Personal Statement

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:00 pm

Please read my personal statement and let me know what you think! Im new here and know you guys will do some awesome grilling :-)


Since I was a young boy, I have always aspired to consider myself a chess master. An inherent reason for this aim stems from my highly competitive nature and personality. However, a more external reason for this derives from the fact that I enjoy the strategy-based structure of the game to such a great extent, that I’ve wanted to produce a seemingly indestructible defense for what I interpret as my own castle.Although the common principle of practice and consistent play with others is known to be a normative approach to attaining this goal, I have found that an effective method to identify and strengthen your weaknesses is by playing against the very person you see in the reflection of a mirror, yourself.
This may seem unreasonable and definitely a bit uncanny at first glance, however my belief in this outlook follows that in order to improve as a chess player, you must be able to recognize your shortcomings in strategy and execution. A normal response to this approach would be that it is seemingly useless to play against yourself, when you know exactly what your “opponent” is going to do, and therefore there is no element of surprise or what would be an otherwise different move set then what you yourself are aware of inside all the possible strategy’s you are knowledgeable of. Whereas playing against others provides a greater expansion of these various techniques within your world, facing off against yourself allows you to experience firsthand what you would respond with in a game facing your own strategy.
When I started this idea, I noticed I would identify the real “me” more to one side of the board, white or black; it wasn’t me vs me, it was me versus the evil oppressors on the opposite side led by a leader who has the same mindset as I. In this regard, there was a slight bias towards the side I chose to identify with, however the principle still remained. The element of choosing a side only created a fiction within my mind. In responding to moves against myself, I gained insight into how I would react against my own offensive. Holes and otherwise fragile advances in these offensives would be responded to with the full force of a newly constructed strategy that I made on spot to counter what was originally my own attack mechanism. This gave the effect not of changing my usual tactics to the game, but of providing reactionary measures should these tactics not have their intended result. The narrative part that I created within my own mind only made it that much more bearable.
This principle of self-evaluation need not apply to only chess. In other areas of my professional and personal life, I have found that gaining deeper understanding of your own limitations can be achieved through successfully identifying different reactions and measures taken in response to your own actions. In fact, what a privilege it is to be able to see yourself on the opposing side of a debate or game, and able to see the magnificence of your own creations, yet also able to objectively create your own opinion on the subject matter. It is this kind of assessment that allows an individual to overcome plateaus in life; peaks that have formed from the inability to see past one’s own limited range of view. I might not be that chess master that I always dreamed of as of yet, but if there’s one guarantee I can make, it is that even at mastery level I will still be fighting my own castles again and again until I’ve used every narrative.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138

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Re: Personal Statement

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:18 pm

The core idea isn't terrible, but maybe you should know a bit more about the game you're supposed to be so well-versed in. For starters, everyone uses the master/grandmaster designation for chess players. And almost every decent player I know recommends playing against yourself (in addition to playing against others, so I guess learning entirely through self-play is... innovative?). But by framing your approach to chess as a revolutionary idea that no one else has ever tried, it makes you sound extremely full of yourself. And a bit of arrogance would be fine, but it sounds like you haven't actually got much room to brag about your skills. If you're going to use mastery of a skill as the centerpiece for your personal statement, it should be a skill that you've actually mastered to some degree.

In terms of style, your grammar and syntax need a thorough working over. There are run-on sentences throughout. And you can simplify your language. A lot of this looks like it was fed through a thesaurus to sound "smart", and in a few places, it's resulted in you choosing the wrong word for what you're trying to convey.

Julsnet

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Re: Personal Statement

Postby Julsnet » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:34 am

cavalier1138 wrote:The core idea isn't terrible, but maybe you should know a bit more about the game you're supposed to be so well-versed in. For starters, everyone uses the master/grandmaster designation for chess players. And almost every decent player I know recommends playing against yourself (in addition to playing against others, so I guess learning entirely through self-play is... innovative?). But by framing your approach to chess as a revolutionary idea that no one else has ever tried, it makes you sound extremely full of yourself. And a bit of arrogance would be fine, but it sounds like you haven't actually got much room to brag about your skills. If you're going to use mastery of a skill as the centerpiece for your personal statement, it should be a skill that you've actually mastered to some degree.

In terms of style, your grammar and syntax need a thorough working over. There are run-on sentences throughout. And you can simplify your language. A lot of this looks like it was fed through a thesaurus to sound "smart", and in a few places, it's resulted in you choosing the wrong word for what you're trying to convey.


can you identify a few places where you believe there are run on sentences or "smart" sounding words?

cavalier1138

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Re: Personal Statement

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:45 am

Sure, here are a few of the more obvious ones:
Anonymous User wrote:When I started this idea, I noticed I would identify the real “me” more to one side of the board, white or black; it wasn’t me vs me, it was me versus the evil oppressors on the opposite side led by a leader who has the same mindset as I.

Run-on.

Anonymous User wrote:A normal response to this approach would be that it is seemingly useless to play against yourself, when you know exactly what your “opponent” is going to do, and therefore there is no element of surprise or what would be an otherwise different move set then what you yourself are aware of inside all the possible strategy’s you are knowledgeable of.

Run-on. Redundancies all over the place ("you yourself", "are aware of... are knowledgeable of," etc.).

Anonymous User wrote:This may seem unreasonable and definitely a bit uncanny at first glance, however my belief in this outlook follows that in order to improve as a chess player, you must be able to recognize your shortcomings in strategy and execution.

"Uncanny" makes no sense in this context. Run-on.

Anonymous User wrote:Although the common principle of practice and consistent play with others is known to be a normative approach to attaining this goal

Just say "normal" and "reaching". I don't know you, but I guarantee that if you were asked to paraphrase this sentence in conversation, you'd never use this wording.

Julsnet

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Re: Personal Statement

Postby Julsnet » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:08 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Sure, here are a few of the more obvious ones:
Anonymous User wrote:When I started this idea, I noticed I would identify the real “me” more to one side of the board, white or black; it wasn’t me vs me, it was me versus the evil oppressors on the opposite side led by a leader who has the same mindset as I.

Run-on.

Anonymous User wrote:A normal response to this approach would be that it is seemingly useless to play against yourself, when you know exactly what your “opponent” is going to do, and therefore there is no element of surprise or what would be an otherwise different move set then what you yourself are aware of inside all the possible strategy’s you are knowledgeable of.

Run-on. Redundancies all over the place ("you yourself", "are aware of... are knowledgeable of," etc.).

Anonymous User wrote:This may seem unreasonable and definitely a bit uncanny at first glance, however my belief in this outlook follows that in order to improve as a chess player, you must be able to recognize your shortcomings in strategy and execution.

"Uncanny" makes no sense in this context. Run-on.

Anonymous User wrote:Although the common principle of practice and consistent play with others is known to be a normative approach to attaining this goal

Just say "normal" and "reaching". I don't know you, but I guarantee that if you were asked to paraphrase this sentence in conversation, you'd never use this wording.



I went ahead and edited the parts you mentioned as well as fixed up the run-on sentences I noticed. What do you think? Also, I've lowered the tone a bit so as not to seem like I revolutionized the idea of playing against yourself, but rather that I used it to my advantage.

Since I was a young boy, I have always aspired to consider myself a chess master. An inherent reason for this aim stems from my highly competitive nature and personality. However, a more external reason for this derives from the fact that I enjoy the strategy-based structure of the game to such a great extent, that I’ve wanted to produce a seemingly indestructible defense for what I interpret as my own castle. Although the common principle of practice and consistent play with others is known to be a normal approach to attaining this goal, I have found that an effective method to identify and strengthen your weaknesses is by playing against the very person you see in the reflection of a mirror, yourself.
This may seem unreasonable at first thought. However, my belief in this outlook follows that in order to improve as a chess player, you must be able to recognize your shortcomings in strategy and execution. I believe playing solo is an effective means of distinguishing these factors. A normal response to this approach would be that it is seemingly useless to play against yourself, when you know exactly what your “opponent” is going to do. A result of this perspective is there is no element of surprise or what would be an otherwise unique move set beyond what you yourself are aware of. Whereas playing against others provides a greater expansion of the known techniques within your world, facing off against yourself allows you to experience firsthand how you would respond in a game facing your own strategy.
When I began using this idea, I noticed I would identify the real “me” more to one side of the board. It wasn’t me vs me, it was me versus the antagonists on the opposite side led by a leader who shares my mentality. In this regard, there was a slight bias towards the side I chose to identify with. The principle however, remained the same. The element of choosing a side only created a fiction within my mind. In responding to moves against myself, I gained insight into how I would react against my own offensive. Holes and otherwise fragile advances in these offensives would be responded to with the full force of a newly constructed strategy that I made on spot to counter what was originally my own attack machine. This gave the effect not of changing my usual approach to the game, but of providing reactionary measures should these tactics not have their intended result. The narrative that I created within my mind to correspond with the game only made it that much more enjoyable.
This principle has become a priceless model beyond simply chess. In other areas of my professional and personal life, I have found that gaining deeper understanding of your own limitations can be achieved through utilizing this method of self-evaluation. It is my thought that there are distinctive lessons that can be learned exclusively through the kind of criticism and analysis of oneself that is exemplified in the solo chess model. This form of assessment allows an individual to overcome plateaus in life; peaks that have formed from the inability to see past one’s own limited range of view. It certainly has helped me thus far, and I have no doubt in my mind that it will continue to do so for the years to come. I might not be that chess master that I had always dreamed of as of yet. However, if there’s one guarantee I can make, it is that even at mastery level I will still be fighting my own castles again and again until I’ve used every narrative.

cavalier1138

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Re: Personal Statement

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:39 pm

I'd strongly recommend editing your own work before posting it. You addressed the errors I pointed out, but those were not the only errors (and many of the problem sentences I highlighted are still bad). But it has highlighted that this topic really doesn't work for you.

Since you abandoned the anonymous replies, I can see that your last statement was shaping up to be a much better topic choice. Why not stick with something more personal and take the time to work on your writing, rather than continually trying new topics?

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cbbinnyc

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Re: Personal Statement

Postby cbbinnyc » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:44 pm

I agree with cavalier's feedback. Personally, I think this is a good first try at a statement, but I would go back to the drawing board and try something else. As cavalier wrote, the idea of playing chess against yourself is not one that is new or innovative. Also, the whole essay is very esoteric. Everything is rooted in abstract ideas, and there is no story to anchor us.

Whether or not you keep this topic, cavalier is definitely right about the piece stylistically, but he just listed a few instances of awkward or overly-floury writing; the whole thing needs reworking. To use the first paragraph as an example:

"Since I was a young boy, I have always aspired to consider myself a chess master"
could become
"I have always aspired to be a chess master"

"An inherent reason for this aim stems from my highly competitive nature and personality."
could become
"This aspiration comes, in part, from my natural competitiveness."

"However, a more external reason for this derives from the fact that I enjoy the strategy-based structure of the game to such a great extent, that I’ve wanted to produce a seemingly indestructible defense for what I interpret as my own castle."
This is very confusing, not even sure how to rewrite. First of all, how is your enjoyment of the strategy-based structure of the game in contrast with your competitive nature? Because it is external? How is your enjoyment of the structure an "external" reason where natural competitiveness is "internal"? Also, it is unclear what you mean by "my own castle" or why you would want to produce a "seemingly" indestructible defense as opposed to one that is "actually" indestructible.

"Although the common principle of practice and consistent play with others is known to be a normal approach to attaining this goal, I have found that an effective method to identify and strengthen your weaknesses is by playing against the very person you see in the reflection of a mirror, yourself."
could become
"Consistent play against a variety of opponents is traditionally seen as the best practice, but I found that playing against myself was the best way to confront and address my weaknesses."

Etc etc. My wording might not be the best, I wrote those edits quickly. But, basically, you want to go through sentence by sentence and make sure that your language is concise and economical.

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mwells56

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Re: Personal Statement

Postby mwells56 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Please read my personal statement and let me know what you think! Im new here and know you guys will do some awesome grilling :-)


Since I was a young boy, I


played the silver ball.

Julsnet

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Re: Personal Statement

Postby Julsnet » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:33 pm

ya I think im gonna scrap this and try again. my writing has always been a bit vague and abstract, and I need to make it more concise



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