Critique a PS rough draft?

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Critique a PS rough draft?

Postby John_Locke » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:11 am

GPA 3.5
LSAT 145

Being the Vice President of my fraternity for a semester changed my worldview on what it means to be a leader and a manager. The fraternity became an official chapter in the spring but the real change would be in the Fall; The chapter had many problems that needed to be addressed if we were going to succeed. The fall semester of my senior year began with being appointed Vice President from Secretary after we had to dismiss our old Vice President and Treasurer from office. Vice president is the hardest position in the fraternity; they are involved in every aspect of its operation. He oversees 10 committees, is in charge of documentation of their activities. The positions duties extend far beyond the basic requirements because the chapter relies on the VP to be the work horse.

We fired the old VP and treasurer because we found them stealing money from the fraternity. The chapter had a lot of issues with the VP because he was too autocratic with his position. When removed from his position he refused to transition with me because I lead the meetings to have him step down. We are a brotherhood, we hold each other accountable when we make mistakes. He never admitted he did anything wrong despite overwhelming evidence. He wanted to keep his position but I didn’t feel comfortable trusting him again so we removed him from VP. When we have vacant E-board positions, we have the option to move up and then elect new people to those positions. I opted to move up to VP

I came into a broken position, the previous vice president was too aggressive with his committees and all but 2 of 10 had quit going into the semester. If nobody took committee positions I would be responsible for them. In addition to not having committees we began the semester without a treasurer and a secretary so I had to do those positions until we could elect and train replacements. I was also responsible for learning and applying a new chapter reporting system. Chapters are required to meet these standards and document them for an annual report.
When we elected new committees I began training them in their positions and putting together the committee structure. We were able to fill 8 out of 10 positions, which left me with two more positions. These committees were in charge of events for the chapter and I oversaw them. We began by planning out events for the semester on a calendar to stay organized. I bought each committee a binder and put in stuff to help stay organized. I would constantly try to improve my committee structure to be as efficient as possible.

My first month was difficult since I always had to be on top of everything I was doing. I had to handle my positions, do well in school, and study for the LSAT. I became much more efficient at managing my time and finding ways to cope with the stress of having so much on my plate. Studying for the LSAT put a lot of stress on me because I wanted to devote so much more time to getting a better score. I did everything in my power to delegate tasks to free up more time to study. I went away for a weekend to take the LSAT in late September at the end of our two week recruitment period.

When I came back I found out nothing had gotten done that weekend, the E-board was supposed to pin our pledge class in. I came to the realization that my E-board didn’t understand their jobs very well. I was too focused on what I was doing to notice what was going on around me. Our president always had my back and did his best to help me with the business end but for the most part I was the one leading. Our new treasurer never got the bank card signed over to him so he could not fully do his job. Our new secretary was fully trained on his position by me but had to constantly be reminded to do his job. Our risk management chair still needed a standards board and training. Our historian didn’t understand his job and wasn’t interested in learning it. Many of our positions have never been done correctly and I understood that.

I spent time with the risk management chair setting up his position, he was willing to learn and work with me. We set up our standards board and appointed justices. The standards board hears judicial cases and approves bylaw changes. Chapter bylaws are like a blueprint for how it is supposed to operate; I knew our chapter bylaws were out of date so I began proposing amendments to the standards board. I enjoyed working on the bylaws because it allowed me to think ahead for the chapter and anticipate problems. I ended up rewriting a majority of our bylaws, many of them were not current with what we were doing or problematic to the operation of our chapter.

My coursework was very demanding but rewarding because I was taking 4 senior level business management courses. Throughout my semester I would spend a majority of my time thinking about the fraternity and what I could do. All of the problems I faced were leadership and management related issues, which coincided with what I was learning about in my classes. I always kept my mind open to suggestions; I know I don’t have all the answers. My classes became like brainstorming sessions, the lectures gave me new perspectives to consider. I was able to apply what I learned in class to the fraternity. My leadership position allowed me a lot of freedom to try new tactics and see how they played out in a real world setting. A fraternity has all the aspects of a company, except the members pay to be there as opposed to being paid to be there.

Motivation is something I was stuck on for a long time. As a leader, how do I motivate brothers to want to participate in something they pay to be in? If they pay to be here why do only 10 out of 25 actives consistently contribute? I was counting on more brothers stepping up this semester because I led by example. Nobody stepped up because they relied too much on me to handle everything and forgot what it’s like for everyone to pull their weight. My problem was myself; I had become a key figure in the fraternity. I became a person who is so vital to the function of the fraternity that when I leave, the chapter will be in significant decline.

We had E-board elections at the end of the semester. I wasn’t able to serve another term because I was a graduating senior so I advocated as much as possible for brothers to step up. My hope for the new E-board was to have all the positions run effectively. When the new E-board got elected, I tried my best to transition my knowledge to them but they were unwilling to listen. They wanted to try things their way because they thought my E-board did a bad job. They didn’t understand how much work goes into running a chapter. They acted like children disrespecting their parents; they don’t understand the hardship their parents go through until they are adults themselves.

I respected their wishes and let them run the chapter how they see fit. I always helped when asked but I stopped leading, I wanted to see the new E-board step up. The weeks passed and nothing was getting done. They grew more and more frustrated with themselves and the chapter. Their E-board didn’t understand their jobs. They tried motivating everyone by having parties and still no one was going to the events that mattered. They eventually came to me for help because they understood the struggle. They understood that if they don’t learn how to run this chapter, nobody will.

Over the course of these events I have become very passionate about leadership and management. The opportunity I experienced is far greater than any internship can offer. This was my hardest semester and no matter how tough it got I never considered quitting. What I have is a mindset that can’t be taught. I have an appetite for knowledge that can never be satisfied. My experience has strengthened my resolve to pursue law school because I understand the struggle.

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Re: Critique a PS rough draft?

Postby Indy16 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:28 am

I started by going line-by-line trying to make suggestions, but that was going to take forever and I think you need some more high-level critiques anyways.

1) It is really long. Double-spaced it's four pages. That's twice as long as most schools will want, and honestly there is a lot that can be taken out or explained in a more concise way.

2) There are a number of colloquialisms: "step up," lot of," etc. Further, there are a number of contractions. This is a formal document attesting to your academic ability. It doesn't have to read like a clinical journal article, but it should still be more academic.

3) It's all action. You say you took all these people through the training process and changed your chapter and that's great. Show us what you learned/how those are skills you will bring to law school throughout. What you did, what you learned, repeat (obviously without being quite so literal as that).

4) Don't talk about studying for the LSAT. Everyone who is applying to law school has taken the LSAT.

5) You use "the struggle" quite a bit. Not quite sure what it means.

6) If you're so passionate about leadership/management why aren't you going for an MBA or getting work experience and working your way up? You need to answer that question.

7) You spend a lot of time outlining the incompetence of everyone around you. I would be cautious about this.

I get the passion in the personal statement, and it's great. Bring down the length, make it more efficient, and consider what I've said above. Maybe check out some of the examples elsewhere on this site.

Feel free to pm me with a later draft.


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Re: Critique a PS rough draft?

Postby John_Locke » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:20 pm

Thats actually some helpful advice.

I had a hard time starting/writing this essay so I wrote about that semester, now I can trim it down and fine tune it.


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Re: Critique a PS rough draft?

Postby kublaikahn » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:50 pm

You don't have a worldview on what it means to be a manager. That is just a view, a perception, or a perspective. A world view is a life philosophy or overarching belief system.

That said, I would seriously reconsider the fraternity leader PS.

Here is some writing advice:

Don't use gerunds as subjects of your sentences (i.e. "Being") if you can avoid the practice. Instead say something like, "I only served as VP of my fraternity for a single semester, but that experience changed my perspective on what is required to be a successful leader and manager."
Being the Vice President of my fraternity for a semester changed my worldview on what it means to be a leader and a manager.

For your purposes all but eliminate the passive voice. Instead write something like: In the fall of my senior year, the fraternity dismissed our sitting VP and treasurer when it was discovered they were stealing from the general fund. In the midst of the crisis, I raised my hand when the executive committee asked for volunteers to fill the vacancy.
The fall semester of my senior year began with being appointed Vice President from Secretary after we had to dismiss our old Vice President and Treasurer from office.

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Re: Critique a PS rough draft?

Postby LawsRUs » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:58 am

First of all, thanks for sharing your story. Some recs that I can make:
- I agree that it is way too long.
- Can you polish the first sentence of your first paragraph? I am not "hooked."
- Too expository all around. Can you think of a specific moment or situation where all these ideas came through?
- Also, please address more specifically the Why Law question. I didn't see a clear connection. Is there an area that interests you? Arbitration, mediation, what have you.
Good draft, some work to do, but potential. GL !

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