Need serious help on this, I fear I may have tackled too big of a topic

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Jay2020

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Need serious help on this, I fear I may have tackled too big of a topic

Postby Jay2020 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:33 pm

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Last edited by Jay2020 on Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

grades??

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Re: Need serious help on this, I fear I may have tackled too big of a topic

Postby grades?? » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:52 pm

1st- this isn't very well written. The grammar is pretty rough in many places.
2nd- it doesn't flow well at all.

Also, this is a topic where I can see what you are trying to do, but you should choose another. Plus, reading it doesn't really tell me much about you except the resume regurgitation at the end. Tell me about you, not about Malcolm X. But please pick another topic for what I think are fairly obvious reasons.

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blackmamba8

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Re: Need serious help on this, I fear I may have tackled too big of a topic

Postby blackmamba8 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:00 pm

This reads more like an essay about Malcolm X than a personal statement about you.

mudiverse

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Re: Need serious help on this, I fear I may have tackled too big of a topic

Postby mudiverse » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:07 pm

To be frank, this needs a lot of work and it seems like a very early draft, especially with how stunted and empty some of the lines read. I am an admirer of Malcolm X, so I would like to help you:

1. Can you please indent your paragraphs?

2. Remove the large chunks in your paragraphs where you synopsize Malcolm X's biography/achievements. Malcolm X isn't some unknown figure to anyone who knows American history:
"He made convincing arguments about the intolerance and utter inequality of the United States as a legal entity, and he made a convincing argument that the United States system of oppression was a worse system than apartheid in South Africa. He even planned on bringing the United States to the UN World Court. Malcolm was a complex figure, but, in the end, his demands for human rights and the internationalization of the black struggle solidified him as human rights icon"


3. When I say some of your phrases sound dead and empty this is what I mean:
"This fascinated me. I read all of his speeches; I read scholarly articles and determined to surmise my own assessment of Malcolm’s political philosophy."


Consider a more insightful discussion of how you read about him - in what context? What emotions did this trigger? What events in his life impacted your own? Remember, this is your personal statement.

4. Dive immediately into the heart of the matter which seems to be:
My analysis of Malcolm and my coursework as a whole tremendously impacted the way I viewed the world. I became increasingly sensitive to the plight of disenfranchised and disadvantaged people throughout society. My studies revealed that injustice often idly passes the untrained eye; people seldom realize that their own perspective limits their scope of the world.


How did this change you? What injustice? Don't talk about other people it makes you sound shallow and is irrelevant to the subject at hand (which is you). There is a lot here that you can dig into and expand without discussing what other "people" think and do.

5. Why on earth are you talking about Malcolm X's position on women? Are you cycling back to Malcolm X's biography? Is this research paper on his political position? An analysis of his character? It is better to discuss why you admire him and learned from him and not try to undermine your own position. Remember this essay is about you and Malcolm X is just a conduit to discuss your own perspective.

As important as Malcolm was to my development, I came upon the revelation that no one was wholly good or bad and that everyone has his or her own flaws. Malcolm certainly had flaws, but his most severe flaw was his view of women. Malcolm mistreated his wife and was fundamentally against the equality of women. While he offered protection and pride, he did not offer equality. I learned that the most common lack of understanding is for the other half of society: women.


I think your personal statement has strong potential but it is flying in many different directions and seems to be more of a brainstorm than a coherent essay. I would suggest that you avoid summarizing Malcolm X's milestones and doing a critical study of his character and pivot immediately to a discussion of your self. You touch on how his views have changed your perspective and civil rights seems to be close to your heart, but you don't dive deeply. Malcolm X was a tough motherfucker with a heart bursting with pride in a time when it was hard to be a black man. He was tough as nails, militant and many described him as downright dangerous but he inspired many African Americans to rise up and fight for their rights. If you are inspired by him, I do not see it clearly in your writing. This: "Malcolm’s oratory skills and unique worldview inspired me to pursue an in-depth analysis of his various arguments." is too superficial and I know you have more to say.

Think more about why you want to pursue a career as a "civil rights lawyer"; being a TA and studying him in undergrad is not a compelling reason. I do not think your topic is too "big", rather that your writing is not focused and you have not defined a clear and compelling picture about your personal perspective.

I hope this is helpful.

AJordan

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Re: Need serious help on this, I fear I may have tackled too big of a topic

Postby AJordan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:08 pm

I kind of disagree with you that your last sentence is garbage. It at least communicates a strong opinion/idea and seems to be a decent place to end up in a personal statement centered around the topic on which I feel you're trying to focus. The real problem is that the rest of the statement ambles haphazardly and most certainly does not lead to that conclusion. When I read this I genuinely feel like you're trying to sound smarter than you are.

This statement lacks focus, has excessive adverb usage, falls victim to repetitive sentence types, and meanders in general. Maybe start with a thesis of something you're trying to prove to a law admissions counselor and work from there. As said, I think your last sentence is like 60% of the way there to that thesis. I know it's basic, especially for someone writing a graduate thesis, but I do advise a simple outline before the next draft. Whenever I find myself falling into the same traps, we all do, I find an outline immensely helpful.

AJordan

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Re: Need serious help on this, I fear I may have tackled too big of a topic

Postby AJordan » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:11 pm

mudiverse wrote:To be frank, this needs a lot of work and it seems like a very early draft, especially with how stunted and empty some of the lines read. I am an admirer of Malcolm X, so I would like to help you:

1. Can you please indent your paragraphs?

2. Remove the large chunks in your paragraphs where you synopsize Malcolm X's biography/achievements. Malcolm X isn't some unknown figure to anyone who knows American history:
"He made convincing arguments about the intolerance and utter inequality of the United States as a legal entity, and he made a convincing argument that the United States system of oppression was a worse system than apartheid in South Africa. He even planned on bringing the United States to the UN World Court. Malcolm was a complex figure, but, in the end, his demands for human rights and the internationalization of the black struggle solidified him as human rights icon"


3. When I say some of your phrases sound dead and empty this is what I mean:
"This fascinated me. I read all of his speeches; I read scholarly articles and determined to surmise my own assessment of Malcolm’s political philosophy."


Consider a more insightful discussion of how you read about him - in what context? What emotions did this trigger? What events in his life impacted your own? Remember, this is your personal statement.

4. Dive immediately into the heart of the matter which seems to be:
My analysis of Malcolm and my coursework as a whole tremendously impacted the way I viewed the world. I became increasingly sensitive to the plight of disenfranchised and disadvantaged people throughout society. My studies revealed that injustice often idly passes the untrained eye; people seldom realize that their own perspective limits their scope of the world.


How did this change you? What injustice? Don't talk about other people it makes you sound shallow and is irrelevant to the subject at hand (which is you). There is a lot here that you can dig into and expand without discussing what other "people" think and do.

5. Why on earth are you talking about Malcolm X's position on women? Are you cycling back to Malcolm X's biography? Is this research paper on his political position? An analysis of his character? It is better to discuss why you admire him and learned from him and not try to undermine your own position. Remember this essay is about you and Malcolm X is just a conduit to discuss your own perspective.

As important as Malcolm was to my development, I came upon the revelation that no one was wholly good or bad and that everyone has his or her own flaws. Malcolm certainly had flaws, but his most severe flaw was his view of women. Malcolm mistreated his wife and was fundamentally against the equality of women. While he offered protection and pride, he did not offer equality. I learned that the most common lack of understanding is for the other half of society: women.


I think your personal statement has strong potential but it is flying in many different directions and seems to be more of a brainstorm than a coherent essay. I would suggest that you avoid summarizing Malcolm X's milestones and doing a critical study of his character and pivot immediately to a discussion of your self. You touch on how his views have changed your perspective and civil rights seems to be close to your heart, but you don't dive deeply. Malcolm X was a tough motherfucker with a heart bursting with pride in a time when it was hard to be a black man. He was tough as nails, militant and many described him as downright dangerous but he inspired many African Americans to rise up and fight for their rights. If you are inspired by him, I do not see it clearly in your writing. This: "Malcolm’s oratory skills and unique worldview inspired me to pursue an in-depth analysis of his various arguments." is too superficial and I know you have more to say.

Think more about why you want to pursue a career as a "civil rights lawyer"; being a TA and studying him in undergrad is not a compelling reason. I do not think your topic is too "big", rather that your writing is not focused and you have not defined a clear and compelling picture about your personal perspective.

I hope this is helpful.


I find this advice to be extremely useful as well. Better than mine. Great post.

Jay2020

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Re: Need serious help on this, I fear I may have tackled too big of a topic

Postby Jay2020 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:50 pm

Thank you for the help on this. It was a (very) rough draft, I'll try to incorportate your advice on focusing the essay. Thank you for your criticism.

Nebby

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Re: Need serious help on this, I fear I may have tackled too big of a topic

Postby Nebby » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:54 pm

Jay2020 wrote:Thank you for the help on this. It was a (very) rough draft, I'll try to incorportate your advice on focusing the essay. Thank you for your criticism.

Remember to make it a personal statement. For many schools, there are no interviews so this is your only shot at putting who you are and your personality front and center.



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