Which topic should I write on for HYS

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )

The best PS topic for HYS would be

Doing a week of silence at a Buddhist monastery in China
Starting a niche online business in high school
Legal witness at a wedding in a migrant worker camp
No votes
Religion-based service trips
No votes
Total votes: 8

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Which topic should I write on for HYS

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 06, 2013 3:39 pm

First thank you donating your time to help me with this. TLS has been an amazing resource that transformed my LSAT score and is the sole reason why I have the joy of cogitating over what essay to write for HYS. By TLS standards I'm a complete neophyte to PS's and appreciate any input, links, or suggestions you may have.

FWIW I'm 3.9+ and 17x interested in corporate law applying to HYS + Columbia and Penn as safeties.

Here's some more detail on what each of the options are:

Week of silence was part of a month that I spent living a monastic lifestyle in China as part of a cultural exchange program. The essay would be an anecdote from the experience followed by philosophical discussion of what I took away from the experience. Doesn't connect in with why I want to be a lawyer

High-school E-business Description of what my business did, how it worked, and what mentors helped guide be during that time. Followed by discussion of numbers (grossed over 35K/year, worked with people in 39 countries) and the implications of global connectivity. Connects in with why I want to be a lawyer.

Legal witness at a wedding in a migrant worker camp. This is a story. Why I was there, how I happened to be invited to participate in these stranger's wedding, something about injustice, and a lose connection to the law. I love doing community service, but am not interested in immigration law.

Religion-based service trips I'm something of a free-trip whore and have gone on free service trips with Quaker, Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist groups. I'd write about the similar foundations of all these religions and wax philosophic about the connectedness of human impulses, and the irony and possible value of service trips that waste enormous resources putting middle class white kids like me in the Bolivian forest to spend a week building pre-fab houses for people living in incredible poverty.

I will probably also use one of these topics for my Yale 250.
Or I'll write about the evolutionary basis for altruism... just because I think it's fascinating and I hear they like academic stuff.

Thanks again for your time and I look forward to reading your comments and questions.

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Re: Which topic should I write on for HYS

Postby thewaves » Sun Oct 06, 2013 3:52 pm

Sounds like you have an interesting background. I would choose the business essay because it's the most honest and will be the easiest for you to write. Do NOT write the last option. It doesn't sound like you have much to say on the matter--there is also the double irony that you chose to participate in a of bunch service trips, yet you're interested in questioning their value. What does that say about you? Seems flimsy and would take a certain finesse to pull it off. The other topics touch on interesting experiences but are contrived essay topics of what you think an admissions office would want to read. Once again, be honest in your writing.

And Yale does *not* only wants public-service careerists, so don't worry. They admit plenty from Mckinsey and Goldman Sachs.

Take this all with a grain of salt. How you write is just as important as what you choose to write about.

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Re: Which topic should I write on for HYS

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 06, 2013 4:34 pm

OP here - Thanks Waves for your comment.

It's hard to express one's three dimensionality in a forum post so I'd like to try and clear up one or two points.

I chose these topics as the 3 or four most important events in my life (that were relevant for a PS) - not because I necessarily think they are what an adcom would want to read.

The week of silence and legal witness narratives are both parts of much larger arcs (12 years meditation training, President of my University's community service organization, 500+ hours of community service with a focus on helping the Hispanic community)

I'm not an idealist and know going in that I want to do corporate law for the $$, but these other things are still very dear to me.

That said - contrivance is in the eye of the beholder and I very much appreciate your feedback.

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Re: Which topic should I write on for HYS

Postby Ramius » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:07 am

I would probably pick the first or second topic, depending on a couple of things. With the week of silence, do you believe this was a formative experience in your adult life or just something you think is interesting that you did in your past? If it had lasting impact on you, it could definitely be a great topic and you could discuss how it affected you for the rest of your life up to today. If not, it'll come off as contrived and disingenuous pretty easily and you'd go from someone who strikes the ADCOM as interesting and worth their time and attention to a fairly quick toss into the reject pile. This statement would all hinge on your ability to show yourself in the experience and why you are who are today partly because of it. It doesn't have to have any impact on your decision to go to law school or what you want to do in the field of law, but it should be informative about who you are today and send me a clear and positive message about you. Only you can decide if that message would be possible.

With the second topic, it could definitely show you in a positive light, but would be dictated by the work you actually put into it, the success and application of the business to every day life and how you grew with the business. I'd be wary of this for one simple reason: it's something you did before college. If it was a huge success and a pretty brilliant new idea, it'll help you immensely because it'll show your enormous potential even from a young age. It could backfire if it was simply something you did for one summer or some limited timeframe and really shows nothing about you and your abilities. This statement would be strong if you can use the backdrop of this business to sell your work ethic, intellectual faculties and ingenuity.

No one here can tell you which story would be most informative about you as an applicant, because what thewaves mentioned is very true: it's as much about how you write it than what you write about. Focus on the message you'd like to send to the ADCOM (beyond "please admit me") and pick the topic that best sends that message. Whatever topic you pick, good luck!

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Re: Which topic should I write on for HYS

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:28 pm

OP again. Thanks Matthewwsean85,

Thanks for your well thought out feedback. Although I know it's impossible to say which would really be "best" until I've written them, hearing your perspective helps me expand my thinking and (hopefully) avoid some pitfalls as I begin writing.

Also, this forum is surprisingly dead. TLS doesn't show PS's as much love as say... what pencil to use when taking the LSAT.

But hey, everyone's got to have priorities. :lol:

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Re: Which topic should I write on for HYS

Postby lastsamurai » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:26 am

I think the reason this forum doesn't get as much love is because it's so impersonal. Everyone hides behind the anonymous user avatar, and I think that makes people less inclined to help. Further, did you really think that saying you're applying to Columbia and Penn as safeties was going to net you a ton of advice? Just something to think about.

That said, I think you should follow matthewsean's advice and really consider how you're going to write these topics. The first probably would make for the best magazine article, but that doesn't exactly correlate to a great law school personal statement. For my PS, I had several topics that I contemplated, so I just started 5 statements and went with the one that ended up being the easiest to write. Chances are that's the one that is most genuine. Good luck!

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