Looking for feedback on PS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Looking for feedback on PS

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:02 am

Deleted. Thanks for the help.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lastsamurai
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:17 am

Re: Looking for feedback on PS

Postby lastsamurai » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:40 am

Okay, so as a fellow gay, I really appreciate the hardship that you must have gone through to come out while being a fraternity president.

That said, I think that you might want to make this a diversity statement and choose a different topic for your PS. I've been pretty successful with my application thus far, and I only briefly mention being gay in my PS but expand greatly on it in my DS. I did so because I haven't exactly demonstrated a connection between law and being gay, so it just sounded forced when I tried to tie my sexuality into why law, which might be the issue you're feeling with the last 2 paragraphs. Of course, you don't have to write about why law at all in a PS, but my preference is to show some connection to it.

If you do stick with this as your PS, you could probably condense the first 4 paragraphs into maybe 2. It just feels a bit drawn out without much substance. I also would suggest showing rather than telling (as I would for all personal statements). Saying "I am now more confident" is much less informative than saying "At our monthly meetings, I no longer wonder what my brothers are thinking about my sexuality as I call them to order." or something like that.

Also, don't directly use the words "candidate for law school" - just focus on showing them why you're a good candidate.

I hope that this is helpful...you certainly have a good story in there...it's just all in how you package it.

Best of luck to you - feel free to PM me if you want me to read another draft or want any other advice!

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sherealcool
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Re: Looking for feedback on PS

Postby sherealcool » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:55 pm

General: This piece has a very strong theme and is relatively well written. However, some of your phrasing is cliché and nonessential. I think this theme is okay as a personal statement, but you could use it as a diversity statement as lastsamurai mentioned.

Big things:
1) Fix first paragraph. The first paragraph is a little scattered, and it begins with cliché phrasing. “It was a bright fall morning” is almost as bad as "It was a dark and stormy night."

It’s difficult to read that this incident seemed “mostly inconsequential” to you at the time. It leads me to wonder “did this person not have any compassion or humanity prior to finding their sexuality?” To make things more confusing, you claim that this is one the most “vivid” memories of your college career…even though you just mentioned that this incident seemed inconsequential at the time. If it was truly inconsequential at the time, wouldn’t you have immediately forgotten it?

2) Edit the 2nd paragraph. The 2nd paragraph doesn’t flow well. It seems to summarize the rest of your PS, which is very odd given that we’re not even half-way through. Yet, you describe a general overview of your growth - you go from being “depressed and angry” to being a better candidate to law school in no time at all. That’s very jarring to the reader, who presumably wants to know the details of your transition before reading a summary. I suggest that you edit this paragraph to describe how you were affected by being "closeted," and how you knew you had to change. Doing something like that would transition well into your next paragraph, which describes coming out. Each paragraph should say something unique about your experiences. Save summaries for the end.

You also repeat unique phrases from this paragraph later on in you PS. EX – “immeasurably stronger person” “fear of rejection.” Those repetitions only add to the “summary- esk” nature of this paragraph.

Small things:
1)Don’t use “fragile mental state.” It’s a bit melodramatic.

2) Smooth your transitions. The 5th paragraph looks like an “accomplishment” paragraph in that you explicitly talk about how being president makes you a good candidate for law school. Yes, it does seem "forced." This paragraph seems a little disjointed because you don’t revisit your previous themes – being honest with yourself, overcoming your insecurities, etc. I would use the first sentence to transition from the themes I just mentioned to how you’re a good law school candidate today. As the person above mentioned, don't explicitly say "I'm a good law school candidate." Let the audience come to that conclusion.

3) Don’t use the word “suppress.” You say you “gradually learned to suppress” your nervousness. The word “suppress” suggests that your nervousness still exists and that you’re just hiding it. Not sure if that’s what you wanted to convey or not. I would change the word to something else.

4) Don’t start a paragraph with “additionally.” It weakens your topic sentence, and it’s superfluous.


About your concerns regarding "why law." Law schools use the PS to evaluate your writing and to understand a little more about you. So, I think of the PS statement as answering the question "why are you a good candidate for law school." The "why are you interested in law" question is secondary, if anything. Now, each school is different. UChicago lists some very interesting and "successful" PS examples that have nothing to do with law. My PS is more similar to these: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/alumni/maga ... irownwords

Note the structure of each PS: problem-> resolution-> summary of qualities in relation to law school. The summary is at the very end.

Berkeley seems to feel similar to UC. Its website says, "there is no required topic for the statement. It is your opportunity to describe the subjective qualities that you will bring to the study of law at Berkeley. "
http://www.law.berkeley.edu/5188.htm

Again, the question seems to be "what makes you a good candidate?," not "why law?"

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

Re: Looking for feedback on PS

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:23 pm

OP here. Thank you for your detailed responses. I'm going to take your suggestions into consideration and make some (major) edits. If you guys don't mind, I'll PM you the new draft when it's ready. Thanks so much!




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