Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 273145
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:38 pm

I had a prior attempt at this, but totally scrapped. Hopefully this is much better. ​It's a bit over 2 pages double spaced.

On a crisp October morning in 2012, I was headed from the staff parking lot into school, and before I even began to unlock my classroom door and drink my morning coffee, a fight started outside my door between two senior students. I hesitated for a moment, hoping security would arrive, but none did. Now there was blood on the floor and a crowd with cell phones out ready to post the newest bout to Facebook. I quickly stepped into the middle of the fray to break up my first fight, and as a newly minted teacher, I assumed the fight would end when I got there. On the contrary, the fight did not end until one of my seniors decided to help me in my struggle to wrestle the two young men apart, which lasted several minutes. Luckily, nobody was seriously injured. It was my first fight, but certainly not my last. In many ways, it would symbolize the year to come. I learned that I have what it takes to succeed in any situation.

​XYZ School District, situated on the south side of Anytown, lost its accreditation in January, only five months after I starting teaching at the high school. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to see why. In my year at what has been called by the city’s leading newspaper "the most dangerous school in the area," I overcame more physical and emotional challenges than many teachers face in their entire careers. In addition, when I took the job, I was told I would be teaching high school math, but did not expect to be given Calculus, College Algebra and Algebra II. Three preps for a first-year teacher is a tall order, especially at a place like XYZ where the challenges in the classroom are inextricably tied to those outside it.

​In my first year, I had to create a positive reputation for myself and my students among my colleagues and the other students. Teach For America Corps members have not had much success at XYZ. My predecessor left work on a Friday and never returned. Of the five other corps members that I worked with last year, only two of us returned. I came back looking to build upon the hard-earned credibility. I overhauled the College Algebra class into a rigorous college-prep Precalculus program. I created an AP certified Calculus class, the first of its kind at XYZ. Last year, I founded an after-school ACT program for our students to attend. Despite the fact that they were constantly tired and hungry, my twenty-five brave evening students averaged a three point growth, which is impressive at a school whose average ACT is below 16. This year, my students and I are aiming higher. I have been awarded an in-school ACT Prep program to run the way I want to. I have students that will have a legitimate chance to pass the AP Calc test for the first time in school history. My Algebra II class is the measuring stick for all other lower level math classes in the building. My classes are known for being rigorous, organized, and having zero behavioral incidents.

​I am driven to leave XYZ in a better place than I found it. The reason all of this is working so well in my classroom, in spite of everything that happens in the rest of the school and surrounding neighborhood, is relationships. My students know that above all, I have their backs at all times. I lead by example inside and outside of the classroom, and have earned the respect of even my most hardened students. They have rewarded me with their unwavering loyalty and dedication to our cause of becoming college-ready. I am certain that my students are better off for having my class and I know I am better for having learned to know and value them; the experiences here will shape the rest of my life.

I am choosing to attend law school because I want an opportunity to serve my country in a way that allows me to utilize my skills. I am an advocate for my students today, but plan to use my skills in oral presentation and leadership in the service of my country someday as a JAG officer. Interestingly, constructing an upper level math lesson is like piecing together an argument for a judge or jury. Each piece in the presentation serves a unique purpose and ultimately, they all fit coherently together into a smooth logical progression towards a conclusion. I want to be a military attorney because the fitness requirements, the organizational skills, and emphasis on leadership and toughness all define the type of person and teacher I am now. JAG officers become very well-rounded courtroom attorneys with a wide range of legal expertise and the expansion of my background by teaching in an inner-city school is one that will serve me well in the military, where people come from all social strata.

​Looking back, my first year at XYZ was a lot like that first fight. I hesitated initially, a bit unsure of stepping so far outside my comfort zone, but with some help from my seniors, I eventually came to believe in my ability to surpass any challenges that XYZ could present. The same can be said of my abilities relating to my future legal education and career. Combined with my work experience at the House of Representatives and work ethic from competitive athletics, my time at XYZ has allowed me to fully develop the skills necessary to become a successful law student and JAG officer, while at the same time allowing me to contribute in a meaningful way to my community. I could never have asked for anything more.

ETA: Thanks for reading.

User avatar
rutgers17
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:43 pm

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby rutgers17 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:16 pm

I like your topic and I think you do a good job with your conclusion as far as connecting it back to the beginning.

That being said, I think the writing needs a ton of work. It doesn't flow well and I found it difficult to get through. The writing structure is choppy and awkward.

Also you need to leave them with a better last sentence. "I could never have asked for anything more" sounds very weird and I don't think it's actually grammatically correct (I think it might be passive voice?). Keep at it!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273145
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:46 pm

OP here: Thanks for the input. I would tend to agree with everything you said. I think it's a good start. I'd be interested to hear others' thoughts as well as specific areas to improve on.

User avatar
rutgers17
Posts: 149
Joined: Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:43 pm

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby rutgers17 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:13 pm

The thing that stands out most to me would be varying your sentence structure. You start a lot of sentences with I, so it reads like a list and there's no flow. Of course, it's ok to use "I" throughout the PS, but you rely on it too much IMO. Instead of telling them what you did (i.e. "I hesitated,"I founded", "I am driven", "I am choosing", etc.), show them.

User avatar
KD35
Posts: 948
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:30 am

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby KD35 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:22 pm

On the positive side (I know you want it torn apart) I think you did well showing some passion in there, even if it needs a bit of tweaking to sounds cleaner. Additionally, you were able to do something that I think a lot of the first-time writers struggle with: Write succinctly. You don't come off trying to sound so smart by using larger words that often convolute the meat of your PS.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273145
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:57 pm

OP here: Thanks! Keep the critiques coming! Still waiting on some harsher reviews...

esther0123
Posts: 263
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:40 am

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby esther0123 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:47 pm

I like the beginning part -- the narrative. It was an easy read and got me really into picturing what the education system was like in your district. However, I kinda started losing interest when you presented (in a really vague way) that you had to improve the math curriculum of that school -- perhaps elaborating on what that struggle was, as opposed to outright saying it was difficult might help?
Also the whole bit about student improvement was a bit of a drag. I think there might be a better way of illustrating that they've improved marvelously in a more inspiring/touching way, but I'm not sure how you could go about that. Perhaps it's just a question of style that fails to deliver an emotional impact.

Having said that, I think you're off to a great start, and with some work, the PS has the potential to be really great!

Big Dog
Posts: 1191
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:34 pm

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby Big Dog » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:10 pm

Possible good topic, but the grammar is extremely awkward, and many sentences way too long. Your opening sentence -- in which you want to hook the reader -- is 42 words. "drink my morning coffee" add nothing

You never get to the fact that you are TFA Corp until the middle, which to me, is a critical piece left until much too late.

"I was told that I would be teaching high school math...and was assigned three courses..." -- where is the violin? Your next sentence: "Three preps..." maybe fine for an experienced teacher, but you are a red-ass rookie, who can step up or whine. (The latter comes across in this essay.)

Second to last par: how do you get from TFA to JAG? What is the connection? Are you/were you in the military? ROTC?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273145
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:50 pm

OP again. Keep it coming!! This is really valuable to me. Thanks to all who've responded thus far. I'll be redrafting soon.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273145
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:45 am

Bump. Lot's of views, not a lot of comments. Any criticism is appreciated...

Pancakes12
Posts: 269
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:13 am

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby Pancakes12 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:34 am

I think you have a decent statement here. In the third paragraph, I feel like you get into a little too much detail. For example, explaining the significance of a three point gain when the average is below 16 is one of the things that unneccessary and doesn't add anything.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273145
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Second go around...tell me what you think (tear it apart)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:39 pm

Bumping for some harsh criticism!




Return to “Law School Personal Statements”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.