half-hearted extracurricular efforts for non-profit volunteer boards and tireless volunteer recruitment efforts. I become a regular attendee at campus events sponsored by social interest groups. And it was exhilarating.

The exhilaration that comes with being a part of social solutions continues to drive me. My business education and connection to the [New York] community motivated me to form my own non-profit, partnered with New York Public Schools. I’ve quickly learned that in order to create transformative organizations and experiences, it is imperative to understand the law and its impact on societal development.

Columbia Law School’s rigorous curriculum, impressive offering of extracurricular opportunities, and location within the community I have served provides the ideal opportunity for me to gain the acute understanding of the law and its impact on social development. Studying under Columbia’s renowned faculty and joining clinical programs such as the XYZ Clinic on Entrepreneurship will enable me to graduate with the ability to serve the New York and world community in a legal, business, and societal-development standpoint.

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