(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:37 pm

Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Looking for critiques/advice

Postby anubis1911 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:All comments are appreciated!
This is not a story that will leave you in tears. I'm not going to move you with tales of being raised by a single father while my mother struggled with a drug addiction that left her homeless. I'm not going to inspire you with my weight loss journey, and I'm not going to break your heart with descriptions of the suffering orphans I met while living abroad. These experiences are important because they taught me compassion, humility, and perseverance, but the story I want to tell is of a different nature. I want to tell you about the moment I knew I had to be a lawyer. (I'm not entirely satisfied with this final sentence. I may play with it.)

The setting is Bishkek,capital of Kyrgyzstan. My fellow Peace Corps volunteers and I have rented an apartment to celebrate the birthdays of two among us. We made the mistake of chatting with a police officer on our way back from the store, and he's just shown up at our door with two of his colleagues. One of them immediately runs to the kitchen window and begins to vomit. A few of us huddle in the corner, trying to distance ourselves from the mess.

The officer finishes, wipes his mouth, and stumbles in our direction, reeking of vodka. I can’t decide whether I should laugh or be appalled by the ridiculousness of the situation.

“Give me your IDs,” he manages to mumble in slurred Russian. We all scramble to abide.

Meanwhile, his two comrades are roaming the rest of the apartment. One of them says nothing, his only job to look menacing. The other shamelessly hits on every girl present, asking her to take him to America.

Too baffled to think in post-Soviet terms, we try to persuade the officers to leave by using logic and rationality; "We've done nothing wrong, and we are safe. Everything is fine here. Please, officers, go enjoy your night."

We fail. Our crime, it would seem, is being American. They are looking for a bribe. It's not the first time we have been targeted for this purpose.

When we refuse, they hold our IDs hostage. They threaten to call the embassy and the media to tell them we are running a brothel. They threaten to have us kicked out of the country. They threaten to have the entirety of Peace Corps kicked out of the country. Here we are, bearing witness to the corruption that would shortly throw the entire country into revolution and instability, and all we can do is plead. I silently ponder the possible outcomes, and hope that we'll come out ahead if forced into a game of he said/she said.

In the end, it did come down to a game of he said/she said, and the truth did not win out entirely. Three dedicated volunteers were forced to leave the country so that these unscrupulous authority figures could save face. Initially, I felt lucky to have not been one of the punished. Then, I felt angered by my reaction. Why should lack of punishment make me feel lucky when there was no crime to begin with? I have never felt more helpless, indignant, or outraged in my life.

While the unjustness of these proceedings has obviously made an impression on me, the more lasting impression came from recognizing that similar situations are happening every single minute of every single day—all around the world. The details differ, and the degrees of severity vary, but the feelings of helplessness and injustice are sure to be the same, if not profoundly worse. It troubled me to think that people could be so mistreated without someone to step up to defend them. I decided then that I want to do the defending.

I have been interested in law since high school, however, I wasn't always sure I would be satisfied with dedicating my life to it. The above experiences solidified things for me; I can not be satisfied without dedicating my life to it.

I'm thinking of adding another paragraph that references why I want to go to each particular school, and sums everything up, but I'm not sure it's necessary. Thoughts?

I have crossed out [some of] the unimportant things. You have limited space, you need to capitalize on your experience. Russian corruption is a big issue, and their exploitation of the Peace Corps is an amazing story. Don't waste space trying to be poetic. It's contrived.

In the second parag. "My fellow Peace Corps...have..." needs to be changed to had. Keep the same tense all the way through the sentence.

Third to last parag. he said/she said could be changed to hearsay.

ID's is an abbreviation and therefore inappropriate in a formal essay

unjustness is not a word

when you speak of the officer hitting on the american girls, use past tense.

You should buy and memorize Strunk &White's The Elements of Style. It will help you tremendously and its a CHEAP book.

Anonymous User
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Re: Looking for critiques/advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:15 am

Excellent. Thank you!


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Re: Looking for critiques/advice

Postby kublaikahn » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:11 am

It is an interesting story. It could be better in the beginning and the end. The middle is juicy though.

Forget the "moment I knew part." Speak in plain terms and say something like, "I learned the powerlessness of having been made to feel grateful for an injustice served upon me. Like an innocent man being relieved to get 30 days instead of 10 years." I don't know, something like that.

And don't try to give the highlights of four stories in the front end. It feels like you are cheating, almost boasting. Pick one and go with it. If you have the acumen to include those things in your piece then by all means. But don't start your thesis by telling us what you are not going to tell us. Cheesy. I actually thought you were insulting others who had those stories until I realized you were talking about yourself.

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

Re: Looking for critiques/advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:30 am


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