Topic on Pro-Life Advocacy in Personal Statement too RISKY??

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Topic on Pro-Life Advocacy in Personal Statement too RISKY??

Postby fearthefish » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:08 am

Considering abortion is such a contentious and politically charged issue, would this be a smart topic to base my personal statement on? I know admissions reps all say they don't take political views into consideration, but is this really true?

I was pretty involved in my college's pro-life student organization, serving as one of the student leaders for the club. If I pursue this topic, I would like to write about how my experiences with pro-life advocacy, and particularly my encounters/personal exchanges with those who categorically disagree with my views, have affected me and taught me the importance of thoughtful, constructive dialogue. I would also like to tie in the need (now more than ever) for mutual respect and civility in our pubic discourse and society more broadly.

My goal in this essay is not to argue and defend the pro-life view.

Any suggestions on how to approach this potentially risky topic? Thanks!
Last edited by fearthefish on Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:56 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Topic on Pro-Life Advocacy in Personal Statement too RISKY??

Postby Clearly » Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:17 am

I expect some discourse any minute now...

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Re: Topic on Pro-Life Advocacy in Personal Statement too RISKY??

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:38 am

Don't do it?

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Re: Topic on Pro-Life Advocacy in Personal Statement too RISKY??

Postby Balthy » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:08 am

Academia is overwhelmingly liberal. At best, this topic demonstrates your leadership qualities that a number of other possible topics, I'm sure, could also show, and at worst, you're a nut job. I wouldn't risk it.

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Re: Topic on Pro-Life Advocacy in Personal Statement too RISKY??

Postby huetohold » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:17 am

It's going to be risky no matter how you write it, but it could be worth it. Focusing on the need for reasoned, civil discourse could be the basis for a really interesting essay, particularly considering that this is clearly one of your most significant activities, and will come across as such even if you merely list it on your resume (which I assume you will).

HOWEVER: anything short of amazingly well-written is just going to exacerbate the risk of picking probably the most contentious topic possible. Above all, even putting aside the political risks, there's a risk in this topic of veering into cliche, and of telling rather than showing. For example, it's not going to help you to make generic, self-evident statements about how some of the tactics at abortion clinic protests, on either side, are not the most productive for the actual, practical discourse you ostensibly support. What would be better is to give an example of a specific conversation you had with a specific person who expressed a specific pro-choice viewpoint on which you were able to engage her/him (and when I say "engage" I definitely do not mean "debate," since part of your aim here will be the show that you, personally, are capable of truly listening and not merely wanting to impose your view on others by sheer force of your forensics/faith/etc.). On that note, if you choose to write on this, I think it'll be key that you not focus entirely on process. In other words, this essay will only be compelling if you can also show that some substantive agreement actually is possible. And, again, it won't be enough merely to say this - you'll also to have to point to specifics. Simultaneously, showing that you were/are able to make concessions to the other side is the best way to reduce some of the inherent political risks of this topic.

If you can manage to avoid cliche, and if you can be very specific in your descriptions, you could have something. That's a pretty daunting task, so if you can't, I would bag it, because bad writing is only going to magnify the potential that you'll rub adcomms the wrong way.
Last edited by huetohold on Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Topic on Pro-Life Advocacy in Personal Statement too RISKY??

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:24 am

I'm calling willwash alt.

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