Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

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edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:39 am

MrAdultman wrote:OP,

This one get's a "no" from me as well. First, I don't think the idea or thought is very profound or unique at all. Every college freshman theist has gone through these thoughts. They've been recorded much more articulately and profoundly for thousands of years. In the end, it sounds a bit intellectually immature: you can't make up your mind, so you've flopped down in a luke-warm midpoint and your frustrated about it. I expect the reader to think, "You're applying to law school, and you really haven't figured this out yet?"

Second, the language comes across as pretentious. First, your diction suggests that you're making an extremely deep, significant point, which (I just argued, at least), you're not. And, even if it *were* a profound point, the attempts at highbrow language come off poorly. It sounds like you binge-read Charles Dickens, grabbed a thesaurus, and tried to write fancy and with the biggest words possible. The few grammatical errors augment that feeling as well. The overall effect really is rather pretentious. Not trying to be a jerk, but it looks like you can take tough criticism.



Well I think that if not having figured out whether God exists or not by the time you apply to law school were a prerequisite there would be a lot fewer lawyers. I'll take into consideration that it might sound like I'm intellectually immature, but actually part of the point of either of these essays would be that being an agnostic who is and probably will remain genuinely undecided is a fundamental part of my identity. They are both efforts to rebuke the general lack of respect for that philosophical position.

As I have said several times, I did not believe the ideas were fundamentally unique, but rather were relateable and probably fairly unique in the context of law school admissions essays.

I don't think the language is all that high brow. I'm not sure what big scary words you are talking about. The biggest might be omniscient, omnipowerful, and beneficient, but those are pretty intimitely connected to the description of God I'm referring to.

Thanks for the attempt to help.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:49 am

TLSDookie wrote:You've put a lot of thought in to your responses, so I'll give you a legitimate response. I don't think the problem is the religious topic--certainly plenty of very smart people have gotten in to law school for whom religion is a/the central part of their identity. If that's you by all means write about it. As the posters above me point out, the problem is how you have written it. Express who you are in genuine, coherent statements. What you've written comes off as somewhere between mimicry and plagiarism of long dead philosophical prose. A lot of people seem to think that writing like that turns otherwise bland ideas into erudite pieces of wisdom, but it really does not obfuscate the simplistic and well trodden subject matter, and in fact makes it harder for adcomms to read (particularly when their eyes have rolled so far up they've become stuck that way). You've proven you have a mastery of the English language on the LSAT, no need to prove you've mastered bygone eras of it on the PS.

Re-write it using only words you would actually use to explain your identity to someone on the street. If nothing profound comes out of what you've written, and it sounds like you're an elementary schooler explaining "I like god", dig deeper as to why those ideas are important to you personally, and re-write again. AdComms aren't looking to see how well you can emulate a particular style/era of writing even if it is your favorite philosopher, any more than they would be impressed if you wrote an extra scene of Shakespeare perfectly in his style on a topic that was supposed to be about you. If it's written in a way no one actually speaks, it comes off as disingenuous and not your own ideas. Remember, above all, the PS is the best way to introduce yourself to the admissions committee, and coming off as disingenuous wastes that opportunity in favor of an attempt to replicate some other person's musings about a particular subject.


It's not a PS.

People don't write PS in monologue or dialogue so I definitely should not write like I speak.

Though, if you are advocating writing more in the conventional narrative style or current essay style of a PS(which is not written like people speak), I already explained that I am trying to take a risk with regards to style.

If it sounds like an elementary schooler saying I like God, reread it. At the very least it sounded like an elementary schooler saying I hate God.

It is not a replication of someone elses musings at all. And I don't know why you would think it was.

There has been useful critique of my essay given to me here, but it seems like you read the less useful of that critique wrote a charicature of it and posted rather than reading 250 words.

Thanks for the attempt to help anyway.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:58 am

mjb447 wrote:To the extent that my comment was at all constructive and not pure snark, I was primarily trying to get at things that have already been covered. Something that's not written or formatted in the usual style catches my attention - most sovereign citizen filings aren't, and sometimes they include metaphysical musings in the style of this 250. For me, your draft accomplishes that much.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to spend a lot of time with it; dense writing just makes my job (reading and understanding) harder, and it certainly doesn't make me want to cut you any breaks. (I don't think I ever read Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God - I probably should for my own edification, but I don't think you should write a 250 that presupposes strong familiarity if that's what you've done here.) I have to imagine most adcomms are similarly busy or distracted much of the time, never mind that it's their job to eliminate people from contention and you're serving them up some pretty dense writing and are already fairly borderline for other reasons. You're definitely taking a risk, but some risks are better than others and, since the smart, busy people in this thread are (almost?) uniformly failing to "get it," it might be better to try something else.

But, like I said, you guys have mostly covered that already, so good luck.

I also did not get into Yale.

ETA To be clear, I agree with the people who are saying that a religious/spiritual essay isn't in itself problematic.



Thanks for the explanation of the comment. Having not read many sovereign citizen complaints, I had no idea what you meant.

I'd recommend reading Sinners not because it is a particularly fascinating read, but because it is fun and the imagery is beautiful. Additionally, it is not that similar to my piece. The imagery just matches.

I will take some sort of risk. My problem with the advice here is that it funnels all the personal statements toward the safe middle. That may be good when applying to safety and target schools, but not reach schools. This might not be the right risk to tae, but there is undoubtedly a risky different essay I could write which will improve my chances at Yale. Writing an essay which fits in with my overall application, is written well, in the normal style, with a normal voice, on a normal topic is not that essay. Yet, that is the advice I have been given.

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nothingtosee
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby nothingtosee » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:14 am

Btw you come off as very arrogant. In the real world you need to learn to take criticism. You're response is always "you're missing what I'm doing here," even when you have consistent criticisms from different voices. "Thanks, internet stranger, for spending five minutes of your time, it was very helpful and I'll get to work on a new one" is a lot better than "you people just don't understand genius."

Take risks. Write about unicorns or Morse code or ephraim McDowell. But write it so the reader doesn't cringe and feel a little embarrassed before they get through.

cavalier1138
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:27 am

OP, you're in great shape. Don't listen to anyone else. Trust me, nothing is sexier than a kid who is utterly convinced of his own innate brilliance.

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Pozzo
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby Pozzo » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:30 am

An artist is never appreciated in her time.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:34 am

Pozzo wrote:Hey OP, I’ll try to be a bit more constructive here, and not try to just pile on what has been said. My comment re: reading Edwards was because I felt that this 250 did very little to engage/reflect the source of your inspiration. Apart from a cheeky title and the imagery of you dangling by a web, there is nothing here that substantively connects to Edwards. If you want to “wow” the adcom by writing something inspired by Edwards, then you need to a better job at making that connection. The second aspect to my comment there relates to what Nony said a couple posts back. Edwards is incredibly rigorous in the way he writes and argues, both in his sermons like Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and even more so in his written works like Freedom of the Will and Religious Affections. I spent some time studying Edwards as a grad student, and this 250 is about as far from Edwards as you can imaging—both in style and substance. This reads less like a serious reflection on his ideas or something seriously inspired by him, and more like the self-important musings of an agnostic undergrad religious studies major who read “Sinners” in their History of American Religion class and decided to write a naval-gazing spin-off. I know that sounds harsh. I’m not that saying you've never given Edwards serious thought, but this is the person I see in this essay, and if that’s not who you are, then you need to do a better job communicating that to the reader. It also bears mentioning that Yale is the epicenter of modern study on Edwards, so I would be particularly wary of this topic in light of that.

All that said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a more unconventional 250 or writing about religion per se. I did not get into Yale, and I think my largely impersonal, conventional 250 had something to do with that. (I condensed a portion of a research paper I had done a while back.) While Yale is a reach for everyone, my numbers gave be about a 50/50 shot. If I could redo it, I would have done a better job connecting it to the rest of my application and painting a compelling picture of myself as an applicant. (Again, Nony made this point above as well.)

The reason people tend to go conventional is that successfully executing a more unconventional topic is really, really, really difficult. On top of that, the religious struggles of an agnostic is a bit cliché, so this topic may not be quite as unconventional as you imagine. You may be able to execute it, but not with this attempt. I look forward to reading future drafts and providing whatever constructive feedback I can.


You might be right that I need to at the very least adjust the statement that it was inspired by Edwards. I just liked his imagery of God and mankind, have found it a useful mental image over the years.

I think I said this a few times, but it may not have been clear. It could be somewhat of a problem with the essay. The essay is an adaptation of a undergraduate application essay I wrote. You are right that I was canibalizing his imagery rather than making a substantive connection to Edwards thoughts. I thought that was clear.

If your numbers gave you a 50/50 shot, I understand not being to bold with your 250 and wishing you had connected it to your application better. I think Nony's description is the conventional safe approach to the 250 and should be played with by people applying to reaches either in style or in substance.

I'm not sure if I'll write more drafts of this one for a while, but am working on two other potential 250 topics right now.

The first is one related to Pascal's Wager. It has also been rattling around my head since undergrad, but it is still there which sort of makes it part of me. The logic of it goes something along the lines of

Knowledge of whether or not God exists or not is the most important thing to me.

Therefore, if I could wager, I would bet that God did not exist.

Then if upon dying there were no after life, I would be right(the most important thing to me).

If I died and awoke in Hell I would have the chance to change my mind and gain knowledge that God existed again being right in the end at the cost of eternal damnation.

I'm working on it, but my attempted structure for the essay right now is to express my initial derision at the idea of Pascal's Wager and that you could decide what to believe based on what was most game theoretically advantageous, followed by my later understanding of how enticing the idea could be when I encountered the reversed wager.

My problems with writing it are that the reversed wager is not itself a rigourous idea and therefore that I feel compelled to show it in this narrative sense where I grow to understand the appeal of Pascal's Wager which is then hard to fit into 250 words.

The second idea that I am working on while I am stalled on the wager topic is shortening an essay that I wrote for one of my economics classes on an outgrowth of the idea of the statistical/economic value of life. The idea is fairly simple once you understand it, but since I can't know how well my readers will be trained in economics it is a little bit difficult. I need to present it in a way that demonstrates why it is an idea that is important, has practical value, is non-obvious, and yet not get so bogged down in complicated minutae that it is difficult to understand. It would flow well with a version of the personal statement I have already written for U of M though. Then I also want to find a way to take some sort of risk with it so it stands out, since I think Nony is wrong about strategy when applying to a reach.

Anyways, I am grateful for your suggestions and hopeful for your continued feedback especially when I finish reasonable drafts of those two essay topics.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:56 am

@nothingtosee
Some comments were helpful. Some were not. Some demonstrated that they had not read my 250.

The problem is that among the consistent criticisms very few have offerred any valid alternative. Most seem to recommend writing a traditional essay which will tie into the application as a whole and not take any risks. But, my express purpose is to take a risk.

In almost every post I said both thanks and I have noted I am working on others. I also noted what parts of the advice I agreed with and found useful and what parts I did not.

I never once said anything along the lines of "you people just don't understand genius". In fact, I have been clear, that it may not be a very good essay and is just a first attempt, but that my goal is to write a risky essay.

You can write about unicorns and morse code if yoi want. I'll stick to my interests. Sorry my essay made you feel embarassed.

If this was an attempt to help with my essay, thanks internet stranger.

@cavalier1138
Trust me sexy isn't what I am going for and I'm not convinced of my own brilliance or I wouldn't want to take a risk with the essay.

@pozzo
I have no idea how that is relevant, but I'm pretty sure it's not true. I guess by nothing to see's standard I probably don't have to thank you though since it's definitely not 5 minutes of help.

cavalier1138
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:26 pm

This gets better with every post. Please just keep bouncing ideas off people here.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:42 pm

nothingtosee wrote:FYI I think Sinners in the Hand and Pascal's Wager (tho not Pensees) are more likely to be part of an elite high school education than an elite college education (which is what Yale wants). Those two texts strike me as rather early texts an undergrad student would get.

I mean, it's a theological essay, but it's not deep in theology.

So then (as others have said) it reads more like a prose poem.

But it's not a very good prose poem because the language isn't very good. The sentences are hard to get through and there aren't memorable images/turns of phrase.

If you want a Hail Mary 250 I think something focused on a scholarly interest or a true insight from navel-gazing would be better than something in between. Something where you can display good writing. And this isn't that.

[And you're getting a pretty consistent response to this. So if you want to keep battling your reviewers, you probably aren't really interested in feedback, but rather affirmation]

eta: gendering God as male from a New Age/theist/agnostic perspective is a weird move, yeah? That could turn some people off


It’s an adaptation of an undergrad app essay so yeah, I first read Sinners in high school. But, I'm mostly just borrowing the imagery. I don't think the goal of the 250 is to prove that you read something in college.

It is openly not deep in theology. That was the point. But, if the goal of the 250 is solely to show off deep a ademic knowledge it is going to fall flat so point taken.

I don't think it's a poem, but I do like using my apositives. And it was intended to be sort of creative with language.

I think and hope you meant novel gazing, but navel gazing would certainly be a bold topic in a different direction than I was planning. As far as novel gazing, I'll think about it, but while I am a prolific reader, I mostly read pretty mainstream novels and haven't read nearly as much in undergrad as before.

I think a scholarly insight or insight from a novel is pretty in the norm and not very hail mary like.

I don’t think resisting a consistent negative response is a sign that I was looking for positive affirmation. I think it is a sign that I didn't find the criticism persuasive. This could be because most of the criticism consisted of a message to return to a more conventional approach (narrative about self, academic paper, in either traditional essay style or the form of a short story) and I had already dismissed that as unlikely to succeed for this essay. But, it probably could stem from a whole variety of sources for most people. Additionally, I was already planning on trying other essays which were hail mary's in some fashion. So I was looking for advice which wouldn't shut down all hail mary's as not being normal.

I think borrowing imagery from an essay where God was gendered as male, switching the gender so God was female, and then switching the dynamic so I was torturing God would come off as strange especially since I'm male. Additionally, if you turn on some music I think you will find we still mostly gender God as male. I get that I could have kept it ambiguous, but that alongwith the spiderweb imagery was my main connection to the language of the text I was alluding to. If I wanted to make it still bolder I could change it to She everywhere it is He. I just think the mild torturing him with the questions that he has allowed to torture me pressing my words to his ear thing might get a little too strange (even for me) if I also flipped the traditional gender of God.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:52 pm

The alternative is not to use this essay. That doesn't mean you have to reject being risky, just not to take this particular risk.

I actually think pulling everything together coherently into a compelling narrative is harder than coming up with an unconventional essay, but it may not work as well for a KJD.

Also, we don't really care if you don't find the criticism persuasive. The fact that people are all saying the same kinds of things should persuade you, but if it doesnt, it doesn't. You saying it's not persuasive doesn't persuade us, either.

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rpupkin
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby rpupkin » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:52 pm

Pro-Tip: You're not getting into Yale Law School no matter what you do with this essay.

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Pozzo
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby Pozzo » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:01 pm

Ok, I'll offer one more here, because I think your response to nothingtosee does a lot to illustrate why people are saying this is not a good approach.

edcat wrote:It’s an adaptation of an undergrad app essay so yeah, I first read Sinners in high school. But, I'm mostly just borrowing the imagery. I don't think the goal of the 250 is to prove that you read something in college.

It is openly not deep in theology. That was the point. But, if the goal of the 250 is solely to show off deep a ademic knowledge it is going to fall flat so point taken.

I don't think it's a poem, but I do like using my apositives. And it was intended to be sort of creative with language.


This is the problem: it reads like a high schooler who read Sinners and thought it was "pretty cool." No, you don't need to show that you are a prolific theologian, but if I can offer some advice as someone who has actually has a graduate degree in theology, what you don't want to do is write something that so unabashedly displays your lack of understanding of something that you claim as your inspiration. It's hubris and ignorance combined. The adcomm will see right through it. I watched an episode of Nova about alternative energy that I thought was pretty cool too, but I'm sure as hell not going to write a Yale 250 about it.


edcat wrote:I think and hope you meant novel gazing, but navel gazing would certainly be a bold topic in a different direction than I was planning. As far as novel gazing, I'll think about it, but while I am a prolific reader, I mostly read pretty mainstream novels and haven't read nearly as much in undergrad as before.

I think a scholarly insight or insight from a novel is pretty in the norm and not very hail mary like.


He meant navel gazing. It's a thing. Look it up.

edcat wrote:I don’t think resisting a consistent negative response is a sign that I was looking for positive affirmation. I think it is a sign that I didn't find the criticism persuasive. This could be because most of the criticism consisted of a message to return to a more conventional approach (narrative about self, academic paper, in either traditional essay style or the form of a short story) and I had already dismissed that as unlikely to succeed for this essay. But, it probably could stem from a whole variety of sources for most people. Additionally, I was already planning on trying other essays which were hail mary's in some fashion. So I was looking for advice which wouldn't shut down all hail mary's as not being normal.


The issue is not that we all think you should just write a conventional essay. An unconventional approach has the potential to be incredibly successful. However, there's a reason most people write "conventional" essays - they work. The first rule of PSes and 250s is primum non nocere. You open yourself to a lot of risk in an unconventional essay, which is fine, but you damn well better be able to pull it off. So far, you have not demonstrated that you can. I worry that your attempts at Pascal's wager will fall equally flat.

edcat wrote:I think borrowing imagery from an essay where God was gendered as male, switching the gender so God was female, and then switching the dynamic so I was torturing God would come off as strange especially since I'm male. Additionally, if you turn on some music I think you will find we still mostly gender God as male. I get that I could have kept it ambiguous, but that alongwith the spiderweb imagery was my main connection to the language of the text I was alluding to. If I wanted to make it still bolder I could change it to She everywhere it is He. I just think the mild torturing him with the questions that he has allowed to torture me pressing my words to his ear thing might get a little too strange (even for me) if I also flipped the traditional gender of God.

If the gendering of God was the only problem here, then you'd be in great shape. But what you do in your response here points to the real issue: you refer to this change as being "still bolder." Your first essay is not bold. Self-important? Sure. Bad? Absolutely. But not bold.

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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:46 pm

@A. nony mouse
"The alternative is not to use this essay."
Obviously all the alternatives would involve not writing this essay.

However, if your advice which it seems to be is to write a more conventional narrative, I don't think it's viable. I think that is a good way for me to get into lots of schools, but not Yale. I think that it is irrelevant whether it is easier or harder.

Finally, it doesn't matter to me whether you care that I find your criticism persuasive or not. It probably should matter a little, though. Otherwise, why offer the criticism? But, I was simply pointing out that there were other reasons than "a desire for self affirmation" that I didn't universally accept the criticism. Some of it wasn't useful or compelling criticism. For example, "no, no, no, no, no".

@rpupkin
That may be true, but part of me wants to apply. And since people universally advise to blanket the top 14 or 13 or whatever I decided why not. If I'm spending the money, I might as well try a little experimentation rather than following nony's advice to try what I know won't work.

@pozzo

I don't see why you couldn't write your yale 250 about something you found fascinating, but don't have an advanced background in. You might have an interesting reaction to the supernova thing. Only so much information can be packed into a 250 anyway.

I don’t see how my essay showed a lack of understanding of theology. It probably didn't show a particularly complex one. But it undoubtedly showed my personal view of God, the relative likelihood of his existence, and my perspective on my personal relationship with him if he exists.

It may have also showed that I do consider most of theology superfluous to those main points and I can see how that would offend you. I'm willing to risk the offense with the formal essay.

However, while I do consider the work of theologians largely irrelevant to whether or not I will ever believe in God or to discovering whether he exists, I don't think that their work is unimportant or irrelevant to the world as a whole. That obviously is not relevant to my essay about me and my beliefs, but I don't want to give offense to you; I just want to risk giving offense to the admissions officer.

As far as writing a traditional essay goes, they work at target schools. They work at safety schools. They may work at mild reach schools. I don't think they work for me at Yale. I already said several times that I am writing a few more.

I guess you agree about the gendering of God part so I'll leave that alone.

As far as it being bold. By bold I just meant risky. I am trying to do something with my essay that others will hesitate to do not because they can't, but because they don't want to blow their chance. I think I can do that because I can honestly assess my chances to be extremely low, but depending on my retake not totally beyond reach based on numbers.

@nothing to see

Pozzo is absolutely write about the whole navel-gazing thing. Sorry, about that.

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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:54 pm

So because my initial response was "No no no no no" you're going to ignore my subsequent comments and the consistent comments by others about what's wrong with this essay? Your funeral.

(And you actually asked for input, so I would think it would matter more to you what we all said, than why you disagree matters to us.)

To be clear, I don't think constructing a compelling narrative throughout all your application is actually the conventional response, because I don't think most applicants actually do that. But you can ignore my suggestions for an alternative without rejecting other people's criticisms of this particular risky essay.

Also I think you are too quick to reject Pozzo's comments about the content/theology. Of course you don't have to write about something you have a deep academic knowledge of, but if you are going to draw an express allusion, you need to be able to back it up.

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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:27 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:So because my initial response was "No no no no no" you're going to ignore my subsequent comments and the consistent comments by others about what's wrong with this essay? Your funeral.

(And you actually asked for input, so I would think it would matter more to you what we all said, than why you disagree matters to us.)

To be clear, I don't think constructing a compelling narrative throughout all your application is actually the conventional response, because I don't think most applicants actually do that. But you can ignore my suggestions for an alternative without rejecting other people's criticisms of this particular risky essay.

Also I think you are too quick to reject Pozzo's comments about the content/theology. Of course you don't have to write about something you have a deep academic knowledge of, but if you are going to draw an express allusion, you need to be able to back it up.


Thanks for the input.

I didn't ignore your subsequent advice. I considered it and dismissed most of it. I found some of the other people's advice useful.

My goal was to write an essay which would ellicit strong sentiments. I have transparently suceeded. I do still need it to evoke some positive sentiments however, so I'm not sure I will use this one.

I was not trying to say that the input mattered less to me than my opinion of it did to you, just that you obviously had some desire for your advice to be taken or would not have offered it.

Almost all applicants are trying to construct a narrative about themselves and express it through their application. I don’t know how succesful they are, but pretending it is some novel tool is kidding ourselves.

I disagree that an allusion requires deep background knowledge.

Finally, I am not going to post my other 250 drafts in light of what my pre law advisor has told me. We had a student whose admission to a few law schools was delayed last year because her essays posted online were plagarized and used and they didn't know whether it was her that copied them or the other applicant. She eventually got into the schools in question, but may have been impaired in scholarship negotiations due to the delays. Given the general caliber and nature of the advice here, it just doesn't seem worth the risk.

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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby nothingtosee » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:40 pm

You are literally getting advice from people who went to YLS.

You don't think any criticisms of your work are correct. [Can you name any you would have incorporated to another draft, besides explicitly raising the THIS IS A JON EDWARDS RIFF thing?

My goal was to write an essay which would ellicit strong sentiments. I have transparently suceeded.


I mean you could have posted a swastika or a picture of your genitals and gotten strong sentiments. I would think that quality would be more important than raw sentiment quantity.

But this thread is really good and this stuff is what makes TLS great.

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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:52 pm

edcat wrote:My goal was to write an essay which would ellicit strong sentiments. I have transparently suceeded.


Quoted for posterity.

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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:53 pm

nothingtosee wrote:You are literally getting advice from people who went to YLS.

You don't think any criticisms of your work are correct. [Can you name any you would have incorporated to another draft, besides explicitly raising the THIS IS A JON EDWARDS RIFF thing?

My goal was to write an essay which would ellicit strong sentiments. I have transparently suceeded.


I mean you could have posted a swastika or a picture of your genitals and gotten strong sentiments. I would think that quality would be more important than raw sentiment quantity.

But this thread is really good and this stuff is what makes TLS great.


I think TLS in general is very useful. The personal statement section is less useful than the overall advice. I don't believe I listed any complaints about the caliber of the people giving advice as law school applicants just the usefulness of the advice.

"I mean you could have posted a swastika or a picture of your genitals and gotten strong sentiments. I would think that quality would be more important than raw sentiment quantity."

I agree which I wrote in the next sentence. But, I was trying to take the risk of stirring negative sentiments for the reward of positive ones so it's slightly more complicated than that.

Little of the criticism here was specific enough to be fixed except for that. That is an indictment of the critics rather than me. Your advice about changing the gender was specific enough. I just didn't think it would work for me.

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WinterComing
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby WinterComing » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:56 pm

edcat wrote: Finally, I am not going to post my other 250 drafts in light of what my pre law advisor has told me. We had a student whose admission to a few law schools was delayed last year because her essays posted online were plagarized and used and they didn't know whether it was her that copied them or the other applicant. She eventually got into the schools in question, but may have been impaired in scholarship negotiations due to the delays. Given the general caliber and nature of the advice here, it just doesn't seem worth the risk.


You have made a wise decision not to post your other 250 drafts here, but not for the reason you suggest. The chances that another applicant will plagiarize this essay are infinitesimal. However, the chances are much better that an admissions person or professor from Yale will read this thread, realize quickly that your ability to relate to other humans is even less developed than your ability to write about the divine, and ding you on the grounds that you're an internet jerk.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:33 pm

Allusion requires knowing enough about what's being alluded to to make a meaningful allusion. At least two people here, both of whom probably know more about early American religion than you do, have said the allusion doesn't work.

I'm not claiming that attempting to construct a compelling narrative is novel. I do think that many people approach the application as fulfilling each part and think that is sufficient. I also think that succeeding at creating a compelling narrative is much less common than you suggest.

But that's fine. Go be risky. But make sure the execution works. "This essay doesn't work" is plenty specific. There's no point giving specific sentence-level criticism when you think the very premise fails.

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Pozzo
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby Pozzo » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:14 pm

It's clear that you're going to do you here, and you very well may prove us all wrong. I really hope you do. However, if you can see through the exasperation that we're all experiencing, there actually is some constructive feedback here, which is what you say you're looking for. You've just summarily dismissed all of it. No one is saying you shouldn't do something risky, just that this isn't it. Reasons were given:

1. The prose need to be tighter. The sentences are kind of jerky. More generally, it's just not well written.
2. The topic is very cliché. These thoughts are not as unique or "risky" as you seem to think. If I had to guess, I'd guess Asha and the faculty suffer through literally dozens or hundreds of "religion" 250s each year.
3. The essay shows that you have little understanding of what you claim as your inspiration.
4. Despite choosing a topic that is intensely personal for many people, you manage to tell us very little about yourself or the world.

Please, try to take this advice and incorporate it into your next 250. Good luck, mate.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:55 pm

WinterComing wrote:
edcat wrote: Finally, I am not going to post my other 250 drafts in light of what my pre law advisor has told me. We had a student whose admission to a few law schools was delayed last year because her essays posted online were plagarized and used and they didn't know whether it was her that copied them or the other applicant. She eventually got into the schools in question, but may have been impaired in scholarship negotiations due to the delays. Given the general caliber and nature of the advice here, it just doesn't seem worth the risk.


You have made a wise decision not to post your other 250 drafts here, but not for the reason you suggest. The chances that another applicant will plagiarize this essay are infinitesimal. However, the chances are much better that an admissions person or professor from Yale will read this thread, realize quickly that your ability to relate to other humans is even less developed than your ability to write about the divine, and ding you on the grounds that you're an internet jerk.



You have an astonishingly high view of how influential TLS is.

I thought it was a pretty low likelihood event too, until I found out it had happened recently close to me. Why risk it?

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:05 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Allusion requires knowing enough about what's being alluded to to make a meaningful allusion. At least two people here, both of whom probably know more about early American religion than you do, have said the allusion doesn't work.

I'm not claiming that attempting to construct a compelling narrative is novel. I do think that many people approach the application as fulfilling each part and think that is sufficient. I also think that succeeding at creating a compelling narrative is much less common than you suggest.

But that's fine. Go be risky. But make sure the execution works. "This essay doesn't work" is plenty specific. There's no point giving specific sentence-level criticism when you think the very premise fails.


I don't think you are right especially with Yale apps, but since my evidence is flimsy (that all the guides give the same advice) and yours appears to be a pure guess it doesn't really matter. Additionally, since I could embark to craft a compelling application level narrative and fail I can't just consider those who suceed and ignore those eho tried and failed.

The thing about an essay that is an attempted risk is that one or ten people not liking it in vague terms isn't helpful. I want it to make some like me at the cost of alienating others rather than to do no harm. If you offer specific criticism I can decide whether it is part of the intended risk or a mistake. It doesn't have to be sentence level. You didn't.

cavalier1138
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:14 pm

Your professors must look forward to office hours with you after you get a paper back...




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