Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

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edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:27 pm

Pozzo wrote:It's clear that you're going to do you here, and you very well may prove us all wrong. I really hope you do. However, if you can see through the exasperation that we're all experiencing, there actually is some constructive feedback here, which is what you say you're looking for. You've just summarily dismissed all of it. No one is saying you shouldn't do something risky, just that this isn't it. Reasons were given:

1. The prose need to be tighter. The sentences are kind of jerky. More generally, it's just not well written.
2. The topic is very cliché. These thoughts are not as unique or "risky" as you seem to think. If I had to guess, I'd guess Asha and the faculty suffer through literally dozens or hundreds of "religion" 250s each year.
3. The essay shows that you have little understanding of what you claim as your inspiration.
4. Despite choosing a topic that is intensely personal for many people, you manage to tell us very little about yourself or the world.

Please, try to take this advice and incorporate it into your next 250. Good luck, mate.


Actually A nony mouse repeatedly pushed his approach which I consider to be the opposite of risky as did others.

The "exasperation" as you put it was pretty much instantaneous.

And I did not sumarilly dismiss all of the advice. I made use of some of it including a bit of yours (that I shouldn't claim Edwards as inspiration, but only his imagery) although you didn't put it that way.


1. The somewhat jerky nature was addressed. I would edit it more, but it might not be able to fit gracefully into the 250 in its current form. This was a valid concern, I cited above as a reason I might not use it. I said something along the lines of that the most compelling reason that I had not to use it was that it was the second best version of itself that I had wrote. The better version was a 500ish word essay which worked well for undergrad applications.

2. That's definitely the first time anyone has put a number to it so this is clearly not a summary, but a misrepresentation of advice from earlier. It was earlier stated that it was cliche because the topic has been written about before in history not on 250's every year. I have not read a 250 on religion from a non-believer's perspective, but have only read a few hundred 250's online. Do others think there could be hundereds a year?

3. I don’t think the essay showed that. You provided no evidence of that at all.

4. I think I did, though it may not have worked. But even if it did, it probably would have failed to demonstrate it to you especially given your apparent hostility toward lay people talking about religion.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:28 pm

edcat wrote: You have an astonishingly high view of how influential TLS is.

I thought it was a pretty low likelihood event too, until I found out it had happened recently close to me. Why risk it?


It is 100% certain that adcoms monitor this board—the c/o threads and the "Ask an X" student threads in particular. If and when you matriculate, you will frequently hear adcoms and people from your Dean of Students office reference "anonymous pre law message boards" and "internet forums" etc. They're always mean TLS. And it's not just staff. During my first semester of 1L, an instructor used a screenshot from the TLS Lounge as a teaching example in my LRW class. At the time she was a fellow at my school. She's now tenure track at Yale.

And I don't think anyone said that plagiarism was a low likelihood event. instead, the proposition was that your essay in particular wouldn't be plagiarized because 1) it isn't very good and 2) there is an entire thread of people saying how it isn't very good.

Also, my understanding of how YLS apps work is that admissions people and professors will be reading your essays. In any case, you'll need to receive a thumbs up from more than one person. That's one more reason to write a really good conventional essay, which as Anony and I have already pointed out, is less common than you seem to think.

ETA -- Your task isn't to write an essay that objectively succeeds at allusion or whatever. Rather, your job as an applicant is to write a 250 that the committee will like. You won't get the chance to argue with them or to ask them for their "evidence" if they don't like what you've written.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:48 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Your professors must look forward to office hours with you after you get a paper back...


I'm not sure what your experience with professors and peers giving feedback on papers has been. It isn't normally a dictatorial handing down of terms and judgements. It usually consists of a discussion pointing out minor flaws in logic, spots where citations could have been better, ideas that could have been developed more, areas where the writing style could be improved, and ideas for tweaks. Early meetings could be comprised of advice about picking a subject that could work.

There has never been any sort of a problem because my professors are not insecure in themselves. They have the self-confidence to engage with productive feedback rather than sit back and offer snide remarks to make them feel more secure about themselves.

If my profs feedback ever resembled any of the following...

"Ah, there's nothing better than a pretentious and mediocre writer who thinks that they're hot shit. Adcomms love that."

"QFP"

"OP, you're in great shape. Don't listen to anyone else. Trust me, nothing is sexier than a kid who is utterly convinced of his own innate brilliance."

"Quoted for posterity."

... then you are right that the office hours would have been something worth thinking about.

Then of course this is your metaphor, not mine.

I can't say you have been particularly helpful, but I did learn something. If I ever see the letters qfp alone as a comment attached to a post, the comments probably coming from someone whose other comments are obnoxious and counterproductive. And thanks to you, I didn't even have to look up what it meant. You spelled it out for me.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:09 pm

edcat wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Allusion requires knowing enough about what's being alluded to to make a meaningful allusion. At least two people here, both of whom probably know more about early American religion than you do, have said the allusion doesn't work.

I'm not claiming that attempting to construct a compelling narrative is novel. I do think that many people approach the application as fulfilling each part and think that is sufficient. I also think that succeeding at creating a compelling narrative is much less common than you suggest.

But that's fine. Go be risky. But make sure the execution works. "This essay doesn't work" is plenty specific. There's no point giving specific sentence-level criticism when you think the very premise fails.


I don't think you are right especially with Yale apps, but since my evidence is flimsy (that all the guides give the same advice) and yours appears to be a pure guess it doesn't really matter. Additionally, since I could embark to craft a compelling application level narrative and fail I can't just consider those who suceed and ignore those eho tried and failed.

The thing about an essay that is an attempted risk is that one or ten people not liking it in vague terms isn't helpful. I want it to make some like me at the cost of alienating others rather than to do no harm. If you offer specific criticism I can decide whether it is part of the intended risk or a mistake. It doesn't have to be sentence level. You didn't.

Pretty sure I said specifically that your allusion to Edwards doesn't work, after I went back and reread Edwards to see if there was any link between the two that I was forgetting. Not sure why that's not specific.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:09 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
edcat wrote: You have an astonishingly high view of how influential TLS is.

I thought it was a pretty low likelihood event too, until I found out it had happened recently close to me. Why risk it?


It is 100% certain that adcoms monitor this board—the c/o threads and the "Ask an X" student threads in particular. If and when you matriculate, you will frequently hear adcoms and people from your Dean of Students office reference "anonymous pre law message boards" and "internet forums" etc. They're always mean TLS. And it's not just staff. During my first semester of 1L, an instructor used a screenshot from the TLS Lounge as a teaching example in my LRW class. At the time she was a fellow at my school. She's now tenure track at Yale.

And I don't think anyone said that plagiarism was a low likelihood event. instead, the proposition was that your essay in particular wouldn't be plagiarized because 1) it isn't very good and 2) there is an entire thread of people saying how it isn't very good.

Also, my understanding of how YLS apps work is that admissions people and professors will be reading your essays. In any case, you'll need to receive a thumbs up from more than one person. That's one more reason to write a really good conventional essay, which as Anony and I have already pointed out, is less common than you seem to think.

ETA -- Your task isn't to write an essay that objectively succeeds at allusion or whatever. Rather, your job as an applicant is to write a 250 that the committee will like. You won't get the chance to argue with them or to ask them for their "evidence" if they don't like what you've written.


I didn't make a comment on whether your opinion of TLS was merited. That said, in the event that an adcomm liked my essay, they would probably agree that the commentary on TLS was a little skewed toward the conventional essays and would not disagree with me there either.

It doesn't matter whether this essay is good or not. It is manifestly a bad idea for me to post an idea, get hardly any constructive critique compared to the amount of time I spend elliciting it, and then risk it being plagarized. Additionally, someone else could be persuaded by my position about my essay and steal it. Even if they weren't, you could have liked a future essay that I wrote. I know it seems incomprehensible, but if there is a risk of good essays getting plagarized (and I don't have any evidence that the plagarized essay was particularly great) then that is even more reason not to post them to get non-constructive feedback. I thought plagarism was a low likelyhood event, but my opinion of law school applicants character in general and TLSers in particular has recently been lowered thanks to the allegory of my pre law advisor.

I'm not trying to objectively succeed at allusion (and that is not some high threshold to clear). The allusion was a way to borrow useful imagery and call attention to Yale's proud intellectual history. I understand the process. That's why I am taking a risky approach. Multiple people see it raising my chances. Usually, it is sufficient to get one person to really fight for and advocate for you; you don't need everyone.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:19 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
edcat wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Allusion requires knowing enough about what's being alluded to to make a meaningful allusion. At least two people here, both of whom probably know more about early American religion than you do, have said the allusion doesn't work.

I'm not claiming that attempting to construct a compelling narrative is novel. I do think that many people approach the application as fulfilling each part and think that is sufficient. I also think that succeeding at creating a compelling narrative is much less common than you suggest.

But that's fine. Go be risky. But make sure the execution works. "This essay doesn't work" is plenty specific. There's no point giving specific sentence-level criticism when you think the very premise fails.


I don't think you are right especially with Yale apps, but since my evidence is flimsy (that all the guides give the same advice) and yours appears to be a pure guess it doesn't really matter. Additionally, since I could embark to craft a compelling application level narrative and fail I can't just consider those who suceed and ignore those eho tried and failed.

The thing about an essay that is an attempted risk is that one or ten people not liking it in vague terms isn't helpful. I want it to make some like me at the cost of alienating others rather than to do no harm. If you offer specific criticism I can decide whether it is part of the intended risk or a mistake. It doesn't have to be sentence level. You didn't.

Pretty sure I said specifically that your allusion to Edwards doesn't work, after I went back and reread Edwards to see if there was any link between the two that I was forgetting. Not sure why that's not specific.


The link was not particularly deep. It didn't need to be. It was thetitle, the imagery of the spider's web the clearly all powerful God holding someone up out of Hell, and the references throughout to God as He or Him along with some other linguistic choices. I'm not going into more depth for the same reason I took it down and explained earlier.

That said, an allusion is just a way to allude to something without explicitly mentioning it. It was mostly unnecessary to the essay as an allusion should be (in case people like you don't get it) and didn't have to work. It just wasn't a sufficient reason to reject the essay as a whole and couldn't be by its nature. If the allusion didn't work then I just wouldn't have had to feel guilty about not referencing it explicitly and I might not need to anyway.

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WinterComing
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby WinterComing » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:27 pm

edcat wrote: The allusion was a way to borrow useful imagery and call attention to Yale's proud intellectual history. I understand the process. That's why I am taking a risky approach. Multiple people see it raising my chances. Usually, it is sufficient to get one person to really fight for and advocate for you; you don't need everyone.


You say "I understand the process" but then go on to say something that makes it clear that you don't understand the process at all. At YLS, there is no admissions committee, no group of people sitting around in a room where one person can advocate for you. Instead, each application is read independently by three faculty members, who score the application on a scale of 2-4, with 4 being the highest. If you get a 12, you're in. If you get an 11, also probably in. So you just might have a YLS prof with a Ph.D. in philosophy reading this essay.

My advice that you'll ignore like all the rest: Give up on this fraught topic. Make it more personal. Write what you know.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:04 pm

I think the OP and I have different understandings of how allusions and literary references work (and what "specific" means). Ah well, I guess they'll just have to hope people like me don't read the application.

edcat
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby edcat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:30 pm

WinterComing wrote:
edcat wrote: The allusion was a way to borrow useful imagery and call attention to Yale's proud intellectual history. I understand the process. That's why I am taking a risky approach. Multiple people see it raising my chances. Usually, it is sufficient to get one person to really fight for and advocate for you; you don't need everyone.


You say "I understand the process" but then go on to say something that makes it clear that you don't understand the process at all. At YLS, there is no admissions committee, no group of people sitting around in a room where one person can advocate for you. Instead, each application is read independently by three faculty members, who score the application on a scale of 2-4, with 4 being the highest. If you get a 12, you're in. If you get an 11, also probably in. So you just might have a YLS prof with a Ph.D. in philosophy reading this essay.

My advice that you'll ignore like all the rest: Give up on this fraught topic. Make it more personal. Write what you know.


Let's go over this one final time. Write a boring/conventional essay that is familiar and I'm out if I get to your professor reading stage.

Write an interesting and provocative essay and I am probably still out, but have a chance.

I'll take the chance. I'm not interested in avoiding offense in order to last a few days longer before I am rejected. I hope to get in. It's hard to win if you play to lose less badly. I'm not sure I'll take the risk it with this particular essay, but I'll take a big gamble on the personal statement every time with the set up I have. So should anyone who does not stand an abnormally high chance as a Yale applicant. I'm glad most won't though. It means that I'll have a sliver less competition for those tiny number of spots where people without numbers above both medians, ties, URM status, or years of inspiring work experience compete. It's a poor chance anyway, but better with you pressuring people to sabatague their applications. Please keep giving your harmful advice for the rest of this cycle.

I appreciate your work, it helps those of us who ignore it.

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Platopus
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby Platopus » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:05 am

edcat wrote:Let's go over this one final time. Write a boring/conventional essay that is familiar and I'm out if I get to your professor reading stage.


So.... Why can't you write an interesting conventional essay? Why does a "conventional" essay need to be boring? Writing in an established, accepted framework doesn't automatically make your essay boring and unoriginal. In fact, I would argue that's half the point. Yale wants you to write a coherent 250 word essay, and make a meaningful point, which in itself isn't asking for anything "original", it's asking you to be concise.

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rpupkin
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby rpupkin » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:23 am

edcat wrote:
WinterComing wrote:
edcat wrote: The allusion was a way to borrow useful imagery and call attention to Yale's proud intellectual history. I understand the process. That's why I am taking a risky approach. Multiple people see it raising my chances. Usually, it is sufficient to get one person to really fight for and advocate for you; you don't need everyone.


You say "I understand the process" but then go on to say something that makes it clear that you don't understand the process at all. At YLS, there is no admissions committee, no group of people sitting around in a room where one person can advocate for you. Instead, each application is read independently by three faculty members, who score the application on a scale of 2-4, with 4 being the highest. If you get a 12, you're in. If you get an 11, also probably in. So you just might have a YLS prof with a Ph.D. in philosophy reading this essay.

My advice that you'll ignore like all the rest: Give up on this fraught topic. Make it more personal. Write what you know.


Let's go over this one final time. Write a boring/conventional essay that is familiar and I'm out if I get to your professor reading stage.

WinterComing didn't advise you to "write a boring/conventional essay." He suggested that you make your essay more personal. He further suggested that you write what you know. I'm not sure why you believe that such an essay would necessarily be boring and conventional.

cavalier1138
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:02 am

edcat wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Your professors must look forward to office hours with you after you get a paper back...


I'm not sure what your experience with professors and peers giving feedback on papers has been. It isn't normally a dictatorial handing down of terms and judgements. It usually consists of a discussion pointing out minor flaws in logic, spots where citations could have been better, ideas that could have been developed more, areas where the writing style could be improved, and ideas for tweaks. Early meetings could be comprised of advice about picking a subject that could work.

There has never been any sort of a problem because my professors are not insecure in themselves. They have the self-confidence to engage with productive feedback rather than sit back and offer snide remarks to make them feel more secure about themselves.

If my profs feedback ever resembled any of the following...

"Ah, there's nothing better than a pretentious and mediocre writer who thinks that they're hot shit. Adcomms love that."

"QFP"

"OP, you're in great shape. Don't listen to anyone else. Trust me, nothing is sexier than a kid who is utterly convinced of his own innate brilliance."

"Quoted for posterity."

... then you are right that the office hours would have been something worth thinking about.

Then of course this is your metaphor, not mine.

I can't say you have been particularly helpful, but I did learn something. If I ever see the letters qfp alone as a comment attached to a post, the comments probably coming from someone whose other comments are obnoxious and counterproductive. And thanks to you, I didn't even have to look up what it meant. You spelled it out for me.


Thank you for this. I've been intensely bored by how reasonable most people have been lately, and it's good to see such utter nonsense being posted on a regular basis.

Remember, it's everyone else who's wrong. You're the misunderstood genius who won't be appreciated until after your time.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:25 am

edcat wrote:Let's go over this one final time. Write a boring/conventional essay that is familiar and I'm out if I get to your professor reading stage.

Write an interesting and provocative essay and I am probably still out, but have a chance.

I'll take the chance. I'm not interested in avoiding offense in order to last a few days longer before I am rejected. I hope to get in. It's hard to win if you play to lose less badly. I'm not sure I'll take the risk it with this particular essay, but I'll take a big gamble on the personal statement every time with the set up I have. So should anyone who does not stand an abnormally high chance as a Yale applicant. I'm glad most won't though. It means that I'll have a sliver less competition for those tiny number of spots where people without numbers above both medians, ties, URM status, or years of inspiring work experience compete. It's a poor chance anyway, but better with you pressuring people to sabatague their applications. Please keep giving your harmful advice for the rest of this cycle.

I appreciate your work, it helps those of us who ignore it.

This is ridiculously wrong. No one is trying to get you to sabotage your application or give harmful advice. WinterComing's advice was helpful, although you are for some reason determined to reject ...well, all feedback.

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MrAdultman
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby MrAdultman » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:34 am

edcat wrote:
Let's go over this one final time. Write a boring/conventional essay that is familiar and I'm out if I get to your professor reading stage.

Write an interesting and provocative essay and I am probably still out, but have a chance.

I'll take the chance. I'm not interested in avoiding offense in order to last a few days longer before I am rejected. I hope to get in. It's hard to win if you play to lose less badly. I'm not sure I'll take the risk it with this particular essay, but I'll take a big gamble on the personal statement every time with the set up I have. So should anyone who does not stand an abnormally high chance as a Yale applicant. I'm glad most won't though. It means that I'll have a sliver less competition for those tiny number of spots where people without numbers above both medians, ties, URM status, or years of inspiring work experience compete. It's a poor chance anyway, but better with you pressuring people to sabatague their applications. Please keep giving your harmful advice for the rest of this cycle.

I appreciate your work, it helps those of us who ignore it.



MrAdultman wrote: Not trying to be a jerk, but it looks like you can take tough criticism.


I'd like to apologize for my previous, egregiously incorrect statement. Why ask for feedback on a public forum if you're just going to be defensive and insult everyone who tries to help you? Next time, try the comments section on a YouTube video - it might better serve your purposes.

cavalier1138
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:42 am

MrAdultman wrote:I'd like to apologize for my previous, egregiously incorrect statement. Why ask for feedback on a public forum if you're just going to be defensive and insult everyone who tries to help you? Next time, try the comments section on a YouTube video - it might better serve your purposes.


Does anyone know Michael Shannon? I'd love to see him do a dramatic reading of this and post it to YouTube.

vcap180
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby vcap180 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:36 pm

Where can I read this essay? OP will you PM it if you don't want it out there ?

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rpupkin
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby rpupkin » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:14 am

vcap180 wrote:Where can I read this essay? OP will you PM it if you don't want it out there ?

Interesting twist.

vcap180
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby vcap180 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:55 am

rpupkin wrote:
vcap180 wrote:Where can I read this essay? OP will you PM it if you don't want it out there ?

Interesting twist.


What do you mean?

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Nebby
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby Nebby » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:03 am

Someone pm this to me plz

vcap180
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby vcap180 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 6:15 am

Nebby wrote:Someone pm this to me plz


That's what I'm saying! This 250 has prompted some fiery debate amongst some tls vets and heavy hitters; and the descriptions/criticisms of it throughout the thread are really interesting. For example, earlier in the thread, someone had this to say about OP's piece: "It sounds like you binge-read Charles Dickens, grabbed a thesaurus, and tried to write fancy and with the biggest words possible." And another critic commented, "I feel like I just read an anxious Kierkegaard".

However, nony notes that, upon multiple readings, OPs 250 seems to have become more palatable.

Bottom line: this piece sounds epic and I need a copy. Please send.

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rowdy
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby rowdy » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:43 am

vcap180 wrote:
Nebby wrote:Someone pm this to me plz


That's what I'm saying! This 250 has prompted some fiery debate amongst some tls vets and heavy hitters; and the descriptions/criticisms of it throughout the thread are really interesting. For example, earlier in the thread, someone had this to say about OP's piece: "It sounds like you binge-read Charles Dickens, grabbed a thesaurus, and tried to write fancy and with the biggest words possible." And another critic commented, "I feel like I just read an anxious Kierkegaard".

However, nony notes that, upon multiple readings, OPs 250 seems to have become more palatable.

Bottom line: this piece sounds epic and I need a copy. Please send.


I read the original. It's not worth it.

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mjb447
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby mjb447 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:47 am

Nice try, plagiarizers!

sparkytrainer
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby sparkytrainer » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:48 am

rowdy wrote:
vcap180 wrote:
Nebby wrote:Someone pm this to me plz


That's what I'm saying! This 250 has prompted some fiery debate amongst some tls vets and heavy hitters; and the descriptions/criticisms of it throughout the thread are really interesting. For example, earlier in the thread, someone had this to say about OP's piece: "It sounds like you binge-read Charles Dickens, grabbed a thesaurus, and tried to write fancy and with the biggest words possible." And another critic commented, "I feel like I just read an anxious Kierkegaard".

However, nony notes that, upon multiple readings, OPs 250 seems to have become more palatable.

Bottom line: this piece sounds epic and I need a copy. Please send.


I read the original. It's not worth it.


I made the anxious Kierkegaard comment. It was an anxious Kierkegaard, in a really bad way. It wasn't worth it. It is something a freshman theology student might write.

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MrAdultman
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Re: Envelope Pushing 250 For Critique

Postby MrAdultman » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:13 pm

mjb447 wrote:Nice try, plagiarizers!


This thread has 1,575 views... I wonder how Yale will respond to 1,575 applicants all submitting the same 250.




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