Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

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maybeman

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Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

Postby maybeman » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:37 pm

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Last edited by maybeman on Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gery0n

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Re: Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

Postby gery0n » Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:19 pm

I'm posting from my phone, so I won't be able to get too in depth atm.

I hope this doesn't come off too harsh, but know that most personal statements have to go through many, many rewrites. I worked at my college writing center, and sometimes we'd tell the students to scrap their essays three or four times before they found one that worked.

Initial thoughts: you spend too much time in this essay talking about your childhood, which doesn't really tell us much about who you are today.

Also, since most of the essay is devoted to how you were successful in violin but then quit, it kind of gives the impression that you don't follow through with tasks.

What works: it's cohesive and logically structured.

I just don't feel I come away from this with much of an understanding of you as a person.

What other topics were you considering?

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brinicolec

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Re: Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

Postby brinicolec » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:26 pm

gery0n wrote:I'm posting from my phone, so I won't be able to get too in depth atm.

I hope this doesn't come off too harsh, but know that most personal statements have to go through many, many rewrites. I worked at my college writing center, and sometimes we'd tell the students to scrap their essays three or four times before they found one that worked.

Initial thoughts: you spend too much time in this essay talking about your childhood, which doesn't really tell us much about who you are today.

Also, since most of the essay is devoted to how you were successful in violin but then quit, it kind of gives the impression that you don't follow through with tasks.

What works: it's cohesive and logically structured.

I just don't feel I come away from this with much of an understanding of you as a person.

What other topics were you considering?


I echo the sentiment that I feel somewhat lost regarding what you wanted the reader to get from this. By telling this story, what is it that you want us (or the adcomm) to learn about you?

Maybe if you kind of clarify for us what your initial thoughts were when choosing this topic, we might be able to suggest how you can restructure this to pass on that msg. --- or you could try another topic. But I'm assuming there's a reason you thought this was a story worth telling so maybe it's just an issue of your delivery not getting the point across.

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maybeman

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Re: Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

Postby maybeman » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:23 am

gery0n wrote:Initial thoughts: you spend too much time in this essay talking about your childhood, which doesn't really tell us much about who you are today.

Also, since most of the essay is devoted to how you were successful in violin but then quit, it kind of gives the impression that you don't follow through with tasks.

What other topics were you considering?


Thanks a ton for taking the time to read it and give solid feedback. My initial worries after writing it were exactly what you mentioned. I have a few other ideas. Any other thoughts you have on these would be great. One is related to the Holocaust. I took down oral testimony from a Holocaust survivor who went through extermination camps in the 40's, and I wrote a paper about it. I later travelled through Poland, Germany, and Israel on a fellowship and wrote a "thesis" about my research there. I would love writing a PS about this, but I was a junior in high school during the fellowship. I would have a hard time relating that experience to me 4-5 years later. My second idea feels a bit overused//cliche. I was one of the top ranked national debater in high school. I continue debating in college and am relatively successful, but nothing special. Other than these experiences, I'm a whitebread K-JD-- I'll keep brainstorming though.

brinicolec wrote:
I feel somewhat lost regarding what you wanted the reader to get from this. By telling this story, what is it that you want us (or the adcomm) to learn about you?

Maybe if you kind of clarify for us what your initial thoughts were when choosing this topic, we might be able to suggest how you can restructure this to pass on that msg. --- or you could try another topic. But I'm assuming there's a reason you thought this was a story worth telling so maybe it's just an issue of your delivery not getting the point across.


Thanks for responding. This is great advice, and I definitely see where you're coming from. My thought re: adcomms was I have a really high GPA, hopefully a high LSAT, and with this PS I can show I also have a left-brain side to me. Violin also took up so much of my life it was honestly the first thing that came to mind.

About switching up the delivery, do you think I should cut (or more quickly paraphrase) the childhood "chronology" and directly talk about how I feel I've grown due to my musical upbringing? I'm not opposed to just scrapping it, but I'd like to dig a little deeper first.

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brinicolec

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Re: Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

Postby brinicolec » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:30 am

maybe man wrote:About switching up the delivery, do you think I should cut (or more quickly paraphrase) the childhood "chronology" and directly talk about how I feel I've grown due to my musical upbringing? I'm not opposed to just scrapping it, but I'd like to dig a little deeper first.


Regarding slimming down the stuff about your childhood, I'd say definitely. I think that if you want to talk about the violin thing, you should definitely focus more on what it says about you *and obviously in a good way*. I understand that you want to show you're more than just a high LSAT/GPA candidate by emphasizing your artistic side, but I think it needs to tie more into who you are now. You said the first thing you thought of was violin for this. Why? What about playing the violin spoke to you when it came to thinking of a topic you want to use to tell adcomm who you are? How did/does playing the violin speak on who you are? That's what I think this is missing, that piece that ties it to who you are in a concrete way.

I hope that made sense. If not, let me know and I can try to rephrase. I'm currently just procrastinating on writing a paper :roll:

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maybeman

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Re: Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

Postby maybeman » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:34 am

brinicolec wrote:
You said the first thing you thought of was violin for this. Why? What about playing the violin spoke to you when it came to thinking of a topic you want to use to tell adcomm who you are? How did/does playing the violin speak on who you are? That's what I think this is missing, that piece that ties it to who you are in a concrete way.

I hope that made sense. If not, let me know and I can try to rephrase. I'm currently just procrastinating on writing a paper :roll:



Haha, well at least your procrastination technique is very helpful :) . I chose the topic because there aren't any other things that ground me to my past like the violin. It was a bridge to success in school, debate, and probably a few other things I can't think of. In terms of stuff I left out of the PS that could possibly function like a concrete link to "who I am", I have a few ideas. Let me know if these sound stupid, exaggerated, etc: after playing tons of long, advanced pieces interesting skills and perspectives become engrained in you e.g., being quick to find patterns, being comfortable on a stage, and being really sensitive towards subtle details. I'm sure there are great ways to frame violin in terms of "who I am" and reflect positive, mature characteristics, but I may be completely missing it here. I could frame it in terms of teaching me a solid work ethic, but I was also a pretty big slacker in my high school years. :roll:

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brinicolec

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Re: Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

Postby brinicolec » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:46 am

maybeman wrote:
brinicolec wrote:
You said the first thing you thought of was violin for this. Why? What about playing the violin spoke to you when it came to thinking of a topic you want to use to tell adcomm who you are? How did/does playing the violin speak on who you are? That's what I think this is missing, that piece that ties it to who you are in a concrete way.

I hope that made sense. If not, let me know and I can try to rephrase. I'm currently just procrastinating on writing a paper :roll:



Haha, well at least your procrastination technique is very helpful :) . I chose the topic because there aren't any other things that ground me to my past like the violin. It was a bridge to success in school, debate, and probably a few other things I can't think of. In terms of stuff I left out of the PS that could possibly function like a concrete link to "who I am", I have a few ideas. Let me know if these sound stupid, exaggerated, etc: after playing tons of long, advanced pieces interesting skills and perspectives become engrained in you e.g., being quick to find patterns, being comfortable on a stage, and being really sensitive towards subtle details. I'm sure there are great ways to frame violin in terms of "who I am" and reflect positive, mature characteristics, but I may be completely missing it here. I could frame it in terms of teaching me a solid work ethic, but I was also a pretty big slacker in my high school years. :roll:


Hm, okay. Since I haven't gone through cycle yet, I can't solidly say what will work and won't work but I'm sure many people will be writing about their great work ethic, so if you can think of something more unique, I'd go with that. A lot of what you're saying is talking about skills that you have, but how do those skills tell me who you are.

Think of it this way. I'm a complete stranger to you. In a couple of pages, tell me who you are. If there was only one thing about who you are you could tell me, what would it be? What, to you, is a good defining characteristic that you can tie to your story?

Again, this is just how I think. But if you create a compelling PS regarding how violin has helped with building those skills or how violin has helped with your work ethic other than a usual "Violin takes a lot of practice. I mastered very difficult music by being willing to put in the work" then definitely try that. In fact, try every and anything that you think might work!

One user's advice on here to most everyone, including me, seems to be write about whatever you feel at the time, then set it aside for a little while (a few days, a week, whatever) and return to it. Does it still seem like a good idea? Do you still like it? If so, continue working with it. If not, try again. If, during that waiting period, you get another idea, write it up too. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get it down, let it sit, return to it, repeat until you find THE topic.

This PS thing is a huge pain because it's so open-ended, but it's also kind of nice to be able to really write whatever your heart desires (within reason).

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gery0n

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Re: Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

Postby gery0n » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:20 pm

Have you read the first essay in this link? http://www.law.uchicago.edu/alumni/maga ... irownwords
It's a pretty outstanding example of a music themed ps.

Also, feel free to pm me anytime for feedback. I'm in education, and (weirdly) during the summer I miss looking over essays.

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maybeman

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Re: Rough PS. All feedback appreciated

Postby maybeman » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:25 am

gery0n wrote:Have you read the first essay in this link? http://www.law.uchicago.edu/alumni/maga ... irownwords
It's a pretty outstanding example of a music themed ps.

Also, feel free to pm me anytime for feedback. I'm in education, and (weirdly) during the summer I miss looking over essays.



Oh wow, I haven't. That was great. And thank you -- I will definitely take you up on that!

I noticed that like me she spent a good amount of time on her childhood and also quit playing her instrument. It seems like the critical difference between our statements (other than her notably more polished syntax and structure) was that she wove what she gained from her instrument throughout the statement and brought those threads together in a quick conclusion. Do you think that strategy is possible for me? I could reorient my PS toward how violin altered and developed me and sketch a concluding paragraph in that vein. I could cut some of the childhood stuff to focus more on the current me.

I really appreciate the help! Thanks a ton!



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