Update! Slightly-less-terrible PS!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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twenty
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Update! Slightly-less-terrible PS!

Postby twenty » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:51 pm

Deleted -- thanks for the help everyone. :D
Last edited by twenty on Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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twenty
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby twenty » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:52 pm

.
Last edited by twenty on Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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t-14orbust
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby t-14orbust » Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:03 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:It's like, super, duper, pooper, scooper first draft-y. I am open to any and all suggestions.

---

My best friend walked through our open front door, his eyes wide in amazement. His parents had already warned him to not to comment on our living conditions, but the boisterous 11-year old couldn't help himself.

“Wow, I’m sure glad I don’t live here!”

His words echoed everyone’s[whose? your family or people from the outside looking in?] thoughts. My father’s meager income (omitted) earned from sporadic construction work was well-below the poverty line. Our landlord had evicted us from our apartment after it was discovered that six people were living in a one-bedroom unit. The only home we were able to afford was a former drug-den(I just like the way this sounds better), complete with a mosquito-larvae-filled pool(also, just think this sounds better. Now it was my family’s house[tense shift? sounds weird]. We lived here.

During my early childhood, I was diagnosed with severe dysgraphia and moderate dyslexia. My local elementary school recommended I be placed in a special educational program for students with learning disabilities. My parents were told I might never be able to read, and that it was highly unlikely I would even graduate from high school. Instead of enrolling me at our local elementary school, however, my mother chose to quit her part-time secretarial job to homeschool me.

Being homeschooled in a borderline-condemned building did have its drawbacks. I managed three trips to the hospital on account of broken glass, concrete floors, and sharp metal protruding from the walls. My brothers and I were not allowed to play in the yard during school breaks for fear the neighbors would realize there were children in the building and would call child protective services. The advantages, however, far outweighed the physical discomforts my family faced to be able to homeschool me. By the time I was ready to start high school, I was able to enroll at a private school on a full need-based scholarship, and I graduated a few years later as valedictorian(you're a boss).

Because of my family’s financial situation, only one of us was would(just think it sounds better) be able to go to college. We unanimously decided(porque? that it should be my youngest brother, so[rephrase this] following my high school graduation, I began working as a day-laborer. On a whim, I decided to apply for an internship at (AGENCY), and was offered a permanent position at the department contingent on finishing (omitted) my bachelor’s degree. While working for (AGENCY) full time and teaching several after-school programs, I finished my bachelor’s degree from an adult education program in two short years.

Though I was expected to be illiterate, I learned to read both Spanish and English proficiently. Though I was never expected to graduate high school, I finished at the top of my class. Though I was expected to never attend college, I graduated in two years.

I may not have wanted to live in my house, but looking back, I now realize that I would never have wanted to live anywhere else.


I really like your story, but I think that you could do a better job of relaying it. I'm no copy editor, so take my edits with a grain of salt. Good luck man, I'm rooting for you!

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twenty
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby twenty » Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:08 pm

That does make it sounds quite a bit better. Thanks! :)

NYstate
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby NYstate » Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:12 pm

1.you can write about being Mexican -American in a diversity statement.
2. You are supposed to talk about yourself.
3. Not too many topics because it tells a story.

I like this but it can be told in a better way. I got confused by some extraneous stuff: why couldn't you get into college with need based grants after your high school performance? Why your brother and not you?

What is the main point you want ad comms to understand about you?

cgjeon
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby cgjeon » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:02 pm

I like the story. It tells me you are a person who can do things even in circumstances where others say it might not even happen. You proved it. But I was wondering, how does these experiences connect you to pursue a career in law? This story needs a good wrap up IMO. A good reason that you want to attend a law school will do it I think.

Good luck!

p.s. Check out my ps too when you get the time ;)

persimmon
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby persimmon » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:45 pm

You obviously overcame a ton, and I'm impressed. This is definitely not a terrible PS, either.

However: I don't really understand from your essay what it is about you that got you to where you are. Maybe you are really curious once you find ideas that inspire you? Maybe you have a lot of ambition (if so, why and toward what?) and are super-diligent? Maybe the explanation is something more interesting than either of these? More concretely, I don't know what clicked about homeschooling, or how you went from applying for your job "on a whim" to being really into it. I'm interested to know these things--I think they would give us more insight. Right now, you're giving us the results, and the point of the PS is to give us a (limited, superficial) peek at the process and the story.

Also, food for thought: http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/admissi ... rt-ii.aspx
No offense, but I think you are kind of, a little, in the spot of the last example guy, the one who went to a bad high school but then also didn't have a stellar college record. Not to malign 2-year adult ed programs! It just means, in the minds of some, you may have still something to prove academically. Consider following Asha's advice and using the PS to talk about an intellectual interest if you have a compelling one--or alternately a work accomplishment, or other (recent!) accomplishment. Then you can include the info in your current essay in a diversity statement, along with more about being MA.

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Ling520
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby Ling520 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:33 pm

Overall, it's not a bad PS. But I agree with the other poster that you need to explain better why you wouldn't or couldn't go to college after high-school. Is it because you had to support your family? Or were you just not interested in higher education? Don't make your audience guess at it.

After all your work experience, you might also want to explain why you're now interested in returning to school.

twentypercentmore wrote:I may not have wanted to live in my house, but looking back, I now realize that I would never have wanted to live anywhere else.


I'm not crazy about the structure of this sentence or the sentiment. I might be nit-picking, but it sounds a bit like a contradiction without some rephrasing. In retrospect, you're glad that you lived there, but that doesn't change the reality that you didn't want to live there at the time. So it's not really true that "I would never have wanted to live anywhere else."

For the sentiment, after overcoming a rough childhood people often say stuff like, "I would never change a thing," but I don't think that is being completely honest. Unless you think your life is perfect, there has to be something that could have been better. It also sounds cliche. It's good to point out how your difficult childhood gave you some skills and perspective, but I would focus more on how you worked hard to overcome the disadvantages of the hand you were dealt.

poke800ash
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby poke800ash » Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:13 pm

Would it be possible to use this as you diversity statement and focus on something more skill based for you ps? It is a good essay but having more material to advocate for yourself is almost never a bad thing.

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Domke
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby Domke » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:27 pm

Ling520 wrote:Overall, it's not a bad PS. But I agree with the other poster that you need to explain better why you wouldn't or couldn't go to college after high-school. Is it because you had to support your family? Or were you just not interested in higher education? Don't make your audience guess at it.

After all your work experience, you might also want to explain why you're now interested in returning to school.

twentypercentmore wrote:I may not have wanted to live in my house, but looking back, I now realize that I would never have wanted to live anywhere else.


I'm not crazy about the structure of this sentence or the sentiment. I might be nit-picking, but it sounds a bit like a contradiction without some rephrasing. In retrospect, you're glad that you lived there, but that doesn't change the reality that you didn't want to live there at the time. So it's not really true that "I would never have wanted to live anywhere else."

For the sentiment, after overcoming a rough childhood people often say stuff like, "I would never change a thing," but I don't think that is being completely honest. Unless you think your life is perfect, there has to be something that could have been better. It also sounds cliche. It's good to point out how your difficult childhood gave you some skills and perspective, but I would focus more on how you worked hard to overcome the disadvantages of the hand you were dealt.


I agree with this. At first it seemed you wanted them to pity you. It improved toward the end but I would change that last sentence to something with a message of "I didn't like the house I grew up in but I learned a lot from it."

kritarch
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Re: Terrible PS. :'(

Postby kritarch » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:41 pm

I would say the title of this thread is accurate. This PS says very little about you as a person except it implies that you had a really terrible childhood and confronted many obstacles (making the last sentence "I may not have wanted to live in my house, but looking back, I now realize that I would never have wanted to live anywhere else" sound like complete nonsense).

If I were to ask you the question: Who are you? What is important to you? What do you value? What do you believe? What do you want to do with your life? I don't think anything in this Personal Statement currently answers those questions. It tells a great many facts--though in an oddly evasive and equivocal manner--but it tells me nothing about you as a person at all (except that you work hard, which is not really particularly interesting when you consider valedictorians, as special as they are, apply to law school by the dozens).

If you want to tell the admissions officers about your childhood as a way of telling them who you are today, you should do it directly and economically. Most importantly, it should tell us something about your values, goals, and aspirations. Indeed, the more heart-wrenching these facts the greater the burden you confront to show how they shape your current thinking. If you overcame these things, however, and now you just want to be a corporate lawyer like everyone else, is it really all that big of a deal that you overcame them at all? Why not cut all the fat and just talk about your aspirations and ambitions to be a corporate lawyer? (and if you really are deeply pulled to do something about poverty and inequality, don't you think it should be in there?)

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twenty
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Re: Update! Slightly-less-terrible PS!

Postby twenty » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:39 pm

I've updated my PS. I took everyone's feedback into consideration and made some significant changes. Thanks for your feedback so far! :)

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t-14orbust
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Re: Update! Slightly-less-terrible PS!

Postby t-14orbust » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:43 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:I've updated my PS. I took everyone's feedback into consideration and made some significant changes. Thanks for your feedback so far! :)


"I know with certainty" = "I am certain"

"Being homeschooled in a borderline-condemned building did have its drawbacks." - I don't like this sentence. Sure, it made sense when you brought in the advantages later in the paragraph, but it really just made me think 'no shit?' when I read it. Maybe go with something like: "Naturally, being homeschooled in a borderline-condemned building had its drawbacks". I think the 'did' in the original sentence is what alarmed me, since it implies that people may assume being schooled that way would have little/no drawbacks.

Also, I still prefer drug-den to drug-house, but I doubt it matters.

edit: this is a lot better than your first draft IMO, good work!




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