Law School Discussion

Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?

credo

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Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2007, 04:43:46 PM »
Hello All,

I've read from a few posts that it is better to have a PS and a DS rather than one combined. So, instead of writing a DS-like PS I decided to do a more creative route, my childhood hobby of card-playing inspired or at least highlights my qualifications as a law student. At the same time, I will be hinting at my personal life, being an immigrant etc., but I am highlighting most of my "skills" through how I played. I mean with cards like Eye for an Eye, Reprisal, Balance, Retribution of the Meek etc. it's easy to tie into legal issues.

I actually am excited to do this but I just want some feedback if this could severely hurt my chance of getting to any law school. My only concern is if somehow the reviewers stop reading as soon as they see Magic the Gathering on the page.

Any thoughts?

Thanks all.

I actually considered something along these lines myself when I was brainstorming for my PS. I had quite the reputation as a "rules lawyer" in my local M:TG circle back in the day. But I think that in your personal statement, you want to avoid topics with such an adolescent feel. You need to talk about the factors that NOW qualify you for a legal education.

Dude its totally relevant to appealing a capital murder conviction or facilitating a billion dollar corporate merger.

Kevin.

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Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2007, 07:06:54 PM »
If this is serious I want to read this statement!

Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2007, 07:35:21 PM »
I think this is a terrible idea because I have a hard time believing you'll be able to come up with something relevant to say.


Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2007, 02:05:51 AM »
Yea I have a rough outline. But I did come across the problem you guys have mentioned, how to make it not sound juvenile. My first idea was to explain how I came up with one of my theme decks, so basic deckbuilding which involves a lot of research, planning, etc etc. It was alright when I reread it but it really would bore anyone who is not familiar with MTG. I just came up with an idea to make it more of a short story. It will follow the progression of the game but I am not revealing until the end that I was actually talking about MTG. I think I'll spend a few days to try and work it out, if I can come up with anything even worth sharing I'll PM those who replied on this thread and are interested.


Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2007, 08:55:43 AM »
Yea I have a rough outline. But I did come across the problem you guys have mentioned, how to make it not sound juvenile. My first idea was to explain how I came up with one of my theme decks, so basic deckbuilding which involves a lot of research, planning, etc etc. It was alright when I reread it but it really would bore anyone who is not familiar with MTG. I just came up with an idea to make it more of a short story. It will follow the progression of the game but I am not revealing until the end that I was actually talking about MTG. I think I'll spend a few days to try and work it out, if I can come up with anything even worth sharing I'll PM those who replied on this thread and are interested.



Honestly, unless you're applying to Yale and want to turn this into a 250, you are wasting time that you will need to work on a more relevant personal statement. No matter how you spin this topic, the substance of the essay (or lack thereof) will count against you, no matter how brilliantly you execute it.

The only reason I would recommend you pursue this idea further is if you're a Pro Tour regular and have made five to six figures in winnings... or if there really isn't anything better you can write about, which I find very hard to believe. Save this for a last resort.

BearlyLegal

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Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2007, 11:40:45 AM »
Don't do this. Please, please, please for your own sake do not do this. I don't care how interesting your "power white" strategy might be, and I don't care how fun it may be to "plow" an early-game Shivan dragon or to "balance" against a thallid deck just as it develops.

As relevant these things may be to your interest in legal education, and no matter how much of a rules lawyer you are will not impress an admissions committee. People don't like nerds - If you wrote about your football team, adcomms would consider you "multifaceted" and "interesting". But if you wrote about how you set up a leading progression guild on a World of Warcraft server, the leadership abilities you developed are for some reason considered less significant, and you are seen as an underdeveloped and immature person.

Being a nerd just isn't cool. If you got picked on for doing this stuff in junior high school, this should be a hint that maybe the activity doesn't evoke positive response from most other people. I wouldn't take this kind of risk with law school admissions.

Quis Custodiet

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Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2007, 09:00:34 PM »
OP, I'd be interested in seeing your PS, if you'd like another reader.  Looking at the description I'm not sure how well it would work.  I think if the Magic the Gathering is the setting, and your PS covers something else in much more detail, it may work.  But if it comes across as MtG as the main theme of your PS, I would be hesitant. I see a couple of potential pitfalls in the theme

First, Bearly may have a point--I cannot vouch from experience, but if you have a PS on a "nerd" subject, depending on the reader you may have an upwards battle to fight.    I don't have personality profiles on the admissions committees of various law schools, but I would make sure that if you do cover this subject you would be able to make it appealing to someone who thinks that orcs, elves, dwarves, et al are for children.

I wouldn't mention the fact that you were a rules lawyer.  Showing a passion for rules and an ability to make a common sense decision based on ambiguous or contradictory information can be good--but you may run the risk of coming off as that kid who tries to use the rules to stop others form having fun.  No one likes that kid.  Plus, law schools are already filled with Type A's who want to insist that their ruling on a subject is Gospel.

Most of these games requires some technical details to understand.  You have two, maybe three pages to convince a reader that they should accept you to their school.  Will the amount of space you use describing rules (mana, turns... it's been a long time since I played magic)be worth the loss to telling about you?

Will your essay make the reader think that this game is your driving passion--I'm not asking if it is, but will a reader think it is?  Make sure your essay (combined with the rest of your app) doesn't make it look like you spend more time in an insular group and little social experience outside of it.

Finally, to be effective (my opinion only--and my opinion has no bearing for good or ill on you getting into the law school of your choice) someone who reads your essay in five minutes needs to get more out of it than the fact that you played a game.  It is imperative that you know that any parts of your essay about your life do not get blotted out by the game.  MtG could make a great setting for a PS--but a wretched subject.

All those caveats notwithstanding, I think that this could be a good essay if done well.  I'd be more than willing to read it for you, if you'd like.

Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2007, 09:07:10 PM »
Can I read this also?

Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2007, 11:06:35 PM »
OP, I'd be interested in seeing your PS, if you'd like another reader.  Looking at the description I'm not sure how well it would work.  I think if the Magic the Gathering is the setting, and your PS covers something else in much more detail, it may work.  But if it comes across as MtG as the main theme of your PS, I would be hesitant. I see a couple of potential pitfalls in the theme

First, Bearly may have a point--I cannot vouch from experience, but if you have a PS on a "nerd" subject, depending on the reader you may have an upwards battle to fight.    I don't have personality profiles on the admissions committees of various law schools, but I would make sure that if you do cover this subject you would be able to make it appealing to someone who thinks that orcs, elves, dwarves, et al are for children.

I wouldn't mention the fact that you were a rules lawyer.  Showing a passion for rules and an ability to make a common sense decision based on ambiguous or contradictory information can be good--but you may run the risk of coming off as that kid who tries to use the rules to stop others form having fun.  No one likes that kid.  Plus, law schools are already filled with Type A's who want to insist that their ruling on a subject is Gospel.

Most of these games requires some technical details to understand.  You have two, maybe three pages to convince a reader that they should accept you to their school.  Will the amount of space you use describing rules (mana, turns... it's been a long time since I played magic)be worth the loss to telling about you?

Will your essay make the reader think that this game is your driving passion--I'm not asking if it is, but will a reader think it is?  Make sure your essay (combined with the rest of your app) doesn't make it look like you spend more time in an insular group and little social experience outside of it.

Finally, to be effective (my opinion only--and my opinion has no bearing for good or ill on you getting into the law school of your choice) someone who reads your essay in five minutes needs to get more out of it than the fact that you played a game.  It is imperative that you know that any parts of your essay about your life do not get blotted out by the game.  MtG could make a great setting for a PS--but a wretched subject.

All those caveats notwithstanding, I think that this could be a good essay if done well.  I'd be more than willing to read it for you, if you'd like.

I admit that the pursuit of "uniqueness" provides a strong counter-argument to my earlier claims.  However, I think it is important to distinguish between a unique personal statement and a personal statement that describes a unique person (through, for example, unique experiences and accomplishments). A statement that is unique in both structure and substance will be best, but I would argue that as long as you write as well as you are capable of, the latter is more important.

No matter how brilliantly you write about a card game, the fact remains that you will have written about a card game.

While I'm already distinguishing multiple senses of a term, I would also like to point out that the term "nerd" may have been misused in this thread. I think ad comms at the top schools are seeking nerds--ambitious, intelligent students interested in learning for its own sake--particularly if they are socially apt and well-rounded. "Geek" would be the negative buzzword here--a presumptive introvert who engages in whatever activities may be defined as the opposite of sexual intercourse, and is not necessarily ambitious, intelligent, or at all interested in learning.

BearlyLegal

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Re: Magic the Gathering PS - Good Idea?
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2007, 11:09:10 PM »
Can I be both a geek and a nerd at the same time, or are they mutually exclusive. Is there a venn diagram to help me reference this?