PS round 2, rewrite, Please Critique!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Cmoney $$
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PS round 2, rewrite, Please Critique!

Postby Cmoney $$ » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:22 pm

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Last edited by Cmoney $$ on Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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cbbinnyc
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Re: PS round 2, rewrite, Please Critique!

Postby cbbinnyc » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:08 pm

This is a compelling statement. Obviously the topic is a good one and I think you do a good job of briefly addressing the "why law" question at the end.

My sense is that this could be improved with more showing and less telling. The statement is rather broad, at the moment. You touch on a lot: building brotherly bonds, the strangeness of returning to civilian life, being a single father on active duty, etc. Seems like you should focus in on the "bonds of brotherhood" aspect and go into detail about a story that illustrates that. Or if you want to highlight the difficulty of returning to civilian life (which seems to segue into your interest in law school), tell a story about somebody from you platoon who has had trouble coming back from combat.

There are some issues of word choice and places where you could be more economical (e.g. "Adding to my intrigue, each individual regardless of origin or identity were inexplicably bonded." - "adding to my intrigue" sounds like you are saying "adding to my mysterious nature," I think you want a different word there; also, I don't think "inexplicably" is the word you want, maybe "inextricably"? ETA: should be "each individual was not were) I won't presume to go through the whole piece and do spot edits, but you should find somebody to do that.

Overall, though, seems like you have a good start here.

lucretius_
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Re: PS round 2, rewrite, Please Critique!

Postby lucretius_ » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:50 pm

cbbinnyc wrote:This is a compelling statement. Obviously the topic is a good one and I think you do a good job of briefly addressing the "why law" question at the end.

My sense is that this could be improved with more showing and less telling. The statement is rather broad, at the moment. You touch on a lot: building brotherly bonds, the strangeness of returning to civilian life, being a single father on active duty, etc. Seems like you should focus in on the "bonds of brotherhood" aspect and go into detail about a story that illustrates that. Or if you want to highlight the difficulty of returning to civilian life (which seems to segue into your interest in law school), tell a story about somebody from you platoon who has had trouble coming back from combat.

There are some issues of word choice and places where you could be more economical (e.g. "Adding to my intrigue, each individual regardless of origin or identity were inexplicably bonded." - "adding to my intrigue" sounds like you are saying "adding to my mysterious nature," I think you want a different word there; also, I don't think "inexplicably" is the word you want, maybe "inextricably"? ETA: should be "each individual was not were) I won't presume to go through the whole piece and do spot edits, but you should find somebody to do that.

Overall, though, seems like you have a good start here.


This is all good advice. I just want to add that I think the organizational structure of the paragraphs could make all of the difference here. The paragraphs jump quickly from one topic to another with little transition, which is a bit jarring. I think you should read through this, find the main point of each paragraph, or even go sentence-by-sentence, and figure out how you can provide a more cohesive structure to your narrative.

Also, a personal preference: take out the Shakespeare quote. It introduces the brotherhood topic, but does nothing to advance your narrative because you never spend time analyzing it. You don't need old Billy Shakes to convince us that being in the army makes a family out of strangers. You can tell that story by relating your own experiences.

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zkyggi
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Re: PS round 2, rewrite, Please Critique!

Postby zkyggi » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:10 pm

lucretius_ wrote:
cbbinnyc wrote:This is a compelling statement. Obviously the topic is a good one and I think you do a good job of briefly addressing the "why law" question at the end.

My sense is that this could be improved with more showing and less telling. The statement is rather broad, at the moment. You touch on a lot: building brotherly bonds, the strangeness of returning to civilian life, being a single father on active duty, etc. Seems like you should focus in on the "bonds of brotherhood" aspect and go into detail about a story that illustrates that. Or if you want to highlight the difficulty of returning to civilian life (which seems to segue into your interest in law school), tell a story about somebody from you platoon who has had trouble coming back from combat.

There are some issues of word choice and places where you could be more economical (e.g. "Adding to my intrigue, each individual regardless of origin or identity were inexplicably bonded." - "adding to my intrigue" sounds like you are saying "adding to my mysterious nature," I think you want a different word there; also, I don't think "inexplicably" is the word you want, maybe "inextricably"? ETA: should be "each individual was not were) I won't presume to go through the whole piece and do spot edits, but you should find somebody to do that.

Overall, though, seems like you have a good start here.


This is all good advice. I just want to add that I think the organizational structure of the paragraphs could make all of the difference here. The paragraphs jump quickly from one topic to another with little transition, which is a bit jarring. I think you should read through this, find the main point of each paragraph, or even go sentence-by-sentence, and figure out how you can provide a more cohesive structure to your narrative.

Also, a personal preference: take out the Shakespeare quote. It introduces the brotherhood topic, but does nothing to advance your narrative because you never spend time analyzing it. You don't need old Billy Shakes to convince us that being in the army makes a family out of strangers. You can tell that story by relating your own experiences.


I agree, most notably with the bolded. It came out of nowhere and felt shoehorned in. Same with the Odysseus reference. The point is to show why you are compelling, so don't waste words quoting other people or comparing your story to theirs. Be unique and be genuine. This is in a good place.

Cmoney $$
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Re: PS round 2, rewrite, Please Critique!

Postby Cmoney $$ » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:58 pm

zkyggi wrote:
lucretius_ wrote:
cbbinnyc wrote:This is a compelling statement. Obviously the topic is a good one and I think you do a good job of briefly addressing the "why law" question at the end.

My sense is that this could be improved with more showing and less telling. The statement is rather broad, at the moment. You touch on a lot: building brotherly bonds, the strangeness of returning to civilian life, being a single father on active duty, etc. Seems like you should focus in on the "bonds of brotherhood" aspect and go into detail about a story that illustrates that. Or if you want to highlight the difficulty of returning to civilian life (which seems to segue into your interest in law school), tell a story about somebody from you platoon who has had trouble coming back from combat.

There are some issues of word choice and places where you could be more economical (e.g. "Adding to my intrigue, each individual regardless of origin or identity were inexplicably bonded." - "adding to my intrigue" sounds like you are saying "adding to my mysterious nature," I think you want a different word there; also, I don't think "inexplicably" is the word you want, maybe "inextricably"? ETA: should be "each individual was not were) I won't presume to go through the whole piece and do spot edits, but you should find somebody to do that.

Overall, though, seems like you have a good start here.


This is all good advice. I just want to add that I think the organizational structure of the paragraphs could make all of the difference here. The paragraphs jump quickly from one topic to another with little transition, which is a bit jarring. I think you should read through this, find the main point of each paragraph, or even go sentence-by-sentence, and figure out how you can provide a more cohesive structure to your narrative.

Also, a personal preference: take out the Shakespeare quote. It introduces the brotherhood topic, but does nothing to advance your narrative because you never spend time analyzing it. You don't need old Billy Shakes to convince us that being in the army makes a family out of strangers. You can tell that story by relating your own experiences.


I agree, most notably with the bolded. It came out of nowhere and felt shoehorned in. Same with the Odysseus reference. The point is to show why you are compelling, so don't waste words quoting other people or comparing your story to theirs. Be unique and be genuine. This is in a good place.


Thanks! I really appreciate the feedback. I have revised the statement based on your feedback. Is this better? Please excuse grammatical errors, I will go back with a fine tooth comb once I've finished editing for content.
Last edited by Cmoney $$ on Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lucretius_
Posts: 75
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Re: PS round 2, rewrite, Please Critique!

Postby lucretius_ » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:13 pm

Cmoney $$ wrote:Thanks! I really appreciate the feedback. I have revised the statement based on your feedback. Is this better? Please excuse grammatical errors, I will go back with a fine tooth comb once I've finished editing for content.

I could share numerous stories of hardship that would soften even the toughest cynic. Events like the time I slept on the tarmac at Baghdad International Airport during a mortar attack or the time my good friend Chris bled out in the street in Adamiyah shielding a woman and two children from automatic rifle fire. Though these tragedies had profound influence on my character, they do not define me as a person nor do they define my military service.

When I enlisted in the Army I intended to serve four years and move on with my life. However, the bonds of brotherhood forged in combat changed my plans. Basic combat training prepares an individual for the technical aspects of combat, but for me, didn’t instill much sense of purpose. What lead me to deeper understanding was the human element of the military.

Shortly after combat medic training I was sent to Germany. My attitude towards serving in the army changed on a cool soggy day in the Bavarian Alps when I was introduced to the infantrymen of 3rd platoon, Bravo Company. 3rd platoon was a rifle platoon whose men were more like family than co-workers. What fascinated me was that each individual regardless of origin or identity was inextricably bonded. Their range of diversity can only be described as extreme; from the 5 foot tall redhead from Arkansas with the thick southern drawl (whose words were incomprehensible when excited) to the 6’6” tall self-described “former thug” from the projects of New York City. I assimilated into the platoon quickly and became known as “doc,” a nickname given to trusted infantry medics.

Becoming part of the team was comical at times. Soldiers often revert to humor as a means to lighten the gravity of our profession. A squad leader in the platoon who shared my same last name thought it would be fitting to make me “re-earn” my last name. He convinced the entire platoon to call me “Doc Burkowski” for six months until I could prove my proficiency as a medic. After all, he didn’t want his good name to be tarnished if I turned out to be substandard. These men became my brothers. Being immersed in this tremendous support network is why I continued to serve beyond my initial enlistment.

The fear of letting these men down drove me to expend all of my energy ensuring their safety during our deployment to Iraq. I spent every waking hour studying advanced medical techniques and checking on my new-found brethren. After a long day of patrols, I would sit down on my dusty cot with the special warfare medical handbook so I could be sure that if someone went down, they wouldn’t die under my care. After brushing up on my skills, I would go from tent to tent, cot to cot in the late hours of night asking each man how he was. Sometimes I rendered aid for various aches and pains, and other times I was simply a sounding board to vent the day’s frustrations to, whether personal or combat related.

Apparently my dedication was noticed because I was promoted to sergeant immediately upon returning from deployment. One of the most important things I learned about as a new leader was that taking care of your subordinates is paramount. I was able to apply the same principles of being a member of 3rd platoon to my duties as a leader. Taking care of the soldiers beneath me as if they were my family enabled their success and brought me the satisfaction of a fulfilling career. Despite this, I realized that there was more that I could do to improve the lives of the soldiers and veterans that had become the cornerstone of my existence.

After more than a decade of service in the military I’ve found that what defines me as a person and a soldier is my veneration for my brothers and sisters in arms. I will bring this attitude of service with me to law school and the legal profession where I will gain the necessary knowledge to advocate for service members and veterans. I understand that law school will be an uphill battle, but that my desire to serve my fellow soldiers will ensure my success. After all, I would never let them down.


The bolded paragraph adds a lot to this. Really digging it.

I'm still not a huge fan of the paragraph order here, but maybe I just dislike both the first and last paragraphs. The first paragraph doesn't really introduce the topic, so it seems superfluous. The second paragraph serves as a better introduction because you've got the brotherhood narrative. The last paragraph seems tacked on to somehow explain why you want to go to law school. I don't find it necessary to complete your story or to tell me more about you. This version > first version mostly because of the bolded paragraph.




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