Beg For Harsh Critique PS+DS

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daiff
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Beg For Harsh Critique PS+DS

Postby daiff » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:47 am

:o :mrgreen: :o Here are my PS and DS. I intend to use these 2 as a combo for most of the schools I am applying. My DS is still a bit long for most of the schools, so I am happy if anyone can point out which part they think is not necessary. I appreciate anyone that can offer any criticisms. Any suggestions in terms of grammar, sentence and style will be very much appreciated. And PLEASE, if you can, tell me whether you think the contents are good for the PS and DS respectively, OR do you think the contents fit better if they are switched. Thank again!! :D :P :D



Personal Statement


I squeezed through my way and found a corner in the jammed seminar room. I thought it would be just another political science course in my last semester at XXX University. Suggesting for a round of icebreakers, Professor XXX asked us to introduce ourselves with a single line that we would like to put on our social media profile. Suddenly, this poem popped up in my mind: “the black night endows me with black eyes, but I use them in search for the light.”

I was not always convinced of what I was searching for. Though I had all sorts of fantasies for college life in America, I knew neither what to expect nor where life was heading when I found myself under the flickering neon lights on Sunset Boulevard. However, I was desirous of knowledge, experience, and beyond. Never fulfilled by my middle school education, my curiosity for Western humanities signed me up for a course of ancient Western civilization. Sitting in a big lecture hall, I was introduced to Egyptian dynasties, Athenian life, and Roman senate. My ignited passion in Roman history drove me to a summer field study in Rome. Wandering through relics, museums and cathedrals, I experienced a history that enlivened from pages. Comparing the Roman history with my acquainted civilization, I completed my thesis analyzing the contrast between Byzantine Empire and Song Dynasty’s decline.

My inquiry in history at the meantime made me contemplate the becoming of the contemporary world. Uncultivated in the ideas of rights, law and democracy prior to my college education, I was enlightened by classical thoughts of Greek philosophers, nineteenth-century liberalism, and the democratic ideas embedded in the foundation of America. With the privilege of my education, I was exposed to due process facilitating legal justice and Constitutional debates delineating tangible rights of citizens. My enlightening education and my experience in civil organization reshaped my values and made me retrospect the world I grew up with my new perspective.

In Professor XXX's research seminar, I chose to scrutinize a recent unpublicized political campaign in which over three hundred legal practitioners across China were unwarrantably interrogated and detained for often associations with civil right litigations. Because law enforcement serves politicized orders, procedural opacity obstruct legal resort, and dependent judiciary submit to executive power, the guardians of law victimize civil rights fighters and essentially imperil the rule of law. The crackdown of lawyers is merely a facet of societal ills in China, and the task of justice is imperative and formidable for both the legal profession and the society of this and coming generations.

The one-lined poem that I recited on that class was authored by GU Cheng and titled “A Generation”, commemorating the generation that survived the darkest ten years of Cultural Revolution with will and hope. The extent of freedom in China today was fought by the martyrs who were not disheartened by the social atrocity and unyieldingly sought righteousness. While aware that the frail and finite freedom we live today has been on the perilous edge of rolling back to dark time, I am convinced that citizens have the capacity to defend liberty and facilitate justice. Aspiring to contribute to the justice cause, I believe a law school education will empower me with the respectable knowledge and virtuous values on my unswerving pursuit of the light.



Diversity Statement

The four o’clock dusk tinted the sky with a muddy paint, leaden storm clouds were whirling underneath the muddy sky, and I could hear thunder rumbling deep in the muggy monsoon from the southern coast. Warming up on the edge of the 160-meter track field in my elementary school, I saw my coach stepped out of his courtside office. Grasping a stopwatch, he was ready to start off our afternoon training with an 800-meter run. My only wish of the day, and many days to come, was to finish within the three minutes cut-off time so that I would not be penalized to run again. I was never the fastest kid in the team. I was, in most of those races, chasing at the back of my teammates and draining my last drop of energy at the finish line. For almost two years, my fear of training was refreshed every dawn and dusk, and my exhaustion cycled every weekday and weekend. Later my coach switched me to high jump. The thrills before the firing of starting pistol and the intensity of sprinting shoulder to shoulder were replaced with a freshly confronted a task of self-challenge – just me against the bar thwarting in front of me. Before every run up, I sensed an unwavering determination to leap over that bar, overcome obstacle and accomplish myself.

My father presented twice in my memory. The first time he threw over a tea table, and my mother spent the rest of the day picking the broken glass scattered on the living room floor. The second time I was seven. He took me out for a Saturday lunch. We played ping-pong, and he brought me a watercolor painting collection as a gift. My mother told me he was a lawyer. The next time I heard of him I was eleven; my family kept his death from me for two years.

My mother is a self-made entrepreneur, for which reason I spent my childhood with my maternal grandparents. My grandma is a brave woman, whether in the darkest nights of Culture Revolution, or in her final days fighting against small cell lung cancer. My grandpa is my soberest mentor in family, holding my little hand on our way to school, and at the dinner table heartening me after my first setback in life. Their companies were my summer joy and winter warmth in my childhood.

My friends in the track team spent their time after training choking fruit-flavored cigarette and gaming in unlicensed cybercafé inside the dilapidated alley nearby campus. I did not fancy my friends’ pastime because I was the only kid who had a personal computer at home. If my friends were not scuffling other schoolboys at some deserted construction site, we were most likely playing billiards in a poolroom deep in urban village. The twelve-year-old me wanted to see a bigger world.

As I refused my coach’s effort to refer me to a neighboring school’s athletics program, I emancipated myself from my twice-a-day ordeal and made my way to an “accelerated class” in one of the best junior highs in town. Being a top student from a bottom class in an uncompetitive primary school, I felt the academic challenge in my very first English test. Stunned and ashamed when I saw my failing score, I found myself standing on a new track with faster competitors. The piece of paper stapled at the back of classroom that ranked every student after every exam became my new stopwatch, and I climbed up towards the “cut-off” rank I set for myself semester by semester. But even in the best class like ours, less than half could make to the top high school, a goal shared by all. Struggling with trigonometric problems that would potentially determine my next three years, I then realized my competitiveness hammered in those tough days on track fueled my burning motivation.

I did not make into the percentile quota in the first admission exam, but I excelled in my second chance. The fulfillment lasted short, however. After ranked first in class at the first physics test, I started to question what I want to achieve at and after high school. I was aware of my desire to study abroad and explore the world was burgeoning from the deepest of my heart. But it was an unattainable dream for a sixteen-year-old – I knew nothing about how to get in foreign colleges. I made a later-proven premature decision to transfer from the school I fought so hard to get in to an international high school. Being one of the handfuls of students who chose to study in America in a British system school, I had to develop a sidetrack to prepare the requirements for American college, with little competition from peers and guidance from school. It was yet another high jumps, accomplishing the goal I set for myself. I learned to develop my self-discipline and self-motivation on this solitary path. Sitting in the fuggy classroom in a jam-packed improvised campus in the middle of an urban village, I envisioned my future college experience.

The past twenty some years of my life has been a combination of races and high jumps. Competing with my peers has hammered out my ambition and perseverance, while struggling to better myself has refined my willpower and conviction. I believe my experiences and characters will bring inspiration to your law school community and empower me on my forthcoming journey.
Last edited by daiff on Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

cavalier1138
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Re: Beg For Harsh Critique PS+DS

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:00 am

Personal Statement
-Vague, pretentious, and generally pointless. I have literally no idea what the theme is after two close read-throughs. That's a problem.

-Quit it with the generalities about "facilitating justice". If that's your interest, then you need to hammer out the specifics.

-Every sentence looks like it was fed through a thesaurus. There are little hints throughout that English is not your first language, so that's understandable. But this is supposed to be a personal statement, and the phrasing is far too lofty. To add to this, some of the word choice is just awkward and unwieldy.

-Overall, a lot of the problems will probably get fixed when you find something to focus on. Because this thing is all over the place right now.

Diversity Statement
-I literally have no idea why you wrote a diversity statement. All I got from this was that you have a family and competed in track and field. That's not diversity. If you're Chinese, then that's something worth highlighting, but it absolutely doesn't come through.

-If you do rewrite this, it needs to be much, much, much, much shorter. But as it is, you should just cut it entirely.

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UVA2B
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Re: Beg For Harsh Critique PS+DS

Postby UVA2B » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:07 am

I personally found your use of vocabulary a bit excessive. It's a common trap people writing PS/DS fall into where they think they need to use bigger words to demonstrate their intelligence. The best writing is simple, clear, and crafts a tale that brings the reader into your personal experiences. This did not do that for me. Just remember that Admissions is reading thousands of these. They want something that is easily digestible and to the point. Getting tangled up in stanzas of overly complex thesaurus hunting can actually irritate someone if you're not careful.

As for content, it's a perfectly fine topic and I think they're safe. You're not blowing anyone away because you're basically just showing you studied history and political science, but the content won't really hurt you. I'm pretty confident you could come up with better topics to write about if you really thought introspectively about yourself, but some people are making the right call by just playing it safe. Only you know if that's you.

ETA: really only talking about the PS, didn't want to read the DS after seeing glaring writing style problems in the PS.

Alive97
Posts: 331
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Re: Beg For Harsh Critique PS+DS

Postby Alive97 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:16 am

Beyond the overly flowery language that others have mentioned, I'm not seeing a compelling narrative about YOU. All I'm seeing is that you studied the roots of America's democracy and judiciary, became enlightened as to the potential the law has, and were further motivated by the oppression experienced by some in China, who were not treated properly by China's legal system. Were you or your ancestors part of the oppressed group in China? Is there a connection between those oppressed people and the American legal system? Are you going to go to China and improve the rule of law there? Are you at risk of experiencing the same kind of oppression?

What I'm getting at is that the content is too abstract, without enough of a connection to you. If your point is that you are motivated by the potential for effective legal recourse to remedy situations like that one in China, that might be workable, but make more of a connection to yourself/your family/your heritage.

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daiff
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:34 am

Re: Beg For Harsh Critique PS+DS

Postby daiff » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:18 am

cavalier1138 wrote:Personal Statement
-Vague, pretentious, and generally pointless. I have literally no idea what the theme is after two close read-throughs. That's a problem.

-Quit it with the generalities about "facilitating justice". If that's your interest, then you need to hammer out the specifics.

-Every sentence looks like it was fed through a thesaurus. There are little hints throughout that English is not your first language, so that's understandable. But this is supposed to be a personal statement, and the phrasing is far too lofty. To add to this, some of the word choice is just awkward and unwieldy.

-Overall, a lot of the problems will probably get fixed when you find something to focus on. Because this thing is all over the place right now.

Diversity Statement
-I literally have no idea why you wrote a diversity statement. All I got from this was that you have a family and competed in track and field. That's not diversity. If you're Chinese, then that's something worth highlighting, but it absolutely doesn't come through.

-If you do rewrite this, it needs to be much, much, much, much shorter. But as it is, you should just cut it entirely.




UVA2B wrote: personally found your use of vocabulary a bit excessive. It's a common trap people writing PS/DS fall into where they think they need to use bigger words to demonstrate their intelligence. The best writing is simple, clear, and crafts a tale that brings the reader into your personal experiences. This did not do that for me. Just remember that Admissions is reading thousands of these. They want something that is easily digestible and to the point. Getting tangled up in stanzas of overly complex thesaurus hunting can actually irritate someone if you're not careful.

As for content, it's a perfectly fine topic and I think they're safe. You're not blowing anyone away because you're basically just showing you studied history and political science, but the content won't really hurt you. I'm pretty confident you could come up with better topics to write about if you really thought introspectively about yourself, but some people are making the right call by just playing it safe. Only you know if that's you.

ETA: really only talking about the PS, didn't want to read the DS after seeing glaring writing style problems in the PS.




Alive97 wrote: Beyond the overly flowery language that others have mentioned, I'm not seeing a compelling narrative about YOU. All I'm seeing is that you studied the roots of America's democracy and judiciary, became enlightened as to the potential the law has, and were further motivated by the oppression experienced by some in China, who were not treated properly by China's legal system. Were you or your ancestors part of the oppressed group in China? Is there a connection between those oppressed people and the American legal system? Are you going to go to China and improve the rule of law there? Are you at risk of experiencing the same kind of oppression?

What I'm getting at is that the content is too abstract, without enough of a connection to you. If your point is that you are motivated by the potential for effective legal recourse to remedy situations like that one in China, that might be workable, but make more of a connection to yourself/your family/your heritage.



Thank you guys for all the inputs. It seems you all share similar opinions on a lot of my problems.Will be working on those

User avatar
daiff
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:34 am

Re: Beg For Harsh Critique PS+DS

Postby daiff » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:34 am

cavalier1138 wrote:Personal Statement
-Vague, pretentious, and generally pointless. I have literally no idea what the theme is after two close read-throughs. That's a problem.

-Quit it with the generalities about "facilitating justice". If that's your interest, then you need to hammer out the specifics.

-Every sentence looks like it was fed through a thesaurus. There are little hints throughout that English is not your first language, so that's understandable. But this is supposed to be a personal statement, and the phrasing is far too lofty. To add to this, some of the word choice is just awkward and unwieldy.

-Overall, a lot of the problems will probably get fixed when you find something to focus on. Because this thing is all over the place right now.

Diversity Statement
-I literally have no idea why you wrote a diversity statement. All I got from this was that you have a family and competed in track and field. That's not diversity. If you're Chinese, then that's something worth highlighting, but it absolutely doesn't come through.

-If you do rewrite this, it needs to be much, much, much, much shorter. But as it is, you should just cut it entirely.


For the DS, I think I want to use some of my background and experiences as an opening. But being a Chinese is not the point I want to highlight. I intend to show how I reacted in my past situations, and I wish what I worked should reflect some of my qualities. Its the character that I want to show. Sorry it didn't come through.

cavalier1138
Posts: 4483
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Beg For Harsh Critique PS+DS

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:03 am

daiff wrote:For the DS, I think I want to use some of my background and experiences as an opening. But being a Chinese is not the point I want to highlight. I intend to show how I reacted in my past situations, and I wish what I worked should reflect some of my qualities. Its the character that I want to show. Sorry it didn't come through.


Then don't write a diversity statement. A DS is a purely optional paper that should only be used to highlight any ways in which you are diverse from the average law school applicant. If you're not going to highlight your Chinese heritage, then there's absolutely no point in writing a DS.




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