First Draft (Advice greatly appreciated)

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billydaduck
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:48 am

First Draft (Advice greatly appreciated)

Postby billydaduck » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:55 am

All,

Below is the first rough rough draft of my PS. For reference (if it matters in advice) stats are 3.7ish 173

I cannot say for certain why I love to read. I manage to read about eighty to one hundred books yearly. Growing up without a television and having parents and foster siblings who would read to me certainly had an impact, but more importantly my love of reading probably comes about from the innate qualities of the activity its self. When you read you learn. When you read you think. When you read you grow as a person. My love of reading has never been limited to books however, there is another kind of reading I deeply enjoy; I have always loved reading people at poker.
Growing up in a family of modest means meant working in high school and middle school was not an option, it was a necessity. If I expected something beyond the basics, there was no doubt in my mind that I would need to earn it myself. When I was younger this took many forms; I worked most of the traditional jobs one imagines a teenager working. Accustomed to playing poker online like so many of my generation, when I turned eighteen going and playing in local casino’s and card houses just seemed like the next logical step. I quickly found out that playing poker live was something that I could make a consistent and steady income at.
The only thing I worried about was whether or not I would gain lasting skills from the time I spent playing poker. I knew that while poker would always be a lifelong hobby and source of income, I didn’t want it to be what I did for the rest of my life and wondered if the opportunity cost of playing poker for income today over skills tomorrow would be worth it. Playing twenty, thirty, sometimes forty hours a week is a significant investment. My worries could not have been more misplaced.
The skills I have learned from playing poker have helped me achieve my other goals. Of particular value both in my professional pursuits and personal life have been the ‘reading’ skills of poker. Being able to figure out the sincerity of a statement or how someone is reacting to what you’re saying is invaluable and while you can acquire this skill through a plethora of endeavors I have no doubt that extensive poker playing has refined this skill to levels I would otherwise have never attained. An uncommon piece of knowledge about poker is that you rarely play with your own money; you get others to finance you and if you win you give them back a percentage of your winnings.
Learning to sell myself and negotiate deals is a skill I’m grateful I have acquired. After learning how to entice prospective investors in my poker playing, getting people to hire me as a private tutor for the SAT, and more recently the LSAT, has been comparatively easy. There is no doubt one gets value from the latter activity where in the former you are convincing someone to invest in a high risk investment. The skills I acquired through poker contributed heavily, in addition to my independent study in Law and Economics, to being able to participate in a prestigious internship through the Institute for Humane Studies at the Nevada Policy Research Institute this prior summer. The skills I gained through poker have allowed me to make a difference through student government and by founding and assuming president of clubs on campus.
Poker has also taught me two other important lessons; the importance of reputation and the importance of having good teachers. A good reputation goes a long way in acquiring financial backers and clients not only in the poker world but also in the real world. Having good mentors and teachers makes all the difference in succeeding in every pursuit in life. For this reason I am choosing to apply to the University Of Chicago Law School. I have a strong interest in Law and Economics and eventually joining academia; I have no question that for this pursuit Chicago not only has the appropriate reputation but also the best possible teachers and mentors to help me realize my goal.

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oshberg28
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:24 pm

Re: First Draft (Advice greatly appreciated)

Postby oshberg28 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:49 am

I thought the transition from reading books to reading people playing poker was an odd one. It didn't flow well, to me anyway.

Way too much telling and not enough showing. Examples:
"getting people to hire me as a private tutor for the SAT, and more recently the LSAT, has been comparatively easy." How did you do that?

"The skills I acquired through poker contributed heavily, in addition to my independent study in Law and Economics, to being able to participate in a prestigious internship through the Institute for Humane Studies at the Nevada Policy Research Institute this prior summer. The skills I gained through poker have allowed me to make a difference through student government and by founding and assuming president of clubs on campus."
How did you do these things?

"A good reputation goes a long way in acquiring financial backers and clients not only in the poker world but also in the real world. Having good mentors and teachers makes all the difference in succeeding in every pursuit in life."
Okay, but you don't explain how.

I also think this PS is extremely risky in that you allude to "getting" other poker players to believe in your bluffs, you admit to profiting off of their money and not yours, you admit to "getting" people to believe in you or to hire you based off of skills you acquired from playing poker - it sounds like a scam. And now you're asking a prestigious University to accept you because of these skills? You see the problem here?

billydaduck
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:48 am

Re: First Draft (Advice greatly appreciated)

Postby billydaduck » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:57 pm

Oshberg,

Thanks for the response and comments. The PS is risky but I think its probably the optimal topic for me to talk about given that most of the other positives of my application like numbers and work experience come out in other parts of my application.

" you admit to profiting off of their money and not yours" How to I remove this feeling? I would say poker is no different then law, both are 0 sum games, but if the impression my personal statement gives off is that I'm somehow 'scamming' people then its a failure. Any specific advice on how to change this tone?

SBTC
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:54 pm

Re: First Draft (Advice greatly appreciated)

Postby SBTC » Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:52 pm

If this PS was an RC passage, I would get a -7, particularly tripping up on the "main point" question, and the relation of the first paragraph to the rest of the passage. So, what I'm getting is that you want to be admitted to law school because you're good at poker? Either substantially revamp or choose a whole new topic. Surely you have other stuff you can write about, right? You better hope the adcomms are enthusiastic poker players.

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oshberg28
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:24 pm

Re: First Draft (Advice greatly appreciated)

Postby oshberg28 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:33 am

billydaduck wrote:Oshberg,

Thanks for the response and comments. The PS is risky but I think its probably the optimal topic for me to talk about given that most of the other positives of my application like numbers and work experience come out in other parts of my application.

" you admit to profiting off of their money and not yours" How to I remove this feeling? I would say poker is no different then law, both are 0 sum games, but if the impression my personal statement gives off is that I'm somehow 'scamming' people then its a failure. Any specific advice on how to change this tone?


You didn't really give the impression that you scammed anyone, but by not giving any details as to how your poker skills and reading other people helped you land an internship, become a tutor for the SAT/LSAT, etc. then the reader is forced to wonder, "hm, how did poker help him in this regard? Is he just bullshitting them?". The reader shouldn't be left wondering.

I'm not sure if the poker topic is the way to go here - I'm having a difficult time parlaying it (or imagining someone parlay it) into a good PS.




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