1st draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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hemicat27
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1st draft

Postby hemicat27 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:40 pm

I need some constructive criticism (even if that includes "scrap it and start over!" lol). Let me know what you think. I was specifically asked by an admissions staff member at my school of choice to write on this topic. Hoping I did it justice.

Thanks!


There I was, standing in the corner, clutching my camera. My heart was pounding with anticipation. I had finally made it. I gathered my thoughts as I looked down the 24 degree banking of turn 2 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In just a few moments, there would be nothing separating me from over 140,000 lbs of rubber and metal but a knee-high wall and a chain link fence. Finally the cars hurtled by me at speeds of close to 160 miles per hour, blasting me with track dirt and small pieces of rubber. I could barely hear the cheers of 90,000 fans over the sounds of forty-three, 850 horse power engines raging in perfect harmony as they screamed around the track. Years of hard work, risks and determination had finally gotten me here.

Nothing you see on TV can prepare you for the reality of being so up close and personal with that much raw power and speed. Nothing I've ever experienced compares to the rush of emotions I get as the cars race by just a few feet away. It is why, despite the odds, I set out several years ago to go from armchair crew chief to being a part of the sport I loved so dearly. All around my life there were doubters. Loved ones who didn't understand why I wanted to do it, colleagues who said it probably wasn't worth it, and even a (former) spouse who didn't believe I could do it. Looking back, who could blame them? It wasn't exactly a typical career choice for me. After all, NASCAR was a notorious “boys club” and hardly a favorable environment for a female to enter. But I've never been one to shy away from a challenge, nor have I been one to settle for what was expected of me. My parents raised me believing I could do anything I set my mind to, and I took that to heart!

In the fall of 2004, shortly after the birth of my daughter and the demise of my marriage, I began my quest for big time auto racing. I returned to school to complete my unfinished undergraduate degree by enrolling in (Local Private) College’s (Non-traditional Student) Program and as a transient student at The (Mid-sized State) University. Because of my dual enrollment status, by May of 2006 I had completed all my requirements and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management.

After graduation I was offered and accepted an internship at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the promotions department. During my time there I honed my writing skills, learned to conduct interviews, and had my first articles published. In 2007, armed with these skills, I headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, home of NASCAR. In a short time I was able to secure a job with a top level team and also occasional freelance public relations and photography assignments. Unfortunately, after my first year of full-time employment in the sport the economy crashed and left many teams, including my own, with few options for survival. This resulted in massive layoffs at my team (300 jobs lost in less than 6 months). My job was among the casualties. However, I did not give up and began to pursue more freelance opportunities. I added to my client list, taking on new projects including a pit crew school and several Nationwide Series drivers. During this time I saw the first of several of my photographs published as well.

In 2010, after careful consideration, I decided to make the move back to Georgia where I could take advantage of the better job market in the Metro-Atlanta area. I took a job with a small law firm in (West Atlanta), GA scanning documents. After a few short months I was offered a promotion to Medical Records Assistant, but I quickly surpassed that job as well. Within just over a year I had been promoted to a full-time Legal Assistant with my own case load of clients. Rapid advancement and new experiences in my career have shown me a whole new world of possibilities for my future. And so, I arrived at my decision to pursue my next big life goal: law school. I am ready to make the leap from Assistant to Attorney, and to use the same determination that helped me reach my goals in NASCAR to reach my goal of becoming an attorney.
Last edited by hemicat27 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

arklaw13
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: 1st draft

Postby arklaw13 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 1:30 pm

I like the NASCAR topic. Cut out the rest. They have your resume. They don't need to know where your undergraduate degree came from in your PS. Same goes for your jobs after being laid off from your NASCAR crew. Also, take out the bit about how your parents raised you to believe you could do anything. Too cliche.

I think this has the potential to be a really interesting PS. Just make sure to focus on one specific topic. It doesn't need to be a rehashing of what you think are the highlights of your resume. I like the intro paragraph, but make the first sentence something more eye-catching. You want them interested from the start. My first thought was that wondering what the camera was for, but I wasn't exceptionally interested. Make them interested.

Decent first draft though. GJ

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hemicat27
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Re: 1st draft

Postby hemicat27 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:11 pm

Thanks GJ for your help! I had debated about whether I needed to explain how I got from NASCAR to law school or just relate that I could use those experiences to make me successful in a new venture such as law school. I think (I hope) I have a better grasp now. I'm going to rework it using your feedback. Should I re-post the new draft? Or if not, would you mind if I PM you the revised copy for a once over?

Thanks!
Last edited by hemicat27 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

arklaw13
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: 1st draft

Postby arklaw13 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:40 pm

hemicat27 wrote:Thanks GJ for your help! I had debated about whether I needed to explain how I got from NASCAR to law school or just relate that I could use those experiences to make me successful in a new venture such as law school. I think (I hope) I have a better grasp now. I'm going to rework it using your feedback. Should I re-post the new draft? Or if not, would you mind if I PM you the revised copy for a once over?

Thanks,
Kris


I don't think you need the other experiences. There are going to be a large number of people who have worked in law firms and legal-related jobs who are applying. There aren't going to be many people who've worked in NASCAR. Think of the PS as your chance to show them that you are an interesting person. They have your resume and you should let it speak for itself. Show them that you aren't the normal k-JD political science major who worked at a local law firm for a year in undergrad. To be sure, relate your NASCAR experience to personal qualities you have that make you want to go to law school. But frame the experience in a way that shows them the qualities you want them to know that you have, rather than simply saying that working with a NASCAR crew gave me experience in such and such, and shows that I can overcome difficult situations, etc.

I'd post the second draft here so other people can comment on it as well. I'll check back.

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hemicat27
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Re: 1st draft

Postby hemicat27 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:56 pm

Ok, here goes. PS 2.0. :D


There I stood, pressed against the fence, clutching my camera, focused on the bare stretch of asphalt in front of me. My heart was pounding with anticipation. I had finally made it. I gathered my thoughts as I looked down the 24 degree banking of turn two at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In just a few moments, there would be nothing separating me from over 140,000 lbs of rubber and metal but a knee-high wall and a chain link fence. Finally the cars hurtled by me at speeds of close to 160 miles per hour, blasting me with track dirt and small pieces of rubber. I could barely hear the cheers of 90,000 fans over the sounds of forty-three, 850 horse power engines raging in perfect harmony as they screamed around the track. Years of hard work, risks and determination had finally gotten me here.

Nothing you see on TV can prepare you for the reality of being so up close and personal with that much raw power and speed. Nothing I've ever experienced compares to the rush of emotions I get as the cars race by just a few feet away. It is why, despite the odds, I set out several years ago to go from armchair crew chief to being a part of the sport I loved so dearly. All around my life there were doubters. Loved ones who didn't understand why I wanted to do it, colleagues who said it probably wasn't worth it, and even a (former) spouse who didn't believe I could do it. Looking back, who could blame them? It wasn't exactly a typical career choice for me. After all, NASCAR was a notorious “boys club” and hardly a favorable environment for a female to enter. But I've never been one to shy away from a challenge, nor have I been one to settle for what was expected of me. So in the fall of 2004, shortly after the birth of my daughter and the demise of my marriage, I began my quest for big time auto racing. As a single mom, I returned to school to complete my unfinished undergraduate degree by enrolling in two schools simultaneously and graduated in less than two years.

After graduation I was offered and accepted an internship at major super speedway in the promotions department. During my time there I honed my writing skills, learned to conduct interviews, and had my first articles published. In 2007, armed with these skills, I headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, home of NASCAR. In a short time I was able to secure a job with a top level team and also occasional freelance public relations and photography assignments. It was a period of extreme growth for me, both personally and professionally. There was no safety net, no family to run to for help. I had to make it work on my own. I had to prove I COULD do it, not just to the critics but to myself. I still look back and draw strength from what I was able to accomplish during those years.

Unfortunately, after my first year of full-time employment in the sport the economy crashed and left many teams, including my own, with few options for survival. This resulted in massive layoffs at my team (300 jobs lost in less than 6 months). My job was among the casualties. However, I did not give up and began to pursue more freelance opportunities. I added to my client list, taking on new projects including a pit crew school and several Nationwide Series drivers. During this time I saw the first of several of my photographs published as well. But in 2010, after careful consideration, I decided to make the move back to Georgia where I could take advantage of the better job market in the Metro-Atlanta area. It was time to make fresh start with a new career and new possibilities.

I pride myself on setting lofty, but attainable goals and I've been fortunate enough to achieve most of the ones I've set so far. Now the time has come to set new goals. Law school is the first step. I’m ready to begin the transition from assistant to attorney. I intend to use the same determination that helped me reach my goals in NASCAR to reach my goal of becoming an attorney.
Last edited by hemicat27 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

arklaw13
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:36 pm

Re: 1st draft

Postby arklaw13 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:18 pm

The first sentence is good this time.

" I set out several years ago to go from armchair crew chief to being a part of the sport I loved so dearly."

I don't know what this means.

"But in 2010, after careful consideration, I decided to make the move back to Georgia where I could take advantage of the better job market in the Metro-Atlanta area. It was time to make fresh start with a new career and new possibilities. "

I would cut out that you moved back to Georgia. I would just focus on the fact that you decided to make a career change and maybe tie it to why you decided on law school.

" Now the time has come to set new goals. Law school is the first step. I’m ready to begin the transition from assistant to attorney. I intend to use the same determination that helped me reach my goals in NASCAR to reach my goal of becoming an attorney."

I think your ending could be stronger than this. There's nothing really wrong with the content, I guess, but try to rework it so that it flows better and sounds more sophisticated.

Other than that, there's a few minor grammar issues here and there that I don't have the time to point out specifically, and I probably can't catch them all anyway, since I can barely proofread fo my own grammar mistakes. Send it around to some people who can do a good job of proofreading. You've got the main part of it down: writing something that the adcoms will remember.

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hemicat27
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:54 pm

Re: 1st draft

Postby hemicat27 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:12 pm

Thanks!

I'll probably take out the part about "arm chair crew chief". It is kind of industry specific terminology. Like football fans are "arm chair quarterbacks" (making the play calls from their arm chair). In NASCAR the crew chief makes the calls for the team... so a fan watching from home would be an arm chair crew chief. :D I'll just take that part out so I don't run the risk of the terminology throwing off the adcoms.

I will keep working on the closing to strengthen it some more. And I already have several people checking for grammar and spelling errors, once you read it so many times your brain just sort of auto corrects so they get harder to spot! LOL.

Thanks again!




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