Need opinions on Personal Statement Topic

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ESQToBe
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Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:29 am

Need opinions on Personal Statement Topic

Postby ESQToBe » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:22 pm

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well. I am beginning to work on my personal statement. I would like to ask for opinions on my topic.

I would like to talk about overcoming tinnitus (permanent hearing loss and constant ringing of the ear) and remaining focused on my studies. Tinnitus can become overwhelming and makes it difficult to focus and concentrate. It alters your everyday life. I would like to talk about my trouble and frustration of visiting many doctors and being unable to find a cure. My focus of the personal statment would be I did not give up on my undergraduate studies while dealing with this condition and having the determination to live a normal life with this condition.

I would love for everyone to tell me what they think.

Thank you.

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ivankasta
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:22 am

Re: Need opinions on Personal Statement Topic

Postby ivankasta » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:14 pm

Sounds like it could be an interesting topic!

I'm by no means an expert. I'm just a 0L, so take all of this with a grain of salt. But here's what I like and dislike in statements like these.

For me, personal statements that deal with overcoming adversity pretty often fall into two traps: cliches and negativity. Make sure you really think about how tinnitus has affected you and could write 10 pages about it if you wanted to. This way, you will have your own words to describe the challenge and you can avoid vague, pre-canned statements about overcoming challenges. For example, saying that you were able to overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge only because you were just so passionate about x. That might be true, but there's nothing interesting there; it could be said about a lot of people who have overcome a challenge in their college career. What's interesting to me is hearing about concrete steps you took that helped you to overcome it. Did you have to study in 8 30-minute blocks per day? Did you have to reach out to classmates for notes? Did you have to speak to the professor after every lecture? Be specific and the general ideas about your passion and persistence will come through.

The other trap is negativity. I don't like statements that make me sad. Even if tinnitus is something that you're in an ongoing struggle with, focus on the progress you've made and the wisdom you've gained rather than the challenges you still have. Make sure you end on a positive/optimistic note like "facing and overcoming the challenges posed by tinnitus has made me an even stronger student than before. Overcoming a challenge that once seemed overwhelming has strengthened my resolve to not let anything stand between me and my goals." as opposed to something negative like "tinnitus still makes studying difficult, but I'm learning to cope." Notice what I wrote in quotes are perfect examples of the cliches I talked about. That's because I don't know your story. Your actual writing should deal with concrete challenges, methods, and results. What I have in quotes should be the reader's takeaway message.

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Platopus
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Re: Need opinions on Personal Statement Topic

Postby Platopus » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:44 pm

ivankasta wrote:Sounds like it could be an interesting topic!

For me, personal statements that deal with overcoming adversity pretty often fall into two traps: cliches and negativity. .


I agree with this assessment. I'll add that overcoming adversity personal statements sometimes also come across as very forced, as in the individual thinks they need to write about some sort of adversity they faced, so they dig and dig until they find some sort of injustice in their life they can write about. Tinnitus is no joke, but from what I understand, there are varying degrees and about 1 in 5 people suffer from it, so make sure it actually seriously affects your life. If it does, which it sounds like it does, then go ahead, but be mindful of actually making a point and not just appealing for the sake of pity or something.




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