PS very rough draft, be critical!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Brendan412
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:48 am

PS very rough draft, be critical!

Postby Brendan412 » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:52 am

First rough draft for my Personal Statement. Like the title says, be critical please and feel free to include any suggestions. Thanks!


In the art of winemaking, struggling vines produce better wines. A good wine grape is the result of vines being grown in a less than ideal environment, which yields a crop of smaller, more flavorful grapes that produce a more flavorful wine. Why is this relevant? A good Law School applicant is very much like a good winemaking grape. Many would tend to believe that a large grape grown to its maximum size potential would be ideal for winemaking, just as many would believe that a student with the highest grades and test scores would be an ideal candidate for Law School. The reality is quite the contrary, grades and scores are extremely important, but it is the substance inside that makes the applicant ideal. I believe that I am this ideal applicant; not solely because of my academic success, but because of the substance that makes me a more flavorful grape.

The substance inside of this flavorful grape was created long before I ever dreamed of attending Law School. In fact, I believe the substance began to form when I began my winemaking career at the age of nine, and continued its formation throughout the past thirteen years. Being involved in every step of the growing and winemaking process allowed me to experience first hand how hard work, maturation, and knowledge in the area can transform a raw material into a fine product. The hard work I put into the winery and the lessons that I have learned throughout my years there has been a seemingly hidden stepping stone along my path to Law School.

An act of road rage was the catalyst that led me to first dream of becoming an attorney, and gave me the opportunity to find the necessary substance inside of me in order to make this dream come true. An April afternoon drive during my senior year in High School quickly took a turn for the worst. A father with his family suddenly screeched his car to a stop in front of me as I waited to make a left-hand turn. The father got out of his car and ran over to my driver side window and immediately reached into the car and put his hands around my neck. I was defenseless, but was relieved to see the police arrive, prompting the end of the attack. To my discouragement, conflicting stories and a severe language barrier resulted in no arrests, and left me walking away having damages to my car. I knew I had to serve justice on this man, the police did not, and I knew I had a chance to prove my case and uncover the truth. I filed a suit against my attacker in Connecticut’s Small Claims Court. I did my research, obtained police reports, estimates, and read all procedures and requirements pertaining to the Small Claims Court in Connecticut. The whole process mesmerized me, and I found myself extremely fascinated in the system of law. The case never was heard in Connecticut, but instead was heard by Judge Judy on her television show filmed in Hollywood, California. As I was waiting to hear from the Connecticut Court on the matter, producers from Judge Judy’s show were contacting me, asking me to come on the show. I agreed, flew expense-free to California, filmed the show, and won my case. Even though Judge Judy is legally a mediator when she hears cases on her show, she allowed me to put forth my factual story, and did a good job at getting down to the factual truth. The satisfaction of all of my time and effort paying off and knowing that justice was finally served was nothing like anything I had experienced before. I immediately wanted to assist others in obtaining their own justice, and it was this experience and drive to help others that has helped drive me towards achieving acceptance into Law School.

Upon conclusion of my Judge Judy and television episode, I took a hard look at what I really wanted to do in life. I was currently majoring in Chemistry at the time, trying to earn my degree so I would be able to take the reins of my fathers business, an environmental laboratory. Struggling grades, a recent diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder, and the satisfaction I felt from not only experiencing the law, but also learning it, lead me to change my major to Legal Studies. I found instant success in the subject, and as my interest grew, I knew that the legal field was the wine that this grape was meant to be a part of, and I never looked back. My grades and test scores show the size of this grape, but my story and résumé gives this grape its flavor. I know that my grape experience and knowledge in law is minute compared to that of an quality aged wine, or attorney, but that quality aged wine came from a grape, and that grape always had the ingredients to make a quality wine. What that grape needed was someone to see that grape’s potential, and place it into a barrel filled with other grapes, and of course, sugar, water, and yeast.

nagelbett
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:09 pm

Re: PS very rough draft, be critical!

Postby nagelbett » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:17 pm

I think you have gone over the top with comparing yourself to a grape. "The substance inside this flavorful grape..."??? You do realize that this sounds a little crazy, right? "My grades and test scores show the size of this grape, but my story and résumé gives this grape its flavor. I know that my grape experience..." These two sentences could be taken straight from a Monty Python sketch.

The first few sentences of your PS actually worked for me. I don't know anything about grapes and winemaking, so you got my attention with the grape-story. However, when you went on to say that you are the "ideal" candidate and with more "substance" than people with better grades and LSAT scores, the PS started going down the hill. Just because you are a "more flavorful grape" does not mean that you will be a better student. Rather, it seems you are making excuses for your poor GPA or LSAT score.

Also, the whole story with Judge Judy is not appropriate for the PS. It comes across that you want to become a lawyer based on a reality tv, which shows you haven't done research and may not have a clue what lawyers actually do.

Last, if you love winemaking so much, why not talk more about your time working in a winery. The unique challenges of the work or may be a story how you overcome some obstacle would be very interesting to hear. And try to not use the word "grape" as much... And also don't use the word "substance"--it's a vague term that serves no purpose in a personal statement.

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USAO-vet
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 6:52 pm

Re: PS very rough draft, be critical!

Postby USAO-vet » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:38 pm

Brendan412 wrote:First rough draft for my Personal Statement. Like the title says, be critical please and feel free to include any suggestions. Thanks!


In the art of winemaking, struggling vines produce better wines. A good wine grape is the result of vines being grown in a less than ideal environment, which yields a crop of smaller, more flavorful grapes that produce a more flavorful wine. Why is this relevant? A good Law School applicant is very much like a good winemaking grape. Many would tend to believe that a large grape grown to its maximum size potential would be ideal for winemaking, just as many would believe that a student with the highest grades and test scores would be an ideal candidate for Law School. The reality is quite the contrary, grades and scores are extremely important, but it is the substance inside that makes the applicant ideal. I believe that I am this ideal applicant; not solely because of my academic success, but because of the substance that makes me a more flavorful grape.

The substance inside of this flavorful grape was created long before I ever dreamed of attending Law School. In fact, I believe the substance began to form when I began my winemaking career at the age of nine, and continued its formation throughout the past thirteen years. Being involved in every step of the growing and winemaking process allowed me to experience first hand how hard work, maturation, and knowledge in the area can transform a raw material into a fine product. The hard work I put into the winery and the lessons that I have learned throughout my years there has been a seemingly hidden stepping stone along my path to Law School.

An act of road rage was the catalyst that led me to first dream of becoming an attorney, and gave me the opportunity to find the necessary substance inside of me in order to make this dream come true. An April afternoon drive during my senior year in High School quickly took a turn for the worst. A father with his family suddenly screeched his car to a stop in front of me as I waited to make a left-hand turn. The father got out of his car and ran over to my driver side window and immediately reached into the car and put his hands around my neck. I was defenseless, but was relieved to see the police arrive, prompting the end of the attack. To my discouragement, conflicting stories and a severe language barrier resulted in no arrests, and left me walking away having damages to my car. I knew I had to serve justice on this man, the police did not, and I knew I had a chance to prove my case and uncover the truth. I filed a suit against my attacker in Connecticut’s Small Claims Court. I did my research, obtained police reports, estimates, and read all procedures and requirements pertaining to the Small Claims Court in Connecticut. The whole process mesmerized me, and I found myself extremely fascinated in the system of law. The case never was heard in Connecticut, but instead was heard by Judge Judy on her television show filmed in Hollywood, California. As I was waiting to hear from the Connecticut Court on the matter, producers from Judge Judy’s show were contacting me, asking me to come on the show. I agreed, flew expense-free to California, filmed the show, and won my case. Even though Judge Judy is legally a mediator when she hears cases on her show, she allowed me to put forth my factual story, and did a good job at getting down to the factual truth. The satisfaction of all of my time and effort paying off and knowing that justice was finally served was nothing like anything I had experienced before. I immediately wanted to assist others in obtaining their own justice, and it was this experience and drive to help others that has helped drive me towards achieving acceptance into Law School.

Upon conclusion of my Judge Judy and television episode, I took a hard look at what I really wanted to do in life. I was currently majoring in Chemistry at the time, trying to earn my degree so I would be able to take the reins of my fathers business, an environmental laboratory. Struggling grades, a recent diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder, and the satisfaction I felt from not only experiencing the law, but also learning it, lead me to change my major to Legal Studies. I found instant success in the subject, and as my interest grew, I knew that the legal field was the wine that this grape was meant to be a part of, and I never looked back. My grades and test scores show the size of this grape, but my story and résumé gives this grape its flavor. I know that my grape experience and knowledge in law is minute compared to that of an quality aged wine, or attorney, but that quality aged wine came from a grape, and that grape always had the ingredients to make a quality wine. What that grape needed was someone to see that grape’s potential, and place it into a barrel filled with other grapes, and of course, sugar, water, and yeast.



I'm pretty sure you're corked.

http://nymag.com/restaurants/articles/w ... adwine.htm

collegewriter
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:01 pm

Re: PS very rough draft, be critical!

Postby collegewriter » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:05 pm

I'm biased somewhat because the "overcoming a challenge in one discipline means I'll be a good lawyer" narrative is overused and generally misused in my personal opinion. So keep that in mind while reading my comments.

Do not try to tell your readers that grades don't make the best candidate. They probably won't appreciate the assumption that this is all they care about. In addition, there is a huge schism between the winemaking part and the judge judy part. Don't discuss winemaking across two paragraphs and then jump to something else entirely. I would honestly recommend removing the winemaking part of the essay or focusing entirely on winemaking. (also pretty cool that you've been making wine forever--your readers probably would love to hear about this).

The judge judy part about how interested you were in the legal system is better than the first part. It rings true to the reader and makes them feel like you'll probably be a good candidate. It however leaves us wanting specifics. Describe fewer irrelevant details (expense-free being one) and focus on SPECIFICALLY what aspects made you want to be a lawyer/attend law school. Describe SPECIFICALLY what this makes you want to study/learn/become in the future. Most people like Law and Order, but this doesn't mean they have the drive to become a lawyer. To avoid that cliché you need the details that will draw us to your narrative and make us feel like you really feel passionately about the law AND that your passion extends to law school classes and legal work specifically.

Brendan412
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:48 am

Re: PS very rough draft, be critical!

Postby Brendan412 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:05 am

nagelbett wrote:I think you have gone over the top with comparing yourself to a grape. "The substance inside this flavorful grape..."??? You do realize that this sounds a little crazy, right? "My grades and test scores show the size of this grape, but my story and résumé gives this grape its flavor. I know that my grape experience..." These two sentences could be taken straight from a Monty Python sketch.

The first few sentences of your PS actually worked for me. I don't know anything about grapes and winemaking, so you got my attention with the grape-story. However, when you went on to say that you are the "ideal" candidate and with more "substance" than people with better grades and LSAT scores, the PS started going down the hill. Just because you are a "more flavorful grape" does not mean that you will be a better student. Rather, it seems you are making excuses for your poor GPA or LSAT score.

Also, the whole story with Judge Judy is not appropriate for the PS. It comes across that you want to become a lawyer based on a reality tv, which shows you haven't done research and may not have a clue what lawyers actually do.

Last, if you love winemaking so much, why not talk more about your time working in a winery. The unique challenges of the work or may be a story how you overcome some obstacle would be very interesting to hear. And try to not use the word "grape" as much... And also don't use the word "substance"--it's a vague term that serves no purpose in a personal statement.



I appreciate the feedback and I know that the PS needs a lot of work, but that's why I posted it here with the appropriate caption.

I get where you're coming from with the Monty Python, but I was just looking to incorporate the wine and wine-making experience because like you said, it is attention grabbing. How would you suggest that I incorporate the wine and compare myself to it without looking crazy? I do not want to look crazy, but I want to be a standout without being too much of a standout if you know what I am saying. My goals of the PS was to tell a gripping story, highlight my extensive outside of the classroom experience, and show that I understand that an ideal law school candidate does not necessarily have the best LSAT and GPA, all while showing that I am an ideal candidate. I am not trying to overcompensate for less than appealing scores in any way.

One of my professors who I regard highly told me that law schools are not looking for the highest GPA and LSAT, they want to make up an ideal class; a class that will have a unique culture that mixes, relates, and learns off of one another, a high bar passing rate, and a high rate of job success. Aside from this Professor, my LSAT prep course instructor touched on this subject as well.

I do not want to attend law school because of my experience on a Television show. I know how unrealistic the show is compared to the everyday practice of law, her show is not even real Court, it is more or less glorified legal mediation. My intention for mentioning Judge Judy was that it was the first experience I had that introduced me to the field of law. I have gained much more knowledge since I appeared on Judge Judy, through my classes, internships, and mentors; I was merely using the Judge Judy as a very unique and interesting story that lead me to BEGIN my pursuit of Law, rather then talking about my internship or thinking like I know it all before I even begin to attend law school, or even be accepted. I also used the Judge Judy experience because I saw a post about a sample PS of someone who had a similar experience to my own, and everyone who commented said they should be able to make gold with the story.

I again thank you for your feedback and any future feedback.

Brendan412
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:48 am

Re: PS very rough draft, be critical!

Postby Brendan412 » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:20 am

collegewriter wrote:I'm biased somewhat because the "overcoming a challenge in one discipline means I'll be a good lawyer" narrative is overused and generally misused in my personal opinion. So keep that in mind while reading my comments.

Do not try to tell your readers that grades don't make the best candidate. They probably won't appreciate the assumption that this is all they care about. In addition, there is a huge schism between the winemaking part and the judge judy part. Don't discuss winemaking across two paragraphs and then jump to something else entirely. I would honestly recommend removing the winemaking part of the essay or focusing entirely on winemaking. (also pretty cool that you've been making wine forever--your readers probably would love to hear about this).

The judge judy part about how interested you were in the legal system is better than the first part. It rings true to the reader and makes them feel like you'll probably be a good candidate. It however leaves us wanting specifics. Describe fewer irrelevant details (expense-free being one) and focus on SPECIFICALLY what aspects made you want to be a lawyer/attend law school. Describe SPECIFICALLY what this makes you want to study/learn/become in the future. Most people like Law and Order, but this doesn't mean they have the drive to become a lawyer. To avoid that cliché you need the details that will draw us to your narrative and make us feel like you really feel passionately about the law AND that your passion extends to law school classes and legal work specifically.


Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it. I was not going for the theme of overcoming a challenge of my discipline and how that makes me a good lawyer, what made you see this as the theme to my paper? I know I am all over the place, this is a feeler paper that will probably be restructured and rewritten many times, but I am also not looking to submit a "safe" paper. I am a bit of a spark plug, and would like my paper to represent this in an appropriate way. I know my recommendations, resume, etc. will show my uniqueness, but I want to show it and explain it myself. I would rather one admissions reader understand and "get" me, than five readers from five different schools say "ehh, what else is there on him?"

I understand where you are coming from with your comments on Judge Judy and how the way I described this experience lacks specifics in why I want to become a lawyer and why I would be a good lawyer. I hope there is a way to incorporate the Judge Judy experience into the winemaking experience, without looking like I am basing my career choices on a television show, all while showing my drive to become a lawyer. Any further commentary on this would be appreciated.

Brendan412
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:48 am

Re: PS very rough draft, be critical!

Postby Brendan412 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:34 am

bump.. please

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HorseThief
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Re: PS very rough draft, be critical!

Postby HorseThief » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:30 pm

I feel like there is potential in this PS, but it's not working right now. First off,

A good Law School applicant is very much like a good winemaking grape.

You aren't qualified to make this statement. Unless your resume shows that you've worked on an adcom, don't say this.

Second, you talk about how you're unique, then jump into a 'Why Law' segment, followed by an explanation of unsatisfactory performance as an UG. This PS is trying to do too much. Save the explanation for an addendum to the application- that's the right place to explain why the change of major led to a more representative GPA.

You should also try choosing a theme that either focuses on the winemaking or the Judge Judy experience. Both have untapped potential that could be worked out into two separate PS's. Write them out, then get some outside opinions about which is stronger.




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