Critique of my PS/PS Swap

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

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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:36 pm

Critique of my PS/PS Swap

Postby Hfv1800 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:27 pm

I would greatly appreciate any help and/or comments! Also, if there is anyone who wants to swap with me, I'm happy to make critiques as well.


As the last notes of music died down, the audience was on its feet, applauding our performance of Camille Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto in B minor. This would be my last performance with the Austin Philharmonic Orchestra and I was completely immersed in the moment. My life has been deeply rooted in music, as a concert pianist for twenty years, and now as the violin soloist for the Austin Philharmonic Orchestra. The opportunity to perform on this stage was the result of a mixed bag of attributes: potential, dedication, hard work, and interestingly enough--failure. For months I focused on the precision of my fingers as they danced up and down the fingerboard of my violin. I aimed to evoke my own musical style and to adapt when I reached those sections that were undeniably difficult. As I held my position and looked out towards the audience, I thought about how uncertain and chaotic the last year had been and I realized that I needed to treasure this moment of order and beauty.

Music and family have been the only true constants in my life. From a young age, I had a remarkable ability to play music and I can remember all too well the sounds of congas and cowbells resonating from inside of my grandmother’s house. I come from a musical family but no one moreso than my grandmother. Tita was music personified. She exuded passion and her spirit and voice enveloped you and made you feel comforted in even the worst of times. But in the six months leading up to this performance my grandmother lost her year-long battle with cancer.
In uncertain times, I looked to her for support. She validated my passion for music and challenged me to always seek better opportunities. But all at once, I was numb. My grades suffered, my devotion to music waned and in December of 2013, I slipped into a deep depression.

My path was completely uncertain. But it was in this moment that the Austin Philhamonic’s concerto competition gave me a chance to face my insecurities and celebrate my grandmother’s life. I wanted to prove that her passion for music still inspired me. This competition became more than just playing the violin. The three months of meticulous practicing proved to me that perseverance and hard work are the pathways to success. Tita used to say in Spanish, that “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t want to work hard.” This is something that has revealed itself to me many times in my life but never so directly as it did after she passed away.

Tita’s passion for music continues to inspire me. Because of her, I have acquired a lifestyle built upon discipline and a focus on self-improvement. I see the importance of creating a foundation and devoting myself to learning and education. I have gained an appreciation for the subtleties and complexities of interpretation. I understand that to possess a passion and a personal interest in something, to believe in myself, is essential to my well-being. My decision to attend law school is shaped by these understandings.

A law school education is an opportunity for me to cultivate the characteristics upon which I have built my life. I want to focus on a discipline that stimulates my intellectual curiosity, and explore how the law creates order from chaos. I am interested in understanding how nuances in language affect legal contracts and how patterns in law are determined by interpretation. Most importantly, I want to dedicate myself to a study that pushes me to my limits, challenges me to achieve a greater purpose, and promotes the understanding that success is a privilege and it hinges on one’s dedication to persevere.

Those last few moments on stage with the Austin Philharmonic Orchestra often find their way back into my working memory. They serve as a reminder that with dedication, hard work, and a little bit of inspiration, I can achieve my goals. They assure me that an attention to detail and a focus on precision in life is an added benefit to my success. Those moments inspire me to promote my own self-improvement-- to welcome uncertainty and to pursue my passions.

My formal education with music ended many years ago, but my passion for music continues to shape how I live my life. The lessons from both music performance and my grandmother have provided me with the foundation to be successful and I will continue to focus on empowering myself to seek out new challenges. In this next phase of my life, I aim to build upon this foundation and succeed in law school with the same passion and flare that Tita instilled in me.


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Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:22 pm

Re: Critique of my PS/PS Swap

Postby DrGlennRichie » Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:52 pm

Overall B, may be B with small plus.

Positives. The structure is good and quite traditional. Open with little introduction to the story, try to captivate readers attention with reasons for performance, going through some emotional part and personal growth and show what kind of person you are. Overall music can be an interesting subject. Overall it is good as it is and after reading it I have a positive impression about you. It sounds honest.

Some critique:

and interestingly enough--failure . I would not use the word "failure" here. There is no reason to attribute this negativity to yourself. Yes in the end you are describing how you overcame that, but before I arrive there I have this word connected to you. Also, is it a failure? I mean if you were writing about your friend, who suffered depression after a loss, would you call that friend a failure? No, that would be plain horrible. So dont do this to yourself. I would replace it with "loss".

I come from a musical family but no one moreso than my grandmother. You are discussing a very strong emotional connection between yourself, music and grandma. There is no reason to say that your whole family was musical as it loses focus. The focus is you, Tita, Music. Also having musical family devalues your musical experience a bit. As it seems like you were pushed into music, since "The whole family is musical". And now you are escaping into law.

The whole switch from depression into performance. It could be written stronger and more emotional. It is spread over few sentences and you also trying to tuck in excuse for your bad grades for that period what kinda seems out of place. I would put this juxtaposition of depressed and lost you and revived and resolved you into one sentence. I would focus strongly on you, Tita and music.

For example I will say that loss of your grandmother rendered you lost and you felt that you also lost some of your music as your fingers refused to play, but you know that Tita would be living through your music and she wanted you to perform and so you did. Then you can compare this sudden change to some term in music that describes such change (I am not an expert here). Like I would use "Point reflection" from geometry if I were writing about mathematics.

After that you can solidify this transformation by saying that depression became your patience to regain skills, the sense of loss became sense of duty (or some word to describe that you are doing this for Tita) or dedication. Hopelessness became something else. In this case you are introducing your state of depression, but it is not like an excuse, it is more of a victory. And after those three sentences it will be much safer to introduce bad grades by saying that not only music was revived in your soul, but you started studying better, your grades improved. And so on. Saying "improved" grades is same meaning as "bad" grades but it is in a much more positive light. If they improved of cause, which is an assumption.

After this emotional part you can slow down and finish assay like you did.

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