PS rewrite, please evaluate

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Mack.Hambleton
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PS rewrite, please evaluate

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:32 pm

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Last edited by Mack.Hambleton on Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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papercut
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Re: PS rewrite, please evaluate

Postby papercut » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:17 am

I'll just give you input on a small chunk of your PS. You can generalize the advice to the rest of it.

As I exited the rental car I was immediately hit with a gust of cold air.


I think parts of this are in the passive voice. We also don't need to know it was a "rental" car. Remember, to keep your adjectives to an absolute minimum. How about:

Getting out of the car, a gust of cold air hit me.


No one says "befitting" out loud these days, so you shouldn't write it. Also, this sentence is loaded with adjectives. A good writer shows, they don't tell. Finally, this sentence is pretty long. Shorter sentences are almost always better.

The weather is usually very pleasant in Leonard, Texas, but today the sky was overcast and grim, befitting the somber mood of the day.


How about:

The usually pleasant sky over Leonard, Texas was overcast.


Who is "he?" It's weird to refer to someone we haven't met in the story for the first time as "he." You should try to be nicer to the priest and respectful of the occasion/rituals. Your admissions officer might have attended a funeral recently. It's best not to offend anyone. "[T]he plot where he was to be buried" sounds awfully longwinded when "burial plot" would do as a replacement. The second your reader realizes this is a funeral they will fill in the details in their mind, so I don't think it's even necessary to talk about the priest.

My parents shuffled me into the crowd near the plot where he was to be buried while the minister droned on with the bible verses and routine sayings of the service.


How about:

We shuffled into the crowd near the burial plot.


We don't really need to know that the minister went first, then the family and friends, just get to the family. Also, "went around and shared their memories," should just be "shared their memories." You get nothing from "went around" being there except clutter.

Once the minister had finished, a ceremony was commenced in which the deceased’s family and friends went around and shared their memories of him one last time before he was put to rest.


How about:

The deceased’s family and friends shared their memories of him one last time before he was put to rest.


The below should be shorter. Also, don't ever use a long "fancy" sounding word when a perfectly good small word would do. "Articulate" should be "talk about" or "speak about." When you use words that aren't often spoken your writing can sound pretentious and immature.

I was much too young to try and articulate my feelings in front of the crowd, but what I did do was listen.


How about:

Too young to talk about my feelings in the crowd, I chose to listen.



The below is way too long for the point you're making.

I listened closely to the stories told by this man’s close friends and family about his life and the impact he had on his community.


How about:

I heard about the impact this man had on our community.


If you don't want to introduce us to who this man was, then writing about him is a bit awkward. You have to refer to him as "the deceased" or "the man". If you were having some emotions at the funeral besides boredom we're having a hard time figuring it out. Was he a family friend? Your mother's friend?

Final note. Personal statements should almost always be about something more recent in your life. Don't write about the distant past - high school is already the distant past. Here it sounds like you're maybe 7?

Overall, make your sentences shorter. Use active verbs. Cut down on the adjectives. And get rid of those "fancy" sounding words. If you read your PS to one of your friends they should feel like you wrote it, because it sounds like you, not like someone trying to do some fancy writing.

Good luck with the rewrite. :)

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: PS rewrite, please evaluate

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:47 am

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Last edited by Mack.Hambleton on Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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papercut
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Re: PS rewrite, please evaluate

Postby papercut » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:57 am

Yeah, good PS statements are like pop music. Don't bore us, get to the chorus. Get to the meat of your PS quickly. It's really easy to lose a reader.

But it is a good idea to tell a story, instead of trying to write an analytical paper. Remember the point of a PS is for the admissions people to get to know you beyond your numbers.




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