T14 PS Feedback (Thank You From Abroad!)

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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T14 PS Feedback (Thank You From Abroad!)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 26, 2016 9:03 am

[Happy holidays! I greatly appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and critique my school-specific personal statement!]
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I live for Saturday nights, but not as some might imagine. Around 2000 hours Arabia Standard Time, I get to speak with my wife following her volunteer shift at the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital. Over the past year Fido, our big red labradoodle in the hospital’s Pet Therapy Program, has interacted with hundreds of patients, families, and nurses validating all of our efforts to train him for therapy work. Our conversation that follows Fido’s weekly visits is one of the moments we’ve continued to share together while we’re apart.

Whereas I’m currently in a desert on the other side of the world, this chapter of my life actually began in a desert on the other side of the country. I had received orders to attend training on the west coast with paid travel and one week to get there. As a young Infantry Officer, I ventured to make the most of the opportunity, so I strapped my gear to the rear of a cross-country motorcycle and raced off on what would be a 9,000-mile journey. As I blazed through the Mojave, a business idea started to form and I committed to making it a reality. With limited personal capital, I determined my best option was to attend business school at Rice University, one of the nation’s top ranked entrepreneurship programs, in order to access the sufficient resources to launch a company.

To devote all of my savings to my early-stage startup I slept in my car, showered in the gym locker room, and survived on a diet consisting primarily of peanut butter for one year. Although my entrepreneurial obsession monopolized all of my class time and free time, it paid off. Before graduation, I had secured an initial investment of a quarter-million dollars from a venture capital firm in San Francisco. The Distinguished Scholar Award is given to the top graduate student. I was not selected, but I was able to hire my classmate who was; he’s now in his fourth year with the company. At twenty-three years old, I went from occupying a parking space to residing in a penthouse overlooking the river. Not too shabby for a kid from rural Illinois whose first business lesson came from selling tomatoes grown in his grandfather’s garden.

This was just one of many important lessons from my childhood. My father, a black man, and my mother, a white woman, were married, just not to each other. In a school district with demographics that read like a logic game rule (a student is either A or B, but not both), I experienced lessons in the value of diversity and inclusion at an early age. Witnessing years of domestic violence at home taught me a lesson about the type of man that I did not want to be. Subsequently, witnessing my father’s decade-long battle with a terminal illness provided an example of the type of man that I did want to be. That final lesson of resiliency was tested in August of 2015 when I held my dad’s hand as he drew his last breath; shortly after he left us, I was called to leave my family and the company I founded in order to deploy with the Illinois National Guard.

Now, I’m once again in the desert with an opportunity to look back on the lessons learned and look forward to my future pursuits. Santiago, the shepherd boy in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist left his home seeking a hidden fortune. He journeyed into the desert only to discover his true treasure was awaiting him at home. I, too, feel that my compass is now pointing back toward Illinois. The Saturday night conversations with my wife mean so much to me because it’s evidence that even in my absence she continues to contribute to the community we call home. We’re so adamant about Fido’s involvement because he’s been such a blessing to us that we feel a responsibility to employ him to help other people. Though I don’t have nearly as much to offer as my loveable floppy-eared furball, I also feel a duty to use the analytical intellect I was blessed with to serve others.

Having led infantrymen overseas, many of whom are combat veterans, some twice my senior, I’m now even more certain that these are the Americans I want to help as a JAG Officer. My last chapter began and ended in the desert. I’m hopeful my next chapter will begin and end in Illinois at the University Of Chicago School Of Law and the Illinois Judge Advocate General Center.

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[Again, thank you for reading my personal statement! I welcome any and all feedback! Chicago/Illinois are pseudonym university/state names; this essay was written for one specific law school in my home state for which all of the above is true.]

ArmyRN

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Re: T14 PS Feedback (Thank You From Abroad!)

Postby ArmyRN » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:03 am

You have a very compelling story; however, I do believe you are focusing on too many things--starting a business, training your dog, struggling with your dad's terminal illness, etc--and the PS would be much better if you focused on one thing. The first two paragraphs should tell a story, and the rest of the PS should be an analysis of that story.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: T14 PS Feedback (Thank You From Abroad!)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:14 am

ArmyRN wrote:You have a very compelling story; however, I do believe you are focusing on too many things--starting a business, training your dog, struggling with your dad's terminal illness, etc--and the PS would be much better if you focused on one thing. The first two paragraphs should tell a story, and the rest of the PS should be an analysis of that story.


Thank you for the feedback, ArmyRN! I agree that the story covers a lot of distance in 700 words, which hasn't left much room for analysis of the sections. I was eager to say so much because I fear that it may be my only chance to convey these elements of my personal story to my dream school. With that said, I certainly don't want to overwhelm the reader, so I will explore ways to tighten my focus.

Thanks again, ArmyRN!

Everyone else -- Please keep the feedback coming as I'm interested to hear your thoughts!



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