PS First Draft

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
mmart207
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

PS First Draft

Postby mmart207 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:13 am

Comments would be greatly appreciated!

I have always prided myself in working hard and staying out of trouble. As a kid, my father would always remind me the importance of furthering my education as well as the importance of straying away from those who embrace a life in the streets. However, growing up as a man of color in one of the worst neighborhoods of Chicago, it is quite difficult to avoid associating with individuals headed down the wrong path. It was always hard to watch some of my closest friends slowly stop coming to school and start hanging around the block more often. I would often try to plead with them, articulating how important it was for them to invest in themselves instead of hanging around the wrong crowd and throwing their lives away. I was always unsuccessful. After a while, I would just give up. Slowly but surely, I would distance myself from those I used to call my friends. To this day, I wish nothing but the best for them, and deep down, I continue to hope that one day they will realize their true potential and begin to work towards accomplishing their dreams.
As I grew older, I began to truly value the advice my father constantly instilled in me. At the age of seventeen, I had already lost two of my closest friends to gang violence. My heart yearned for the opportunity to be reunited with them, and I often blamed myself for not trying harder to help them. I continued to work hard in school, not only for myself and my family, but for my lost friends, because they never failed to remind me how successful they knew I would be. If only they thought as highly of themselves when they had the chance.

My first three years of college tested my mental discipline, but nothing tested me as much as what happened on the night of Sunday April 9th, 2017. I was on my way home from a long day of work. I had class the next day, and I was looking forward to getting into bed and relaxing for a bit until then. While I was driving and looking for parking in my neighborhood, I noticed a man approaching my car from behind. I felt a bit uneasy, but paid little mind to it and continued to search for parking. As I drove away, I heard a gunshot ring behind me and instantly felt the impact in my back. At that moment, I lost all sense of hearing, and my main focus was on getting out of where I was as quickly as I possibly could. I sped off and drove to a local gas station, where I got out of my car, took off my shirt and faced what I could not and did not want to believe, I had been shot. Blood was flowing out of my back, and I was starting to panic. I called my mother on the phone and told her I had just been shot, and the screams I heard on the other end are the screams that continue to play in my head and keep me up some nights.

Over the next few days, my emotions were all over the place. I had been shot in the back, and the bullet was about an inch away from puncturing my lungs. My car had been shot five times that night, and I was feeling extremely blessed to be alive and healing. However, my mental state of being was far from healed. I spent countless nights replaying the incident in my head, wondering what I could had possibly done to avoid the situation. I continuously pondered on how I had spent my whole life focusing on school, work, and my family in an effort to stay on the right path, and not even my best efforts were successful in preventing me from becoming another statistic of gun violence in my city. I was filled with rage, confusion, and endless pain. However, the emotions I felt slowly turned into gratitude and motivation. Although I became another statistic that night, another man of color who fell victim to the adversities that plagued my surroundings, I realized that I was much more than that. Despite the odds being set against me, I have been able to overcome the hardships I have faced. I have been able to grow as an individual, and I have been able to successfully stride towards my hopes and dreams. I truly believe that I survived that night to be able to continue to work hard in an effort to show the world what a man of color from one of the worst neighborhoods in the city of Chicago can accomplish. Although I will never be the same person I was prior to that night, I will always be the man who will work relentlessly to get to where I want to be in life.

lucretius_
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:58 pm

Re: PS First Draft

Postby lucretius_ » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:16 pm

Going to take a stab at a full edit here:

Growing up as a man of color in one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city of Chicago taught me a lot about discipline. As a kid, my father would always remind me the importance of my education, and I took his message to heart. I made it my mission to stay out of trouble and to work hard at school so that I may one day realize my true potential. I avoided the draw of the streets even while my classmates and friends slowly slipped away. I pleaded with many of them to reconsider, but my warnings continuously went unheeded.

By seventeen, I had already experienced the loss of two of my closest friends. I was haunted by guilt. Maybe, if I had only tried a little bit harder--sat down again and clearly showed them that they could work like I had to advance themselves--the tragedies of their deaths may have been avoided. I began using their loss as an incentive to work even harder in school, and the memory of their continued encouragement was a constant reminder of what my dreams meant to me. I wasn't going to end up a statistic. I went off to college that year with a sense of hope and optimism.

The first three years of college tested my mental discipline, but nothing tested me as much as what happened on the night of Sunday April 9th, 2017. I was on my way home from a long day of work. I had class the next day, and I was looking forward to getting into bed and relaxing for a bit until then. While I was driving and looking for parking in my neighborhood, I noticed a man approaching my car from behind. I felt a bit uneasy, but paid little mind to my discomfort and continued to search for parking. As I drove away, I heard a gunshot ring behind me and instantly felt the impact in my back. I lost my sense of hearing. My main focus was on getting out of where I was as quickly as I possibly could. I sped off and drove to a local gas station, not believing what had just happened to me. I got out of my car, took off my shirt. Blood was flowing out of my back, and the reality of the injury drove me into a panic. I called my mother on the phone and told her I had just been shot, and the screams I heard on the other end continue to play in my head and keep me up some nights.

Over the next few days, my emotions were all over the place. My car had been shot five time. The bullet I took in the back was about an inch away from puncturing my lungs. I was feeling extremely blessed to be alive and healing. However, my mental state was far from healed. I spent countless nights replaying the incident in my head, wondering what I could had possibly done to avoid the situation. I pondered on how I had spent my whole life focusing on school, work, and my family in an effort to stay on the right path, and not even my best efforts were unsuccessful. I had become yet another statistic; a man of color shot in the street.

I was filled with rage, confusion, and nagging pain. Slowly, the emotions I felt turned into gratitude and motivation. Although I became another statistic that night, I realized that I was much more than raw data. Despite the odds, I continue to overcome the hardships that I face as a man of color from Chicago. The experience helped me grow as an individual, and I have been able to successfully pursue my hopes and dreams. I believe I survived that night so that I can continue to work hard in an effort to show the world what a man of color from gang-ridden Chicago can accomplish. I am and will always be the man who will work relentlessly to succeed.


The story is great, and there is a lot to work with here. I apologize if I took too much liberty with your personal style or if I misrepresented your message or intention in any way. I tried my best to show how I would have cleaned up the narrative and some of the wording with an almost entire write of the first few paragraphs and some spot editing of the final two.

mmart207
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: PS First Draft

Postby mmart207 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:32 pm

lucretius_ wrote:Going to take a stab at a full edit here:

Growing up as a man of color in one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city of Chicago taught me a lot about discipline. As a kid, my father would always remind me the importance of my education, and I took his message to heart. I made it my mission to stay out of trouble and to work hard at school so that I may one day realize my true potential. I avoided the draw of the streets even while my classmates and friends slowly slipped away. I pleaded with many of them to reconsider, but my warnings continuously went unheeded.

By seventeen, I had already experienced the loss of two of my closest friends. I was haunted by guilt. Maybe, if I had only tried a little bit harder--sat down again and clearly showed them that they could work like I had to advance themselves--the tragedies of their deaths may have been avoided. I began using their loss as an incentive to work even harder in school, and the memory of their continued encouragement was a constant reminder of what my dreams meant to me. I wasn't going to end up a statistic. I went off to college that year with a sense of hope and optimism.

The first three years of college tested my mental discipline, but nothing tested me as much as what happened on the night of Sunday April 9th, 2017. I was on my way home from a long day of work. I had class the next day, and I was looking forward to getting into bed and relaxing for a bit until then. While I was driving and looking for parking in my neighborhood, I noticed a man approaching my car from behind. I felt a bit uneasy, but paid little mind to my discomfort and continued to search for parking. As I drove away, I heard a gunshot ring behind me and instantly felt the impact in my back. I lost my sense of hearing. My main focus was on getting out of where I was as quickly as I possibly could. I sped off and drove to a local gas station, not believing what had just happened to me. I got out of my car, took off my shirt. Blood was flowing out of my back, and the reality of the injury drove me into a panic. I called my mother on the phone and told her I had just been shot, and the screams I heard on the other end continue to play in my head and keep me up some nights.

Over the next few days, my emotions were all over the place. My car had been shot five time. The bullet I took in the back was about an inch away from puncturing my lungs. I was feeling extremely blessed to be alive and healing. However, my mental state was far from healed. I spent countless nights replaying the incident in my head, wondering what I could had possibly done to avoid the situation. I pondered on how I had spent my whole life focusing on school, work, and my family in an effort to stay on the right path, and not even my best efforts were unsuccessful. I had become yet another statistic; a man of color shot in the street.

I was filled with rage, confusion, and nagging pain. Slowly, the emotions I felt turned into gratitude and motivation. Although I became another statistic that night, I realized that I was much more than raw data. Despite the odds, I continue to overcome the hardships that I face as a man of color from Chicago. The experience helped me grow as an individual, and I have been able to successfully pursue my hopes and dreams. I believe I survived that night so that I can continue to work hard in an effort to show the world what a man of color from gang-ridden Chicago can accomplish. I am and will always be the man who will work relentlessly to succeed.


The story is great, and there is a lot to work with here. I apologize if I took too much liberty with your personal style or if I misrepresented your message or intention in any way. I tried my best to show how I would have cleaned up the narrative and some of the wording with an almost entire write of the first few paragraphs and some spot editing of the final two.


Wow, thank you so much for the extensive edits and response! Taking your edits into account, do you believe that anything else should be added? Or is it pretty strong and just about done? I wrote the whole thing in about an hour or less last night, so I knew I would have to make a few edits, but is there anything that seems to be missing from it in general? I wanted to create a statement that I felt would lead adcomms to connect with me and even want to see me succeed despite not knowing me personally.

lucretius_
Posts: 75
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:58 pm

Re: PS First Draft

Postby lucretius_ » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:54 pm

Honestly, I'm unsure. I have a nagging feeling that there could be more added about your successes in school after being shot or the struggle to transition back to school after your treatment, but I'm wary of adding much more because of length.

My advice would be to go through it again today/tonight and try another rewrite. Read what you have, then open up a fresh word doc and write a new version from scratch, using the first draft as a reference when needed. You may stumble across more details you did not include before and your main point may become more a more clear.

After writing that version, walk away. Take a week. Try not to think about it too much. When you come back to it, I bet you will have some additional insight that will lead to another major edit/rewrite...and then you'll be getting somewhere.

mmart207
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: PS First Draft

Postby mmart207 » Thu Jun 29, 2017 2:05 pm

Yeah, I feel like a little more could've been written but I was already almost at 2 pages and wary of writing any more. I feel like everything I wrote so far was too important to the theme to delete. Nonetheless, I'll take your advice and continue to work on it in bits and pieces throughout the rest of summer. Thank you for the help!

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MediocreAtBest
Posts: 582
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:51 pm

Re: PS First Draft

Postby MediocreAtBest » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:28 pm

I found myself curious as to exactly how difficult it was to stay away from the lifestyle that often accompanies bad neighborhoods. Maybe elaborate on that, because that is not easy to do, especially when there are times that the world seems against you and you feel like there's no hope. I'm from a decent neighborhood and I still had trouble keeping my head in the books, and I don't think most people understand just how hard it can be. I'd shorten the parts where you talk about trying to convince your friends to go down a different path and focus the writing more on yourself. I'd also like to hear a little bit about current-day you.

You have the potential for a great personal statement, I think you should take some time and play around with different ideas and really dig deep. You're on a good path, I'd say don't settle until you really get this right.

mmart207
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: PS First Draft

Postby mmart207 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:48 am

I found myself having a bit of trouble describing the way it felt to transition back into going to class after the incident because it wasn't a decision I made by choice as much as it was me like "hey, I can't let this affect me academically, I need to finish strong." I only missed about 2 days worth of classes, and started to go back before I was anywhere near being healed or feeling any better physically or mentally. I also had a few moments where I had to stop and just cry while I was writing it last night. I guess it's still pretty raw and hard to wrap my head around. But I'm definitely going to stick with this topic and continue to work on it. Thank you guys! Hopefully some more people can read my draft and give me some more opinions on what they feel should be added.

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zkyggi
Posts: 252
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am

Re: PS First Draft

Postby zkyggi » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:21 am

mmart207 wrote:I found myself having a bit of trouble describing the way it felt to transition back into going to class after the incident because it wasn't a decision I made by choice as much as it was me like "hey, I can't let this affect me academically, I need to finish strong." I only missed about 2 days worth of classes, and started to go back before I was anywhere near being healed or feeling any better physically or mentally. I also had a few moments where I had to stop and just cry while I was writing it last night. I guess it's still pretty raw and hard to wrap my head around. But I'm definitely going to stick with this topic and continue to work on it. Thank you guys! Hopefully some more people can read my draft and give me some more opinions on what they feel should be added.


Write a DS about the neighborhood, and start with the shooting. If you write about what you wrote in the quote above, you will be well on your way to a strong PS.

mmart207
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: PS First Draft

Postby mmart207 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:53 am

zkyggi wrote:
mmart207 wrote:I found myself having a bit of trouble describing the way it felt to transition back into going to class after the incident because it wasn't a decision I made by choice as much as it was me like "hey, I can't let this affect me academically, I need to finish strong." I only missed about 2 days worth of classes, and started to go back before I was anywhere near being healed or feeling any better physically or mentally. I also had a few moments where I had to stop and just cry while I was writing it last night. I guess it's still pretty raw and hard to wrap my head around. But I'm definitely going to stick with this topic and continue to work on it. Thank you guys! Hopefully some more people can read my draft and give me some more opinions on what they feel should be added.


Write a DS about the neighborhood, and start with the shooting. If you write about what you wrote in the quote above, you will be well on your way to a strong PS.


Wouldn't a DS and PS that both talk about the incident be a bit redundant?

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zkyggi
Posts: 252
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 am

Re: PS First Draft

Postby zkyggi » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:08 pm

mmart207 wrote:
zkyggi wrote:
mmart207 wrote:I found myself having a bit of trouble describing the way it felt to transition back into going to class after the incident because it wasn't a decision I made by choice as much as it was me like "hey, I can't let this affect me academically, I need to finish strong." I only missed about 2 days worth of classes, and started to go back before I was anywhere near being healed or feeling any better physically or mentally. I also had a few moments where I had to stop and just cry while I was writing it last night. I guess it's still pretty raw and hard to wrap my head around. But I'm definitely going to stick with this topic and continue to work on it. Thank you guys! Hopefully some more people can read my draft and give me some more opinions on what they feel should be added.


Write a DS about the neighborhood, and start with the shooting. If you write about what you wrote in the quote above, you will be well on your way to a strong PS.


Wouldn't a DS and PS that both talk about the incident be a bit redundant?


If you do them poorly, yes. But the PS is about YOU overcoming a tragic incident to reveal your stregnth. The DS would be about how your neighborhood has shaped your character on a broader level. It will take some planning but you have enough to write two good essays.

mmart207
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:40 pm

Re: PS First Draft

Postby mmart207 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:26 pm

Hey guys, here is a second draft with edits. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!


Growing up as a man of color in one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city of Chicago taught me a lot about self-discipline. As a kid, my parents would always remind me the importance of my education, and I took their message to heart. I made it my mission to stay out of trouble and to work hard to triumph over the many obstacles that people with my background so often have to endure. Although I have never been tempted by a life in the streets, growing up around it has taken its toll. I have lost many friendships due to the starkly different life paths taken, and I often find myself feeling alone on the troublesome path towards overcoming the odds set against me by social structures of race and class. I was determined to defy the statistics that plagued my people, not only for myself, but to be able to show others that they too can achieve wondrously, and that a life in the streets is not set in stone for us.

The first three years of college tested my mental discipline, but nothing tested me as much as what happened on the night of Sunday April 9th, 2017. I was on my way home from a long day of work. I had class the next day, and I was looking forward to getting into bed and relaxing for a bit until then. While I was driving and looking for parking in my neighborhood, I noticed a man approaching my car from behind. I felt a bit uneasy, but paid little mind to my discomfort and continued to search for parking. As I drove away, I heard a gunshot ring behind me and instantly felt the impact in my back. I lost my sense of hearing. My main focus was on getting out of where I was as quickly as I possibly could. I sped off and drove to a local gas station, not believing what had just happened to me. I got out of my car and took off my shirt. Blood was flowing out of my back, and the reality of the injury drove me into a panic. I called my mother on the phone and told her I had just been shot, and the screams I heard on the other end continue to play in my head and keep me up some nights.

Over the next few days, my emotions were all over the place. My car had been shot five times. The bullet I took in the back was about an inch away from puncturing my lungs. I was feeling extremely blessed to be alive and healing. However, my mental state was far from healed. I spent countless nights replaying the incident in my head, wondering what I could had possibly done to avoid the situation. I pondered on how I had spent my whole life focusing on school, work, and my family in an effort to stay on the right path, and not even my best efforts were successful. I had become yet another statistic: a man of color shot in the streets.

I was filled with rage, confusion, and nagging pain. Given that the incident happened during the semester, I did not have time to fully process and heal physically and mentally before going back to school. I missed about two days worth of lectures because of the physical pain I was in, and went right back to my daily school routine. The adjustment I had to make has been the hardest part of my college career thus far. Being a student who commutes from home and school, along with the fact that a few of my classes ended late at night, the fear and constant reminder of what could possibly happen to me on my way back home left me dreading finishing the school year. Nonetheless, I continued to work tenaciously to finish strong. Claiming this past semester was the most difficult I have faced would be a severe understatement. However, I made it my priority to not give up, and the academically successful end to the semester provided me with reassurance and motivation at a much needed time.

Over the last couple of months, the initial pain, rage, and confusion that engulfed me slowly blossomed into gratitude and motivation. Although I became another statistic that night, I realized that this did not define who I was and what I am capable of as an individual. Despite the grave circumstances, I was able to persevere and continue to strive towards accomplishing my goals. I believe I survived that night so that I can continue to work hard in an effort to show the world what a man of color from a gang-ridden neighborhood in Chicago can accomplish. Although I am not the same person I was before that night, I am and always will be the person who will work relentlessly to succeed.




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