PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:19 am

OK here's my PS below, feel free to critique it, hate it, love it. Unrestricted honest feedback please. If grammar mistakes, not concerned about that just content stuff. Ok here it is:

When I started playing trumpet in the 6th grade I was horrible at it. The only reason I even decided to play trumpet was because my friend convinced me that band would be a fun class and trumpet would be the easiest instrument to learn because it only had three buttons. Turns out, the trumpet is not the easiest instrument to learn. I was so bad at the trumpet that they held me back with the 6th graders when I continued playing in the 7th grade. I felt kind of humiliated and I wanted to quit. I told my parents I wasn't doing music anymore and they vehemently opposed the decision. I wish I could interject at this part with a lofty feel-good story about how they gave me a hall of fame worthy speech about never giving up and chasing my dreams. Instead they said, "I paid way too much money renting that instrument out for you to quit! You have to play until the end of middle school." It was decided then. Since I was going to keep playing I decided to practice to move up into the next band level. Eventually I started to actually like playing the instrument.

High school is when I fell in love with it. In my 9th grade year I scored a music and academic scholarship to a music-oriented private school in [redacted for anonymity]. I was placed into the school's jazz band, which was considered a really big deal for a freshman. At that point in my life, I was completely unfamiliar with jazz but I fell in love with it the minute I got exposed. I remember walking into one of the upperclassmen's jam sessions and being in awe. I had never seen people live playing music at that level. Our band was amazing my freshman year. We had a core group of 4-5 seniors who all received full ride scholarships to [redacted for anonymity]. However, none of them made the all-state band. One of the big traditions of my school's music program was for the senior class to audition for a spot in the all-state jazz band. All-State was a band composed of the top trumpet, trombone, piano, percussion and sax players. After it was announced that none of our rising seniors made all-state I remember thinking "If those guys couldn't get in then there's no way I'll ever be in there!"

The next year I was forced to leave my school due to financial difficulties. Before leaving, my band teacher pulled me aside and told me I should convince my parents to figure out a way for me to stay. I'll never forget that moment when he looked me dead in my eyes and said, "If you leave this school you'll quit playing trumpet. You'll pick it up every few months or so, but you're never going to be great." I told him I disagree and bid my farewells. That was the last conversation I had with him. My local high school's music program was nothing like [redacted]. There were about 20 players total in the concert band, which usually holds about 80+ players for most schools. Our music teacher was a first year teacher, no one ever brought their instrument home and you were considered somewhat weird if you took music serious. Ironically, in that environment I played the trumpet more than I ever had before. I had already fallen in love with the instrument. I'd play it all the time whether it be at home, in the hallways, after school, shopping centers, concerts, recitals, plays, etc. Any opportunity I had to play the trumpet I leaped on it. By the time I was a senior I had gotten pretty good at my instrument. My music director ___________ came to me one day and said, "Are you applying for all-state this year?" I figured, why not? The audition required sending in a tape directly to the state reviewers. About 300+ trumpeters from the state of [redacted] applied each year for only five spots. My band director also informed me that he would not be doing more than one take because he felt that it would be cheating. When the day came for the audition, I was right in the fire pit. I thought I did terribly. In fact, I thought I did so poorly that I told my music director I wasn't sure about sending it. After convincing me for some time, I gave him the okay to send it. At least I tried, I thought.

A few weeks later I was perusing some social media site and read a message from a friend of mine that said, "Hey congratulations on getting second chair in All-State man!" Was this a prank? I quickly messaged him back, "What are you talking about?" He informed me that he got an acceptance paper from the all-state committee that evening and that it came with a roster of the band attached and he saw my name second. I was speechless. I remember running downstairs smiling ear to ear telling my Dad I made it into the band. I had never felt so happy in my entire life. Getting into all-state helped me to see what I was capable of. It also taught me why people say that its best to do things you're passionate about in life. I could never tell you how many hours I practiced, what drills I played, or what techniques I worked on. I never felt like I was doing those things, I just loved playing my trumpet. I learned that when one has passion behind what they're doing, they can accomplish anything.

Its kind of shitty and malformed right now. This is its baby baby phase before I craft this bad boy but I need some preliminary critiques.

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Re: PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 20, 2016 4:20 am

Oh fuck this is 1,000 words. I fucked up. Is that still cool?

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Re: PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby Dcc617 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:19 am


So 1) I personally think it's weird to focus on something from middle and high school. There's really nothing that's happened to you in college or after that has has an impact on you?

2) What are you trying to convey about yourself? I don't feel like I know you any better after having read that. What attributes are you trying to show about yourself?

3) I think you should cut out all of the statements about how much you liked playing the instrument, etc. That is the kind of stuff you should show, not tell repeatedly.

4) I really don't like the topic.

5) The first paragraph is a huge waste of space. You basically say "at first I didn't like the trumpet, but my dad made me keep playing it, and then I liked it." I would just cut it completely, because it's not interesting or important.

6) The second paragraph is too long for what it is. And it doesn't say anything about you, really. You basically just describe how good your high school band was? Why does that matter, why does it need to be so long, and what does that say about you?

7) Same for third paragraph.

8 ) Last paragraph is bad.

9) Your writing is not very strong. But I wouldn't get into the weeds on that until you've worked through the major revisions that you need.


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Re: PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby grades?? » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:47 am

wtf did I just read

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Re: PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby mukol » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:07 am

I stopped reading at "6th grade."

I'm going to say hard pass on this as it's written, and probably pass on the topic as a whole. I did go back and reread and it fell a bit "flat"....

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Re: PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby nothingtosee » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:16 am

Maybe OP is applying to college.

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Re: PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby FayRays » Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:02 am

I actually liked your story, but it's not a formal story (which is bad)

I disagree about changing the first paragraph, because that was the funniest part in your story and people who read personal statements need to smile from time to time.

But your writing really needs to be more sophisticated and more formal. I mean it feels like you are writing in this forum, not a personal statement to a law school.

and what's up with that phrase ..I love it, I love it I love it.. at least change it to something else.

and what this instrument have to do with you becoming a candidate to their law school?

What you gonna offer them as a student beside playing trumpet in the hall?

You need to shade light about why are you choosing to be a lawyer, and why accepting you to their school is a good idea!
PS. Congratulations on being chosen as second chair in All-State man! ( I don't even know what that means, I mean I thought ALl state insurance company or something :mrgreen: )

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Re: PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby bmathers » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:01 pm

Where you named to the all-state band like how athletes can make the all-state team in their particular sport? I never knew that there was an all-state team for band. Congrats man, but you may want to briefly explain what making"all state" means, for starters.

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Re: PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby kellyfrost » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:09 pm

This is a pretty awful PS.

Based on the title, I thought you were going to be writing about All State the insurance company. I must say, I was severely disappointed not only in the topic, but the content as well.
Last edited by kellyfrost on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: PS about All State (Great story, get in & read!)

Postby bwh8813 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:25 pm

You should write about how you overcame being stuffed in so many lockers.

But seriously, from an admissions stand point all this says is that they can admit a person who is pretty good at trumpet or at least was 4+ years ago. It reads more like an end of HS awards banquet speech or something. How does this experience translate to how you'll approach law school or your legal career? It's an impressive high school accomplishment, but you'll be competing with people who have overcome a lot or contributed a lot.

A few other points - don't say you "scored" a scholarship. It's not a bag of weed. Be careful being so nonchalant. You were awarded the scholarship. Even better, write it in active voice that the school awarded you the scholarship. Apply the active voice throughout. E.g. you weren't placed into the jazz band, the school placed you (though you could probably come up with a stronger word than 'placed'). There are a number of other passive voice sentences in your statement. Using active rather than passive voice is something your LWR professors will harp on so you might as well start now.

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