Final PS - Please critique

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 273546
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Final PS - Please critique

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:12 am

I think it's close to final, but wanted some thoughts before I say "finished":

“Stage IV metastatic malignant melanoma,” my mom said. I looked at her and Dad across the dim kitchen, feeling a mixture of sadness, disbelief and confusion. In spite of my unfamiliarity with that specific type of cancer, I knew what “Stage IV” meant and it sounded ominous. On a brisk February evening in 2011, I received the news that would change me forever: my dad had only eighteen months to live.

Instinctively, I researched the disease and learned the terrible things cancer would do to my father. I wondered how I would respond, but I soon decided not to allow this information to dictate my reaction. Over the next several months, during the initial rounds of treatment, he seemed fairly normal if a bit tired. But a single day in November 2011 became a turning point, an early indicator of the inevitable test of strength that loomed ahead. Alone in my apartment at college, I answered the ringing phone and heard fear in my mom’s voice: “XX, your dad is on his way to XX Medical Center. He can’t talk or move. Come now.” I immediately dropped everything and started driving. Although I prepared for the worst, I knew I had to remain strong—for my dad and for the rest of my family. I had to step up, stay brave and take care of my mom and my three younger brothers during this difficult time.

We soon learned that tumors caused a blood clot in my father’s brain. His doctors performed emergency surgery and removed the tumors and some brain tissue. They saved his life for the moment but promised nothing. After several weeks he started to speak in short sentence fragments, but the loss of brain tissue robbed him of much of his personality. My mom had a hard time transporting Dad to rehab, chemo, radiation and his other treatments, often many miles away, while also caring for my brothers. Faced with this new responsibility, I made the four-hour drive from college and back many times to watch my siblings. This made maintaining good grades and my other college activities difficult, while simultaneously holding the family together, but I did it because I felt I had no other choice.

His cancer did not respond well to treatment, and his final months became particularly difficult. As money dwindled, I successfully negotiated the labyrinth of Medicare, Social Security and insurance rules and enabled my father’s medical care to continue. I often had to wake in the middle of the night to help my mom lift Dad off the floor after frequent falls caused by the spinal tumors that partially paralyzed his legs. Other times I waited for the paramedics to arrive while I steadied my dad during another seizure. However I remained resilient throughout. During that trying time, I performed lead roles in my college and hometown theater groups, stayed involved in community service, graduated cum laude and passed each part of the CPA exam on the first try. Each morning, in those moments before the day began in earnest, I said to myself: “Today, I will not give up.” When I felt like crawling back into bed, I considered everything my dad faced each day and pressed on.

Inevitably, my dad’s disease progressed until he entered hospice care on June 29, 2012. He died eleven days later. When the funeral ended, after friends and family left, and life returned to a new normal, I reflected on the experience and realized what a profound parting gift my dad gave me. I gained the courage to face once-unfathomable difficulties. I witnessed his indefatigable spirit in the face of this tragedy and I uncovered the previously unknown depths of my own fortitude. This taught me that I am capable of great things despite the challenges that may come. I learned I can endure anything with this newly formed determination. In supporting my dad’s fight with cancer, I found that tragedy has the potential to shape an individual into someone with the irrepressible urge to succeed. I never imagined losing my father to cancer, but as a result of the struggle, I gained the ability to persevere in the face of adversity. I will utilize this trait in everything I do. My dad taught me in life, and in death, to never give up.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273546
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Final PS - Please critique

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:23 pm

Anyone?

User avatar
lastsamurai
Posts: 978
Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:17 am

Re: Final PS - Please critique

Postby lastsamurai » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:55 pm

I think it's a strong statement that conveys your point well. That said, there is some editing that needs to happen for style and flow. A few of my thoughts are below:

-"Faced with this new responsibility, I" (you just explained the responsibility that your mom was faced with but didn't say how that became something you were faced with)

-"college activities difficult, while simultaneously holding the family together," the commas don't make sense here. I'd do something like "Simultaneously holding my family together while maintaining good grades and participating in extra curricular activities was challenging, but I did it....."

-"I gained the courage to face once-unfathomable difficulties" like what specifically? (Show don't tell)

I think your last paragraph is particularly strong. Good luck!

User avatar
fringles
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:46 pm

Re: Final PS - Please critique

Postby fringles » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:02 pm

It's well done; it's not going to hurt you a bit, which is a PS's first goal.

That said, it could be more multifaceted. I understand mentioning much else would run the risk of sounding contrived, but give it a shot.

Again though, huge plus side is not this simplicity won't hurt you. I'm positive adcoms will appreciate such a succinct essay.

Another thing that you should consider before you submit this is the back side of this "it won't hurt you thing". Your PS is good enough to make you stand out. But sometimes you may want to take a risk. Splitters need to differentiate themselves from other splitters. You'll need more than numbers to impress your reaches. You'll need more than numbers to get that full scholly ahead of others with vastly superior numbers.

Anyway, good work, and you're more than good with this. If everything else in the non-numbers part of your app is normal, expect to get into most of your targets and a few reaches.

User avatar
flippacious
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 3:54 pm

Re: Final PS - Please critique

Postby flippacious » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:25 am

"However I remained resilient throughout." --> should have a comma after "however," otherwise it has a different meaning.

starting a sentence "However I remained..." means "in whatever way I remained"
starting a sentence "However, I remained..." means "Nevertheless, I remained"

lastsamurai wrote:-"college activities difficult, while simultaneously holding the family together," the commas don't make sense here. I'd do something like "Simultaneously holding my family together while maintaining good grades and participating in extra curricular activities was challenging, but I did it....."

I also agree with this. The commas are off in the original.

Other than that, though, I like it!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273546
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Final PS - Please critique

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:15 pm

lastsamurai wrote:I think it's a strong statement that conveys your point well. That said, there is some editing that needs to happen for style and flow. A few of my thoughts are below:

-"Faced with this new responsibility, I" (you just explained the responsibility that your mom was faced with but didn't say how that became something you were faced with)

-"college activities difficult, while simultaneously holding the family together," the commas don't make sense here. I'd do something like "Simultaneously holding my family together while maintaining good grades and participating in extra curricular activities was challenging, but I did it....."

-"I gained the courage to face once-unfathomable difficulties" like what specifically? (Show don't tell)

I think your last paragraph is particularly strong. Good luck!


Thank you very much! I appreciate the feedback and will incorporate it into the essay. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273546
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Final PS - Please critique

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:21 pm

fringles wrote:It's well done; it's not going to hurt you a bit, which is a PS's first goal.

That said, it could be more multifaceted. I understand mentioning much else would run the risk of sounding contrived, but give it a shot.

Again though, huge plus side is not this simplicity won't hurt you. I'm positive adcoms will appreciate such a succinct essay.

Another thing that you should consider before you submit this is the back side of this "it won't hurt you thing". Your PS is good enough to make you stand out. But sometimes you may want to take a risk. Splitters need to differentiate themselves from other splitters. You'll need more than numbers to impress your reaches. You'll need more than numbers to get that full scholly ahead of others with vastly superior numbers.

Anyway, good work, and you're more than good with this. If everything else in the non-numbers part of your app is normal, expect to get into most of your targets and a few reaches.


Thanks for reading! I have been going back and forth between wondering if it is too simple, or as you point out, whether this simplicity/brevity may be appreciated by the admissions office.

As to your second point, I do need to consider this factor carefully. I do have some substantive work experience post-college (2 years as a CPA. w/ a international professional services firm) which should help, and I am a 3.6/175 applicant, with very solid (if not spectacular) LOR's. The biggest thing I worry about is a 1st degree misdemeanor I plead guilty to during my undergraduate years. It was subsequently expunged, but I will still disclose. If not for this I would feel very solid about my chances with much of the T14, but this is a wildcard that I don't know how to properly quantify. With that being said, I wonder if the PS could in any way be brought to some next level to compensate. I'm not sure. But in any case hopefully that additional info can help inform your thoughts on this point.

Thanks again.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273546
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Final PS - Please critique

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:23 pm

flippacious wrote:"However I remained resilient throughout." --> should have a comma after "however," otherwise it has a different meaning.

starting a sentence "However I remained..." means "in whatever way I remained"
starting a sentence "However, I remained..." means "Nevertheless, I remained"

lastsamurai wrote:-"college activities difficult, while simultaneously holding the family together," the commas don't make sense here. I'd do something like "Simultaneously holding my family together while maintaining good grades and participating in extra curricular activities was challenging, but I did it....."

I also agree with this. The commas are off in the original.

Other than that, though, I like it!


Thank you very much for reading and for the comments. I will fix those issues - thanks for catching them.




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.