I know, right? C'mon, Kato da naysayer, join in--we'll let you play. Otherwise we'll be reduced to flinging bits o' chalk in yor direction & whispering about the state of your socks.
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2) Complaining about parental influence. What's this about? I mean, I feel for anyone whose parents aren't supporting their educational decisions/helping pay--that sucks--but why belittle them directly in the statement? "My parents suck, see?" seems like a weird PS strategy to me.
In my hardship essay (which I weaved into a PS for the schools that wanted a 4-page one), I blamed my dad dying for a dip in grades one year. Is that belittling my parents?
I guess the childhood thing has been beat to death, so let me throw a few more on the fire:
1. "As...I've always" I've read maybe 20 PSes this past week, and I think 17 of those started with the word "As." "As a blind Pottsylvanian refugee...I've always felt strongly about the plight of moose and squirel";"As a midget-lesbian stage performer, I've always..." [The point is not to editorialize here, but I'm going to anyway: I can't see this ever being the best way to start. If your story is interesting, as many have been, then it can probably be started better. If it's not (As an upper middle-class white guy, I've always felt strongly about emu export caps) it's even worse.]
2.Conclusions that use phrases like, "As I prepare to take the leap into law school..." To be fair, I myself used one of these dumb clauses, and I admit that it seems like a fairly neccessary crutch. It does appear in everything I've read, though, and if it can be avoided (discuss: can it? How? I'm dying to know) I'd think you might want to.
3. Finding Jesus. (Figuratively). Again, did this myself and I figure it's impossible to avoid unless you're brave enough to tackle an issues essay, but everyone writes about the turn on the dime moment that changed them into the morally-upright, driven and intellectually superior candidate they are today. We're all, on paper, having Peter Gibbons-esque transformations. In as many cases as not, this comes across silly or it requires huge leaps of logic ("I was twisting balloons into little animal shapes during my time with the circus and one burst on me, blinding a small child. It occured to me then and there that I've always had a passion for intellectual property law.")
Anyway, that's my input.
I've also noticed the pattern of "I went whale watching" or "hiked the appalachian trail" and now I want to be a lawyer schtick. If as many people helped saved frescos in Italy as have claimed in their PS's, then why would the still need saving?
How about the generalized personalization for schools??
I did that in mine, and I truly believe it, half-heartedly that is lol.
I feel like I wrote it more for my top two choices which it works great for, and I reworded it (you read mine a few times ) for the other schools. Even though I like it the way it is because I still feel like it works for all the schools I'm applying to, I'm wondering if it's going to be like everyone elses in that sense.
I am definately guilty of #1. bringing up childhood and #2. at least somewhat criticizing my parents. But then again, I really feel like that's what made me who I am in the last 5 years, so as generic as it is, I still feel like that's the best route for my PS.