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Author Topic: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?  (Read 789 times)

Apollo Creed

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Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« on: August 05, 2006, 06:11:47 PM »
OK, up until about a year and half ago I would have had trouble finding a topic for the personal statement, now I can't choose between two.  I had two very profound experiences and they have both left a mark on me and I feel like I want to write about both of them.

1) The first one is overcoming a personal illness.

I was working for the state government on an externship program and contracted a disease that I almost died from by the end the year, but I refused to leave because I felt strongly about the research I was doing.  Ended up finishing the research, got it published and won an award, and overcame the illness.

2) Journey.

I also took 1000 bucks and hoped a plane to egypt.  while i was there i backpacked through the country taking local buses and trains and getting to know many desperately poor middle easterners.  I woudl focus on the abscence of the rule of law as experienced on the streets such as bribing policy men like one time i was arrested in a train depot because i was a westerner, this was a way to get money off me.

anyway, a second idea was to write about egpt in the PS and then to write about my illness by submitting an overcoming adversity/hardship letter?

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Hank Rearden

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Re: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2006, 07:23:16 PM »
According to Ivey, doing "travel essays" is risky because so many candidates do them (saying how they learned about another culture, blah blah blah).  However, your Egypt experience sounds somewhat atypical, and I think if it is written well, it would probably be the better of the two essays. 

Also remember that you don't want to spend much time in your essays discussing stuff that's on your resume (like your externship program). 

But they both sound like good ideas, so if a school lets you do multiple essays, definitely try to work both topics in.   
CLS '10

The appropriateness of Perpetua would probably depend on the tone of the writing.  When I used it, I (half playfully) thought the extra space made the words sort of resonate.

wunder

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Re: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2006, 08:36:09 PM »
The second one sounded much more interesting to me.  I would go with that one.  The first one could be submitted as an optional essay if they ask for something about overcoming adversity.  But only if they ask for it.

galex

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Re: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2006, 09:58:03 PM »
The first one, not even close. As soon as they read the words "hopped a plane" and "backpacked" they will most surely mutter under their breath, "Oh God, another study abroad essay." I'm not saying it isn't interesting, but it's the the ultimate in overdone. The first is something that is much more individual.

Yeah, definitely the first one.

squilla

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Re: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2006, 10:05:18 PM »
First one all the way.

Apollo Creed

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Re: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2006, 10:21:54 PM »
Thanks for the responses so far, so very good points.

P.S. the research I was doing was on potential labeling laws for milk.  it centered on a break-down of the available rBST research and parity in other states.  I felt really passionately about this because one of my main missions is to promote greater corporate accountability and i particularly do not like Monsanto Co.  I even had one of their lawyers come in and try to 'persuade' me to discontinue the research.
Eye of the tiger: . . . lookin' like Cornell more and more
Rocky (A): GWU, Cornell, Fordham($), Vanderbilt, BU, Brooklyn($$$), BC
Rocky, rematch (W):Notre Dame
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UCLA

Chandler Bing

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Re: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2006, 01:18:06 AM »
Thanks for the responses so far, so very good points.

P.S. the research I was doing was on potential labeling laws for milk.  it centered on a break-down of the available rBST research and parity in other states.  I felt really passionately about this because one of my main missions is to promote greater corporate accountability and i particularly do not like Monsanto Co.  I even had one of their lawyers come in and try to 'persuade' me to discontinue the research.

Was your illness related to your research, or did it just happen during that time? If it's the latter, I would skip even discussing it and talk about how you  handled the Monsanto lawyer. The first topic now is fascinating me, as opposed to it just being the better of 2 options.
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Hank Rearden

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Re: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2006, 01:23:23 AM »
Thanks for the responses so far, so very good points.

P.S. the research I was doing was on potential labeling laws for milk.  it centered on a break-down of the available rBST research and parity in other states.  I felt really passionately about this because one of my main missions is to promote greater corporate accountability and i particularly do not like Monsanto Co.  I even had one of their lawyers come in and try to 'persuade' me to discontinue the research.

Was your illness related to your research, or did it just happen during that time? If it's the latter, I would skip even discussing it and talk about how you  handled the Monsanto lawyer. The first topic now is fascinating me, as opposed to it just being the better of 2 options.

I dunno...you could always just describe what you did at the state department on your resume, while the Egypt trip sounds more *personal*. 
CLS '10

The appropriateness of Perpetua would probably depend on the tone of the writing.  When I used it, I (half playfully) thought the extra space made the words sort of resonate.

Chandler Bing

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Re: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2006, 02:04:26 AM »
Thanks for the responses so far, so very good points.

P.S. the research I was doing was on potential labeling laws for milk.  it centered on a break-down of the available rBST research and parity in other states.  I felt really passionately about this because one of my main missions is to promote greater corporate accountability and i particularly do not like Monsanto Co.  I even had one of their lawyers come in and try to 'persuade' me to discontinue the research.

Was your illness related to your research, or did it just happen during that time? If it's the latter, I would skip even discussing it and talk about how you  handled the Monsanto lawyer. The first topic now is fascinating me, as opposed to it just being the better of 2 options.

I dunno...you could always just describe what you did at the state department on your resume, while the Egypt trip sounds more *personal*. 

I suggest the externship research for 2 reasons

1) There seems to be potential for a/some very specific stories that showcase qualities looked for in law students -- tenacity and analytical skills among them.

2) While those same stories may exist in a PS about Egypt, I believe that it's a lot easier to talk about oneself when you are doing extraordinary things in a dull environment. In general, if a person tells a story about Egypt (not in a PS, but in life), you end up talking more about where you are than what you did. You come home from work one day and something crazy happened, you don't discuss the paint on the walls of your boss' office, you talk about what you said and what he did. That's what makes it personal, not where you are, but what happened. And there's a danger that will get lost in recanting a trip.

Also, as bonus reason number 3:

The first one, not even close. As soon as they read the words "hopped a plane" and "backpacked" they will most surely mutter under their breath, "Oh God, another study abroad essay." I'm not saying it isn't interesting, but it's the the ultimate in overdone. The first is something that is much more individual.
Monica (attending): Northwestern!
Rachel/Phoebe (still in the running): Northwestern $$, Chicago $
Janice(withdrawn): SLU, Loyola Chicago, Chicago-Kent, Depaul, UIUC, Duke, WUSTL

Cycle's over!

Apollo Creed

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Re: Which Topic Sounds Better To You?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2006, 09:51:47 AM »
Alright, I just wrote up a draft ps on the research topic, I like it a lot, it was much less . . contrived shall we say? . . than the travel one so I think I'm gonna go with it.  Thanks for the help!
Eye of the tiger: . . . lookin' like Cornell more and more
Rocky (A): GWU, Cornell, Fordham($), Vanderbilt, BU, Brooklyn($$$), BC
Rocky, rematch (W):Notre Dame
Drago (R):

UCLA