PS draft. any thoughts greatly appreciated!

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Anonymous User
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PS draft. any thoughts greatly appreciated!

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:24 am

I finally think I have a draft that might be going in the right direction. I could really use some fresh perspective on it. Any advice would be very appreciated. Thanks!


“You have the power to change the world in real and lasting ways,” Professor A tilted his chin to survey the class over his glasses. I shrunk in my chair, certain he had caught my gaze. Like many of my professors, A was a renaissance man with the resume of a modern day superhero. Along with his professorship at UNIVERSITY, he was also a leading intellectual property attorney, and travelled to Alabama for pro bono defense work. He applauded our hard work in getting to UNIVERSITY, and with his next breath assured us that the opportunity would be wasted without the initiative to match. He explained that for many of us those changes would start with the small steps we would make in classes like his—and that it would take not only hard work in the classroom, but also connections to the world outside of the UNIVERSITY bubble.

Swept up in a world of international law research for my final paper, I thought back to his advice. I timidly typed out an email to an attorney whose team had recently argued a case in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. I reviewed the email thoroughly, gathered my courage, and hit send. A few days later, I was on the phone with one of the attorney’s co-counsel. My prepared questions did not ready me for the thrill of interacting with a person who had such close and personal knowledge of the case I had been researching. She happily answered my questions, helpfully explained the key issues and humbly extolled the importance arguing immigration rights in front of the Supreme Court even in cases, like hers, that end in a loss.

Still reeling from the experience, I finished my paper with an unfamiliar fervor. For the first time since reaching UNIVERSITY, I felt free of the many weights I had been lugging around—guilt for the financial burden placed on my family, fear of failing to meet the standards set by my peers, and general uneasiness about finding my way. I began to apply A's advice to other aspects of my life, and found that taking risks through initiative netted impressive results. Whereas before, I might shy away from a potential mentor or collaborator, I began seizing opportunities when I found them and creating them when I did not. I learned that major changes were possible, but the first step was always to ask.

This ingrained sense of initiative has lead to tremendous personal growth over my two terms with AmeriCorps. Before accepting the position at NON PROFIT, I familiarized myself with the organization’s many programs, and which ones I would best serve. I helped draft my position description, ensuring that I would be involved with the projects I found most interesting. My passion for serving young, impoverished communities fueled my interest in the Transitional Living Program, which helps homeless youth find their way to independent living through an outreach and residential program. After a couple of months acclimating to the program, I approached my supervisor and told her that I was ready to take on a caseload of my own—something not often done by AmeriCorps members. Not only did I feel prepared, I told her, but I also believed it would make me a greater asset to the organization and give me more experience.

At UNIVERSITY, it is easy to become intimidated or overwhelmed by all of the entrepreneurial energy—sitting in a campus eatery, you are bound to overhear buzz about one person’s startup, another’s application user interface, and another’s brilliant non-profit idea. I am sure that selection bias is partly responsible, but beyond that is the fact that UNIVERSITY imbues its students with a sense of self-efficacy. I feel confident in my ability to analyze issues from unique perspectives, formulate novel interventions, and forge community partnerships to see them implemented. A law degree will provide a new set of tools to use in my ongoing efforts to improve the community around me. From time to time I reflect on Professor A’s words of inspiration. I believe that I am capable of becoming an agent of real and meaningful change; it is with that confidence that I pursue the study of law.

Anonymous User
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Re: PS draft. any thoughts greatly appreciated!

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:20 pm

I am still looking for feedback. Another poster I asked for help basically said it's beyond redemption and I should start from scratch. What do you guys think?

kublaikahn
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Re: PS draft. any thoughts greatly appreciated!

Postby kublaikahn » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:22 pm

"How was your day, honey?" "I spent the day swept up in a world of international law research. How was yours?" My point is nobody talks this way. You sound like an insufferable douche. Instead of trying to sound profound, say something profound. Or at least interesting. I like the theme of reaching out and building connections. I would build on that.


Cut the BS about "superhero" professors and your super-special university. His "wise words" and your self deprecation regarding your school's prestige add nothing to the piece (or your application). It actually sounds like false praise/modesty.

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Re: PS draft. any thoughts greatly appreciated!

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:53 am

kublaikahn wrote:You sound like an insufferable douche.


Being an insufferable douche seems to be your schtick, so I'm confident in your ability to sniff out even the faintest whiff of tolerable douche. Wait, wait...I can say that in a more "everyday" parlance: takes one to know one. :wink:

In all seriousness though, this PS seems to have stirred up negative feelings for you and at least one other poster, so it sounds like I should start again. I cut this down from four pages. A lot of what I cut had to do with applying the lesson I learned to the work I am currently doing. I think that the university talk was less overwhelming in the longer version, but is overkill here. My university experience was transformative. It's a huge part of my identity and I am proud of it. A large part of that was getting over the doubts that I had about myself. That's the point I was trying to get across. Maybe I will just state that point and talk more about my current work.

Thanks for your feedback.

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papercut
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Re: PS draft. any thoughts greatly appreciated!

Postby papercut » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:23 am

“You have the power to change the world in real and lasting ways,” Professor A tilted his chin to survey the class over his glasses.


Did one of the students say that, and that's how the professor reacted?

I shrunk in my chair, certain he had caught my gaze.


Wait, did you say it?

I think you should make a small change:

“You have the power to change the world in real and lasting ways,” Professor A said, tilting his chin to survey the class over his glasses.


I shrunk in my chair, certain he had caught my gaze.


No one says "gaze" anymore. How about:

I shrunk in my chair, avoiding his eyes.


I think it's a bad idea to talk about changing the world in a PS with rare exceptions. Did you spend some time chasing down war criminals? Did you fight a war? Did you create a non-profit that fed 1000 poor kids in Detroit? Or did you take a vacation in Africa? You get the drift.

Like many of my professors, A was a renaissance man with the resume of a modern day superhero.


The image of a superhero and a renaissance man doesn't work. What's a "modern day superhero['s]," resume supposed to look like? This doesn't have the affect you want it to have on the reader. Don't try to be fancy with your writing. Keep it simple.

Along with his professorship at UNIVERSITY, he was also a leading intellectual property attorney, and travelled to Alabama for pro bono defense work.


Are you trying to get your professor into law school? This is your personal statement, it shouldn't be about anyone else.

He applauded our hard work in getting to UNIVERSITY, and with his next breath assured us that the opportunity would be wasted without the initiative to match.


This is transparent. You're trying to say you went to a prestigious university. This will never work. First, if you went to prestigious university, you wouldn't have to explicitly tell anyone in your PS, and you wouldn't want to. Second, if you went to a pretty good, but far from elite school then it looks bad.

He explained that for many of us those changes would start with the small steps we would make in classes like his—and that it would take not only hard work in the classroom, but also connections to the world outside of the UNIVERSITY bubble.


Okay, I think this is a bad intro, but I'll give you some comments on just the writing style here.

This sentence is way too long. The punctuation is also strange. Why are you using a dash here?
You never told us what kind of class it was, so it's hard to understand what these changes might be like.

You have to remember what purpose a PS serves. It allows admissions officers to get to know you as a person. A real human being. And they can smell BS. So don't try it. Just be honest. Tell us a story about yourself. You don't have to want to change the world. In fact that's really hard to prove in a PS. It doesn't even have to be about law school at all, as long as it's about you.




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