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 Post subject: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:47 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:18 pm
Archived Posts: 106
Does anyone have good advice on how to write this tiny essay?

Furthermore should the topic be law related or can I write about snails?

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:00 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:23 am
Archived Posts: 258
benignuman wrote:
Does anyone have good advice on how to write this tiny essay?

Furthermore should the topic be law related or can I write about snails?

Thanks


LOL. Please, be so kind as to share your 250 word essay if you decide on the latter topic. I have always wondered what 250 words on snails would look like.
Seriously though, I don't care about that 250 due to my low LSAT score (were it higher, I would have been in your position right now) but there seems to be no consensus on what it should be about. People just claims it's important.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:01 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:02 am
Archived Posts: 150
You can of course write it about anything; topic is part of the test.

250 words is not enough length to turn around or slow down; it's like drag racing. You need to give 'er everything you've got and try to keep it on a straight line.

I liked Berryman's advice when writing mine: Write as short as you can, in order, of what matters.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:18 pm 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:32 pm
Archived Posts: 2389
Write about something that communicates something meaningful about who you are. It can be about anything, but I think that if you handed it, with a bunch of other 250 word essays, to several of your friends that they should be able to identify yours and say that on the basis of reading just that, they would know something "real" about who you are.

As for topics, you might look at the essay as a way to balance out your application package. If the rest of your materials tip heavily in showing you as a hard core academic type and you feel that your "lighter side" is missing, you might try to develop an essay that showcases that. Likewise, if you feel that your application doesn't have enough theoretical "punch," you might go for more of a "thought piece."

The object of any application, but especially Yale's: allow the reader to envision you in on of the seats in class contributing in a way that is not just a carbon copy of everyone else. Let them know that not only will you take advantage of the opportunities you will be given, but that you can give something back in return.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:16 pm
Archived Posts: 100
I dont mind posting mine. I'm semi-happy with it.

My thought was that a random musing that shows you think about the world around you was a good way to go. Also, you'll have very little room to introduce your topic, so it has to be about something relatively simple or universal. (Note: I know some of my syntax is a little strange. It was designed (perhaps poorly) to satisfy the word limit.)

Both tourists and native New Yorkers often wonder why local taxi drivers accelerate aggressively towards red traffic lights, only to slam on the brakes at crosswalks. Why do they do this when faced with reduced fuel economy and increased vehicle wear? The answer lies in the design of the Taxi & Limousine Commission's official pricing scheme, which is comprised of four factors: A fixed fee, a surcharge during rush hour, a rate for mileage, and a rate for time stopped in traffic.

The fact that all but the last of these factors is determined at the outset of each trip encourages cab drivers to complete each fare as quickly as possible, thus maximizing the number of fixed fees received during each shift. The scheme also encourages drivers to maximize the portion of each fare spent idling in traffic. By accelerating into red lights, drivers increase the amount of time spent idling, without extending the lengths of complete trips. Therefore, this approach optimizes the number of fares per shift as well as the time idling per shift.

The driver also has little incentive to prevent wear on the vehicle, since most cabs in New York City are leased to different drivers each day. And additional fuel costs, which are estimated at only 5%, are far outstripped by the thousands of dollars in inflated fares earned by reallocating only seconds of each trip.

The moral: Hope yours is one of the few New York City cabs still equipped with a seat belt.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:20 pm
Archived Posts: 289
I can't really offer any advice other than what has already been stated. Use it to fill in something important that you think is missing or weak in the rest of your application. Keep in mind that I have every reason to think I'll be flat-out rejected--take my thoughts with a grain of salt. ;)

I thought I needed more of an intellectual punch to my app, so that was my goal with my 250. I think I probably took it a bit far, though--it's out there. A "hail Mary," if you will.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:05 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:17 pm
Archived Posts: 564
I love the taxi analysis. The subject matters in as far as it says something about you. Like joschmo said, he wanted to say something that shows he thinks about the world. What is most important is that it is well written and thought out.

I have essentially spent my whole life in school, and my PS barely touches on academics. So I used mine to do something a little less personal and a little more academic, although I did cast it in terms of an academic interest that motivates me to go to law school. Again, just make sure it shows you can express ideas clearly in writing.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:12 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:26 pm
Archived Posts: 146
tome wrote:
I love the taxi analysis. The subject matters in as far as it says something about you. Like joschmo said, he wanted to say something that shows he thinks about the world. What is most important is that it is well written and thought out.

I have essentially spent my whole life in school, and my PS barely touches on academics. So I used mine to do something a little less personal and a little more academic, although I did cast it in terms of an academic interest that motivates me to go to law school. Again, just make sure it shows you can express ideas clearly in writing.


agreed. absolutely adore your taxi 250. good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:19 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:14 pm
Archived Posts: 1604
I am actually rather pleased with mine as well. I wrote a book review/analysis on Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country for something else which I liked, so I wrote a condensed version for my Yale supplement. If I was not away from home right now I would post it.

From what I have seen, it truly can be about anything you like. I would not over analyze it too much. Just write about something you want to write about, and make sure it feels complete in 250 words. Good luck.


Last edited by Bosque on Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:33 am
Archived Posts: 902
The taxi 250 is really cool. It shows your awareness of everyday life and your ability to think through real life situtations. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:30 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:16 pm
Archived Posts: 100
Thanks for the Kudos, guys. Now that I read it again though, all I can think about are the ways I could've made it better. (Ending the first para with the Taxi Limo Commission sentence wouldve given it more of a public policy analysis flair. And the last sentence of the second para doesnt actually state my conclusion. It doesnt actually say, fares are maximized.) No sense worrying about it now though. This board is a major source of stress and distraction.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:32 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:16 pm
Archived Posts: 100
Also, I think it'd be interesting to read other peoples 250s. I think they tend to be on the aggressive side, making them more entertaining. (Yale prob feels this way too). Anyone whos comfortable with it should post.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:33 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:18 pm
Archived Posts: 106
Pyros wrote:

LOL. Please, be so kind as to share your 250 word essay if you decide on the latter topic. I have always wondered what 250 words on snails would look like.


You asked for it:
Quote:
The Murex trunculus is a 1- 4 inch rock snail which minds its own business trolling about the shallow ends of the Mediterranean. Looking at the snail, it would be hard to imagine that it could cause any strife anywhere, but this conical shaped, banded snail has effected a controversy in the Jewish world that is now in its 96th year. In 1913 the future Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Isaac Herzog advanced the possibility that Murex trunculus might be the source of the long lost Jewish dye, Techelet. This dye was used most prominently as blue strings on tzitzit; the fringes which hang off the prayer shawls of Jews. The identification of Murex trunculus as the legendary Chilazon was a breakthrough. After 1500 hundred years it seemed we had finally rediscovered Techelet.

Or had we? Many halachic (Jewish law) experts are skeptical whether the secretions of this ridge shelled mollusk is really the base of the legendary blue dye.
They point out that the shells of these snails have been found in great abundance in archeological sites of ancient Canaan (present day Israel). In contradistinction Talmudic sources describe the dye as both rare and expensive. This problem is only one of the many that the proponents of Murex trunculus face in making their case to the general Jewish public. The furor has been going on now for nearly a century, but the Murex trunculus slithers on oblivious to it all.


What do you think?


Last edited by benignuman on Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:34 pm 

Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:14 pm
Archived Posts: 513
I <3 the 250. I'm still writing mine, but I love the challenge.

My PS is very academic; it is almost a research proposal. I have, therefore, conceived my 250 to balance that and be more personal.

I've been through a few topics: The breakdown of the renaissance economic system in northern italy as seen through the guild system, driving cross country, Jesse Jackson, and my personal (and, I think, unique) take on Pierre Menard and its relation to the common law. I have, for now, settled on something else. It is the thing about me that, while irrelevant, I hope will be most interesting. I'll hold onto it for now.

There is good advice in this thread. I think you can write about anything as long as it is interesting and demonstrates a special perspective and capacity for reflection.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:36 pm 
Princess of Berkeley

Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:23 pm
Archived Posts: 1968
I wouldn't mind PMing mine. If anyone is interested, PM me.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:14 pm
Archived Posts: 1604
I looked it up on my application.

Quote:
Edit: On Second thought, I like Amy's idea. PM me if you want to see mine too.


Not perfect, but I felt pretty good about it. Hopefully this helps. (And remember, no plagiarizing. Hopefully that should not need to be said, but you never know.)


Last edited by Bosque on Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:16 pm
Archived Posts: 100
benignuman wrote:
Pyros wrote:

LOL. Please, be so kind as to share your 250 word essay if you decide on the latter topic. I have always wondered what 250 words on snails would look like.


You asked for it:
Quote:
The Murex trunculus is a 1- 4 inch rock snail which minds its own business trolling about the shallow ends of the Mediterranean. Looking at the snail, it would be hard to imagine that it could cause any strife anywhere, but this conical shaped, banded snail has affected a controversy in the Jewish world that is now in its 96th year. In 1913 the future Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Isaac Herzog advanced the possibility that Murex trunculus might be the source of the long lost Jewish dye, Techelet. This dye was used most prominently as blue strings on tzitzit; the fringes which hang off the prayer shawls of Jews. The identification of Murex trunculus as the legendary Chilazon was a breakthrough. After 1500 hundred years it seemed we had finally rediscovered Techelet.

Or had we? Many halachic (Jewish law) experts are skeptical whether the secretions of this ridge shelled mollusk is really the base of the legendary blue dye.
They point out that the shells of these snails have been found in great abundance in archeological sites of ancient Canaan (present day Israel). In contradistinction Talmudic sources describe the dye as both rare and expensive. This problem is only one of the many that the proponents of Murex trunculus face in making their case to the general Jewish public. The furor has been going on now for nearly a century, but the Murex trunculus slithers on oblivious to it all.


What do you think?


Prob would re-word the first sentence, but love it overall. Though, having went to Yeshiva K-8, the topic of ancient tzitzit dye strikes a particular chord with me. (On another point, can one use non-kosher animal products to make religious garments? Sounds fishy to me.)

Also, i think its "effected a controversy," rather than affected. Can others chime in to confirm?


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:41 pm 

Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:14 pm
Archived Posts: 513
benignuman wrote:
What do you think?


The topic is interesting, and the piece is well written. Thanks for posting it.

My criticism is that it reads too much like and encyclopedia article. I think you could work to bring out more of your own personality.

What made you interested in this topic, what insight do you bring to the controversy, and what might this say about your potential contributions to YLS? All of these should be addressed in a subtle way, of course.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:42 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:18 pm
Archived Posts: 106
joschmo wrote:

Prob would re-word the first sentence, but love it overall. Though, having went to Yeshiva K-8, the topic of ancient tzitzit dye strikes a particular chord with me. (On another point, can one use non-kosher animal products to make religious garments? Sounds fishy to me.)

Also, i think its "effected a controversy," rather than affected. Can others chime in to confirm?


How would you reword the first sentence?

I originally wrote "effected" but microsoft told me to change it.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:45 pm 

Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:14 pm
Archived Posts: 513
joschmo wrote:
Also, i think its "effected a controversy," rather than affected. Can others chime in to confirm?


I don't like either. "effected" is more correct, if I read correctly that the snail was responsible for instigating the controversy, but it's not a natural way of saying it.

If the controversy predates the snail, the snail would have affected the controversy.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:17 pm
Archived Posts: 564
tr.v. ef·fect·ed, ef·fect·ing, ef·fects

1. To bring into existence.
2. To produce as a result.

I think this is what he means, so yeah.


Last edited by tome on Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:47 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:17 pm
Archived Posts: 564
bgc wrote:
If the controversy predates the snail, the snail would have affected the controversy.


My understanding is that if you are affected, you are acted upon. So you cannot affect something, you are affected by something. If this is the case, then affected does not make sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:49 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:18 pm
Archived Posts: 106
It has been changed.


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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:50 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:13 pm
Archived Posts: 369
.


Last edited by red_sox on Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Yale's 250 word essay
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:51 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:16 pm
Archived Posts: 100
Nothing severe: The phrase "minds its own business" sounds a little colloquial, and also uses up your space limitation. My suggestions (No pressure):

The Murex trunculus is a 1- 4 inch rock snail which trolls humbly about the shallow ends of the Mediterranean. Looking at the snail, it would be hard to imagine that it could be the source of any contention, but this conical shaped, banded snail has effected a debate in the Jewish world that is now in its 96th year.


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