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今天我们将学习普林斯顿法学院Personal Statement的写作要求。它的作用是代替(in lieu of)面试的,写得越是有说服力,越有可能让你成为将来的学员。简明、令人感兴趣和唯一性(conciseness, interest, and uniqueness are major virtues)是好的personal statement的主要特征。

本文向你介绍几大“雷区”,“顺之者昌,逆之者亡”。第一,个性化;第二,简洁。第三,切中命题;第四,避免语法错误,文章要尽善尽美。第五,不要唱高调。第六,不要引用名言。总而言之,Personal Statement就是纸上的你。In sum, the Personal Statement is you on paper; the law school version of the personal interview.

以下为普林斯顿大学法学院关于personal statement的写作要求。原文来源:http://web.princeton.edu/sites/career/Alumni/GradSchool/pre-law4.html

全文如下:

The so-called "Personal Statement" gives you an opportunity to help personalize your admissions paperwork. The personal statement is in lieu of an interview. The more effective personal statements tend to be in the form of anecdotal, personal histories which lead the reader to believe the writer might be an interesting and valuable addition to the new class. In the competitive reading of literally thousands of these statements, conciseness, interest, and uniqueness are major virtues. Try to think of your application as a whole and how an admissions committee would view it. Can you spot any issues or areas that should or could be further addressed? Address such issues clearly and make your argument convincing; summon facts and present them in a clear, organized, and convincing manner. Tell them about you; personalize your essay by telling stories about yourself.

Here are a few non-comprehensive do's and don'ts about the personal statement:

DO try and personalize your statement. This is essentially a substitute for the personal interview, so an anecdotal description of yourself which makes you appear as an appropriate and interesting addition to their new class tends to be most effective and convincing.
DO be concise. Some schools process literally thousands of these statements, so an economy of phrase is appreciated. Can a sentence or two be cut without compromising your meaning?
DO be relevant. This statement should convey information which the reader doesn't have. That information should be about you. (See our related "don't" below).
DO be a perfectionist. Unfortunately, admissions committees look for easy things to reject like misspellings; typos; poor grammar.
DON'T be theoretical. For example, an essay on the value of law to a civilized society is usually playing to an audience/committee of law professors or experienced academic administrators, so your effort may come off as na?ve (obviously not your intent). Writing about something the committee doesn't know (like yourself) is safest and more likely to be impressive (obviously that is your intent!). Remember, this is not an academic exercise to demonstrate some newly acquired knowledge; it's a personalization of your application.
DON'T use quotes. This is a close relative to the "don't" #1 above. Quotes are usually the ideas of others, and often presage a theoretical discussion, which, as we said above, is best to avoid. In fact, a few of our guest law school admission panelists have made specific mention on how quotes sets their teeth on edge, especially when they occur in the first sentence. Be warned.
DON'T be irrelevant. Discussing things you don't have personal knowledge of; things which have happened to others; things which are difficult to link to your work experience and intellectual interest. All this tends towards the non-personal, generally undercutting the purpose of a "personal" statement. In sum, the Personal Statement is you on paper; the law school version of the personal interview. (www.flytowest.com)

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