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Author Topic: Patterns I've seen  (Read 33392 times)

Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #100 on: January 11, 2006, 01:03:15 PM »
I think there is another reason why these things tend to be formulaic --

It's such an important piece of writing for most people, as it affects LS admission, and probably most people don't want to branch out and get "too cute" with it.  Which isn't to say that more people couldn't write more gracefully, but that a majority of people who could be more adventurous probably play it safe.

Plus, law students come from all academic and professional backgrounds.  Some are English, Poli Sci, and Journalism majors who can write, sure.  Others are engineers, bio majors, professional economists, and for lots of people in this category, they have maybe only written 2-3 pieces of this nature in their whole life to this point -- they may not be capable of anything much more complex than something like the "hamburger" style essay.

Chuckle--that's a pretty big safety zone, then, eh? I'd argue it's not that people are playing it safe--I think people are writing about the very first thing that comes to mind instead of doing a brainstorm in earnest and a few hearty drafts. It ain't cuteness, in other words--it's effort! Writing in the same pattern as everyone else shows a lower level of effort than someone who takes the time to figure out the whole PS thing and craft something more memorable than the typical ABC.

Some of the most inspired PS's I've read have been from non-humanities writers, actually--they tend to have not been overexposed to common writing patterns, and thus are less susceptible to them.

best,

Dani
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Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #101 on: January 11, 2006, 03:32:43 PM »
hmmmm...my impression has been that folks are assuming that they have written something unique & that will stand out, & are shocked to realize their uniqueness isn't so much so. Thus, I don't think it's hesitancy most of the time--I think it's a knowledge deficit. Hence, this thread!

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dani
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FossilJ

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #102 on: January 11, 2006, 06:33:07 PM »
I think what we've got here is a formulaic vs organic dichotomy--does the initial idea naturally come full circle, or does the writer cram it back in there because "that's how it's supposed to be?" It's like the 5th grade 'hamburger essay'--you remember--bun, lettuce, tomato, beef, bun--this simple structure can be used beautifully, but it can also serve as a crutch to poor writing--as if connecting these basic dots is *all* it takes to create an essay. One doesn't have to write a three-sectioned iambic tetrameter montage in second-person to stand out, but it would behoove a candidate to do a little strength-searching & acknowledge the most common essay patterns before committing to a PS wholly.

We're not all brilliant writers, but I'd argue we all have our moments of brilliance. It's the right energy, the right tone, the right story--all those intangibles. I'd rather help writers find their own moments of brilliance than say to everyone "well, you'll never be all that brilliant, so just do the basic essay tango and call it a day." We know we're not Ken Keseys and Toni Morrisons. But you don't have to be, to be fairly interesting and engaging for two pages.

I'm so pleased there's so much input in this thread! Y'all are gonna be some kickass lawyers.

best,
~Dani

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Although I could've done without the "y'all".   :D ;)
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Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #103 on: January 12, 2006, 05:43:16 AM »

TITCR

Although I could've done without the "y'all".   :D ;)


heh...you'd think I was from somewhere other than smack-dab in the middle of the US. ;-)

I'm tentatively formulating a presentation for our PNW regional Writing Center conference based on some of the work in this here thread--immortalized, you all are!

~dani
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Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #104 on: January 12, 2006, 04:58:29 PM »
Writing Center conferences are events that gather directors, coordinators and tutors from around a specified geographical area for purposes of cross-pollination. Anyone who plans to be involved can create a proposal, and if granted, you get to teach your topic to those that sign up for your conference. I dunno how often 'personal statements' are a topic--our center's specialties are online tutoring sessions and the SNO method. There are usually loads of pedagogicals...lots of strategy stuff, like modified socratic, working with non-native speakers, reasonable expectations, building relationships, teacher/tutor relationships...stuff like that.

I'll unfortunately be walking through Spain (well, not unfortunately) when the PNW conference takes place, so I'm teaching all the folks in my writing center what I've learned, so those that venture to Corvallis in April can cross-pollinate in my stead.

~Dani
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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #105 on: January 12, 2006, 05:00:15 PM »

Burhop

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #106 on: January 12, 2006, 07:43:35 PM »
walking through Spain

Lucky you!

I know--we'll see! I could be one big blister when I return. My buddy I'm traveling with is super on it--she's already gotten Pilgrim status for us, so we get all the amenities--the best spots on the floor in the primo monasteries, you know, that stuff. ;-)

~Dani, official pilgrim
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SolarysBlue

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #107 on: January 20, 2006, 06:26:16 PM »

This really has nothing to do with patterns but I was going to let people know that the Essay Queen may be on vacation or
no longer in service. I have emailed her and it's been over 2 weeks so I would refrain from using her editing services.

Vannabunny

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #108 on: January 23, 2006, 05:12:39 PM »
I've gotten three from different ppl in the past week all dealing with mission trips to Hondorous. Odd.
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Yale College Inferno

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Re: Patterns I've seen
« Reply #109 on: January 23, 2006, 07:37:05 PM »
My pre-law advisers all said it's not important to address "why law school," and it was not in most of the statement prompts from the schools I applied to.
Yale College '06
Harvard Law School '09

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