2pg First Draft. Viable Topic? Any Critiques Welcome

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Nahapat
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:56 am

2pg First Draft. Viable Topic? Any Critiques Welcome

Postby Nahapat » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:06 pm

Hello, this is a new idea/draft I threw together over the past 2 days. It's very rough. It's no where close to being refined. I just want to hear your thoughts on if this is a workable scaffolding/theme/topic to then refine and perfect. Is it too general? Should I scrap it and start from scratch? Any comments or critiques are welcomed and I'll totally critique yours too in return! Thanks in advance!


I often daydream about writing to the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, suggesting they include a smiling picture of me next to their entry on the American Dream. Serving as a limitless reservoir of hope, the true heart and soul of the American Dream has always belonged to America’s immigrant communities. As a first generation American with immigrant backgrounds on BOTH SIDES of the family tree, I’ve often thought of my existence as the physical manifestation of the Dream. Currently, the mantel of our American Dream is carried most prevalently by the Hispanic-American community. Being of Cuban-Latina decent, my father’s mother had always felt close to this narrative. We could scarcely have a family gathering without her patented toast, “I left my home and came to America 25 years ago when Arin was born…”. All of my life my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles impressed upon me the importance of attending university and earning a college degree. Despite leaving his classroom for the bazaar in the fourth grade my mother’s father, Saro, regards a person’s education as their most valuable asset. Self-educated out of necessity, he credits our shared passion for history and literature with enabling his family to rise from undereducated minority in rural Iran to become exemplars of the American Dream within two generations.
Embracing the American ethos, my parents left their families behind and immigrated to the United States as persecuted ethnic and religious minorities following the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution. The revolution evolved into the bloody Iran-Iraq war, my parents arrived in America not knowing the language and cut-off from their families. Despite moving here to pursue their educations, their financial situations did not allow for either of them to complete college. Instead, they were forced to pass their aspirations down to their children, just as their own parents were. As a child, I watched them do everything in their power to encourage and support my brother and myself. Fueled by regret at their own lack of opportunity, my parents left no doubt in our minds that graduating from college was the bear minimum expected of us. Their mentality was encompassed in five words, “we couldn’t, so you will”. Only upon entering college did I realize that they pushed us hard so we would not have to repeat their struggles.
The experiences of my parents and grandparents led me to value intellectual enrichment above all else. As an undergraduate, I found that I enjoyed the Socratic nature of my political science lectures as well as finding intellectual satisfaction from economics coursework. Being the first in my family to have such an opportunity, I jumped at the chance to pursue my degree in both subjects. Make no mistake; this did not come easily for me, as I also had to fund my own education with student loans and work 20-30 hours a week. I welcomed the challenge knowing I was investing in my future. The summer between my junior and senior year was especially brutal. I completed two notoriously difficult upper-division finance courses while working five-hour days as an analyst for a distressed-debt real-estate investment firm in addition to completing various projects for the Undergraduate Finance Association. Through these experiences, budgeting time and maintaining discipline quickly became two of my greatest strengths.
Finding my economics coursework particularly stimulating, I pursued a career in finance and asset management following graduation. In accordance with my life-long goal of intellectual enrichment, I prepared for and took the notoriously difficult CFA exam while working 50 to 60 hours every week. 18 months after being hired as a portfolio administrator, management took note of my diligence and drive, offering me a coveted position on the mutual funds team. I gladly accepted the opportunity to expand my knowledge and join the best and brightest amongst my peers. On the mutual fund side of the business, fund sizes were not denoted in millions, but billions of dollars. I went from monitoring modest portfolios belonging to individual clients, to being responsible for several large publicly traded mutual funds. My job expanded from spotting and solving problems between a handful of internal teams and external brokers to dealing with federal regulators, legal council, the upper management of our parent company, and the mysteriously reclusive PhD analytics teams on the top floor.
In my new role, I discovered that although I was capable of producing quality quantitative work, my greatest strength lay in my written and verbal communication skills. I was responsible for spotting trading or accounting discrepancies, finding the technical solution, then coordinating the response between multitudes of parties, many of which included upper-level management and legal council. Since my undergraduate days, I dreamt of marrying my academic experience and technical expertise to my passion for problem solving, communicating and coordinating strategy. Having gained exposure to the legal and compliance aspects of finance working closely with our in-house counsel and government regulators, I found the ideal marriage of my skills, temperament, and interests in the practice of corporate, financial and tax law.
As a corporate litigator, I will retain exposure to the financial concepts I grew to enjoy as an undergraduate, employing them to advise on legal and financial issues. It is my ideal work environment, allowing me to apply my expertise and business acumen to novel, complex legal issues. My greatest professional goal is to build myself a reputation for producing excellent work. The culmination of all my experiences: academic, professional, and familial, have taught me that above all else perseverance is the ingredient necessary to reach my goals. Passion, discipline and dedication are the qualities that have allowed me to become the first person in my family to graduate from university. They have carried me this far, and they are the core traits I will rely on to carry me through the rigors of law school.
Last edited by Nahapat on Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Piggy11
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 12:22 pm

Re: 2pg First Draft. Viable Topic? Any Critiques Welcome

Postby Piggy11 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:12 pm

I think the topic has a lot of potential. You come across as competent, intellectually curious and driven, which can only be helpful in the context of law school admissions. As a fellow "practical law" applicant I also found your motivation to go into law refreshingly different from the public interest law narratives. Not that there is anything wrong or questionable about those, and I'm a little envious of the people who have the genuine desire and drive to help the less fortunate and forgo other more lucrative career paths - it's just that those stories seem to be a lot more common than stories where someone articulates why they want to study corporate law, even less so tax law. I think being different in this way would be a positive, but I'm a 0L like you, so I could be wildly wrong.
I would cut out quite a bit of the background relating to the parents - just keep the minimum necessary to show that you are a first generation Iranian immigrant and a first generation college graduate. This would leave a bit more space for fleshing out your accomplishments and answering some lingering questions (why was that summer brutal? when did you bite more than you could chew? - it's not clear if those instances are already detailed in the rest of the statement).
Stylistically, I realize this is a first draft, so I won't make any nitpicky comments, but I did notice that you tend to use a lot of "qualifying" opening sentences (As a child; As an undergraduate; Being the first in my family; Finding my economics coursework...; Effectively receiving a promotion;). While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with any one of those, I wasn't keen on their frequency.

Nahapat
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:56 am

Re: 2pg First Draft. Viable Topic? Any Critiques Welcome

Postby Nahapat » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:56 pm

edit
Last edited by Nahapat on Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Nahapat
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:56 am

Re: 2pg First Draft. Viable Topic? Any Critiques Welcome

Postby Nahapat » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:58 pm

Piggy11 wrote:I think the topic has a lot of potential. You come across as competent, intellectually curious and driven, which can only be helpful in the context of law school admissions. As a fellow "practical law" applicant I also found your motivation to go into law refreshingly different from the public interest law narratives. Not that there is anything wrong or questionable about those, and I'm a little envious of the people who have the genuine desire and drive to help the less fortunate and forgo other more lucrative career paths - it's just that those stories seem to be a lot more common than stories where someone articulates why they want to study corporate law, even less so tax law. I think being different in this way would be a positive, but I'm a 0L like you, so I could be wildly wrong.
I would cut out quite a bit of the background relating to the parents - just keep the minimum necessary to show that you are a first generation Iranian immigrant and a first generation college graduate. This would leave a bit more space for fleshing out your accomplishments and answering some lingering questions (why was that summer brutal? when did you bite more than you could chew? - it's not clear if those instances are already detailed in the rest of the statement).
Stylistically, I realize this is a first draft, so I won't make any nitpicky comments, but I did notice that you tend to use a lot of "qualifying" opening sentences (As a child; As an undergraduate; Being the first in my family; Finding my economics coursework...; Effectively receiving a promotion;). While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with any one of those, I wasn't keen on their frequency.


Hey man, thanks! That was really helpful. I played up my family history to really get that "immigrant" story theme going, but point taken. I should concentrate on my own struggles more rather than those of my families. After all, I'm the one they're considering. Oh man, I've written 3-4 statements so far and gotten just the most negative (but truthful) responses. It feels good to stumble upon a theme/angel that you found refreshing.

Ive actually written another draft aimed at focusing in on the theme (shifting it slightly to play up my URM status and reinforce the idea of my life being an embodiment of the American Dream). I edited the original post and threw in the new draft. If you have the time, please tell me what you think!

Piggy11
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 12:22 pm

Re: 2pg First Draft. Viable Topic? Any Critiques Welcome

Postby Piggy11 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:01 am

I would be happy to look over another draft - but I feel that I can't stress enough that I'm not an Admissions officer, or even an admitted law student. I got my undergrad degree abroad, so I never had to write a PS for any US institution.
Going back to your statement, I don't think you need to play up the diversity card in your PS - you can write a diversity statement for that. I don't think your background qualifies you as an URM (unless you are black Iranian or something), but as a minority in Iran and a first generation immigrant to the US you would probably bring a different perspective to the classroom.

superpickle
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:17 pm

Re: 2pg First Draft. Viable Topic? Any Critiques Welcome

Postby superpickle » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:35 am

Nit picky grammar things:

Your first five sentences are about this undefined "American Dream". While we all know the general idea of what you're referring to, I think that could be edited down to two sentences. One defining exactly what the American Dream is to you, and one explaining why you fulfill it. It feels like fluff dedicating an entire paragraph to saying you exemplify this vague idea of it.

Not important but I'd consider changing descriptions like "my mother's father" to "maternal grandfather" to make it slightly cleaner.

Second paragraph, second sentence, is a run-on. Change it to "AS the revolution evolved...". You also don't need a hyphen in "cut-off" there.

Bear minimum should be bare minimum.

"Encompassed in five words" should be followed with a colon, not a comma.

"make no mistake" should be followed with a colon or hyphen, not semi-colon.

"I welcomed the challenge"- comma- "knowing I was investing in my future."

"Investment firm" -comma- "in addition to..."

Instead of "fund sizes were not denoted in millions, but in billions" I would say "fund sizes were denoted not in millions, but in billions..."

"Finding the technical solution" AND "then coordinating..."

The last sentence of your penultimate paragraph feels clunky. A lot of lists. Your exposure to "legal and compliance aspects" with "in-house counsel and government regulators" marries your "skills, temperament and interests" in "corporate, financial and tax" law. I'd work on dividing that into two sentences or honing down on what you think is most important to say.

"My greatest professional goal is to build myself a reputation for producing excellent work" feels obvious. We all want a reputation for exceptional work. I'd either lose the sentence or expand on exactly what you mean and how you're going to achieve it- but honestly lean toward losing it.

"The culmaination of my experiences", that list should be denoted with hyphens instead of a colon on one side and nothing on the other.

Overall it's a great topic that demonstrates your diverse background, academic and work achievements, and motivation. I'm not accepted to anything yet, just a grammar Nazi in the first stages of applying, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but it seems like a solid essay that just needs to clean up the syntax a bit.




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