Starting with a quote

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things fall apart
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Starting with a quote

Postby things fall apart » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:32 pm

Edit: I am not starting with a quote

My new question would be should I even include one of these "cliched" quotes? I think it is very relevant but should I leave it out or keep the ol "Abe Lincoln once said" type thing(I explain below how it is actually incorporated).
Last edited by things fall apart on Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby dextermorgan » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:48 pm

Is the quote part of the story, or is it just some bs feel good quote from someone you'll never meet?

Edit: or is it about yams?

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3|ink
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby 3|ink » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:53 pm

I think it's a terrible idea. I seriously think adcoms sigh when they start reading a PS and find quotes at the beginning. However, if you want to do it, just use quotation marks. Then write out the name of the guy who said it: -Some Dude.

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DukeCornell
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby DukeCornell » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Is it by Chinua Achebe?
Last edited by DukeCornell on Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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s0ph1e2007
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby s0ph1e2007 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:53 pm

I start with a quote, but it's within my essay and is part of the opening vignette. If it's something like that (an experience of some guy yelling at you and saying he thinks people like you are terrible blah-di-blah etc. etc.), then you just start it like any other short story format
"____", so and so said. ENTER. TAB. "I don't know what you're talking about," I said... .etc.

If it's like 'Abraham Lincoln once said...."
Then DO NOT DO THIS.

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AreJay711
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:54 pm

Is there seriously no way you could demonstrate the message of the quote through your story without including it? What is the quote?

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things fall apart
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby things fall apart » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:54 pm

dextermorgan wrote:Is the quote part of the story, or is it just some bs feel good quote from someone you'll never meet?

Edit: or is it about yams?


It is a quote on the theme of my essay. It was recorded about 100 years before I was born though.
Its about education and relates to how my PS illustrates my involvement in education to underserved kids in different countries.

I realize you were being facetious but I explained anyway

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AreJay711
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:59 pm

things fall apart wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:Is the quote part of the story, or is it just some bs feel good quote from someone you'll never meet?

Edit: or is it about yams?


It is a quote on the theme of my essay. It was recorded about 100 years before I was born though.
Its about education and relates to how my PS illustrates my involvement in education to underserved kids in different countries.

I realize you were being facetious but I explained anyway


I think your essay would be stronger if you could have the quote and it's message in your mind but never actually say it. At the very least mention it not in the first line. I mean what does the quote prove? That you know a cool quote? Let your experiences and writing abilities stand on their own.

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things fall apart
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby things fall apart » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:00 pm

s0ph1e2007 wrote:I start with a quote, but it's within my essay and is part of the opening vignette. If it's something like that (an experience of some guy yelling at you and saying he thinks people like you are terrible blah-di-blah etc. etc.), then you just start it like any other short story format
"____", so and so said. ENTER. TAB. "I don't know what you're talking about," I said... .etc.

If it's like 'Abraham Lincoln once said...."
Then DO NOT DO THIS.


I mean I guess in theory this is what it is. Its more like

"quote here quote here." Such and such said this and I found this truth through my experience. (more or less)

AreJay711 wrote:Is there seriously no way you could demonstrate the message of the quote through your story without including it? What is the quote?


I mean I could, but I think it work pretty well, I did kinda cringe at the thought but when it came together I thought it went well. My mom read over it(masters in english) and gf (journalist) both did not mind.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby dextermorgan » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:00 pm

things fall apart wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:Is the quote part of the story, or is it just some bs feel good quote from someone you'll never meet?

Edit: or is it about yams?


It is a quote on the theme of my essay. It was recorded about 100 years before I was born though.
Its about education and relates to how my PS illustrates my involvement in education to underserved kids in different countries.

I realize you were being facetious but I explained anyway

You should seriously reconsider using the quote. Quotes are way too cliche. Even if your PS is great, you don't want the adcom to start reading with a groan.

dakatz
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby dakatz » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:07 pm

I talked to a former adcom about this and he said its a pretty weak way to open a PS, and I completely agree with him. A quote to open is essentially your admission that you cannot think of a way to set the scene or get the ball rolling in your own words. Its nothing but a cliched cop-out. The consensus, and rightfully so, is no quotes to open (unless of course it is a line of dialogue from an actual experience of yours, but even so, I would be hesitant to use it as an opening line).

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things fall apart
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby things fall apart » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:11 pm

dakatz wrote:I talked to a former adcom about this and he said its a pretty weak way to open a PS, and I completely agree with him. A quote to open is essentially your admission that you cannot think of a way to set the scene or get the ball rolling in your own words. Its nothing but a cliched cop-out. The consensus, and rightfully so, is no quotes to open (unless of course it is a line of dialogue from an actual experience of yours, but even so, I would be hesitant to use it as an opening line).



How about opening on the scenery of the main scene of my essay(previously the second paragraph) then having the essay as the lede for the second paragraph? (question to everyone)

I guess I was a bit more confident of my decision because I had to hype myself up to actually do something I haven't considered doing since before I could drive. I do feel it is appropriate, but I also acknowledge the stigma behind it(even though I do not agree in this case) and I feel my essay is a plus part of my application so I can't **** it up 4 seconds into the game.

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3|ink
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby 3|ink » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:13 pm

I don't think any of us are going to be able to talk you out of it OR be convinced that your case is an exception without reading the quote with the opening paragraph.

dakatz
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby dakatz » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:15 pm

3|ink wrote:I don't think any of us are going to be able to talk you out of it OR be convinced that your case is an exception without reading the quote with the opening paragraph.


Agreed. OP, post the opening with the quote wherever you think it is appropriate. Your questions are impossible to answer unless we actually see it.

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DorianGray89
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby DorianGray89 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:18 pm

Just don't do it.

NO QUOTES on the opening line. You want the adcomm to want to keep reading. I read applications for undergrad admissions, and whenever they start with a quote, I take a pause before I continue b/c I already know that if they started with such a cliche, they are not going to be interesting. Start with something that will make them want to keep reading.

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philosoraptor
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby philosoraptor » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:24 pm

things fall apart wrote:My mom read over it(masters in english) and gf (journalist) both did not mind.
No offense, but neither of these things reflects what an adcomm will think. Leading off with a quotation is a crutch; it makes you look too lazy to come up with your own structure for the essay. It might be OK in a more literary setting. But it's a cringe-worthy cliche in long-form journalism (usually an attempt to cover bad writing), and it has no place in an application to a professional school.

Even if you've done it well, so many people do it poorly that it will automatically prejudice an adcomm against you. If you value your application, don't do it.

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things fall apart
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby things fall apart » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:27 pm

dakatz wrote:
3|ink wrote:I don't think any of us are going to be able to talk you out of it OR be convinced that your case is an exception without reading the quote with the opening paragraph.


Agreed. OP, post the opening with the quote wherever you think it is appropriate. Your questions are impossible to answer unless we actually see it.



Actually to my previous selfs behest, I have moved the quote to the second paragraph, its existence in my essay is pending

LauraZofia
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby LauraZofia » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:35 pm

My mom read over it(masters in english) and gf (journalist) both did not mind.[/quote]

I'm sure your quote is quite appropriate to your PS and I'm not surprised that both your mom and gf don't mind it.

I think the issue is not even about whether this PS structure is ok--because SO many people do choose this route and have cohesive PS--but more so about whether or not you want to be just another one of those cliches.

Admin officers spend about 3mins on each application. Can you imagine how redundant this quote structure must seem after going through so many apps in such a small amount of time. Your mom and gf don't have to do this so the impact your PS has on them is very different. No matter how good your PS is, for the admin reading it, it will have this characteristic that will automatically stick out as "another one of those..."

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tgir
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby tgir » Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:45 pm

Don't start with a quote unless it is (a) demonstrably and obviously taken from your own experiences or (b) a quote which is very important to what you're trying to say and very personal to you, in a way that you can *genuinely* demonstrate. In other words, if you can imagine any other applicant using the quote, don't use it.

That said, if you're determined to use it, I personally think that you must use proper punctuation, which does include quotation marks. Citing the author can be handled in a few ways and can be pretty casual, but you definitely need to attribute it at some point. And for God's sake, don't let the quotation or the attribution ruin the flow of your essay. Flow is much much more important than tying your ideas to someone else's.

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Mike12188
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby Mike12188 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:14 pm

As the great Ricky Bobby once said, "I'm the best there is plain and simple, I mean I wake up every morning and piss excellence.

WayBryson
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby WayBryson » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:19 pm

It sounds like you have already decided not to open with the quote, which is a good thing. If you do decide to keep it in the essay, and if it does closely match your central theme/thesis, then you might be able to use it effectively as an amplification. Something along these lines.

"Like Messner and the other greats who came before me, it was a desire to test my limits that brought me to this point. Strapped into my snowboard on the roof of the world, I barely have the energy to stand. Airplanes don't fly this high. As I begin my decent, Hillary's imortal words return to me. "Because it is there."

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Cosmo Kramer
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby Cosmo Kramer » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:20 pm

hackneyed.

hth

Curry

Re: Starting with a quote

Postby Curry » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:25 pm

Why would you want the first thing the ad comms read in your PERSONAL statement to be something not written by YOU.

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3|ink
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Re: Starting with a quote

Postby 3|ink » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:28 pm

curryinaninstant wrote:Why would you want the first thing the ad comms read in your PERSONAL statement to be something not written by YOU.


LOL. I love this. Can I use this to open my personal statement?

Seriously though. Don't do it OP. Take the wisdom on this thread seriously.

Curry

Re: Starting with a quote

Postby Curry » Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:30 pm

3|ink wrote:
curryinaninstant wrote:Why would you want the first thing the ad comms read in your PERSONAL statement to be something not written by YOU.


LOL. I love this. Can I use this to open my personal statement?

Seriously though. Don't do it OP. Take the wisdom on this thread seriously.


Oh the irony :) :)




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