Would anyone be willing to give me feedback on my personal statement? Current stats 3.78, 178; applying to T14, hoping for a shot at T6. GPA is low, fingers crossed a good personal statement will help me make up for being a splitter. New 2021 medians has like most of the T14 with 3.9ish median GPAs. For background, I'm currently an Army reserve officer. I'll delete this soon for anonymity purposes. Please do not quote:
Here's the google doc. If it's easier (and I kinda prefer), feel free to do track edit changes on this google doc, or copy paste the essay onto this google doc to do track edits if there are already previous edits there.
The essay is also here:
While conducting a patrol with my squad, I had just wiped sweat mixed with green camouflage face paint streaming down my forehead when all of a sudden we were ambushed by heavy machine gun fire. “Get down!” I yelled. I dropped to my knees, took cover behind a bush, and began engaging the enemy with my M4 rifle. My heart raced. Amid the roar from our M240B machine guns, I got up and ran to my Bravo team leader, who was pulling rear security. As the squad leader, I needed to figure out a plan. “Get up and follow me,” I screamed. “We’re going to conduct a flank.” I led Bravo team through thick brushes and tree branches as we maneuvered around obtrusive logs and patches of poison ivy. A soft breeze carried a cloud of purple from our smoke grenade, allowing us to move undetected. Upon reaching our intended location, I made eye contact with my team leader and shouted, “Get in position to bound through the objective.” I directed their movements and we successfully assaulted through our area of operation and disabled the threats. Following the operation, I breathed a sigh of relief. Serving as a squad leader during our culminating combat field exercise at Army Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning tested me. But it also showed me that I had the physical and mental tenacity to be the servant leader I’ve always aspired to be--one who puts their soldiers before oneself and who leads by example and with humility.
A few weeks after the field exercise, I found myself at graduation. My palms were sweaty that day; I had been eagerly awaiting this moment for many years. So when my Company Commander walked onto the stage and said repeat after me, I quickly raised my right hand and repeated, “I XXX, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...So help me God.” I put my hand down and quietly reflected on the moment. A child of immigrants, commissioning as an Army officer had been a dream of mine since high school. But it was not an easy journey. As the only Chinese American out of 111 candidates in my company, I had often been discounted by my peers. Many viewed me from the “model minority” stereotype, assuming that I primarily excelled academically and that I lacked physical and leadership abilities. This, however, did not faze me.
What motivated me throughout OCS was remembering my why. My grandparents fled Communist China in the 1940s to Taiwan, where my mother was born. Having grown up with very little, my mother immigrated to the U.S. in the hope of a better life. Despite facing financial insecurity and language barriers as a single mother raising two children, she provided my sister and I with a safe home and a strong public school system. Our family achieved the American dream. Not taking this for granted, she repeatedly reminded me to remember the opportunities this country has afforded us and to in return find ways to serve others. Public service has thus been a driving factor in my life, and continues to be my goal.
As a first-generation Army officer, my ultimate aspiration in serving my country is to promote peace and collaboration between the U.S. and China. At OCS, a repeated theme spoken by senior commanders was the military’s shift to addressing an increasingly antagonistic China. My previous work on China reaffirmed my desire to aim to serve as a bridge between the two countries. During my senior year in college, I traveled to the White House and presented policy recommendations on how the US can promote the rule of law in China to Ryan Hass, then the Director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia at the National Security Council. Having previously collaborated with U.S. diplomats and assisted Chinese human rights activists while working at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing gave me an on-the-ground perspective in my recommendations to the NSC. Hass’s receptiveness to my brief and his discussion on the critical role the NSC plays in advising the President in managing the US-China relationship deepened my ambition to one day serve in a similar role.
Although foreign policy issues are often intertwined with military and geopolitical factors, it is also imperative that policy makers understand the legal considerations and constraints in national security matters. When I swore an oath to defend the Constitution both domestically and abroad, I thought about why defending the rule of law is such a critical task. It is personal: my grandparents fled Communist China for fear of the capricious application of law from an autocratic government. The fact that my military vocation is devoted to safeguarding and upholding constitutional democracy--and not a specific political party, person, or ideology--has sparked my interest in areas of the law such as global constitutionalism, national security law, and comparative constitutionalism. As a lawyer and advocate, I may no longer be conducting squad sized flank assaults, but I intend to use leadership and grit I’ve developed from the military to promote the rule of law in the U.S., China, and abroad.