Personal Statement Help!!

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
Samonebby
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:51 pm

Personal Statement Help!!

Postby Samonebby » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:52 pm

Hey guys I am applying this cycle and I have a personal statement I like but it is 4 pages! Any areas I can cut out and general mistakes or things you hate about it. Any help would be appreciated! oh also AA female if that helps.

I glanced up terrified as I saw my middle school math teacher standing in the doorway motioning with one hand for me to step outside the classroom. As chorus of Ooooh’s followed. I swallowed the slither of fear rising in my chest, and made my way to the door. I was a good kid who didn’t get into trouble. I made excellent grades and, I had transitioned well, from home school to public education. I looked up startled to hear my teacher restating my internal monologue, and caught the tail end of her statement; “And to think you did all of this as a little black girl.” She smiled, leaned down and said,” We didn’t expect that out of you.” Out of habit I smiled back and followed her feeling confused and uncomfortable. This feeling intensified as she paraded me from classroom to classroom so that other white teachers could praise me for being different from typical black children. I was only eleven years old, and I wondered if it was a compliment.
Comments and expectations about black people have controlled much of the narrative throughout my life on what it means to be black. As I grew older I became aware of the perception and limitations placed on black people in American society. In media, we are unfairly depicted as poor, predisposed to crime and drugs and dependents of the state. Though I had experiences that differed from that common narrative, when I looked at my family through the biased lens of the media, that picture seemed accurate. In my house alone, I had my mom, two siblings, an uncle on drugs, his two children’s whose mom simply said she didn’t want them, another uncle who had divorced his wedding vows to commit to the couch and two retired grandparents, who received monthly checks, that I believed to be welfare. To top it all off we had a daycare and school in our house with other equally dysfunctional kids.

We looked dysfunctional and during that period of time it felt like we were. Privately I was frustrated with the stagnation and state of my community. My frustration grew and I gave into the idea that black culture was exactly as the media described it. A part of this portrayal and perception became my reality and it limited my idea of what black culture is. I reflected on my teachers who told me not to sit or play with the black kids all those years ago. I began to believe that if I wanted better for myself, I would have to separate myself from my culture. 
As a freshman at Abilene Christian University I was a minority. I was determined to pursue excellence despite professors who again challenged my ability to succeed based on the color of my skin and my social economic status. Consequently, my approach to the racial tensions wasn’t to worry but to adapt. I accepted comments about my hair as harmless inquiries and backhanded compliments as harmless opinions. I became familiar with feeling uncomfortable in class due to their cultural ignorance. It took 6 months of intense systemic racism for me to realize that the perceptions and expectation clouded in racism would paralyze and bound me if I continued to embrace the prejudices directed towards my race. So, I decided to join the Black Students Association. It was designed to educated all students on black culture. I joined to help change the white student’s perception of black culture. Instead this community of black students actually changed the perception that I and other black students had learned about what it looks like to be black. In my first year, I joined the leadership team.
We presented programs and entertainment that offered up cliché and derogatory representations of black people. These images where praised by the administration who felt that these images of black students were less threatening and more welcoming for white students. Though I didn’t agree that catering to these same biases was an ideal approach to running the organization I didn’t speak up about my reservations. I didn’t want to be too radical so I settled for being an entertaining diversity symbol for the university.  
Our university created an environment where black retention rates were dangerously low and Black students felt ostracized. Chapels and lunch rooms were segregated. The leadership team of BSA seemed committed to catering to an audience and administration that favored a narrow and stereotypical representation of blackness. I knew that in the past my bias and ignorance about black cultural had allowed me to be complacent to much of the tension on campus. However, I had a younger brother who was starting his freshman year and I didn’t want him to leave. As a black male, I knew he wouldn’t be complacent, either a shift would need to take place or he would leave. In that moment, I knew we needed shift the pragmatic thinking surrounding our campus and the black’s students. I could see how the atmosphere and the environment that we created did not help black students. 
As the Chaplin of Black Student’s Association, it was my job to uplift and to be a spiritual guide to this community. I often faced pressure to handle racial incidents in a manner consistent with the universities conservative Christian polices. I had to acknowledge that racism both nationally and campus wide was hurting our community. We began to embrace and shed light in areas that black students had previously avoided for fear of making white students uncomfortable. Most importantly we began teaching black students how to better love and care for themselves, and it was difficult because so many of the unfair depictions were ingrained in the black students subconscious. Ideas about separating ourselves from our lower social economic peers or ignoring injustice because it made their white friends uncomfortable had to be peeled back and dissected in order to give voice to the black student’s real concerns about their community. 
The members of BSA began using class discussions, research papers, and events to educate black students on the social economic and systematic factors that helped formulate the environment of our campus. Additionally, our club became less focused on educating white people and more on educating black people. It was like a second job for me because every avenue of ACU needed the education and once I saw the need I couldn’t put it down. We began to expand the collective definition of blackness to include the diversity we saw.  We began to embrace the discomfort that comes with shedding years of oppressive thought and expectations about our identity as black students.
We struggled to not allow out differences to be greater than what united us but to let our differences be the beauty that further held us together. Our campus still struggles to give black students the freedom to authentically be themselves. However, I am proud that I stood up to the administration and that BSA fought to educate the campus on a few aspects of racial diversity. Black culture is like a tree whose roots are grounded in the history of our people, and the branches of knowledge and experience are as varied and as they are strong. 
In that environment, I found that the magic behind black girls and the success of black boys comes through an awareness that what encompasses blackness is the strength to endure and produce under pressure, and to not be defined by the standards of a culture that often sought to oppress us. That middle school took some of my joy about being black that day. Because children are excellent listeners but poor interpreters and I heard the racial undertones connected to expectations about who I am. As an adult, I now understand their ignorance, and I am proud of my color. 

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10714
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Personal Statement Help!!

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:44 pm

The first paragraph is effective at gaining the reader's interest and setting up expectations of an insightful read written by a clever author. Unfortunately, the remainder of your law school personal statement was neither insightful nor clever, in my opinion. Try to extract two or three insights from your experience & share them with the reader in a more concise manner. As written, it is too detailed for no apparent purpose.

cavalier1138
Posts: 4954
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Personal Statement Help!!

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:03 am

I have no earthly idea what the last poster means by "insightful" (as though this is the standard for what makes a good PS).

I think the topic is strong, but as it stands, it's a little too long. You can cut a fair amount, and I would start with anything that repeats a line from your resume (e.g. your membership and position in a student org). Those cuts will also help focus in on your personal experiences rather than the global issues that inform them. Yes, those issues are important, but this statement is a chance for the adcomms to get to know you. So focus on the effect of these policies on you, the effect of these words on you, etc.

Additionally, give this a thorough combing through for grammar and syntax issues. There are some really basic ones that clearly came from you changing sentences around in editing without being careful about which words had to be cut.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10714
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Personal Statement Help!!

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:48 pm

Hahahaha

DrGlennRichie
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:22 pm

Re: Personal Statement Help!!

Postby DrGlennRichie » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:44 pm

I liked it but some sentences are bit too long .

Samonebby
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:51 pm

Re: Personal Statement Help!!

Postby Samonebby » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:19 pm

Thanks for the feedback I shortened it quite a lot. I'll comb through it tomorrow to fix syntax/grammar issues but feel free to point those out if you want.
My major question is does this tell you something about me as a person/does it standout at all?
Also my diversity statement answers the why law because I know it's lacking from my PS. :D

I glanced up terrified as I saw my middle school math teacher standing in the doorway motioning with one hand for me to step outside the classroom. I swallowed the fear rising in my chest, and made my way to the door. I was a good kid who didn’t get into trouble. I made excellent grades and, I had transitioned well, from home school to public education. I looked up startled to hear my teacher vocalizing my internal monologue, and caught the tail end of her statement; “And to think you did all of this as a little black girl.” She smiled, leaned down and said,” We didn’t expect that out of you.” Out of habit I smiled back and followed her feeling confused and uncomfortable. This feeling intensified as she paraded me from classroom to classroom so that other white teachers could praise me for being different from typical black children. I was only eleven years old, and I wondered if it was a compliment.
Comments and expectations about black people have controlled much of the narrative throughout my life on what it means to be black. As I grew older I became aware of the perceptions and limitations placed on black people in American society. In media, we are unfairly depicted as poor, predisposed to crime and drugs and dependents of the state. Though I had experiences that differed from that common narrative, when I looked at my family through the biased lens of the media, that picture seemed accurate. I remembered what my teachers told me, “Don’t sit or play with the other black kids.” I began to believe that if I wanted better for myself, I would have to separate myself from my culture. 
In college, I was a minority.  I was determined to pursue excellence despite professors who again challenged my ability to succeed based on the color of my skin and my social economic status. Consequently, my approach to the racial tensions wasn’t to worry but to adapt. I became familiar with feeling uncomfortable in class. It took six months of intense systemic racism for me to realize that the perceptions and expectation clouded in racism would paralyze and bound me if I continued to embrace the prejudices directed towards my race. So, I decided to join the Black Students Association. I joined to help change the white student’s perception of black culture. Instead this community of black students actually changed the perception that I and other black students had learned about what it looks like to be black. BSA presented programs and entertainment that offered up cliché and derogatory representations of black people. These images were praised by the administration. Though I didn’t agree that catering to these bias interpretations of blackness was an ideal approach, I didn’t speak up about my reservations. I didn’t want to seem radical so I settled for being an entertaining diversity symbol for the university. Black retention rates remained dangerously low and black students felt ostracized. Chapels and lunch rooms were segregated, yet BSA seemed committed to catering to an audience and administration that favored a narrow and stereotypical representation of blackness. I knew that in the past my bias and ignorance about black cultural had allowed me to be complacent and I would have to change.
The catalyst for that change came from my brother. He was a freshman and I watched helplessly as our environment continued to make him feel small. One day he came and asked me to help him with transfer applications. He was ready to leave and I desperately didn’t want to see him go. In that moment, I knew we needed to shift the pragmatic thinking surrounding our campus and the black’s students.
As the Chaplin of Black Student’s Association, it was my job to uplift and spiritually guide the community. I often faced pressure to handle racial incidents in a manner consistent with the universities conservative Christian polices. I had to speak out in the midst of silence from the administration and acknowledged that racism both nationally and campus wide was hurting our community. BSA began to embrace and shed light in areas that black students had previously avoided for fear of making white students uncomfortable. Most importantly we began teaching black students how to better love and care for themselves, and it was difficult because so many of the unfair depictions were ingrained in the black students subconscious.
The members of BSA began using class discussions, research papers, and events to educate black students on systemic factors that helped formulate the environment of our campus. Additionally, our club became less focused on educating white people and more on educating black people. We began to embrace the discomfort that comes with shedding years of oppressive thought and expectations about our identity as black students. I am proud that we stood up to the administration and that BSA fought to educate the campus on a few aspects of racial diversity. That middle school took some of my joy about being black that day, but working with BSA brought it back.

DrGlennRichie
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 4:22 pm

Re: Personal Statement Help!!

Postby DrGlennRichie » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:43 am

1. Overall I liked the story. It shows a lot about you, It doesn't go overboard.

2. It is still a bit of a difficult read. Not too bad and manageable.

3. Need proofread as it has some unfinished editing such as ". I knew that in the past my bias and ignorance about black cultural had allowed me to be complacent and I would have to change."

4. Didn't really like the ending. You finish it that you "stood up to administration", but more importantly you reinvented and better understood yourselves.




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