PS Feedback

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inmybeginning

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PS Feedback

Postby inmybeginning » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:47 pm

Looking for some feedback on the PS below. Particularly: whether my reason for going to law school is convincing and well woven through the story, what this story says about me, whether the conclusion is OK, and of course, how to improve it. =)

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“Who would like to thank the Lord for this food?” This was a sentence I grew up with; this was the sentence that preceded every meal my family ate. My parents were deeply religious, strongly conservative, yet also highly educated. My Mom graduated from law school when I was eight years old and went into practice with my Grandpa. Growing up, my parents carefully constructed the world we were exposed to so that we would not encounter what they perceived as “sinful.” We were homeschooled and watched little television.
They were very good at constructing this insular world, and I lived in it happily because I knew nothing different. But they did encourage us to read, and reading opened my world up to ideas I had not known in my sheltered upbringing. From Canterbury Tales and Dr. Faustus to Moby Dick and Ben Hur, I had devoured many of the books in the Western canon by the time I graduated high school. Some girls keep lists of boys they like, but I kept book lists - reading anywhere from 15 to 20 thousand pages per year. Through books I came to know a world I could not see; from the haunting depths of depraved passion in Moby Dick to the exalted, other-worldly sacrifice of Sydney Carton, I found the world - and it spurred questioning and a desire for more knowledge.
This desire manifested itself in several different ways. I became fascinated with Christianity, and not just the Christianity I was taught on Sunday. I wanted to know everything. I read the Bible multiple times and attended Bible Studies at our Church where I was the youngest person by a score of years. I wanted to know what it was I said I believed and how it all made sense. I also became fascinated with people, which seemed to me the most intricate and unfathomable of beings. Why do we make the decisions we do? What unspoken rules guided social interactions? I created a tapestry in my mind of the subtleties of human thought and motivation from the books I read and then evaluated it against the interactions I had every day with strangers and my friends at Junior College.
By the time I left home to attend a four year college, I had found many answers but also many more questions. Although I attended a conservative Christian college, I also attended the [program], a “Great Books” program with a Christian flair which emphasized the reading of primary texts. From these works, my ideas grew and changed. Augustine and Calvin validated my questioning of the foundational, seemingly immovable principles of the Churches I used to attend. Hobbes helped me understand human rapacity within the context of politics.
As I read more, I became more certain that I didn’t want to be like my parents in their narrow-mindedness and I told them as much in no uncertain terms. I wanted to reject both their ideology and the career they wanted for me: law. Although I still identified as a Christian, my beliefs were nowhere near their conservative Evangelicalism.
I graduated from college and began my first “real” job as an Academic Counselor where I put my understanding of people to use as I helped high school students find motivation and improve their performance in school. I chose it not because I could make money but because I wanted to help people, with all the idealism that implied.
But somewhere between the continued requests from my Dad to have coffee and their repeated invitations to family events, I realized: they weren’t being narrow-minded, I was. Did they agree with my ideas? No. But did they distance themselves from me because of them? Absolutely not. And that was exactly what I was doing.
I began to spend more time with them as I realized that they were well-meaning, good people. Ideologically, we were still different, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t get along. They were right about other things, too - like the fact a career in law is very well suited to my interests and talents and satisfies my desire to help others while also stimulating my intellectual interests. I don’t agree with all the decisions they made, but I have realized that they were well-meaning and, sometimes, that’s the best we can hope for in a world where the implications for every decision rests in the unknown future.

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Future Ex-Engineer

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Re: PS Feedback

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:10 pm

I think this is worlds better than the first draft - so great work thus far.

That being said, I still think the ending suffers from the same issue as the original. You talk about how as a counselor you've been able to help high schoolers, and how you love that. Then you go on to say that that fact along with reconciling with your family is what shows you that law is a great career path for your interests/talents.

I just don't see the connection there. It sounds to me like you'd be well suited to pursue a professional counseling degree from this statement. I'm sure the connection is there, I'm just not able to see it very clearly from what I read.

Monday

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Re: PS Feedback

Postby Monday » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:54 pm

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Last edited by Monday on Wed May 10, 2017 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

inmybeginning

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Re: PS Feedback

Postby inmybeginning » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:51 pm

Thanks everyone! I've got more work to do. =)

mrgstephe - thanks for the feedback and help! I was worried that connection was still too weak; i'll keep working on it.

Monday - I can see how my writing can come across as literary, I was an English major. Are adcomms looking for more direct writing style? What would you suggest to improve phrasing?

Monday

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Re: PS Feedback

Postby Monday » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:22 pm

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Last edited by Monday on Wed May 10, 2017 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mr. Archer

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Re: PS Feedback

Postby Mr. Archer » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:42 pm

inmybeginning wrote: I graduated from college and began my first “real” job as an Academic Counselor where I put my understanding of people to use as I helped high school students find motivation and improve their performance in school. I chose it not because I could make money but because I wanted to help people, with all the idealism that implied.
But somewhere between the continued requests from my Dad to have coffee and their repeated invitations to family events, I realized: they weren’t being narrow-minded, I was. Did they agree with my ideas? No. But did they distance themselves from me because of them? Absolutely not. And that was exactly what I was doing.
I began to spend more time with them as I realized that they were well-meaning, good people. Ideologically, we were still different, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t get along. They were right about other things, too - like the fact a career in law is very well suited to my interests and talents and satisfies my desire to help others while also stimulating my intellectual interests. I don’t agree with all the decisions they made, but I have realized that they were well-meaning and, sometimes, that’s the best we can hope for in a world where the implications for every decision rests in the unknown future.


This part is less developed than everything up to this point. Given your writing style, you used a lot of space to get to this point. This part really needs some revision so that the second half of your PS is as strong as the first.

I agree with the above poster about rhetorical sentences. I don't think a PS can't have them, but yours just has too many. They slow down the paragraph when a direct statement can be more impactful and allow for a better flow. The same goes with using a literary style throughout. Literary style too often results in unnecessary wordiness. You've got a page limit, so you had to adjust things accordingly.

I don't think you really develop the part about helping people. You spend a lot of time on intellectual curiosity and then handle helping people in two sentences.

The conclusion needs work. It's very rushed and not very good overall. The second half of the last sentence is just really off-putting and not for me. It's the kind of statement that's supposed to sound deep and insightful but is actually a fancy cliche'. You're just saying you can't predict the future, or no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

As an aside, I also attended a historically Christian college with a Great Books program.

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sethnoorzad

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Re: PS Feedback

Postby sethnoorzad » Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:50 pm

Your paragraph about individuating from your family was where it got interesting. But then in your conclusion you talk about how reconciling with your parents is leading you to study law like they had planned for you. IMO you should not mention your parents as a reason you are going to law school. You want to show that you are going for your own reasons, not due to outside influence.

Keilz

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Re: PS Feedback

Postby Keilz » Sun Dec 25, 2016 11:37 pm

Monday wrote:
inmybeginning wrote:My parents were deeply religious, strongly conservative, yet also highly educated.

Don't use "yet" here as with that conjunction, you're making a judgment that paints you as the person we ought to be characterizing as highly educated yet something something not accepting of all views something something.

inmybeginning wrote:Dr. Faustus

Any reason for abbreviating Doctor from this (already shortened) title?

inmybeginning wrote:Why do we make the decisions we do? What unspoken rules guided social interactions? I created a tapestry in my mind of the subtleties of human thought and motivation from the books I read and then evaluated it against the interactions I had every day with strangers and my friends at Junior College.

This is one example but there are instances in the PS where I think it'd be helpful to be more careful with word choice and phrasing. It can come off a bit as an over the top attempt at literary writing.



Highly agree with the first point.

I also think you should take out the girls' lists of boys they like, it also sounds judgmental

Also "score of years" sounds awkward and unnecessary



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