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Author Topic: Patterns I've seen  (Read 33525 times)

brand_182

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #210 on: July 03, 2007, 04:59:33 PM »
you're it.
By girlfriend, do you mean that piece of rabbit fur you rub on your d*ck every night?

Intuition

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #211 on: August 12, 2007, 01:41:14 AM »
i opened with a childhood story but only because the story was arresting and somewhat unusual. the moral: write what you have. don't follow a friggin' formula.

UnbiasedObserver

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #212 on: September 24, 2007, 04:58:41 PM »
Bump...this is one of the most informative threads that I've seen on LSD. 

ghil04

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #213 on: September 30, 2007, 06:03:43 PM »
As someone who's read a lot of PS' over the past few months, I think it's telling that my initial reaction to essays that follow conventional topics (e.g., the 'how i became jesus' essay, the 'resume' essay) is one of the following:

1. i groan and start skimming to see if the topic will change,
2. i put it away and come back to it when i'm less bored.

Generally, the essays that follow these patterns are in serious need of an intro that will instantly capture my attention.  Or more likely, the writer will need to either put a distinctive twist on the topic or make sure that they execute it in as brilliant a fashion as possible.

The point I'm trying to make is that writing a PS with a conventional topic is a bit like applying to college as a Caucasian suburbanite - the adcomms are instantly going to make assumptions about what you've written and the onus will be on you to correct these perceptions.  I'm not saying that following one of these patterns automatically dooms your chances at a particular school, but I think it definitely gives you an uphill climb from the moment the adcomms first lay eyes on your personal statement. 

With that said, though, I think only 30-40% of the PS' I've read PERFECTLY fit into the hackneyed topics that've been discussed on this thread.  More likely, writers seem to follow these patterns but at least put a distinctive twist on it.

PS - I also wanted to add that this is a wondrously informative thread that should be sticky-ed.

ghil04

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #214 on: September 30, 2007, 10:26:59 PM »
I thought of two more 'common' essays that make my eyes roll:

1. The 'I will survive' essay - While I think it's perfectly acceptable to talk about circumstances that tested your perseverance and will to succeed, I find that most writers who choose this topic spend SO much time focusing solely on the negativity of their experiences that I only feel pity for them.  They usually end the essay by saying that they're not a quitter or some other trite ending.   

2. The 'Pity' essay - If the above topic generated self-pity, this essay generates pity for someone else.  Whether it's a small impoverished boy, Brazilian prostitute, imprisoned orphan or whatever, these essays focus so much on the negativity (and usual recovery) of the subject that focus shifts drastically away from the writer.  Essentially, it suffers the same problems as #1.

Cabra

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #215 on: September 30, 2007, 11:09:38 PM »
I've noticed that a lot of people are extremely general about their experience and interests--phrases like "leadership skills" "nonprofit work" "challenges" and "international law" are so vague that they really don't explain anything about who you are or what you want to do with your law degree.

I want precise examples!

Even if you cover less of your life story, you'll end up telling us more valuable things about yourself.
CLS 2011

tashakies

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #216 on: October 21, 2007, 12:29:02 AM »
This is an amazing thread. I just came out from a personal statement workshop totally dejected about my own essay. Its great that people are willing to read and comment on each others statements. I will work on mine and definitely ask for some real honest critique. Also, I am thinking about using Essayedge.com's service, just to polish up on the grammar, spelling and word choice. What are peoples thought on essatedge and is it necessary? Or is asking people I know and posting here be as good?
Thanks so much :)

yussin

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #217 on: October 21, 2007, 01:53:55 AM »
i start with retelling something that happened when I was 3  :-\
 
shame on me for thinking i was being unique *sigh*

any readers to comment on my draft?
i'm worried it sounds too much like an extanded resume..
i'll be happy to look over other people's ps. just pm me my way

great thread by the way!

Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #218 on: October 26, 2007, 06:19:36 AM »
EssayEdge.com is pretty great, but feel free to send some business my way as well!


Glad to see this thread is alive and kickin'. ;-)

Dani
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Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #219 on: October 26, 2007, 06:36:00 AM »

These types of essays are prevalent. I think the reason is because a lot of the most powerful moments in our lives--the defining moments--are related to something that would generally be perceived as negative. The things is, I've found lots of applicants really need to write these essays. It's like exercising a demon or something. What a clever applicant does is write the essay--write it well, even--and then have the presence of mind not to send it to the admissions committees. "Pity" essays are funadementally written for the author, not the audience, and particularly not an audience one really, truly wants to impress.

I'd argue the main goals of the personal statement are to be remarkable, together, sound of mind, and most of all, likeable. You want the adcomms to *like* you, right? Who wants to toss away the app of someone they like? Likeability is surely hard to achieve in a couple pages, but if a clever applicant keeps "likeability" in the back of their mind, I think they are more likely to pick a topic that will show them in a better light. (It's really amazing how much your present mood affects the writing you produce! There's a good tip--don't try and write your personal statement when you're in a funk.)

So--if you have a horrid story that you need to get out of your system, I say, write it! Just make sure that you write a couple different essays that aren't depressing, and then think hard about which essay will impress the adcomms the most.

I thought of two more 'common' essays that make my eyes roll:

1. The 'I will survive' essay - While I think it's perfectly acceptable to talk about circumstances that tested your perseverance and will to succeed, I find that most writers who choose this topic spend SO much time focusing solely on the negativity of their experiences that I only feel pity for them.  They usually end the essay by saying that they're not a quitter or some other trite ending.   

2. The 'Pity' essay - If the above topic generated self-pity, this essay generates pity for someone else.  Whether it's a small impoverished boy, Brazilian prostitute, imprisoned orphan or whatever, these essays focus so much on the negativity (and usual recovery) of the subject that focus shifts drastically away from the writer.  Essentially, it suffers the same problems as #1.
Lit Journal Editor, Grants Administrator, Poet, Girl about town
www.northwestessay.com