Final Draft! Please Critique!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
Posts: 309281
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Final Draft! Please Critique!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:00 am

When I decided to apply for colleges in the United States, my 18-year-old self had little conception of what an undergraduate education at a top American university would entail, except for a rather vague idea constantly reinforced by the perpetually cheerful and well-dressed students sitting on the grass under the New England sun from college brochures, that it would promise me four years of meaningful work, challenges and vibrant aliveness during which I would never seem to be bored—the opposite of what my 7-to-5, humdrum high school life in China consisting of endless problem sets and memorization of historical facts by rote had been. Little did I care to think about the costs the would come with sustaining my passion in the face of defeats when I had never, up until that point spoken English on a conversational basis or the oftentimes uninspiring and laborious preparation it would take to transform my then inchoate excitement into concrete, executable plans.

Coming into X I devoted myself to a number of endeavors where I did not have a high starting point but nevertheless thought I could potentially excel in. I tried out for the editorial board of Y, having somehow convinced myself that my “unusual facility” for languages by the standards of my Chinese high school would make me more than competitive to my aspiring Pulitzer-winning American classmates in commenting on topics ranging from campus politics to the practical wisdom of Shakespeare in contemporary business. It would not be hard to fathom my level of shock and dismay when I belatedly discovered that my “fresh insights” into issues had all been explored for many times before and my writing was not only not exceptional but also “unwieldy and undisciplined.” Besieged by a sense of defeat then but eager to get ahead, I responded to my frustration in the best way I know how to—invest more time and energy into even more activities in the hope that my efforts would all be quickly validated. It was not long before my enthusiasm to venture into unexplored areas turned into an obsession of the approval of the work I have done. Much to my own despair, I was neither getting the recognition I so coveted nor experiencing the fulfillment in the work itself I had imagined before college.

After a leave of absence during sophomore spring, I cut back on my engagements to fully concentrate on the work in the activities that I was involved in, one of which being directing a volunteer program aimed to educate senior Chinese citizens about American civics. Every Saturday and Sunday, I spent over six hours each day educating them about the purpose of the Constitution and what each of the first ten amendments is about, making sure that their needs were properly attended to by the tutors—most of whom did not speak any Chinese, and responding to any emergency that might arise such as two students disrupting a class by having gotten into a heated argument over whether the third branch of the government is the Supreme Court or the “courts”. The responsibility of the program had been heavier than any of my previous engagements but strangely enough, I experienced neither the frustration nor the impatient need to get acknowledged that had characterized my endeavors thus far. On the contrary, my mind was entirely focused on doing my best to help the students learn better and I had little time to think about whether or not my efforts would be “validated.” Even when things were going well, I found myself constantly racking my brains, trying to come up with even more innovative ways to make the learning experience more efficient and effective for the students. For the first time, I realized that when I fully commit myself to an endeavor I am passionate about, not out of external rewards, but because I wanted to hone my skills in order to perform a better job, I could not only be resilient and tenacious when the odds are against me, but also more importantly, continue to push the boundaries of my abilities beyond what recognition required of me and discover an internal motivation to keep exerting myself irregardless of the returns on my efforts.

The same motivation to keep applying myself despite immediate returns or the lack thereof also manifested itself in my constitutional law class this semester. The form of learning during sections, where we were divided into two teams and each asked to craft an argument impromptu using applicable principles and cases from lectures, had been alien to me. However, much as I was initially intimidated by the setting of the debate, I was surprised by how interested and attentive I was going into sections every week, carefully filtering through the convolutions of prejudices and emotions of issues to construct unimpassioned yet cogent arguments. What was most valuable and enlightening to me about the experience was the recognition that the times I made the most effective and reasoned arguments had actually not been when I simply felt like I cared deeply about the point I was advancing but rather, when I had come to learn to constrain my eagerness and transform it into logical, analytical statements filled with subtle nuances that could stand scrutiny from the other side. It was sobering to know that while my curiosity and interest were valuable, it would ultimately be the kind of restrained passion typified by what I had learned from the class that could make my future undertakings a success.

I think a law school education at this point will greatly benefit me because first of all, through an internship at one of China’s biggest law firms and my experience taking constitutional law, I have developed an interest in using language to craft logical arguments in order to get to the crux of issues and believe that it is the kind of interest I find worthwhile in itself, which can withstand both temporary setbacks and complacency from success. Secondly, the training of law school can also assist me in developing the mental discipline to stay clear-minded and analytical in times of passion, which will be helpful to me in a career as a lawyer and beyond. The challenges and failures from the past four years have taught me how to transform my rudimentary excitement about possibilities four years ago into a determined will to actively pursue my goals. And I hope law school is where I can continue to refine my skills with industry and care to better myself in the next three years.


Posts: 554
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:48 pm

Re: Final Draft! Please Critique!

Postby lawschool2014hopeful » Thu Jan 30, 2014 1:20 pm


1) Learn to use periods, your entire first paragraph is a sentence
2) Your story of teaching class constitutional law is completely unrelated to your story of moving to US/expectation of college
3) Way too long, your last paragraph is perhaps the most generic thing one could write about law. Be specific and personal
4) Your writing seems extremely try hard of using complex sentence structure and multi-syllabic words, none of which are of any benefit to you. You want to write with elegance, using "big" words only when it befits the paragraph

Return to “Law School Personal Statements?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.