Please help

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Please help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:50 pm

Hi, I'm new to this forum and found you guys after the trauma of learning how expensive it is to pay for a PS review. :D I've already run this by three people--two said the content is great but one believes I'm trashing my race and the tone needs to be more positive. I'm not good at metaphors and and was advised against using famous quotes so I'm looking for feedback on content, tone and flow. Of course, feel free to pick part anything else. Your critiques are appreciated. Thanks.

“Congratulations [My Name], You Are Black”
I went to three private elementary schools in Houston in the 1980s: 1) Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral Catholic School, 2) St. Anne’s Catholic School, and 3) Duchene Academy. My mother worked as a Harris County Judge and wanted me to have the best education. I am grateful for my mother’s commitment to my education but my experiences as a young child in these schools presented a cultural void. I recall feeling isolated from my peers as the only Black student, and as middle school approached, I begged my mother to send me to public school so I could be around other Black children. During the week, I felt like the only Black girl in town but I went to an African American Baptist church every Sunday. My church peers attended public school and would share experiences that I felt I could not have in private school. After multiple complaints, my mother caved and allowed me to attend public school for sixth grade.
Unbeknownst to my personal identity crisis, I was excited to see how “other people” lived on my first day of sixth grade. Arriving to campus, having attended three different elementary schools, I was confident that I would make new friends. Ignoring the awkwardness of people staring at my new school gear, I set out to enjoy public school. The first shock was receiving recycled textbooks containing ripped out pages and markings from previous owners. The second shocker came at lunchtime where I noticed that I left an all-White school for an all-Black school. I wanted to be around other Black kids but not this many Black kids. Inside, I felt White and thought I was about to star in the sequel to “Lean on Me” in the hallways of this school. While waiting for the bus at the end of the day I realized I lost my pencil bag. I wanted to take notes on the way home so I asked a student standing next to me to borrow her pen. Like me, she was dark-skinned African American but seemed to be popular. Oblivious to the cigarette she was smoking and that she uttered a curse word in every sentence, I said to myself, “Surely, she has an extra pen.” I made my approach and before I could finish my request, she slammed my head into a cement pillar—suddenly I was in my first school fight. After she hit me a few more times, someone else yanked my new tennis shoes off me. The bus pulled up, ending the altercation, and all of us boarded as if nothing happened. During the ride, students told me that I talked like a “White girl” and teased me for having a preppy accent. At my stop, the bus erupted in laughter as I exited with no shoes. Apparently being Black was only safe on Sundays.
My mother divorced my father when I was eighteen months old. He never gave me anything but on that day, I wished he would have at least given me his fair skin tone. Ego kept me from begging my mother to return me to private school, so I never returned. Instead, I identified myself as the dark-skinned Black girl who talked like a White girl and lived in a big house. Reciting ten Hail Mary’s from my Catholic school days offered no protection from the adults on Sundays experiencing the Holy Ghost in Baptist Church. Needless to say, these were very confusing years. Making friends was tabled, as my only goal was to get to and from school without getting beat up or having my shoes stolen. Eventually I did make friends, but the shame and contradictions of being African American stayed with me well into adulthood.
In high school, I was drawn to the White students, enjoyed listening to rock music and wore gothic clothes. To balance this cultural rebellion, I joined the dance team and cheerleading squad but those activities felt more like work than fun. Instead, I preferred the drama club. Performing roles in Shakespeare plays were safe because I did not have to be Black or White—the role was already defined. I had an idea that I would not enjoy high school before it began so in eighth grade and during each high school break I took extra courses in summertime hoping to earn enough credits to quickly escape high school. After only two school years of high school, I graduated in 1996 at age sixteen.
I attended community college before transferring to the Downtown campus of the University of Houston. At age eighteen I got my first job in a law firm as a Legal Secretary and I attended college as a full-time night student. Over the years, and under the apprenticeship of several attorneys, I was promoted into various Legal Assistant and Paralegal roles. I graduated college with honors in 2003 and took my criminal justice degree to the Police Academy which I successfully completed in 2005. After the police academy, I continued to work as a Legal Assistant and Paralegal until my first commission as a police officer for The City of Galveston in 2007. My best memories of being a police officer was that, again, I was neither Black or White, I was Blue. My career in law enforcement did not ultimately resolve my ongoing identity crisis but the experience of interacting with people on what is, in many cases, the worst day of their lives, provided me with a unique understanding my place in the world as a Black woman. I returned to Paralegal work in 2010 having left the police department in good standing.
Over the last five years, I have looked inward and committed to a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise in what has proven to be a successful effort in make peace with who I am, and the wonderful gifts God has given me. I was reintroduced to [My Name] and have celebrated five years of healthy living this month. The reality of self is quite delightful. The ability to articulate my speech with clarity and to write at a reasonable level of proficiency as an African American woman is no longer shameful.
I became a Paralegal by asking questions and maintaining an eagerness to learn the legal process. Many people have told me that my paralegal career will serve as an advantage to success in law school. Although I have attained a unique set of skills that will assist me as a student of law, my paralegal experience is a reminder of how much more I must learn in law school. As a paralegal, my role is to expedite work product but law school will teach me how to think as an attorney. I have read, researched and shepardized hundreds of cases over the years but due to the task-oriented nature of my role as a Paralegal, I do not have the luxury of studying case law—an activity I look forward to doing as a law school student.
I was not supposed to go to law school right out of college. God provided enough time for me to resolve my identity confusion and grow into the proud Black woman that I am today. With the support of my family and after much thought and prayer, I confidently submit my application to law school. I am applying to [Law School Name] because I want to be a lawyer and I want to graduate from a historically Black college with a rich history and ties to the Houston community. Thus far, the peaks and valleys of my personal and professional life have positioned me to be a positive and successful law school student, and more importantly a successfully attorney that will make [Law School Name] proud. For the first time in my life, I have an opportunity to be a full-time student and follow on what I believe is my professional calling. Having matured to a place of readiness for this chapter in my life—now is the time to apply to law school.

cavalier1138
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Please help

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:35 pm

Overall, it's a nice theme, but it's long-winded. I think you could probably cut this in half.

I'm much more concerned about this. TSU's employment numbers have been in steady decline and weren't that good to begin with. If you want to be a practicing attorney, I'd highly recommend another school, even if it isn't affiliated with a HSBC.

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

Re: Please help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:38 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Overall, it's a nice theme, but it's long-winded. I think you could probably cut this in half.

I'm much more concerned about this. TSU's employment numbers have been in steady decline and weren't that good to begin with. If you want to be a practicing attorney, I'd highly recommend another school, even if it isn't affiliated with a HSBC.


Thanks. Which parts should I cut?

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180pedia
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Re: Please help

Postby 180pedia » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:38 pm

Those points are correct, IMO. I sort of got in the weeds with it, so I probably should have read it straight through before making remarks. Either way, this is basically how I felt as I read it...

“Congratulations [My Name], You Are Black”

>I don't really care for this. I'm not sure if it's a title or supposed to be an allusion to something actually said to you.

I went to three private elementary schools in Houston in the 1980s: 1) A__________________, 2) S__________________, and 3) _______________.

>I don't like the use of numbers in this fashion. Just list them. If you were listing three things that you wanted to accentuate, I could maybe see it, but, even then, I wouldn't likely care for it.

My mother worked as a H______ C_____________ Judge and wanted me to have the best education. I am grateful for my mother’s commitment to my education but my experiences as a young child in these schools presented a cultural void. I recall feeling isolated from my peers as the only Black student, and as middle school approached, I begged my mother to send me to public school so I could be around other Black children. During the week, I felt like the only Black girl in town but I went to an African American Baptist church every Sunday. My church peers attended public school and would share experiences that I felt I could not have in private school. After multiple complaints, my mother caved and allowed me to attend public school for sixth grade.

>I like this paragraph, but I think it could be reworked in a more interesting fashion and it may be a better way to lead your essay. IMO, something like this could be another way to start your essay: "Despite going to an African American Baptist church every Sunday, I felt like the only Black girl in my hometown. My mother, a H______ C_____ Judge, wanted me to have the best education available, and I studied at three different private schools in H________. I recall begging my mother to send me to public school so I could be around other black children, and, eventually, she caved and allowed me to attend public school for sixth grade."

Unbeknownst to my personal identity crisis, I was excited to see how “other people” lived on my first day of sixth grade.

>I'm not sure I'm a fan of quoting in this context.

Arriving to campus, having attended three different elementary schools, I was confident that I would make new friends.

>I don't care for the double prepositional phrase up front... maybe, "Arriving to campus, I was confident that I would make new friends, as I had undergone this process before while changing between private schools."

Ignoring the awkwardness of people staring at my new school gear, I set out to enjoy public school. The first shock was receiving recycled textbooks containing ripped out pages and markings from previous owners. The second shocker came at lunchtime where I noticed that I left an all-White school for an all-Black school.

>I like this blurb.

I wanted to be around other Black kids but not this many Black kids.

>I don't care for this, at all. It gives the previous blurb a very negative light.

Inside, I felt White and thought I was about to star in the sequel to “Lean on Me” in the hallways of this school.

>I think, like the sentence above, this conveys an interesting idea in a negative light. You basically just have two sentences to say, "Damn, there are a lot of black kids here." when I'm kind of expecting some semi-enlightened perspective from having the unique perspective of attending both private and public schools. I think I would like getting rid of this and maybe more direct comparisons between the resources available at each school.

While waiting for the bus at the end of the day I realized I lost my pencil bag.

>comma after day

I wanted to take notes on the way home so I asked a student standing next to me to borrow her pen.

>comma before so

Like me, she was dark-skinned African American but seemed to be popular. Oblivious to the cigarette she was smoking and that she uttered a curse word in every sentence, I said to myself, “Surely, she has an extra pen.” I made my approach and before I could finish my request, she slammed my head into a cement pillar—suddenly I was in my first school fight.

>See, I think something like this could be OKAY / fine as some kind of introduction to the shock of being caught totally off guard, but it reads far more negatively because of preceding remarks... comma --> and, before I could finish my request,

After she hit me a few more times, someone else yanked my new tennis shoes off me. The bus pulled up, ending the altercation, and all of us boarded as if nothing happened.

>boarded is a weird word here to me. I don't know why, but it sounded out of place to me. This could just be all on my mind though.

During the ride, students told me that I talked like a “White girl” and teased me for having a preppy accent. At my stop, the bus erupted in laughter as I exited with no shoes. Apparently being Black was only safe on Sundays.

>I think this part needs to be trimmed down a substantial deal to not read negatively. I don't know whether I really like the only safe on Sundays bit or I don't really like it at all.

My mother divorced my father when I was eighteen months old. He never gave me anything but on that day, I wished he would have at least given me his fair skin tone.

>I like this. Should be joined by a semi-colon or different punctuation... I also think it would be better to say "at times" as it will be assuredly understandable

Ego kept me from begging my mother to return me to private school, so I never returned. Instead, I identified myself as the dark-skinned Black girl who talked like a White girl and lived in a big house. Reciting ten Hail Mary’s from my Catholic school days offered no protection from the adults on Sundays experiencing the Holy Ghost in Baptist Church. Needless to say, these were very confusing years. Making friends was tabled, as my only goal was to get to and from school without getting beat up or having my shoes stolen. Eventually I did make friends, but the shame and contradictions of being African American stayed with me well into adulthood.

>I like this line of thought. I don't entire get the ten Hail Mary's line, but that is also removed from my experience by a large degree.

In high school, I was drawn to the White students, enjoyed listening to rock music and wore gothic clothes. To balance this cultural rebellion, I joined the dance team and cheerleading squad but those activities felt more like work than fun. Instead, I preferred the drama club. Performing roles in Shakespeare plays were safe because I did not have to be Black or White—the role was already defined. I had an idea that I would not enjoy high school before it began so in eighth grade and during each high school break I took extra courses in summertime hoping to earn enough credits to quickly escape high school. After only two school years of high school, I graduated in 1996 at age sixteen.

>I like this line of thought as well. Not a fan of the 'drawn to white students' bit. I'm not sure. I think I'll remark more at the bottom.

I attended community college before transferring to the Downtown campus of the University of ____________. At age eighteen I got my first job in a law firm as a Legal Secretary and I attended college as a full-time night student. Over the years, and under the apprenticeship of several attorneys, I was promoted into various Legal Assistant and Paralegal roles. I graduated college with honors in 2003 and took my criminal justice degree to the Police Academy which I successfully completed in 2005. After the police academy, I continued to work as a Legal Assistant and Paralegal until my first commission as a police officer for The City of _________in 2007. My best memories of being a police officer was that, again, I was neither Black or White, I was Blue. My career in law enforcement did not ultimately resolve my ongoing identity crisis but the experience of interacting with people on what is, in many cases, the worst day of their lives, provided me with a unique understanding my place in the world as a Black woman. I returned to Paralegal work in 2010 having left the police department in good standing.

>I think this probably contains a lot of important information as to how you grew. It's a bit cover letter-y, but I think you did a good job of masking it.

Over the last five years, I have looked inward and committed to a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise in what has proven to be a successful effort in make peace with who I am, and the wonderful gifts God has given me. I was reintroduced to [My Name] and have celebrated five years of healthy living this month. The reality of self is quite delightful. The ability to articulate my speech with clarity and to write at a reasonable level of proficiency as an African American woman is no longer shameful.

>Some of this wording comes across as weird to me. It sounds it's out of NA or AA a little bit. (I do not mean to knock NA or AA at all... and, again, this could be my life experiences coloring my interpretation, so I would get other thoughts on this)

I became a Paralegal by asking questions and maintaining an eagerness to learn the legal process. Many people have told me that my paralegal career will serve as an advantage to success in law school.

>I don't see the need for what many people have told you here. Ad Comms will determine if it does. Paralegal more than likely should not be capitalized. IIRC, you only capitalize titles when preceding a name so it is part of the overall / full title.

Although I have attained a unique set of skills that will assist me as a student of law, my paralegal experience is a reminder of how much more I must learn in law school. As a paralegal, my role is to expedite work product but law school will teach me how to think as an attorney. I have read, researched and shepardized hundreds of cases over the years but due to the task-oriented nature of my role as a Paralegal, I do not have the luxury of studying case law—an activity I look forward to doing as a law school student.

>This gets a bit cover lettery for me IMO. I really don't think paralegal should be capitalized here or anywhere in this essay as used.

I was not supposed to go to law school right out of college. God provided enough time for me to resolve my identity confusion and grow into the proud Black woman that I am today.

>I don't care for the phrasing here. I get what you are trying to convey, but I don't like the diction. Maybe something along the lines of the journey having taken longer but are confident that every ounce of your experience will contribute to your success as an attorney.
>just as another point point, double check on the proper capitalization for Black in the contexts used in this essay. I'm not really familiar with when it would be technically correct, technically incorrect, or an understandable rhetorical / language cue.

With the support of my family and after much thought and prayer, I confidently submit my application to law school. I am applying to [Law School Name] because I want to be a lawyer and I want to graduate from a historically Black college with a rich history and ties to the _____________ community.

>There's better ways to say this. I think you need to restructure your essay so it is more clear (will mention this at end)

Thus far, the peaks and valleys of my personal and professional life have positioned me to be a positive and successful law school student, and more importantly a successfully attorney that will make [Law School Name] proud. For the first time in my life, I have an opportunity to be a full-time student and follow on what I believe is my professional calling. Having matured to a place of readiness for this chapter in my life—now is the time to apply to law school.

>I like this, but I think some word choice can be tightened up. I don't think it's this chapter in your life as opposed to this point in your life... there's something here that seems to imply maybe it wouldn't be the right choice a year from now.

overall comments

You removed some personal information, but you still have a ton of it in there. I'm fairly sure I could probably google you pretty easily if I was so inclined. Again, I don't think I or anyone will, but (given that you censored some information) you may want to remove some of the identifying info. I replaced it with underlines when I saw something.

Sorry if anything I phrased was worded in a not great fashion. I also made the mistake of not doing a once through before reading closely, so I sort of missed the structure while reading to an extent. I'll try to read for structure later. I think the flow may need to be tightened up (again, could be me being tired)

I think the overall theme is that you grew up in a largely white (and at least somewhat economically privileged I imagine) environment with very limited interactions with other people that looked like you. I think this is a really interesting idea, but it does require some caution for the reasons you point out. Your overall format should be something like (which it largely is)

->Starting with the idea of begging your mom to go to public school. Others may disagree, but I like essays that start with a sort of narrative stance or take a brief moment in time and explode it. I think this is an interesting one. [cut some of the specifics like listing the three private schools... its mentioned once sort of later and having it here does nothing]

->Talk about that shock of going to public school. The difference in resources and the difference in attitudes. Remain pretty neutral in how you discuss this, as it will be somewhat obvious by what happened to you that it wasn't a pleasant or expected experience. [this is the order, but you need to trim stuff that comes across as judgmental or condescending in any way IMO... it'll be extremely obvious from reading... I think you should use word choice to accentuate difference in privileges.... i.e. As a private school student, we were issued glossy hardcover textbooks whereas, on my first day, I received a tattered dated textbook with missing pages. obv. in your own words but just to illustrate how some issues can be conveyed without necessarily be as negative towards the people

->I think you can then mention this internal dichotomy and the challenges it created in a chronological fashion and how you overcame them until you finally beat them when you became a cop and were blue. I think you should definitely mention why your personal experiences also apply to you being a great attorney - not just that you were a paralegal.

(I'll try to take a look at this when I'm not exhausted, or I can wait for any revisions) Sorry if this is super scattered.

I can also look for specific things to cut, but I think what comes to mind is the initial quote, the bit about the three private schools, a significant amount of the bad stuff that happened at public schools, and make the professional development intertwined with personal growth

Anonymous User
Posts: 282781
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Please help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:50 pm

180pedia wrote:Those points are correct, IMO. I sort of got in the weeds with it, so I probably should have read it straight through before making remarks. Either way, this is basically how I felt as I read it...

“Congratulations [My Name], You Are Black”

>I don't really care for this. I'm not sure if it's a title or supposed to be an allusion to something actually said to you.

I went to three private elementary schools in Houston in the 1980s: 1) A__________________, 2) S__________________, and 3) _______________.

>I don't like the use of numbers in this fashion. Just list them. If you were listing three things that you wanted to accentuate, I could maybe see it, but, even then, I wouldn't likely care for it.

My mother worked as a H______ C_____________ Judge and wanted me to have the best education. I am grateful for my mother’s commitment to my education but my experiences as a young child in these schools presented a cultural void. I recall feeling isolated from my peers as the only Black student, and as middle school approached, I begged my mother to send me to public school so I could be around other Black children. During the week, I felt like the only Black girl in town but I went to an African American Baptist church every Sunday. My church peers attended public school and would share experiences that I felt I could not have in private school. After multiple complaints, my mother caved and allowed me to attend public school for sixth grade.

>I like this paragraph, but I think it could be reworked in a more interesting fashion and it may be a better way to lead your essay. IMO, something like this could be another way to start your essay: "Despite going to an African American Baptist church every Sunday, I felt like the only Black girl in my hometown. My mother, a H______ C_____ Judge, wanted me to have the best education available, and I studied at three different private schools in H________. I recall begging my mother to send me to public school so I could be around other black children, and, eventually, she caved and allowed me to attend public school for sixth grade."

Unbeknownst to my personal identity crisis, I was excited to see how “other people” lived on my first day of sixth grade.

>I'm not sure I'm a fan of quoting in this context.

Arriving to campus, having attended three different elementary schools, I was confident that I would make new friends.

>I don't care for the double prepositional phrase up front... maybe, "Arriving to campus, I was confident that I would make new friends, as I had undergone this process before while changing between private schools."

Ignoring the awkwardness of people staring at my new school gear, I set out to enjoy public school. The first shock was receiving recycled textbooks containing ripped out pages and markings from previous owners. The second shocker came at lunchtime where I noticed that I left an all-White school for an all-Black school.

>I like this blurb.

I wanted to be around other Black kids but not this many Black kids.

>I don't care for this, at all. It gives the previous blurb a very negative light.

Inside, I felt White and thought I was about to star in the sequel to “Lean on Me” in the hallways of this school.

>I think, like the sentence above, this conveys an interesting idea in a negative light. You basically just have two sentences to say, "Damn, there are a lot of black kids here." when I'm kind of expecting some semi-enlightened perspective from having the unique perspective of attending both private and public schools. I think I would like getting rid of this and maybe more direct comparisons between the resources available at each school.

While waiting for the bus at the end of the day I realized I lost my pencil bag.

>comma after day

I wanted to take notes on the way home so I asked a student standing next to me to borrow her pen.

>comma before so

Like me, she was dark-skinned African American but seemed to be popular. Oblivious to the cigarette she was smoking and that she uttered a curse word in every sentence, I said to myself, “Surely, she has an extra pen.” I made my approach and before I could finish my request, she slammed my head into a cement pillar—suddenly I was in my first school fight.

>See, I think something like this could be OKAY / fine as some kind of introduction to the shock of being caught totally off guard, but it reads far more negatively because of preceding remarks... comma --> and, before I could finish my request,

After she hit me a few more times, someone else yanked my new tennis shoes off me. The bus pulled up, ending the altercation, and all of us boarded as if nothing happened.

>boarded is a weird word here to me. I don't know why, but it sounded out of place to me. This could just be all on my mind though.

During the ride, students told me that I talked like a “White girl” and teased me for having a preppy accent. At my stop, the bus erupted in laughter as I exited with no shoes. Apparently being Black was only safe on Sundays.

>I think this part needs to be trimmed down a substantial deal to not read negatively. I don't know whether I really like the only safe on Sundays bit or I don't really like it at all.

My mother divorced my father when I was eighteen months old. He never gave me anything but on that day, I wished he would have at least given me his fair skin tone.

>I like this. Should be joined by a semi-colon or different punctuation... I also think it would be better to say "at times" as it will be assuredly understandable

Ego kept me from begging my mother to return me to private school, so I never returned. Instead, I identified myself as the dark-skinned Black girl who talked like a White girl and lived in a big house. Reciting ten Hail Mary’s from my Catholic school days offered no protection from the adults on Sundays experiencing the Holy Ghost in Baptist Church. Needless to say, these were very confusing years. Making friends was tabled, as my only goal was to get to and from school without getting beat up or having my shoes stolen. Eventually I did make friends, but the shame and contradictions of being African American stayed with me well into adulthood.

>I like this line of thought. I don't entire get the ten Hail Mary's line, but that is also removed from my experience by a large degree.

In high school, I was drawn to the White students, enjoyed listening to rock music and wore gothic clothes. To balance this cultural rebellion, I joined the dance team and cheerleading squad but those activities felt more like work than fun. Instead, I preferred the drama club. Performing roles in Shakespeare plays were safe because I did not have to be Black or White—the role was already defined. I had an idea that I would not enjoy high school before it began so in eighth grade and during each high school break I took extra courses in summertime hoping to earn enough credits to quickly escape high school. After only two school years of high school, I graduated in 1996 at age sixteen.

>I like this line of thought as well. Not a fan of the 'drawn to white students' bit. I'm not sure. I think I'll remark more at the bottom.

I attended community college before transferring to the Downtown campus of the University of ____________. At age eighteen I got my first job in a law firm as a Legal Secretary and I attended college as a full-time night student. Over the years, and under the apprenticeship of several attorneys, I was promoted into various Legal Assistant and Paralegal roles. I graduated college with honors in 2003 and took my criminal justice degree to the Police Academy which I successfully completed in 2005. After the police academy, I continued to work as a Legal Assistant and Paralegal until my first commission as a police officer for The City of _________in 2007. My best memories of being a police officer was that, again, I was neither Black or White, I was Blue. My career in law enforcement did not ultimately resolve my ongoing identity crisis but the experience of interacting with people on what is, in many cases, the worst day of their lives, provided me with a unique understanding my place in the world as a Black woman. I returned to Paralegal work in 2010 having left the police department in good standing.

>I think this probably contains a lot of important information as to how you grew. It's a bit cover letter-y, but I think you did a good job of masking it.

Over the last five years, I have looked inward and committed to a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise in what has proven to be a successful effort in make peace with who I am, and the wonderful gifts God has given me. I was reintroduced to [My Name] and have celebrated five years of healthy living this month. The reality of self is quite delightful. The ability to articulate my speech with clarity and to write at a reasonable level of proficiency as an African American woman is no longer shameful.

>Some of this wording comes across as weird to me. It sounds it's out of NA or AA a little bit. (I do not mean to knock NA or AA at all... and, again, this could be my life experiences coloring my interpretation, so I would get other thoughts on this)

I became a Paralegal by asking questions and maintaining an eagerness to learn the legal process. Many people have told me that my paralegal career will serve as an advantage to success in law school.

>I don't see the need for what many people have told you here. Ad Comms will determine if it does. Paralegal more than likely should not be capitalized. IIRC, you only capitalize titles when preceding a name so it is part of the overall / full title.

Although I have attained a unique set of skills that will assist me as a student of law, my paralegal experience is a reminder of how much more I must learn in law school. As a paralegal, my role is to expedite work product but law school will teach me how to think as an attorney. I have read, researched and shepardized hundreds of cases over the years but due to the task-oriented nature of my role as a Paralegal, I do not have the luxury of studying case law—an activity I look forward to doing as a law school student.

>This gets a bit cover lettery for me IMO. I really don't think paralegal should be capitalized here or anywhere in this essay as used.

I was not supposed to go to law school right out of college. God provided enough time for me to resolve my identity confusion and grow into the proud Black woman that I am today.

>I don't care for the phrasing here. I get what you are trying to convey, but I don't like the diction. Maybe something along the lines of the journey having taken longer but are confident that every ounce of your experience will contribute to your success as an attorney.
>just as another point point, double check on the proper capitalization for Black in the contexts used in this essay. I'm not really familiar with when it would be technically correct, technically incorrect, or an understandable rhetorical / language cue.

With the support of my family and after much thought and prayer, I confidently submit my application to law school. I am applying to [Law School Name] because I want to be a lawyer and I want to graduate from a historically Black college with a rich history and ties to the _____________ community.

>There's better ways to say this. I think you need to restructure your essay so it is more clear (will mention this at end)

Thus far, the peaks and valleys of my personal and professional life have positioned me to be a positive and successful law school student, and more importantly a successfully attorney that will make [Law School Name] proud. For the first time in my life, I have an opportunity to be a full-time student and follow on what I believe is my professional calling. Having matured to a place of readiness for this chapter in my life—now is the time to apply to law school.

>I like this, but I think some word choice can be tightened up. I don't think it's this chapter in your life as opposed to this point in your life... there's something here that seems to imply maybe it wouldn't be the right choice a year from now.

overall comments

You removed some personal information, but you still have a ton of it in there. I'm fairly sure I could probably google you pretty easily if I was so inclined. Again, I don't think I or anyone will, but (given that you censored some information) you may want to remove some of the identifying info. I replaced it with underlines when I saw something.

Sorry if anything I phrased was worded in a not great fashion. I also made the mistake of not doing a once through before reading closely, so I sort of missed the structure while reading to an extent. I'll try to read for structure later. I think the flow may need to be tightened up (again, could be me being tired)

I think the overall theme is that you grew up in a largely white (and at least somewhat economically privileged I imagine) environment with very limited interactions with other people that looked like you. I think this is a really interesting idea, but it does require some caution for the reasons you point out. Your overall format should be something like (which it largely is)

->Starting with the idea of begging your mom to go to public school. Others may disagree, but I like essays that start with a sort of narrative stance or take a brief moment in time and explode it. I think this is an interesting one. [cut some of the specifics like listing the three private schools... its mentioned once sort of later and having it here does nothing]

->Talk about that shock of going to public school. The difference in resources and the difference in attitudes. Remain pretty neutral in how you discuss this, as it will be somewhat obvious by what happened to you that it wasn't a pleasant or expected experience. [this is the order, but you need to trim stuff that comes across as judgmental or condescending in any way IMO... it'll be extremely obvious from reading... I think you should use word choice to accentuate difference in privileges.... i.e. As a private school student, we were issued glossy hardcover textbooks whereas, on my first day, I received a tattered dated textbook with missing pages. obv. in your own words but just to illustrate how some issues can be conveyed without necessarily be as negative towards the people

->I think you can then mention this internal dichotomy and the challenges it created in a chronological fashion and how you overcame them until you finally beat them when you became a cop and were blue. I think you should definitely mention why your personal experiences also apply to you being a great attorney - not just that you were a paralegal.

(I'll try to take a look at this when I'm not exhausted, or I can wait for any revisions) Sorry if this is super scattered.

I can also look for specific things to cut, but I think what comes to mind is the initial quote, the bit about the three private schools, a significant amount of the bad stuff that happened at public schools, and make the professional development intertwined with personal growth


Thank you so much for your detailed comments. I will do another draft tomorrow as I've been looking at this most of today and for the last 3 weeks. The initial draft of this were super scattered, disjointed, and definitely negative. But your detailed points are valued because this is what I needed to make changes and tone and content.

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180pedia
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Re: Please help

Postby 180pedia » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:49 am

Glad to help - feel free to PM or quote me when you post the next version. I'll make sure to read it well-rested and high level before being nitpicky.

lawschoolhopefully7
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:35 pm

Re: Please help

Postby lawschoolhopefully7 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:44 pm

180pedia, i made edits and am sending you a PM now. thanks for all of your help.

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MediocreAtBest
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Re: Please help

Postby MediocreAtBest » Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:32 pm

Quick two cents from me:

I found myself waiting for the moment where your identity crisis and desire to go to law school became linked. Your identity is the main theme here, and you explain how it has shaped you as an individual, yet I don't feel it is tied in with going to law school, which is your goal.

I got a sort of negative vibe from you about black people in general. I wasn't too crazy about that, and I don't know how people in admissions at an HBCU might read into it. I understand it might reflect your experiences and is a key point in your struggle with identity, and I might be wrong, but something about the portrayal of other black people rubbed me the wrong way.

I might personally make it a secular statement. There's no chance of that hurting you.

Professionally, you have a great background that really paved the way for law school, so you have that going for you and you did a good job highlighting it.

tl;dr: I feel like highlighting an identity crisis can be one of the most powerful tools to get people to relate. Everyone has struggled with it at some point. I think you're just a couple sentences away from nailing that "aha!" moment, to where the person reading your statement will be subconsciously nodding their head in agreement.




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