Please give me feedback on my personal statement

Get advice and feedback on your personal statement.
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letsallbehappy

Please give me feedback on my personal statement

Post by letsallbehappy » Mon Sep 13, 2021 6:18 pm

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 Please do not quote: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.

https://docs.google. com/document/d/16ymOyggNVid3TONCIjlCVPDzSgsIEo1nE_PJWYEIhcY/edit



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.

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ymmv
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Re: Please give me feedback on my personal statement

Post by ymmv » Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:16 pm

Honestly, the statement looks like it's in great shape to me. It's a little long yet well-written, an interesting read, and does all the things a personal statement is traditionally supposed to do. "Global constitutionalism, national security law, and comparative constitutionalism" aren't real-world practice areas, but I don't think that matters either. The statement draws a clear path from your personal background and ideology to political career ambitions for which law school makes sense.

You could trim a few sentences and wordy phrases down; substitute "policy makers must" for "it is also imperative that policy makers," for instance. Maybe run it through Grammarly or ProWritingAid for similar suggestions. Otherwise no substantive notes from me.

Between this, your excellent LSAT score, and a solid GPA you should see a lot of T14 acceptances.

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haus
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Re: Please give me feedback on my personal statement

Post by haus » Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:06 pm

I agree with ymmv, this seems to cover the ground that you need for a statement.

I had Grammarly turned on when I reviewed this in Google Docs and there were only 7 items that it flagged none of it worth getting excited about.

For what it is worth this is the advice provided by the software:

1. gun fire -> gunfire
2. Bravo -> the Bravo (please do not follow this advise)
3. and I with a safe home -> and me with a safe home
4. driving factor in my life, (suggested removing the comma)
5. policy makers -> policymakers
6. squad sized -> squad-sized
7. use leadership -> use the leadership

Story
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Re: Please give me feedback on my personal statement

Post by Story » Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:06 pm

Really good. Great theme and substance. Just review it or have a good editor-friend review it for grammar, usage, etc. You want to just tighten up those things so they won’t distract the readers.

A few quick things I saw (not a thorough grammar review):

The first part of a sentence is a dangling modifier. “Commissioning” is not a child of immigrants.

“my sister and I”

Change to “sister and me.”

Maybe change servant leader to servant-leader.

imacupcake
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Re: Please give me feedback on my personal statement

Post by imacupcake » Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:13 am

OP here! I made an account. Thanks so much for all the feedback everyone. Anyone else have any other thoughts?

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pancakes3
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Re: Please give me feedback on my personal statement

Post by pancakes3 » Fri Sep 17, 2021 10:17 am

I think it's well written, and a great PS as well. I would change this bit:
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.
While I get what you're trying to convey, as a transition to the next paragraph of your hardship and motivation to push through, you can change:

"Many of them saw me as a "model minority" who excels in academics but lack physical and leadership abilities." (just cutting down words)

and

"This, however did not faze me" -> something else. I don't think "this did not faze me" accurately describes your journey. While true that you were not fazed, it did impact you, and your next paragraph describes how you were able to overcome the biases, by drawing upon your inner strength.

Also, I think you can change your last sentence. to me, it reads as the most generic sentence in the entire statement (not that it's bad, just not as good as the rest). Do you have specific career goals?
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.
I'm not going to presume to tell you what to write, but if you've got some time, think about rewriting this sentence also.

personal note: as a grandchild of nationalist emigrants to Taiwan myself, your PS really resonates with me.

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