Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
PSTA12345

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Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby PSTA12345 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:37 am

Thanks for the feedback. If your still interested in reading my PS or swapping feel free to PM me.
Last edited by PSTA12345 on Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Future Ex-Engineer

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:42 am

Sorry to be blunt, but I hate this PS draft.

It doesn't tell me anything about you other than that you have volunteered with some sort of habitat for humanity or inner city home restoration org (which should be in your resume anyway).

Paragraph 2 is four sentences of nothing but fluff/cliches.

At the very end you kind of haphazardly threw in that you wanted to study law essentially to save the world from injustice with less than compelling reasons - that's pretty much rule #1 from Asha on things to not do in a PS. It's not unique, and definitely doesn't make your application memorable to an adcom.

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arroznueve

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby arroznueve » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:13 pm

My feedback is similar to the post above.

(1) Stop writing in clichés. All this imagery etc. is a waste of space, and you're just trying too hard to sound intelligent and fancy. Relax, don't overthink it, and just write like a person talks (formal grammar, of course, but your tone doesn't need to be, "Ah, yes, I am such a deep and wise person who feels scenery.").

(2) Who are you? I know that you could at one point drive a car (maybe still can), are from Michigan, vaguely volunteered, self-identify as someone with direction, and cannot give me a specific, personal reason for wanting to attend law school.

(3) Framing your desire to go to law school in a personal narrative is great. The personal narrative has to be more than just describing a setting, however, and it has to be quicker than this. Then, it needs to lead into far less generic reasons for why you want to go to law school and why they should let you go to law school.

My post makes it sound like I think this is bad. It isn't. It's just something that is clearly falling for very common mistakes that you're above making. Good luck!

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mjb447

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:21 pm

arroznueve wrote:(2) Who are you? I know that you could at one point drive a car (maybe still can), are from Michigan, vaguely volunteered, self-identify as someone with direction, and cannot give me a specific, personal reason for wanting to attend law school.


Hopefully not piling on too much, but I agree with the above posters that this is one of the most impersonal personal statements I've ever read.

PSTA12345

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby PSTA12345 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:35 pm

Cool thanks for the help! Thoughts on where to go from here? Keep the same general framework, scrap the whole thing, keep the story aspect of the draft but move it all to the beginning and then start really focusing on myself in the macro?

For what it's worth, I did find it hard to just directly say all my motivations behind the volunteer/public interest aspect that I am trying to highlight in my statement which led me to couching it in a narrative story. Talking about the reasons and causes behind this pursuit, while altruistic in my mind, to me seemed like I was conflating my sense of worth and had a holier-than-though kind of attitude.

Do people think some of the more literary/fluff aspects of the piece as well as the rote descriptions of tasks/actions should just be removed completely or could they be utilized in another longer version of my personal statement (one not confined by a length limit)?

Any other takes/criticisms?

Thanks for all the help!

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby votebuilder1 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:36 pm

PSTA12345 wrote:
I sat




Retake.

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Future Ex-Engineer

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:46 pm

PSTA12345 wrote:Thoughts on where to go from here? Keep the same general framework, scrap the whole thing, keep the story aspect of the draft but move it all to the beginning and then start really focusing on myself in the macro?

If you can use your volunteer time to show us something meaningful about yourself, then that could be a good thing to keep, but get rid of the ridiculous fluff and tv-show-esque car ride.

For what it's worth, I did find it hard to just directly say all my motivations behind the volunteer/public interest aspect that I am trying to highlight in my statement which led me to couching it in a narrative story. Talking about the reasons and causes behind this pursuit, while altruistic in my mind, to me seemed like I was conflating my sense of worth and had a holier-than-though kind of attitude.

PI is great, but unless you have a track record of actually being heavily involved in volunteer work/PI, your interest is just like everyone else's - just an interest with no real skin in the game. If your volunteer record is actually extensive, and not just a one-off 'clean up the hood' kind of thing then absolutely develop that more in the statement. Last note on this - even in this response you write like you think you are very smart. That is only going to rub people the wrong way.

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mjb447

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:52 pm

PSTA12345 wrote:Keep the same general framework, scrap the whole thing, keep the story aspect of the draft but move it all to the beginning and then start really focusing on myself in the macro? [. . .] Do people think some of the more literary/fluff aspects of the piece as well as the rote descriptions of tasks/actions should just be removed completely or could they be utilized in another longer version of my personal statement (one not confined by a length limit)?

I wouldn't include most of what you have right now (to me, most of it reads as "literary/fluff aspects" and "rote descriptions of tasks/actions") because I'm not sure how it contributes to your PS in a positive way. If what you have now were interspersed with other more relevant information, I think I'd just find myself annoyed at all the unnecessary elements and length.

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby PSTA12345 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:56 pm

mrgstephe wrote:
PSTA12345 wrote:Thoughts on where to go from here? Keep the same general framework, scrap the whole thing, keep the story aspect of the draft but move it all to the beginning and then start really focusing on myself in the macro?

If you can use your volunteer time to show us something meaningful about yourself, then that could be a good thing to keep, but get rid of the ridiculous fluff and tv-show-esque car ride.

For what it's worth, I did find it hard to just directly say all my motivations behind the volunteer/public interest aspect that I am trying to highlight in my statement which led me to couching it in a narrative story. Talking about the reasons and causes behind this pursuit, while altruistic in my mind, to me seemed like I was conflating my sense of worth and had a holier-than-though kind of attitude.

PI is great, but unless you have a track record of actually being heavily involved in volunteer work/PI, your interest is just like everyone else's - just an interest with no real skin in the game. If your volunteer record is actually extensive, and not just a one-off 'clean up the hood' kind of thing then absolutely develop that more in the statement. Last note on this - even in this response you write like you think you are very smart. That is only going to rub people the wrong way.


I don't write with the intention of sounding smart that is just how I write. I don't really know how to change that when quickly responding to someone's post, so sorry if you took it the wrong way. My volunteer work is pretty expansive and been a huge part of my life over the last several years so its something I'll look to expound on in future drafts, but in a more positive way. Thanks again.
Last edited by PSTA12345 on Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby PSTA12345 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:59 pm

mjb447 wrote:
PSTA12345 wrote:Keep the same general framework, scrap the whole thing, keep the story aspect of the draft but move it all to the beginning and then start really focusing on myself in the macro? [. . .] Do people think some of the more literary/fluff aspects of the piece as well as the rote descriptions of tasks/actions should just be removed completely or could they be utilized in another longer version of my personal statement (one not confined by a length limit)?

I wouldn't include most of what you have right now (to me, most of it reads as "literary/fluff aspects" and "rote descriptions of tasks/actions") because I'm not sure how it contributes to your PS in a positive way. If what you have now were interspersed with other more relevant information, I think I'd just find myself annoyed at all the unnecessary elements and length.


Cool, thanks for the reply!

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Future Ex-Engineer

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:00 pm

PSTA12345 wrote:
mrgstephe wrote:
PSTA12345 wrote:Thoughts on where to go from here? Keep the same general framework, scrap the whole thing, keep the story aspect of the draft but move it all to the beginning and then start really focusing on myself in the macro?

If you can use your volunteer time to show us something meaningful about yourself, then that could be a good thing to keep, but get rid of the ridiculous fluff and tv-show-esque car ride.

For what it's worth, I did find it hard to just directly say all my motivations behind the volunteer/public interest aspect that I am trying to highlight in my statement which led me to couching it in a narrative story. Talking about the reasons and causes behind this pursuit, while altruistic in my mind, to me seemed like I was conflating my sense of worth and had a holier-than-though kind of attitude.

PI is great, but unless you have a track record of actually being heavily involved in volunteer work/PI, your interest is just like everyone else's - just an interest with no real skin in the game. If your volunteer record is actually extensive, and not just a one-off 'clean up the hood' kind of thing then absolutely develop that more in the statement. Last note on this - even in this response you write like you think you are very smart. That is only going to rub people the wrong way.


I don't write with the intention of sounding smart that is just how I write. I don't really know how to change that when quickly responding to someone's post, so sorry if you took it the wrong way. My volunteer work is pretty expensive and been a huge part of my life over the last several years so its something I'll look to expound on in future drafts, but in a more positive way. Thanks again.


It is worth noting I wasn't offended or anything by it - just stating my observation in the hopes that it could help you further along down the road. I used to be in a similar position, and still find myself from time to time in that seat where I like using a large vocabulary/wordy sentences. It ultimately caused me some problems interacting with colleagues who felt I was talking down to them, so I've had to learn to adjust. The transition was weird, but it helps me communicate better with others, so it was a welcome change.

If your volunteer work is expansive, I'd definitely zero in on that, and how it has shaped you/your character over the years.

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby PSTA12345 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:12 pm

mrgstephe wrote:
PSTA12345 wrote:
mrgstephe wrote:
PSTA12345 wrote:Thoughts on where to go from here? Keep the same general framework, scrap the whole thing, keep the story aspect of the draft but move it all to the beginning and then start really focusing on myself in the macro?

If you can use your volunteer time to show us something meaningful about yourself, then that could be a good thing to keep, but get rid of the ridiculous fluff and tv-show-esque car ride.

For what it's worth, I did find it hard to just directly say all my motivations behind the volunteer/public interest aspect that I am trying to highlight in my statement which led me to couching it in a narrative story. Talking about the reasons and causes behind this pursuit, while altruistic in my mind, to me seemed like I was conflating my sense of worth and had a holier-than-though kind of attitude.

PI is great, but unless you have a track record of actually being heavily involved in volunteer work/PI, your interest is just like everyone else's - just an interest with no real skin in the game. If your volunteer record is actually extensive, and not just a one-off 'clean up the hood' kind of thing then absolutely develop that more in the statement. Last note on this - even in this response you write like you think you are very smart. That is only going to rub people the wrong way.


I don't write with the intention of sounding smart that is just how I write. I don't really know how to change that when quickly responding to someone's post, so sorry if you took it the wrong way. My volunteer work is pretty expensive and been a huge part of my life over the last several years so its something I'll look to expound on in future drafts, but in a more positive way. Thanks again.


It is worth noting I wasn't offended or anything by it - just stating my observation in the hopes that it could help you further along down the road. I used to be in a similar position, and still find myself from time to time in that seat where I like using a large vocabulary/wordy sentences. It ultimately caused me some problems interacting with colleagues who felt I was talking down to them, so I've had to learn to adjust. The transition was weird, but it helps me communicate better with others, so it was a welcome change.

If your volunteer work is expansive, I'd definitely zero in on that, and how it has shaped you/your character over the years.


Haha gotcha. When it comes to my writing, I do tend to be pretty verbose and long-winded, so that is something I'll keep in mind. Luckily in conversation and general life I'm pretty direct tho.

Thoughts on shifting the framework to a discussion about myself and then interspersing it with specific examples/stories instead of using one specific story as a framing device?

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Future Ex-Engineer

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:24 pm

PSTA12345 wrote:
Thoughts on shifting the framework to a discussion about myself and then interspersing it with specific examples/stories instead of using one specific story as a framing device?


This is just a personal opinion, but I'm a fan of the one story framing device. I like the continuity that naturally lends itself to that structure.

That being said, I'm sure you could make an equally effective statement out of the other side of the coin.

I'm probably biased on this since my PS finally came together in the form of a life story from college that lent itself naturally to my character development/career goals.

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arroznueve

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby arroznueve » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:30 pm

PSTA12345 wrote:Thoughts on shifting the framework to a discussion about myself and then interspersing it with specific examples/stories instead of using one specific story as a framing device?


I prefer framing with one story when possible, but it's important to remember that you have to be concise with framing it. Obviously, there can be good personal statements in a variety of styles; mine was framed.

My cautions on framing are, as alluded to, getting weighed down in telling a story and not talking about yourself. My caution on doing it the other way is that you end up just writing a long-form résumé/life story, which isn't much good, either. So, considering those pitfalls, think about which one you can most effectively avoid, and go with that style.

A final note on framing: let the story work for you. If you want to grab someone's attention, starting off with a story that doesn't seem to relate actually does it just fine. Setting imagery as you did in your initial draft is too heavy-handed in that it says, "I am trying to get your attention." Starting off with just a story, however, does it subtly. I wrote a personal statement about raking leaves. The fact my first sentence was about leaf-raking did the job of grabbing attention, rather than trying to put someone somewhere with flowery language about autumn.

Hope that helps.

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mjb447

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:51 pm

I'd be interested to see if there's a TLS consensus on using a single story as a framing device in a PS. I think it's great when it works, but it seems like almost everyone I see on TLS tries to do it and many fall victim to pitfalls (frame story is too dense or long, statement doesn't contain enough information about the candidate, using a story that's ultimately irrelevant to the qualities the candidate is trying to emphasize) that detract from the PS in a way that a different style might not. Anyway, OP, there's nothing wrong with drafting either way, but it's hard to say which is better for you in the abstract.

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby PSTA12345 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:56 pm

Cool cool. Thanks for all the help, you guys are awesome! One quick question. The quoted question and answer in my first and last paragraph, wasted space/too cute?

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mjb447

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby mjb447 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:10 pm

For me, yes.

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Future Ex-Engineer

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Re: Very Short PS Draft: All Advice is Welcome!

Postby Future Ex-Engineer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:14 pm

Tbh I didn't even realize they were connected until you just now mentioned it. I did wonder why there were random quotes in the last sentence though.

I'd say wasted space/cringe-y.



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