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Author Topic: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?  (Read 1783 times)

The Brian

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Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« on: July 01, 2010, 12:34:52 AM »


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mac n cheese

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Re: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2010, 05:07:07 AM »
Its good! I enjoyed reading it. If it were my work, I'd re-write the opening paragraph so that it has a sense of direction. Plus, it has way too many commas.  I'd also scratch the first sentence in the closing paragraph. Other than that, its cool.

Best Wishes
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john4040

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Re: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2010, 06:13:23 PM »
It's very well written, however, I'm not sure I like the theme.  It seems as though you are referring to yourself as just another ordinary person.  I would submit to you that most people are shaped by the small influences around them rather than a single defining moment, and that nothing in your personal statement suggests that your development in life was anything out of the ordinary.  For example, your story rings similar to the following statements:  "As a child, I spoke my first word.  After I spoke that first word, my mother praised me.  Her praise influenced me to speak more.  I can now speak extraordinarily well because of her praise."  There's really nothing extraordinary about that -- it's just natural development.

You need to think long and hard about what it is that makes you stand out from the crowd.  Why do you want to go to law school?  From what I can gather in your proposed statement, law school would be just another "'little' thing[] in life" that you could use to "move on to the next modest-but-defining moment."  No law school wants someone that like that.  Law schools want winners (i.e., extraordinary students with grand aspirations).

The Brian

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Re: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2010, 06:46:18 PM »
It's very well written, however, I'm not sure I like the theme.  It seems as though you are referring to yourself as just another ordinary person.  I would submit to you that most people are shaped by the small influences around them rather than a single defining moment, and that nothing in your personal statement suggests that your development in life was anything out of the ordinary.  For example, your story rings similar to the following statements:  "As a child, I spoke my first word.  After I spoke that first word, my mother praised me.  Her praise influenced me to speak more.  I can now speak extraordinarily well because of her praise."  There's really nothing extraordinary about that -- it's just natural development.

You need to think long and hard about what it is that makes you stand out from the crowd.  Why do you want to go to law school?  From what I can gather in your proposed statement, law school would be just another "'little' thing[] in life" that you could use to "move on to the next modest-but-defining moment."  No law school wants someone that like that.  Law schools want winners (i.e., extraordinary students with grand aspirations).
thanks for the input. i thought long and hard about what you said when i first wrote it in fact, and i decided in writing the statement the way i did, i wanted to speak about my natural progression, my writing ability, and a few specific things that have shaped me. i wanted to show myself as what i am: a normal guy that's had certain circumstances develop certain skills that make me ideal for law school. i took into account that it made me sound a bit ordinary (self-admittedly) but the "bigger things" in the last statement was supposed to be law school, not the "next modest moment".

also, i don't know what quite makes a "winner" in the way you mean it? what is a winner? am i supposed to talk about awards, a grander scale, or how i want to be the best lawyer there ever was?  i don't know i quite agree with grand aspirations being a plus; no one wants a dreamer. perhaps i'm a realist.

i'll keep your feedback in mind though when i look to edit it. thanks again.


The Brian

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Re: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 06:54:16 PM »
Its good! I enjoyed reading it. If it were my work, I'd re-write the opening paragraph so that it has a sense of direction. Plus, it has way too many commas.  I'd also scratch the first sentence in the closing paragraph. Other than that, its cool.

Best Wishes
thanks. i kinda threw the opening paragraph without a clear bridge between the rest of the statement; i'll probably rework it a bit.

john4040

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Re: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 07:05:03 PM »
also, i don't know what quite makes a "winner" in the way you mean it? what is a winner? am i supposed to talk about awards, a grander scale, or how i want to be the best lawyer there ever was?  i don't know i quite agree with grand aspirations being a plus; no one wants a dreamer. perhaps i'm a realist.


There is no one way to go about it.  You need a compelling reason why they should select you - which might include a number of things (naturally progressing in life not being one of them).  Tell them why you MUST go to law school, tell them that you have some sort of special talent to offer them, tell them that you plan to do x or y with your law degree, tell them why they should select you over Joe Blow.  Just don't tell them that you plan on being mediocre.

To give you some help, think about some good traits that define you as a person.  Can you point to one particular instance in your life - a particular thing that you've done / something that few people would do - that would prove your assertion that you possess those traits?

The Brian

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Re: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 07:52:56 PM »
also, i don't know what quite makes a "winner" in the way you mean it? what is a winner? am i supposed to talk about awards, a grander scale, or how i want to be the best lawyer there ever was?  i don't know i quite agree with grand aspirations being a plus; no one wants a dreamer. perhaps i'm a realist.


There is no one way to go about it.  You need a compelling reason why they should select you - which might include a number of things (naturally progressing in life not being one of them).  Tell them why you MUST go to law school, tell them that you have some sort of special talent to offer them, tell them that you plan to do x or y with your law degree, tell them why they should select you over Joe Blow.  Just don't tell them that you plan on being mediocre.

I'll give you an example. On my app, I talked about how I was taking my last college exam and how I didn't need the grade, but sat there on a Saturday morning and was the last damn person (besides the TA) to walk out of that room.  It's things like that which define me as a person - I'm hard working, focused, and determined.  I'm not okay with being mediocre.  I'm not a normal person.  I want to be the best and am willing to sacrifice for it.
i think the thing that you might be missing is that my statement is about my natural progression, but that isn't the main point. the main point is that through the two specific instances i chose within that progression, you see the skills that appeal to law schools: writing ability, hard work, and persistence. perhaps it might be a bit too subtle; you have to read for example that being on the phone for 3 hours = persistence/hard work.  also, my paper is meant to be relative to the world; when i say commonplace i mean it because i'm sure little things like these happen everywhere. it's what i took out of it and how i applied these normal things that made special.

it seems to me that your instance of being the last to leave during your last college test is pretty commonplace in its own right, but it draws a parallel to some of my examples in that it shows something about you and who you are. perhaps if i stress this point more, it would be clearer that my focus in the paper is not only my progression, but that my progression reveals the talents/traits that make me a compelling choice for a law school.

thanks again, a refocusing of the statement is in order.


 

john4040

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Re: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2010, 08:19:10 PM »

it seems to me that your instance of being the last to leave during your last college test is pretty commonplace in its own right

Not really.  I seriously don't know anyone that (1) already had the highest grade in the class, (2) was willing to study for and (3) spend a Saturday morning taking (4) their last college examination.

Nice try though.  You'll get in everywhere you apply!!1!11!!!

The Brian

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Re: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2010, 08:44:52 PM »

it seems to me that your instance of being the last to leave during your last college test is pretty commonplace in its own right

Not really.  I seriously don't know anyone that (1) already had the highest grade in the class, (2) was willing to study for and (3) spend a Saturday morning taking (4) their last college examination.

Nice try though.  You'll get in everywhere you apply!!1!11!!!

"nice try though?" haha, what? am i missing something here? your input has helped me refocus my statement, but that last post came off ridiculously juvenile. did i hurt your feelings when i said being the last person to leave a test while  also studying for it when you were already overachieving is commonplace?

my bad, then.

john4040

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Re: Just finished a draft of my PS; care to critique it?
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2010, 09:05:23 PM »
"nice try though?" haha, what? am i missing something here? your input has helped me refocus my statement, but that last post came off ridiculously juvenile. did i hurt your feelings when i said being the last person to leave a test while  also studying for it when you were already overachieving is commonplace?

my bad, then.

You'll have to excuse me, I'm not having a wonderful day and I'm growing a bit impatient.  I believe you need to make your statement more powerful.  I've offered all of the advice that I can now. Take it as you will.