International student PS - second draft

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International student PS - second draft

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:53 am

I was born on a dreary November morning in New Delhi. My mother was alone in the delivery room, awake but anesthetized. When her blood pressure began to surge during her C-section, the doctor began yelling at the nurse to put her under but my mother yelled even louder, “Is it a girl?” I was. My mother smiled and drifted off to sleep. Pre-natal sex determination was, and still is, illegal in India due to a high female feticide rate. Despite this, since the year I was born, 80% of districts in India have reported a rising male sex ratio. While my family celebrated their long awaited baby girl, female infants elsewhere were buried alive, drowned and thrown into dumpsters. While my father dreamt about the great life his daughter had ahead of her, other fathers sat is misery over their new financial burden.
Lately, India’s gender gap has made the news. A slew of horrific rape cases has captured the world’s eye and brought attention to gender equality issues that have plagued my mind since a very early age. When I was 5, my maid’s 13 year old daughter abruptly dropped out of school. After much probing I was told that it was because her school did not have adequate toilets. “But her son still goes to school, doesn’t he need toilets too?” I asked my mother. “No, he’s a boy,” she said. When I was 8, I watched a news story about a dowry death, the reporter kept emphasizing that the husband ‘claimed’ his new wife’s sari caught on fire while she was cooking. When I was 12, a good friend of mine told me she was excited because her parents had just told her she would be arranged to marry at 18. I asked her when her twin brother was getting married, “when he’s 24,” she replied. When I was 15, I got into an argument with my mother during a trip to India over my curfew, it was significantly earlier than my curfew in Shanghai and my brother’s. “I’m sorry,” she said, “that’s the way this country is. It’s not safe for girls and there’s nothing I can do about it, I can’t change the way it is.” That’s when I decided to change it myself.
I began doing everything I thought I could. I participated in walks, I signed petitions, I bought buttons, and I did so for many years under the guise of ‘contributing’. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the futility of it all. When I went to Washington DC for college, blocks away from the White House, it seemed like every week there was a march for something or another - gay rights, women’s rights, gun control – but standing there, in front of the White House, repeating a catchy slogan and staring around at hundreds of people who were so passionate about this cause I realized something; You can’t change the world with protests and petitions. You can scream yourself hoarse, but no one will hear you. If you want to change the world, you have to put yourself in a position to do so.
That is why I want to go to law school. By fighting for legislation that provides equal schooling opportunities, vigilantly enforces the ban on matrimonial settlements, discourages arranged and child marriages, works towards keeping the streets safe at night and so forth, I hope that in time women will be empowered to stand up for themselves, to demand safety, education and equality. I want to go to law school because I want to change this small part of the world that means so much to me. It is my duty to fight for the Indian women who weren’t as lucky as I was, to be a voice for those who do not have one.

I really need help with this ending...any thoughts on what note to end on?
Also general critiques appreciated.


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Re: International student PS - second draft

Postby efeinste » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:27 am

Clearly, you are a very strong writer. In fact, you write with such commanding, lucid prose, I'm almost too distracted to provide any constructive criticism. But not quite.

Here is my major concern: that making such a broadly dismissive claim about the uselessness of protests and petitions is enormously risky. First, at least some of the admissions officers will not agree with you. Second, regardless of whether the folks reviewing your statement agree with this assertion, I find it highly unlikely that any will view the usefulness (or uselessness) of protests and petitions in such black and white terms. If you want to keep this assertion (and I do think you should keep some version of it), I would suggest asserting not that protests or petitions cannot change the world but rather that, for the kinds of change with which you are concerned, legislation is the most effective tool or, alternatively, that in many cases, protests and/or petitions are insufficient to get the job done or that protests and/or petitions are, in many instances, necessary but not sufficient to change the world.

Here is another thought: admittedly, this is the first international personal statement I've read, but I wonder whether schools are interested to know what attracts foreign applicants to their the same way, say, schools in Texas may be interested in what prompted the application of someone who has spent his entire life in New York. Again, I may be off in thinking this.


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Re: International student PS - second draft

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:22 pm

i agree with previous poster, strong prose and statement, and his criticism is quite fair, you should definitely downplay your criticism of protests.

Another note I have is that your second paragraph consists of many quotation, I get the idea of the paragraph is that to convey gender differences, but when you simply load it with conversation snippets and disconnected examples, it becomes rather weak. Perhaps use 1 less example, but provide it with more detail.

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