In the very earliest stages... (poll added)

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

Where do I stand?

Throw it out immediately, you're way off on this one.
Far from being what it needs to be, but potentially usable.
No votes
Solid start, needs serious revision.
No votes
Total votes: 4

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Re: In the very earliest stages...

Postby blsingindisguise » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:43 pm

Well imo, you shouldn't necessarily not write about your best subject just because it's an experience a lot of people have, it's more what you say about it that matters. A lot of the kinds of people who go to law school (high-achievers) tend to do TFA. If you're going to write about it, what matters imo is that you're writing something that reads like your authentic story and not some watered-down version of Dangerous Minds. I don't think "how our schools are failing us" sounds like a very promising tack -- it would sound presumptuous to claim this based on 1.5 years of teaching plus some pick-up basketball with the poor folk. Don't make any grandiose statements about how to fix the system. I'd rather hear stories that say something about you as a person and law school candidate.

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Re: In the very earliest stages...

Postby jselson » Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:
Nightrunner wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:All that said, I just wanted to push back against the pile-on a little, because I really think so many PS's do exactly what the OP did with regard to race and poverty only in a less obvious way. At least in the OP's story the redemption is his own and he doesn't turn out to be some white angel swooping down to fix black people's problems.

In fairness: those essays also drive me crazy. This thread was just the right essay at the right moment in my attention span and workload. And it isn't the only thing wrong with this essay.

To me, your PS/DS are the only windows you have to tell a story that says something special about you. There are a lot of ways that many, many people screw up that opportunity (e.g., the "here's my resume in prose" essay; the "this doesn't add anything about me" essay; the "this should really be a GPA addendum" essay, etc.) and still have reasonably solid cycles. But just because people can piss away opportunities and still perform reasonably well doesn't mean that anyone should actively choose to piss away those opportunities. ... e-a,28803/

It's awful how true that article really is for a lot of people. I'm desperately trying to separate myself from that lot, but I don't know how unless I just don't write about TFA at all...

Then don't!

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Re: In the very earliest stages...

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:13 pm

Again, thanks for all of the responses thus far. I'm looking to make some significant changes to this, specifically cutting the length by about half and working to show rather than tell with my experiences. If all else fails, I'll just rewrite (NR).

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Re: In the very earliest stages... (poll added)

Postby Ling520 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:42 pm

I thought the basketball stuff was the most interesting, unique part of your PS. I would expand on that more, especially, how it helped you build relationships, gain perspective etc. But find a more natural way to talk about your interaction with students and minorities. Avoid the stuffy language that makes you sound like an anthropologist cataloging the natives.

Finally, I would understate the TFA stuff. Keep it in there, for sure, but it is more impressive if you don't present it as a large accomplishment you struggled towards. A good way to talk about any goal you achieved is something like, "I decided to do X (TFA, or whatever) for these reasons, and so I did it." That way you come across as a person who can get things done, and you show that TFA, or whatever, was tool you used to accomplish something of value--not an end in itself.

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